#Review by Lou of Another Life by Jodie Chapman – A #BetweenTheCovers book pick @jodiechapman @Ells85 @MichaelJBooks

Another Life
By Jodie Chapman

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The book is a pick for Between The Covers on BBC 2, presented by Sara Cox. It has many themes of life, including love and loss as it takes readers on a journey of Nick and Anna’s lives. It starts in the most shocking way, that will be sure to make you gasp in what is a mix of nostalgia and closer to present day as it sweeps through relatable characters lives. It is gripping and emotional all the way through and is sure, in its beautifully written style, to tug at your heartstrings. It’s a very good, strong debut novel.

Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thank you very much to Ellie Hughes for sending me a proof copy to review.

AnotherLife

Blurb

She could be the girl dancing on tables one night, and the next she’d be hiding in the shadows.

Just when I thought I understood her, she would melt away and become a completely new person, and I’d have to start all over again.

That’s how it was with Anna.
_______

Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick.

She’s grown up preparing for the end of days, in a tightly-controlled existence where Christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off-limits.

So when Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation – hints of the people they hope to become.

But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she’s ever believed in, and everyone she’s ever loved. She walks away, and Nick doesn’t stop her.

Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life.

But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice between a love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.

AnotherLife

Review

Be prepared to be shocked, have your emotions being pulled and have your attention grabbed from the minute you open the book!!!
Another Life is sure to send many readers on quite a life journey! This tells a searing and heart-wrenching story of Nick and Anna as it flips through time, mainly the 2000’s and 1990’s, but also delves into the late 1980’s and 2010’s. It bares an intensity that bores into you as you read in quite a spectacular way, it does take a bit of concentration, but is easy to follow with all the very fast year changes (although maybe a bit too much), but there is a sense of grounding because  of all the connecting themes and the main characters. All those time-frames are woven together to tie life experiences of love, loss, hope all together within these central characters in this substantially, well-plotted book.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s there are brilliant cultural and society references that will whisk you back there, such as Fawlty Towers and Marty McFly and that time travelling car on the TV and Woolworths on the highstreet, it gleams some nostalgia all around in so many ways. So, if you have a desire to travel back in time like Marty McFly, as Nick really wished he could, this book will do it, at least on the page and in your mind.

Some of the arguements about women’s roles and the friend who is old enough to look after themselves over even the simplest of tasks, but doesn’t, hold up pretty well and I am sure many readers will find relatable. Nick, well, he is well-written and depicts this guy who doesn’t always get things right and he doesn’t always know what to say or do. This sort of guy is pretty relatable throughout all of time; as is Anna with her desires in life and her experiences. This is beautifully depicted with the complexities of life throughout in the circumstances the characters find themselves in to their families, relationships and friendships to their personality types.
There’s an intensity and urgency in the need to escape from certain people. places, situations. There is Nick who has seen some dark times in his and his family’s life, who needs Anna to be his constant, his rock. She is strong, but also has her own challenges. There’s the tugs of religion in Anna’s life that set her in a bit of a quandry because of all the rules. There is a desire to lead Another Life from each of them as each have been through a lot of challenges in their lives, mostly brought in by their environment and some of the people around them. 

If you like David Nicholls’ books, you’re sure to enjoy Another Life!

#BookReview by Lou of Dog Days by Ericka Waller @erickawaller1 @tabithapelly @DoubleDayUK @penguinrandom @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #DogDaysBook #Fiction

Dog Days
By Ericka Waller
Rated 5 stars *****

Dog Days is all encompassing of human-life. It has characters who you want to meet, as well as their dogs. It’s emotional and deep at times and will also find you being uplifted at times too. It’s one heck of a powerful book that has a truth in its unexpected twists and is so absorbing, it can be devoured all too easily as the hours pass by. It’s exceptionally hard to put down once you get started. This is one amazing debut and I’m totally enamoured and impressed by it. I am excited to be showing you the blurb and my review and all the gorgeous graphics I have had fun placing all the way down.
I thank Tabitha Pelly at Penguin Random House/Double Day/Transworld Books for supplying me with the book and to Anne Cater for the invitation to review on the blog tour. I thank them both for the press release and graphics.

 

Dog Days Graphic 7

About the Author

Dog Days Ericka Waller Author picERICKA WALLER lives in Brighton with her husband, three daughters and pets. Previously, she worked as a blogger and columnist. Dog Days is the sum of everything she has learned about love, loss and the healing power of dogs.
Twitter: @erickawaller1     Instagram: @erickamary

Dog Days Graphic 8

Blurb

‘DOG DAYS is a Russian doll of a book that twists and tugs each outer husk, revealing delicate and poignant inner layers…a soulful, lyrical tale that brings them – and their dogs – together in a satisfying whole. Such a treat.’ – BETH MORREY, author of SAVING MISSY

Dog Days Graphic 4George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there’s the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn’t want a dog – he wants a fight.

Dog Days Graphic 2Dan
is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people – if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.

Dog Days Graphic 3Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in
scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is
forced to walk the refuge’s fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons – if she can keep
her secret just a while longer…

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters – joyous, heartbreaking and wise – Dog Days is about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in.

