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Revealing the beautiful romance between a couple who went on to be married for 58 years alongside fascinating social history, this anthology of letters - enhanced with dozens of photos and detailed footnotes - is an enthralling delight. Ronnie and Hilda met in 1945 when he was home on leave from Italy after fighting in some of the most brutal battles of WW2. Though they came from different backgrounds – Ronnie’s much tougher then Hilda’s more secure, carefree upbringing - there was a spark between them and they were engaged only ten days after meeting, before Ronnie returned to his duties. Through the letters that grace the pages of this elegantly executed book, we’re offered a window into how they came to know one another, with an abundance of sweetness laced through all their correspondence, such as when Ronnie remarks early on, “By the way, I’ve got a lovely cold. I’m really enjoying my eyes watering because I caught it off you!” Hilda and Ronnie’s letters lay bare their personal love story, and provide unique insights into the social history of life for post-war Britons, both at home and overseas. Ronnie shares his experience of attending the trials of SS soldiers and witnessing firing squads, while also expressing a longing to see Hilda in her “new dress, deep red cherry”, while Hilda tells of comings and goings at home, sharing ideas and plans for their much-anticipated wedding. Framed by family history and details of the couple’s later life, this is a radiant read from start to finish. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
I'm sure I won't be the only person to open this book and feel that it's about being noisy and outgoing. The title is slightly misleading. I have read a few self-help books in the months since my husband died. I quickly warmed to this book when the author suggested becoming creative as I have found this advice so helpful and so true. The book is written with common sense and in an easy to read style. I particularly liked the format of Masterclass chapters with things to consider at the end of each one. It was interesting to read the author's own experiences. Live Out Loud gives you a lot to think about and plenty of suggestions to put into practice and is a very useful addition to this genre of books. Christine Waddington, A LoveReading Ambassador
A very interesting story. The title a play on words of the larger than life focus of the story, Sir Francis Drake. I know bits about the stories of Drake and John Smith (the latter admittedly mainly due to the Disney film) as well as Elizabethan England and the historic figures of the time and this audiobook drags you into the middle of the history of colonialization. The quality of the audiobook is brilliant and it is very well read (though I suppose you wouldn't expect anything else from a Shakespearean actor). I didn't know who was reading, to begin with, and I did think it sounded like a mix between the recitation of a Shakespeare play and a work of Homer, which I didn't mind, but for some, the language and phrasing may be a slight turnoff. The story is told through diary excerpts, with a constant awareness of the end result (i.e. how Drake dies). I found both Drake and Smith's tales interesting although I have to say I did enjoy John Smith's stories more(probably because of my pre-mentioned fondness for Disney). I did go into this without reading or listening to the first instalment, so I would say I was at a bit of a disadvantage, to begin with, however by the end it didn't really matter - there was perhaps a slight lack of introduction but the tales told are standalone so it's easy to catch up. I'm interested to compare it to The Leaves of Fate. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
A tense psychological thriller that keeps you turning the pages. This is the story of a group of friends who, between them, hold the answers to what happened one night when five of them went into a room and only four came out alive. Told in the first person, the narrative is split between the friends, and we are drawn into their dilemmas. All appear to be hiding something. The main character is Lisa Ashton who is suffering from amnesia while recovering from a kidney transplant. After discovering that one of the friends is the donor, she tries to find out what did happen during the gaps in her memory. What are her friends not telling her, and why? I love the structure of this novel as we gradually move through the hours and days following the inciting incident, finding out snippets of information that lead us to conclusions that then challenge the sleuths in each of us. The characters are well-drawn. We empathise with them all, experience their guilt, and their fears. Often, in this well-drawn thriller, we have cause us to doubt what we hear from each of the friends, until we suspect everybody. I would certainly read more from this author. 5 star rating. Lynne Johnson, A LoveReading Ambassador
I wanted to read his book because I am a sci-fi fan and the concept sounded really interesting. Audra was blinded as a child in a car accident that killed her mother. Her father, Jenson, has spent his life since devoted to finding a cure from Audra's specific type of blindness, with very little success. The latest experiment seems incredibly promising, but after the trials, everything takes a sinister turn. The prologue had me intrigued from the start and I read as fast as I could to find out what happened and how everything with Audra and her father was going to be resolved. I also like the family drama element of the story throughout, the strained relationship between Audra and Jenson and the references back to the accident that made Audra lose her site. This background story helped drive the main action on while making sure the reader didn't forget the main reason Jenson was working on the cure. I liked Audra, she was my favourite character throughout and her reckless but overall good nature kept me interested in the outcome of the story through all of the twists and turns. Some of the plot twists were predictable, but I didn't find that detracted from the story, I read on to work out how they would come to fruition. Darksight has obviously been very well researched. The scientific aspects of the plot were explained in enough detail to seem plausible but didn't take up too much space and overwhelm the rest of the plot. As a sighted person, the descriptions and experiences of being blind also seem very well researched and provided an insight into how the other senses can become heightened to compensate, incorporating with the sci-fi darksight element really well. The early descriptions from Audra as she cycled through the rain were brilliant. The chapters were short and easily digestible, I read this in one day and really enjoyed it throughout. Every time I put my e-reader down I was eager to get back to the story. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
