#BookReview UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by T.J.KLUNE


ABOUT THE BOOK

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.


Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW


A story that put tears in my eyes! Lots of them!! This was one of those slow burner stories for me, but then BAM you are sucked straight into the lives, and deaths!, of these characters and your emotions are put through the wringer as this funny but touching story plays out in front of you.

The author wrote this book to try and understand grief, and his approach is nothing short of remarkable. When the main character dies, there are no tears shed for him, and he finds himself at a little tea shop, where Hugo fixes the world with cups of teas and is also the ferryman waiting to take you on to the other side.

As Wallace spends time amongst these people, and drinks more cups of tea than he ever thought possible, he begins to wake up to himself in the realisation that there was more to life but it took him dying to find that out.

This was such a beautiful story! The connection with drinking tea was so simple but it worked so well! It’s grounding, it’s normal and also allows reflection. Wallace evolves so much throughout this book that it’s just wonderful to witness. A delight – but don’t forget to have tissues by your side!!


★★★★★

#BookReview SMALL PLEASURES by CLARE CHAMBERS

ABOUT THE BOOK


1957, south-east suburbs of London.Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – on the brink of forty – living a limited existence with her truculent mother: a small life from which there is no likelihood of escape.

When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: Gretchen is now a friend, and her quirky and charming daughter Margaret a sort of surrogate child. And Jean doesn’t mean to fall in love with Gretchen’s husband, Howard, but Howard surprises her with his dry wit, his intelligence and his kindness – and when she does fall, she falls hard.

But he is married, and to her friend – who is also the subject of the story she is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives. And yet Jean cannot bring herself to discard the chance of finally having a taste of happiness…

But there will be a price to pay, and it will be unbearable.


PUBLISHED BY W&N


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon
hive.co.uk

whsmith



MY REVIEW

This was one of those books that I picked up as I kept hearing so many good things about it from various sources and I’d like to thank each and every one of those people for introducing me to this quiet but entrancing novel! I didn’t realise just how emotionally attached I had become to the story until I found my eyes leaking (an awful lot!) at the end!!

It’s a very understated book that just explores a wonderful character, Jean Swinney, who works at a local paper, a world dominated by men! Being the only female on the reporter side, she is sent to follow up a story where a mother claims her daughter is the result of a virgin birth. Seeing as the only family Jean has is a rather overbearing and permanently miserable mother, the more time she spends with Gretchen, her husband and their daughter Margaret, the more she is drawn into their lives and is drawn into the investigation into the past and the likelihood of this claim being true.

This is a book that explores the quieter members of society and the ones finding freedom when they start living life for themselves instead of for others. In Jean, we see her take on this story with complete impartiality and intrigue and discovering the backstory to Gretchen was another fascinating aspect of the story.

And then there was that ending………heartbreaking!! If TV bosses are looking for another book to turn into a drama then look no further! This was a stunning read and definitely one of my books of 2020!!


★★★★★

#BookReview THE SIGHT OF YOU by HOLLY MILLER

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Light We Lost meets How to Walk Away in this romantic and page-turning American debut that poses a heartbreaking question: Would you choose love, if you knew how it would end?


Joel has sworn off falling in love. But when he meets Callie, he can’t help being drawn to her. In Callie, he sees a second chance at life. And in Joel, Callie discovers the kind of love she’d always hoped was real. They challenge one another to take chances, to laugh, and to trust that no matter how hard each falls, the other will be there to catch them.


But Joel has a secret. He dreams about the people he loves, and these dreams always come true. One night, Joel has the dream of Callie he’s feared the most, and each must decide: Can Callie stay, knowing her fate? And if her days must be numbered, is there a life she is meant to live?


Told in Joel and Callie’s voices, The Sight of You is a sweeping, romantic, and unforgettable American debut, about the bravery it takes to love, especially when we think we know how the story will end. 


