Sunday 29 March 2015

'In Love with Romance' ~ Guest Post by Julie Shackman.

In Love with Romance! 
by Julie Shackman 

I can’t think of another genre where characters; settings; time and place can be so exciting, original or diverse. From time travel to present day, the romance genre caters for everyone and brings its own unique blend of passion, humour and excitement.

The stories, plot-lines and characters are so varied in the romance genre. Just when you think there can’t be another different story, an author will come up with something that simply takes your breath away!

Falling for new characters; going on their journey with them and seeing the story come to its conclusion is one of the greatest pleasures for me when I am either reading or writing.

I write romantic comedy and am an avid people watcher. You can find so much inspiration simply by observing the world around you and who inhibits it.

This is what I love about this genre – no two characters are the same and they try to achieve their goals with humour, passion and energy.

I have read many romance novels, where the characters have stayed with me for a very long time – long after I have reached those words “The End”. That is such a special gift and a delight to read books which can have such a profound effect on the reader.

I am sure the romance genre will go from strength to strength, delighting readers and inspiring us writers for years to come.

Long Live Romance!

Julie X

I trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of mine. When I’ve not got my head in a book or drafting one, I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. Writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for me – I usually require tea, music and noise!

My second romcom, "Hero or Zero" is out now. “Rock My World” was my debut romcom and I'm currently writing my third.

I’m married, have two sons and live in Scotland.

Twitter | Facebook | Blog


Title: Hero or Zero.
Author: Julie Shackman.
Publisher: Not So Noble Books.
Genre: Romantic Comedy.
Publication Date: September 27, 2014.

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US

When single mum Chloe Jones wins a magazine competition to have TV heartthrob Ethan Blake live with her for a month, she thinks her dreams have come true. And the presence of the handsome star in her home and small Scottish town certainly causes a stir. But when Chloe begins to see his true colours, will she find the courage to face him, and admit where her heart truly lies?

Saturday 28 March 2015

Review ~ The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

Title: The Girl On The Train.
Author: Paula Hawkins.
Publisher: Transworld.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Publication Date: January 15, 2015.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

The Girl on the Train has had great publicity and even now, two months after its release, people are still always talking about it. I love it when everybody is excited about a book and knew this was one I had to read. Honestly, it probably wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be but it was still a very, very good thriller. It’s a hard book to write a spoiler-free review for but if anyone out there still hasn’t picked up a copy, The Girl on the Train is well worth a read, even if you’re not prone to picking up a psychological thriller. It’s tense, disturbing and consuming.

At the beginning of the book we meet Rachel – commuting on the train, observing the world outside. My favourite part of the book was the descriptions of what is seen through the train window, how Rachel takes things in and picks up on every little detail. The little things she notices are creepily realistic and I think a lot of people who travel on the train can identify with how she paints a vivid picture of the lives outside – though maybe not to the extremes of naming and obsessing over strangers like Rachel did with ‘Jason and Jess’. It’s all very intriguing and atmospheric. There’s something quite fascinating about people-watching and that’s written well here – Rachel can tell us a lot about the lives of ‘Jess and Jason’ all through looking out on them. It was eerie but very compelling and Rachel soon finds herself involved in their lives more than she could ever possibly have imagined.

The novel is told split between three women, Rachel, the woman Rachel observes from the train and occasionally Rachel’s ex-husband’s new woman. Each came across as difficult to trust, unreliable and a bit strange, which left me second-guessing every little thing that was said or done. I loved how challenging the characters were, especially Rachel. She didn’t do herself any favours with all the drinking and all the lies. She was a hard character to understand and yet one that I really wanted to believe in. It’s easy to doubt most of the characters in this book and that makes it interesting trying to piece them all together – there’s so much to learn about each and every one of them. You’ll be suspicious and you’ll be thinking about the novel every moment you put it down (which probably won’t actually be that often). I found it twisted my mind just a little – some parts felt so intrusive to the characters, yet it was so engrossing too.

