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The Last Act Of Adam Campbell By Andy Jones

The Last Act Of Adam Campbell‘The Last Act Of Adam Campbell’ is the latest book by Andy Jones.

A year can go quickly. Particularly when it’s your last. Adam had a good life: a job he enjoyed, a nice house, a loving partner and a bright six-year-old daughter. Then he cheated on his partner. Then she kicked him out of their home. And then he was given approximately twelve months to live. Despite the devastating news, Adam is determined to turn his life around before it finally runs out. Help comes in the form of an ex-junky, a cantankerous train driver, a nun experiencing a crisis of faith, and a teenager intent on losing her virginity – all living on borrowed time, all desperate to feel alive before their time is up.

My first review of 2020, is of Andy’s latest book and to be honest, this book should come with a warning, a packet of tissues plus tea and chocolates to help you recover from the end of it.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of Adam Campbell, who is coming to terms with being terminally ill and wants to spend his last days with his ex-partner and 6 year old daughter called Mabel. To help deal with the idea of dying, Adam joins a group for cancer sufferers like himself. It’s just as he’s settled into this circle of friends when the leader is tragically killed in a traffic accident. Without a leader, the group decide to continue and in doing so, come up with an idea of creating a Shakespeare play including the major deaths from the writer’s books. The idea is inspired by Laura, the youngest member of the group, who’s tired of people treating her like a delicate little flower and wants to experience relationships and sex for the first time. She finds herself turning to Tom, a man close to her age who she connects with, thinking that he’s the one, but he’s wary with being a reformed drug addict. Other members of the group include Pat, a kind nun with a dog for company, Erin, a bubbly mother who sees the best in everyone and retired men Vernon and Raymond.

The multiple characters in the story give an interesting insight into the story, as they are all at various stages of the illness that they know will claim their lives much sooner than they had ever imagined. They all have dreams of living longer, travelling and having families, this is all tragically being taken from them. As the group connects, we see the dynamics change, as they support each other and form a strong bond but as the group gets smaller, a part of them also dies as they wonder who will be next. With each sad moment, Andy thoughtfully includes a lighter moment to reset the reader’s emotions. Through the various narratives, we seen relationships challenged, reconciliations and beliefs questioned.

Adam is a great character, he’s determined to spend his last days being a fun father to Mabel and really struggles when it affects him emotionally and physically and this does make for upsetting reading as she tries to understand his illness as whilst he tries to protect her from it all. His relationship with Heather, his ex is also a difficult one as he tries to repair the relationship that he lost with her even though they never fell out of love.

From the outset, this story is a challenge to read. The subject matter being cancer and death is a difficult one and even though, Andy injects humour and warmth into the story, with relatable characters, you still come away heartbroken. The story is extremely well researched and really does go into the detail the ordeal of cancer and not only the affects the illness has on life but also the medication that is treating it. A poignant and reflective story on new relationships, and what could have been, ‘The Last Act of Adam Campbell’ is a life affirming and tender story that highlights the fragility of life and the importance of making every second count.

You can buy ‘The Last Act Of Adam Campbell’ from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 28 May 2020.

The Vanished Bride By Bella Ellis

The Vanished Bride‘The Vanished Bride’ is the first book in a new series by Rowan Coleman called ‘The Bronte Mysteries’ and Rowan is writing under a new pen name called Bella Ellis.

A young woman has gone missing from her home, Chester Grange, leaving no trace, save a large pool of blood in her bedroom and a slew of dark rumours about her marriage. A few miles away across the moors, the daughters of a humble parson, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified, yet intrigued. Desperate to find out more, the sisters visit Chester Grange, where they notice several unsettling details about the crime scene: not least the absence of an investigation. Together, the young women realise that their resourcefulness, energy and boundless imaginations could help solve the mystery – and that if they don’t attempt to find out what happened to Elizabeth Chester, no one else will. The path to the truth is not an easy one, especially in a society which believes a woman’s place to be in the home, not wandering the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

For those who love their classics infused with murder and mystery, then ‘The Vanished Bride’ is the perfect story to delve into. Rowan Coleman is writing as Bella Ellis and explores more of her passion and interest into the Bronte Sisters as they investigate into the gruesome disappearance of a young woman. Armed with attitude, sass and cunningness, the 3 sisters embark on an investigation with some help from their brother Bramwell.

