Monday, 13 February 2017

My Review of Wonder by RJ Palacio

What They Say:

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

What I Say:

I've been hearing about Wonder for a couple of years but didn't pick it up due to the hype. On a recent library visit, August Pullman was there staring at me so I took him home.

I read this book in 3 days, which rarely happens in my world! I adored everything about Wonder! The easy to read short chapters, the warm characters and most importantly, Auggie himself. I loved the varying narratives too.

A great, sweet, eye-opening story about the human spirit, kindness and family. 10/10

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Blog Tour Stop with Review White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for the fantastic White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley!!



What They Say:

What happens when what you wish for is only half the story...?
Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.



What I Say:

I have a confession to make. I own all of Cathy Bramley's books, I met her last year (she's lovely!) but this is the first of her books I've read. I have no idea why as I adored this book so much! I am now going to read the rest of them in quick succession!

This is a true story of female friendship. Jo, Sarah and Carrie all want something to change in their lives and they make a pact to help each other achieve these goals. I'd love to have a group of friends like them. I feel I have a bit of each woman in my personality and having them on my team would be interesting.

Jo is ballsy and strong willed but vulnerable in certain aspects of her life. She is confident, feisty and loyal. Sarah is torn between her baby boy and her career. She is hardworking, passionate and determined. Sadly, she has doubts her choices in life. Carrie is a wallflower, timid and full of self-doubt. But deep down, there is a confident, sexy, strong woman waiting to emerge.

With the help of a Wish List and each other, the three friends have to make decisions about what they really want in their lives. What really matters and what will, ultimately make them happy?

If you ever feel stuck in a rut of a bit fed up, this book is a fantastic pick me up. It will make you think, make you grateful for what you have and will make you smile.  9/10

Thanks to Becky Hunter at Transworld for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Blog Tour Stop with Review Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer

LITTLE GIRL LOST  BY CAROL WYER

 

(Detective Robyn Carter crime thriller series Book 1) 

 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this amazing book!

 
 



Out on January 19th:
UK: http://amzn.to/2eMFrTu US:http://amzn.to/2e69S7l 


 
 


A perfect family hiding disturbing secrets. A killer who wants the truth to be told. 

A teacher is found dead, close to the school where he works.

A millionaire is murdered at a local reservoir.

For Detective Robyn Carter, there’s no obvious link between the victims. Apart from one thing. The bodies both have the same grisly trophy beside them - a bloodstained toy rabbit.

As Robyn starts to delve into the lives of the two dead men, her investigations lead her to Abigail, perfect wife and mother to beautiful little Izzy. What was Abigail’s connection to the victims? And why is she receiving threatening messages from an anonymous number?

But as Robyn starts to inch closer to finding the killer, Izzy is abducted.

Unless Robyn gets to the twisted individual in time, a little girl will die …

Gripping, fast paced and nailbitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will chill you to the bone. Discover Carol Wyer’s new series – at a special launch price.


 
Carol Wyer is an award-winning author whose humorous books take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully.
 
More recently she has chosen to write for the #darkside and embarked on a series of thrillers, starting with the gripping Little Girl Lost.
 
 


To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolewyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer.



 

MY REVIEW:

 
Where do I start?? Carol's debut to the #darkside is an unforgettable one to say the very least!
 
This incredible book is so twisty-turny, topsy-turvy it will leave you completely dumbfounded. I still can't quite grasp what I read. I was left guessing, confused, shocked, and more than a little unsettled.
 
The characters are so richly drawn they become real. Their stories weave a delicate web, an intricate maze that culminates in an exquisite, disturbing story that is, at times, hard to read. Still, it's somehow done in such a delicate, sensitive manner that you really feel the pain and sadness they've suffered.
 
I don't know what else I can say without giving anything away. I just need to advise you to read this book. And then the next one. DI Robyn will be a character I look out for! She's gona be a kickass heroine!       10/10
 
 
Thanks to Carol and Bookouture for my e-copy and for allowing me to participate in the tour.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Reflections on 2016

Well folks, here we are. It's New Year's Eve 2016. I am full of reflection as this year comes to a close.

