Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Paradise Girl by Phill Featherstone @PhillFeathers #Extract #Review #BlogBlitz @brookcottagebks Q&A

Thank you for stopping by I'm thrilled to be taking part in a blitz day for Paradise Girl by Phill Featherstone today. I actually read Paradise Girl back in November and I'm so happy that I can share my review again with you all today. Phill has also kindly taken part in a little Q&A and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win an ecopy of the book. First things first let's take a look at the description for the book...

Genre: Nominally YA/NA, general fiction
Release Date: 27 January 2017
Publisher: Matador
Kerryl Shaw has always kept a diary, but this one is different because she knows she is going to die.
A highly infectious and incurable virus spreads worldwide. Seventeen-year-old Kerryl lives with her family on a remote farm. They think they will be safe, but the danger advances. One day a stranger arrives, and it soon becomes apparent that he has brought the plague to their door.
Kerryl is sure it’s only a matter of time before she catches the infection and dies, and decides to record what she thinks will be her final days. She realises that her diary will never be read, so she imagines a reader and calls him Adam. Loneliness and isolation affect the balance of her mind. Little by little Adam comes alive to her, and she sets off across the moor to meet him.



       Introductions are boring, but unless I take time to explain things it will be confusing for you. Me first. Not very polite, I know, but it’s probably the best place to start.

       My name is Kerryl – or that’s what my family and friends call me. My proper name is Cheryl. Cheryl Alison Shaw. They call me the Paradise Girl. Don’t get excited – it sounds sexy but it’s not. I’m seventeen years old and still a virgin. I’m not a nun, I’ve been out with loads of boys – Tim, Mark (two of them), Nathan, Jake, Tristram, Steve – but I wasn’t that keen on any of them and they didn’t last. The exception was Mark II. He was older than me, fearsomely good looking and he had a nice car. I thought he was really hot. When I wasn’t with him I was thinking about him. But it seems he wasn’t as keen as me, and one day my best friend, Josie, told me that he was going out with Monica Woodbridge and saying I was a frigid cow. It seems everybody knew I’d been dumped and I was the last to find out.

The worst thing was the shock. I thought Monica Woodbridge was my friend. As well as that, all the girls in our group had been going out with the same boys for a long time, but I seemed to keep a boyfriend for only a few weeks. Was there something wrong with me? To be honest, I’m not a great beauty. I don’t mean I’m a train wreck or anything. I’m not bad looking, but I’m not like Charlene Brooker or Suzy Simmonds. They’re electric, both of them. Charlene could be a model, and Suzy’s always surrounded by a gang of drooling boys.

They’re gone now: Charlene, Suzy, Josie, Monica, all of them.
       Sorry for the break there. I had to stop to have a little weep. I’ll try not to do too much of that. I suppose I can console myself with one thing: with everyone else dead, I must be the most beautiful girl in the world!

Q&A – Phill Featherstone

Thank you for taking part in the Q&A, let's get started…

1 – What three words best describe your personality?
Hard for me to answer. I’d like to say dashing, witty and decisive! Probably the truth is absent-minded, faraway and a daydreamer. Maybe you should ask my friends.

2 - Is there a book you wish you could have written?
Thousands, and I come across new ones all the time. Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy would be high on the list.

3 – What was the last book you read?
‘Canada’ by Richard Ford. It’s an odd book, and I reviewed it on Goodreads.

4 – If you were stranded on a desert island what three books would you want with you?
I live on the moors near Haworth, so one would have to be ‘Wuthering Heights’. For a modern book I think I’d take ‘Gone Girl’ which is such a brilliant lesson in constructing a story – it’s another book I wish I’d written myself. The third would be John Fowles’s ‘The Magus’.

5 - Do you have any strange writing habits?
Putting it off and finding lots of other things to do before I start, but I don’t think that’s strange – a lot of writers I know are the same.

6 – Is there a specific place where you write?
I write in my head all the time and everywhere. I like to do the actual physical process of writing on my laptop sitting at the window in my home, which has a spectacular view of the valley and the hills beyond.

7 – Do you share any personality traits with the characters you have created?
Kerryl, the main character in Paradise Girl, is imaginative and loves reading, but can be practical when she has to be. I hope I’m like that too. One of the characters in my latest book, ‘The God Jar’ is the Elizabethan magician and scholar, John Dee. He also was passionate about books.

8 - Can you choose three words to describe your book Paradise Girl?
Kind readers and reviewers have used terms like ‘gripping’, ‘convincing’, ‘page-turner’. I’m flattered by their judgements and happy to go with those.

9 – Are you working on anything now?
I mentioned ‘The God Jar’, which is a mixture of historical fiction and modern adventure, spanning four centuries. That’s finished and I’m now working on a sequel to Paradise Girl.

Quick fire questions - Which do you prefer?

Paperback or eBook?
I love my kindle, but if I must choose it’s paperback

Classic novel or Contemporary?
Contemporary, but ask me tomorrow and you’d probably get a different answer.

Cinema or Theatre?
Love both, but can’t beat a live performance, so it’s theatre

Crisps or Chocolate?
Chocolate. No question!

Tea or Coffee?

Night out or Day out?
I’m a night owl and not an early riser, so definitely night out.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer the Q&A!

Thank you for asking!

I'm delighted to be re-sharing my review today...
I found the premise for the story so intriguing and I couldn't wait to start reading. So what did I think, well the first thing I will mention is that it was very easy to get into the story. The chapters are short and to the point which I loved and there was a bit of information given to peak my interest making me wonder what actually happened.

There is the odd newspaper clipping interspersed within the story that start to shed some light on The Infection and I found those really interesting. I found the diary style way of telling the story really engaging it made things all the more personal. I'm a fan of dystopian stories and this was no disappointment I could feel the isolation that Kerryl feels as The Infection spreads. I'm trying to be pretty vague as the story is worth reading for yourself and I would hate to spoil the plot.

Kerryl is a great character and I instantly warmed to her, she is matter of fact making her so likeable for me. Phill Featherstone has written her very well, I loved how she talked about her life before everything happened telling the reader her dreams for the future. 

I got completely caught up in Paradise Girl and it ended up being quite an emotional read for me. Also making me think about the choices I would make in the same situation. The story is pretty compelling and I kept saying to myself just a couple more pages which turned into finishing this book in nearly one go. I just had to know how everything would turn out.

Engaging and compelling!
Five stars!

With thanks to Brook Cottage Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Phill Featherstone was born and brought up in the north of England. He trained as a teacher and taught English in comprehensive schools. In the late 1990s he and his wife, Sally, founded a publishing company specialising in education books for the early years. In 2008 the business was acquired by Bloomsbury, after which they moved to Yorkshire. He now spends his time writing, travelling, on the arts and on conservation work. Phill has degrees from Cambridge and Leicester Universities, and is a member of the Society of Authors. Paradise Girl is his third novel, although the first to be published.
Paradise Girl recently won a CHILL WITH A BOOK AWARD!
Twitter: @PhillFeathers

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