#BookReview By Lou of All About Evie By Matson Taylor – Out Now! @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #EvieEpworth #1972 #AllAboutEvie #BookTwt #MustRead

All About Evie
By Matson Taylor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All About Evie - Matson Taylor

All About Evie is uplifting, incredibly humorous, poignant and a must read for anyone’s tbr list!
This is the second installment from the author who brought us the wonderfully funny and poignant book – The MisEducation Of Evie Epworth 
Check out more in the blurb and then find out about the rest of my review below.
Thanks first to Matson Taylor for arranging a copy to be given to me to review and for 

Blurb

All About Evie CoverTen years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…

Review

Evie is now 26 1/2 years old and now living in London, and if there’s something the author – Matson Taylor does well, it is uplifting opening paragraphs and then sustaining that throughout the rest of a book.

Readers – Get re-acquainted with Evie Epworth! This time, the year is 1972 and she is at work doing a sound check at Broadcasting House in the Women’s Hour studio for a special broadcast of Princess Anne doing an interview.
Her best friend is Caroline, who brought her to London as they’re like sisters. She needs that kind of loving after still having her sparkley career in the morning and it vanishing by the afternoon… Then there’s the matter of her love-life and time is moving on and lots of guys are being picked off the shelf and coupled up, as her internal clock is also ticking away. It has a very entertaining, humorous Bridget Jones vibe, right down to a certain list, that fits well and seems a nice nod to those books/films. It’s a vibe that not everyone pulls off well, but Taylor does in this series and yet keeping originality in the characters and narrative.

Nestled amongst the hilarity, there are moments of poignancy and sadness in family matters, but not deeply depressingly sad, it’s another side of grief and dealing with the deceased belongings, a tender, bittersweet moment that is realistically captured, before moving back to Evie working on a plan of action for her next stage in life (sort of).

There are interesting interludes throughout the book, much like there were in the first book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. This time it is like a bit of a tour around different parts of Scotland and Yorkshire, giving insights into what happened for a person to get to where they are now. It may not sound like this works on paper like this, but in the book it does and flows naturally. The fact there are interludes sort of reminds me of a style in a drama I used to watch. The interludes in this book add much depth and poignancy.

I am absolutely hooked on reading about Evie Epworth and I am sure others will be too. I can’t wait to see what Matson Taylor writes next!

I highly recommend this book.

 

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#Review By Lou of The Poet By Louisa Reid @LouisaReid @DoubleDayUK @RandomTTours #ThePoet #BlogTour

The Poet
By Louisa Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Poet by Louisa Reid, nikita gill, manjett mann, poetry, poet

The Poet is powerful with current and universal themes told in ways readers may not expect. Check out the blurb and my full review below. First, thanks to the publisher – Double Day and organiser – Random T. Tours for gifting a copy of the book and for inviting me to review.

Blurb

The Poet Cover (1)Bright, promising Emma is entangled in a toxic romance with her old professor – and she’s losing control.

Charming, cruel Tom is idolized by his students and peers – and he thinks he holds all the cards.

In their small Oxford home, he manipulates and undermines Emma’s every
thought and act. Soon, he will push her to the limit, and she must decide:
to remain quiet and submit, or to take her revenge.

The Poet is a portrait of a toxic relationship, about coercive control, class
and
privilege: it is also a passionate, page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

Written in verse and charged with passion and anger, The Poet is a portrait of a deeply dysfunctional relationship, exploring coercive control, class and privilege. It is also a page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

louisa reid, the poet, erika waller, dog days, poetry

Review

The Poet gives a unique perspective as to how a story about life can be told, in that it is presented in verse inside its evocative cover. It’s a book that may prompt/provoke strong feelings to come to the fore.

There’s rawness, strong emotion, the harshness of life being challenging with a relationship being toxic and coercive control, with a softer tone of something beautiful in nature, a cat and female solidarity.
It looks great on a page, the way the words are set out to get their point across, but I also think it would be great being performed like “street/performance poetry”. There are elements that I imagined would sound great being said aloud, with its light and dark, with the shades inbetween.
The book is powerful, thought-provoking, sometimes soft, sometimes fierce with rage in its universally current themes.
There’s the idea of love, of how things could be for Emma in her relationship with Tom, then comes the searing reality of how the so called romance actually is, with a distinct creepy chill that is sure to run down any reader’s bones to see how his charm changes and turns bad, which has consequences and effects as the writing shows what someone coercing a lover can do and what happens next as a result.
There are places where it turns a corner, into how to survive and female solidarity that has some strength to it.
Overall it is an exquisitely written book.

