*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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Bestsellers · contemporary

The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams ★★★★★

Blurb; Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in the London Borough of Ealing after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.

When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list… hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again. 

My Review; I am one of those readers that if the book has the word reading, bookshop or library in the title I know it will be a brilliant read and this was spot on. Highly recommend. A must read. One that will stick with me for a long time.

This story brings a lot of people together over books. From non readers, widows, to carers to the lonely people from old to young in society they all come together over one reading list but do not know where the list has come from or who wrote it. Heart-warming. Uplifting. The story focuses on two characters in particular Mukesh and Aleisha with a few chapters from others inbetween.

A story that will stick in your heart. One you won’t regret reading. A must read for me. High chance this could end up in my top reads of the year. A well deserved five stars. A beautiful ending which might make you tear up. Books are powerful things.

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