#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 IF ALL THE WORLD AND LOVE WERE YOUNG by STEPHEN SEXTON #BOOKREVIEW #POETRY @dylanthomasprize #SUDTP2020

Delighted to be a part of the wonderful Blog Tour to share my thoughts on a stunning poetry collection, IF ALL THE WORLD AND LOVE WERE YOUNG by STEPHEN SEXTON. My thanks to Martina at  Midas Public Relations for the copy of the book and putting the tour together.

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Every poem in this book is a marvel. Taken all together they make up a work of almost miraculous depth and beauty’ Sally Rooney

‘A poetry debut fit to compare with Seamus Heaney. This wonderful long poem is up there with the greats’ Sunday Times

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection

When Stephen Sexton was young, video games were a way to slip through the looking glass; to be in two places at once; to be two people at once. In these poems about the death of his mother, this moving, otherworldly narrative takes us through the levels of Super Mario World, whose flowered landscapes bleed into our world, and ours, strange with loss, bleed into it. His remarkable debut is a daring exploration of memory, grief and the necessity of the unreal.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

whsmith

blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a stunning piece of work.  I wondered how mixing the world of Super Mario World with grieving would work, but somehow it just does! It had me smiling at the memories it created in my mind about playing Super Mario World and the escapism that the game offered, and had me crushed by his descriptions of watching someone he loves be so ill and dealing with loss and grief.

What really comes across is the honesty and emotion that he was clearly going through. How do you make sense of watching the world around you and all that you know crumble away? For him, losing himself every now and then in a fantasy world of a video game was the release he needed.   It mixes the memories of different levels in the game – seeing the names appear and the challenges in each level made me smile with fondess! – alongside memories of his family and his mother. Life provides challenges of its’ own and we are all competing in the video game of life – with hopefully no big bad beastie/boss at the end to have to defeat.

I thought this collection was a pure gem that left me in tears.  It was beautifully written, poignant but punchy, raw but refined and how the little moments during his life now meant so much to him.  Cannot recommend this highly enough!

★★★★★

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

THE SWANSEA UNIVERSITY DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

#BookReview #PublicationDay HAMNET by MAGGIE O’FARRELL #Hamnet

ABOUT THE BOOK

Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.


Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.


Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.


PUBLISHED BY TINDER PRESS


PURCHASE LINKS

GOLDSBORO BOOKS – signed first edition

Waterstones – signed edition


Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

Exquisite!!!

If I could give this 6 stars I would!! I found myself completely captivated by this story of family, of love, of grief and I lost count of how many tears I shed throughout!

This is the story of the man behind the plays. And it features his family – his wife, Agnes and their 3 children, Susanna, and the twins Hamnet and Judith. And each character has such a stunning tale to share that it’s hard to pick the one I enjoyed the most.

In Agnes, the mother, there’s her story of how she met her husband, the hard upbringing she had especially when she lost her mother, and her devotion to using medicinal herbs. Something that marks her out as different to others, and something her daughter Susanna finds embarrassing and resents her ‘abilities’.

And then there’s the bond between twins with Hamnet and Judith which was breathtakingly explored. When his sister takes to her bed extremely unwell, Hamnet is beside himself in what to do. His mother is out tending her herbs, his father is in London, and all he wants to do is find someone to make his sister better. He is truly pained by watching his sister suffer so much and is driven to extreme lengths to try and get her some help.

The story flits backwards and forwards in time to particularly memorable moments in all their lives and then those moments that are extremely devastating and gutwrenching. The descriptions of grief showed as a mother loses her child and the days, weeks, months afterwards were brilliantly portrayed and caused me to shed the most tears as you suffered those emotions with her.

I simply adored this book from the first page to the last. The ambience of the times is brought to life so beautifully, each character is well developed for you to connect with and it was a haunting, emotional and staggeringly brilliant read! A must read!!


★★★★★★

My thanks to  Georgina at  Midas PR for the review copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#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 MY PEAR-SHAPED LIFE by CARMEL HARRINGTON #MyPearShapedLife

ABOUT THE BOOK

This is a joyful, uplifting book for those of us who sometimes wake up and feel we’re not good enough. Spoiler alert: we are!

Meet Greta.

She’s funny.

She’s flawed.

She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is.

But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being you.

Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right?
Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.

But with her world feeling like it’s falling down around her, Greta is about to discover she’s stronger than she feels. And that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…

PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS

PURCHASE LINKS – e-book format – out now

Amazon

hive.co.uk

paperback – out 16th April 2020

MY REVIEW

I adore Greta!! She is me! She is you! That woman who is smiley on the outside, pretending life is sweet and making fun of herself, but full of crippling doubts on the inside and wishing the pain would just go away. And what the author has done brilliantly in this book is use that connection to us always beating ourselves up that we’re not good enough, and we get what we deserve… when that’s not the case. We are worthy and we need to be true to ourselves to find that happy place we all deserve to live in.