Famously known for their writing, we see a different side to the sisters as they investigate the crime and find themselves standing up to men who have a rather old fashioned view point to women and their behaviours. They are outspoken and with the story seen from different perspectives, it gives an interesting and insightful slant to the story and women’s way of thinking. The story is creatively written and right from the offset, it is bleak and atmospheric adding an eerie element to the story. As well as being a murder mystery tale, there is also a background to the Bronte sisters and their troubled family and it shows the strength and power of these independent women who stood up to controlling men and bad behaviours.

Entertaining from the first page, ‘The Vanished Bride’ is a fascinating story from start to finish, although it is a work of fiction, it is perfect for fans of the Bronte Sisters and is a highly accomplished piece of writing that is not only fun to read but insightful as well. The perfect introduction to a new murder series!

You can buy ‘The Vanished Bride’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Half A World Away By Mike Gayle

Half A World Way’Half A World Way’ is the latest book by Mike Gayle.

Kerry Hayes knows exactly who she is: a single mum, a cleaner and Mariah Carey’s biggest fan. Noah Martineau thinks he knows who he is: a successful barrister, with a wife, daughter and big house in Primrose Hill. Strangers with nothing in common. Strangers living worlds apart. But it wasn’t always this way…and Noah and Kerry are about to discover just who they really are.

I’ve come to love Mike’s books, he writes cleverly and with such warmth that his books are impossible to put down.

In his latest book, we meet Kerry and Noah, siblings who were separated when they were taken into care. Kerry has never given up on her baby brother, he’s always in her thoughts and she has never always maintained that one day she will track him down.

I loved Kerry, she’s a warm and bubbly character. As a single mother, her priority is her son Kian and family means a lot to her. Her childhood was far from ideal, being separated from her brother and spending most of young life in care homes. She’s funny, kind and has never given up on finding Jason aka Noah. Noah’s life was much easier than Kerry’s settled into a welcoming and loving family and then having a family of his own. But his adult life is far from perfect when his marriage begins to break down and it seems that Kerry has gotten in touch at just the right time.

I really enjoyed the interactions between the pair of them as they both tentatively get to know each other. Living polar opposite lives, both are envious of each other for completely different reasons and this really makes for interesting reading. This book is a tender and poignant story that really pulls at the heartstrings, filled with drama and humour, ‘Half A World Away’ is a tender and warmed hearted story about the importance of family, no matter how big or small.

You can buy Half a World Away from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Amelia Mandeville Writers Tips

Amelia MandevilleAmelia Mandeville is one half of the video blogging sisters, ‘The Mandeville Sisters’ with her sister Grace. They have a YouTube channel, where they explore their love for fashion, style and discussing disability and body positivity. ‘Every Colour Of You’ is Amelia’s debut novel.

Today Amelia shares her writing tips for aspiring authors.

The motivation and self believe. Definitely. Just keep writing and encouraging yourself because it’s hard to believe in yourself. I nearly gave up lots of times.

Read more about Amelia and her writing journey here.

When You Read This By Mary Adkins

When You Read This ‘When You Read This’ is the latest book by Mary Adkins.

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish. Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’s big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

This is book is quite the heartbreaking story that is delivered with wit and attitude.

When Iris receives the devastating news that she’s dying, she decides to spend her final days, blogging her thoughts and reflecting on her life. Her final dying request to her boss and good friend Smith Simonyi is that her blog is published.

Now, responsible for her friends dying wish, and against her sisters objections and an eager assistant, Smith is finding it all difficult and overwhelming.

The story is written through a series of emails between the characters and this really does make for entertaining reading.

Iris’s older sister called Jade, is totally against the idea of her blog being published and the emails between her and Smith are pleasurable reading as they become friends with one another, sharing the mutual pain of losing Iris and confiding in each other.

The story is a poignant and tender tale that really engages the readers attention. Also the unique style with how it is written, with the emails and random stories that pop up, showing the other changes and difficulties that the characters face is really interesting.

Also the way that Iris faces her own immortality really does make for heartbreaking reading as she faces her death, whether that’s through the medium of words or diagrams.

A captivating story of love and friendship and the tentative steps of starting over, ‘When You Read This’ is an original story with an unique narrative that made for lovely reading.

You can buy ‘When You Read This’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.