#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.

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#HappyNewYear #2023. Here are a number of #Fiction and #NonFiction Books in many genres I highly #Recommend from #2022 #BookRecommendations #BookReviews #BookWrap

I have reviewed many books in 2022 and what a privilege it has been too. Here are some that I highly recommend out of the many books I have reviewed in 2022. I also have included links to my full no spoiler reviews where you’ll also find the blurbs. The mix of crime fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs are in no particular order. Please also feel free to explore my blog for other great book reviews, author interviews and talks and theatre reviews.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn – An antique shop, antiques, a mysterious puzzle box, a trip to Egypt, a mention of the Canarvon Family (think the real Downton Abbey), all wrapped up in a wonderful book full of splendid characters.
Holly Hepburn has a new book coming this year that I will also be reviewing.

Check out the blurb and my review in the link: The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures

Suicide Thursday By Will Carver explores this and the darker corners of society. It’s a compulsive read with intriguing characters – Mike, Jackie and Eli. Will Eli leave a hated job and get past writing chapter 1 of a novel? What is written in texts? Find out the answers to these and more in Suicide Thursday.

Link to blurb and review –Suicide Thursday

All About Evie By Matson Taylor is a humorous second book to the much talked about The Miseducation of Evie Epworth that was a Radio 2 book club pick. There’s much humour mixed with poignancy and sadness. Find out what happens at a sound check at Broadcasting House, her friend, Caroline and life’s mishaps and incidents. It’s highly engaging. Find the blurb and review in the link: All About Evie

Yes, I Killed Her By Harry Fisher s full of chilling suspense. The question isn’t who, but it is how. How did a murderer commit such a calculated crime. Is it as perfect as he thinks? Here is a link to the blurb and full review. Remember, I’m not going to disclose the answers to those questions. That’s for you to discover yourselves: Yes, I Killed Her

Verity Vanishes By A.B. Morgan is book 3 of The Quirk Files. The books can be read as part of the series or as standalone as the cases each complete by the end of the book. The Quirks are quirky private investigators.

There are secrets to uncover, including who was Verity, why has she vanished and why is a tv station so interested in this particular case? It’s intriguing with wit. See blurb and review in the link –Verity Vanishes

Touching, haunting and a darn good unputdownable read. It takes place between Glasgow and H.M. Polmont Prison in Central Scotland. It’s gripping getting to know about what revelations unfold in Ginger and Wendy’s personalities and what happens to them. It’s a book of obsession and friendship and more in this contemporary fictional book… Find out more in the link to the blurb and my full review: Ginger And Me

The Homes By J.B. Mylet is set in an orphanage village in Scotland. Follow the lives of Lesley, Jonesy and Eadie, all from their points of views. How safe is The Homes? Murder strikes and everything changes in this fast-paced, immersive page-turner. It’s fiction based on a true story. Find out more in the link: The Homes

Remember Me by Charity Norman is gripping and addictive as the layers build up to discover what has happened to Leah, who has disappeared.

The book also follows Felix, who has Alzheimer’s. It’s authentically and sensitively written. Discover the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the link: Remember Me

Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell is enthralling in both setting and the relationships between all the characters. Meet Lachlan, a chef in high demand and Peggy, a formidable, yet fun woman who puts up a credible argument as to why he should follow her to Cornwall to cook his amazing food. Also meet Amber, Lachlan, Rafaelle and Vee as you step into idyllic scenery. Is all well though? What would you make of the mysterious letter? Find out more in my link about this beautiful, compelling book that perfectly captures the lives of its characters, who are concealing truths. Should I Tell You

White Christmas on Winter Street has all the festive feel-good vibes you can want. Unearth the treasures in Corner House in Middledip. It’s a rather moving book as Heather returns to discover new friends and old. Find out more in the link: White Christmas on Winter Street

The Little Wartime Library By Kate Thompson is about a courageous librarian who took Bethnal Green Library underground during World War 2. It is fascinating and is fiction based on fact. Lots of research was done, including asking librarians, including me, many questions that then formed the basis of the central character. The Little Wartime Library

The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies is about 2 people who are seemingly poles apart. 1 is becoming practically a recluse and increasingly elderly, the other, much younger in need of a job, which is how they meet. Little do they know they need each other more than they thought they would. It’s a heartwarming story. Find out more in the link: The Locked AwayLife

Love Untold by Ruth Jones is uplifting, emotional and endearing, It crosses the generations from a teenager right up to a 90 year old. It’s well observed in all the complexities of life and interactions.
Discover more such as the blurb and my review in the link. Love Untold

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre puts readers on an island. There’s a hen party set on a Scottish island. In some ways it’s a bit like And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie, but there are also many differences.

