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Random Things Tours – Book Review – Twelve Days In May by Niamh Hargan

“To say that Ciaran Flynn ruins Lizzy’s first day in Cannes seems a little pathetic, and maybe hyperbolic, and certainly like it gives him a degree of power he does not deserve.”

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Number of Pages: 400

Date of Publication: 28 April 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins

Rated: 4/5

My Review Summary: A lovely read with likable characters.

📖PLOT SUMMARY📖   

They haven’t spoken for 12 years.

Can they fall in love in 12 days?

Lizzy Munro is working at the Cannes Film Festival, in a job that involves a lot more admin than red-carpet glamour.

There, Ciaran Flynn is the man everyone is talking about: heartthrob of the moment and director of the most romantic movie of the year.

What nobody knows is that twelve years ago, they were best friends . . . and they haven’t spoken since.

But when Ciaran’s film runs into trouble, there’s only one person he can turn to.

Is twelve days enough to save not only Ciaran’s film, but also the spark he and Lizzy once shared?

💭THOUGHTS💭

I am always on the lookout for chick lit/rom coms to break up my usual go to genre, Thriller (although recently I have been reading more and more rom coms!) and this one seemed to fit the bill. It was also set in May, so a very seasonal read! 

The writing was light and started off with an outside narration that lured you into the story. The narration then went onto the main character Lizzy’s thoughts and points of view and then as we got to know her, we then switched to Ciaran’s point of view. The story is mainly from Lizzy’s point of view though with Ciaran’s point of view appearing every so often. I like that we are mainly seeing the story from one character and when we do get to see Ciaran’s side it gives us a more rounded view and an insight into how else the same situation can be read.

There were some deep issues touched upon and worked through in a sensitive manner which was nice to read about. It added an extra layer to the characters and consequently the story.

The chapters were fairly long and as mentioned above, mainly from Lizzy’s point of view. Each chapter was dedicated to a time period, sometimes two consecutive chapters were based on that time period. It was cleverly done and I always knew when and where I was reading about. It had a good flow and built up the story well. It kept you in suspense, travelling from one time period to another. Once you knew the whole backstory the chapters stayed in the present time and it once again became focussed on Lizzy’s point of view. 

I enjoyed the Epilogue at the end. That gave me good closure. 

Whilst I enjoyed the gradual unravelling of the story and the miscommunications, I do feel that the story could have wrapped up sooner. I felt that some bits went on for longer than necessary. 

The characters were great and really likable. It was interesting to see how they each reacted differently to the same situation. It was easy to see how things could have been misinterpreted and it was sad to see that they had wasted so much of their time on a miscommunication. It was an interesting journey to go on and I liked the mix of thoughts and conversation to tell the story. 

Lastly the settings. I loved being in Cannes and going to a couple of parties. It is a world that I know nothing about and I am glad that this book took me there! There wasn’t a lot of setting details though as most of it was based on the characters thoughts and feelings, however there was enough to give you a good grounding and to feel like you were there. 

Overall an enjoyable book with great character journeys.

⭐Rated 4/5⭐

📖THE AUTHOR📖

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Random Things Blog Tour – Book Review – Meet The Grubblers by Sarah Louise

“Closing down her iPad and falling back against the softness of her pillow, Emily felt an overwhelming sense of sadness.”

Genre: Children’s Fiction – Fantasy & Magic – Age 5 – 9 years

Number of Pages: 84 pages

Date of Publication:13 December 2021

Publisher: Silverwood Books

Rated: 4/5

My Review Summary: A lovely story without a dull moment.

📖PLOT SUMMARY📖

Meet Emily, who finds life hard when school suddenly closes and her family and friends can no longer visit.

Suddenly, Emily finds herself whisked into a magical world where she meets Lucy who is on a quest to find her missing cousin. On their quest the pair meet the crafty yet comical grubblers. How helpful will they be?

What is the strange connection between these new-found friends? Join Emily and Lucy for a time-travelling feast with lots of delicious fruit cake!

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I have wanted to try and read more Children’s books so that I can provide a range of book reviews, so when this one came up I jumped at the chance. The main character had the same name as me and it was a magical/fantasy book – what more could I ask for?!

