Monday, 8 February 2016

Quick Reads 10th anniversary event at Foyles

Matt Haig, Rowan Coleman, Elizabeth Buchan & Fanny Blake

As an avid book-lover it can be so easy to forget that reading isn't an enjoyable or easy pastime for everyone. For a variety of reasons it can in fact be a struggle for people; those that have never learned how to read, or suffer from dyslexia, or for health reasons are unable to focus on any one book for a lengthy period, to name but a few. And this is where Quick Reads can provide a great alternative. I attended the 10th year anniversary event of this initiative at Foyles last week, hosted by Cathy Rentzenbrink, with special guests Veronica Henry, Fanny Blake, Elizabeth Buchan, Rowan Coleman and Matt Haig, which has made me appreciate the wonderful Quick Reads even more so than I did before.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Pan Macmillan's Women's Fiction Party 2016

Out of the many book events I had the joy to attend in 2015, Pan Macmillan's Women's Fiction Evening was one of my favourites and so I was thrilled to attend it again this year, this time with my Novelicious hat on. Held at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank, the event was filled to the brim with authors, agents and other fabulous publishing people. One of the highlights of the event is always wandering around the room to spot the new titles the Pan Mac team will be publishing (and of course picking up the most-anticipated ones to take home, though I was really restraining myself this year as my TBR pile is topping over so I kept it to a respectful four new books) while enjoying a glass of Prosecco and some tasty canapés.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Guest post: author Julie Murphy shares 5 things you may not know about Texas

I love the young adult releases from Harper360 (especially A Thousand Pieces of You and its sequel Ten Thousand Skies Above You, now my new favourite YA series!) and so when I received their latest email introducing me to Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (which sounded fabulous) I jumped at the opportunity to review the novel and take part in the blog tour. I loved the book, which feels a little like Grease for the 21st century, and I'll publish my review next week. But first, I'm delighted to share with you a guest post from the author with five things you may not yet know about the state the story takes place in: Texas.

The World Goes Round – The Songs of Kander & Ebb at St. James Theatre

Photo credit: Alex Murphy

While I have been to the St. James Theatre plenty of times before, most recently for revues You Won't Succeed on Broadway if You Don't Have Any Jews and Songs For a New World, I'd never actually visited the wonderfully intimate Studio – until this week that is. The World Goes Round perfectly fits inside this cosy space, bringing together some of the finest songs from Broadway songwriting duo Kander & Ebb with the immense talent of West End stars Oliver Tompsett and Debbie Kurup.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Book review: The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

I love the heartwarming stories that come from the imagination of Abby Clements. From Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream, right down to Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop and its tasty Mediterranean sequel, The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop. Each time when a new novel from this author is announced I feel a little flutter of excitement and receiving the title in the post is an utter joy. While I would love to return to the world of Amelia Grey one day, I admire how Abby Clements manages to always create a brand new cast of interesting characters and stories that still feel familiar and I quickly fall in love with, and with her latest endeavor, The Winter Wedding, she has done it again.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Book review: The Last of the Bowmans by J. Paul Henderson

Last Bus to Coffeeville was the first novel with a 'golden oldie' protagonist I discovered and devoured and it is still one of my favourites. Filled with cracking characters, enlightening historical insights and a heady dose of dark humour, it was a joyous ride from start to finish packed with a lot of heart. I was therefore delighted when publishers No Exit Press asked if I wanted to be part of the blog tour for author J. Paul Henderson's new novel, The Last of the Bowmans, and receive a copy of his latest book for review. The answer was of course, hell yes!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Blogger meetup at Icebar London

London is filled with an eclectic mix of fabulous discoveries, from new musicals at West End Live and a restaurant in Soho which serves nearly all dishes with a variation of polenta, to a funky pop art exhibition at the Tate Modern. If there's something you're particularly fond of, then there's probably a place in Blighty's capital that can cater to your wishes. If, for instance, being surrounded by ice from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is your thing then you don't have to catch a plane to the Nordics to get that experience, a tube ride to Oxford Circus and a visit to Icebar London off Regent Street will do just fine.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Book review: Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

You guys, I felt so incredibly fortunate that I was able to pick up an advance copy of the gorgeous Wickham Hall paperback at Transworld's recent showcase of upcoming novels! I'm a huge fan of Cathy Bramley's books and after Conditional Love, Ivy Lane and Appleby Farm, I do believe that this latest release is her best one yet.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Book review: Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

I had the pleasure of attending Walker Books' January-June 2016 Showcase last year and while there were many exciting titles revealed during the event (including Hour of the Bees, Goldfish (now rebranded as Fish Out of Water) and The Dark Days Club), it was the proof of Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford that made its way to the top of my TBR pile first, and what a fantastic book to start with!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Book review: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

I had the joy of attending the Penguin Random House Christmas Party last December and I picked up a selection of exciting new titles at the event, including Anna and the Swallow Man, which was pitched as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas meets The Book Thief. The former is one of my all-time favourite books but I didn't read more than a few chapters of the latter (blasphemy, I know!) so I was intrigued by this comparison and keen to discover in which camp it would fall for me. With an atmospheric and melancholy backdrop to what was at times a surprisingly wondrous and whimsical story, Anna's journey pulled me in from the very first page. This is an astonishing novel and one that no doubt will become a classic.