Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blog Tour: The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

Links to buy are affiliates. 
ARC clearly defined in accordance with review/disclosure policy here


Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to the wonderful debut from Irish author Helen Cullen. If you're of the same vintage as myself, you will probably remember The Jolly Postman books - we had one in Primary School and I was fascinated with being able to open letters meant for other people. Considering that one of my greatest wishes as a child was to open all the mail in the Post Van, it always makes my voyeuristic little heart sing when I find a good epistolary novel. In my teenage years, I read the Griffin and Sabine series - a Supernatural story about letters and postcards between a couple who have never met. I've often wondered why there aren't more fiction books about letters - thankfully, this one (wait for it) delivers. 

While this story isn't explicitly told through letters, they do feature heavily. William Woolf works at the Dead Letters Depot in London. This is where all the undeliverable mail ends up - sometimes it's because the person doesn't exist, or the intended recipient is Supernatural, or sometimes it's due to damage. William is a letter detective - he spends his days sifting through the mail, and picking out special ones to unite with their intended recipients. 

William discovers a series of letters written to "My Great Love" - he's married to his own great love, Clare, but their marriage is strained. As William begins to develop an obsession with the writer of the love letters, is he at risk of missing what's happening to his own relationship? 

I assumed that this would focus entirely on the letters, and I was completely wrong. While they are sprinkled throughout, this is equally a story about a marriage. Fans of Us by David Nicholls may enjoy the relationship aspect of the story. 

A few years ago, I found a love letter in a piece of furniture that we acquired second hand. We never found the recipient, and later lost the letter, but I did archive it here on the blog if you'd like to see it: 

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a sweet, charming read. Some of the letters are incredibly heartfelt and they did bring a tear to my eye at times. The story of William and Clare's marriage is not uncommon, and I liked how we heard from both William and Clare. For me, William came across as much, much older than he was supposed to be - he's not yet forty - but maybe that's just me refusing to accept the fact that I am, in fact, a middle-aged woman now.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is released on July 12th, and you can purchase it at all good bookshops or via the links below:

If you'd like to check out the other stops on the Blog Tour happening throughout the month of July, you can keep track via the below graphic:

The importance of letters is beautifully documented here - some of my own most treasured possessions are letters or cards from people who are no longer with us. It's lovely to have memories, but it's even better to have something tangible, something you know they wrote with just you in mind. I do wish that more people would send letters and cards, I fear that it may become obsolete in the future. This story just proves how important it is to keep letter-writing going, and how much love and joy can come from a small envelope. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Monthly Reads: June 2018

Links under books are affiliates. ARCs clearly defined in accordance with review policy here


Since early June, we've had a heatwave here in Ireland. I find that I'm much less likely to pick up a book if the weather is too hot, so I've been struggling to fit reading in. I got through just six books, most of them very light holiday reads.

Click on an individual cover to go to my full Goodreads review.


Next To You (Love With Altitude #1) by Daisy Prescott
This was on offer via BookBub a few weeks ago. It's a dual POV between Stan, a hot South African rugby player, and his girl-next-door neighbour Sage, a dance teacher/animal welfare volunteer. It was sweet, and sexy, and had a little more bite than some other novels of this type (yay for safe, consensual sex!). I really enjoyed it so I bought the others in the series. This is free on Kindle at the time of posting.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Crazy Over You (Love With Altitude #2) by Daisy Prescott
These are standalone books - they're set in the same world and feature the same characters but you don't have to read them in order to enjoy them. This one focuses on Jesse (ski patrol) and Mara (a veterinarian). Again, it was really witty, enjoyable, and light.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Wild For You (Love With Altitude #3) by Daisy Prescott
This one is for the cowboy fans - Justin and Zoe get together despite Justin's brooding lone cowboy schtick. I didn't enjoy this one as much, who knew that the rodeo wasn't my thing?
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
This has been made into a movie on Netflix, and I wanted to read the book before I watched it. Firstly, it's worth mentioning that the author first wrote this when she was 15 - and it's pretty indicative of what 15 year olds write - I wrote a short story when I was 16 (if you want to punish yourselves you can read it here) - so I get it, I get the fascination with America and boys and kissing. What I don't get is how this was published as it is. I thought it was going to be a story about escaping an abusive relationship, such was the level of obsession and control involved. It's disturbing, and the constant switching from UK to US slang was confusing. I really didn't like the book - but I have nothing but admiration for a young author who lands a deal like this. I wasn't mad about the movie either, to be fair.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Mad by Chloé Esposito
Following in the footsteps of quirky main characters like Eleanor Oliphant, Elvira Carr and Eileen, along comes Alvina Knightly. Foul mouthed and with no regard for other people, her life is a bit of a mess. Alvie accepts her estranged twin sister Beth's invitation to join her at her perfect mansion - thinking that being miserable in Sicily beats being miserable in London. But why does Beth want Alvie there after so long? It's funny, full of action, and clever - unfortunately, after about the first third or so, I just found it pure daft and didn't really buy any of it. I loved the first part and I really liked Alvie as a character, I'm very fond of a foul-mouthed evil twin. If you want something to read by the pool on holiday but you don't mind it descending into utter filthy, gory madness, you may enjoy this.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Review Copies

All The Little Lights  by Jamie McGuire
In the words of the great poet Vanessa Williams, I saved the best for last. It's a story about Elliott and Catherine, two young people in a small town who find solace in each others company. But when Catherine really needs Elliott, he can't be there - will she ever forgive him? This has a lovely "old" quality to it, I would have assumed it was set in the fifties or sixties but for a Beyoncé reference. It's part hazy Summer, part mystery - it really changes pace mid way and manages to do it well. I couldn't put this down, and when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it. I adored it, it's one of my favourite reads so far this year.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

That's all for June - it's July 7th and I haven't read one single book this month, but Booktube-a-thon is on the way so hopefully July will be a better reading month. I'll be back in a couple of days with a blog tour spot for a wonderful debut novel by an Irish author and my Booktube-a-thon planned reads. If you've read anything interesting lately please let me know!