There are a lot of twists in The Girl on the Train, as with all good thrillers. Unpredictability is a must and normally I’m quite good at being fooled and can never guess the truth. With this book, I did guess it quite early on but despite this, the suspense was still there. It was never lost and the tension intensified as the story unfolded, building up relentlessly and at an addictive pace. It’s a book that won’t take you long to finish and will leave you with so much to talk about – a gripping story, original and startling, which has made sure I will never choose to live anywhere near a train line!

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Friday 27 March 2015

Review ~ The Girls Take Manhattan by Nicola Doherty.

Title: The Girls Take Manhattan (Girls on Tour #5).
Author: Nicola Doherty.
Publisher: Headline.
Genre: Romantic Comedy.
Publication Date: March 26, 2015.
Source: Bought.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

The fifth instalment in this hilarious, romantic and unputdownable five-part series. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk's I Heart... novels.

Join Poppy, Lily, Maggie and Rachel as they jet to New York - and face a big secret in the Big Apple.

When Lily invites the girls to attend a VIP event in Manhattan, they all jump at the chance. Poppy especially is thrilled to escape her impending 30th birthday with a weekend of Cosmos and red carpets. But none of them have any idea what Lily is really planning. Or how a single weekend can turn your life upside-down ... With non-stop fun and flirty frolics, this is a girls' weekend not to be missed.

Girls on Tour is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about four ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl's adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible...

I’m running out of ways to say how much I adore Nicola Doherty’s Girls on Tour series. Each ebook has brought me a character I love, a still-memorable story and a five star review. And what was more exciting for me was that when Poppy, Lily, Maggie and Rachel combined in The Girls Take Manhattan, this was my favourite book of the series. By far. I loved it from the first page to the last, with its wit and complete and utter chaos. It was lovely to be back with the girls, my bookish best friends (I really wanted to gatecrash all their trips), and interesting to see how far they’d come from the first time we met them all. I really don’t think I have a favourite character but I do love all four of them and their approach to life puts a huge smile on my face.

The Girls Take Manhattan is told by Poppy and we’re thrown straight back into the fun the girls are so great at providing. Poppy is approaching her thirtieth birthday and has been left reeling thanks to her interfering (but very funny) mum with talk of things Poppy doesn’t want to be hearing. Rachel is being a bit manic and over-excitable, which is very different to what she was like when we first met her in the series. She was being very brash and made me laugh a lot here whereas Maggie was also the opposite of what we come to expect as she’s having a bit of a nightmare and feeling sorry for herself. They take their flight to head off and meet Lily and they (and I) were taken completely by surprise by Lily’s plans for the trip.

I loved the unpredictability. Lily’s plan was not what I expected and oh it all made me laugh. The Girls on Tour series is described in the synopsis as hilarious and unputdownable and for me, this is one of those rare books and series that lived up to the expectation. I truly did find all the individual stories hugely funny and impossible to read in more than one sitting. I’m being vague but I really don’t want to spoil any of the individual stories and The Girls Take Manhattan shows off fantastic character development that can’t be fully appreciated unless you’ve been reading the whole series. The Girls Take Manhattan was the perfect way to tie up the ebook series so put your feet up, relax and live vicariously through four fabulous characters that are fun, realistic, easy to identify with and far too much to handle when they’re all in the same place at once. This part is wonderfully uplifting, as is the entire series, and I’m sure I’ll find each of the novellas are well worth a re-read to put me in a great mood ready to face anything. I loved every second of it.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Thursday 26 March 2015

Author Interview ~ Katherine Webb.

I'm very excited to be taking part in the blog tour for The Night Falling today! I read The Night Falling back in November last year and fell completely in love with it, so I jumped at the chance to ask its wonderful author Katherine Webb some questions.

Hi Katherine - thanks for joining us! Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, The Night Falling? 

A pleasure! Thank you for having me.

