Category Archives: Penguin Books

The 2018 Quick Reads Launch by The Reading Agency

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The 2018 Quick Reads Launch by The Reading Agency

Thursday 1st February 2018.

 It is a great honour to have been asked by Annabelle Wright to be a part of the promotion to launch the 2018 Quick Reads by The Reading Agency with the Official Launch Day being today 1st February.

Reading has been my life and at one point even saved my own life when I hit the lowest point of my life some years ago. Evidence shows that reading is a vital part of our mental and physical wellbeing. Reading can take us to many places and even walk in other people’s shoes.

In recent years I have made a point of handing out books to homeless people who sadly do not get access to books. Also handing out books to patients in hospitals and also to those living in sheltered accommodation. In recent years it has been a real privilege to go into some schools to help some children with reading difficulties.

With the ever present threat to our much loved local libraries, reading and access to books is now more important than ever before. By sharing my passion and also my love of books and reading can help spread the word of just how important reading is in today’s world.

You can follow Quick Reads on Twitter using the Hashtag #QuickReads 


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The Six Titles that make up the 2018 Quick Reads by The Reading Agency released today. Each copy will cost £1.00 and will consist of around 100 pages.

Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown): A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.

 The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins): As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this story is full of her usual warmth and wit.

 Clean Break by Tammy Cohen (Transworld): A dark and twisty portrait of a marriage coming to its bitter end, from the mistress of domestic noir. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it’s too late? Cohen’s acclaimed novels include The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives and Someone Else’s Wedding.

Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton): An enchanting Baby Ganesh Agency novella from the bestselling Khan set in the bustling back-streets of Mumbai. Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick have two days to solve the mystery of a missing – and very costly – car for its gangster owner, or there’ll be a heavy price to pay.

The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Arrow): A gripping short read featuring a wedding, family drama, and old secrets. Tessa is thrilled when her daughter arrives in Ghana to get married but memories of the last time she was there haunt her; can she lay the ghosts of the past to rest or will they come back to haunt her daughter’s future? Koomson is the bestselling author of 12 novels including The Ice-Cream Girls, My Best Friends’ Girl and most recently The Friend.

Six Foot Six by Kit de Waal (Viking): A charming novella from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author de Waal about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. Everything changes for Timothy, a 21-year-old with learning difficulties, when local builder Charlie calls on him for help. De Waal worked in criminal and family law and was a magistrate for many years before her international bestseller, My Name is Leon, was published.

Free to enter Prize Draw.

I am delighted to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of Cut Off by Mark Billingham and also Six Foot Six by Kit De Waal just head to my Twitter page at @thelastword1962 and Follow and also RT the prize draw message to stand a chance of winning both copies. Very sorry but this is a UK prize draw only. Draw will close at 7pm Friday 2nd February. Prize will be sent via Sent via Annabelle Wright at ed Public Relations.


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Cut Off is by the number one bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham

 It’s the moment we all fear: losing our phone. Leaving us cut off from family and friends. But for Louise, losing hers in a local café takes her somewhere much darker.

After many hours of panic, Louise is relieved when someone gets in touch offering to return the phone. From then on she is impatient to get back to normal life.

But when they meet on the beach, Louise realises you should be careful what you wish for….

112 Pages

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Six Foot Six by award winning author Kit De Waal and author of My Name is Leon

It’s an exciting day for Timothy Flowers. It’s the third of November, and its Friday. And it’s his twenty-first birthday. When Timothy walks to his usual street corner to see his favourite special bus, he meets Charlie. Charlie is a builder who is desperate for Timothy’s help because Timothy is very tall, six foot six inches. Timothy has never had a job before – or no work that he’s kept for more than a day. But when Timothy and Charlie have to collect money from a local thug, things don’t exactly go according to plan….

Over the course of one day, Timothy’s life will change forever.

73 Pages.

My thanks to Annabelle Wright for the invitation to help with the launch of the 2018 Quick Reads titles through The Reading Agency.

 The 2018 Quick Reads titles are launched by The Reading Agency and are published on 1st February 2018 and are available to through W.H. Smith and many local book shops.


Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik

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Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik


This is the story of Rachel Malik’s own Grandmother, but told in a fictional novel that I found so tender and loving. Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves is a remarkable debut from an author I am really looking forward to reading more from in the future. If like me, you missed the hardback copy when it was released in April 2017 then you will be delighted to know the paperback will be released on 1st February through Fig Tree (Penguin Books UK).


