Book Review: The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days

Image result for The uncommon life of alfred warner in 6 daysThe Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by Juliet Conlin
Release Date: 23rd February 2017
Publisher: Black & White Publishing
Pages: 442
Buy: PaperbackKindle
Rating:Image result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink hearts

What’s the Story?

Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…

His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.

Welcome to the moving, heart-warming and uncommon life of Alfred Warner.

My Thoughts

We first meet Alfred on a train journey to meet his granddaughter, Brynja, in Berlin. Alfred has never met Brynja before, he doesn’t even properly know what she looks like – but for reasons which will soon become clear he is under the impression that he has six days left to live and he has a very important story that he feels he must share with Brynja before he dies. Not necessarily for his benefit; but for her own.

Whilst making the journey to Berlin, Alfred meets Julia. An unsuspecting stranger, Julia is concerned for Alfred’s welfare and ends up befriending him on a train station platform. Alfred shares his story with Julia in the hope that she will be able to pass it on to Brynja, however she ends up playing a rather important role in proceedings herself…

There are some books that reel you in from the very first page. It’s almost as if you get a sense that what you’re reading is going to turn into something amazing and I undoubtedly had this feeling with The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days. The premise absolutely fascinated me; it was intriguing and somewhat mystifying. Therefore it would be safe to say that I had rather high hopes for this novel and it absolutely did not disappoint. I couldn’t wait to discover the story that Alfred so desperately needed to tell and it completely enthralled me as I re-lived his experiences with him throughout the pages of this awe-inspiring novel.
It’s fair to say that Alfred has led far from your average life. His journey starts as an orphan in Germany and the tales which follow are both heartbreaking yet fascinating to read about. Life in a prisoner-of-war camp, enrolling in the German army, living through the Holocaust, love, life, death and everything in between. Alfred’s journey is also quite profound, particularly in the way that it demonstrates the impact that the people we meet can have on us throughout our lives. It’s a message that will not only astound you but also really get you thinking and I always love it when a book can do that to me.

One of the things that I thought worked well with this book was the format in which the story was told. We get to hear from both Alfred, Brynja and Julia throughout the six days of the story. As well as learning about Alfred’s life we also get to discover more about Brynja’s life, as we first meet her when she is preparing to meet Alfred and then her chapters take us backwards though her life. Secrets are revealed and parts of the story start to slot nicely into place.

Juliet Conlin’s writing really brought the character of Alfred alive for me. I absolutely adored him and I felt as though I was re-living his experiences with him throughout the story. He is quirky, fascinating and memorable; certainly a character who will stick with me long after I turned the last page. Juliet is a natural storyteller, setting the scene so delicately that you have no trouble envisaging what is happening on the page as if it were right in front of your eyes.

There is so much I want to say about this novel, but I think the best piece of advise I could give you would be to just go and read it for yourself (you can thank me later…!) because it will provide you with the most enjoyable yet heart-wrenching 2-3 days (or however long it takes you to read it…) I had difficulty putting it down because I felt so submerged in Alfred and Brynja’s worlds that I couldn’t rest until I had found out exactly what was going to happen.
So many fascinating themes can be found within these pages and I really hope that this novel gets the recognition is deserves. Full of hope, heartbreak and celebrating the importance of being different, The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days is inspiring, unusual and an absolute must-read.

My thanks to Lina at Black & White Publishing for the opportunity to review The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days.

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Secrets of Ivy Garden by Catherine Ferguson

Cover Reveal

There’s nothing quite like a cover reveal to brighten up your Sunday evening. Especially when it’s a cover as bright, beautiful and completely gorgeous as The Secrets of Ivy Garden by Catherine Ferguson, which is heading our way in ebook on the 3rd April. I challenge you to feast your eyes upon this book and not feel all sprightly and spring-like…

 

When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.

Cover Reveal: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Cover Reveal:

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

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You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.

Released 6th April 2017.

PaperbackKindle

Book Review: How to be a Grown-Up by Daisy Buchanan

How to be a Grown-Up by Daisy Buchanan
Release Date: 6th April 2017
Publisher: Headline
Genre: Non-fiction, self-help, lifestyle
Pages: 272
Buy: PaperbackKindle
Rating: Image result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink hearts

What’s the Story?

