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The Man I Think I Know By Mike Gayle

The Man I Think I Know‘The Man I Think I Know’ is the latest book by Mike Gayle.

Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life? Danny Morgan and James McManus – rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham. Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country. Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn’t get out and get a job, she’s leaving. It was an accident that changed James’s life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives – and infantilising her brother. She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break. The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job. What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?

When it comes to stories of new beginnings, friendship and starting over, Mike Gayle is an absolute pro at this and in his latest book ‘The Man I Think I Know’, we meet two very different men who share an exceptional bond.

Danny Allen is a gifted man who excelled at school, from a poor background, his family were so proud of him and thought he was going to make something of his life. But, tragically things don’t work out and Danny finds himself, unemployed, single and alone. Like Danny, James has an exciting future ahead of him but an accident rips him off of his independence and mentality and he finds himself struggling in life, wanting much more but unable to achieve it. Tried of his mother cutting up his dinner, he runs into Danny and remembers him from school and asks him to become his carer and help him take some of his life back.

I loved this story, it’s a tender tale of friendship between two men trying to make better lives for each other but faced with struggles along the way.

The story is cleverly seen through the narrative of both men and gives a great insight into their thoughts. Danny is a lovely man, he’s kind with a heart of gold but has faced so many problems, he’s become accustomed to failure and feels like he’s useless. But when he meets James, he gives him responsibility and a purpose. James is a smart and frustrated man, with once a bright future, he struggles to communicate with people and longs for the life that was cruelly taken away from him.

Between the two of them, they form a strong bond, a need and a responsibility to help each other lead a happier and more fulfilling life. Their moments together are delightfully funny and tender as they share moments and help each other along.

This is a beautifully written story about friendship and independence. Riddled with frustation, dermination and humour along the way, this book is a story of two broken souls who find solace and comfort in each other’s pain, but manage to come out the other side stronger and happier. A thoughtful and reflective tale about male friendships, their insecurities and heartbreak along the way. A wonderful story from start to finish.

You can pre-order The Man I Think I Know from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th April 2018.

Book News – The Man I Think I Know By Mike Gayle

The Man I Think I KnowOne of my favourite British authors, Mike Gayle is back with a new book in 2018 called ‘The Man I Think I Know’.

What the back cover says –

Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?

Danny Morgan and James McManus – rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.

Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.

Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn’t get out and get a job, she’s leaving.

It was an accident that changed James’s life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives – and infantilising her brother.

She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.

The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.

What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?

I’ve been so lucky to have received a proof copy of the book and I have spent the last couple of days reading this warm hearted story and I have to say that I am truly loving it so far.

You can pre-order The Man I Think I Know from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th April 2018.

Cover Reveal – The Hygge Holiday By Rosie Blake

The Hygge HolidayRosie Blake is back with a fabulous new book called ‘The Hygge Holiday’

What the back cover says –

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

You can pre-orderThe Hygge Holiday from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 21st September 2017.

This Beautiful Life Book Tour – My Playlist Of My Life By Katie Marsh

Katie MarshOn the book tour and the publication day for Katie Marsh’s new book, ‘This Beautiful Life’, Katie talks about her love of music.

I’ve wanted to set a book to music for a very long time, but I only found the courage once Abi arrived in my head one day and I knew that she – like me – set her entire life to music.

In ‘This Beautiful Life’ Abi has just recovered from bowel cancer when the book starts, only to discover that her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made some decisions that are about to come back to haunt him and her son Seb is battling with a secret of his own. The story follows them over the ensuing year, with each month set to a song on Abi’s cancer survival playlist, which she creates to remind her of the people that matter and the life that she doesn’t want to leave.

Ever since I discovered mix tapes I have set my life to music. From trying to capture the final lines of ‘Parklife’ before Simon Mayo talked over them, to creating playlists for each book I write, I am a confirmed addict of mixing songs from all genres to create a mood or a feeling. For me, nothing is more evocative than music and today I’d love to share the playlist of my life with you. I’ve kept it short – twelve songs just like Abi – but believe me there were three hundred in the running and so it took many tortuous hours to choose.

