ARC REVIEW: Dear Mr Pop Star – by Derek & Dave Philpott @DerekPhilpott

Title: Dear Mr Pop Star
Author: Derek & Dave Philpott
Genre: Non Fiction, Humor, Music
First published: September 20th 2018
Publisher: Unbound
Finished reading: October 26th 2018
Pages: 416

“Furthermore, you needn’t worry about the intoxicating effects of scrumpy on us; we’re not like those festival lightweights who have a couple of pints of the crazy apple and end up piddling in their own welly boots. We’ve been drinking it for so many years it no longer has any alcofrolic effect; we actually consider it one of our ‘5-a-Day’.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Even though I confess quite a few of the artists featured in Dear Mr Pop Star are before my time, I do love my music and I have been having a great time discovering and rediscovering songs. Tip: put the corresponding band/song on Youtube in the background while you read each letter and reply. It will make your reading experience even better! (Or even better: listen to this Spotify playlist ready to use!) I had a blast going through the letters in Dear Mr Pop Star. I love that they sent letters to famous musicians in the first place, and the fact that so many actually responded is simply brilliant. And so many are such clever and funny replies at that. My favorite replies include those of Doctor And The Medics, Dr Hook, Tears For Fears, Cutting Crew, Katrina And The Waves, The Wurzels, Smokie, The Climax Blues Band, The Jags, NuShooz, City Boy, Johnny Hates Jazz and Republica. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise and give them all away. Dear Mr Pop Star would make a perfect gift for any pop and rock music fan. The letters will make you shuckle out loud and bring a smile to your face on numerous occasions, and it’s interesting to see how the pop and rock stars react to those letters in the first place. Thank you for compiling this brilliant collection and giving us the chance to get a glimpse of what is going on in the heads of some of the famous artists out there!


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WWW Wednesdays #194 – October 31st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris… It’s taking me a lot longer than planned, mostly because I’m finding the pace rather slow and can’t really stay interested in the story. The fact that I’ve put it down repeatedly to read something else instead is a clue here. I’m still going to finish it though, although I’m not sure if I will do so before the end of the evening to make it count as another October read. 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
I have enjoyed every single of the psychological thrillers Shalini Boland has written so far, and The Perfect Family is no exception. The writing is just as strong as ever, drawing you in from the start. The plot is very cleverly constructed and the final reveals definitely add an original touch to the story (despite the fact I saw part of it coming). The development of the plot and the plot twists are excellent, revealing just enough each time to keep you on your toes at all times. Without doubt a suspenseful, well crafted and simply splendid psychological thriller!

2. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
Spell Bound went slightly better than the second book, and I started to enjoy the sarcastic kind of humor and writing style in general again. Then… BOOM! The annoying romance and frustrating love triangle was back to ruin the day again, and things went downhill from there. I hate that the romance has ruined a potentially excellent trilogy for me, especially since I really enjoyed the first book and thought it had so much potential.

3. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
While there is no complicated poetry style to admire and the main technique seems to be the use of the space bar, somehow I wasn’t as bothered by that. Because there is one thing for sure: where The Princess Saves Herself In This One might lack in proper technique, it’s the words themself and the powerful message behind them that will blow your socks off. WOW! It doesn’t happen often that I’m able to connect this much with poetry… Relatable, emotional, clever wordplay; these words will no doubt move you.

4. Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott (4/5 stars) REVIEW 06/11
I had a blast going through the letters in Dear Mr Pop Star. I love that they sent letters to famous musicians in the first place, and the fact that so many actually responded is simply brilliant. And so many are such clever and funny replies at that. Dear Mr Pop Star would make a perfect gift for any pop and rock music fan. The letters will make you shuckle out loud and bring a smile to your face on numerous occasions, and it’s interesting to see how the pop and rock stars react to those letters in the first place.

5. Her Last Move by John Marrs (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/11
I really like how Her Last Move isn’t just another detective thriller, and adds its original twist to it. The plot itself is quite complicated with three different POVs to consider as well as various background stories. But it all just worked for me, and both the suspense and plot twists are well handled. The story also has a few surprises in store, and the character development is very well done. Plus, getting to look inside the head of another twisted serial killer is always a bonus, right? Fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
This story has once again reconfirmed my love for her work. What an absolutely brilliant and moving story! I think this is one of the first times I wasn’t bothered at all by the appearance of a love triangle, and somehow I actually enjoyed the romance. Between the wonderful writing style, the excellent character development, an interesting plot and the paranormal angle The Smallest Part has everything and more needed to turn this into one of my top reads this year.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/11
First of all, I have to say that I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot better if I would have read it 15-20 year ago. I have been meaning to read this so-called modern classic for years, and I think the story itself has a bigger impact on younger readers than adults. That said, the worldbuilding and story of The Giver reminded me a bit of Brave New World with a new twist. It was quite an interesting take on a dystopian world, where everything is controlled in such a way everything seems the same. This contrast with Jonas and his experiences once he starts training as a Receiver on its own is fascinating. Especially as he starts discovering more about his world and his eyes are truly opened… But somehow, I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would.