Have you ever felt lost, anxious, panicky about adulthood?
Have you ever spent a hungover Sunday crying into a bowl of cereal?
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and felt nothing but green-eyed jealousy and evil thoughts?
Award-winning journalist, Grazia agony aunt and real-life big sister to five smart, stylish, stunning twenty-something young women, Daisy Buchanan has been there, done that and got the vajazzle.
In How to be a Grown-Up, she dispenses all the emotional and practical advice you need to negotiate a difficult decade. Covering everything from how to become more successful and confident at work, how to feel pride in yourself without needing validation from others, how to turn rivals into mentors, and how to *really* enjoy spending time on your own, this is a warm, kind, funny voice in the dark saying “Honestly don’t worry, you’re doing your best and you’re amazing!”

My Thoughts

Despite reaching the grand old age of 27, I still feel something of an imposter when someone refers to me as an ‘adult’. I’m not an adult. I’m just a grown-up(ish) teenager. I’m actually twenteen-seven…That’s what I like to tell myself when my alarm goes off at 6am on a Monday morning and I don’t feel like ‘adulting’ but the idea of hiding under the duvet in my Beauty and the Beast pyjamas has never seemed so appealing.
Thankfully, Grazia’s agony aunt and writer Daisy Buchanan has used her wealth of knowledge and experience to benefit those of us who are a little freaked out at the idea of becoming an ‘grown-up’ and has put together this essential manual for twenty-somethings everywhere. Not that you have to be in your twenties to read and enjoy this sparkly gem of non-fiction…Not by any means.
No subject is taboo, whether it’s dealing with your parents, developing a fear of cashpoints, surviving at work, sex, fashion, conquering anxiety or teaching yourself how to properly relax, Daisy has it covered.

Sitting down with this book is similar to gossiping with your wiser, cooler, older sister. Someone who has been there, done that, made the mistakes and bought the t-shirt (or the strappy golden jumpsuit in Daisy’s case…) This makes How to be a Grown-up a very relatable, funny read and one which will undoubtedly resonate with so many people on so many levels. Daisy’s style of writing is chatty, warm and her wise words of comfort and reassurance will have the same effect as wrapping yourself in a mermaid tail blanket whilst Ryan Gosling strokes your hair and tells you you’re beautiful…

‘You’re doing fine and let me tell you why.’

Daisy proves that you can make the mistakes, you can recover from the heartbreak, you can live through the hangover, you can eat the burger and chips, you can be a member of Team Freak Out…but it’s all ok. Completely and absolutely ok. You’re still alive, you’re still breathing and the world is not about to suddenly combust because you overslept for ten minutes and don’t have time to perfect your winged eyeliner flick. Daisy has taught me that being an adult is about making mistakes…but importantly making those mistakes count.
I really feel as though I’ve learnt a lot from this book. One of the most important things I am taking away from How to be a Grown-Up is, in fact, the correct way to wash my hair. (I wasn’t necessarily expecting this but any hair care tips are always winners…*swishes-shampoo-ad-worthy-hair*)
I love how Daisy doesn’t shy away from the trickier topics that those of us in our twenties sometimes face. She talks frankly about her own struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, discusses mental health, sex, assault and also touches upon her issues with eating disorders and body image. The ultimate lesson amongst these pages is teaching you the importance of learning to love, take care of and listen to yourself. Once you can master this, other aspects of your life will become so much easier. Ok, ok, it’s no simple task. And you’re not necessarily going to be picking up this book in the first place if you’re one of those twenty-something’s who has their life sussed (Who are you and do you really exsist!?) but Daisy’s friendly tips and useful advice will reassure you, comfort you and inspire you. She writes in such an empowering way that you can’t help but finish this book and feel pretty damn good about yourself.
I have taken away so, so many positives things from this book. It’s something that I will refer back to when I’ve made a balls-up of something and it feels as though the world is about to end. It made me feel better about life in general and reminded me that I’m most definitely not on my own with making a mess of washing my hair, being jealous of someone’s Instagram feed and sometimes feeling like an imposter in life.

As soon as you reach the age of twenty, this manual for not-quite-ready-to-adult adults everywhere should be issued as standard. It will make you smile, give you hope and most importantly make you feel a whole lot better about life…

My thanks to Georgina at Headline for providing me with a copy of How to be a Grown-Up for review.

 

 

Who Killed Helen Fields? Perfect Remains Blog Tour

Who Killed Helen Fields?

Perfect Remains Blog Tour

The first in a nail-shredding new crime series. Fans of M.J. Arlidge and Mo Hayder will be gripped from start to finish.

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

PaperbackKindle