"Request: If you enjoyed this book please don't keep it a secret." The above is written by the Author on the last page of the book and this is one book that shouldn't be kept a secret! It has to be one of the funniest books that I have read in a long time. The humour and the style of writing allows the reader to think that this only happened in London last week that someone had won the Globobillions Lottery but no-one has come forward to claim the prize. Rumours abound straight away. Leo Morphetus is an addicted entrepreneur, always trying new ways to make a living. His latest being his Barista tricycle and himself selling coffees on the move. He has separated from his wife Helen and Amy his daughter. He stopped buying lottery tickets ages ago but the local shopkeeper and his wife are certain that he had bought a ticket and from them. The rumours start by them and soon the media is involved. Throughout the whole book Donna the newspaper reporter never gives up trying to uncover who won the ticket in order to get her big story. Events reach the stage where everyone is sure that Leo has won and he and his friend Vince decide to pretend that they have. Helen has a boyfriend Tony who now decides to blackmail Helen now he thinks Leo has actually won. Leo has promised to pay Poppy, a child with cancer, to go to the USA for treatment. The bank manager, desperate for a 'rich client', credits cash ignoring all rules and protocols into a joint account for Leo and Vince whereupon they go and lead the high life - especially Vince and his love for clothes - top hotels are booked and as the managers of the hotels think Leo is the winner, all bills are written off. Begging letters start, Leo's father in law who doesn't like him now is trying to push himself up the Council ladder by asking Leo to donate funds to his various projects, TV are now interested but read the book as there is more. The real winner happens to be a Muslim lady who can't accept the cash because of her beliefs, but wants to send her two daughters to university and despite taking advice form a Muslim lady counsellor she is not further forward with what she can do with the money as her culture does not allow gambling or to spend winnings. When Leo and Vince are at the stage where they have to confess, things work out in an unusual way and I won't say how or why as this is the best part of the book. The author has written one of those brilliant books that tend to come along from time to time and as stated at the top of this review I am not keeping it a secret. Read it you won't be disappointed! Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading Ambassador
This book is a collection of five short stories, each very different but with central theme of all of them desire and how it manifests itself in different ways. Each story is set in a different location and range in time from pre-second World War to the present day. Although I enjoyed all of the stories, there were a couple that stood out to me and I would have liked these to continue, so I could find out more about the characters and what they did next. Overall, this is a really enjoyable book and is nice and easy to dip in and out of, by reading a story at a time. I would really recommend this book. Nicola Coen, A LoveReading Ambassador
Life Expands' is the perfect read if you are planning a trip of a lifetime or if you already experienced this amazing adventure. If you haven't been on a journey like this it will give you a great taste of the highs and lows, the new friends yet to make and the beauty in the world. This is a brilliant read that will lure anyone to go travelling around the globe. Through some tough and hilarious stories, we get drawn into the emotions that travel brings from finding someone to love and working to do true good in the world. This is one of the best books that I have read that shows what modern day travel is really like. An ideal book to buy anyone who loves to travel or just the idea of travelling even if it’s just from a comfy chair and a good cup of coffee. Tracey Thomas, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Wrongful Death is the third book in the Great Devil War series – and yet again I raced through it. I don’t think it could be read easily as a standalone, and I would recommend reading the previous books before anyone dives into this one. Philip is back in Hell, this time searching for the school bully, Sam, who shouldn’t be there (yet). This book goes ‘beyond’ Hell though, as Philip (with his friend Satina) journeys into Heaven and also Hades, providing a contrast between all of the ‘after-life’ worlds. The relationship between Lucifer and Jehovah, in particular, is very entertaining. I can tell that the author has had fun creating each setting and the characters within them – his vivid imagination driving the plot forwards through great world building and character development. Trouble is brewing in Lucifer’s kingdom, providing the backdrop for Philip’s search and the start of the ‘Great Devil War’. Yet again the book features strong themes and also an unconventional (though not disrespectful) view of religion – Heaven versus Hell, punishment and retribution in the afterlife and creation of the world (explained as six years in Heaven is a couple of billion years on Earth). There’s plenty of dark humour alongside some gruesome descriptions (so, as with the previous books, this may not be suitable for younger teenagers or for the faint-hearted). There are several familiar biblical and historical characters to watch out for (I’ll leave these as a surprise), and the inclusion of Hades also introduces Greek mythology. This provides not only entertainment but also an educational slant. The Wrongful Death doesn’t end as neatly as the two previous books – in fact, there is a huge cliff-hanger, so be prepared for it. I won’t give anything away, but it is clear that there is more to come (as there’s a teaser for the next book at the end). I’m looking forward to it!