There are frictions amongst the guests and things take a sinister turn. It’s a well-observed book in the way relationships are between the characters and what happens when people are on a remote island. Everyone has a secret and no one is safe. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review: The Cliff House

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter is very humorous but also very poignant and thought provoking. Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling. There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. Follow Mia and Tristan through the ups and downs of life. Mia is especially more than you would perhaps assume she is… Here is the link to the blurb and full review: Cat Lady

Thrown is a debut novel by Sara Cox. It’s heartwarming and uplifting at a pottery class. It’s about community pulling together and friendships forming. There are elements that may well tug at your heartstrings. Here is the link to the blurb and review: Thrown

The Cruise by Catherine Cooper takes place on the most luxurious cruise-liner. The type that would be a holiday of a lifetime. Something mysterious happens and it is compelling to travel around to try to fit together all the pieces to discover how they all fit together and some truths. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. The Cruise

Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas is about 4 friends who have known each other for 25 years. Tragedy happens to one of them, meaning it is up to 3 of them to keep their bucketlist promise- to see the northern lights at Christmas. With themes of friendship, mortality and strength to carry on in the face of adversity and community, it’s an entertaining, heartwarming book. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. Keeping A Christmas Promise

The Echoes of Love By Jenny Ashcroft transports readers to the 1930’s to the 1940’s and then to 1970’s. It takes readers into the depths of love and war and how it reverberates years later. The book is set between Portsmouth in the UK and Crete. It is a story of war and love. A story unfolding at the BBC Broadcasting House. It is fascinating, poignant and beautifully written. Here is the link to my original review and the blurb. The Echoes of Love

Cooking the Book by various authors published by Hobeck Books also raised money for the Trussell Trust. It’s various short stories, each taking on a different sub-genres of crime fiction. Each also has a recipe you can create by each author. Here is the link to all the details Cooking The Books

The Language of Food is fiction based on fact. It takes reader into the life of a little known woman, by many, called Eliza Acton. She changed the course of cookery forever and when today’s cooks come across her, they are inspired by her story and style and have been influenced greatly by her. Annabel Abbs now opens up her life in this very interesting book. Here is the link to discover more: The Language of Food

Create Your Own Indoor Green by Joe Swift who is also an expert gardener on Gardeners World and various other programmes. The book is an easy step by step guide to indoor plants. It quite literally has everything you need to know, whether you’re getting started or already have indoor plants as there’s always more knowledge to be gained. There are handy hints and tips as well as growing and caring for them. I actually bought this for a friend after reviewing it and she is delighted. Find out the blurb and review in the link: Joe’s Create Your Own Indoor Green

Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse, is a memoir where she sheds light and insight into her life, which many women will be able to relate to or understand, perhaps more than they may first expect. It’s a highly interesting read.
Women Like Us

One Night on The Island introduces readers to Cleo. She works for the magazine – Women Today and has an unusual assignment 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. It’s an entertaining story with lots of heart and warmth. One Night On the Island

Mothers and Daughters By Erica James is a compelling story of family life and revelations. Families can be more complex than what they may first appear to be in this sweeping family drama. Mothers and Daughters

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…
This mixes fact and fiction with Marion and the UK Royal Family in a fascinating way, about a woman not everyone knows much about. The Good Servant

Wolf Pack By Will Dean is a Scandi-Noir.

Tuva Moodyson has a case on her hands to solve with Thord and Chief Björn.
Elsa Nyberg is reported as being missing and chillingly, Rose Farm has quite the history of deadly things happening there, involving a family. It’s a gripping page-turner. Here is the link to the full review and blurb. Wolf Pack

The Empire By Michael Ball is exquisitely theatrical, after all, that is his background. It takes readers back in time to the glitz and glamour of 1922, where you’ll meet Jack Tredwell and a whole host of other cast. There are secrets and the future of the theatre itself is in jeopardy. It’s a page turner! Here’s my link to the blurb and rest of the review The Empire

#BookReview By Lou of The Locked Away Life By Drew Davies @Drew_Davies @bookouture #ContemporaryFiction #HeartwarmingRead

The Locked Away Life
By Drew Davies

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have a review of The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies, thanks to the publisher, bookouture an immersive, heartwarming read with chance encounters, different lives and secrets. Discover the blurb and full review below.