The Night Falling is a story about love, greed, and courage set in Southern Italy in 1921. It brings together characters from both sides of a vast social gulf, at a time when the majority of people lived in terrible poverty, and revolution was in the air. After generations of repression, the agricultural workers were beginning to rebel against the existing order, and the landowners were proving themselves willing to use any means to defeat them. My characters each have their own agendas, their own secrets and their own desires; their coming together is high charged - to say the least!

The Night Falling has a great cast of characters. Which one did you enjoy writing the most? 

I was very attached to all of them – even the more minor characters, but I have to admit I fell quite in love with Ettore, so it was a joy to write him. His chapters flowed so easily as I was writing – I knew him inside and out, and could hear his voice clearly. He’s so courageous, so decent, so infuriatingly proud.

How much research did you do for The Night Falling? The war and poverty in the book all felt beautifully well researched. 

Thank you! I did a lot of research. I read as much as I could, but soon found that very few books about this time and place in Italy have been translated into English – and though my Italian’s not bad, it’s not good enough to research an entire book with. So I went on a research trip to the town where the story is set, and explored the surrounding countryside. It was invaluable. I met so many interesting people, many of whose parents had been alive at the time I would be writing about. They were happy to talk to me and share their stories; I got to look around lots of historic buildings and houses; at private photos and collections. It was a fantastic experience, and helped so much with the writing of the book.

Reading The Night Falling really gave me the taste for historical fiction, which I now find so fascinating. Where did your interest in writing historical fiction come from?

I’m glad to hear you’ve started to read historical fiction! I’ve always been fascinated by history – even in early childhood. When I was little I loved nothing more than exploring a ruined castle, and letting my imagination run wild, conjuring up the lost lives and stories of the place. I studied History at university, and although the first few (unpublished) books I wrote were contemporary, I think my writing really came alive when I started to write historical settings. I hope my passion for the subject shows! It’s hard to define what’s so exciting about history – I suppose it’s the notion of all those secrets, all those hidden stories, all those lost worlds.

What do you love the most about writing? 

Getting the first germ of an idea for a new book. It can be the smallest thing – a feeling, a scene, a setting – I but I always know when I’ve hit on something, and straight away it’ll start to grow and develop of its own accord. It’s a magic moment – always so exciting.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on at the moment? 

My next book (it’s almost finished) is set in Oman in the early 1900s and in 1958, during the Jebel War when the British army was helping the sultan repress an uprising. It’s a fascinating place and little known part of history, and the story centres on an elderly explorer, a young adventurer, and a long game of revenge…

How long does the process of writing and completing a book take you? Does it vary between books? 

The ‘fallow time’ between books sometimes varies from a couple of months to six, but the time spent actually working on a book is almost always the same. Once the idea has percolated for however many months, I spend about three or four months researching, and letting the plot and characters develop, and then about four or five months writing the manuscript, depending on how long it is. I work at about 10,000 words a week, on average.

All of your books have stunning covers – do you have a personal favourite? 

I’m glad you like them! I have to say, I think the new design that my publishers have devised for The Night Falling are my favourites – I loved the hardback cover, and I do think the paperback is stunning too.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently? 

I’ve just finished Wind, Sand and Stars by Antione de Saint-Exupéry, which is a beautiful philosophical memoir about flying and the desert. I also recently read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – it’s very original and brilliantly written. I’m currently reading A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke. It’s a real page turner, and it’s making me want to go to Tasmania…


Title: The Night Falling.
Author: Katherine Webb.
Publisher: Orion.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Publication Date: March 26, 2015.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Puglia, Italy, 1921.

Leandro returns home now a rich man with a glamorous American wife, determined to make his mark. But how did he get so wealthy - and what haunts his outwardly exuberant wife?

Boyd, quiet English architect, is hired to build Leandro's dreams. But why is he so afraid of Leandro, and what really happened between them years before, in New York?

