#Article #Interview #Reviews By Lou -Celebrating the Work of Matson Taylor @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #TheMiseducationOfEvieEpworth #AllAboutEvie

As part of my blog in 2023 until it reaches 5 years old in September, I will be celebrating an author or publisher every so often. I am beginning with Matson Taylor, a design historian and author with lots of wit and poignancy in his writing. He is also someone I’ve had the joy of doing Zoom with and interviewing. I have included links to previous reviews and an interview at the end of each section.

Matson Taylor burst onto the writing scene with his humorous, contemporary fiction book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth to much praise, so much so that this debut novel had made it to the BBC Radio Book Club. His books caused quite a stir as they landed on bookshelves. He then followed up with All About Evie, again with more high praise, no mean feat I should think when authors often say that writing a second book is one of the hardest and you can only hope the first lot of readers stay with you and also builds too.
The books, set between parts of Yorkshire, London and parts of Scotland are brilliantly humorous and then catch you with poignancy as you lean about her teenage and adult life. All is well-researched and observed and fit into the eras well. So many people would be able to relate to the universal themes and to the fashions and music at the time, whether they lived through the eras or not and if not, there’s certainly plenty that people can learn from that may pique interest within the entertaining story-telling.

The Books and Interview


The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is set in 1962 and you first join her at 16 1/2. She has her music, literary and actor idols and she’s growing fast with philosophical musings about future jobs. She is also  learning lots from Mrs Pym; which is where the poignancy comes in. 
You can find out more about the book in my review, which also includes a blurb in the link: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth Review

 


All About Evie is about how her life is as an adult in 1972. The setting is between London, various parts of Yorkshire and Scotland. She had a job in London working for the BBC, which turns out disastrous, meaning she needs a different direction in life and even her love-life is poor. The situations she finds herself in brings much humour. Again, there’s poignancy with family matters.
You can find out more about the book in my review, which also includes a blurb in the link: All About Evie


The style and layout of writing is interesting in both books as the poignancy is written within what he calls Interludes. The humour is quick-witted and all of it is highly engaging with universal themes. Matson Taylor is a design historian and his passion comes across well as does his knowledge in the eras of which he writes. He also likes his writing to bring many emotions from happy to sad these two books do it with a plomb. He once said the Evie Epworth books will become a trilogy. You may need to wait because he’s another wonderful sounding book he is writing ahead of that. I once did an interview with Matson Taylor, Find out what he has to say about his books, his future plans in his writing career and how his career as a design historian aids his writing and much more in the link: Interview With Matson Taylor

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#BookReview By Lou of Sunrise With The Silver SurfersBy Maddie Please @MaddiePlease1 @BoldwoodBooks #TheSilverSurfers is entertaining #Uplit with #Travel #Friendship #Romance in #ContemporaryFiction

Sunrise With The Silver Surfers
By Maddie Please 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You’re never too old to have some fun in the sun with sea and sand in this book that will appeal to both the retired and younger readers alike. It gives hope, elements of surprise and intrigue, whilst being uplifting and adventurous in the exciting travel plans. Discover more in the blurb and my thoughts below.

The brand new novel from the #1 bestselling author of The Old Ducks’ Club!

Newly single at sixty, Elin Anderson decides it’s finally time for an adventure of her own. With her marriage to tedious Tom now officially over, Elin plans to visit the family she hasn’t seen in years. First stop: Australia!

But going home is harder than Elin thought. Everywhere she turns Elin sees brightness and colour, which only makes her own life seem even more drab and beige. How has she let herself fade away?

Determined to have some fun, Elin reluctantly agrees to join The Silver Surfers – a group of seniors who travel the coast, only caring about their next big adventure. Because life’s too short to watch the ocean when you could be making waves…

There’s only one catch – her road trip companion, Kit Pascoe. Kit is a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fun and makes it clear to Elin that this adventure will be subject to his own strict rules.

But with every new day, Elin slowly begins to rediscover who she really is. And she’s certain that rules are meant to be broken…aren’t they?

Perfect for fans of Judy Leigh and Dee Macdonald

Review

This is perfect for sweeping winter away and escaping to the sun. This is the first book I have read by Maddie Please and I rather enjoyed it. All that promise of fun travel on holidays that beckons and companionship makes this great to sit back and for awhile, let the sea within the book wash all your cares away and bring inspiration and a warm feeling like the sun beaming down on you.

Elin was living in what sounds like a kindly neighbourhood. Her marriage hasn’t survived intact, as some don’t when life changes into a new phase. There are also changes where she lives. We meet her at Heathrow Airport waiting for her flight to Australia, where she was born. Most of us people watch and that’s what she does, she’s also a bit introspective as she looks around at her fellow passengers. She also likes some of the more lavish lifestyle and goes to town in treating herself. You can feel the relief of the divorce and see she is ready for a new adventure. She isn’t alone when she touches down in Australia, she has Rowan, Maggie and Shane to meet up with.
Then she has Kit Pascoe to meet and contend with… her main travel companion. Will they warm to each other? Will he get into the spirit of things? Where will their explorations lead them? 

