Monday, 18 March 2019

Giveaway and Bookish Celebration March 2019

Well another year has gone by and today marks 6 years since I posted my first review right here on this blog! It was of course a review of a Jenny Colgan novel, I won't forget that in a hurry and this past six years posting on this blog almost everyday has been so mush fun and has given me so many amazing experiences so I have a giveaway today to thank you for all of your support!

Not only does today mark 6 years since my first review but I also just hit 500 subscribers over on my BookTube channel and so we are celebrating that today too. 

I have a giveaway going on over on BookTube and also on my Instagram with two prize to be won.

Prize 1 (UK and US only) a bookish goody box put together by me with some of my favourite bookish items (and of course books) sent to you!

Prize 2 (International) a book of your choice from Book Depository!

How can you win? You have 3 possible entry options...

Entry 1: Comment on today's video telling me your favourite kind of content that I post or the kind of content you would like to see me post more of
Entry 2: Be subscribed to my channel and let me know in the comments of today's giveaway video (entries 1 and 2 can be combined in the same comment)
Entry 3: Comment on today's Instagram post

The giveaway will close on Friday 22nd March and if you have any questions either leave me a comment on here, or on my channel or social media platforms or send me a message on any of those social media platforms and I will be happy to answer your questions. 

Again, thank you so much for all your support-I hope you have a wonderful bookish day!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Movie Reviews: March 10th-16th 2019

Another Sunday, another lot of movie reviews. As always, I go into more detailed thoughts on my movie reviews video over on my BookTube channel which I will leave at the bottom of this post once it is live so if you want a little more detail, give that a watch please and thank you!

I actually watched this twice this week in two different formats. I definitely noticed a difference between watching this one in Dolby and on a regular screen with regular sound. I also got to watch it with other people the second time around which always helps. I loved the throwback nature of this film, I loved the music and I love this new hero!

This one is obviously based on a book which was on my TBR. I cried more during the film than I did reading the book. I enjoyed this all except for the ending but I would recommend it. I think if you want to enjoy the film for the film, then don't read the book first because then you won't know what's coming. 

I will have a book vs movie of this one over on my channel soon!

My video has more detailed reviews and make sure to watch out for my Five Feet Apart book vs movie video too!

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Review: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

I was sent an audio copy of this book for review from Penguin Random House. 

A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speakwas first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice-- and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

Review: This was an amazing book which I already feel like listening to again. I think I will have to get myself the hardback edition of this book just so I can mark out some of my favourite verses and prose because there were so many memorable moments. 

I did this book on audio and it is read by the author Laurie Halse Anderson who wrote Speak amongst many others. I was lucky enough to hear this writer speak at my local library in Denver and so I knew that this audio was going to be amazing and it was. In a memoir like this which contains so many personal moments as well as calls to action and is written in verse, I think it is so valuable to have the author read their own work. She injects such feeling and so much passion into what she says and how she says it, the audio was fantastic. 

Even if you don;t know this writer I think this is still a very valuable read an something you will be able to enjoy with no prior knowledge of her work. This book deals with many tough issues and so definitely comes with car warnings for sexual violence and domestic abuse, amongst other things. But this book deals with hard hitting issues in such a personal and relatable way. One of my favourite sections was the one concerning consent, it was just so true and so beautiful. The verse called Yes just begged to be listened to or read again and again and again. 

I definitely recommend this book and recommend the audiobook. I will, however, be purchasing the physical book so that I can go back and flag some of my favourite verses and re-read some of the stories that this writer has. I am excited about enjoying it all over again!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Guest Review: A Wedding at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Return to the Comfort Food Cafe for the wedding of the year!
Wedding bells ring out in Budbury as the Comfort Food Café and its cosy community of regulars are gearing up for a big celebration…
But Auburn Longville doesn’t have time for that! Between caring for her poorly mum, moving in with her sister and running the local pharmacy, life is busy enough – and it’s about to get busier. Chaos arrives in the form of a figure from her past putting her quaint village life and new relationship with gorgeous Finn Jensen in jeopardy. It’s time for Auburn to face up to some life changing decisions.
Settle in for a slice of wedding cake at the Comfort Food Café – a place where friendships are made for life and nobody ever wants to leave.

