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Showing posts from 2021

In conversation with... Cecily Blench

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Hi Cecily ! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Long Journey Home ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Thank you! The novel follows the stories of Kate and Edwin, two English friends who meet in Rangoon, Burma, in 1941, just before the Japanese invasion. They become separated and Kate must flee on foot to India, along with many other refugees. In trying to find Edwin, she realises that she has also spent years trying to outrun the past, and that the only way to lay the dead to rest is to make peace with the living. Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A: I had no idea where it was going! I began with the city of Rangoon (Yangon), which I visited in 2013, and imagined a young woman living there as war approached. I found the plot developing organically as I wrote. I really admire writers who can form a plot before writing, I

Blog tour: The Winter Song

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Winter Song by Saurav Dutt ! I was drawn to this book because of its Indian setting. Having visited Simla during my honeymoon, I was curious about a book set in that region. The author’s writing style is very rich and evocative and I wasn’t disappointed by its power to transport me to a cold and snowy North-Indian valley in the middle of an English heatwave! And I’ve learnt about an element of travelling to that part of the country, namely the drugs, which I was blissfully unaware of before. But let me share more details about this dark and intense novel… More about the book… From the acclaimed Author of 'The Butterfly Room' comes a powerful afterlife drama conveying how great gifts can be hidden in death and how they can bear fruit in our lives if we have the faith to let them unfold. Somewhere between the mountains and the mist in Simla, India a widower must reconcile himself to the loss and grief that haunts him after the recent death of his

In conversation with... Louise Soraya Black

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Photo by Abi Campbell Hi Louise ! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Water Garden ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Hi Silvia! Thanks so much for your good wishes and for hosting this interview on your blog. The Water Garden tells the story of a boy who mysteriously drowns in a Surrey lake and a housewife who becomes drawn to his troubled teenage friend. Woven into the narrative are the voices of other women in the family, including an RAF nurse based in Italy during the Second World War.  Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A: This is my second novel and it was written in a very different way to my debut novel, Pomegranate Sky . I wrote several preparatory drafts for my first novel; by the time I was ready to write the final version, I knew everything about the story and the characters. The Water Garden was written i

Blog tour: This Is How We Are Human

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Welcome to the blog tour for This is How We Are Human by Louise Beech . More about the book… Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants. Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark. When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone. More about the author… Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost

Blog tour: Think Like A Vegan

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Welcome to the blog tour for Think Like A Vegan by by Emilia A Leese and Eva J Charalambides . More about the book… According to the latest figures, the number of vegans in the UK has more than quadrupled since 2014, now representing over 1 per cent of the total population. With the rise in plant-based foods and cruelty-free products showing no sign of stopping,  Think Like a Vegan   explores how vegan ethics can be applied to every area of our daily lives. We all want to live more healthily and ethically, and this book is certainly not just for vegans. It's for anyone interested in veganism, its ideals and what even non-vegans can learn from its practice. Through a personal and often irreverent lens, the authors explore a variety of contemporary topics related to animal use: from the basics of vegan logic to politics, economics, love and other aspects of being human, each chapter draws you into a thought-provoking conversation about your daily ethical decisions. Why should we ad

In conversation with... Charlie Laidlaw

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Hi Charlie ! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Everyday Magic . Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Like all my books, it came from an idea that had been swirling around in my head for some years.   It took lockdown to give me a focus: that all of us, to some extent, were having to reassess our lives and the people and things that were important to us.   The book takes some inspiration from Charles Dickens’s  A Christmas Carol , as my central character is also taken on a journey to her past and present, and to better see how she could make a new future for herself.   It’s poignant, uplifting, humorous and optimistic. Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page? A: No, no book is ever entirely figured out, although I do as much planning as possible.   I know from experience that you can waste huge amounts of time and effort by not havin

Blog tour: Nearest Thing To Crazy

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Welcome to the blog tour for Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes. More about the book… Cassandra and a group of her friends enjoy Sunday lunch together on a perfect summer’s day. They’re pleased to welcome their glamorous new neighbour and novelist, Ellie, who has rented a house in the village to work on her book. She likes to place herself in the centre of her plots, she says, although it’s hard to see what she’ll find to write about in this quiet country backwater. As Ellie slots effortlessly into the village social scene, Cass begins to feel increasingly alienated from her friends and isolated from her family but, for the life of her, she can’t fathom out why... More about the author… Elizabeth Forbes was born and raised on the Isle of Wight and now lives in Herefordshire with her husband, two dogs and two hens. She published three romantic thrillers under the name Elizabeth Harrington: The Corporate Wife, Making Up and Daddy Darling . She then took a break from writing and

