Books & The City (Simon and Schuster UK) Spring Blogger Evening 2019

Books and the City

The annual Simon and Schuster blogger event is always a fabulous event and I was therefore delighted to jump on the train to London last Wednesday in order to attend their #SpringBloggerEvening2019.

Organised by the wonderful Sara-Jade Virtue (aka SJV) and held at the S&S offices, the event is always full to the brim with books, bloggers, authors, Prosecco and cupcakes.
The evening started with a great welcome from SJV and @TeamBATC, who treated us to drinks, nibbles and wonderful cupcakes from Restoration Cake, whilst we chatted and mingled. I always love attending this annual event because it is a great opportunity to catch up with some blogger friends and some great authors. There’s nothing more fun than spending an evening talking books with some like-minded people.

Myself and Linda from lindasbookbag.com

In celebration of Catherine Isaac’s upcoming book, Messy, Wonderful Us, there was a photobooth which I may have jumped into a couple of times!

The author line up

After the drinks reception, we moved to the boardroom where Bec Farrell introduced authors Iona Grey, Alice Peterson, Claire Frost, Milly Johnson and Rachel Hore, who treated us to readings from their upcoming novels. The books all sound very different but equally as interesting. Pre-order links are listed below:

Iona Grey – The Glittering Hour


Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying just the right side of scandal.
Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina’s orbit one night and can never let her go.

Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, this is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.

Pre-order The Glittering Hour here



Alice Peterson – If You Were Here


‘I can toast to my future, but the thundercloud over my head, the threat of a storm, will follow me like a shadow wherever I go. The truth is, I have a potential bomb in my bag, and who knows when or where it will go off.’
When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.
Five years later, Flo is engaged and ready to pack up her life and move to New York with her high-flying fiancé. Peggy never told Flo what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.

As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: If a test could decide your future, would you take it?

Pre-order If You Were Here here




Claire Frost – Living My Best Life


Bell had it all, the perfect job, the perfect partner, and on their 10th anniversary she thought she would get the ring… But two weeks later, Bell wakes up to find herself still clutching a wine bottle and the memories of Collin saying those dreaded words: ‘We need to talk…’
Determined to get on with her life before she hits 40, Bell starts following ‘inspirational’ people on Instagram. Her favourite lifestyle guru is @mi_bestlife, whose life seems Insta-perfect but if you were to zoom out of the heavily filtered picture, you’d see reality strike.

Millie is a single mother, with a cute son called Wolfie, whose father is absolutely useless and not much on the scene. Instagram and the profile she has built up online is more ‘best lie’ than ‘best life’. It isn’t until Millie and Bell’s paths finally cross that the two women begin to understand what is real and what it is that they really want.

Pre-order Living My Best Life here




Milly Johnson – The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew



Behind every successful man is a woman.
Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
Sophie Mayhewlooks like she has the perfect life. Wife of rising political star John F Mayhew, a man who is one step away from the top job in the government, her glamour matches his looks, power, breeding and money. But John has made some stupid mistakes along the way, some of which are threatening to emerge. Still, all this can still be swept under the carpet as long as Sophie ‘the trophy’ plays her part in front of the cameras.
But the words that come out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors put in there.  Bursting out of the restrictive mould she has been in since birth, Sophie flees to a place that was special to her as a child, a small village on the coast where she intends to be alone.

But once there, she finds she becomes part of a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing properly for the first time. Sophie knows she won’t be left in peace for long. Now she must decide: where does her real future lie?
Pre-order The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew here



Rachel Hore – The Love Child

London, 1917.

When seventeen-year-old Alice falls pregnant, she is forced by her father and stepmother to give up the baby. She simply cannot be allowed to bring shame upon her family. But all Alice can think of is the small, kitten-like child she gave away, and how the father, a young soldier, so beloved, will never have the chance to know his daughter.

Meanwhile, Edith and Philip, a couple unable to have children of their own, secretly adopt a baby girl, Irene, given up by a young unmarried mother. Irene grows up knowing that she is different from other children but no one will tell her the full truth.

As two extraordinary stories intertwine across two decades, will secrets long-buried at last come to light?

Pre-order The Love Child here

After reading the blurbs above, I’m sure you’ll agree that 2019 is going to be a very good year for books!
After the readings, we had the opportunity to talk more with those authors (plus Louise Candlish, Heidi Swain and Juliet Ashton), whilst they signed our samplers with their trusty Sharpies.

Those People by Louise Candlish


Could you hate your neighbour enough to plot to kill him?
Until Darren Booth moves in at number 1, Lowland Way, the neighbourhood is a suburban paradise. But soon after his arrival, disputes over issues like loud music and parking rights escalate all too quickly to public rows and threats of violence.
Then, early one Saturday, a horrific crime shocks the street.
As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: Booth did it.
But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree with them.

Pre-order Those People by Louise Candlish here

Poppy’s Recipe for Life by Heidi Swain


Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.
She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.
But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …

Pre-order Poppy’s Recipe for Life by Heidi Swain here

The Rise and Fall of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton
The Rise and Fall of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton is not yet available for pre-order

Books and the City are also renowned for their generous goody bags. This year was no exception, with advanced copies of Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac and If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon. As an additional treat, the goody bags contained 8 exciting samplers of the upcoming novels from the authors mentioned above. The goody bag also included a notebook, chocolate, Imperial Leather Sweet Treats shower gel and a wonderful bookish necklace from Oh Panda Eyes (which my cat absolutely adores!).

Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac


One morning in early summer, a man and woman wait to board a flight to Italy.
Allie has lived a careful, focused existence. But now she has unexpectedly taken leave from her job as an academic research scientist to fly to a place she only recently heard about in a letter. Her father, Joe, doesn’t know the reason for her trip, and Allie can’t bring herself to tell him that she’s flying to Italy to unpick the truth about what her mother did all those years ago.
Beside her is her best friend since schooldays, Ed. He has just shocked everyone with a sudden separation from his wife, Julia. Allie hopes that a break will help him open up.
But the secrets that emerge as the sun beats down on Lake Garda and Liguria don’t merely concern her family’s tangled past. And the two friends are forced to confront questions about their own life-long relationship that are impossible to resolve.
Pre-order Messy, Wonderful Us here

If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

Angie has always wanted to travel. But at 27, she has still never left her small mining town in the Australian outback. When her grandmother passes away, Angie finally feels free to see the world – until she discovers a letter addressed to the father she never knew and is forced to question everything.
As Angie sets off on her journey to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will enigmatic stranger Alessandro help guide the way?
Pre-order If You Could Go Anywhere here

The evening ended with an invitation to raid their bookcase and an offer to provide extra tote bags for us to transport our book hauls home. Amazing generosity!  
It was a wonderful event, as always. A huge thanks to SJV and the Books and the City team for yet another fantastic bookish evening!
(P.S. my cat loves the goody bag too!)

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