Laura Bambrey Books

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Sunday, 3 March 2019

Blogtour: Review: The Two Hearts Of Eliza Bloom by Beth Miller

It's my pleasure to be one of today's stops on the blogtour for The Two Hearts of Elisa Bloom by Beth Miller. Thanks to Bookouture for the ARC.

Let me start by saying that this book was an unexpectedly gripping read. It unfolds with quiet drama, exploring the clashing and merging of two very different cultures via one particularly rebellious character, Eliza.

Told across two time-lines, we see Eliza right at the beginning of her relationship in one, and then at least a decade into her marriage with the other – offering an intriguing juxtaposition of how her circumstances have altered – as well as highlighting those that remain exactly the same.

The writing is deft and detailed, and though this book was a bit of a departure for me in terms of its story, I felt in the safest hands with this clever storyteller. The characters are fully rounded and complex – lots to love and admire there, but also many aspects that were fairly unsavoury, even within our heroine. This is what made the book so special. This was no straight forward story told in black and white- but an entire kaleidoscope of shades came together to make for a brilliant read.

Grab Your Copy:

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The Blurb:

She followed her heart to change her life, but she didn’t realise how much she left behind…

Eliza Bloom has a list of rules: long, blue skirt on Thursdays, dinner with mother on Fridays, and never give your heart away to the wrong person. Nothing is out of place in her ordered life…

Then she met someone who she was never supposed to speak to. And he introduced her to a whole world of new lists:
New foods to try – oysters and sushi
Great movies to watch – Bambi and Some Like It Hot
Things I love about Eliza Bloom

Eliza left everything she knew behind for him, but sometimes love just isn’t enough. Especially when he opens a hidden shoebox and starts asking a lot of questions about her past life. As the walls Eliza has carefully constructed threaten to come crashing down, will she find a way to keep hold of everyone she loves, and maybe, just maybe, bring the two sides of her heart together at last?

Monday, 11 February 2019

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer: Film vs Book Review and Giveaway

I’ve always found it fascinating how a screenwriter (or team of screenwriters) can take the many hundreds of a pages of a book, with all its complex innings and outings and twistings and turnings of plot and character- and turn them into a film that makes sense. And if you’re lucky, a film that not only tells the same story as the book, but is able to remain true to the original spirit of the story- somehow distilling the essence of hours of reading down into and hour or two of watching.

When I agreed to do a comparison review of book versus film to celebrate the DVD release of THE WIFE - I was expecting to have reams and reams of differences between the two to discuss... but, it turns out, this is one of those rare beasts where the film really does capture the characters and sentiments of the book beautifully.

This is no mean feat in a story that relies almost entirely on the nuances of two characters - Joan Castleman, the eponymous wife - and Joe, her husband. Without giving any spoilers, let’s take a little look at the few differences there are between the two.

In terms of plotting, there are probably two main changes. Firstly - the Helsinki literary prize which Joe is honoured with in the book is changed to the Nobel prize for the film. Though making very little difference in terms of the ebb and flow of the plot, it does change a nuance to Joe’s character. In the book - he knows that the Nobel is beyond his reach, this is as far as he is likely to reach.

The second main change, and actually something that has a larger effect on the overall telling of the story- is that in the book, Joe and Joan travel to the prize giving without any of their three children in tow. In the film, the couple’s adult son, David, accompanies them, and much of the minutiae of the plot is taken up with him seeking his famous father’s approval for his own writing attempts. In the book, David’s character is revealed in flashbacks- and proves to be just as needy, but a lot darker and more troubled.

In terms of character portrayal, I felt Jonathan Price captured the immature, needy, self absorbed Joe to a tee. Harry Lloyd as the younger Joe also excelled as the ambitious, narcissistic young writer.

Glen Close as Joan? Oh Glen, you are amazing, what can I say? She played Joan beautifully. The slight difference in the direction the film took was that the Joan of the film seemed to be more understanding, and slower to come to the turning point of having enough of putting up with her husband’s many indiscretions, annoying self-absorption and of course, living with their shared secret. The Joan of the book is already at that turning point, but in the film, we see her discover it on the screen.

I highly recommend both the book, for its dense story about two lives that would have been so vastly different if lived separately, and the film for its beautiful and sensitive portrayal of such complex characters, and the cracks in marriage after so many years. This is an incredible story that spans just a few days, as well as telling the history of two lifetimes.

I have a book, DVD and bookmark bundle to give away - if you’d like to win, please enter using the raffle copter form below.

Monday, 27 August 2018

DVD Release of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

Check out this wonderful package I was sent to celebrate today's DVD release of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society... I'm feeling very spoiled by the lovely team at Organic- thank you guys!

What's that? Yep, that's a bottle of Wheadons' delicious Rock Samphire and Pink Grapefruit Gin, a massive block of Guernsey Cream Fudge and of course, a copy of the DVD and the book.

Have you read the book? It has been out for about 10 years, and is what I would call a modern classic... as in, it's one of those books that everyone was talking about... and is STILL talking about. In typical backward Laura fashion, I haven't read it yet! Stubborn, moi?

So as soon as this little lot arrived in celebration of the DVD release of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, I dived straight into the watching the DVD. And I LOVED it- a beautiful story which both made me giggle and reduced me to tears. It's a part of our history that I know so little about- the German occupation of Guernsey during the second world war, and its lasting effects on the inhabitants after the end of the war. The cast is exquisite, and I'm just a little bit in love with Katherine Parkinson as Isola - and of course, Lilly James was breathtaking as Juliet! I can highly recommend the film.