Clare, Boyd's diffident wife, is summoned to Puglia with her stepson. At first desperate to leave, she soon finds a compelling reason to stay.

Ettore, starving, poor and grieving for his lost fiancée, is too proud to ask his Uncle Leandro for help. Until events conspire to force his hand.

Tensions are high as poverty leads veterans of the Great War to the brink of rebellion. And under the burning sky, a reckless love and a violent enmity will bring brutal truths to light...

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Review ~ How to Fly with Broken Wings by Jane Elson.

Title: How to Fly with Broken Wings.
Author: Jane Elson.
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books.
Genre: Children's Fiction.
Publication Date: March 5, 2015.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

'If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.'

Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk - and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Bradley gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?

Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.

Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.

And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly ...

Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.

How to Fly With Broken Wings explores the life of Willem, a twelve year old boy with Asperger Syndrome who dreams of being able to fly. Willem takes things very literally and struggles to communicate with other people his age so when he is set the homework of making two friends his own age, we’re brought a moving portrayal of what life is really like for him. I enjoyed this story – it’s fun and cute and Willem is a quirky character who is difficult not to like. There was a lot of drama and a lot happening in this book and though I can’t say it wasn’t entertaining, it felt almost like there was too much going on. What started off a charming, well-written book seemed to lose its way towards the middle for me with too many new themes and strands of the story being introduced but not fully developed. It’s an interesting, easy-to-read book but one that I thought should either have been extended to expand on some of the themes or had some of the events cut out so that it could have had more focus and been more realistic.

What I liked the most about How to Fly with Broken Wings was Willem’s friendship with Sasha. She was caring and thoughtful and once she chose to stand on her own two feet, she really came into her own and became the perfect ally for Willem. I loved how she was gently showing him things that maybe he couldn’t appreciate without a friend his own age to share it with. There was the occasion where I thought Willem and Sasha’s voices in the book seemed a bit too similar and I thought maybe they both seemed a bit younger than the age they were portrayed as but I mostly just enjoyed seeing their friendship grow. Willem was a sweet character and I always was the person to side with the kid that was picked on… I found him endearing and loveable and his little quirks made me smile. The other young characters in this book were not so nice. There was a gang mentality to the Beckham Estate and there were some seriously horrible, vile people involved. The part I really want to mention with the gang is something towards the end which I obviously can’t mention. That bit didn’t really work with me and I thought it lost some of the accuracy and credibility built up throughout the novel. But I generally thought the violence and abuse was touched upon well and could give young readers a strong but honest impression of what goes on.

A lot of the plot revolved around Archie, who quickly becomes like a grandfather figure to Willem and Sasha. He has lots of stories to tell – especially about spitfires which appeals to their interest in flying – and he’s well respected too. I liked Archie’s character. His story was a bit of a whirlwind with stuff always happening but he was interesting and likeable. Archie kind of inspires the presentation Sasha and Willem have to do with the main bully, Finn. This book was breaking my heart seeing Willem trying to befriend Finn! Willem was so trusting and Finn was so impressionable but that’s not something Willem could really understand with his Asperger’s. I never quite knew how things would work out between Sasha, Willem and Finn and so I really enjoyed reading to find out. How to Fly with Broken Wings is a lovely little read – one which I thought could have been improved upon with some more development but still one which left an impression on me. It’s a touching story about finding friends in unlikely places.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Netgalley Challenge update and extension!

The Netgalley Challenge was set to end on March 23 but thanks to its popularity and how much it has been doing to motivate us all, me and Suze have decided to extend it until May 31. My feedback percentage has been improving, I think by about 5%, but that’s eleven books I’ve reviewed with two more I’ve read and just need to post reviews for. I’ve also managed to not request any more books, except those for blog tours I never received in paperback, and so I’m probably more impressed with that!

I hope you’ll all be carrying on and the linky has been re-opened for a few more days so you can sign up if you’re not there already and you’d like to be. Join in the chat on Twitter using the #NetgalleyChallenge hashtag and if you’re not already added to the event on Facebook, let me know and I’ll add you for lots more chat and giveaways.