About the Author

Louisa Reid has lived in Cambridge, London and Zurich, and now lives near Manchester. She graduated with a degree in English from Oxford before training as an English teacher at Cambridge University and she continues to work as a teacher. Louisa is the author of four novels for young adults: Black Heart Blue and Gloves Off were both nominated  for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

The Poet BT Poster

#Review by Lou – The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain Happy Publication Day @MattCainWriter @HeadlineFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction #Romance #LGBT #AudioBook #BlogTour #AudioTour #BlogTour

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle
By Matt Cain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Touching and endearing, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is nothing short of fabulously uplifting and full of joy and optimism. It’s a beautiful, highly original summer read. It’s a Must  Listen To… 

I very highly recommend this book. I genuinely loved it and could not put it down. It was a pity it had to end sometime.

Check out more in the blurb, my review and the praise it has already attracted below
Thanks to publishers – Headline for gifting me a copy of the audiobook and for giving me the pleasure of reviewing in Gay Pride Month. It makes no difference what your sexual orientation is. It’s a cracking read for anyone who loves a good story. It’s by far one of the best LGBT books I’ve ever read.

The Secret Life Of Albert Entwistle audio cover

Blurb

The Secret Life Of Albert Entwistle audio coverThe Audiobook is a dream to listen to. You really get to know Albert Entwistle and the narrator Layton Williams really brings him to life. The pacing is excellent and so is the way Albert’s story is delivered. I went out walk

Albert Entwistle is a postman, a pretty ordinary one at that and one that I was interested to know more about, even with the pang of sadness that he appears to have no life outside work, which poses a challenge when retirement is on the cards. 

I especially enjoyed getting to know Albert, George and Marjorie, as well as Nicole and seeing their lives unfold and how they are connected.

This is a very beautiful book that’s so quick to get into. It’s uplifting, with a cosy warmth. It also bridges the gap between younger and older generations, in some ways in the attutudes that and secrecy were around at certain times. It’s quite hard to put down as you uncover great characters and a life with secrets that may not be quite what you’re expecting and reasons why Albert hid part of his life for a time.

There are reunions and a love story that starts to play out and it is so lovely to watch it unfold. There’s travel and theatre and such life drama. There’s also a cat and an very emotional story unfolds that leaves you rooting for Albert more than ever.

There are discoveries made and life can be more than what you think it might as no one can predict the future. It is so poignant and touching in parts. The journeys that are taken, both deep, personal ones and the actual moving around from Toddington to Blackpool add to the great life affirming adventure, that so easily reels you in.

The book is entertaining to read/listen to and just projects so much joy and also so much emotion, with pinpoints of humour. There is strength of character and courage, which is absolutely fabulous!

Praise for The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

rollicking love story‘ IAN McKELLEN

‘A wonderful old-fashioned romance . . . An utter treat‘ KATE MOSSE

Wonderful. Written with such a good heart, filled with joy and strength and optimism . . . inventive and fun but most importantly, true.’ RUSSELL T. DAVIES

Brilliant . . . [I] recommend to all!’ MATT LUCAS

‘I loved it! Really heart-warming and joyful, but also so poignant. I cannot recommend this book highly enough’ LORRAINE KELLY

‘Albert is such an endearing character – flawed, funny and awkward, but completely relatable. A wonderfully warm story that completely drew me in’ RUTH HOGAN

Sweetlovely and expected to be a big summer hit‘ THE BOOKSELLER

‘Prepare to fall in love with Albert Entwistle! Touching and tender’ S. J. WATSON

Albert is delightful and charming, and the book is too’ JONATHAN HARVEY

#Review By Lou of The Slow Lane Walkers Club By Rosa Temple @RosaT_Author @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC #BlogTour #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction

The Slow Lane Walkers Club
By Rosa Temple

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

 A book for those seeking the feel-good factor. It’s full of heart, soul and is picturesque for a wonderful summer read. Check out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster – Books And The City for gifting me a copy of The Slow Walkers Club By Rosa Temple to review.