The writing was detailed and comprised of long sentences, but short chapters. I loved the descriptions of the characters and the settings. The smells, textures and temperature were all excellently described and immersed you in the story. There was a good mix of simple and complex words in the sentences to cater for the advised age group. Some of the words were quite advanced, but together with the surrounding words they wouldn’t be difficult to work out or even just to look up. 

The chapters were all fairly short, as mentioned above, but gradually brought the different characters in allowing for a seamless storyline. Some of the longer chapters were split allowing for parallel storylines. The split wasn’t highlighted by any sort of illustration, but instead by the way that it was written from another character’s point of view.

There was a good pace to the story despite the long and detailed sentences. It was cleverly done in such a way that I didn’t feel bombarded with the description. It added to the story rather than distracted from it. 

I did enjoy the few illustrations that were dotted around the book, they were a nice touch for the younger readers. 

The characters were interesting. The main character was very much in the supporting role and was a follower rather than a leader. I thought it was an interesting technique to make the lead character not have a leading personality. It did allow for the other characters to show off their more forceful personalities and it made for an interesting story. What I also liked was the way that the Grubblers speech was written. It helped me give them a different voice and to separate them from the other characters. 

Lastly the settings. I enjoyed the fact that the story had the pandemic in the background. The children reading this book will have their own experiences of the pandemic and it was nice to see it woven in to a magical story. There were hints of how the pandemic had affected the main character throughout the book so you were always grounded in that time period, plus it added an extra emotional layer to the story. 

I wasn’t too sure about the time travel aspect. I didn’t really see that it added anything to the story. The only point that I could see was that it allowed for a kitchen maid to be involved in the escape of a child. For me it therefore wasn’t necessary. If the book was longer then it could have been further explored, but given the age group and the length of the story already there wasn’t really the capacity for it. 

Overall I enjoyed reading this book, it was full of action and intrigue from beginning to end and would make a great addition to any child’s bookshelf. 

⭐Rated 4/5⭐

📖THE AUTHOR📖

Sarah Louise has always had a talent for connecting with and inspiring children of all ages. Having worked in schools for twenty-five years, Sarah has now expanded her educational expertise into being an author. She hopes to provide exciting and page-turning stories that capture the minds of the younger generation of today.

Sarah has three adult children of her own, a beautiful granddaughter and much-loved cockapoo. She resides in the county of Wiltshire.

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Random Things Blog Tour – Book Review – A Loyal Traitor by Tim Glister

“Prologue – Stalin was dead, and Khrushchev was gone”

Genre: Spy Thriller

Number of Pages: 304

Date of Publication: 10 February 2022

Publisher: Point Blank

Rated: 4/5

My Review Summary: A cleverly written 1960’s spy thriller

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

Duty or honour. Which would you betray?

It’s 1966. London is swinging, and the Cold War is spiralling.

Clear cut lines have faded to grey areas. Whispers of conspiracies are everywhere. Spies on both sides of the iron curtain are running in circles, chasing constant plots and counterplots. And MI5 agent Richard Knox is tired of all of it.

But when Abey Bennett, his CIA comrade in arms, appears in London with a ghost from Knox’s past and a terrifying warning that could change the balance of power in the Cold War for good, he has to fight to save the future.

He must also face an agonising choice: who will he believe, and who will he betray – his duty to his country or his loyalty to his friends?

💭THOUGHTS💭 

This was an interesting book. It had everything that I could want from a spy thriller, plus a captivating blurb, however it took me quite a while to get into. Once I did get into it I enjoyed it, which is why it ended on a 4 star rating. 

The writing was very detailed and descriptive, and had a good pace to it. There was a good balance of storytelling and conversation between the characters, which kept the story moving. I did get a bit confused at times and had to re read bits (it was a complicated story set over a time period that I am not overly familiar with), but I got there in the end.

At the beginning you were introduced to a number of different people and their respective storylines, with additional characters and storylines being brought in throughout the book. As the story progressed the characters storylines were cleverly woven together and the suspense was built. It was at this point that I really started to get into it. After all the suspense and cliffhangers and the story came to an end, there was a calm summary of what had happened, which I appreciated. 

