Monthly Archives: April 2020

I Am Dust by Louise Beech

Copy

I Am Dust by Louise Beech

Summary:

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

 My Review:

One of my favourite authors returns with her fifth novel. I Am Dust (Orenda Books) by Louise Beech confirms just what an exceptional writer she really is. I just would not know what genre to put Louise in as she is such a versatile writer.

Author

 I loved Louise’s last novel Call Me Star Girl and I did wonder how she was better this. I need not have worried. I Am Dust is set in and around The Dean Wilson Theatre which is believed to be haunted. As with Louise Beech’s previous novels she builds characters superbly. We meet Chloe over two timelines the first in 2005 when she was playing in the local school production of Macbeth. But all is not well with Chloe and we fast forward to 2019 and The Dean Wilson Theatre is about to put on a musical performance of Dust twenty years after it was last played at the theatre. But back then the lead actress who was playing Esme Black was found dead in her dressing room, it was murder. Now a murder in a theatre always makes a good read and this is no exception.

Chloe is now working at the theatre as an usher, The Dean Wilson Theatre has seen better days with audience attendances dropping alarmingly. Now Dust is back! But for Chloe she is not coping as she has blackouts and is self-harming and trying hard to forget her younger years. But she is about to play a significant role but not on stage.

Was Morgan Miller murdered? Is she still haunting the theatre and waiting for her killer to return? There are new actors and actresses playing in the new production of dust but the real drama is about to play out away from the stage.

Sometimes the drama of life can lurk in the shadows of our lives and as someone once said “All the world’s a stage”. Louise Beech can create a story and as a reader you are instantly drawn not only to the storyline but the characters are so real. Chloe’s story is just heart-breaking. Haunting and emotional I Am Dust is just exceptional.

300 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of I Am Dust by Louise Beech.

I Am Dust by Louise Beech was published by Orenda Books and was published on 16th April 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop. During the current lockdown most independent bookshops are offering free delivery. Check your local bookshops for delivery options.

Black River by Will Dean

COVER

Black River by Will Dean

Summary:

FEAR

Tuva s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim has gone missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

My Review:

Following on from Dark Pines and Red Snow, Will Dean is back with Black River (Point Blank) which was published last month. Tuva Moodyson is back and I have to say I have missed her. This is a series I would happily recommend to anyone.

Author

Just when you though Tuva had left Gavric for good! Tuva has had her problems and was living a life free from the poison that was ruining her life but now she is back in Gavric and she is on a mission to find her close friend Tammy and she is in trouble. A tip off phone call and it is feared Tammy may have been kidnapped.

It is midsummer, there may not be the ice and snow of a long dark Swedish winter but the Summer’s hold their own problems and the insects are just one! Tammy’s life is in danger and Tuva must risk her own to save her friend. It is the small town of Snake River is close and they are wary of anyone from outside. It is tense and the town holds some very unusual characters. The sisters who carve Trolls are just two. And they are not very forthcoming in wanting to help. But then when another woman goes missing people realise something is very wrong. Snake River is not just a name given to the town.

I have always had a sense of claustrophobia reading Will Dean’s series and that may be just something to do with the towns folk. Jeepers I would stay off the streets or move out if I was there as Gavric gives me the creeps. But saying that Black River is just brilliant. It was always going to be, I had never had any doubts. A mind blowing blockbuster of a read. Will Dean creates his characters and weaves a storyline that you the reader gets pulled into. I dare you put this one down.

Being back in Gavric brings back all those memories that Tuva escaped from to start a new life in Malmo as a reporter. But now something sinister is gown down and Tuva must use all her skill and keep her wits about her because saving her friend may put her own life at risk.

Another big hit for Will Dean, Black River is packed full of suspense enough to keep you awake at night. Highly Recommended.

384 Pages.

Thank you to Point Blank Books for the review copy of Black River by Will Dean.

Black River by Will Dean was published by Pont Blank Books and was published on 12th March 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop. During the current lock-down many bookshops are still offering delivery with some independent bookshops offering free delivery. Please during these difficult times order through your local independent bookshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb Rhubarb: A Correspondence between a hopeless gardener and a hopeful cook by Mary Jane Patterson and Jo Thompson

Rhubarb Rhubarb Cover

Rhubarb Rhubarb: A Correspondence between a hopeless gardener and a hopeful cook by Mary Jane Patterson and Jo Thompson

Summary:

Rhubarb Rhubarb collects the witty, wide-ranging correspondence between Leiths-trained cook Mary Jane Paterson and award-winning gardener Jo Thompson. Two good friends who found themselves in a perfect world of cupcakes and centrepieces, they decided to demystify their own skills for one another: the results are sometimes self-deprecating, often funny, and always enlightening.