PUBLISHED BY  HODDER & STOUGHTON


PUBLICATION DATE – 11TH JUNE 2020


PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon
hive.co.uk

blackwell’s 

MY REVIEW

Just wonderful! It broke my heart and made me ugly cry but I absolutely adored the story of Joel and Callie and how the power of being able to see the future can make such an impact on the decisions you take and the path you follow.

They are both very special characters – Joel especially – as he has always had dreams of loved ones where he can see their future, and this has led him to vow never to fall in love as it becomes too much of a burden for him to deal with.

That is about to change when he meets Callie. A sweet soul, who lives life sticking to what she knows. She’s plagued by self doubt and finds herself living someone else’s dream when her friend Grace passes away, so Callie tries to carry out Grace’s legacy – whether that makes her happy or not doesn’t seem to come into the equation for her.

This story is set over 6 years and told from alternating points of view, so we get to share the magic of their friendship and relationship as it evolves. Callie encourages Joel to open up about what is troubling him but when she finally moves in with him, it’s not long before she notices a change in him…….. does she want to know the details? Would you want to know??

This was a truly absorbing and enthralling storyline – the connection you feel towards both characters, the heartbreak, the little moments of utter joy and how their lives map out after decisions are made for what seems the right reasons at the time. This is a book that will live with me for a very long time, so I highly recommend it! I just hope there’ll be a film!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE MISSING LETTERS OF MRS BRIGHT by BETH MILLER @bookouture

ABOUT THE BOOK

You’ve met Mrs Bright. She’s that nice woman who lives three doors down and always smiles at you in the mornings. She’s planning her thirtieth wedding anniversary with her husband. She wants to travel, read endless books and take beautiful pictures. She’s been waiting for this forever.

For the past twenty-nine years, Kay Bright’s days have had a familiar rhythm: she works in her husband’s stationery shop, cooks for her family, tries to remember to practice yoga, and every other month she writes to her best friend, Ursula, and Ursula replies. Kay could set her calendar by their letters: her heart lifts when the blue airmail envelope, addressed in Ursula’s slanting handwriting, falls gently onto the mat.

Ursula is the only one who knows Kay’s deepest secret, something that happened decades ago that could tear Kay’s life apart today. Ursula has always been the person Kay relies on. Knowing she will hear from Ursula is like being sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

And now Ursula has stopped writing. Three missing letters doesn’t sound like a lot, but Kay gets out her shoebox of notes from her best friend, in case there’s something she overlooked. Ursula seems fine, but the further back she goes, the more Kay begins to question every choice she has made in her life. Which might be why, at ten o’clock one morning, Kay walks out of her yellow front door with a just a rucksack, leaving her wedding ring on the table…

An emotional and heart-warming novel for anyone who knows it’s never too late to look for happiness. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineA Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will fall in love with this feel-good and moving story that shows you that the best friendships truly last forever.

PUBLISHED BY BOOKOUTURE

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

A beautifully written book that had me reading through tears at times! It’s a story of a woman who has decided her life isn’t what she thought it was going to be and makes that brave leap from a safe and routine life, to following her dreams and finding out that there is more to life and how her actions also end up waking up the rest of her family from living life in slumber and learning to take chances.

When Kay decides to leave her husband, Richard, of almost 30 years the shock waves are felt far and wide – even she doesn’t know why she’s picked this moment but it’s something she knows that she needs to do.  She escapes to her bolthole in Wales to figure out things, while her daughter moves back to help her dad adjust to this news.

Throughout the book we get to see letters that Kay has written to Bear over the years, and we discover the identity of Bear when Kay goes to visit her in Australia. The women have been friends since school and it’s clear that they share everything with one another. Friendship is a big thing for Kay – she relies on Rose too to help her through and they’re always seemingly honest with her about whatever she has planned – they’re not afraid to burst her bubble if her plans get too out there!

We also hear from her daughter, Stella, who is dealing with her own issues in her relationship and work life and it was interesting to see how she had inherited that strong bond with her family from her mum, but still couldn’t work out what her mum was playing at and shows how complex that mother/daughter relationship can be at times.  You could feel the frustration from Stella especially as to why was her mum doing these things now – was this a mid life crisis thing?!