The book itself was set into two sections with the whole story happening in the first section and a summary/debrief in the second.

The chapters were either short or very short, which meant that you could cover more storylines. Some of the longer chapters were clearly split so that you could see different points of view, which I quite liked. There was so much detail packed into just a few pages. The short, but detailed, chapters set a good pace for the book without anything feeling rushed. 

Once you finished a chapter you were never quite sure which storyline you were going to end up reading about next, which added to the suspense and kept my interest. Gradually questions were being answered, but then more questions were suddenly added in! A lot of the chapters towards the middle/end of the book ended on cliffhangers so you were compelled to carry on reading to see what was going to happen next! 

The characters were excellent. They were all believable and their personalities helped to add suspense and questions to the story. You never knew who you could trust!

Each character had chapters dedicated to their background which was nice. You felt like you understood where they were coming from even if you weren’t entirely sure of their intentions. 

Lastly the settings. Whilst there were a number of different settings they were only briefly mentioned as the focus was really on the characters and what they were doing. Detail wasn’t wasted on the surroundings.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It took me longer to get into than normal, but once I got into it, it was a good read. 

⭐Rated 4/5⭐

The Author

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Random Things Blog Tour – Book Review – A Moment on the Lips by J Taylor

“It is said that there are two types of people in this world: those who live to eat; and those who eat to live.”

Genre: Humour Fiction

Number of Pages: 336

Date of Publication: 4 November 2021

Publisher: Hecate

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A heart warming journey full of love, friendship and support.

📖BOOK SUMMARY📖

By losing weight they gained each other.

From debut author J Taylor comes a laugh-out-loud, heartfelt story about friendship, self-acceptance and discovering how on earth one goes about losing an awful lot of weight…

Etta Wilson has vowed to make a change. At five foot three and a size twenty, she’s had enough. Honestly, this has absolutely nothing to do with seeing her ex, Robert Ward, strolling around town, smitten with a new slim girlfriend.

So, Etta’s chucked the calorific cakes, thrown the takeaway in the bin and committed to cardio. She’s got nothing to lose – well apart from a lot of weight – but how hard can that be?

Nearly impossible, it turns out. Etta soon realises she can’t do this alone. Thanks to her colleagues at the Elm Lodge Care Home, she won’t have to. With their help, will Etta reach her goals? Or does a moment on the lips really mean a lifetime on the hips?

Love, laughter, and lasting friendships are waiting for you with the A Moment on the Lips diet club… A perfect read for fans of Suzy Quinn, Jill Mansell, Sophie Kinsella, Nick Spalding and Kirsty Greenwood.

This hilarious read will brighten up a gloomy day and warm your heart this winter.

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I wanted a light, chick lit read and when this one popped up on Random Things Tours I was thrilled to be given the chance to read it. It didn’t disappoint. It was a light, funny, comforting read and one that I will be recommending. 

The writing was excellent and held my interest throughout. There were many different techniques used which kept my interest and stopped the story from becoming stagnant. 

It was written from the point of view of the main character and every so often she would speak directly to you as the reader. This was an excellent way to really pull you in and make you feel involved with the story. 

In between Etta (the main character) narrating there were also WhatsApp messages and other character conversations. All of these things happened either around Etta or directly involved her so she was a fairly reliable narrator. 

The writing was humorous and light throughout, yet also managed to be profound and comforting at times. The last page of the book was particularly beautiful and I was left feeling very comforted.

What I also particularly enjoyed about the writing was the way that the characters spoke. One of the characters was Russian and so her conversation was written in broken English for example. In my opinion it added an extra layer to the story and made it more relatable. 

Every so often there would be a break in the story and we would focus on just Etta or just one or two characters. It was rarely everyone all at the same time so you didn’t get too overwhelmed with everyone’s story lines at any point. 

The book itself was split into 3 parts; starter, main and dessert then split into the different chapters. Some chapters were dated and had named places, whilst others just had a place or nothing at all. It was an interesting layout and one which gave it a good flow and pace. Chapters were often short, then very short, which helped with the pacing of the story and in turn keeping my interest. The chapters often ended on cliff hangers which encouraged me to carry on reading! If the chapter was slightly longer for any reason then it would be clearly split up. 

