#BookReview of The Call of the Penguins By Hazel Prior @HazelPriorBooks @TransworldBooks #Christmasread #CallOfThePenguins #Fiction #Wildlife #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #GeneralFiction

The Call of the Penguins
By Hazel Prior

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the author of Away with the Penguins - Call of the Penguins is out this Autumn

The Call of the Penguins will have you wanting to whisk yourself to them in a heartbeat!
Thanks to publisher – Transworld Books for gifting me a copy to review. Find out more in the blurb and my full review below.

Call of the PenguinsA delightfully feel-good new novel from the No. 1 bestselling author of Away With the Penguins – sure to become a firm favourite with readers!

At eighty-seven, Veronica McCreedy thinks her days of travelling the world are behind her. But when she’s invited to take part in a TV nature documentary that will take her across the globe filming her beloved penguins, she leaps at the prospect of a new adventure . . .

 

Review

'Penguins represent bravery, determination and resilience'

Set, initially in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, The Call of the Penguins has charm and warmth and that call for a new adventure for Veronica McCreedy. The book is warm but tackles worldly issues within its cosyness of the penguins. There’s a new colony of penguins being introduced as well as updates on the penguins in the Antarctic. This brings a fresh and brings a new slant to human and animal stories.

The chapters are split between Veronica, Patrick and Terry. Readers get to know their trials and tribulations of life, such as family, health, relationship issues and more… It makes for an interesting read as they take you into the heart of the animal or at least penguin kingdom, as well as their own lives that have their ups and downs as do the penguins. In saying that, it does have a feel-good factor that will give you a cuddly warming feel, without being sappy as it deals with some of what can be found in hard-hitting headlines about the environment and conservation. Veronica McCreedy, although is trying to do something good in conserving penguins, isn’t without attracting her own headlines of controversy to a point.

This is a rather enjoyable book with all the adventures you’ll go on and the characters you’ll meet along the way as you cosy up from the cold winter days.

'The perfect fireside read' Trisha Ashley, 2021

 

#BookReview By Lou – Celebrations At The Chateau By Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #Christmas #CelebrationsAtTheChateau

Celebrations At The Chateau
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Celebrations at the Chateau is coming soon

A cosy feel good novel set in France, Celebrations At The Chateau is a book that entertains. Thanks to    Take a look at the blurb and then my full review below…

Celebrations at the Chateau

Blurb

'Another gem from Jo Thomas' Kate Fforde 2021A wonderfully romantic, feel-good new novel set in a French château over the most magical time of the year! From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse.

When their grandfather dies, Fliss and her sisters are astonished to inherit a French château! Travelling to Normandy to visit the beautiful if faded house, they excitedly make plans over delicious crêpes and local cider in the town nearby.

But they soon discover the château needs major work, a huge tax bill is due . . . and there’s a sitting tenant, Madame Charlotte Cadieux, to whom they owe a monthly allowance!

Unable to sell but strapped for cash, Fliss determines to spruce up the elegant old rooms and open a B&B. But why are Jacques – Madame’s grandson and the mayor – and the other townsfolk so hostile? How did Fliss’ grandfather come to own the place anyway? And will Jacques and Fliss be able to put their differences aside to save the château?

It seems like nothing but trouble. But as the old year gives way to the new, it could be a new beginning for them all . . .

Inspired by Escape to the Chateau, this is a cosy and uplifting novel to curl up with, from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

Review

There’s work to be done and a chateau to save in this feel-good book. Fliss and her sisters have a large task on their hands in France. They end up with a chateau that needs doing up. They also need to decide what to do about a sit-in tenant they were not expecting. It very much makes me think of channel 4 series – Escape to the Chateau in many ways in that it needs so many reparations. It’s such a huge undertaking to save it. It’s entertaining to see what unfolds, but hardship also hits them as a huge bill arrives. The locals are not pleasant and are far from welcoming to these new incomers. It shows how society can be towards new people, or at least, part of it. It’s a big undertaking and one that makes for a fun story to escape into.

It’s lovely reading about the renovations as they get underway and all the food and drinks that wash over the book, creating the cosy factor with interesting characters.

 

#BookReview by Lou of Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley @ZaraStoneley @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #Fiction #OfficeReturn #OfficeRomance #Humour #Uplifting

Hot Desk
By Zara Stoneley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot Desk provides great escapism that is packed full of delightful entertainment  with really good humour and romance.

Thank you to One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK) for gifting me a copy of Hot Desk and giving me the opportunity to review.