8. Small Time Crimes by Paul D. Brazill (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/11
I was looking forward to this short story bundle, as it sounded like the perfect way to get myself in the Halloween mood. Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be. Part of me thinks I’m the wrong target group here, although I normally love my dark humor and I don’t mind violence and graphic scenes. But this was just too much for me. I didn’t like the writing style, most of the stories completely lacked plots or stopped in the middle of a story, some were simply disgusting and my overall experience wasn’t a good one.

9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/11
I needed a distracting after Small Time Crimes, and then I remembered I have been wanting to read this picturebook classic for ages now. While I can see the appeal and the writing style is spot on, I did have my doubts about the message behind this story… Because the tree isn’t exactly treated with respect and only gives and gives without ever getting something real in return; not exactly a healthy relationship I would want to show to my kids.

10. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
I’ve heard a lot of things about Baby Teeth, and it’s definitely been making me want to read it before the October month is over. And it was without doubt a great read to get in the Halloween mood. I understand all the comments about Hanna now, because she truly is something that comes right out of your worst nightmare! She definitely gave me the creeps and more; it’s not exactly convincing me to have kids one day. xD The ending was kind of open and made me wonder if there will be a sequel one day?

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going and try to read as many Goodreads Choice Nomination titles as possible as well as read upcoming ARCs… First up is The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, a title I’ve been looking forward to read and the awards are an excellent excuse to do so. I’m also going to pick up The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas soon. My next ARC willbe Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it! I also (finally!) have a new TBR jar pick: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it in November, but I’m definitely reading it before the end of the year.


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WWW Wednesdays #193 – October 24th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott, a story I’ve been looking forward to ever since I’ve been invited to read it. It’s taking a bit longer than expected to read it, as my kindle doesn’t seem to agree with the file and I have to read it on my laptop, but so far it’s great. I’ve also started The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland, and I’m looking forward to continue this psychological thriller later today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Book Love by Debbie Tung (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/11
Book Love would make the perfect gift for any booklover out there. Adorable illustrations and many many bookish situations you will be able to relate to instantly… This graphic novel is a little goldmine of bookish love and speaks for all of us booklovers out there. Funny, relatable, entertaining and well crafted… Book Love is one to add to your 2019 wishlist!

2. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (2/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
I was fully expecting a repeat experience of Hex Hall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. While I had a blast reading the first book, sadly Demonglass suffers from the so-called ‘weak-sequel-syndrome’. Instead of being entertained, I found myself to be mostly frustrated and just wanting to get it over with, not caring about the outcome whatsoever. It’s not the writing, because I still liked it. It’s not the sarcasm, because that kind of humor almost always hits the mark for me. My main problem is with the tremendous overdose of romance and lack of a proper plot.

3. Pruning Simplified by Steven Bradley (4/5 stars) REVIEW
Pruning Simplified is a great guide for beginners and professionals alike, with an insightful introduction and a detailed instruction on how to prune no less than 50 popular trees and shrubs. Each plant not only has instructions on how to prune and keep your plant healthy, but also when exactly you should prune. Very helpful! There is also a detailed description on how to prune trees and hedges, all combined with illustrations to help visualize where and how to cut. Pruning Simplified is a great reference for anyone wanting to learn more about pruning plants.

4. Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
If you are looking for something dark and twisty enough you will get all tangled up in the plot, Before Her Eyes is definitely an excellent choice. I liked how one of the main characters is blind, adding a whole different dimension to the story as our main witness can hear and feel, but not actually see the killer. This kind of ‘twisted’ relationship between the two without doubt added an original touch to the story. There is no doubt that Before Her Eyes is a disturbing, twisted and misleading detective thriller that I can recommend to anyone who loves reading darker thrillers.

5. Rebel by Amy Tintera (4/5 stars) REVIEW 29/10
I have to say that the second book didn’t disappoint and is just as good or even slightly better than the first. Between the writing style and likeable characters it was really easy to fly through Rebel. Sure, I would have liked to see a slightly more complicated and developed dystopian world, but its simplicity didn’t bother me all that much either. The idea behind the Reboot duology might not be completely original, but it works as a charm anyway. This success has a lot to do with the writing, fast pace and the main characters.

