Thursday, 18 October 2018

Blog tour review! Betsy and Lilibet by Sophie Duffy

The book...

London, 1926: two baby girls are born just hours and miles apart. One you know as the Queen of England, but what of the other girl—the daughter of an undertaker named in her honor? Betsy Sunshine grows up surrounded by death in war-torn London, watching her community grieve for their loved ones while dealing with her own teenage troubles . . . namely her promiscuous sister Margie. As Betsy grows older we see  how the country changes through her eyes, and along the way we discover the birth of a secret that threatens to tear her family apart. Sophie Duffy dazzles in her latest work of family/historical fiction. A tale which spans generations to explore the life and times of a family at the heart of their community, the story of a stoic young woman who shares a connection with her queenly counterpart in more ways than one.

The review...

I adored Sophie Duffy’s previous books, so was thrilled to have the opportunity to read Betsy and Lilibet, which sounded like and indeed proved to be an entrancing read.

It opens in 2016 with the words “I never thought I’d be old”. But there Betsy Sunshine is, nearly ninety years of age, living in a Bognor Regis care home and looking back at her life: born weighing three pounds and a bit, named after the equally brand new princess, surviving against the odds.

Betsy tells her own story and I really loved her voice. Other than her name and the day of her birth, undertaker’s daughter Betsy apparently has little in common with Princess-later-Queen Elizabeth yet their lives run in parallel and even occasionally intersect, throughwartime, feuding with a difficult younger sister, sweeping social change, Thatcherism, terrorism and complex family relationships (oh, how complex!).

Betsy’s account of her life story is interspersed with her present day narrative (I especially loved her observations about life in the care home), and quotes - I assume real ones - from her namesake and birthday-sharer Queen Elizabeth II. As family and friends gather round her, are some of Betsy’s chickens finally coming home to roost?

There are some glorious moments here - Sophie Duffy really excels at characterisation and dialogue. The conversation between Betsy and her great grandson Tom was particularly fabulous but there are many others equally memorable and quotable. I loved the ending too.

Hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, Betsy and Lilibet is a captivating story of love, death and everything else. Highly recommended.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Blog tour! The PawLife Guide: Dog Care at Home by Gina Harding

The book...

DOG CARE AT HOME gives you the information you need to have a happy and healthy dog no matter what your dog’s current stage in life, in just 10 minutes a day. Over 200 hours of research including interviews with veterinarians and fellow dog owners around the world.

Dog Care at Home is the all-in-one book to have at home. With six veterinarians that have contributed to this ultimate guide, rest assured you are in reliable hands.

Inside you will discover:

  • Choosing the right breed
  • The basic steps of raising a puppy 
  • What vaccinations are for and why your dog needs them
  • Travelling with your dog 
  • How to perform CPR on your dog 
  • Health and hygiene including dental care 
  • Choosing the right veterinarian 
  • When it’s time to say goodbye 
  • And much more!

PawLife’s Dog Care at Home is the answer for all your dog parenting needs in one comprehensive guide that ensures your dog lives a long, healthy and happy life.

The review...

For many years I didn’t particularly consider myself a dog person. Not that I disliked them or anything, but I’d just never had that much to do with them. Then this happened...

So now I’m a bit of a born-again dog mum with a great enthusiasm for all things canine-related, so when the chance came up to read and review a dog care guide, I grabbed it immediately.

Gina’s love for her dog Harley shines through and she is evidently very motivated to share her enthusiasm and knowledge with others - hence her “dog blog” and now, this book, which covers every stage from choosing a puppy (or adopting a rescue dog) to the ageing process and, ultimately, saying goodbye. While there are other books which go into more depth about, for instance, puppy training or dealing with behavioural issues, Gina does manage to cover an awful lot in an accessible way. Lots of gorgeous doggy pictures are a bonus too (though I could happily have lived without ever seeing the one of worms!!).

There is a slight Australian focus but after all dogs are dogs everywhere, so most things continue to apply wherever you are, and there should be helpful information here for every dog lover.

The author...

Gina is an enthusiastic dog lover, so much so that she founded her own dog blog business called PawLife, which has been awarded top 10 Australian Dog Blog. This wouldn’t be possible without her best friend Harley, who is a toy poodle mix. They are continually going on new adventures, testing out new squeaky toys.

Gina recently discovered her writing passion and wanted to create the ultimate guidebook that would support, educate and inspire pet parents and yet to be pet parents around the world. Gina and Harley are originally from Australia, where the weather is always beautiful. This is Gina’s first book and she looks forward to writing many more to help fellow pet-parents; with her fur-baby Harley by her side.

Social media links...

The giveaway...

Terms and conditions - UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified via Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.