‘Thank you for the music’ by ABBA. The first song I learned by heart and – unfortunately – one I liked to perform for customers at my parents’ trout farm. Thank goodness it was before the age of phones with videos.
‘The Wombling Song’ by Mike Batt and Chris Spedding. This was playing at my first ever school disco, when I danced with Matthew Archer and learnt that perhaps there were more moves than ‘step-shuffle’.

‘I don’t care’ by Transvision Vamp. I LOVED this band when I was a teenager. I was going through one of those ‘wear-DMs and only buy skirts with bells on’ phases and I used to play this constantly at full volume, much to the irritation of my entire family. Wendy James is pretty much entirely responsible for a very painful experiment with hair bleach. This song sums up teenagerdom for me.

‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles. Will always remind me of mum and dad and their beloved vinyl collection. Such a simple and beautiful song.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. My brother and I always used to fight over what music to play in the car. This generally won and I have to say, he had better taste than me.

‘Sit down’ by James. I can’t hear this song without seeing me and my mates jumping up and down in a sweaty huddle and then falling to the floor for the chorus. This still happens every time we hear it, come to think of it.

This Beautiful Life

‘Children’ by Robert Miles. I have danced on roofs to this, danced in sweaty nightclubs to this and now I listen to it whenever I’m stuck on a chapter and I need to dance around until I work it out. This is the anthem of my twenties, no question.

‘The Promise’ by Tracy Chapman. I walked down to the aisle to this beautiful, heartfelt song and I still cry every time I hear it.

‘A Tisket-A-Tasket’ sung by Ella Fitzgerald. An amazing extravaganza of scat-singing and pure joy, this is Ella at her best. And my grandparents adored it, so when I hear it I think of them dancing in their garden.
‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ from ‘Hello, Dolly!’ This is what picked me up after my second novel was rejected and I really wondered if now was the time to give up. I made an ‘I’ll show them’ playlist and started number three, which was eventually published as ‘My Everything.’ This song was the opener.

Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A Major. At school I played the clarinet, and attempted parts of this work, and as a result I know a) how technically difficult it is and b) how glorious it can sound when people who aren’t me play it. My number one classical listen for peace and wonder.

‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyoncé. A song to dance to, to bounce to and to be inspired by. Love it.

You can buy This Beautiful Life from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Roanoke Girls Book Tour – Extract

The Roanoke GirlsToday on the book tour for Amy Engel’s seriously twisted and eerily sexy debut, ‘The Roanoke Girls’, I’ve an extract from the book that will leave you bursting to read more!

Prologue

The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream. I knew little of it beyond its name and the fact it was in Kansas, a place I had never been. My mother only ever mentioned it when she’d had too much wine, her breath turned sweet and her words slow and syrupy like molasses.

So my subconscious filled in the rest. In my dream it stood tall and stately, tucked among a forest of spring-green trees. Its red-brick facade was broken up by black shutters, white trim, delicate wrought-iron balconies. A little girl’s fantasy of a princess castle.

When I woke, I started to tell my mother about it. Talking through a mouthful of stale Cheerios drowned in just-this-side-of- sour milk. I got only as far as the name, Roanoke, before she stopped me. “It was nothing like that,” she said, voice flat. She was sitting on the wide windowsill, knees drawn up into her cotton nightgown, smoke from her cigarette gathered around her like a shroud. Her ragged toenails dug into the wooden window frame.

“You didn’t even let me tell you,” I whined. “Did you wake up screaming?”

A dribble of milk ran down my chin. “Huh?”

She turned and glanced at me then, her skin pale, eyes red- rimmed.

The bones of her face looked sharp enough to cut. “Was it a nightmare?”

I shook my head, confused and a little scared. “No.”

She looked back out the window. “Then it was nothing like that.”

Check out my review of the book to hear my thoughts on this gripping tale.