Dog Days Graphic 1

Review

Dog Days is a book that once you’ve swooped into, you glide along with the George, Lizzie and Dan and their complex lives and their dogs and before you know it, a lot of time has passed by and you want to go on reading until the end, it is so engrossing and so well-written. It’s great how each chapter takes one character at a time. It’s easy to follow and with just 3 main characters and then a few sub-characters, there’s plenty of time to really invest in them. Each main character has their own challenging, windy paths they are on, each of them displaying vulnerabilities due to circumstance and experiences of depression, OCD, grief, anxiety, in their own ways, in their lives. Each character, whether a main character or a sub-character relating to a main one is strongly written and characterised. It is fascinating to explore their lives in not just what they do on a daily basis, but also their reactions and perceptions to situations, including humans and dogs.

Charmingly, focussing on George, Lizzie and Dan; Dog Days is a very human emotion story with dogs featuring too, look out for very cute dog pictures in the corners of some of the pages. It shows that no matter who you are, what your profession is or who you are, life is just not always straight-forward. It is an all encompassing and full look into relationships, love, life and loss.

Dog Days Graphic 4There’s George, who has a dog that he wasn’t consulted on and you almost feel sorry for, the Daschound – Poppy and him. He is a bit coarse, but has an unexpected softer side to him, but his edges are sharp, but then, so is Betty’s, which makes for a bit of firey duo and is intriguing to see where that heads. It also shows the stages of grief as he is saddened by his wife’s death.
It’s interesting how Poppy is used in the relationship interactions between George and Betty and there’s so much anger in George that he isn’t always wanting Poppy’s attention. It’s intriguing to see what unfolds.

Dog Days Graphic 2There’s Dan, a counsellor with OCD and a few other issues besides, has a Labrador – Fitz and insightfully says what he does in his job and the purpose. There is also insight into how he handles clients and what he does with them and views them, especially Atticus, who proves a challenge to him, which makes for interesting reading, especially as he isn’t always, exactly complient. Luke, on the other-hand is more comfortable and he’s kept inside his comfort zone. Dan himself is an interesting character to analyse as he is rather flawed. Dan uses Fitz as a crutch almost, to talk about his day and wonder’s how his dog’s day has been, it’s his closest relationship, although would perhaps wants a human relationship, which then results in him putting his job into jeopardy and yet also has almost an epiphany moment of acceptance of himself, which is pretty uplifting.

Dog Days Graphic 3There’s Lizzie was taken in by a well-wisher – Tess and in return must walk her terrier – Maud, even though she doesn’t like nor trusts them. She has secrets and scars and how these affect her is shown particularly well. The portrayal of someone who is vulnerable is particularly good.
Tess is quite light-hearted in comparison to Lizzie, which makes it interesting. She is also a mum, trying to do her best but also has a desire to leave, she would also like to leave Maud too as she doesn’t like her much.

It’s fascinating to see everyone’s lives unfold and their secrets being revealed. It’s such a page-turner and a book that is so easy to invest in all the characters. The main characters, although all, for the most part are separate, do occassionally show their connections here and there and come together now and again.

Dog Days BT Poster

 

#CoverReveal What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster @zafatista @eturns_112 @TrapezeBooks #WhatsMineandYours

What’s Mine And Yours
By Naima Coster

This afternoon I am excited and delighted to be part of the cover reveal for What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster. Take a look at the lovely cover and as you browse down, you’ll see the blurb to discover more what this book is about. Thanks to Ellen Turner at Trapeze Books publishers for allowing me to be part of this.
Published 27th of May, so this is the perfect opportunity to whet your appetite and get to know a bit about the book.

WMAY-cover-still jacket

Blurb

WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS is a breath-taking new novel about identity, family, love and the ways in which race can affect even the closest of relationships.

 When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all-white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives.


On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee’s steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle’s enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey’s daughters return home to visit her in hospital, they’re forced to confront the ways their parents’ decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love

#BookReview by Lou of Space Hopper by Helen Fisher @HFisherAuthor @simonschusteruk @RandomTTours #SpaceHopper #JumpWithMe

Space Hopper
By Helen Fisher
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I was absolutely delighted to recieve The Space Hopper by Helen Fisher, one of the biggest books of 2021. I have the blurb, the review and a bit about the author. Take a look to see if this emotional yet fun book lived totally up to expectations. It tackles grief, but in such a moving, yet uplifting and intriguing way, plus adults of a certain age, can re-live small parts of their childhood, which is the fun element.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me and for Simon & Schuster for the book.

Blurb

Spacehopper coverThey say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight. And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad.
Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
For fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife comes an original and heartwarming story about bittersweet memories, how the past shapes the future, and a love so strong it makes you do things that are slightly bonkers.

Spacehopper cover

Review

How can anyone resist an invitation into a book that has the tagline – “Take My Hand And Jump With Me”. Of course I wanted to take her hand and go with her to see where we ended up.
The staff at Simon & Schuster have really championed this book, so much so that they turned their profile pictures to the rollerskates of the front-cover. I was intrigued and excited, when invited to the blog tour of this long-awaited book, to see if it really is as good as it sounds.

