Wednesday, 26 May 2021

The Summer Seekers By Sarah Morgan - Book Review

May, what are you doing to us in the UK? It feels like we are getting all the April showers (and more) a month late. What better way to inject some cheer into the blog than my stop on the blog tour for Sarah Morgan's latest novel The Summer Seekers. It's published by HQ who kindly gifted me access to read the book on Net Galley, and it's turned out to be the perfect way to add some sunshine into these gloomy days. 

As I'm writing this I've yet to see 'The Summer Seekers' on the shop shelves, but it will definitely stand out for shoppers, I don't think I've ever seen a front cover so bright and bold, and yellow!

'The Summer Seekers' follows the story of Kathleen, her daughter Liza, and Martha, three women seeking adventure and change in their lives, and I think it's safe to say they got it. Kathleen is a former travel TV presenter seeking a new adventure after the passing of her husband, Liza is fed up with being the dutiful wife and mother that everyone depends on, and Martha is feeling lost since her grandmother's passing and is in need of a new job. The Summer Seekers follows them on their adventures that span two countries, Route 66, a famous flirtatious art-loving rock star, and bacon.


I won't give too much of the story away, but the minute a bacon sandwich was mentioned at the start of the opening chapter I was craving one, and I still haven't had one yet so I really need to sort that out. This is where Sarah shines as an author though, the small things that bring visual images or emotions. I read about bacon and it was almost as if I had some sizzling in front of me. 

There's another line later on in the book where Liza comments "I've read books without feeling there's something else I should be doing." That hit hard, I love to read and was a big bookworm when I was younger, but as an adult with two jobs, anxiety (sometimes), and other things to deal with, I found I was either too tired, had other things to do, or just didn't have the concentration to read. I am trying to fit in some chill-out time into my days or weeks to shut off and pick up a book, and the motivation of a review or blog tour helps, and it feels so good.

All three women in this story want to feel good too, they want to escape the past, move on in a positive way, and reconnect with what they feel they've lost. Whether you relate to being stuck in a rut (Liza), hating the idea of a sedentary old age (Kathleen), or have no idea what to do with your life (Martha), these ladies and the way they learn from each other will win you over. 

Where 'The Summer Seekers' lacked a little for me was the scene-setting in America as Martha and Kathleen explored Route 66. I just felt at times like I could have been reading about anywhere and expected a little more detail about the iconic route, whereas there was plenty to transport me straight to the UK coastline and Oakwood cottage. 

It's still a book that kept me reading consistently until the end and I enjoyed the relatable moments and unexpected friendships too. It's delivered a splash of summer when I needed it, and I've already got my eyes on my next Sarah Morgan summer read (when mums finished with it!). 

'The Summer Seekers is available from May 27th on ebook, audiobook, and paperback from all your favourite places to buy. If you need a warm cozy hug of summer adventure, then this is the read for you. 

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Carnovsky Jungle 3 in 1 Jigsaw Puzzle Review

 One thing I have really enjoyed about lockdown is those moments, that turn into many minutes and hours when you can just sit and lose yourself in something, especially jigsaw puzzles. Late last year I was lucky enough to be #gifted a new puzzle from Ginger Fox and I can honestly say I've never done a puzzle like it.

Design duo Carnovsky has produced a series of 3 animal-themed 500 piece jigsaws all, each on a different animal theme, with a very clever twist. The bo contains 500 pieces and 3 pairs of glasses, just like the 3D glasses you might get in the cinema, but each has different colour lenses.

You can tell from looking at the box and enclosed print of the finished puzzle that there is more to see, but I definitely didn't expect quite such a wow from the end result, and I strongly suggest not cheating and only using the glasses when you've finished the puzzle. 

Jungle Puzzle Completed

The product details:

Retailed by Ginger Fox these puzzles cost £14.99 each and are available from Amazon. They cost £14.99 each at the time of blogging and include the box, 3 pairs of glasses, and a cardboard bag to store the pieces in. The lack of plastic (apart from maybe the glasses lenses) was nice to see. Choose from a jungle, animal, or ocean theme. I received the jungle one. 

Doing the puzzle: 

It started off as a solo effort, but mum couldn't resist joining in a bit later on and we got lost in the process quite a few times. It started off fairly easy - I was quite pleased with how quick I got all the edges done, and one corner of the design done, but then it got harder. This puzzle is definitely a challenge, and though having a print of the finished design helped a bit with some parts, quite a few times we were trying to match the patterns or colours up and were undecided on where pieces went/what they depicted. I think you have to be patient with this and be prepared to wait a while for the rhythm to set in and more spaces to be filled, but it's worth it.

The end result:

Mum said after we had finished the puzzle that she probably wouldn't choose to buy another one because you don't get the same enjoyment from the picture coming together as you would with normal puzzles, and it's a fair point - some parts of it really do look like nothing specific at first.

My reaction to finishing one puzzle was a sense of achievement, and I was a little bit mind-blown by the 3D images. Right now that means I'm curious to see what the other puzzles in the range would look like finished, although I'm not sure I would have the stamina to complete both of them. 

Jungle 3 In 1 Puzzle With Viewing Glasses

Looking through the glasses was even better than I expected. Each picture is completely different, some even featuring animals that there was no hint of at all in the pattern. It was detailed, clear, and I felt a little childlike excitement, especially when I looked through the red glasses. No spoilers but the image are shown when you use those was probably the best of the 3, and the biggest surprise. 