The characters were all excellent. Each one was slightly different, but all were relatable. What I loved most was the love and support they all had for each other. At the beginning of the book they were just work colleagues that didn’t really know each other, but by the end they were close friends that regarded each other as family. It was lovely to read. Throughout the book you got to know each character individually and watch how they all grew together as a group and consequently as individuals. The messages of friendship, love and support really shines throughout the book. 

Lastly the settings. There is a lovely mix of work, Etta’s beautiful home, her grandparent’s home, the other girls’ homes, the riding school, the hen do, the wedding, the list could go on. The settings were lightly described as it was the characters actions and conversations that we were focussed on. It was just enough to give us an idea of where they were and to give a good grounding as to what was happening with/to the characters. 

Overall I loved this book. It was such a lovely comforting read, full of messages of love and support. I shall certainly be recommending it!

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

The Author

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Happy Publication Day! A Loyal Traitor by Tim Glister

Book Description From Goodreads:

“Duty or honour. Which would you betray?

It’s 1966. London is swinging, and the Cold War is spiralling.

Clear cut lines have faded to grey areas. Whispers of conspiracies are everywhere. Spies on both sides of the iron curtain are running in circles, chasing constant plots and counterplots. And MI5 agent Richard Knox is tired of all of it.

But when Abey Bennett, his CIA comrade in arms, appears in London with a ghost from Knox’s past and a terrifying warning that could change the balance of power in the Cold War for good, he has to fight to save the future.

He must also face an agonising choice: who will he believe, and who will he betray – his duty to his country or his loyalty to his friends?”

I am on the Blog Tour for this book on 21 February 2022. Keep your eyes peeled for my review on here, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #randomthingsbooktours

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – A Death In Custody by T S Clayton

“For Delroy, it began as just another deal – business as usual on Brixton’s Railton Road on a July afternoon in the late 1990’s.”

Genre: Thriller

Number of Pages: 432

Date of Publication: 2 November 2021

Publisher: Matador

Rated: 4/5

My Review Summary: A neat, well written story that really opened my eyes.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

“Brixton in the late 1990s. Delroy Brown, a young black man being held in police custody, dies in a confrontation in his cell with a police officer.

The officer claims to have acted in self-defence but fails to give a satisfactory explanation for being in the dead man’s cell.

Chief Inspector Elliott conducts an investigation into Delroy’s death, but his enquiries are obstructed by a lack of co-operation from police officers, the activities of a corrupt private investigator – and the legal system itself.

Alison French, a young journalist, Neeta Patel, Delroy’s family’s solicitor, and Ben Weekes, a black youth worker, join forces to try and find out the truth about Delroy’s death, but find themselves in growing danger, as they are drawn into a murky world of violent criminals and police informants.”

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I was excited to read this book when it came up on Random Things Tours because it was a subject that I had never read about before. I love Murder Mysteries, but I have never read about the Police Force, and how the Law is enforced. It certainly opened my eyes as to what could potentially happen. 

The story was very detailed and each chapter was subsequently very long. It was neatly and clearly set out with each chapter having a heading to inform you what you would be reading about next. The book had a lovely flow to it and although there was a lot of detail it didn’t confuse me or hinder me from enjoying the story. It was quite emotional at times, with some heavy political issues. You weren’t quite sure how the story was going to end. What I particularly appreciated, however, was that everything was neatly tied up at the end. 

In order to make this story what it was, it was reliant on what the characters were doing and thinking rather than what they were saying. I found this particularly interesting as I have found that a lot of books I have read recently are based on character’s conversations which can be a bit of an unreliable narrative. There was nothing unreliable in the way this was written. It felt well researched and authentic (as it would do given the author’s background!).

Another thing that was quite interesting was the fact that when a character was to become a major player in the story, you were told their life story and what events had lead them up to what was happening now. It made you feel quite on edge because you weren’t sure what role this character was about to play. 

The characters themselves were excellent. They were well written and believable. I really felt for them and could see the story from both sides. I could feel the difficulties that the characters had with their place in the story. It was an emotional read at times!