Book review: A Cinderella Story

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By E.K. Woodcock Synopsis: You don't know me yet, but you're about to. I’m your resident cynic Skylar O’Connor. Last year for my birthday I was gifted a psychic reading by my mother. I know, my eyes did a 180 roll to the back of my head too. But hear me out…  From troubles with my day job to the tall, single and mysterious, this woman hit the nail on the head.  I never thought I would find my Prince Charming in someone else's Cinderella moment but alas here I'm staring at the man who could possibly change my life. How did this book end up in my hands?  I was gifted a digital copy of the book by the author so that I could share my thoughts on it. Did the book meet my expectations?  I don’t often read romance but , when I do, I choose well. A Cinderella Story has all the elements of a good romance – likeable characters, enough twists to keep things interesting and a happy ending – and I thoroughly enjoyed. Not to be confused with a retelling of the fairytale we all know,

Book review: The Long Journey Home

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By Cecily Blench Synopsis: It's 1941 and Kate is living in Rangoon, Burma, a world away from her traditional English upbringing. When she meets Edwin, a young teacher from London, she senses that he too is looking for a place to call home, and soon a friendship develops between them. As their bond grows, Kate begins to learn of the secrets in Edwin's past and the tragic events that brought them both to Burma. But war is coming and, when the Japanese forces invade, Kate and Edwin are forced to flee, along with thousands of others. They begin a perilous journey to India but soon become separated. As Kate continues on alone, she can't get this troubled young man out of her head. With the fallout of war all around them, in a place far from home, will Kate and Edwin survive their journey and find the new beginning they both seek? How did this book end up in my hands?  I requested access to this book on Netgalley and the publisher granted my wish. Yay! Was it a page-turner?  It

Blog tour: Things To Do Before The End of The World

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Welcome to the blog tour for Things To Do Before The End of The World by Emily Barr . More about the book… What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left - a year's worth at most? You'd work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you've never been brave enough to do before? Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do she wants to be Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn't even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha's ease and self-confidence having an effect on her. But Natasha definitely isn't everything she first appears to be... More about the author… Emily Barr started out working as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She was com

Blog tour: A Thousand Goodbyes

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Welcome to the blog tour for A Thousand Goodbyes by Ruth Graham . More about the book… When Ruth Graham left the world of stand-up comedy to become a funeral celebrant, she’d imagined a less combative career.  Over a thousand services later … she knows better. Probably her most demanding role to date, Ruth has needed every ounce of diplomacy, courage, humour and her wits about her to juggle the daily challenges. From grief-stricken families to amorous widowers through to plate-smashing, warring siblings and even a flock of stoned doves at a Rasta funeral.  As the story unfolds we witness her new career developing into a 24/7 commitment. Will it break her? Or will it be the spur she needs to get her own life in order? Jaw-dropping, informative, moving and hilarious in turn, ‘ A Thousand Goodbyes ’ is a reminder that nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow; whilst encouraging everyone to seize their day.  More about the author… Ruth Graham has written for many publications over the years on a v

Blog tour: Jaipur Journals

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Welcome to the blog tour for Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale . More about the book… Told from multiple perspectives, from the authors enjoying moments of adulation after years of creative isolation, to the star-struck public mingling with their cultural icons, to those in-between, who are both author and fan, these diverse stories of lost love and regret, self-doubt, and new beginnings come together in a narrative that is as varied as India itself. From a septuagenarian who has completed her semi-biographical novel but does not want to part with it, to an author who receives a threat in the form of a poison pen letter; from a historian who reunites with a past lover, to a burglar who is passionate about poetry; from a young woman who has no idea what this world has in store for her, to an American woman looking for the India of her hippie youth, this metafictional, wryly funny novel is an ode to literature. Partly a love letter to the greatest literary show on earth, partly a satire

Blog tour: Ariadne

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Welcome to the blog tour for Ariadne by Jennifer Saint . More about the book… As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother - demands blood every year. When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything. In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition? Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in

Blog tour: Kate in Waiting

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Welcome to the blog tour for Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli . More about the book… [PRINCIPAL CAST LIST] Kate Garfield,  Anderson Walker Best friends, and contrary to popular belief, not co-dependent. Examples: Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient.  Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment.  Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway. But  when Kate and Andy's latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Enter Stage Left: Matt Olsson He is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson. Turns out, communal crushes aren't so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson's friendship... More about the author… Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon ), The Upside