Review: This is the sixth, and, sadly, the last book from Debbie Johnson about the Comfort Food Cafe, a wondrous establishment set high above the sea in the Dorset town of Budbury. I have read all of these stories and have very much enjoyed getting to know the cafe, its proprietors and customers, the town, and the newcomers arriving with each book and staying after falling under its spell. Although I am truly sad not to be able to look forward to any more novels in this series, I am sure that Debbie will still be skilfully entertaining us with subsequent books, and look forward to them. 

This story is told from the point of view of Auburn, daughter of Lynnie, one of the older inhabitants of the town. Along with sister Willow and brother Van, Auburn combines her work as the local pharmacist with looking after Lynnie, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She has recently found a romantic interest in the shape of Finn, a Danish man who has come to the town to oversee the local school for supremely clever and inventive young people. At the start of the story, Auburn is attending a meeting of the local ladies who are holding a combined baby shower and hen do for Laura, who is expecting twins and getting married, both in the near future. The fun and laughter turn to shock following a revelation from Auburn. This secret, previously unknown even to her family, could have wide-ranging implications; in fact, its effects on her relationship with Finn are felt throughout the book. At the same time as Auburn is struggling with her personal problems, life is continuing in Budbury, with Cherie serving up delicious food in the cafe and generally looking after the community, the teenagers growing up and relationships forged in previous books thriving. The question is: how will it all pan out for Auburn?

I have loved every one of the tales from the Comfort Food Cafe series, but I think this might be my favourite. As always, I devoured the book in just a couple of sittings, laughing and crying my way through its pages as events in the town unfolded. The dilemma that Auburn faced and the need to rake over her past were heart rending. These worries were partially balanced by the humour in other situations and the description of the quite magnificent wedding that took place in the cafe part way through the book. I was pleased that Debbie Johnson softened the blow of having to leave the Comfort Food Cafe and the residents of Budbury by giving the reader her thoughts on what each of her characters might be doing in the future; nonetheless, I shall miss them. As you might guess, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to one and all. It can perfectly well be read as a stand-alone, but I’m sure if it is your first visit to Budbury, you will want to go back and read the previous books as well.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Leah Fleming Author of The Olive Garden Choir

Today is my stop on the Olive Garden Choir blog tour. I have a guest post from author Leah Fleming for you today. If you like what you read you can click here to order your copy now. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews!

Here's what it's all about:

An evocative novel of secrets, love and redemption under the Greek sun.

On the beautiful island of Santaniki, close to Crete, it’s not all white sands and sunshine. When retired bookseller Ariadne Blunt suggests the English residents form a choir, there are groans of resistance.

After a little persuasion, the group gather in Ariadne’s olive garden to rehearse, but each member of this choir has their own struggles and secrets. Ariadne’s partner, Hebe, is in failing health. Clive struggles to accept the loss of his wife while Della, the Pilates teacher, drinks too much. Then there is Mel, the real songbird amongst them, English wife of a taverna owner who hides her talent until the choir inspires her to raise her voice once more.

In this tiny community, the choir brings the residents together like never before in a bittersweet tale of love and loss – and how life can begin again when you let go of the past.

And here's what Leah has to say:


Virginia Woolf said “Every woman should have a room of their own”. In my case it is a shed at the bottom of the garden currently in use as a winter rescue home for delicate plants. But as spring approaches, plans are afoot to clear out the debris to restore it once more to my writing room.

From here over the years I have travelled far a field; on a life boat watching the Titanic go down, to a remote Scottish island and the back streets of New York, to the mountains of Crete.

Readers might recognize these locations from some of my novels. Each journey of imagination comes from that first idea of what story I will write next and where it will be set; perhaps a café in wartime Lichfield, the shores of the Mississippi or the outback of Australia. The possibilities are endless.

I can’t seem to stay too close to home in my village when I locate my story; a Yorkshire Quaker family fleeing persecution to help found a colony in Pennsylvania in the 1690s: As with most of these imaginative explorations, I do try and visit the exact spots where I think the story unfolds; the shores of Muscatine, Iowa, the lace city of San Sepolchro Italy, a synagogue in Chania, Crete where I worked as a tour guide for several months. Some are too far to visit but with internet roaming I can Google myself onto the very streets of Adelaide or the cemetery in Halifax Nova Scotia where the Titanic victims were buried. The researches I do are important and sometimes I find personal accounts of real people which add depth to a character. .