An interesting and thought-provoking memoir based on Ruth Hartley’s escape to London, and the ordeal she went through to get here in the early 1960’s while pregnant with her first born. I’m not one to get emotional over books but this is one of those rare occasions where I went through a whole roller-coaster of emotions, ranging from Sadness to happiness to even angry about some of the attitudes that people had in the early 60’s. I know some of these prejudices and stigmas still exist to this day but these day’s people and even communities are learning to accept it a little better. This was a very well written memoir, which I found easy to read. I managed to race through this book quite quickly. In fact I finished it in 2 sittings. This was due to the fact that I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next. Overall a very enjoyable read. I haven’t read Ruth’s other books but I will definitely be adding them to my TBR list. I highly recommend this book, especially if enjoy reading memoirs and your looking for a memorable read. Manisha Natha, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Chernobyl Privileges may seem like an odd title for a novel inspired by the devastating nuclear disaster of the 1980s in Chernobyl. But then, this is by no means an ordinary novel. Set in the present day, Anthony Fahey is lucky to be working at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, where Britain's Trident nuclear weapons are kept. His expertise is valued over his complicated personal life and chequered employment history. Anthony's life begins to unravel, following an incident at the naval base. For obvious reasons, due to the nature of the work, he is unable to talk to his wife about the incident, but their marriage is already rocky following the death of her Father, and Anthony having to behave in a secretive manner is not helping. Anthony also believes that he knows better, and is more concerned about the incident than his superiors, so begins to challenge and defy orders, landing him in hot water on more than one occasion. No matter how much Anthony wants to believe that he is not defined by his past, it is inescapable and influences all he does. Back in 1986 Anatolii was just a child living in Ukraine when the nuclear incident took place in Chernobyl. First hand he witnessed the impact of the fallout on the first responders, including his Father. Anatolii didn't much want to leave Ukraine, but he wasn't given a choice, and was enforced into a new life in the UK, and a new identity 'Anthony Fahey'. Anthony believes that he can make a difference in his profession, and prevent something like Chernobyl happening again, but he does not understand that you cannot act against the government. Several chapters are interspersed with letters from Anatolii/Anthony's sister, and these are where we really get a first-hand view of how those still living in Chernobyl have been affected. This is a very thought-provoking novel, for those on both sides of the nuclear weapon/energy argument, and a highly recommended read. Vicky Leigh Sayer, A LoveReading Ambassador
Lethal Memories was a real rollercoaster ride to the end. Well researched, it tells the story of three Palestinian boys in Cyprus forced to watch as the female members of their family are raped in front of them. That is something no one can forget; revenge is often talked about but not always carried out. Thirty years later their targets are British Royal Navy destroyers and their crews. Another young boy, a British child, was on Cyprus at the same time. He watched his mother's arm ripped off by the blast of the bombs that exploded on the beach. Thirty years on, he's fighting global terrorism. This well-written thriller keeps the reader on their toes, gritty and brutal taking the reader from London to Lahore. It is a frightening read although surrounded by acts of terrorism on the news, this brings the reader face to face with reality. This story kept me reading on till the very end, a recommended book. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador