Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior @HazelPriorBooks @PenguinUKBooks @TransworldBooks #bookreview #feelgoodfiction

Away with the Penguins written by Hazel Prior, publisher Transworld Books, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook, hardcover and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

REVIEW

It was my birthday recently and my brother and sister-in-law and myself have started gifting books instead of cards to mark the occasion. I asked for this book. I’d heard so many good reviews about the book that I added it to my wishlist a while back and I was so pleased to have received it.

Away with the Penguins might just be my favourite book ever!

Hazel Prior has written a story that is perfect for these uncertain times we are currently experiencing but I do feel it is also a story for anyone at any time. Throughout the book I felt inspired, compassion, thoughtful and heartened. This is a story of an octogenarian lady who is very cranky and set in her ways but when you get to know Mrs McCreedy her layers of character are slowly stripped away. Your heart will break for this once bright, vivacious young girl who has felt loss like no other and has loved with all her heart. The fractures of her heart became so deep she felt she could no longer let love in until one day she decided to go and help the plight of the penguins on the opposite side of the world!

Mrs McCreedy’s journey of enlightenment to Antarctica sounded epic. But this old lady had another journey to contend with and that was revisiting the past. A past she has kept locked up for so long.

Hazel Prior has written a wonderful story that will charm and delight the reader but you will also feel the emotional tug with the past revealing itself. I also felt humbled that a small species of creature, the Adelie penguin, have their own routines of life and their survival is extraordinary. I was captivated by this side of the story and now feel compelled to know more about the Adelie’s.

I honestly didn’t want this story to end and feel quite bereft now. I would love to see this story turned into a movie, it would just be perfect.

About the Author (details taken from the author’s website)

Hazel is an enthusiastic and experienced harp-player based in Somerset and Exmoor.

She is also an author. Her two novels, published by Penguin Random House, are described as ‘quirky’, ‘lyrical’ and ‘life-affirming’. AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS was chosen by Richard and Judy for their Book Club this year, as well as being a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.

Website: hazeltheharpist.co.uk

Twitter: @HazelPriorBooks

P.S.

Mrs McCreeedy loved her tea, especially Darjeeling, so I paired reading this novel with a gorgeous 2nd Flush Darjeeling SFTGFOP1 from Batch Tea Co. For more details of the tea please check out the link below:

Darjeeling 2nd Flush SFTGFOP1 Tea – Batch Tea Company

The Flip Side by James Bailey @jbaileywrites @MichaelJBooks @midaspr @benmccluskey #TheFlipSide #blogtour #bookreview

The Flip Side written by James Bailey, publisher Penguin, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

It’s love . . . what could go wrong?

When Josh proposes in a pod on the London Eye at New Years’ Eve, he thinks it’s perfect.

Until she says no.

And they have to spend the next 29 excruciating minutes alone together.

Realising he can’t trust his own judgment, Josh decides from now on he will make every decision through the flip of a coin.

Maybe the coin will change his life forever.

Maybe it will find him find the girl of his dreams . . .

To buy links:

amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2W3qmol

Waterstones: The Flip Side by James Bailey | Waterstones

Bookshop.org: The Flip Side: ‘Utterly charming, funny and very relatable’ Josie Silver (bookshop.org)

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of James Bailey’s debut novel: The Flip Side. Well, what can I say about this novel by James Bailey? I’d say it’s brilliant, an accomplished debut and I think it might be my favourite read of 2020! I bloomin’ loved it!

Josh is our hapless, quirky, down on his luck but ever hopeful lead character in this romcom written by James Bailey. I fell in love with Josh’s character right from the start when his heart had been broken and he was left literally hanging in a bubble of uncertainty. Josh had not only had his heart broken, he’d lost his job, his home and Jeremy! Jeremy was a a cheeky sidekick for Josh and I think he could be the lead in his own books.

With the new year looming Josh decides to take life by chance, by flipping a coin to decide on decisions in his life.

Struggling with his loss of the life before the coin Josh plods on but when a chance encounter with a beautiful girl leaves him star-struck he feels like he’s found the one but no sooner as he’s found her than fate intervenes and he’s lost her. With limited knowledge of who she is we follow Josh on his attempts to find her again.

James Bailey has written a wonderful romantic comedy with the emphasis on the male lead character. The author navigates Josh through life with skilful writing making you laugh out loud a plenty. However, when life leads you to a serious side there’s sensitivity and poignancy but the sad scenes are soon brightened with great comedic timing making life that bit more bearable. I loved the sub-characters in the storyline they all supported each other through life’s hurdles and it was wonderful to read.

The Flip Side is so funny, so sweet, so charming, so sad and so hopeful. I laughed and cried and laughed again. I truly did not want this story to end. I’m really looking forward to following this new author in his literary career.

About the Author

Born in Bristol, James Bailey began to dream of a writing career following a top mark in a Year 8 English exam, and he soon pursued journalism, starting a student newspaper and a sports website, interviewing athletes including Usain Bolt and Rafa Nadal. This burgeoning career was halted however, when he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a cardiac arrhythmia. Following two operations, James supported the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young, carrying the Olympic Torch, running the London Marathon, speaking in the House of Commons, and appearing in BBC1’s Lifeline appeal, alongside pop star Pixie Lott.   

Upon moving to London for university, during which time he avoided high rent by living in a Travelodge, James juggled studying Spanish with working as a red carpet reporter, interviewing stars such as George Clooney, Emma Stone and David Beckham.

Following his graduation, he travelled the world, journeying through twenty one countries looking for himself, and hopefully love. Having found neither, he returned home to Bristol, where he founded a walking tour company of the city and began working on his debut novel, having been selected for Curtis Brown Creative’s Six Month Novel Writing Course.

The Flip Side is his debut novel. He can be found on Instagram @JamesBaileyWrites, and at www.JamesBaileyWrites.com.

An Echo of Scandal by Laura Madeleine @LauraMadeleine @TransworldBooks @annecater @hannahlbright29 #blogtour #bookreview #historicaltimeslip

 

An Echo of Scandal Cover

An Echo of Scandal written by Laura Madeleine, publisher Black Swan, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

The paperback is available to purchase from all good book retailers including Waterstones, WHSmith, hive and amazon.  The ebook is available for kindle and kobo.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2kEtSGK

Book Blurb

Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.

Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.

Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.

An Echo of Scandal BT Poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Laura Madeleine’s latest novel: An Echo of Scandal.

Author Laura Madeleine knows how to spin a tale or two and with this heady, atmospheric story set in Spain and Tangier you are woven into a web of stories spanning five decades.  A web that at times is murky, dark and dangerous and then to a web of delicious desires to satisfy your taste buds and your heart.

The story starts back in 1928 to an inn full of the darkest colours of Spain, to a young girl caught up in a crime she has no place to be in but Alejandra understands to survive she has to run.

Fifty years later Sam Hackett is roaming the streets of Tangier trying to find the reason to stay in the city as he’s struggling to survive on what little funds he has left.  Sam is also struggling to fulfil his dream of becoming a writer but when Sam feels all is lost he stumbles upon an object that reeks of history and mystery and with his inquisitive mind Sam is compelled to delve deeper into the history of the lives of someone who left something vitally important behind fifty years ago.

An Echo of Scandal is a wondrous historical time slip novel that is full of mystery and intrigue, unearthing darkness within the streets of a city that fills your senses with it’s heady aromas, seductive tastes and beautiful colours.  It’s a story that will leave you thinking about the characters long after you’ve turned the last page.  I’ve found myself wondering about Alejandra especially mulling over what happened with her life.  Laura Madeleine has created a story that will capture your heart and mind and you won’t want to leave the characters behind.

About the Author

laura-madeleine-hs-colourAfter a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge.
She now writes fiction, as well as recipes, and was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LauraMadeleine

Website: https://lauramadeleine.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauramadeleineauthor/

Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble book review

letters to iris

Letters to Iris written by Elizabeth Noble publisher Michael Joseph (an imprint of Penguin) is available NOW in ebook and hardcover format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/ErY46d

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time.
The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day.
Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life.
Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud.
As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up.
But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared.
Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever?

stack of old letters

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes. 

I am in total awe of this wonderful novel and it will definitely be one of my standout reads for 2018.  Letters to Iris is Elizabeth Noble’s eighth novel and I am astonished that it is my first introduction to the author’s work.  Elizabeth Noble’s writing flows beautifully and you are soon enraptured in the hearts and lives of the characters she has described on the pages.

Letters to Iris focuses on predominantly four female characters with the principal character being Tess.  Tess adores her grandmother Iris, who at 96 years of age is now living with the devastating condition of alzheimers.  Tess’ mum Donna has led abit of a nomad lifestyle and Tess spent a lot of her childhood with her gran Iris.  Tess and Donna’s relationship is a little strained but when Iris’ condition becomes worse and she needs more specialist care in a home Donna surprises everyone with her attention to detail when visiting her mother.  When Tess’ own life takes on a new journey that shakes up her love life she soon faces an uncertain future but once again Donna surprises Tess with a solution to her immediate problems.  Tess is quite overwhelmed emotionally with all that is going on in her life but when she bumps into another visitor, Gigi, at the Care Home a bond is soon formed.  Gigi’s father-in-law is a resident of the same care home and Gigi has spent many hours visiting him.  Gigi has been married for over 30 years to Richard and has three grown-up children and a granddaughter.  Gigi is starting to feel a little invisible in her marriage and she starts to question her future.  Reading about how each character’s relationship is evolving with each other was wonderful to see and left you feeling hopeful and gave you a warm cosy glow.

Four different women at different stages in their lives coping with changes in their journeys.  Changes that can bring positive directions to their lives but also new enlightenments bringing many thought provoking moments and questioning of the past. Secrets from the past that are so heart wrenching and unbearable to think about.  A highly emotive story but also with a beautiful, underlying story of romance.  You cannot help but fall in love with Letters to Iris and I didn’t want to leave the characters I had warmed to and soon classed them as my friends.  Truly stunning, emotive storytelling.

To learn more about the author Elizabeth Noble please visit the publisher’s website page:

Penguin UK:  https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/elizabeth-noble/32447/

 

 

The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies book review

the sapphire widow

The Sapphire Widow written by Dinah Jefferies, publisher Viking (an imprint of Penguin) is available in ebook, paperback and audiobook format from 5th April 2018.

To pre-order/buy link:  https://goo.gl/eeQDK2

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Ceylon, 1935. Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.
While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot’s shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to…

sapphire

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

This was such a captivating story by Dinah Jefferies who has once again taken the reader to another culture and another time.  This story takes us travelling back in time to 1935 and the city of Galle, Ceylon, south-west Sri Lanka.  With Dinah Jefferies words describing the vivid colours, sounds and aromas you can visualise the cinnamon plantations, the streets in and around Galle and the serenity of the coastal area.

Louisa and Elliot Reeve have been married for 12 years living and working in Galle with such lush surroundings.  Their marriage has weathered a few storms experiencing much sadness but the prospects of starting a new joint venture of a jewellery and fine goods emporium is giving the couple a much needed boost. However, life was to throw more anguish in Louisa’s way that crushes her heart.  The days following this tragedy opens up many more wounds for Louisa and she soon starts to realise did she ever know what her husband was really like?

Louisa had led a fairly charmed existence growing up in an affluent family however, sadness in her past has given her a strength and empathy to cope with what lies ahead.  My heart ached for all the turmoil Louisa had accrued and I could totally understand why she didn’t know anything about the events that had unfolded.  Louisa’s husband Elliot had many business interests and it was common during this era that wives were not often involved in the day to day functions of business.  Louisa’s strength through adversity was admiral and seeing through the fog of turmoil she could compartmentalise her own emotions to help those in need.  She didn’t let prejudices thwart her actions.  Life had to go on and light would eventually shine through bringing, hope, belief and love.

A stunning, evocative story coping with grief, deceit, emotional turmoil and fresh starts.

To learn more about the author please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.dinahjefferies.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/DinahJefferies

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dinahjefferiesbooks/

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher book review

all the good things

All the Good Things written by Clare Fisher, publisher Viking, is available in ebook, hardcover and audio download format from 1st June 2017.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good?

notepad and pencil

Wow!  This book, this story, was so moving and so profound, it nearly broke me, to think that this could be the life of many, many young vulnerable people that get overlooked in society it’s heart breaking to comprehend.  Society’s initial thoughts are you are bad so there is no good but if you take a closer look in all the nooks and crannies you can see the good trying with all it’s might to break free from the bad; like the sun breaking away from the clouds.

This story of a young woman in prison for, in her words, doing something bad.  She has weekly visits from her counsellor who encourages her to look at her life and write a list of all the good things in her life.  Beth doubts that she had any good times but when she does put pen to paper there were wonderful, poignant times that once Beth remembered they brought a clarity back to her life.  A life that was now looking a little brighter but the longer the list grew the closer Beth got to opening up and reliving her bad thing.

A very moving, insightful story that was full of real life raw emotions, there was no sugar coating around the edges of life’s turbulent at times bumps in the road.  A wonderful, inspiring debut that I feel should be read by all that have any involvement with young people.  The words from this book will stay with me for a long time … 5/5*

I’d like to share a quote from the book that I particularly found moving …

It’s only now, two years and all these words later, that I see: having a difficult story is not necessarily bad.

To find out more about Clare Fisher please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://clarefisherwriter.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/claresitafisher

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ClareFisherWriter/