I'm now delving into the book, keen to compare the film with the original. The book is an epistolary novel - i.e. written entirely in the form of letters between the characters. I'm already completely hooked - and it is a huge compliment to the film cast that they are exactly how I imagine the characters as I read about them in the book.

So - grab yourself a bank holiday treat. You can nab yourself a copy of the film from Amazon here - and if you've been a stubborn so-and-so living under a rock like me, you can also get yourself a copy of the novel here.

I'll leave you with the the glorious cast of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Enjoy!


Friday, 15 June 2018

Blogtour: Review: Mad by Chloe Esposito

Morning book lovers!

I’m thrilled to be today’s stop on the blogtour for Mad by Chloe Esposito. How to start talking about this book? How do you fancy spending time with one of the most dangerous characters out there? Alvina Knightly is a truly loathsome character from the get-go. Spending time inside her head is oh-so-addictive and incredibly disturbing.

Written in first person from Alvie’s point of view, be prepared to be plunged into the deranged logic of a seriously depraved individual. She starts out as a dislikeable drop-kick, but very quickly you come to realise that Alvie is far more dangerous than that. Her dislike for her twin sister, Beth, quickly reveals itself to be at the heart of something far darker than your average sibling rivalry.

As I read, there were certain points where I felt I was coming to understand Alvie a little. There are things she mentions, like little bread-crumb clues, that might point to why she is like she is. Perhaps she isn’t the villain of the piece- or at least, perhaps she wasn’t the villain to begin with. And then I gave myself a little shake and a little shudder – after all, reading Mad, you only have Alvie’s word for what’s going on, and what has happened in the past – and this girl is FAR from a reliable narrator. She’s a complete sociopath.

Mad is a gripping read- I loved it- but it’s not for the faint-hearted or squeamish. Glamour, sex, gore and murder a-plenty!

Grab your copy here:

Kindle:                             Hardback:                    Paperback:                   Audible Audiobook:

The Blurb:

What if you could take the life you'd always wanted?
Alvie has always been in the shadow of her glamorous sister Beth.
So when she's invited to her identical twin's luxurious Sicilian villa, Alvie accepts.
Who wouldn't want seven days in the sun?
With Beth's hot husband, the cute baby, the fast car and of course, the money.
The thing is it's all too good to let go . . . and her sister Beth isn't the golden girl she appears.
It's Alvie's chance to steal the life that she deserves.
If she can get away with it.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

'President Trump' To Bring 'The Oval Office' To London

‘President Trump’ opens the most famous office in the world for commuters at Waterloo Station

On Monday 4th June, commuters will be given the chance to be President for the day and take their seat in a replica Oval Office, to celebrate the summer’s most talked-about book, The President Is Missing.

Commuters passing through London’s Waterloo Station on Monday 4th June may end up being late for work, when a different type of office catches their eye – The Oval Office. Taking inspiration from the plot of the book, and co-author Bill Clinton’s 1993 - 2001 presidential terms, the surprise pop-up at one of London’s busiest stations will mark the launch of The President Is Missing, the new novel written by former President Bill Clinton and the world’s bestselling thriller writer, James Patterson.

To mark the global release of the book, Penguin Random House will be unveiling The Oval Office at 8:30am, with the fully interactive set being accessible to the public until 8:30pm. Not only will thousands of commuters be able to sit behind a replica of the famous Resolute desk, a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes, they may also find themselves sharing a moment in time with their very own (faux) President Trump.

The President Is Missing has already been signed by Showtime for a multi-part TV drama. The novel’s plot follows an American President whose sudden disappearance shocks the world, as the reason behind it is far worse than anyone could ever imagine...

'President Trump’ opens the most famous office in the world for commuters at Waterloo Station With details only a President could know, paired with the genius of the thriller writer who has sold more than 375 million copies of his books, readers won’t be able to stop turning the pages of Clinton and Patterson’s book.

Former President Bill Clinton said: “James Patterson and I have come up with three of the most frightening
days in the history of the presidency. And it could really happen.”

Susan Sandon, MD of Cornerstone, Penguin Random House, has said, “Re-creating The Oval Office for commuters at one of London’s busiest stations seemed a fun and fitting way to mark the global publication of Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s superb thriller, The President Is Missing.”

No mean feat, The Oval Office installation will take over five hours to build, with six workers constructing it through the night from 1am - 6am. The installation is a true-to-scale replica, measuring 3 x 3 x 2.5 metres.

The Oval Office will be at London’s Waterloo station on Monday 4th June between 8:30am and 8:30pm, with President Trump available between 9am and 11am.


Grab Your Copy Here:

Kindle:                             Hardback:                      Audiobook:
 .     .    

The Blurb:


Former President Bill Clinton and global thriller master James Patterson have joined forces to create the most anticipated book of 2018.

The President is Missing.

Amid an international crisis, the impossible has happened. A sitting U.S. President has disappeared.

What follows is the most dramatic three days any president has ever faced - and maybe the most dramatic three days in American history.

And it could all really happen.

Full of details only a president could know, Bill Clinton and James Patterson have written the most authentic - and gripping - presidential thriller ever.