#BlogTour THE GARDEN OF LOST MEMORIES by RUBY HUMMINGBIRD #BookReview @bookouture @BOTBSPublicity

Hugely excited to be taking part in the Blog Tour today for the wonderful THE GARDEN OF LOST MEMORIES by RUBY HUMMINGBIRD. My thanks to the author, publisher and Sarah of https://twitter.com/BOTBSPublicity for letting me be part of the tour and putting it all together!

Book Description:


Just because you feel ordinary doesn’t mean you aren’t extraordinary to someone else.
Sixty-two-year-old Elsie knows what she likes. Custard creams at four o’clock, jigsaw puzzles with a thousand pieces, her ivy-covered, lavender-scented garden.


Ten-year-old Billy would rather spend his Saturdays kicking a ball, or watching TV, or anything really, other than being babysat by his grumpy neighbour Elsie and being force fed custard creams.


If it was up to them, they’d have nothing to do with each other. Unfortunately, you can’t choose who you live next door to.
But there is always more to people than meets the eye…


Elsie doesn’t know that Billy’s afraid to go to school now, or why his mother woke him up in the middle of the night with an urgent shake, bags already packed, ready to flee their home.
Billy doesn’t know that the rusting red tin he finds buried in Elsie’s treasured garden is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode her carefully organised life. And that when he digs it up, he is unearthing a secret that has lain dormant for twenty-eight years…


This moving tale is for anyone who has ever felt the pang of loneliness, or worried that their broken heart might never be the same again. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Keeper of Lost Things and The Library of Lost and Found will fall head over heels for this life-affirming novel that shows us that if you’re willing to take a risk, happiness is only ever a heartbeat away.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruby Hummingbird is a novelist based in the English countryside. She loves nothing more than writing uplifting and heartwarming fiction that gets her readers reaching for the tissues. When she isn’t storytelling, she can be found tending to her beloved sunflowers or sipping on hazelnut lattes.
@HummingbirdRuby

Buying Links:


Amazon: https://bit.ly/2WQVYiJ

Apple Books: https://apple.co/33QZRpk

Kobo:  https://bit.ly/3amwGNh

Google Play: https://bit.ly/3bqY3Wr


MY REVIEW


Stick a garden in a book and I’m immediately interested! Throw in a wonderful character in the form of Elsie and the unlikeliest of friendships of forming, and I’m smitten!! I adored this book and really took these characters to my heart!

Elsie lives alone, is elderly and gets through each day with her routines, doing her best to avoid the ‘chit chat’ of neighbours or people she bumps into at the shops.  She’s also prone to making judgements about people before knowing the real story, and she finds herself doing that with her new neighbours.  10 year old Billy lives with his mum next door and they’ve moved away from his Dad. He’s scared, frustrated and being bullied at school so he often lashes out at the wrong person and definitely isn’t a fan of being left in the care of Elsie when his mum has to go out to work.  She seems strange to him, sees her talking to herself and would rather be anywhere else but there! But something magical happens when she gets him to help her in her beloved garden that has become a little too much for her to cope with.  And this healing power of a garden was one thing that really connected with me. It gives you the chance to focus on something else in the world and it does Elsie and Billy the power of good, especially with the outside world causing them so much suffering.

When they uncover a tin buried in the garden, it leads to an extraordinary journey for the both of them and it was just so uplifting to see them heading out together to piece together the pieces of memories left behind in this tin.  Elsie is reluctant to visit one place but Billy goes by himself and makes a new friend and he starts to believe in himself again and feel less angry at the world.

This is a story that pulls on the heartstrings and shines the spotlight on how important it is not to judge people on first impressions.  I enjoyed watching the story of their pasts unfold, and how coming together helped them all move on.  Wonderful!

★★★★★

#BlogTour LEMON DRIZZLE MONDAYS AT THE LITTLE DUCK POND CAFE by ROSIE GREEN @rararesources @Rosie_Green1988

An absolute delight to be taking part in the Blog Tour today to share my thoughts on LEMON DRIZZLE MONDAYS AT THE LITTLE DUCK POND CAFE by ROSIE GREEN. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Café 

Molly Hooper has a secret. It haunts her dreams and casts a dark shadow over life with her gorgeous three-year-old daughter, Eva. Arriving in Sunnybrook has given her a glimpse of sunshine. The Little Duck Pond Cafe crew seem so welcoming and there’s even the chance of a new job. Baking delicious cakes has always taken Molly to a happy place, so the job – at the glorious Brambleberry Manor Cafe – might just be perfect for her. It would mean she and little Eva could finally put down some roots at last. But is Sunnybrook the sanctuary Molly is searching for? Or will the past come back to haunt her, wherever she hides?

 Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2slp10U 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love. Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

 Rosie has also written a full-length, standalone book, ‘Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage’, out now.

 Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

MY REVIEW

I have adored this series from the start and this latest installment – #9! – didn’t disappoint!! Having so much time following the characters in Sunnybrook, this book was another welcome trip back to catch up with all the latest goings on and to hear the story of another inhabitant!

Molly gets her chance to share her story in Lemon Drizzle Mondays, and it’s another cracking story of friendship, overcoming problems and the power of kindness!  Molly and her daughter, Eva – just the cutest little girl! – are having landlord issues and finding life a little tougher than normal. Starting a new job she doesn’t get off to the greatest starts when crossing paths with Matt, the local bookbinder, and she just wonders if her bad luck is going to continue! Her new job at Brambledown Manor Cafe starts off slowly, and they need to find ways to get new customers through the door. And that’s where kindness comes into action! It’s a novel way of attracting new people through the door and shows the power of community – and the power of offering cake as a reward!!

Once again, we get to reconnect with characters from previous Little Duck Pond Cafe installments, and it just feels like coming home again catching up with them all! Knowing what Molly has been through in the past, it really makes you feel for her and just want the best for her and little Eva.

It was just wonderful to escape into this world with this wonderful community and I’m already counting down the days until the next installment!!  Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BookReview STUBBORN ARCHIVIST by YARA RODRIGUES FOWLER @dylanthomasprize #SUDTP2020

A huge delight to be part of this wonderful tour, and to share my thoughts on STUBBORN ARCHIVIST by YARA RODRIGUES FOWLER today with you all. My thanks to Martina at  Midas Public Relations for the copy of the book and putting the tour together.

ABOUT THE BOOK

For fans of Chemistry and Normal People: A mesmerizing and witty debut novel about a young woman growing up between two disparate cultures, and the singular identity she finds along the way

But where are you really from? 

When your mother considers another country home, it’s hard to know where you belong. When the people you live among can’t pronounce your name, it’s hard to know exactly who you are. And when your body no longer feels like your own, it’s hard to understand your place in the world.

In Stubborn Archivist, a young British Brazilian woman from South London navigates growing up between two cultures and into a fuller understanding of her body, relying on signposts such as history, family conversation, and the eyes of the women who have shaped her—her mother, grandmother, and aunt. Our stubborn archivist takes us through first love and loss, losing and finding home, trauma and healing, and various awakenings of sexuality and identity. Shot through the novel are the narrator’s trips to Brazil, sometimes alone, often with family, where she accesses a different side of herself—one, she begins to realize, that is as much of who she is as anything else.

A hypnotic and bold debut, Stubborn Archivist is as singular as its narrator; a novel you won’t soon forget. 

PUBLISHED BY FLEET

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

Waterstones

MY REVIEW

I found this to be such an intriguing read as it looks into your own identity if you don’t really know yourself!! You’re somewhere in between and often feel like you don’t fit in! Are you Brazilian? Are you English?  And this book follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover just how she is – personally, sexually, politically, relationships, history – and all that comes with it.

It’s told in a stunning way with a mix of story and poetry, and this did take a little bit of getting my head around for a while. BUT once I’d got into the flow and the mindset of the narrator it all came together beautifully and was so rewarding when it all clicked into place for me as a reader! There are many issues to do with family and growing up  is a complicated process anyway, but even more so if you’re of mixed backgrounds and trying to make sense of it all!.

Her life is split into different sections and tells of trips to Brazil to see if she can find connection there,  and living in England and how isolated she can often feel here.  She just never really feels settled anywhere and that affects her mood and how she sees herself.  I loved the simple conversations that are mentioned and all those words left unsaid.

What makes the story stand out for me though is the way it’s told – the use of language, how the words are displayed on each page and something you can only really understand by picking the book up yourself. The poetry alongside the memoir side to the book adds a different depth to the story and builds up on that ‘mix’ of the use of language being similar to the mix of nationalities.  

This was a truly fascinating read and I can see why it has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 and highly recommend picking up a copy for a different kind of reading experience.

★★★★

For more information about the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 please click the link below…

THE SWANSEA UNIVERSITY DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

#BlogTour YOU’VE GOT MY NUMBER by ANGELA BARTON @rararesources @angebarton #BookReview

Always a pleasure to be on a Blog Tour for Angela, so today is my turn to share my thoughts on her latest release – YOU’VE GOT MY NUMBER! My thanks to the Author, Publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

Three isn’t always a magic number … There are three reasons Tess Fenton should be happy. One, her job at the Blue Olive deli may be dull, but at least she gets to work with her best friend. Two, she lives in a cosy cottage in the pretty village of Halston. Three, she’s in love with her boyfriend, Blake.

 Isn’t she? 