 

Blurb

A lonely soul is on the verge of giving up. Can the kindness of a young stranger save her?

Esther has shut away herself in her vine-covered manor house on the top of a hill for as long as she can remember. Everyone in the village whispers about the scandal that broke her heart. She has cut herself off from the world – until now. Now, she needs help uncovering the mystery that has plagued her for decades…

On a sunny spring day, eighteen-year-old Bruno is in the local library when he spots an advert. The old lady on the hill is looking for internet lessons, and Bruno sees his chance. Forever the outsider, he can’t wait to escape the sleepy village – the paid position could be his ticket out of there.

Esther and Bruno have nothing in common, except that they are both in hiding, and their secrets are stopping them from truly living… Esther must come to terms with her past, and Bruno needs to figure out his future. Can these two strangers save one another?

Just as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, this page-turner is for anyone who has ever felt left behind or came close to giving up. Perfect for fans of Sally Page, Ruth Hogan and Mike Gayle.

Review

Unusually, there are two prologues. The first is heart rendering, with Bruno and the second, a terrifying moment with Esther and then it folds out into chapters with these two main characters, alternating with their colliding stories as it goes along as it explains all, how these 2 people meet. It goes right back to a chance encounter of 18 year old Bruno and an advertisement in the community library, one that is a book swap bit of a hair salon. Bruno answers the ad and this is when life changes for him and Esther, an older lady who requires some help. She’s funny in a way, in the beginning as in haha funny and quirky as well as in the tricky sort of manner of the word.

Esther needs help and Bruno needs money, so takes up the offer. She’s got quite a history and quite an attitude to growing ever older. She is also determined or stubborn and has decided she never wants to leave the Manor House she rattles around in. She would say determined, I’m sure, whereas Jane will reckon more stubborn and sees how Esther is no longer able to be as independent as she once was, which she recognises a little herself, as in a smidging.
It’s an interesting pairing, but a good one, showing young and old can come together in all sorts of circumstances and there be a maturity and a developing of that relationship of sorts, and with it’s these characters, it is engaging to see how they develop in their lives. It is intriguing to see the eaking out of secrets and how they both essentially needed each other, but prior to the chance encounter of an ad, they weren’t aware of each other’s existence.
There is also, throughout the relationship between Bruno and Dominic throughout, which brings some exploration of romance and queries around that and sexuality. It also then weaves into conversations with Esther.

Interestingly, it all ends in 2 epilogues. 1 for Esther and on for Bruno,

The manner the conversations come together are not only well observed, but make reading this book immersive and easy to lose yourself in the book’s, sometimes heart-rendering, sometimes heartwarming pages.

#Review By Lou of Ginger and Me By Elissa Soave @elissa_soave @HQstories @HarperCollinsUK #GingerandMe #ContemporaryFiction

Ginger and Me
By Elissa Soave

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Touching, haunting and a darn good read that’s hard to put down. Check out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks, first, to the publisher HQ for gifting me a copy of the book.

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Blurb

Funny, touching and wise, I loved it’ Kit de Waal, bestselling author of My Name Is Leon

Wendy is lonely but coping.
All nineteen-year-old Wendy wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and just to be okay. After her mum died, there’s nobody to remind her to eat and what to do each day.

And Wendy is ready to step out of her comfort zone.
Each week she shows her social worker the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she forgets to make tea. And she even joins a writers’ group to share the stories she writes, like the one about a bullied boy who goes to Mars.

But everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if things were simpler before. And that’s before she realizes just how much trouble Ginger is about to get them in…

An unforgettable debut novel from the winner of the Primadonna Prize 2019 which will stay with you long after the last page.

Review

This is an interesting book that I found myself totally wrapped up in the characters of.

It all begins in present times in Polmont Prison with a pressing question as to why this setting, in the beginning of the book and who is Diane? The book then returns to how this all really began as it becomes, not a prison story, but one that is out and about in the world and friendship and how far an admiration for someone can go…

For readers who don’t know, Polmont is a town in central Scotland and really does have a prison within it.

