Title: Bombed Out! Tales of ‘70s and 80s Music, Punk, Eric’s Bands and Beyond

Author: Peter Alan Lloyd

Pages: 258 Pages

Publisher: PAL Publishing

The Blurb

This is a gritty, earthy and expletive-littered Punk ‘Coming of Age’ book, about my time growing up playing in Liverpool New Wave bands and hanging around Eric’s Club and Liverpool City Centre in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and what came afterwards.

During that remarkable musical period bands such as Dead or Alive, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Elvis Costello, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, A flock of Seagulls, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Wah! Heat, Pink Military Stand Alone and many other bands were born or nurtured in Eric’s Club on Mathew Street in Liverpool.

The book details my time playing bass in Pink Military Stand Alone, and with Pete Burns in Nightmares in Wax, which morphed into Dead or Alive, and the years I spent working in, going to and playing at Eric’s, living my life as part of Liverpool’s vibrant 1980s music scene.

After my band period finished, Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies and the 1980s recession flattened Liverpool, and I wound up on the dole, with few qualifications, no aptitude to study and with no prospects of a proper job.

Using my penniless experience of being in the bands, and a new-found confidence and determination that Punk and my time in the music business had bestowed on me, I embarked on a tough journey in an attempt to turn my life around.

This book tells what happened.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The reason I bought Bombed Out by Peter Alan Lloyd is because the book is set in Liverpool and I have lived there all my life and find the social history fascinating, and because the book is about music – one of my two biggest passions in life. After reading Bombed Out I am a bit torn with my feelings about it.

One the one hand, it is a very interesting look at the music scene. Eric’s was such an iconic bar and so many bands played there, socialised there or were even formed there. That side was all very interesting although at one point I did feel a little bit like it was an exercise in name-dropping after a while.

On the other hand, whilst I get that Bombed Out is a memoir, I found it to be quite self indulgent. Lloyd sounded whiny whilst trying to appear self deprecating at times. I found his descriptions of the ‘rough area’ he lived in laughable – Brownmoor Lane is not a rough place to live, in fact, Crosby is pretty is quite an beautiful area. I don’t know, some things just didn’t sit well with me so that was a bit disappointing.

Overall, if you were around during the punk era and you find Liverpool bands entertaining then you may enjoy this book more than I did.

Bombed Out! Tales of ‘70s and 80s Music, Punk, Eric’s Bands and Beyond is available now.

Title: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Author: Peter Turner

Pages: 177 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

On 29 September 1981, Peter Turner received a phone call that would change his life. His former lover, Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, had collapsed in a Lancaster hotel and was refusing medical attention. He had no choice but to take her into his chaotic and often eccentric family’s home in Liverpool.

Liverpool born and bred, Turner had first set eyes on Grahame when he was a young actor, living in London. Best known for her portrayal of irresistible femme fatales in films such as The Big HeatOklahoma and The Bad and the Beautiful, for which she won an Oscar, Grahame electrified audiences with her steely expressions and heavy lidded eyes and the heroines she bought to life were often dark and dangerous. Turner and Grahame became firm friends and remained so ever after their love affair had ended. And it was to him she turned in her final hour of need.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is an affectionate, moving and wryly humorous memoir of friendship, love and stardom.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is the absolutely lovely account of Peter Turner, a Liverpool born actor who had a chance encounter with an Oscar winning film star that changed his life. The fact that all this really happened makes it all the more Hollywood-esque and utterly heartbreaking.

Turner’s autobiographical account of his tryst with Gloria Grahame is the ultimately sad story of Hollywood’s devaluation of age and how, for female actors in particular, physical demise can be career destroying. Turner’s care and love for Grahame oozes off the page, besides love you feel an ultimate sense of respect and pain as he watches someone who he loves fall apart.

For me, one of the best parts of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is Turner’s portrayal of Liverpool. He neither writes in clichés or disgust which is how I have found Liverpool to be portrayed in some books. However, Liverpool being his hometown may be how and why he manages to show it with such love and respect; similarly to what he shows Gloria Grahame.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner is available now.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com/picador.

 

The Finding of Martha LostTitle: The Finding of Martha Lost

Author: Caroline Wallace

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK/Transworld Publishers/Doubleday

The Blurb

Martha is lost.

She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in station lost property for someone to claim her. It’s been sixteen years, but she’s still hopeful.

In the meantime, there are mysteries to solve: secret tunnels under the station, a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, the roman soldier who appears at the same time every day with his packed lunch. Not to mention the stuffed monkey that someone keeps misplacing.

But there is one mystery Martha cannot solve. And now the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property. Time is running out – if Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…

The Review

The Finding of Martha Lost is the most charming book that I have in a very long time. There, I’ve said it. It is absolutely gorgeous, unusual and inspired.

Martha Lost is a young girl who lives in Liverpool Lime Street Station. She has grown up believing that she is the Liver Bird of Lime Street and as the legend goes if the Liver Birds fly away from Liverpool then the city will cease to exist. Martha has believed the same about herself and Lime Street since she was a child and she struggles to separate the legend from the reality.

The Finding of Martha Lost is a story of discovery. It is about discovering who you are and how you came to be. It is a wonderfully charismatic story with memorable characters and is different from anything I have ever read before.