Because, despite their history, Blake continues to be the puzzle piece in Tess’s life that doesn’t quite fit. And when she meets intriguing local artist Daniel Cavanagh, it soon becomes apparent that, for Tess, love isn’t as easy as one, two, three …

Purchase Links

 UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Youve-Got-Number-Angela-Barton-ebook/dp/B083SQTLQ9/ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Youve-Got-Number-Angela-Barton-ebook/dp/B083SQTLQ9/ 

Author Bio – 

Angela Barton lives in Nottingham and is a member of Nottingham Writers’ Studio and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She has written three novels, all of which have passed through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and are now published. Her first novel was published in 2018. Its genre is historical fiction set in France, telling the story of how a farming family survive through WW2. 

Angela’s second and third books are contemporary women’s fiction. Now busy writing her fourth book, also set in France during wartime, Angela’s new passion is to research real life happenings and create fictional characters that live through these extraordinary events. 

Along with other authors, Angela has helped to create two Facebook groups for book lovers. Apricot Plots and Love Forties Fiction.

 Social Media Links –

 Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorangela.barton.3 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/angebarton 

Website: https://angelabarton.net

 Instagram: angelacbarton

MY REVIEW

This is a book that has a little bit of everything, which always makes for a magical reading experience and I loved spending time in the company of Tess as she faces all that life throws her way!

She’s been in a relationship with Blake for 5 years and the magic has gone! Blake doesn’t see it the same way though and goes to extremely desperate measures to keep her by his side. You can understand his despair but the methods he uses are very low as he plays on Tess and her genuine caring nature.

With all the drama going on in her life Tess finds a distraction in the form of Daniel! He’s a local artist with a twin sister and has suffered tragedy in his past,and finds painting a way to help him through the darker times he has faced. Tess finds herself growing very fond of Daniel and their relationship is just the sweetest – they both find one another so easy to open up to and help support one another with various issues that they have to deal with. I also loved the storyline that featured Denise – his sister – as this added another emotional thread and kept it feeling very real and relatable.

I loved the way that Tess conducts herself throughout the book which made her such a lovely character to follow. There are flashes of humour that mix well with the more serious aspects of the storyline and it was just a pleasure to read from start to finish.

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by CHRISTY LEFTERI @ZaffreBooks @christy_lefteri @Tr4cyF3nt0n

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by CHRISTY LEFTERI. My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton  of Compulsive Readers for letting me be part of the tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. 

published by Bonnier Zaffre

PURCHASE LINKS – paperback release 20th February 2020

WHSmith  £7.37

hive.co.uk  £6.59

amazon  £6.99

MY REVIEW

This is a story of hope and of love, the bond between a husband and wife and the determination of the human spirit to succeed despite the horrors that the world throws their way – and I loved every single minute of it.  Yes it made me cry, but it also filled my heart with so much love and all the warm feelings you get when you find ‘good’ people trying to make the world a better place.

Nuri and Afri are a devoted husband and wife looking for a new life away from the horrors of Syria. They’ve lost a child, Afri has lost her sight, but they know that there must be a better way for them out there so they make the decision to travel to the UK where Nuri’s cousin already lives.  Their journey is anything but easy and we get to follow them along the way and the people they meet, all with their own stories of horror to tell, and all the obstacles placed in their way – how the life of a refugee is plagued with nightmares. Can you ever really escape the horror and destruction you’ve witnessed at first hand?

What struck me most about this book was the beautiful way it was written – the harshness and brutality of war was softened by the exquisite descriptions and language used.  And how quickly their quiet and simple life in Syria was changed beyond recognition due to war and the actions of others.

The story switches between their journey away from Syria, to their time when they reach the UK and the process they have to go through in trying to move on and start new lives in a foreign country. It was brilliantly portrayed without feeling too ‘preachy’ or ‘political’ and gave these characters the time you needed to share their pain and empathise with their plight.

Humbling and touching.

★★★★★

#BlogTour REAL LIFE by ADELINE DIEUDONNE #BookReview #RealLife #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Delighted to be able to share my review on the Blog Tour for REAL LIFE by ADELINE DIEUDONNE today – my thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The French surprise publishing sensation: the multiple award-winning debut that sold over 100,000 copies in its first month

A Lord of the Flies for the #MeToo generation

A deeply disturbing, furiously tender, and darkly comedic debut’ Kirkus Reviews

Translated from the French by Roland Glasser

At home there are four rooms: one for her, one for her brother, one for her parents … and one for the carcasses. The father is a big game hunter, a powerful predator; the mother is submissive to her violent husband’s demands. The young narrator spends the days with her brother, Sam, playing in the shells of cars dumped for scrap and listening out for the chimes of the ice-cream truck, until a brutal accident shatters their world.