The year began with me drunk, going home to my freezing cold, damp, unfinished bus with no running water, flushing toilet or proper heating. By May I had had enough. I couldn't take bus life anymore, nor could I take being controlled by my ex-fiance. I was down, in a very dark, scary place. I was self harming again, I was crying all the time and I had suicidal thoughts. Then I read Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon and I found the courage to speak up. I told J that I needed help. He promptly threw me out of our home and his life. 14 years, gone in a flash. And you know what? That was the best thing that could have happened. The next few weeks were hard. I stayed with my best friend Tracey and finally saw a gp. I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression. I began taking medication for the first time in my life and had a brilliant course of counselling followed by a stress control course.

While this was all going on, a man I've known for 8 years as my Dads best friend came back into my life. Steve was brilliant. Supportive, kind, caring, funny and sweet. We quickly fell into a comfortable relationship that made me feel safe. When Steve hugs me, all my broken pieces fit back together and I know I'm loved. He is the best person I have ever known and I'm thankful for him every day. We got engaged in August and have been inseparable from day one. Christmas day marked our 6 months together and I have never been happier. In October, we found our beautiful little puppy Bella, a Pomeranian girly who is a gorgeous, joyful little ball of fluff with a foxy face. She makes us laugh every day.

And to make the end of the Year even more special, my Aunty Wendy came from Canada for Christmas. We had a brilliant time sightseeing with her and enjoyed a proper Canadian Christmas dinner. It was the first Christmas together in 17 years and was magical.

So, what began as a horrendous, dark year turned bright and sparkly because I wouldn't just lie down and die. I fought for what I felt I deserved and I got it. All of it. And it was worth the fight, the pain and the fear. Because now, every day is beautiful.

All the very best for 2017. Keep fighting, you're worth it.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Blog Tour Stop - The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse

Happy Christmas Eve and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse.

 
 

What They Say:

Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years happily married to a man who still excites her, two beautiful teenaged daughters, and her dream career as a health food writer. Her home is filled with love and laughter, with a passion for food at its very core.

But no amount of love could have prepared Freya for the devastating impact of anorexia and bulimia on her family. In a desperate battle to rescue her youngest child from its clutches, Freya will do all she can to save her daughter, her marriage and her family. But how can she when food, the social glue of their family, is both the problem and the solution? Is Freya’s own obsession with clean eating partly to blame? And how can you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved? 

What I Say:

As always, I was excited at the prospect of a new Amanda Prowse novel. I knew I was in for an emotional read, her books always are, but I couldn't have known quite how hard this story would hit me.

The character of Lexi may only be 15 years old, but I identified with her pain in such a real way. My struggle and way of harming myself were different but the pain and self-hatred are the same. Lexi made me so sad, so desperately sad. I cried a lot of tears over this book. I read it twice, back to back, something I have never done before. It woke me up in the night to read a bit more. It haunted my thoughts for days.

Such is the power of Amanda Prowse. You just know that when you see her name on a book, you are in for a rollercoaster ride. I don't want to make this sound like a downer of a book, it wasn't at all. It was hopeful, warm and showed how a family can pull together when things hit rock bottom. There seems to be a strong family at the heart of most of Amanda's books. I love that. Freya, Lockie and Charlotte are such brilliant support for Lexi. They are so upset by her struggles but they do their utmost to hold it together and form a united front to help their youngest child through a very real, dark illness.

The research into Lexi's story, not only her physical state but the help available, the emotional highs
and lows and the very real people who supported the family, must have been so painstaking. It's all so real, so sympathetic and raw.

I loved everything about The Food of Love, except for the fact that people have to go through this horrible illness at all.

Powerful, emotional, gripping, beautiful and haunting.

Another perfect read from one of my favourite authors.  11/10



 Behind the Story:

Inspired by Amanda’s own extreme struggle with body image and a family history of anorexia, this is a compelling and heart-wrenching look at family, food and the challenge of raising teenagers in our self-obsessed, image conscious society. 