Rollerskates and spacehoppers take me back to being a child of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s outdoor toys that I can relate to. I can also relate to loss of a family member, which is a theme in the book, in this instance, it is her mother. She has a husband who is training to be a clergyman and it would make her a vicar’s wife, what is brilliant is the juxtaposition of his and her views, as she is a bit more scientific that what he is in their beliefs, and yet they are together and have children, which is also good as it shows that you can be a bit different and yet still have love. This however has all sorts of elements of love, not just the romantic kind.

The beginning feels like you are perhaps sitting having a cup of tea or wine (or whatever beverage), with her as Faye starts to tell her story, which all starts with a photograph. The book takes readers into her grief for her mother. It’s such a taboo subject that is such a part of the cycle of life, that is finally being talked about a bit more on tv and in books and it is not all as it looks. It is not all doom and gloom at all. There is something pleasing about this for a start. It also confronts the feelings and thoughts of grief very well. It really does feel like you’ve literally taken Faye’s hand and jumped with her, down a hole and into a Space Hopper Box. It’s all in the way the book is written that really makes it that involving.

How she ends up there is wildly interesting and begins a fantastical journey into her past, which is as intriguing as it is to how she will return home to her, rather astute husband, Eddie and her children. She ends up meeting her younger self, with all the toys and annuals, that would take readers of a certain age back to their childhoods; and she wants to conduct an interview with her younger self. The book has fascinating concepts that create an enthralling story, which also has cleverly placed titles of enchanting and popular children’s books and comics, within it, all in the context of the plot of Space Hopper and all that adults of a certain age would be certain to remember.

The book is profound and yet also has a clever lightness to it as it tackles grief, challenges in the characters past and present times and also shows people’s vulnerabilities as well as their resilience. It also questions what if you could travel back to your past and ask all the unasked and questions that may float around your head and makes it pertinent to ask your relatives them before it is too late. 

It’s a very moving book about clinging onto the past, grieving and letting go, a bit. The ending left me a bit flumoxed, but apart from that, it’s indeed a great book and one that is so tenderly mesmerising and beautiful.

About The Author

Space Hopper Helen Fisher Author PicHelen Fisher spent her early life in America, but grew up mainly in Suffolk where she now lives with her two children. She studied Psychology at Westminster University and Ergonomics at UCL and worked as a senior evaluator in research at RNIB. Space Hopper is her first novel.

 

Space Hopper BT Poster

#BookReview by Lou of fabulous -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such fun and uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

Review

The Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit.
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there. She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

#BookReview By Lou – The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson @FionaGibson @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK #UpliftingFiction

The Dog Share
By Fiona Gibson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Uplifting and sweet, The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson is a great entertaining escape!

Thanks to Ellie Pilcher at Avon Books for sending me such a delightful book to review.

Please discover more further down in the blurb and then onto my review.

The Dog Share

Blurb

The next gloriously uplifting book from the #1 bestselling author of The Mum Who Got Her Life Back.

Suzy Medley is having a bad day…

… when a shabby terrier turns up at her door. Just like Suzy, Scout has been abandoned, although only Suzy has been left with a financial mess and a business in tatters thanks to her ex.

Suzy takes Scout in and her chaotic world changes in unexpected ways: strangers have never been more welcoming and her teenage kids can’t wait to come home to visit.

Then a chance encounter on a windy Hebridean beach makes things more complicated, because Suzy isn’t the only one who needs a friend.

Scout has plenty of love to go round… but does Suzy?

A wonderfully funny and uplifting story about friendship and second chances (and whisky!), perfect for fans of Gill Sims and Jill Mansell.

The Dog Share pic

Review

It’s a dogs life that is very sweet and entertaining to read about and there is whisky and delicious food amongst the island and city life that can sometimes be a bit more complicated than it first seems. The Dog Share makes for a great story to escape into. It’s also fun, feeling like you’re legitimately snooping around the lively WhatsApp chats in the book.

Suzy and Paul are going to the Hebrides with her mum, from York whose reaction is quite funny because there is something recognisable about her reaction. Things, however zany and unsettled with many work plans, there is something really sweet about Suzy and Paul, as well as a sense of lightness and fun about them 2 years ago, but then the book brings readers up to the present and the atmosphere changes when holiday plans aren’t happening as expected.

Set between York and (primarily), Scotland – between Glasgow and the Hebrides, this is a rather uplifting story, with a kindness and sense of caring for each other is enough to warm anyone’s heart. There is also a dog, who just turns up and it is fun, yet true about how people talk to dogs. Suzie then sets up a dog sharing arrangement with Cara, who she later meets.

There is also Ricky in Glasgow, who is a tutor around schools and enters one where Arthur is attending and Ricky can already guess how that would be seen. This adds even more interest in the story and a plays well off of the contrast on the island life. There’s humour to find in all parts of the characters lives. It really is an entertaining and uplifting read with plenty that people will be able to relate to, whether it is about the dog, food, business as she picks up the pieces of her life. She isn’t totally altogether, which makes it seem realistic. All in all, it’s a rather pleasing book to sink into and relax and read.