The uncompromising pen of Adeline Dieudonné wields flashes of brilliance as she brings her characters to life in a world that is both dark and sensual. This breathtaking debut is a sharp and funny coming-of-age tale in which reality and illusion collide.

‘A magnificent heroine of freedom and intelligence’ Le Figaro

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

ADELINE DIEUDONNÉ was born in 1982 and lives in Brussels. A playwright and short-story writer, her first novella, Amarula, was awarded the Grand Prix of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. Two further booklets were published by Editions Lamiroy in 2017: Seule dans le noir and Bonobo Moussaka. Real Life was recently awarded the prestigious Prix du Roman FNAC, the Prix Rossel, the Prix Renaudot des Lycéens, and the Prix Filigrane, a French prize for a work of high literary quality with wide appeal. Dieudonné also performs as a stand-up comedian.

ROLAND GLASSER is an award-winning translator of French literature, based in London

MY REVIEW

A book to horrify and haunt you as a reader, but one that I found to be disturbingly gripping, and in the narrator there’s a voice that needs to be heard, and her story is one that is brave and shocks in equal measures.

This is a story of domestic abuse and the toll it plays on those involved – the  mother who is absent for her children – she cared more for her goats it seemed – just looking to save herself, and is just waiting for the next beating when her husband is in a bad mood. And the children who watch on thinking that this life is normal. Except the narrator who knows she has to look out for herself and her younger brother so they spend so much time on their own, playing in the woods while she dreams and plans to get them away from this life.  Her imagination is what keeps her going.

But even their lives change for the worst when they are witness to a shocking incident with the ice-cream man, and her little brother is permanently scarred by what he sees.  It’s heartbreaking to see him retreat even more into himself and the scary path she watches him start to take – which is why she wants to speed up their getaway.

This book is very brutal and doesn’t make for easy reading at all with the topics involved, so I understand it won’t be for everyone. But I found myself totally transfixed by the story of these children and the fact that the adults in their life were letting them both down.  They were all living their lives in fear as they knew that the smallest thing could set their father off.  There was no escape. Real life for them was horrific.

We see the children over a few years, and watch as their life plays out and it was tragic to see how this ‘life’ was just accepted by them – it was how they survived.  There was no way out, resistance was futile so it just felt safer to them to keep out of their fathers’ way and just let things be, hoping that they could keep on his good side.  The brothers’ story especially was the most tragic for me – how all he saw as a young child  framed his mind and formed how he behaved.  Sometimes children know no different so they seek an escape in whatever way they see fit, and if you’re surrounded by horrific sights then it must be easier to accept that this maybe the norm, despite the best intentions of others around to set you on the right path.

A really powerful and absorbing story told from the viewpoint of a vunerable but courageous girl, and one I’m very glad to have read.

★★★★

#BlogTour THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP by H.G. PARRY #BookReview @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orbitbooks @hg_parry

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP by H.G.PARRY – my thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The ultimate book-lover’s fantasy, featuring a young scholar with the power to bring literary characters into the world, for fans of The Magicians, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and The Invisible Library.

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.

published by Orbit Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

H. G. Parry lives in a book-infested flat in Wellington, New Zealand, which she shares with her sister and two overactive rabbits. She holds a PhD in English literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and teaches English, film and media studies. Her short fiction has appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction and small press anthologies. The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is her debut novel.

Author on Twitter

MY REVIEW

A joy to read!! And I now have an overwhelming desire to read all of Dickens’ work and see if I can work the magic to make my favourite (and those not so favourite!) characters  leap from the pages of a variety of books into my world, and see what transpires! Because if it’s as half as entertaining as the goings on in this book then it will make the world an interesting place to be!

This book is an ode to books, a love letter to reading and all the places that stories take us, and to the characters it introduces us to. With the background that Charley Sutherland has, it allows the author to have so much fun with his ‘ability’ of bringing book characters to life. Something he’s been able to do since his childhood – it’s only when they start to cause trouble in the real world that he questions  this power and needs to find a way to put a stop to it all. His older brother, Rob, has always been the one to help him out in sticky situations and he’s drawn into this ‘split’ world in a big way throughout this story. Can  he keep on going on fixing things for his little brother and the more he begins to investigate the past and these happenings, the more the plot thickens!

I loved the strangeness of the book! It was such good fun trying to guess which fictional character would appear next, and it was a perfect mix of the fun and serious! From Darcy to Dorian, Jabberwocky to Dr Frankenstein (to name but a few!), it’s a real blast to see these characters operate out of context – some to help, others to hinder!

There’s a great humour about the book as well, and it sits well with the mystery aspect along with the family dynamics and I just kept hoping the story would never end!

It’s inventive, insane, emotional and incredibly enjoyable and I loved every single minute of my time in the world of Charley and Uriah Heep! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★