Lastly the settings. The settings were limited as the story was really about the people. What description there was of the setting was just enough to give you an idea of where the characters were. Some places in the book were given more attention as that was required for the story, but it was mainly character based. I would like to point out here that this was not a problem at all as you are so engrossed in everything else that was going on that I think describing the settings more would have detracted from the story. 

Overall I enjoyed this book. Whilst it was slow paced and fairly heavy on the details, my interest didn’t waiver. I would recommend it to people who are interested in reading a story based on Law and Justice.

⭐Rated 4/5⭐

The Author

Q and A with Tim Clayton

  1. What inspired you to write the book?
  2. What research did you do as the book felt very authentic and well researched – was it part of your background?

“I did not have to do much research for the book, as I worked for the branch of the Crown Prosecution Service covering the Brixton area for much of the 1990s – first as a Crown Prosecutor and then as a Senior Crown Prosecutor.  During this time, I became concerned about the apparent inability of the legal system to hold the police to account for the deaths of prisoners who died in their custody and also about the way in which the racism in society found expression in the work of the police and in the operation of the criminal justice system, and it was these concerns which inspired me to write this book.”

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Happy Publication Day! Crow Court by Andy Charman

Book Description From Goodreads:

“Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster—a belligerent man with a vicious reputation—is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.

So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.

Meanwhile, justice waits…”

I am on the Blog Tour for this book on 1 March 2022. Keep your eyes peeled for my review on here, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

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Happy Publication Day! The Mirror Game by Guy Gardner

Book Description From Goodreads:

“London 1925.

When Adrian Harcourt, a politician and captain in the army believed dead with his company on the battlefield of Flanders, is sighted looking like he’s been living rough, Harry Lark, a war veteran and journalist, is enlisted by his friend and benefactor Lady Carlise to investigate.

As he becomes drawn further into the case and the deaths mount up, he can see that things don’t add up. Where has Adrian been for so many years? Why can’t he remember parts of his past?

Looking further into Adrian’s previous life, even as his own dark past and addiction to laudanum threatens to overwhelm him, Harry begins to fall for Lady Carlise’s beautiful daughter Freddy, who was also Adrian’s fiancé.

Chasing the leads as they continue to unravel, can Harry solve the mystery behind what really happened to Adrian before it’s too late?”

I am on the Blog Tour for this book on 11 February 2022 so keep your eyes peeled for my review on here, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Bomb Man by Andy Greenaway

“A milk churn had been placed upright by the side of the road”

Genre: Thriller

Number of Pages: 320

Date of Publication: 30 September 2021

Publisher: Andy Greenaway (USA)

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A fast paced, gripping tale.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

“”The Bomb Man” is an enthralling, fast-paced novel based on real events. Beyond that, it serves as a tribute to a rare breed of men who were thrust into a conflict they were not prepared for in Northern Ireland. The year is 1973. Catholics and Protestants are at war. IRA terrorists have unleashed a bloody bombing campaign, indiscriminately killing women and children, policemen and soldiers. Bomb disposal expert Dave Thomson has been sent to Londonderry by the British army. His job is to dismantle the countless explosive devices that are planted across the city every day. When he captures an IRA bomb-maker in the act of planting a device, Thomson crosses the line. He forces the terrorist to defuse his own bomb. A provocative act that ignites the fury of the IRA. The terrorist organization puts a price on his head. With 30 days until his tour of duty ends, there’s only one question on Thomson’s mind. Will he make it home alive to his wife and children? Or in a body bag?

A book set in the period of The Troubles is bound to stir controversy. Even though the events in this novel occurred almost fifty years ago, they still touch a raw nerve among the many whose lives were touched abhorrently and indelibly by the conflict. 

This book offers insight into the circumstances that led to The Troubles. It touches on the blatant social injustice and religious discrimination that was endemic in Northern Ireland. The author also opens a window into the deadly excesses of the British Army, who exacerbated the problem and contributed to the rise of the IRA. 

But this is not a book about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. It’s a novel. A story which has been inspired by the author’s father – a bomb disposal man who was posted to Northern Ireland in 1973, at the height of the bombings. Readers will see through the eyes of a British soldier and the perspective is candidly one-sided. That is not to say there aren’t other valid perspectives of what happened. As they say, there’s always two sides to a story.

