The People on Platform 5 – Clare Pooley ★★★★★

Blurb; Nobody ever talks to strangers on the train. It’s a rule. But what would happen if they did? From the New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of The Authenticity Project, a heartwarming novel about unexpected friendships and the joy of connecting.

Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Constant-Reader and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do.

Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of Sanjay, a nurse, who gives him the Heimlich maneuver.

This single event starts a chain reaction, and an eclectic group of people with almost nothing in common except their commute discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more. It turns out that talking to strangers can teach you about the world around you–and even more about yourself.

My Review; A new author to me. I got this because I bought it a while back for my friend so I gave it a go. I was not disappointed. An easy, fast paced read. An uplifting read. A coming together, happy ending for all story. Perfection. I enjoyed every page. I think this book also highlighted to me how ignorant we have all become in this day and age. How many of the same people do you see each morning? Walk by? Travel with? What if we all just said hello or smiled? I believe similar to this story the world would be a much happier place. I myself walked past a certain lady and her children every morning for must have been a year and guess what? We are now really really good friends. Crazy right? The story is told through each other the different characters but the main character Iona started it all and becomes a huge part of all the other characters stories. Each character is facing their own personal problems but Iona will help each of them. But what about Iona? Does she need help? Honestly a brilliant read and all while mostly set on a train. Short chapters. I really think this will end up in my top reads of the year. A well deserved five stars. Highly recommend.

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*BLOG TOUR* Then and Now – R.J. Gould ★★★★

Blurb; Sandy is about to retire following an illustrious career as editor of an upmarket fashion magazine.
Michael can’t retire, he thinks his work to explain the dangers of climate change is far too important.
Jonathan would like to retire from running his fundraising consultancy but a family crisis is getting in the way.
These three were the best of friends at university before a tragedy wrecked their friendship. That was fifty years ago and they haven’t spoken since.
Sandy urges the other two to join her at a weekend reunion. Together they reminisce about their student days, such a wild era with its heady mix of free love, drugs and ground-breaking music. They share their life journeys since the Swinging Sixties – the successes and failures, the happiness and despair, and their optimism and fears for the future.
The reunion is drawing to a close. Dare they tackle the incident that tore them apart, an event that has brought guilt for so many years? If they are to have any chance of reconciliation they have to, but the clock is ticking.

My review; I read a previous book by this author and really enjoyed it so had to give this one a try and I am so glad I did. I devoured the full story in one morning. The story is told through three OAPs Sandy, Jonathan and Michael. It’s a story of their current lives and reminiscing of the past when they all meet up at a university reunion nearly 50 years after they all graduated.

I loved Sandys character the most that is one crazy woman! Living life to the full until the end. It was fab to see these three characters come back together, reminisce and have some fun at their weekend reunion. OAPs doing weed, booze and having sex. Very funny in parts. You’re only as old as you feel as they say. But a weekend which leaves them all feeling different. An unspoken event which tore them all apart after university brings them all back together.

Loved it all. Not what I expected but really enjoyed it. Devoured it. Would recommend. A well deserved four stars from me.

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Author bio; R J Gould writes contemporary fiction about relationships, using a mix of humour and pathos todescribe the tragi-comic life journeys of his characters. Then and now is his seventh novel, followingThe Engagement Party, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, Mid-life follies, The bench by Cromer beach,Nothing Man and Dream Café. He is a member of Cambridge Writers and a rare male member of theRomantic Novelists’ Association.Before becoming a full-time author he worked in the educational and charity sectors.R J Gould lives in Cambridge.

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Adventure · contemporary · romance

Away with the Penguins – Hazel Prior ★★★★

Blurb; Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My Review; OMG. I loved the whole story. From the first page to the last. I know I’m a little behind as plenty have read it already but I am so glad I finally got around to this one. What a beautiful story. An adventure to Antarctica to see the penguins. Veronica isn’t going to let age stop her from this adventure.

I loved everything about Veronica’s character. The story is told through Veronica and her recently discovered grandson Patrick who didn’t have the best first encounter together. This is such a heartwarming, uplifting read. I really did lose myself into this book and being among all the Penguins and the best part is there’s a second book I can dive into YAY.

A must read. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me. One I won’t forget for a long time.

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