As her new big adventure begins, in many ways, she gets more than she and the group get more than they bargained for. Not everything is plain-sailing. There are just a few unexpected challenges to face to say the least. Some more complicated for Elin to work out than others, including her emotions and how she’s going to be in this phase of her life, what paths, personally, to take. Then there’s home in the UK, that one way or another, isn’t ever too far away, even when she is physically thousands of miles away. There are elements here and there that are reminiscent of Shirley Valentine, in a good way. There’s part of story within this that could go either way. There are elements of the book being a page turner as curiosity as to how it all turn out firmly bites.

It’s an adventure of a lifetime and one worth joining The Silver Surfers on. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Thanks to Boldwood Books for the review e-book copy to review from.

#BookReview By Lou of The Good News Gazette By Jessie Wells @JessieWells22 @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #TheGoodNewsGazette #BlogTour #ContemporaryFction

 Goodnews Gazette
By Jessie Wells

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hear ye, Hear ye, roll up for the Good News Gazette! A book I am on a blog tour for and today I have a review for you to peruse. Thanks first to Rachel Random Resources and One More Chapter for the invite to review.

 

The Good News Gazette

Because we all need something to smile about!

She may be down but don’t count this determined single mum out just yet…

Nine years ago, Zoe Taylor returned from London to the quiet hamlet of Westholme with her tail between her legs and a bun in the oven. Where once her job as a journalist saw her tearing off to Paris at a moment’s notice after a lead, now the single mum covers the local news desk. At least, she did…until she’s unceremoniously let go.

When Zoe invites her friends over to commiserate, wine and whining soon turns into something more… and before the night is out she’s plotted her next step: The Good News Gazette.

Now, as a developer threatens to force Westholme into the twenty-first century, Zoe’s good news movement finds her leading a covert campaign as a community crusader. She may have started The Good News Gazette as a way to save herself, but she might just be able to save Westholme in the process…

Review 

Zoe Taylor works for the local newspaper in Westholm. Things aren’t always working out too well for her and is made redundant, besides, there’s a lot of bad news to be reporting about, which she was not always enthralled about. She, however has skills, but nowhere to go and a family to support on her own to boot. She gets all entrepreneurial and strikes lucky when an idea hits her friends and grows on her, to start her own newspaper. She calls it The Good News Gazette as she wants to lighten things up a bit, with their being enough depressing things happening and being reported on, so she sets out to report about only good news. The challenge is, trying to find enough to sustain a new newspaper where that’s it’s main focus. Zoe also has a bit of positive activism within her as she also tries to save the shopping centre from closing down. There are also other community stories within the volunteer sector that weaves into her life and gazette ideas. There are community Facebook page comments that are witty at the end of the chapters, something that has grown a lot in recent years, so sort of pays homage to that.

It is an uplifting book about getting on with life and about community and friendship spirit.

#BookReview By Lou of The Summer Fair By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK @harriett_col @BookMinxSJV #TeamBATC #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanticFiction #TheSummerFair #BlogTour

The Summer Fair
By Heidi Swain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Summer Fair is a pleasure to read and it’s great to return to Nightengale Square with it’s charm, warmth, romance and challenges to overcome.
Check out more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below.
Firstly, thanks to the publisher – Simon and Schuster for inviting me on the blog tour to review and for gifting me a book and a cake mix to bake (still to be baked but I think it may be a sweet bit of deliciousness. Time will tell. Pics will come on Twitter in all good time).
*Please note, that my review does not reflect these gifts, lovely as they are, my review remains based on the book alone and without bias.

The Summer Fair cover

Blurb

Join Sunday Times best seller Heidi Swain back in Nightingale Square for a sunshine and celebration filled summer….

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance.

The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help, too—but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.

Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more?

Review

It is such a delight to return to the people in the Nightengale Square community and to meet some new people along the way.

There is warmth, community spirit from people who like to help when services closedown. There is also heartache, otherwise buried by enthusiasm that not everyone gets to see. The reader however does in this book as what was secreted away comes to light.

It sounds whimsically idyllic from the title, but this book has substance and depth when you get to know the people who have experiences and feelings like anyone in the real world and not just on the written page.

Beth works for the Edith Cavell Care Home and life has been tough, with her mum dying after a stroke. The book is so eloquently written from the beginning of reminisces of music that has now also died with her…. The readers are then taken on a journey into Nightengale Square, its residents, the workplaces and Beth’s life.

Beth is a popular carer at the home and loves her job, but behind all that is sorrow and denial of the things she loved before the death of her mum, realised even more when she goes with Harold to the community garden, but she does have a houseplant called Aretha, named after Aretha Franklin as it is strong. There is a point to this plant and its character that is clever in tying in with part of Beth’s personality, which shows thoughtfulness and writing with great creativity. 

Beth is house sharing with a few people and not altogether satisfied at this position that she has found herself in, but fortunes change as she has the opportunity to move to Nightengale Square, a place which is so idyllic that I am sure many readers can imagine living there, with its caring, supportive community and Winter Gardens, featured in a previous book, but mentioned in this. This time, instead of Winterfest, the community want to host a summer fair.