On a personal level, I found The Finding of Martha Lost interesting because it is set in Liverpool, the place that I was born, grew up and still reside to this day. I loved how Wallace’s love for the city shines through the writing and she hasn’t glamorised Liverpool to make it shiny and attractive. She has used its original features and the city’s greatness shines through.

I will definitely be reading more of Caroline Wallace’s work.

The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace is available now.

For more information regarding Caroline Wallace (@Caroline_S) please visit www.carolinesmailes.co.uk.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

For more information regarding Transworld Publishers (@TransworldBooks) and Doubleday Books (@DoubledayUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

4 Stars

Remember My NameTitle: Remember My Name

Author: Abbey Clancy

Publisher: Harlequin (UK) Limited/Mira UK

Pages: 352 Pages

The Blurb

From the moment Liverpool teenager Jess stars in the school musical, she knows that she’s GOT to be a star. Fast forward a few years and the closest the now 22 year old Jessica has got to stardom is as a children’s entertainer – which is where she meets Jack, uncle to the spoiled 5 year old birthday princess, who spots Jessica’s talent and offers her a job with a record label. But that means that she’ll have to leave her family and her home and move to London – where she quickly finds that the streets aren’t quite paved with gold. And as she spends her days making tea for bitchy PR girls and her nights in a mouldy studio flat, Jessica wonders if leaving Liverpool for London has been a terrible mistake.

Attending an industry party – unfortunately only to serve canapes – Jessica’s fortunes suddenly change when Vogue, the singer due to perform at the event drops out. Before she knows it, Jessica volunteers to stand in and takes centre stage. After a dazzling performance, she is surrounded by people wondering who this amazing new talent is. What’s more, her star turn has been captured by the press and she has become an overnight sensation.

Plunged into the crazy world of glitz and glamour, Jessica’s life is transformed but as her star rises, she loses touch with her roots. Jessica’s teenage dreams of stardom may have come true, but at what cost?

The Review

Now, I may be biased because I come from the greatest city in the world but I do love a good book set in Liverpool. And that is exactly what you get from Abbey Clancy’s debut novel Remember My Name.

The story centres on Jessy Malone, a young girl with a big dream and who unfortunately has never had a chance to have her talents seen…except by children as she performs at birthday parties dressed as Disney princesses. Hardly rock and roll. However, a chance encounter changes all that and Jessy’s life is changed beyond comprehension.

Suddenly Jessy has to figure out who she is: Jessica, the down to earth family girl from Liverpool or Jessika the newest musical sensation?

The great thing about Remember My Name (besides the celebration of Liverpool) is that the whole “fish out of water” storyline reads so truthfully. You totally buy into the fact the Jessy’s head is turned by all the madness and that it would be easy to forget the person that you once were. I think it also helps that we live in a world of instant (and social) media. It is no longer a hard slog for a lot of singers who are plucked from obscurity and thrown in at the deep end. Furthermore, we are allowed to see Jessy at her most vulnerable and (arguably) her most real.

Remember My Name is a really enjoyable read and it is a rags to riches story that really packs a punch. It is a must for summer. It is as essential for your trip to the beach as your sun lotion!

Remember My Name by Abbey Clancy is available now.

Follow Abbey Clancy (@OfficialClancy) on Twitter.

Follow Mira UK (@mira_booksUK) and Harlequin (@HarlequinBooks) on Twitter and for more titles visit www.mirabooks.co.uk and www.harlequin.com

4 Stars

The Blurb

Life’s great when you’re 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . . Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they’ll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan’s mum. It’s a desperate solution, but it’s only for six months. And Gemma’s determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get. But between Dan’s mum’s kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and – worst of all – her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not. Then, as they’re trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma’s past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

The Review

Gemma and Dan have a great relationship but it is put to the test when they make the very grown up decision to buy a house. To save money, they move in with Dan’s mum Belinda and it is then in the claustrophobic environment that the cracks begin to show.

Along with the house being a massive money pit it also has awkward sellers and an estate agent who doesn’t seem to be on Gem and Dan’s side. To throw in further complications Gemma’s past catches up with her; thus making the already fraught situation seem worse.

The Love Shack is a story of love. It may sound cheesy but real love. Love that is complicated by reality, the things in life that you can’t always control and I think that is why it is so good. Jane Costello has created characters that you genuinely care about and wish you were friends with so you could give them the advice that you are so intently shouting at the book, hoping that they hear what you have to say…but you know, them being fictional makes it a tad hard to do.

Personally, there was another element of the book that I enjoyed greatly was the Liverpool setting. This probably won’t titillate everyone who reads it but being a girl who was born and raised (and who still resides) in Liverpool I loved that I was able to connect the dots and really visualise actual places and to see that Costello was true to their beauty (seriously, Liverpool has some fantastic architecture) throughout The Love Shack.

I really enjoyed The Love Shack. It was a fun and to some extent easy read that did deal with some gritty issues. I think that shows Costello’s skill as a writer. As this is the first of her book that I have read I can safely say that it won’t be my last. One thing is for sure, I am now genuinely terrified about ever buying a house.

The Love Shack by Jane Costello is available now.

Follow Jane Costello (@JaneCostello) on Twitter.

The Love Shack