That said, this book is authentic. It offers readers an accurate view of the practices and protocols followed by the British Army, a sense of how the IRA operated, and a feeling of the deep distrust between Catholics and Protestants.

💭THOUGHTS💭

I love Thrillers and when this one came up on Random Things Tours I was excited to see that it had a different setting to something that I would normally read. It was based in Northern Ireland and focussed on The Troubles. I know of the Troubles, but I have never read about them. It was an excellent read and one which has made me broaden my horizons when choosing books to read. 

The story was well written and grabbed me from the beginning. It opened with a note saying that it was based on true events and people, which piqued my interest. I like to read things that are based on true stories as I feel like I have learnt something new whilst being entertained. 

The chapters were simply numbered and fairly short. They each took tiny parts of the story, which together, built up the whole picture. This gave the story a fast pace, whilst at the same time giving you important little details that gave the story life. Whilst it was fast paced the story didn’t feel rushed, for example you had time to see what the characters were eating, drinking and playing whilst waiting for things to happen. It actually added to the suspense because these details were so mundane that you were expecting something awful to happen next. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen and who was going to survive! 

The characters, as mentioned above, were based on real people and you could tell by the way that it was written that there was real passion and emotion behind these characters. I was kept engaged by the mere personalities of some of these characters and was kept guessing as to what was going to happen next.

I enjoyed reading about all of the characters and the way that you could see where they were coming from, from both sides, even if their actions were sometimes a step too far. I really felt for some of them and became quite emotionally invested in the story! I enjoyed reading about what happened next to the characters at the end of the story. It gave closure to the book. 

Lastly I will mention the settings. They were lightly described and they really didn’t need any more than that. It was a character based story and the fact that it was set at the time of The Troubles meant that you didn’t need to spend time reading about where all the characters were. It was what they were up to that was the focus and this was balanced well against the light description of the background. 

I really enjoyed reading this book and felt that I have learnt something new. It was an emotional and fast paced read and I would definitely recommend it to Thriller fans and anybody with an interest in The Troubles. As it says in the Authors notes, the focus of the story was on a lesser know part of the Army and it was nice to read about those that are largely overlooked, yet were clearly a big part of the ‘war’. A 5 star rating from me!

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

About the Author and Book

The Bomb Man by Andy Greenaway

· ASIN : B09HFSD93P

· Publisher : Independently published (28 Sept. 2021)

· Language : English

· Paperback : 328 pages

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/BOMB-MAN-wants-other-ideas/dp/B09HFSD93P/

BLURB

Northern Ireland, 1973. Catholics and Protestants are at war. IRA terrorists have unleashed a bloody bombing campaign, indiscriminately killing women and children, policemen and soldiers. Bomb disposal expert Dave Thomson has been sent to Londonderry by the British army. His job is to dismantle the countless explosive devices that are planted across the city every day. When he captures a bomb-maker in the act of planting a device, Thomson crosses the line. He forces the terrorist to defuse his own bomb. A provocative act that ignites the fury of the IRA. The terrorist organisation puts a price on his head. With 30 days until his tour of duty ends, there’s only one question on Thomson’s mind. Will he make it home to his wife and children alive? Or in a body bag?

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR

Even though the events in this novel occurred almost fifty years ago, they still touch a raw nerve among many whose lives were touched abhorrently and indelibly by the conflict.

To this day, The Troubles give rise to deep passions. The perspectives of the people embroiled in the conflict, as you might expect, differ greatly. Acute bias exists depending on which side people were on.

In writing this book, I have tried to give an insight into the circumstances that led to The Troubles. I touch on the blatant social injustice and religious discrimination that was endemic in Northern Ireland. I open a window into the deadly excesses of the British Army, who exacerbated the problem and contributed to the rise of the IRA.

But this is not a book about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. It’s a novel. A story which has been inspired by my father. A bomb disposal man who was posted to Northern Ireland in 1973, at the height of the bombings. It is through the eyes of a British soldier that we view the events that unfold. I’ll be honest. It is one-sided. That is not to say there aren’t other valid perspectives of what happened. As they say, there’s always two sides to a story.

