Categories
Crime, Thriller and Mystery Literature and Fiction Mystery Suspense

Close Quarters by Angus McAllister

SYNOPSIS

Walter Bain is the self-appointed dictator of the tenement at 13 Oldberry Road in Glasgow’s cosmopolitan west end. For years, Walter has striven to impose his family values – stairs must be regularly washed, noise kept down, and wheelie bins moved back and forth at the correct times.

When Walter is found murdered, there are plenty of suspects among his ungrateful neighbours. Comic book dealer Billy Briggs is estranged from his daughter, with his business in ruins, and Tony Miller is jobless and facing eviction, all because of Walter. Henrietta Quayle, bullied and belittled by the dead man, conceals a murderous obsession beneath her timid exterior. And alcoholic solicitor Gus Mackinnon has even more reason to hate Walter than anyone else.

As Close Quarters takes a look back over the years at the various turbulent relationships between Walter and his neighbours, one thing becomes clear: although only one may be the murderer, none of them will mourn his passing.

Close Quarters is primarily a comedy and will particularly appeal to Scottish readers, as it satirises the traditional and sentimental view of Glasgow’s tenement life by placing it in a modern setting. The book will also appeal to readers of crime fiction.

MOMO’s REVIEW                   

This is a difficult book to write a review for, whilst I enjoyed the book and would recommend it as one to read, it is certainly not an easy book to categorise.  

The synopsis describes it as a comedy – hmmmm I would not use that term although there are certainly some parts that I found humour in but with the murder scene at the start it had a suspense throught the story trying to work out who had been involved. It is not a murder mystery so don’t be surprised if you think you know the culprit by the middle of the book, keep reading as it is worth it. 

The author has cleverly captured ‘life in a common close’ in a busy Scottish city centre. Anyone who has lived in a common close will get it immediately – and there you will find some of the humour – but if you have never lived in a flat then it is a lesson on the complications that can bring!   I grew up living in a close just like this in the centre of Edinburgh and many years later find myself in a smaller, quieter close in a smaller town in the central belt.  Both times there have been characters just like in this book and thats what makes life in a close so interesting.

There are sections of the book I felt were a bit long-winded and irrelevant but then they would fit into the story later on and therefore it was needed…. maybe its just a longer book that I am currently used to reading and thats what made the difference.

I do rate this author and have another of his novels on my shelf to be read and would certainly not hesitate to pick up another next time I see one.

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BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: Close Quarters
  • AUTHOR: Angus McAllister
  • PUBLISHER: Troubador Publishing
  • PUBLICATION DATE:  26 April 2017
  • LENGTH: 505 pages
  • ASIN: B072P3JJV9
  • ISBN-10: 1788036689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788036689

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angus McAllister worked as a solicitor and university professor, and is now retired. For many years he wrote academic books and articles, as well as fiction. 
Angus McAllister online:  Facebook, Goodreads

 

Categories
Literature and Fiction

The Break by Marian Keyes

The Break isn’t a story about falling in love but about staying in love. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best.

‘Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’
‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’

If only.

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her.

He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . .

However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge.

For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?

Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

MOMOBOOKDIARY REVIEW

MoMo’s Book Diary highly recommends this author’s latest release “The Break”

Marian Keyes has given us many brilliant novels – some of which I have ‘laughed out loud’ embarrassing my mother while on holiday in strange places. I have many happy memories reading Marian Keyes while on holiday.

I haven’t read anything by this author in some time and was excited to be given the chance to read and review for NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph. It is a well paced book that is difficult to put down but I found that unlike some other books I have read recently I was able to put it down and take a break for normal life stuff… maybe it is due to this being a longer book that most that I read these days? Or maybe I have been reading too many crime based books that this just didn’t hold my attention as much as Marian Keyes did in the past. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed it and do recommend it as a novel.

It is a long read – enjoyable – and funny.  If you have read Marian Keyes in the past then you really don’t want to miss this one!

Thanks NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the opportunity to read and review this fantastic novel.

