Penguin Influencers Event & 2020 Releases to Look Out For

Just a quick one to report on an event I attended in London last night – thanks to Annabel for asking if she could invite me along. This Penguin Influencers evening was held at, a furniture showroom nestled beneath a railway arch near Southwark station. It was a slightly odd venue, but at least there were lots of comfy places to sit. Displays of proof copies were arranged on coffee tables so we could go around and fill our free Tana French tote bags with what caught our eye. There were a few dozen of us there: just one bloke; and mostly women younger than me.

It was good to meet some bloggers I recognized from Twitter and Facebook groups, including Rachel Gilbey (one of whose blog tours I’ve participated in) and Linda Hill (one of whose blog competitions I’ve won); I also spotted a couple more familiar faces, even though I didn’t get to say hello: Ova from Excuse My Reading and Umut from Umut Reviews. It was especially nice to see Beth Bonini, the Bookstagram queen, again. She used to live near me, though we didn’t realize that until just as she was moving from Newbury to London; she gave me her gorgeous bookcase.


As to the book acquisitions…

The Wych Elm by Tana French is now out in paperback. I’ve not read anything by French, but have meant to for a long time because many trusted bloggers think she’s terrific, even if (like me) they don’t ordinarily read crime. This just exceeds 500 pages, so I think I’ll make it my doorstopper for next month, and it will also tie in with the R.I.P. challenge.


I’d already read Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout on my Kindle via a NetGalley download, but it’s great to now own one of my favorite releases of the year in print. (I found it difficult to go back through the e-book when writing my review because it didn’t have a proper table of contents and I’d forgotten all the chapter/story titles as I went along.)


Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is coming out on January 9th. It’s a tense school shooting novel set in Somerset, and the publicist told us that if we don’t agree with her in all those clichés – ‘I couldn’t put it down; I stayed up all night reading it’ – we can sue her!


Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is coming out on February 27th. Edward is the only survivor after a plane bound from New York City to Los Angeles crashes in Colorado. The novel is about how he rebuilds his life afterwards; the publicist warned us to bring tissues.


Keeper by Jessica Moor is Penguin’s lead debut title of 2020, coming out on March 19th. When a young woman is found dead at a popular suicide site, the police dismiss it as an open-and-shut case of suicide. But the others at the women’s shelter where Katie Straw worked aren’t convinced. We meet five very different women from the refuge and hear their stories, in the process learning about some of the major threats that face women today. There are already words of praise in from Val McDermid and Jeanette Winterson.


It probably won’t be until later in December that I start reading 2020 titles and reporting back on what I’ve read, plus listing the other releases I’m most looking forward to.

Though I might have hoped for a few more free books to make the cost of my train ticket into London feel worthwhile, I enjoyed connecting with fellow bloggers, hearing about some 2020 releases, and briefly fooling myself that I’m an influencer in the book world. At the very least, I’m now on a Penguin mailing list so might be invited to some future events or sent some proofs.

14 responses

  1. Sounds fun! I’m a huge Tana French fan (as I’m sure you know…) and The Wych Elm is good, but it’s my least favourite of her books to date. I’ve read a couple of Rosamund Lupton’s thrillers and enjoyed The Quality of Silence, but her writing’s so sloppy – I only liked that one because of the Arctic setting. Keeper sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of you and Elle in particular re: French. If I like this one, then at least I know I have better things to come with her books! I’ll plan on handing over the tote bag to you, full of various books, at some point this autumn.

      I’ve not read any Lupton; Sister is the only one of hers I’ve heard much about. It will be interesting to compare this with Bloomland, another school shooting novel I read recently. I presume since it takes place in England it will have to be a hunting rifle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, excited about tote bag! I’m going to my dad’s this weekend so I’ll fetch the O’Farrells for you. I’m also going to a John Murray proof event in Durham soon so happy to pass any of those on if of interest.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely to meet you in person!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a lovely evening! Like Laura, I’d say that Wych Elm is my least favourite of the Tana French novels, and I haven’t read any Rosamund Lupton either, but this one does look compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s certainly timely. I don’t normally read anything that’s on the suspense end, but I’m going to make an exception for these few.


  4. You ARE an influencer – my tbr list will testify to that! This sounds like a lovely sociable evening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you, Susan. I don’t think my statistics would say the same 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It was lovely to see you again – even if I did lead you confidently down the wrong road to find the place and going home subject you to having those blokes stuffing their faces on the train! It was a slightly odd event with no authors, but it’s good to be on their mailing list – and it was nice to meet some new people in person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry, I had a good time. I shut my husband up quickly when he tried to divide up my train ticket into a ‘cost per book’ price!


  6. […] I picked up a proof copy at a Penguin Influencers event. […]


  7. […] I picked up a proof copy at a Penguin Influencers event. […]


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