Walkers Club 3 pic

Blurb

Walkers Club 2 picDaniel isn’t used to living life in the slow lane. So when he finds himself unexpectedly jobless and back in his old Cornish hometown, he can’t sit still.

Hazel used to be adventurous too. But now widowed and in her eighties, she barely leaves the house. When she sees an advert for Daniel’s new walking club, she grabs at the chance of some excitement.

Daniel’s heart sinks when he sees that the only person who’s turned up for his walking club is the crazy old lady from two doors down. But what he doesn’t expect is to discover that Hazel is one of the most fascinating people he’s ever met . . .

A gorgeous, warm and uplifting story about friendship, community, adventure and the joy of walking.

Review

The sunshine yellow cover absolutely goes with this book. It’s bright and has a smiley feel-good factor.
I love walking, meeting people or just being amongst nature or good music streaming through the earphones and exploring, sometimes it’s serious stuff for charity. So, on that basis, The Slow Lane Walkers Club, I decided was worth a read as there’s so much about running etc, that I thought it nice someone talked about walking, so I jumped at the chance to read this book.
Even if walking isn’t your thing, there’s still so much enjoyment in this book.

Walkers Club 1 picMeet Daniel and Hazel on your “walk” through this book and step into an interesting, picturesque community in Cornwall.

Daniel is a fascinating character. He is relatable in that he can’t stay still and is coming up with new community ideas, this one being a walkers club. It’s easy to soak up the walking vibes.

I felt sorry for Daniel, after putting his heart into starting the walking club, albeit to pass the time until the house sells that his grandmother left behind (but readers know it would still benefit people for the greater good) and yet after his thoughtfulness, only one other person turns up – Hazel from two doors down, which, validly so, leaves him feeling so disheartened. At the same time, it’s easy to smile about Hazel because, even though she is in her 80’s, you can’t help be proud of her stepping out and giving it a go and continuing on to see what adventures life still has to give her, even though she is very slow. It shows younger folk, like me, that there’s still life when you hit 80’s, which is reassuring. She made me think of my gran in respect of walking, as she still went walking in a good chunk of her 80’s. It wasn’t what Daniel had expected nor planned, but then it turns into walking into unexpected self-discovery. Daniel discovers things about himself, as well as about Hazel and there’s much more about her than he could possibly have imagined, which, for the reader, makes her more interesting than previously thought and also knows quite a bit about Daniel’s gran.

The developing relationship between Hazel and Daniel is quite sweet and feels quite uplifting and if it wasn’t for the Walkers Club they would probably never have met like this, so it’s nice it champions such ventures, but also sets out some realities that some readers may find thought-provoking or inspiring. As I read, I had my fingers crossed that the club might pick up and gather more walkers. I kept wanting to know more and more about the two main characters and whether Daniel who really wanted to leave, pronto, would stay or go. Once started, it’s one that compels you to see if he can negotiate the obstacles and relationships he encounters in his life in Cornwall, which is so different in that it is slower than the previous chapter of his life he had been leading before. It was full of the sorts of adventures, his walking partner certainly couldn’t do now, in her 80’s; so the book poses interesting questions for the reader to keep stepping through Cornwall to come across answers as to how lives play out…

It’s a book full of warmth, care and lovely Cornish scenery to meander through at a relaxed walking pace that envelopes around you with feelgood endorphins and is a lovely, joyous summer read.

#BookReview By Lou of Beach House Summer By Sarah Morgan – Happy Publication Day to @sarahmorgan_ @HQstories #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction

Beach House Summer
By Sarah Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beach House Summer (1)

Today I am absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour of the wonderfully compelling book – Beach House Summer on Publication Day – Happy Pub Day to you Sarah Morgan. Thanks to the publisher – HQ for gifting me a copy of the book and for the invite to review. Find out more in the blurb and my full review below…

Beach House Summer

Blurb

A marriage in the spotlight

Joanna Whitman’s high-profile marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, so when her ex-husband dies, she doesn’t know what to feel. But when she discovers that he’s left behind a pregnant young woman, Joanna is forced to act. She knows exactly how brutal the spotlight on them both will be…unless she can find a way for them to disappear.