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: The Break
  • AUTHOR: Marian Keyes
  • PUBLISHER: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 7th September 2017

 

REVIEW PUBLISHED

NetGalleyGoodReads, WaterstonesAmazon, iBooks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

You can interact with Marian Keyes on her websiteTwitterFacebook and Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman

Adventures in Depression with the CRAB of HATE

Susan Calman is a well known comedian and writer who has appeared on countless radio and television programmes. Her solo stand up show, Susan Calman is Convicted, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and dealt with subjects like the death penalty, appearance and depression.

The reaction to the show she wrote about mental health was so positive that she wanted to expand on the show and write a more detailed account of surviving when you’re the world’s most negative person.

The Crab of Hate is the personification of Calman’s depression and her version of the notorious Black Dog. A constant companion in her life, the Crab has provided her with the best, and very worst of times.This is a very personal memoir of how, after many years and with a lot of help and talking, she has embraced her dark side and realised that she can be the most joyous sad person you’ll ever meet.

MOMOBOOKDIARY REVIEW

I purchased this paperback a while ago then purchased the audio version after reading that Susan Calman had recorded the audio version herself. The book is a great read but listening to Susan reading it made it so much more real.  I could really think about the words she was saying.

This has to be one of the funniest books I have read/listened to.  I already loved Susan Calman, the brilliant Scottish comedian, and now I can also say I believe her to be an excellent author.  Through her writing she describes her ongoing battle with depression.

There were so many parts of this book that rang true with my life.  As someone who has suffered depression and anxiety for many years I could really relate to this book.  There were points in the book where I stopped and actually thought “WOW, So it is really possible to feel like that” and “I feel like that but I thought I was making it all up in my head”.   Thank you Susan Calman for showing me (and many many others) that it really is okay to not be okay.

I feel this is a good book for anyone who feels they may be depressed, or friends of someone who talks of depression… there are so many situations described that could be the secret to helping those we know who are not ready to talk about their feelings.  It is not a medical book – its a comedians view of her life with depression – but it certainly rings more true than some books I’ve read by medical professionals on the subject.

  • TITLE: Cheer Up Love
  • AUTHOR: Susan Calman
  • PUBLISHER: Two Roads
  • VERSION: Paperback and Audio

 

REVIEW PUBLISHED

GoodReads and Amazon

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (taken from https://www.susancalman.com/about-me/)

Susan Calman used to be a corporate lawyer and in her time has worked on Death Row in America, at the United Nations in Geneva and been in charge of Vacuum Cleaners and Microwaves at an electrical superstore.

In 2006 she decided to give up her promising career in the Law to be a comedian. She reached the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Awards and ‘So You Think You’re Funny’, was a finalist in the prestigious ‘Funny Women’ competition in 2006 and she hasn’t stopped since.

In 2007 Susan was cast in ‘Ugly Kid’, a sketch show which was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and following critical acclaim, was commissioned as a pilot for Channel 4. The show was renamed ‘Blowout’ and the cast went on to be awarded a Scottish BAFTA that same year.

On Radio 4 Susan has appeared on The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Now Show, Dilemma, So Wrong it’s Right and presented Woman’s Hour. She’s recorded two series of her own sitcom for Radio 4 and four solo series for the station.

Sometimes Susan is allowed on television and has been on QI, HIGNFY and Mock the Week.  She’ll soon be seen acting in the new BBC One sitcom Home from Home starring Johnny Vegas.  She’s hosted daytime shows like The Boss and Armchair Detectives as well as the CBBC show Top Class.  In 2017 she made it to week ten of Strictly Come Dancing, which was quite unexpected.

Susan is currently writing the follow up to her hugely successful first book “Cheer Up Love” and also contributed to the Penguin published Doctor Who collection of stories “The Day She Saved The Doctor”.

Susan lives in Glasgow and is lucky enough to be married with five cats.

You can interact with Susan Calman on websiteTwitter and Facebook,

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Romantic Comedy Short Stories

Diary of an Adorable Fat Girl by Bernice Bloom

Adorable Fat Girl

Synopsis

Mary Brown is funny, gorgeous and bonkers. She’s also about six stone overweight. When she realises she can’t cross her legs, has trouble bending over to tie her shoelaces without wheezing like an elderly chain-smoker, and discovers that even her hands and feet look fat, it’s time to take action. But what action? She’s tried every diet under the sun.