This is about community coming together to create something good and inclusive, with the backdrop of people’s personal lives and stuff they’ve kept to themselves for so long, but like for Beth, certain things have impact and open old memories, widening past wounds. It’s pure escapism and romance, all with a bit of grit, showing that not everything is always idyllic as it may first seem in everyone’s lives and tumultuous moments between people; that’s what gives it a good grounding and saves it being whimsical. It’s enjoyable from start to end with hearfelt warmth.

I highly recommend The Summer Fair for a gorgeous summer read, whether you’re on holiday or in your garden, soaking up the rays of the sun and the atmosphere of the book.

The Summer Fair Blog Tour (1)

#Review By Lou of Yinka, Where Is You Huzband @DamilolaLizzie @VikingBooks #YINKA #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #Romcom

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband
By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Rated 4 1/2 stars

Today I am excited to be on the blog tour for the highly entertaining and fun book  – Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. I had good vibes about it just a few pages in…Thanks to Viking Books for gifting me a proof copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. Find out more below in the blurb and full review, as well as what critically acclaimed authors such as Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary say…

Blurb

Yinka Where is Your Huzband coverYinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.

She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…

When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?

What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?

Review

 Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband is so relatable, especially to singletons who are asked that eternal question about a partner. Yinka has many aunties who want to know when she is going to find a man and get married, after all, she is in her 30’s and this seems important to them. It is interesting to see Yinka trying to forge her own life. She is also career driven, until one day, something happens that changes her life plans, which forces her to plan new life-goals.

I was interested to see if Yinka would find a man and there are some very funny steps that are taken in her hunt for one, but I was also engrossed in other aspects of her and the other characters lives too.

It is interesting how organised Yinka is, even in her personal life and the text shows this through well-placed tables and lists. There are also letters pertaining her employment status too. These are very well-conceived and placed and not over-done.

The book is great for cosying up to on a cold day as it is easy to get wrapped up in the story, and yet is as light as a summer breeze, where you can easily sit with it and take in the rays of the sun. It is a feel-good, highly entertaining read that is joyous and fun!

Readers who like Bridget Jones Diary and Shopaholic series in style are sure to enjoy Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. It is just as humorous and a fun debut novel!
I highly recommend this book and would be interested to see what comes next from the author -Lizzie Damilola Blackburn.

           

 

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband Tour 6 copy (1)

 

#BookReview By Lou of One Night On The Island By Josie Silver @JosieSilver_ @penguinrandom #PenguinGeneral @PenguinUKBooks @ella_horne #OneNightOnTheIsland #BookRecommendation #Romcom #RomanticFiction #UpliftingFiction

One Night On The Island
By Josie Silver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

From the author of One Day in December comes One Night on the Island. An absolutely outstanding rom-com that is sure to have you feeling good and having a right proper laugh as romance unfurls, leaving a positive sensation and one that feeling of having been thoroughly entertained…. It is enjoyable for the beginning. Thanks to Penguin General/Penguin Random House for inviting me to review and for gifting me a proof copy of the book. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…

Blurb

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE MAJOR BESTSELLER ONE DAY IN DECEMBER, COMES A NEW IRRESISTIBLE LOVE STORY

Cleo writes about love stories every day. She just isn’t living one of her own.

When the editor of her dating column asks her to marry herself on a remote Irish island – a sensational piece to mark Cleo’s thirtieth birthday – Cleo agrees. She’s alone but not lonely, right? She can handle a solo adventure.

Cleo arrives at her luxury cabin to find a tall, dark, stubborn American who insists it’s actually his. Mack refuses to leave, and Cleo won’t budge either. With a storm fast approaching, they reluctantly hunker down together. It’s just one night, after all . . .

But what if one night on the island is just the beginning?

Following Cleo and Mack through heartbreak, healing and the search for happiness, One Night on the Island is an uplifting and immensely moving love story for fans of The Holiday, Lucy Diamond and Jojo Moyes.

Review

One Night on the Island is billed to be for fans of The Holiday, which I found very exciting and immediately piqued my interest. I was not disappointed in what is pure warm escapism with great entertainment value radiating, cosily from it with the feel-good factor ramped up high, with a couple of deeper themes weaved in.

The characters and the humour and the premise is just so enjoyable. Even the chapter names are humorous. This book has the Feel-Good Factor right at its heart and so many giggley moments ensue. The writing is absolutely divine for slinking back and soaking it all up as romance unfurls and perfect escapsim ensues.

Cleo works for the magazine – Women Today has an unusual job to do. Directed by her boss, Ali, the assignment is to marry herself (or self-coupling or sologamy) on a remote island. She has a few reservations to say the least, not least that she is still interested in dating, and isn’t this something that celebs do? When she arrives on a remote island, she then has to share the stunning, totally remote, Otter Lodge with, who begins with, is a random American – Mack Sullivan, who is at every inch, impossible. He’s grumpy and yet good-looking. Josie Silver has the ingredients for this new romance and whisked them up to bring a lightness to touch and stirred them to create a certain depth, with themes of self-love and acceptance that cascade gently through the pages.

There’s show-biz (lots of name-dropping), adventure, romantic possibilities and new-life opportunities.
One Night On The Island is entertaining, fun and pure escapism!