Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For more info please check out Jana’s blog.

Hello!

I love discovering new authors so I thought this was a good post for me take part in. So here are my 10 authors that I discovered in 2020.

The Countess of Carnarvon

I read Christmas at Highclere just before Christmas and I loved it and I really enjoyed The Countess of Carnarvon’s writing style and decided that 2021 would be the year I read some more of her books.

Stephen Fry

I have never read any of Stephen Fry’s books before but owned quite a few and I read my first one, Mythos, in 2020 and it will definitely not be my last.

Mike Gayle

I discovered Mike Gayle last year through a book club that was set up through a local bookshop. I quickly read through the book Half a World Away and then promptly read All the Lonely People. I will definitely be reading more of Mike Gayle and highly recommend him.

Madeline Miller

I read The Song of Achilles and it was a true stroke of genius that I adored.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I read Mexican Gothic and it really stuck with me. It is one of those stories that you just keep thinking about.

Beth O’Leary

Beth O’Leary’s The Flat Share was recommended to me by my best friend and I laughed my head off whilst reading it and now O’Leary will definitely be an author I turn to again.

Alison Weir

I read my first Alison Weir last year and then read loads of Alison Weir books and bought loads as well. She has become one of my favourite authors.

I only have seven authors that I discovered last year but they were all firm new additions to my TBR.

Please drop me a message if you want a chat about these authors. Please drop me link to your TTT and I will head over for a visit.

All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle (ARC Review)

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

About the author

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Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a Features Editor and Agony Uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, Guardian and Cosmopolitan.

Mike became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication My Legendary Girlfriend. Since then he has written thirteen novels and his books have been translated into more than thirty languages.

Blurb

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.

He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.

Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

Review

I was so excited to start this book and it did not disappoint although I did struggle to get into it to begin with. This book was an emotional rollercoaster that also had some surprises thrown into the mix that had me very surprised.

The character of Hubert Bird is a wonderful one, you just can’t help but love him and also feel dreadfully sorry for him at times. Hubert came to England from Jamaica to find a better life and instead he found low paid work and racism. However, he also found Joyce. Joyce and Hubert loved each other through all the odds and their love remained strong, even when it meant Joyce’s family throwing her out and never allowing her back.

This story finds Hubert who has had one too many knocks in his life and so has chosen to isolate himself from everyone including his best friend Gus. Now Hubert spends his days with Puss the cat and a weekly phone call from his daughter Rose who lives in Australia but Hubert tells Rose he is never home and always out with friends so when she says she is coming home for a visit Hubert has to find friends quick so Rose doesn’t find him out.

In walks my next favourite character Ashleigh and her young daughter Layla. Ashleigh is a young single mother who goes knocking on Hubert’s door and she doesn’t give in till she has made Hubert her friend.

This story is so endearing and very true in so many respects, there are many lonely people in this world and because of the speed everyone lives their lives these people often get forgotten and left behind. This book highlights that things can be done to help these lonely people if people take the time to help.

Gayle’s writing in this book is beautiful and how he moves from the past to present is flawless. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a beautiful story with a wonderfully poignant meaning. I really enjoyed this book but it did take a while to hook me in, although once I was hooked I could not put it down. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC.

Purchase Links

 Book DepositoryWaterstones

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you)

 

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Half A World Away by Mike Gayle (Review)

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle

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About the author

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Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a Features Editor and Agony Uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, Guardian and Cosmopolitan.

Mike became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication My Legendary Girlfriend. Since then he has written thirteen novels and his books have been translated into more than thirty languages.

Blurb

Kerry Hayes is a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot forget her past.

Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a young child, Noah never looks back.

When Kerry contacts Noah, the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will change both of their lives forever.

Review

This is the first book I have read by Gayle and the only reason I have discovered him is because it is the first set book in a book club I have joined. I am so happy I joined the book club.

I will be honest I simply could not put the book down, it was amazing. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster and I did cry my eyes out to the point that my poor husband got quite worried about me but it was fantastic. When I had finished the book I was also mourning the loss of the book, I just did not want to leave the characters behind.

The first thing I liked about this book was how each chapter came from either Kerry or Noah’s point of view and the narrative passed smoothly between them. It was never confusing and worked brilliantly, it really was expertly written.

Kerry was endearing and through the whole book I was on her side, she would do anything for family and most of all her son Kian. She had got a good little business going of cleaning houses and although the work was hard and sometimes frustrating she got up every morning with a smile and did the best possible job she could with pride. Kian never wanted for anything and even though it might not be designer he still had everything he needed. Kerry’s life had not been easy but she never complained or let it show. She was kind and welcoming to everyone and a woman you would love to have as a friend.

Noah had what appeared to be the perfect life, a nice house, fantastic job, beautiful wife and daughter and a brilliant upbringing, he had the easy life. However, Noah will not talk about the past or his feelings and this drives his wife mad and causes them to have marital problems. However, with Kerry now in his life things start to change and that change is heart warming and very emotional to see. Noah grows through the story and is such a different character at the end.

I loved all the characters in this story and the effect that Kerry and Noah had on these people. The book is just beautifully written and Gayle is an extremely accomplished and talented writer. I honestly can not praise this book enough and it is definitely my favourite book so far of 2020, I will be ordering more of Mike Gayle’s books to read ASAP. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Book Club

Hello!

I hope this post finds everyone safe and well.

So, since Monday we have been on lockdown but before this my husband and myself started self shielding from Wednesday last week as my health is not great, so other than going out for a walk each day and checking on our parents we have been at home. This has meant lots more reading, studying, music and just generally wondering what to do next. I have now started to write a daily To-do list!

However, before the self shielding a local independent bookshop that set up in the town where my sister lives announced they were planning on starting a Book Club. I was very excited about this because I’ve always wanted to join a Book Club but because of work etc I’ve never found one that I can actually get to. This Book Club was going to be on my day off though, so I was planning on joining. Then things got put on hold due to the present circumstances we all find ourselves in. However, I am pleased to announce the book shop has decided to set the Book Club up on Facebook and have accepted my request to join.

This wonderful book shop is called Wyre Forest Books which is in Bewdley, and I was so excited when it opened as some of my fondest memories as a child were visiting an independent book shop called Bewdley Books and sometimes following our visit with a visit to a little sweet shop, what could be better than books and sweets? So I made sure I visited the new book shop as soon as I could. Now I am very worried about this book shop and all independent book shops during this difficult time and want to do my part in keeping them going. However, I am also not currently working and as I am self employed not earning so fund wise I don’t really have many pennies to spare and have decided that if I want to buy a book I will use whatever Waterstones points I have. But to support Wyre Forest Books today I gave them a ring and ordered the first club book read and I plan on ordering all future Book Club reads from there, funds allowing.

So what is the book?

The book is Half a World Away by Mike Gayle

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Strangers living worlds apart.
Strangers with nothing in common.

But it wasn’t always that way…

Kerry Hayes is single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past.

Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back.

When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.

 

Mike Gayle was meant to be visiting Wyre Forest Books but has sadly had to cancel due to present circumstances but is planning to visit when hopefully normality returns. Hopefully I might get my copy signed!

So that is my exciting news! I will keep you updated about my Book Club adventures.

Here is the Facebook link to my little book shop Wyre Forest Books

My final word today though is support your local book shop if you can, let’s help keep them going so we have a wonderful shop to visit when all this is over and not another closed book shop never to return again. Order a book over the phone or online, buy a book voucher, anything to keep them going, and if you can’t support them financially give them a like and share on social media and show them some love. Thank you my fellow Book Dragons!

Please drop me a comment for a chat!

Stay safe everyone.

Happy Reading

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