Saturday 21 March 2015

April Paperback Month!

If you're anything like me, you can't resist buying a book when you do any form of shopping and spend six days a week stalking the postman for some bookpost. I love my paperbacks but I also neglect them in favour of my Kindle. I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of paperbacks waiting to be read and I know lots of you do too, so me and Suze have decided to make April Paperback Month, time to dedicate some time to our beautiful unread paperbacks!

Those of you that have caught either our Review Challenge or Netgalley Challenge will know pretty much how this works. Spend the month reading as many paperbacks as you like, write some reviews, enter our giveaways and chat with us using the hashtag #PaperbackMonth and/or in the Facebook event (send me your Facebook profile link and I'll invite you!).

We hope April Paperback month will motivate you to read some more of your paperbacks but mostly just to have fun reading them! I'm planning on reading fifteen but this may change!

Fill out the Linky below with your blog/Goodreads details etc to sign up for the challenge and also feel free to enter the giveaway below to win a book of your choice. For people taking part in the challenge only. Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 20 March 2015

Review ~ How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake by Gina Henning.

Title: How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake (Home for the Holidays #2).
Author: Gina Henning.
Publisher: Carina.
Genre: Contemporary Romance.
Publication Date: December 3, 2014.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK


After the best Thanksgiving of her life, Lauren Hauser can’t wait to see Jack-the-pecan-hoarder so they can finally be in the same place at the same time. Long distance really doesn’t work when you’re head over heels! But when Jack doesn’t turn up at the airport Lauren is left wondering if their relationship is really as great as she thought? Sure Jack’s kisses were delicious and when he looked at her, her knees felt weak, but what did they really know about each other?

A big Hauser family Christmas is just what is needed for this situation. Not only will her mom be decking the halls with boughs of monstrous-Christmas-decorations, but Lauren is baking a Christmas cake to once again claim dessert queen of the family! Will Jack fit in with the Hauser clan? Or will Lauren have to face the music…and accept that not every holiday romance was made for a happily ever after…

Back in November, I read and enjoyed the first book in the Home for the Holidays series, How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie. I was looking forward to seeing Lauren and Jack’s story continued in the next book and after seeing all the great reviews come in, I really had to read How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake, even though Christmas had already been and gone. I genuinely expected to like this book more than the first one but I actually found it flat and disappointing. Almost everything I liked about the first book was gone.

How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake starts off quite slowly as it kind of sets the scene for the rest of the book. Lauren recaps how she met Jack and then we learn how he has stood her up at the airport. Of course, that does the job of making the reader want to know why, but I found it all a bit strange to be honest. Lauren witters a lot about strange things at the beginning of the book but thankfully that lessens once Jack is back on the scene. In the first book, I loved the little sparks between Lauren and Jack but I really felt that was missing here. I couldn’t see any attraction or feelings, even though the story is trying to tell us otherwise, and I can’t say I liked either of them myself. The way they spoke to each other made me cringe – the dialogue was so unnatural. It’s too wordy and over-the-top and I just couldn’t take it seriously. Lauren was irritating and Jack was very stand-offish. There were parts of this book that were meant to be romantic but I couldn’t buy into that.

It wasn’t just Lauren and Jack that I no longer liked – it was almost the entire cast. In the first book of the series, I found Lauren’s family to be realistic and though they argued a little, it had this warm vibe to it which put a smile on my face. Seriously, where was the festive spirit here? Lauren’s family just put each other down all the time. The arguing, the bitching… I really got tired of reading it. Aunt Minnie was one character I did quite like but her attitude seemed to change so suddenly, she confused me.