A beach house hideaway

Ashley Blake is amazed when Joanna suggests they lie low at her beach house in her sleepy Californian hometown. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the support she can find.

A summer of new beginnings

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future. But when an old flame reappears, and secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is put to the test….

Review

Beach House SummerBeach House Summer is an excellent book to totally escape into. It is told by Ashley, Joanna and Melanie and will get you in the mood for summer and sand. It begins so touchingly and says a lot about the importance of good mums and the role they have when their offspring are growing up. Ashley is alone now, without the safety net of mum, but now she is with a megastar cruising along in his car. The author, however has made some thought-provoking points along the way into these riches, Ashley is now surrounded by, until tragedy strikes and she has no back-up plans.

This is when things start hotting up further as things become much more complicated, when Joanna finds out about her ex-husband’s death on breakfast tv, and later about his new partner, who she ends up helping…

Melanie is having a whole mix of troubles – and and daughter trouble as Eden is at that stage in life where she has finished formal schooling and could go onto higher education, but instead has other plans, not to her parents liking. Melanie (Mel) also works in the family business a cafe, that seems quite buzzy with an influx of life about it; but then there’s also Nate and where her heart lies.
Joanna and Mel were also friends, but things happened and even the past hurts and things are awkward.

Sarah Morgan writes all the entanglement of emotions that aren’t so straight forward and shows that nothing is clear cut in this situation, very compellingly well.  It really is a rollercoaster of a ride through her characters lives, that are enthralling to follow through romance and  unlikely friendships, bringing optimism.
This is a great summer read!

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Review By Lou of The Way From Here By Jane Turner @jane_turner9 @orionbooks @RandomTTours #BookReview #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #ReadingCommunity

The Way From Here
By Jane Turner

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today is my turn on the blog tour with my review for The Way From Here, a book of parenthood, life’s transitions and friendship. Find out more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below.
Thanks to Random T Tours and the publisher Orion for inviting me to review and for a copy of the book.

F The Way From Here Cover

Blurb

Four friends. A lifetime of choices. What comes next?

Kate had been so busy making a place in the world for her daughters, she had somehow forgotten to take care of herself. The life she’d ended up with was not the life she’d planned. Everything was…a compromise.

When Kate’s younger daughter Ella goes off to university, she realises her life has become consumed by the minutiae of family life. In her ’empty nest’, Kate starts to wonder: what now?

Decades after abandoning her university hobby of rowing, Kate gingerly joins a local ladies rowing team and rediscovers her passion for the pleasing rhythmic sensation of paddle slicing through water.

More than anything, though, Kate finds that the team of strong women bring new adventures and unlikely friendships she hadn’t even realised she missed having…

A life-affirming, uplifting story about eight fifty-something women who are all asking the same question about what is next in life for them – and starting to discover the answer together.

Review

The Way From here is told primarily from Kate and Beth’s perspectives, with interjections from Lesley. It begins with Kate taking her daughter, Ella to university. It has all the ingredients in the story that so many parents would be able to relate to when their children get to a certain stage and age in life.

The book quickly gets into the next stage, with Kate getting into a rowing club. The book gets right into the details of rowing, quite cinematically and for the uninitated in rowing, the author has thoughtfully written brief descriptions outwith the main body of the story, of rowing techniques.
This isn’t soley about rowing, so it’s still okay if that isn’t your thing. This is also about reaching a certain stage and age in life and being overlooked. It also shows how groups, even such as a rowing group, has its cliques. On the flipside, it is also about friendship and rediscovering what seemed lost and truly living again and navigating through the maze of another stage of life.
Readers are let into Kate’s psyche, moods and mental health state, really well in a way that you can totally sympathise with her and perhaps even empathise with her if you’re a reader of a similar sort of age. You really get into her head and her thoughts about her life and how she is feeling.
Kate, especially, is a character that truly pops off the page.
All in all though, readers can follow friends through ups and downs of a new phase of life as their nests become empty and they need to work out how to fill the void and find their place in the world again.

It’s a book, perhaps really aimed at an audience slightly older than I, but it is important to read books with strong characters who are that bit older, giving inspiration and a story of how life can be as we enter different stages in life. It’s told well and is both compelling and absorbing. It provides physical energy through the rowing and also through the pathways of life, that you go through with the characters, leading to a very realistic, mature and satisfying ending.