This series is the hysterical story of what happens when Mary joins ‘Fat Club’ where she meets a cast of funny characters and one particular man who catches her eye.

The story is laugh-out-loud funny and will resonate with anyone who has dieted, tried to keep up with any sort of exercise programme or spent 10 minutes in a changing room trying to extricate herself from a way too-small garment that she ambitiously tried on and is now completely stuck in.

Bernice Bloom is the big, new name in comedy writing…this is the first installment of her great new series of laugh-out-loud mini books.

MOMOBOOKDIARY REVIEW

You really need to read this fabulously funny book!

It is an easy read – best enjoyed with a cuppa (but no biscuit!)

The author has brilliantly described the characters and you really feel their personalities coming through even in such a short story.  The way these individuals come together in their joint aim of

I have only read this one but I am off to order the rest of the collection!

  • TITLE: Diary of an Adorable Fat Girl (#1)
  • AUTHOR: Bernice Bloom
  • PUBLISHER: Gold Medals Media
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 7 January 2016
  • LENGTH: 64 pages

 

REVIEW PUBLISHED

GoodReads

Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

You can interact with Bernice Bloom on her websiteTwitterFacebook, Goodreads and Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Lesson Plan for Murder by Lori Robbins

A Master Class Mystery (Master Class Mysteries Book 1)

Synopsis

No one sheds any tears when overbearing English teacher Marcia Deaver is found dead in her classroom. Some staff members speculate it was a heart attack, or perhaps a suicide, but Liz Hopewell knows that no self-respecting member of the Valerian Hills English Department would kill herself without leaving behind a perfectly penned suicide note, complete with detailed footnotes and obscure literary references.

After the police begin investigating the death as a murder, Liz finds Marcia’s mysteriously coded lesson plans. Convinced that they hold the key to identifying the murderer, normally risk-averse Liz finds herself obsessed with solving the crime.

Despite repeated requests to stay out of it from both her husband and the handsome detective assigned to the case, Liz persists in pursuing the murderer down a sordid trail of infidelity, blackmail, and Shakespeare conspiracy theories.

When additional staff members are also poisoned, Liz realizes that her clandestine pursuit has spooked the murderer—and she is likely next on the list. Can Liz expose the murderer before she becomes the next victim?

 MoMoBookDiary Review

I do love a new mystery/detective series and this looks like a brilliant start. Set in a public school with new amateur detective, Liz Hopewell. I like the author descriptions which make this a fun, snappy mystery with twists to keep the reader guessing. I look forward to more mysteries with Liz Hopewell.

  • TITLE: Lesson Plan for Murder
  • AUTHOR: Lori Robbins
  • PUBLISHER: Books Go Social
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 30 November 2017

 

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

Netgalley

Goodreads

Amazon

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Lori is an English teacher, writing lesson plans on murder for her academic mystery. After hours, she’s in a ballet class or lost in a book.

Brooklyn-born Lori Robbins began dancing at age 17 and launched her professional career three years later, performing with several regional modern and ballet companies and with Ballet Hispanico. She later attended Hunter College, graduating summa cum laude with a major in British Literature and a minor in Classics. She is now an English teacher in New Jersey.

Robbins is a member of SinCNY and the Guppies

The mother of six, Robbins is familiar with the homicidal tendencies that everyday life inspires. She mined her experiences as a teacher, mom, and former dancer in her recently completed manuscript, Lesson Plan for Murder. It’s an academic/comic mystery that marks the debut of amateur sleuth Liz Hopewell, whose adventures as an investigator of murder alternate with her misadventures as an unwilling New York-to-New Jersey émigré. Lesson Plan for Murder is a mystery that doesn’t take itself or its heroine too seriously. Until things get serious.

Robbins is also the author of the advice blog: janesinbox.lorirobbins.info

The blog was inspired by Robbins’ love of literature and her belief that when you need advice, other people may not be your best option. Because if you’re in trouble, you may not be thinking rationally. And the last person you want to talk to is someone who is busy screwing up his own life. The second to last person you want to talk to is someone whose life is annoyingly perfect.

No. If you want advice, turn to the greatest minds who ever lived and wrote. You can find them at: janesinbox.lorirobbins.info

Learn more at Lori Robbins website, on Twitter and Facebook