The Tribulations of August Barton by Jennifer Leblanc – Blog Tour Book Review

Author: Jennifer LeBlanc

Narrator: James Oliva

Length: 4 hours 28 minutes

Series: August Barton, Book 1

Publisher: Jennifer LeBlanc

Released: Apr. 20, 2018

Genre: Humor

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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – Blog Tour Audiobook Review #TTMCAudioTour

Blog Tour Poster

There has been lots of buzz about The Thursday Murder Club so when invited I snapped up the chance to join the audiobook blog tour. It’s already out now so do grab yourself a copy and pop the kettle on.

About the Book

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

Listen to a Sample On Audible

About the Author

Photo: © Penguin Books UK

Richard Osman has worked as an executive producer on numerous UK shows. Richard’s popularity and tremendous knowledge of trivia led to him presenting his own BBC quiz show and several others, as well as being the host of Pointless with 7 million views. He is also a regular on panel shows and writes a column for the Radio Times.He has more than 830k followers across social media.

About the Audiobook Narrator

Lesley Manville is an English Actress of Stage and Screen who frequently collaborates with Director Mike Leigh.

What I Thought

Pointless is one of my Nainy’s favourite shows – reminder Kirsty ‘Do not phone when Pointless is on!’ so I am familiar with Richard Osman, as well as following him on twitter thanks to his 2017 Red Nose Day World Cup of Biscuits twitter poll which saw the Chocolate Digestive reign supreme. The Thursday Murder Club was definitely on my radar and I’m simply going to say upfront that I loved it.

This is quintessentially English cosy-crime in the vein of Midsommer Murders but just imagine Diana and Tom from the BBC sitcom Waiting for God as the detectives. I’ve also likened it to Robin Stevens middle grade schoolgirl detective series Murder Most Unladylike imagining if Daisy and Hazel have grown up and gone to live in a retirement village together.

The description calls the village peaceful – ha! But the setting is as much a character as the people and Osman paints it vividly. As an Occupational Therapist I do like the concept of retirement villages more than residential and nursing homes and the Jigsaw room is where the occupation happens. Well. It’s where the Thursday Murder Club meet and put the pieces of old murder puzzles together, until there’s suddenly one in their midst.

The characters at first are larger than life, some might consider them stereotypes, but the joy of this novel is in getting to know them and breaking down those stereotypes much like we do in real life. It’s positive that despite being a rural British location the diversity of the characters in terms of ethnicity is included.

These characters are on the older age of the spectrum of the human condition and Osman treats them with the respect and individuality that all older people deserve. I love the fact that their previous lives and careers play such an important role in their personalities and in the story, as it would. So often older people are just seen as the troubles they are currently having. We have former police, healthcare and union workers, and a potential former spy.

As expected in a book featuring older people, health conditions such as strokes and dementia appear and concepts such as loss of independence, assisted dying and bereavement also feature heavily. Definite trigger warnings for a whole host of death related topics but it’s handled sensitively.

Joyce is our only first person point of view character as she is documenting what has been going on and I loved her side story featuring her relationship with her daughter Joanna, one I’m sure is echoed up and down the country. And Joyce’s Lemon Drizzle cake seems to be better than M&S’s. Who’d have thought that the instigator of the World Cup of Biscuits would feature food so prominently in his book?! 🤷‍♀️ Love the pop culture references that litter the stories including the reality tv shows Ron’s celebrity son gets invited onto.

There are also actual police detectives involved and they also are fully realised characters who I suspect we will get to find out more about as we continue with the series. We have former London MET officer Donna and Chris and how they interconnect with the Murder Club provides some of the most humorous parts of the book.

It’s a slice of life, murder mystery with observational humour and more humanity peeled back as we move through the tale.

Who Did It?

Ha. As if I’d spoil that! Let’s just say it’s pretty twisty turns so if you work it out you should definitely join The Thursday Murder Club in their next adventure. Yup there’s more on the way. There’s an exclusive interview between Richard Osman and Marian Keyes – which you shouldn’t listen to until after you’ve finished the book -where we get some exciting hints about what’s to come in book two. You can even pre-order it now although we don’t yet know the title.
Do check out the other stops on the blog tour to see what they thought. Thank you to Chloe at Penguin for the gifted audio review copy for the purposes of this honest review.

After listening I’m even more excited to get my signed copy from Goldsboro books – look at those stencil edges 😍.

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes by Scott Furlong – Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Emily is five-years-old. She wears pink ballerina shoes and wants to be a ballerina when she grows up.
Emily’s mummy and daddy are both special police officers called detectives. Lately, Emily has noticed that her mummy hasn’t been spending time with her. She has stopped taking her to dancing lessons and her older brother, Jackson, to his rugby lessons. One night, Emily sees her mummy crying on the sofa being comforted by her daddy. At a family meeting Emily learns that her mummy is poorly with something that the doctor calls Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a heart-warming story about a family who are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a story written about a family, for families by a family, by author Scott Furlong with illustrated by his cousin Emma Cahill.

Goodreads Link

About the Author

Scott Furlong resides in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on a 10-acre equine property. He medically retired from the Queensland Police Service after 20 years’ service with PTSD and Depression in December 2019. He was a detective for 18 years and worked in Homicide, Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Task Force, Organised Crime and Officer in Charge of a Criminal Investigation Branch. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Law and a Masters of Professional Studies (Research). His love of learning didn’t develop until he was in his early 40s. Scott’s wife was also a detective and worked in child protection. In 2011, she also medically retired from QPS with PTSD. They have one son who is 14 years old. Scott has a great love for reading and writing. He also loves cooking and sports.MUMMY WEARS BLUE SHOES is Scott’s first book.

What I Thought

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a charming picture book that brings some light to a dark topic. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t just a soldier’s illness, and sadly I think it’s something that might affect more people from more walks of life post covid.

Author Scott Furlong writes from personal experience and I think it’s a lovely touch that his cousin Emma Cahill drew the illustrations. She has a lovely style perfect for the age group and she is very good at emotional facial expressions which is needed to best convey this topic.

The story is well structured, with it clearly looking at what life was like before mummy got PTSD and then after. It then explores the reason for the changes.

If you want to explore a difficult topic with very young children this would be a great book to use. Children are never too young to develop empathic skills and the metaphor of shoes that runs throughout is both relatable to them and powerful, especially considering the final image.

I received a gifted copy of the book for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out the rest of the blog stops too.

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