Jo would find herself one day panicking about what to cook for Easter lunch: a couple of emails with Mary Jane and the fear subsided, and sure enough, a delicious meal appeared on the table. Meanwhile, Jo helped Mary Jane combat her irrational fear of planting bulbs by showing how straightforward the process can be.

The book is full of sane, practical advice for the general reader: it provides uncomplicated, seasonal recipes that people can make in the midst of their busy lives, just as the gardening tips are interesting, quick and helpful for beginners. Mary Jane shares secrets and knowledge gathered over a lifetime of providing fabulous food for friends and family, while Jo’s expertise in beautiful planting enables the reader to have a go at simple schemes with delightful results.

My Review:

During these lock-down days I have been lucky to have been surrounded by so many books to read and review. One book that arrived just recently was Rhubarb Rhubarb: A Correspondence between a hopeless gardener and a hopeful cook (Unbound) by Mary Jane Patterson and Jo Thompson and it is just was warm and friendly book that is just perfect in these difficult days. I read Rhubarb Rhubarb in one sitting.

Mary Jane Patterson and Jo Thompson

Mary Jane Patterson is a Leiths-trained cook while Jo Thompson is a leading garden designer who has won gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Both are good friends and would swop emails. I think I would fall into the category of the hopeless let alone hopeful cook as I am a qualified gardener.

The book is so friendly and packed full of really good practical advice and many great recipes some of which I am now tempted to try. Throughout the book there are many photographs both garden and kitchen related with beautiful illustrations by Laura Jazwinski. For the gardener Jo Thompson offers many good ideas while Mary Jane Patterson supplies many good mouth-watering recipes to try.

The correspondence between the two is special as there is warmth there as well as dry humour. This is an ideal gift for anyone who loves gardening or cooking.

160 Pages.

Thank you to Unbound and to Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy of Rhubarb Rhubarb by Mary Jane Patterson and Jo Thompson

Rhubarb Rhubarb by Mary Jane Patterson and Jo Thompson was published by Unbound and was published on 2nd April 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop many of which are still offering mail order while bookshops remain closed. Many are offering free delivery.

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Rhubarb Rhubarb BT Poster

Just Another Mountain: A memoir of hope by Sarah Jane Douglas

COVER

Just Another Mountain: A memoir of hope by Sarah Jane Douglas

Summary:

At the age of twenty-four, Sarah Jane Douglas lost her mother to breast cancer. She was alone and adrift in the world, but had promised her mother that she would keep going, no matter what. So she turned to the beautiful, forbidding mountains of her native Scotland – and then beyond.

By walking in her mother’s footsteps, Sarah found the strength to face her grief, to accept her troubled past and, ultimately, to confront her own cancer diagnosis twenty years later.

Sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep walking…<

 My Review:

A memoir with so much honesty and inspiring at the same time. Just Another Mountain: A Memoir of Hope by Sarah Jane Douglas (Elliott & Thompson) is now out in paperback and I am very grateful to Alison Menzies and the publisher for sending me a copy.

Author

Sarah Jane Douglas lost her mother to breast cancer and now she was alone in the world but as a promise to her mother she would put one foot in front of another and carry on. So mountains became her solace. She climbed Kilimanjaro but if that was not enough she had got the bug of climbing mountains and then wanted to climb all of 282 of Scotland’s munros. She achieved this as well and then to the Himalayas. Sometimes we just do not know what is around the corner of life but the mountain adventures were going to be preparation for what was to follow for Sarah Jane Douglas.

But Sarah Jane Douglas also had her own personal mountain to climb. Losing her mother to cancer is horrific but she also was diagnosed with cancer twenty years later. There is so much honest, warmth and with on every page. You want to laugh and you will want to cry. Sarah Jane Douglas has written a memoir full of hope but is very much life-affirming. Highly Recommended.

304 Pages.

Thank you to Alison Menzies and Elliott & Thompson Publishers for the review copy of Just Another Mountain: A memoir of hope by Sarah Jane Douglas

Just Another Mountain: A memoir of hope by Sarah Jane Douglas was published by Elliott & Thompson and was published on 26th March 2020 in Paperback and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

 

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