Good value for the price, entertainment value, and 3D element. The designers are very clever and although it's not a product I would necessarily keep buying, say if there were a larger series of them, I definitely hope to try another at some point.

Keep an eye on the blog or my Instagram as I'll be dropping in with progress on other puzzles, and any other free time activities I end up trying out. Are you a jigsaw fan? If you have any favourite types of puzzles do let me know below. I always love to hear from you. 

Ginger Fox Website

Amazon Listing

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Josef Pitura-Riley - You're Not Alone E.P Review

I've been walking around the house recently singing the words 'I'm a jack of all trades, I'm the master of none." to myself... just over six months since I first heard them. That's always a good sign right? So I thought it was about time I introduced you all to the author of Jack Of All Trades, and his You're Not Alone E.P which was released in July last year. 

I had planned to upload this blog a lot sooner but Covid stress got in the way, perhaps in a good way, as it feels like an even better time to enjoy an uplift and some feel-good tunes.

Josef Pitura-Riley is a singer-songwriter based in London, and like many in the pandemic wanted a new goal and something to do. The end result is an E.P of self-recorded songs, where he plays all the instruments, sings, and produced each and every song. 

The instrumentation is something you can't fail to notice through all 5 songs, and it's just pure happy. Lively, catchy, soft, and loud in all the right places, and perfect for those gigs all music fans are longing to safely happen this year. It's on point, well-produced, and the lyrics are sing-along. 

Where this E.P did lack a bit was the vocals, there's so much character in the music and the lyrics, I was expecting Josef to really go for it in his vocal delivery, and didn't feel that came across as well as it could have done in my ears. I heard the opening bars of the music and just expected the vocals to hit me with the same punch, and they didn't quite get there, but that could be a totally different ball game live. 

Overall though I really enjoyed listening to the tracks, it's hard not to respond to such a lively instrumental E.P, and I also want to give credit for Josef's approach to bloggers/writers. He not only took the time to look at my blog (and not everyone does), but also saw what I was into and sent a Disney cover for me to listen to. If you're a Jungle Book fan check this video out.  

Find all your download and streaming links at - http://www.josefpiturariley.com/





Thursday, 4 February 2021

Book Love Challenge (Set By Miranda Dickinson) -All My favourite Books

A while ago author Miranda Dickinson put up a book love challenge on Instagram, where she would put up prompts and answer with her favourite book or books in each category. I thought it would be fun to do my own, but over on my blog (I couldn't keep up on Instagram), and have (after a bit of thought) answered all her prompts below. What would your choices be? do join in, in the comments and let us all know, it's always great to hear about the books everyone else loves. 

1 - A Book You Loved

Much read paperback of Jane Eyre
Paperback of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, one of the classics I read quite a long time ago, and have read many times since. It's one of the books I keep in my bookcase and even bought a new copy of when the original got too scrappy. I'm not really sure what struck me about it, especially as it's quite a haunting story, but it was incredibly well written, with quite a few twists in the story, which none of the TV versions have really managed to capture.

2 - A Book You Want A Sequel For


This is a hard one to answer, but I would say the Worst Witch series of books. I've always been a fan of witches, wizards, and the magical side of Halloween. I always remember reading those books really quickly and wishing there were more, and that's one bookish memory that has stuck with me from childhood.

3- A Book You'd Like To Live In

Easy answer, though another children's book (there may be a theme here) but the Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. Such an amazing writer and this book definitely fired up my imagination. I always used to enjoy escaping to the magical lands at the top of the tree.

4 - A Book Character You'd Kiss

Probably Jakob from the Twilight series. I was always more team werewolf than vampire, and although he really struggles with his change, there are some touching moments in the books between him and Bella. I think you'd feel his strength and protective nature in a hug and kiss. Obviously very volatile when vampires are around, but there was something quite appealing about that! 

5. A Book Character You'd Fight

Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice, not that he deserves a physical fight, but there's something about his character, especially as depicted in films that gave me the creeps every time I saw or read something. So I'd choose him for a verbal battle/talking to. preferably in the presence of his patron who he thinks so highly of. Just an annoying character I'd like to battle in some way. 

6. A Book Character You'd Like To Be

Matilda (Roald Dahl) I love it when clever, funny children in books get one over on the mean characters, and the way Matilda dealt with her parents, and Mrs Trunchbull was really funny. 

7. Your Favourite Book Cover

Christmas book covers
The short answer would be all the Christmas books- near Christmas is my favourite time of year to go shopping and all the festive books and covers jump out of the shelves and make me want to buy them all, though I think my already crazy reading pile might protest a bit at that! If I was going to choose one cover A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan is ahead of the pack. The cosy log cabin in the snow is pretty much my idea of a Winter holiday, and the story behind the cover I really enjoyed. 

8. Your Favourite Book Series

When I was younger I used to read a lot of book series, Famous Five, Secret Seven, all the Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books I could find. I've not read that many series recently, but one single book that's stuck in my mind is a hardback copy of The Polar Express that I won in a competition. I'd only ever seen the film and didn't know there was a book, but it's so pretty, with lovely illustrations - all capturing the magic of the story. 





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