Book review: A Trip of One's Own

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Synopsis: Kate Wills wasn't expecting to be divorced after less than a year of marriage. She hadn't anticipated restarting a life that had, for the last 12 years with her partner, seemed so stable. Luckily, her job as a travel journalist offered her the perfect opportunity to escape from it all. But this time, her jet-setting felt different. Kate felt more alone, particularly against a backdrop of never-ending hen dos, weddings and baby showers. So she began to search history for female travellers to inspire her. From a 4th-century nun to a globe-girdling cyclist, Kate discovers that throughout history, there have been astonishing women who've broken free from more burdensome expectations, clearing the path for us to do the same. A Trip of One's Own  is a funny and heartfelt invitation to take that trip: to Paris, to Whitstable, and maybe down that street you've always wondered about. How did this book end up in my hands? I was happily allowed to access the book v

Blog tour: Guardians of the Planet

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Welcome to the blog tour for Guardians of the Planet: How to be an Eco-Hero by Clive Gifford . More about the book… This environmentally positive book contains everything children need to become guardians of the planet. Kids can learn how to become keepers of the coasts, friends of the forests, home heroes and much more through a mix of compelling facts, creative activities and proactive tips. Key environmental topics are clearly explained, and the easy-to-follow projects and suggestions help to put the issues in an everyday context. From reusing clothes and composting food to reducing water waste and giving wildlife a helping hand, this book will encourage children to engage with environmental problems and inspire them to take care of our wonderful planet. The book includes an introduction by ClientEarth, an organization that uses environmental law to protect oceans, forests and other habitats, as well as all people, and a foreword by Brian Eno. Printed using waterless ink on FSC pap

BOTH Publishing: By Books on the Hill

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Our kickstarter started April 2nd 2021 Making exciting good quality fiction accessible to a minority group currently not provided for by today’s UK traditional mass book market and providing a new tool for booksellers to use in their drive to increase diversity and inclusion.   Who Are We Working With We have been so fortunate that many great authors have agreed to contribute to this project. All are brilliant authors and are names I am sure you will recognise. Stan Nicholls, who has been a great support to me particularly with my PhD. He is the author of many novels and short stories but is best known for the internationally acclaimed Orcs: First Blood series. Steven Savile, the fantasy, horror and thriller writer, now lives in Stockholm whose father is a customer of our bookshop. The horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well established and engaging authors and also residents of Clevedon. Adrian Tchaikovsky is an Arthur Clark Award winner and best

Blog tour: Together

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Welcome to the blog tour for Together by Luke Adam Hawker . More about the book… One year on from the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, Together takes a gently philosophical, and very relatable, look at how we have dealt with a difficult year and how we can cope with hard times in general. Simple but striking text is paired with beautiful illustrations from hugely talented artist Luke Adam Hawker. When a monumental storm arrives, day-to-day life changes overnight. We follow a man and his dog through the uncertainty that it brings to their lives. Through their eyes, we see the difficulties of being apart, how the world adapted to spending more time at home, the rollercoaster of emotions that we can all relate to, and the realisation that by pulling together we can move through difficult times with new perspective, hope and an appreciation of what matters most in life. Together is very much a product of the new ways in which many of us have learned to work during lockdown. Having

Book review: Blank

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My dear booklovers, tomorrow is the publication day for Blank , the companion book to the hit podcast of the same title by writer Giles Paley-Phillips and comedian Jim Daly . What is it about? Blank is an informal, insightful podcast in which well-known people from acting, writing, politics and sports chat about their lives and how they get through tough moments like public failure, writer's block, social anxiety, imposter syndrome, identity crisis, and how they deal with parenting, grief, social media, their careers and switching off. The book is a compendium of the common experiences and lessons encountered while talking to guests such as Jon Ronson, Dawn French, Michael Rosen, Gary Lineker, Stephen Mangan, Dame Kelly Holmes, Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss, Fiona Murden, Rufus Sewell and many more. Blank moments allow us to reset and see things differently. Far from being setbacks, they can be the impetus for clarity and creativity. Identify your blank moments and jump in – you n

Blog tour: The Imposter

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Welcome to the blog tour for The Imposter by Anna Wharton . About the book… Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she's happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away the news clippings from the safety of her desk. But there's one story that she can't stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle - a girl, Chloe's age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope. When Chloe's Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl's family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she's read so much about. But it's not long until she realizes this couple aren't all they seem from the outside… But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous? About the au