Wendy is the narrator, this is her story and she starts from the beginning, in Glasgow and the Greater Glasgow and surrounding areas. She talks of her support worker, Saanvi, her job and not having many friends and on top of that, her mother dying hit her so hard. It becomes increasingly apparent how vulnerable Wendy actually is and even more so without her mother instructing her, so now Saanvi is attempting to open up her world a bit, which she does as she joins a writers group and a great obsession follows. She gets to know more about the author – Diane Weston and it isn’t just that she follows her on Twitter, clicking a like here and leaving a comment there. It is a serious obsession she develops for her, which becomes intense to the point it feels spine-tingling. Wendy in some ways seems to think, partly that it’s normal and to a certain degree not, but the obsessive thoughts overpower the rationale.

The surprising thing is that the author even had space to add small bits of humour here and there.

It is interesting to see the friendship between Wendy and Ginger develop throughout the book and revelations of their personalities coming through to the fore and just how close they become, all the while the obsession of one author is never far away.

There are also some shady characters such as Uncle Tam and Roddy, who are doing things that Wendy and Ginger get mixed up in, some of which is chilling. 

It all ends in an unexpected way!

This is a book I highly recommend.

#BookReview By Lou of The Set-Up By Lizzy Dent @DentLizzy @VikingBooksUK @EllieeHud #LobsterArmy #Romcom #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #WomensFiction #Summer #SummerReading

The Set-Up
By Lizzie Dent

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Set-up is a sweet and funny rom-com that captures the heart. Today I am reviewing the latest stand-alone book by Lizzy Dent. The first was The Summer Job. Thanks to the publisher – Viking for gifting me the book to review from. Find out more in the Blurb and the rest of my review below…

Blurb

There are two men in my life. But this is not a love triangle.

 Mara Williams reads her horoscope every day – but she wasn’t expecting to be in a whole other country when destiny finally found her. Just as a fortune teller reveals that her true love is about to arrive, a gorgeous stranger literally walks into her life. And now Mara is determined to bring them together again . . . Surely even fate needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes?

But while Mara is getting ready for ‘the one’, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is funny, and kind, and sexy as hell . . . There was no predicting this: it’s as if her destiny just arrived on her doorstep.

So will Mara put her destiny in fate’s hands – or finally trust herself to reach for the stars?

*An edgy, hilarious rom-com from the author of The Summer Job. For fans of Beth O’Leary, Starstruck and New Girl.*

Review

The Set UpI was delighted to be given the opportunity to review The Setup after falling in love with Lizzy Dent’s debut novel – The Summer Job. Lizzy Dent absolutely has the knack of writing rom-coms that are properly funny and captures your heart. The Setup is another absorbing summer read where time just flies by when reading in the sun.

The book is character driven by characters that you want to keep reading about until the very end and Mara, the main protagonist is one very interesting character to get to know.
Mara is going through some life changes and is into astrology. She studies and truly believes in horoscopes in such a big way that she totally follows their every word and absolutely believes in fate. It becomes apparent that horoscopes, clarevoyance, fate are a bit like a comfort blanket for her, concealing her insecurities and anxieties that do then begin to emerge to the surface. There are quiet introspective moments, giving readers an opportunity to see what’s going on in her head as the character development builds up. There’s a bit of repetition here and there, but that felt right as it felt like it was just part of Mara’s personality.

There ends up being 2 men in her life. This is far from being a conventional love-triangle.
There is the  wonderful and sexy dream of a guy who becomes her flatmate – Ash and talented cello player – Josef. There’s a choice to make – to follow what she thought was steadfast and true – the fate in the stars or be brave and step a bit into the unknown, where the rules and conclusion isn’t so clear-cut and follow her heart.

Mara is also a film buff and there are wonderful references to many films, which really adds to the fun. They’re intelligently woven through the story for a purpose – to send messages, but the question is, whether Mara actually sees what they are or not?

This is a rom-com perfect for a summer read, with complexities and humour.
Lizzy Dent absolutely nails it!

About the Author

Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in a hotel not unlike the one in her first novel, The Summer Job. Soon to be a TV series! She somehow ended up in a glamorous job travelling the world creating content for various TV companies, including MTV, Channel 4, Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV. She writes about women who don’t always know where they’re going in life, but who always have fun doing it. The Setup is her second novel.

#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