Last week was…WOW dear readers. I was invited by Penguin to attend an influencer event with sofa.com on the 24th September down in London. This was my first event with Penguin so I had no idea what to expect. Eeeeeeeeep!
It was emotional boarding the plane and waving goodbye to my loved ones for a week. Flying back to a place that used to be home years ago, with NO CHILDREN! It was definitely a shock to the system but I soon found myself among familiar territory and felt at ease. Enjoying the quiet, people watching and writing in cafés, reading on trains and just immersing myself back into old habits. I do miss London but my heart belongs in the Scottish Highlands.
Believe it or not dear reader it worked out cheaper for me to stay longer than to just fly down for the event. But this in itself was an added bonus as I got to see my folks in London and visited Shakespeare’s Globe before having a delicious pub lunch by the Thames. I stayed with my husband’s family who are always so welcoming (they make the best food!) and met up with our good friend Sheldon with his lady friend for a spot of sushi YUM!
The event itself was AMAZING, even if I did arrive a sweaty mess with half my make-up dripping down my face. A vision of beauty I can assure you…haha! I forgot how stuffy the tubes can get and wished that I had paced my walking better.
Upon entering the showroom I was greeted by books, smiles and friendly chatter. I noticed a bar towards the back and of course made haste in its direction. A lovely lady got me a free white wine and asked if this was my first event. Yes, it was probably obvious that it was as I was awestruck. She told me what normally happens and made me feel extremely relaxed. I can’t for the life of me remember her name but I later chatted to her again and found out she for works for Penguin and is originally from Australia. So if you are reading this, lovely lady, THANK YOU!
The minute I found out we could fill our goodie tote bags with copies of the proofs I knew I was in heaven. You honestly cannot beat that beautiful new book smell. Inside our goodie bags we had a copy of The Wych Elm By Tana French, a face-mask, small bag of haribo and some leaflets about sofa.com. Perfect!
Everyone was friendly, there was free wine and snacks, books scattered everywhere and really, really comfortable sofas that you could just melt away into. We were allowed to peruse at our leisure around the displays of different proofs, take any that took our fancy and help ourselves to the food and drink. We were also treated to a brief outline of the top up-coming books and how excited Penguin were to be publishing them.
I had a lovely night and enjoyed talking among fellow book bloggers and readers, people who are just as passionate about books as myself.
I can’t wait to start reading the books for next year, they all sound fascinating. Below is a list of the ones I picked up and a little about them, enjoy!
The Wych Elm By Tana French
(21 Feb 2019)
WHAT DO WE HIDE INSIDE OURSELVES?
One night changes everything for Toby. He’s always led a charmed life – until a brutal attack leaves him damaged and traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.
But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made: a skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.
As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.
A spellbinding book from a novelist who takes crime writing and turns it inside out, The Wych Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, if we no longer know who we are.
Three Hours By Rosamund Lupton
(9 January 2020)
Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.
Keeper By Jessica Moor
(Mar 24, 2020)
An addictive literary thriller about a crime as shocking as it is commonplace
When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police are ready to write it off as a standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of the domestic violence shelter where Katie worked disagree. These women have spent weeks or even years waiting for the men they’re running from to catch up with them. They know immediately: This was murder.
Still, Detective Dan Whitworth and his team expect an open-and-shut case–until they discover evidence that suggests Katie wasn’t who she appeared. Weaving together the investigation with Katie’s final months as it barrels toward the truth, The Keeper is a riveting mystery and a searing examination of violence against women and the structures that allow it to continue, marking the debut of an incredible new voice in crime fiction.
Dear Edward By Ann Napolitano
(20 Feb 2020)
A luminous, life-affirming novel about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a deadly plane crash
One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a Wall Street millionaire flirting with the air hostess; an injured soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons, bickering over who gets the window seat. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.
Dear Edward depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he struggles to make sense of the meaning of his survival, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and find his place in the world without his family. In his new home with his aunt and uncle, the only solace comes from his friendship with the girl next door, Shay. Together Edward and Shay make a startling discovery: hidden in his uncle’s garage are sacks of letters from the relatives of the other passengers, addressed to Edward.
As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront some of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given? And what does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?
Olive, Again By Elizabeth Strout
(31 Oct 2019)
‘A superbly gifted storyteller and a craftswoman in a league of her own’ Hilary Mantel
Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes – sometimes welcome, sometimes not – in her own existence and in those around her.
Olive adjusts to her new life with her second husband, challenges her estranged son and his family to accept him, experiences loss and loneliness, witnesses the triumphs and heartbreaks of her friends and neighbours in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine – and, finally, opens herself to new lessons about life.
I want to say a big, BIG thank you to the wonderful people at Penguin for hosting such a fabulous event. And thank you for inviting me, it was an honour and pleasure to attend. Cheers!
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