6. Before She Falls by Dylan Young (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/10
The Detective Anna Gwynne series just keeps delivering and Before She Falls is another excellent edition. This story has everything I could want of a thriller: a creepy serial killer, a clever plot, suspense, plot twists, interesting characters, an original touch… All blended together into a perfect detective thriller smoothie. Before She Falls is creepy, dark and disturbing with a lightning fast pace and a few heartstopping moments; any fan of the genre will be in for a treat with this series is general.

7. Evidence Of The Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/10
I’ve heard great things about this novella, and there is no doubt that Evidence Of The Affair has only reconfirmed to me that I have to read more of her work. I loved the fact that the story is told exclusively through letters, and just how well we get to know the characters despite its short length. It was interesting to see how things developed, and I actually quite liked the ending as well. It’s short, well written, well crafted and entertaining, and 200% worth your time.

8. Sadie by Courtney Summers (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
I was fully expecting to love it: this story gives off all the right vibes, and I still think that the story itself was fascinating. But somehow, I didn’t actually enjoy reading Sadie all that much. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why though… The idea of the podcast is very cleverly done, mixing those chapters with Sadie’s POV. There is a lot of mystery around Sadie and her sister, and it’s interesting to slowly figure out more and more about the past. I wasn’t sure what to think of the ending though… I was left wanting for more. I also wasn’t able to connect properly to the characters, and I think that is part of the reason Sadie didn’t work for me in the end. The writing style didn’t click with me either (the same happened with All The Rage, so it might just be that her writing is not for me).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to get my pending NG shelf below ten, so I’m probably reading Her Last Move by John Marrs next. And even though I wasn’t sure at first whether to continue the series, I’ve decided to read the final Hex Hall book anyway since I already have a copy and want to cross off another series. So Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins it is… (I did decide not to read the other book set in the same world though.) I also need to read Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier some time soon so I can finally finish the When Are You Reading? challenge. My current TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris; I’ve decided to wait until next month to read that one.


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WWW Wednesdays #192 – October 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins, both because I wanted a proper Halloween themed read and because I want to try and finish as many started series as I can. I’m also starting Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan, a book I’ve been really looking forward to since I highly enjoyed this other books.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. One Dark Night by Tom Bale (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/10
There is no doubt that One Dark Night is a superfast, entertaining and action-packed thriller, with a few scenes so intense and graphic it almost borders on the horror genre. The situation of the family is horrific, and the story definitely has a Hollywood action movie feel about it. I had my doubts about the credibility of it all, but overall I still enjoyed the ride. And what a rollercoaster it was!

2. Rebel by Amy Tintera (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/10
I’m happy to say Reboot was a success for me. First of all, a big round of applause for not having a love triangle! There are romance scenes of course, but somehow they didn’t bother me as much as I liked them together. The writing style is spot on for me and I’m definitely looking forward to read more of Amy Tintera‘s books after this. The writing draws you right in, and the dystopian world Reboot is set in is quite interesting. Not all that original perhaps with the virus and all, but entertaining enough anyway.

3. The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
The Darkness both has an interesting setting and a strong main character to build a story around. I really appreciated to finally have an older main character, and Hulda is without doubt a very interesting one to follow. The mystery around her past and the cold case she is investigating will keep you on your toes, making the slower parts less noticeable. And what a shocking ending! I definitely didn’t see some of the reveals coming. Talk about ending things with a blast… I will be looking forward to book two.

4. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/10
There is just something about Adam Silvera’s writing style that draws you right in and keeps you invested until the very end. I was expecting another contemporary romance read, so I was more than pleasantly surprised by the science fiction like twist of this story. Of course I knew there were going to be sad moments because as the title suggests, both main characters will die before the story is over. But I really liked the idea behind the Dead Cast, Last Friend App and how they spend their last day together. Sci-fi with a romantic lgbt twist, and a whole lot of carpe diem before they kick the bucket.

5. Snowy Nights At The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/10
While I have to confess I’m not really a Christmas person (especially since I’ve been living in Argentina; having to celebrate with 30+°C temperatures just doesn’t do it for me xD), I do like reading a Christmas-themed story or two every year. There was just something about this one that caught my eye… It’s without doubt an entertaining read and I think contemporary romance fans will love this one. It was a little too cliche and all for me, but that is probably just me and not the book.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to make a dent in my enormous pile of ARCs and need something different, so I might pick up Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott next. I also need to read Before She Falls by Dylan Young some time soon… And I want to read the sequel Rebel by Amy Tintera while my memory is still fresh, and it also means crossing off another series on my unfinished list.  My current TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris… I’ve become really good at posponing that one. xD


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