One thing I did love about How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake was the author’s descriptive writing and how she makes everything so easy to envisage. The Hauser family have some pretty funny Christmas traditions and some of their antics made me laugh. I loved the moment with the elf costumes and the vivid writing style made me feel like I was watching it play out in person. Just like in the first book, the food descriptions made me seriously hungry. Be prepared to snack whilst reading it. I loved Lauren’s meaningful idea to bake the Christmas cake and it was fun to see whether or not she could prove her family wrong and make it a success… How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake is not a bad book, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Book three is set to come out in time for the 4th of July and I am sure I will be tempted to pick it up by Gina’s witty writing style and my need to know what happens next.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Monday 16 March 2015

Review ~ The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross.

Title: The Last Days of Disco.
Author: David F Ross.
Publisher: Orenda Books.
Ebook Publication Date: December 15, 2014.
Print Publication Date: March 15, 2015.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Early in the decade that taste forgot, Fat Franny Duncan is on top of the world. He is the undoubted King of the Ayrshire Mobile Disco scene, controlling and ruling the competition with an iron fist. From birthdays to barn dances, Franny is the man to call. He has even played 'My Boy Lollipop' at a funeral and got away with it. But the future is uncertain. A new partnership is coming and is threatening to destroy the big man’s Empire ...

Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller have been best mates since primary school. Joey is an idealist; Bobby just wants to get laid and avoid following his brother Gary to the Falklands. A partnership in their new mobile disco venture seems like the best way for Bobby to do both at the same time. With compensation from an accident at work, Bobby’s dad Harry invests in the fledgling business. His marriage to Ethel is coming apart at the seams and the disco has given him something to focus on. Tragic news from the other side of the world brings all three strands together in a way that no one could have predicted.

The Last Days of Disco is a eulogy to the beauty and power of the 45rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town Ayrshire community in 1982. Witty, energetic and entirely authentic, it’s also heartbreakingly honest, weaving tragedy together with comedy with uncanny and unsettling elegance. A simply stunning debut.

The Last Days of Disco is a nostalgic, heart-warming tale of music and gritty real-life set in Scotland in the 1980s. This is the author’s debut novel and the writing style is fresh and witty, packed with inviting Scottish charm and a fantastic set of characters. I did at times think I was a bit too young to understand all the references and the odd moment went a bit over my head but that didn’t stop me from really bloody enjoying the book and guiltily or not-so-guiltily singing along to a bit of Shakin’ Stevens whilst reading.

My favourite part of this novel was the chaos brought by Heatwave Disco, Bobby Cassidy and best friend Joey’s mobile disco. Emergency Services should have been part of the disco party they were needed that often and I loved all the drama brought by bitter Fat Franny Duncan and the rivalling mobile disco. I loved the moments when it all went wrong, when sex was more on the agenda than music, when they’re playing the poorest soundtrack possible and when things kicked off, practically every time Bobby and Joey were working. It was messy and chaotic and very, very funny. I liked the friendship between Bobby and Joey, with the often crude language and banter, but actually the entire Cassidy family brought something special to this book.

Bobby’s brother Gary has joined the army and is heading to Falklands, something Bobby himself is keen to avoid. The scenes from the army and the break-up of chapters with quotes from Thatcher proves that The Last Days of Disco is not just good for its humour. There is a more serious outlook in this book at times and Gary’s involvement is very moving, to say the least. A part of this book is told through Gary’s letters and they were written with great warmth and emotion. It’s so easy to see the strong impact war takes on a family through this book and the underlying nerves and tension from the Cassidy family. It makes for touching reading.

The Last Days of Disco has an effervescent soundtrack which I loved. It reminded me of the kind of music my parents brought me up to and taste in music is kind of a personal thing, bringing back memories and putting smiles on faces. Aside from the novel itself, I found the list at the back of the book of songs that brought about the novel to be interesting too and there were a lot of familiar names in there. I found The Last Days of Disco to be a wonderful book. The author David F. Ross excels in his weaving of humour and sadness into a novel which will have you feeling a range of emotions but ultimately marvelling at the signs of a great new author to follow.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

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