Before the outbreak of World War II Rene Hargreaves walked out on her husband and three young children. Her husband had an addiction to gambling. But to walk away from three young children is something that is nothing short of a crime. Rene had to break free and soon she found herself with a new life on ‘Starlight Farm’ living with Elsie it would not be long before they both would become totally inseparable from each other. Rene’s new life had begun.

Both women at first are different from each, Elsie is more a woman who enjoys the peace and freedom of being on her own and does not bother too much with locals but Rene comes across as more the opposite. But now Elsie has offered a chance to Rene on the farm. Both find that theirs is a unique relationship and it seemed to just right for each other. Despite the constant pressure of running a farm and with some of the locals looking on hoping they would fail and seeing a land grab opportunity.

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Hardback edition – 27th April 2017

The ever present threat of World War II finally arrives and everyone’s lives are about to change. Details of Rene’s past are now shared and then the past comes back to haunt Rene with consequences that will have dire effect on both Rene and Elsie’s lives.

There is so much about this story and how Rachel Malik weaved a fictional account of her grandmother’s life. It is a book that just written so eloquently and reads so gently. There are secrets to uncover and a painful past that has far reaching consequences for them both. This was not an easy life for Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves but their life was a quiet and gentle life. They wanted to bother no-one and wanted no-one to look into their lives. But sadly in the early 1940’s life was not going to leave them alone. This is a story of love and loyalty to each other and also of secrets from the past. Beautiful and rich a story I really fell in love with and one I hope you will too.

Thank you Hannah Ludbrook for the review copy of Miss Boston & Miss Hargreaves

 288 Pages.

Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik is published by Penguin (Fig Tree) and the PB is published on 1st February 2018 and is available to Pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops


The Swimming Pool – Louise Candlish


The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish


The Last Word Review


What does a long summer mean to you? Holidays in the sun by the beach? Ed and Natalie Steele are both teachers and are looking forward to six weeks together with their daughter Molly.

Following on from the best-selling The Sudden Departure of the Frasers this is latest thrilling novel from Louise Candlish called The Swimming pool is a dark page turning thriller that will make it very hard for you to put down so my advice, cancel that night out and set yourself up for a long night of reading, once started you will not want to put this one down.

Set in Elm Hill, London and it is a classic sweltering shimmering summer. The good news for Elm Hill is that the Lido is about to re-open after being left abandoned and closed for many years and that in no small part to the former actress and glamorous Laura Faulkner.

Natalie is now enjoying socialising with new found friends and has struck up a friendship with Laura that will have dire consequences come the summers end. The Lido is fast becoming an attraction and for Natalie the hum drum of her own life seems a world away while she is at the Lido and is fast falling under the spell of Laura Faulkner. Come August the summer holiday is in full swing and Natalie wants to forget life as a teacher and spends time swimming determined to get fit as well as tanned. Molly her teenage daughter there is a fear of being in the water after an accident some years before. Fear lurks beneath the surface.


There is a sense that Natalie is becoming intoxicated by her new friend and spends more and more time in her company to the point that her life at home starts to feel the strain. To Ed this is a worrying time as he does not like the way that Natalie is behaving but his wife seems to have become detached and now spends more and more time with the glamorous Laura and now starts to enjoy afternoon drinks at the home of Laura and her husband Miles, there is something very dark and sinister lurking here and I found that as I read through this part of the story it felt as though the walls were actually closing in around me.  The story moves on at a fast pace and now you don’t dare to put the book down the tension is mounting with every page.

We now share flashbacks to Natalie’s past and the summer of 1985 and how along with her then best friend both teenagers spent that summer something happened and the dark past is bubbling to the surface. Did this time shape Natalie into the protective mother that she is now? The dark truths are exposed secrets from the past always come back to haunt those harbouring them. The climax of this gripping thriller are tense and leaves you perspiring and on the edge of your seat. This is a dark foreboding story that will you want to take away with you on holiday and one definitely that you should not miss. This is a clever and compulsive psychological summer read.

Thank you to Penguin Books for an advanced review copy.

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish was released on 5 May by Penguin Books and is available through all branches of Waterstones and all good bookshops.

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