That said, I have endeavoured to write a book that is authentic. A book that gives people an accurate view of the practices and protocols followed by the British Army. A sense of how the IRA operated. A feeling of the deep distrust between Catholics and Protestants.

In the story, there are many firsts. The wheelbarrow, the bomb suit and electronic countermeasures were introduced during my father’s tour of duty.

No one has ever written a novel about the brave men from 321 EOD before. Many action writers like to put the more glamorous SAS at the heart of their stories.

But ‘The Bomb Man’ is more than just a story. It is a tribute to a rare breed of men who were thrust into a conflict they were not prepared for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy is a writer who has spent the last 30 years in Asia. Singapore is the place he has chosen to call home.

The Bomb Man is his first novel. A story that was inspired by his Father, a bomb disposal expert who served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Andy’s Father was sent to Northern Ireland twice. The first time was during the height of the bombings in 1973. It was a gruelling tour and Andy’s Father came close to death on several occasions.

Andy convinced his Father to write his stories down on paper. They were too important, he told his Father.

The Bomb Man is the result. It’s a unique and gripping thriller that gives the reader an inside look into the machinations of a bomb squad, as well as a feel for the dirty tactics used by the IRA. Andy spent five years writing the book, ensuring its authenticity and operational accuracy.

The senior Greenaway appeared in many documentaries about The Troubles before he passed away.

EARLY YEARS

From the time Andy Greenaway was born, he grew up knowing nothing else but life in the British Army.

His Father was an Ammunition Technician and bomb disposal expert. Andy travelled with his military parents and lived on bases in Cyprus, Bahrain, Germany, Canada, and every part of England.

As a young boy, he would go out onto the ranges with his Father, who would pick up unexploded mortars and other types of dysfunctional ammunition. When the bomb disposal robot was invented (the wheelbarrow), Andy was one of the first to give it a test drive in a workshop at Kineton, the army’s Central Ammunition Depot.

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

“The sky out the glass roof of her Vega Gull was as crimson as the airplane.”

Genre: Historical Fiction

Number of Pages: 416

Date of Publication: 30 November 2021

Publisher: Harper Collins

Rated: 4.5/5

My Review Summary: A carefully crafted story based on real life events.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

Wealthy, beautiful Naneé was born with a spirit of adventure. For her, learning to fly is freedom. When German tanks roll across the border and into Paris, this woman with an adorable dog and a generous heart joins the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé uses her charms and skill to house the hunted and deliver them to safety.

Photographer Edouard Moss has escaped Germany with his young daughter only to be interned in a French labor camp. His life collides with Nanée’s in this sweeping tale of romance and danger set in a world aflame with personal and political passion.

Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France, The Postmistress of Paris is the haunting story of an indomitable woman whose strength, bravery, and love is a beacon of hope in a time of terror.

💭THOUGHTS💭

This book came up on Random Things Tours and I decided to give it a go as it wasn’t something I would usually read. It was a lovely book that was well written and inspiring. Whilst I didn’t get into it straight away, it wasn’t long before I was away.

The book was set out in 5 parts, each part with a quote from someone who was an inspiration for the story. Each part was then broken up into neat little chapters which were headed with a date and a place which I found both interesting and helpful.

The chapters were short and based on one character’s view at a time, which I found made the story interesting and clear about what was happening. Due to the subject matter it could quite easily have got confused with everything that went on, but I found it clear and engaging. 

The attention to detail was excellent. I really felt like I was there with the characters (which was heartbreaking at times). Sometimes it did slow the story down, but it gave it a more realistic feel and a snapshot of what life was actually like. It made me appreciate what we have now and despite the pandemic here in the UK we are still able to go about our lives without the fear of being thrown into a camp. 

The characters were brilliant and I loved the way that they were based on real people. For me that added realism to the tale and highlighted the messages of love, hope and courage. Whilst there are bad people out there, there are always good ones to balance them out. There were often thought provoking conversations between the characters which I liked.

Lastly the settings. They were well described and added to the horror in some cases, and comfort in others. There was a good blend of both which made the story well balanced and again, I think reinforced the messages of love, hope and courage. 

Overall it was a beautiful book and one that I am glad I was given the opportunity to read. I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

⭐Rated 4.5/5⭐

The Author

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