Once a subject grabs me I have to follow where it leads. It involves lots of thinking before I visit the location. Now that THE OLIVE GARDEN CHOIR is out on e- book and hardback, where next? Perhaps a sequel that will mean yet another trip to my beloved island of Crete soon?

It’s on these visits I meet friends, now residents there, who know far more than I do about living in another culture , giving me useful anecdotes. So time for me to open up the “Plotting”shed where ideas are hatched, pour a glass of something sparkly, gaze over the hills and get cracking on STRANGERS IN THE OLIVE GARDEN. Wish me luck on my travels.

Leah Fleming.

About the Author

After careers in teaching, catering, running a market stall, stress management courses in the NHS as well as being a mother of four, Leah Fleming found her true calling as a storyteller. She lives in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales but spends part of the year marinating her next tale from an olive grove on her favourite island of Crete.

Follow Leah:   
Twitter: @LeahleFleming
Facebook: @Leah Fleming

Thanks so much to Leah for stopping by and sharing today, don't forget to check out the other blogs on the tour!

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Follow Head of Zeus:
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus

Monday, 11 March 2019

Review: The Mermaid's Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet and USA TODAY bestselling author Amanda Lovelace presents the mermaid’s voice returns in this one — the third and final installment in her “women are some kind of magic” series, featuring a foreword from Lang Leav and 13 guest poems from leading voices in poetry such as Nikita Gill, KY Robinson, and Orion Carloto.

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one.

Review: I absolutely loved the final instalment in the Women are Some Kind of Magic series. Having so enjoyed the previous collections of Amanda's poetry, there was a lot of pressure to love this one and I absolutely did. It felt like a crescendo at the end of a song and that is absolutely how I needed it to feel. 

This book comes with the same kind of care warnings as the previous books and the author notes these at the start of this book. This book also comes with space to start your open poems and stories in the same vain, which Amanda's previous book also had and I love that idea. I know there is also a whole journal out with space for your own poems but having something at the end of a book like this, at the end of a book where I have flagged countless poems to return to-such an amazing idea. 

I love the fact that there were some guest poems in this one as well because they fitted the tone of the collection so well and yet gave a different voice mixed in with the final section of this book. It was interesting to hear from other poets and a great way to discover other voices and other books to pick up. I flagged some of their poems to return to as well as some of Amanda's. 

There are some amazing poems in this book. I loved some of the poems covering topics such a motherly advice, being called a tease and therapy sessions, as well as some dealing with darker, more personal topics. One of my favourites was 'I Believe in Endless Worlds' and also "Open up the Wardrobe and Step Inside'. One of my favourite guest poems was 'Wading' by Gretchen Gomez. I could relate to so many of these poems and definitely recommend picking up this book even if you are new to poetry. I recommend this whole trilogy and ultimately think it is best to sit down and read them back to back in one fabulous evening!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK (out 5th April) or US (out now)

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Movie Reviews: March 3rd-March 9th 2019

My movie reviews are back! I had a brief break because I made a week of Oscars nominations videos (I'll leave that playlist at the bottom of this post) and then last weekend I was off seeing where they make the movies instead of watching them. 

So I saw 2 movies in cinemas this week as well as seeing a few that I have seen before again. As always, I go into more detail in my video which I will leave at the bottom of this post. 

I absolutely loved this film and would happily go and see it again tomorrow-in fact I might just do that! I thought the humour was spot on and because it is British humour and I saw it with an American audience there were some points where I was the only one laughing out loud. There were lots of points when we were laughing together too. I love the wrestling in the film and the fact that it is based on a true story-spot on!

This is a documentary following the Apollo 11 mission from launch to stepping on the moon to coming out of quarantine following the lunar mission. It was optimised for Imax and in full colour and I thought that it was visually beautiful. If you get the chance to go and see this, definitely take it!

And then I saw these three movies for a second time or a third time in the case of A star is Born. Obviously because I was re-watching them, I highly recommend them all!

Here's my movies reviews video where I go into a little more detail. 

And here's my Oscars week playlist if you want to know my thoughts on ALL of the Oscar nominated movies!