Follow onto the blurb and my full review below.

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Blurb

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
 
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
 
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review

Hot DeskHot Desk is set post Covid-19 and people are adjusting to being back in the office with new working practices. Something so many office workers would now be able to relate to. This reality is there, but it’s not all about Covid-19. This is about Alice and how she handles going back to the office of ‘We Got Designs’. It presents itself, even from the first page, to be a very funny book indeed. The comic-timing in the writing is divine. A little bit further in and there is the clear signs of romantic frission between her and fellow colleague – Jamie and it is so well written. It’s great that this is set out near the beginning and then to see how this progresses. It’s a bit like listening into office gossip when reading Hot Desk. It’s all rather a deliciously enticing book that is so entertaining that it compels you to read to see how it all plays out.

There are serious notes to the story too, one being the real fear of the office’s future. There is also the whole fear of hot desking looming and then becoming a reality, with all the terms and conditions attached and the emotion that goes with it. Readers will be able to relate to how things can be when a desk is no longer your own. Alice finds out she has to hot desk with Jamie, so confides in her friend Lou quite a bit.

There is a sweet growing romance that sprouts in the office and yet in a light way, also brings endangered animals and conservation into the conversation. It’s lovely to organically watch Alice and Jamie getting to know each other.

Ultimately this is a rom-com that is properly funny and properly romantic. The mix of these ingredients with the premise of returning to the office and having to share a desk works wonderfully well and makes me smile. Readers can watch this office to see if the spark of their romance grows further into a sizzle or not, even with all the new things to get to grip with, this element still lives on.
After a hard day’s work, whether you’re in an office or not, Hot Desk provides entertaining, sweet and touching escapism that hits the spot very well indeed.

#Review by Lou – Under the Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK #WomensFiction #Romance #Fiction

Under the Italian Sun
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Family members to discover, loss and lovely scenery and food, Under the Italian Sun will play with your emotions in a journey from the very south of England to Italy. It is all quite intriguing to see lives unearthed as ancestry is uncovered.
Discover more in the blurb and review as you escape to being Under The Italian Sun.

Thanks to Ellie Pilcher at Avon Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me an e-book.

Under The Italian Sun

Blurb

The #1 bestseller is back with an uplifting, escapist read that will brighten the gloomiest day!

A warm, sun-baked terrace.

The rustle of verdant green vines.

The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.

And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…

Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.

When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.

However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…

This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?

Review

Under The Italian SunThe book deals with loss of a gran and family discovery of where you come from. It begins with Zia and Ursula looking through belongings, left behind by Zia’s gran for clues to who her father was/is. There is also the mystery as to who Victoria Chalmers was and how she may have fit into the family. There’s a lot of unravelling, a bit like “Long Lost Family” and trying to piece together Zia’s family tree, which is of much interest, and Zia is on a mission to discover all, by hiring Harry – a private investigator and things get rather complicated. There’s also the burgeoning romance that brings characters together on this adventure.

The valley where Zia and Ursula go to in Italy – Tenuta Domenicali, in Orvieto wine region, is awash with grape vines for wine, where Emiliano works on the production side, which belongs to the Domenicali family. There’s much to consider for the business and whether to sell to a big company with big tourist ideas and plans for development or to decline the offer. 

The book goes between Italy and Devon and brings up some real issues about affordability in the very south of England, or rather lack of it and how everything is vastly expensive.

There is an air of holiday time about the book, which makes it a lovely, beautifully written book to read whilst on a staycation or in your garden with the sun beating down on you or curled up somewhere in your home. The book is both uplifting and emotional. It isn’t a heavy read, although it deals with grief, it still has that lazy summer’s day feel about it. It may also make you hungry with some of the lovely food that is mentioned.

As Under the Italian Sun continues, it is intriguing to see how the vines of family connections intertwine. There are birth and death certificates to be found and the details that come with those. It’s a book that may even inspire some readers to investigate their family history to see what they can unearth.

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

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 good entertainment and fun which is so 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 and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

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.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe 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. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
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!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2

#Review By Lou – Lost Property @drhelenparis @HJ_Barnes @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours 5 stars #Fiction #BlogTour

Lost Property
By Helen Paris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…

Lost Property Graphic 2

Blurb

A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.

Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she
started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career.
Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost
umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her
work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she
resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?

Review

Lost Property GraphicLost Property is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.

There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.

There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.

There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as  poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her. 

This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.

About the Author

Lost Property Helen Paris Author PicHelen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”

Lost Property 3