This was a book about being brave!  What happens if you step outside your comfort zone and grab hold of new chances in life and it was so inspiring. It also faces those ‘what if’ moments we all have  looking back over our lives and how just being honest can mean new starts for everyone. It was emotional and touching and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all these characters and I look forward to reading more from this author!

★★★★

#BookReview The Six Loves of Billy Binns #BillyBinns @TinderPress @Bookywookydooda

About the book

THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is a deeply moving debut set in London against the backdrop of the changing 20th century. it is reading group fiction perfect for those who loved the quirky pathos of Gail Honeyman’s ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and the warmth and humour of Rachel Joyce’s THE PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY.

At 117 years old, Billy Binns is the oldest man in Europe and he knows his time is almost up. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time. As he looks back at the relationships that have shaped his life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a life full of hope, heartbreak and, above all, love.

Published by Tinder Press

Publication Date – 24th January 2019

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £12.59

waterstones £16.99

MY REVIEW

Confession time – this book left me a blubbing mess!! Uncontrollable sobbing on the sofa as I finished reading the story of the wonderful but flawed Billy Binns and his remarkable life, and an amazing debut from the author which has already made me want to put this on my ‘best books of 2019’ already!! Yep, I loved it that much!!

Billy Binns is well over a hundred years old and he knows time is running out as he spends his days in the care home, and as he starts reminiscing about his life and loves we get to experience with him as he looks back at the six loves that have made his life so extraordinary.

Going back over the years we get to hear about his childhood, and then the special people who came into his life at various times, and when he looks back he often finds he is starting to remember things differently and his memories often surprise him. And the flashbacks aren’t all sweetness and light – there are some really dark, tough times that Billy has lived through and I think that darker side really made him feel more human and made it easier to connect with as a reader. He hadn’t sailed through life, he wasn’t perfect, he had many regrets – and the way his story was told embraced his shortcomings just as much as his triumphs.

There were many twists along the way in his story that left me shocked and were gut wrenching at times. In his life his pursuit of love sometimes led him to honourable decisions, and reckless decisions on other occasions. There’s also a touching look at his time in the care home, with the staff he bonds with, the other residents he gets to know and the reality of their situations which is all too clear when a chair is left empty in the communal lounge.

Billy Binns stole my heart in this book and it is one I look forward to picking up again very soon to read all over again – even though I know it will bring back the tears! Wonderful!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

#BlogTour The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #BookReview #RandomThingsTours @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

Extremely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for this wonderful book today.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all.

About the book

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

A dark and poignant drama, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a mesmerisingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart.

Publisher Orenda

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

book depository

‘Vivid, passionate and exquisitely told, this love story will live on in my heart for a very long time to come. A poignant, surprising and all-consuming read’ Katie Marsh.

‘I cannot remember when I was last so touched by a story. Tin Man meets Brokeback Mountain – it really is that good. This isn’t a book you just read, it’s something you absorb. An incredible, poignant piece of work. Louise Beech had cemented her place as one of Britain’s finest modern storytellers’  John Marrs.

‘A beautiful, honest and tender love story that I won’t forget for a long time. With wishes, promises, betrayals, heartbreak and joy – Ben and Andrew’s story spans time and distance. Their love had me trapped in its spell, their tragic moments had me sobbing like a baby. The scenes in Zimbabwe had me right there, inhaling the heady scents and listening to the lions roar. This is Louise Beech at her very best. A triumph’ Fionnuala Kearney.

‘Beech sets up the love story quietly and convincingly. And then – bang – something astonishing and completely unexpected happens to Ben and Andrew. This is where the narrative really gathers pace. I had read patiently until that point then I raced my way to the end. The book digs deep emotionally, but is funny and feel-good too’ Fiona Mitchell.

‘Storytelling at its finest. Louise Beech is a beguiling wordsmith. Prepare to be hooked’ Amanda Prowse.