Greta comes from a ‘thin’ family – that’s how she sees it as a woman of a fuller figure, and she seems to react well to the digs and ‘banter’ but beneath the smiles she’s hurting and she’s playing a dangerous game with her health. It’s only when things go too far that her family find out the severity of the situation and she’s forced to face up to how her life is spiralling out of control.

The saving grace in her life is her namesake, Dr Greta Gayle, a hugely successful American lifestyle guru, who she is obsessed with due to them sharing the same name. It’s the only thing they have in common, but she always seems to find inspiration from the Dr and her Instagram posts when she needs guidance.

While in rehab she is stripped away from her crutches in life, and that makes things begin to fall into place for her. Why has she been so afraid to be herself? What is she hiding from? It’s often at our lowest points that life becomes a little clearer and she is forced to make changes in her way of thinking thanks to a therapist and the others she meets while in there. She sees she’s not alone in feeling a failure, or useless, or out of place and that makes her feel a little more connected.

What follows is a trip to America with her beloved Uncle, and both of them find out a lot about themselves while over there and facing up to their pasts. He has lived his life with regrets too so thinks this is the perfect opportunity for both of them to live a little, and I loved their bond and how much they meant to one another. And I loved the nods to The Wizard of Oz throughout!! Read the book and you’ll find out more!

It’s so much easier to say ‘be yourself’ than actually go through with it, and this book perfectly demonstrates that struggle we all go through of trying to fit in, losing sight of who we are and the reliance of outside influences to get us through the day. In Greta, there’s a character who is funny, pretty, smart but yet she can only see her size, and following her on her often painful journey was uplifting, emotional and a delight to be part of! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE SONG OF THE TREE by CORALIE BICKFORD-SMITH #TheSongOfTheTree

ABOUT THE BOOK

A lyrical, heart-warming new tale from the award-winning designer and creator of The Fox and the Star

Bird loves to sing in the towering tree at the heart of the jungle. It feels like home.
When the season changes she must say goodbye, but she isn’t ready to let go.
As she listens to the other animals, Bird learns to sing a new song.

PUBLISHED BY PARTICULAR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

HIVE.CO.UK

GOLDSBORO BOOKS  – signed, first edition

🌲🌲🌲

Author Website

MY REVIEW

Simply stunning!!

From the cover, to the artwork on each page and to the words, this is a special book that does wonders to calm the mind, soothe the soul and speak to your heart! The story is very simple but it’s the spectacular artwork that accompanies the words that make this a special visual treat. The colours are bright, bold and just so striking that I could happily frame each page and have them on my walls!

I’m a huge fan of Coralie’s and this is another beautiful book from her that should be on every bookshelf!!

★★★★★

#BookReview WILD SPINNING GIRLS by CAROL LOVEKIN

ABOUT THE BOOK

If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.


And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left..


It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.

PUBLISHED BY  HONNO

PURCHASE LINKS

HONNO SHOP
HIVE.CO.UK
WATERSTONES
WHSMITH

MY REVIEW

This was a haunting and spellbinding read that I savoured from start to finish. It’s a story of grief,the damage secrets can create in a family and was just beautifully written and I was loathed to finish the last page as I didn’t want it to end.

It’s a story of complicated family relationships – Ida is travelling back to Wales to the family home after the loss of her parents, and trying to deal with the emotions of returning to a place where she remembers her mother being very unhappy, whilst trying to deal with her own grief and feeling so alone. Her isolation is disturbed by the appearance of Heather, who is the daughter of the previous tenant, and still sees the house as her own home and a connection to the memories she shared there with her mother.

Both women are very different characters and this causes a clash immediately, and it was absolutely fascinating to see how they both dealt with the grief they’re suffering. While one seems to gain strength from it, the other seems to falter as the more she discovers about the past is revealed.

The house itself plays a big part in the storyline, with its’ setting and the importance it played in these people’s life. They say ‘if walls had ears’ and this house has seen lots going on in the past that it seems that it wants to share what it knows with these 2 women.

As the stories of the past unfold, Ida and Heather are discovering new things about the history they thought they knew and I loved the pace of secrets being uncovered. Ida, in particular, seems scared of her own shadow at times and you wonder where that distrust has come from. Heather seems a much calmer and self assured character and tries to teach Ida about the ways of the earth – making peace with what is around you to find peace yourself.

This was a book that touches your soul and I adored it! Highly recommended!!


★★★★★