‘The whole novel is skilfully woven together, with complex, utterly convincing characters and an impossible moral dilemma at the core. It’s a compelling read through to the emotional final pages. I love the poetry, the wisdom, and the insights into life at a lion sanctuary, so vivid that the reader can hear and smell as well as visualise them. It’s a stunning and very brave book’ Gill Paul.

‘Louise Beech does it again. The setting alone makes this book worth a read, the lightly handled metaphor of a place where damaged beings go to recover provides a sumptuous backdrop that does its work on the reader’s subconscious while they enjoy the action of the story. Love, complicated families and the hurtful things people say and do to one another out of fear, love and ignorance feature here, as well as messy relationships and the mistakes flawed human beings make while trying so hard not to. A moving read’ S.E. Lynes.

‘Heartfelt and wry, this will transport you into a keenly observed world; secrets are hidden, people are flawed, but humanity endures’ Ruth Dugdall.

‘Louise Beech is a natural-born storyteller with an elegance about her writing that never fails to move me’ Michael J. Malone

‘This is real life, bruised, torn and coffee-stained, refusing to give up … simply stunning’ Su Bristow.

‘There are times when you finish reading a book and know that part of it will stay with you always. This will be one of those books’ Claire Allen.

‘It put me in mind of John Irving. It’s that feeling of being in the hands of a master storyteller and just trusting him or her so completely’ Laura Pearson.

‘Nothing about this story disappoints. The African setting, the excellent writing, and above all, the immaculate storytelling. It’s a cleverly constructed book too. I loved the chapter headings which give us a glimpse of the story within the story. Another triumph. A beautifully crafted book’ Carole Lovekin.

‘Again, Louise Beech has totally blown me away with her storytelling ability. I loved this beautiful but painful love story; which is also about coincidences, loss and difficult relationships. This is a story about the strength of love and what sometimes needs to be sacrificed for it’ Madeleine Black.

‘Adored this beautiful and inspiring book’ Kate Furnivall.

‘Already one of my favourites of 2018’ Liz Robinson, LoveReadingUK.

‘A stirring novel, beautifully written, reminiscent of the early work of Maggie O’Farrell’ Irish Times.

‘Quirky, darkly comic, heartfelt and original’ Sunday Mirror.

‘This achingly sad story has wonderful characters, including the spiky, sweary Catherine’ Sunday People.

‘A beautiful and compassionate read’ Prima

connect with the author online

Twitter – @LouiseWriter

MY REVIEW

I feel shocked that this author has passed me by – until now!! I can’t wait to devour her previous books after being totally consumed with love for this story!

This is a story of loss, rediscovery and of love and how it can take you to the highest of highs, as well as the lowest of the lows. It shows love in all it’s form be that tender, toxic, terrifying, tender and traumatic and as you are reading you get to experience all these emotions as the author does a wonderful job of making the characters and their journeys touch your very core.

Ben is in Zimbabwe as a volunteer at a lion rehab facility where he meets a wide range of characters, all there for their own reasons. You know he’s there to escape something back home but it’s only as the story unfolds that you get to discover the many reasons he had to get away as he is finding the past difficult to leave behind. And he seeks solace with the lions – it is clear he has more patience with the animals than he does with humans!

At the core is a story of love, which is dealt with in such a sensitive manner and deals with the horrific prejudice encountered by Ben and Andrew. Ben wrestles with his conscience on a daily basis and is left to decide what is right for him, no matter who it may hurt along the way. Could he be something he isn’t just to live an easy life?

His family also feature a lot and often shows them in a bad light. But you can sense there’s more to their story than first meets the eye, and I found the way their story evolves quite shocking and helped explain quite a lot as to Ben struggling with his emotions and feelings.

I was totally captivated by this story and had tears rolling down my face on many occasions! It always takes something special to make you feel that kind of connection with a set of characters and this book shows how it can be done in such a touching way. Loved it!

💕💕💕💕💕