She now recognizes that the habits of her once anorexic mother had a profound effect on her growing up. By writing about eating disorders in The Food of Love, Amanda has faced her own food demons and has made incredible steps to correcting her unhealthy relationship with food. Since she started writing the book, Amanda has lost one and a half stone and aims to reach her target, healthy weight by 1st December, the publication date of The Food of Love.

The research into The Food of Love and eating disorders This novel confronts the issue of eating disorders, and in her research Amanda spoke to many sufferers of eating disorders and their families to fully understand the issue and its effect on a family as a whole. Several of the women she spoke to were her own readers, who having read Another Love which looks at the struggles of alcoholism, reached out to say it helped them understand their own demons with food. The ages of her interviewees ranged from 14 to 40 years old, and she recalls one interviewee telling her ‘When I die, then I will have won’. She also spoke to a family who had lost their child through an eating disorder, and she recalls them speaking of the relief they felt that their child was no longer suffering. Many of these experiences are depicted in The Food of Love and Amanda has ensured that her depictions have been well-researched and based on real-life account of eating disorder sufferers. 


 Connect with Amanda on Twitter at @MrsAmandaProwse  and on Facebook/amandaprowse


Praise for Amanda Prowse: 

‘A truly amazing piece of drama about a condition that could affect any one of us in a heartbeat.  Every mother should read this book’ – Danielle Lineker
 ‘A powerful and emotional work of fiction’ – Piers Morgan 
‘Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill’ – Daily Mail
 ‘Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues’ – Hello! 
 ‘A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read’ – The Irish Sun 
‘You’ll fall in love with this…’ – Cosmopolitan 
‘Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.’ – Heat
‘Magical’ – Now magazine

The Food of  Love is out now in Ebook and Paperback.

Thanks to Amanda and Simeon Prowse for my copy in exchange for my honest review.



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Books of the Year 2016

Ok folks, it's that time of year again! I trolled through my list of books read and turned them into a list of sorts.

I read some absolutely amazing books this year and it was hard to choose just 10! But I did it, we have a winner!

So, first off is my favourite book from a series.

This goes to:

Geek Girl Head Over Heels by Holly Smale

I have followed this series from the start and have loved every minute of it! Harriet is one of the best characters ever!

Ok, here goes; the top 10!

10. In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings - a great twisty turny, dark read.

9. Falling by Jane Green - an emotional, beautiful story of love and loss.

8. Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello - a sweet, funny summery book!

7. The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon - surprising, lovely and gripping.

6. Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson - beautiful, captivating and full of hope.

5. My Husband's Wife by Amanda Prowse- funny, sweet, sad and emotional.

4. Take A Chance on Me by Carol Wyer - inspirational, funny and delightful.

3. The Glittering Art of Falling Apart by Ilana Fox - timeless and beautiful. Just brilliant!

2. The Finding of Martha Lost - Caroline Wallace - surprising, fun, unique and spellbinding. Would make and amazing film!

And my Book of the 2016 is:

Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

This book changed my life and I cannot recommend it enough. A brave story told with humour and heart.

So that's it. Another year over. And a million more books to read in 2017!

Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Blog Tour Stop - Not Just For Christmas by Alex Brown

 
 
Welcome to my stop on the #NotJustForChristmas blog tour! I adored this continuation of the Tindledale series! It was a lovely, touching read and this post has got me feeling all festive!
 
So, join Alex and the gang and find out who picked who for the Secret Santa!

 

Tindledale’s Secret Santa


To really get everyone in the festive spirit this year, Cher, the landlady of the Duck & Puddle pub on the village green, is running a Secret Santa evening. 

Click on the character to see whose name they picked out of the Santa’s hat and the gift they bought for them.


Sybil (manager of Hettie’s House of Haberdashery) picked Molly (the butcher’s wife) – knitted a little red jumper for her pet ferret.

Cooper (Village Butcher) picked Basil (Sybil’s black Scottie dog) – six of his finest award-winning sausages.

Lawrence (chair of the Tindledale Players Amateur Dramatics group) picked Mrs Pocket (Parish Council stalwart and village busybody)  - a sequin-covered rain bonnet to put a smile on her face … with any luck!

Taylor (runs Paws Pet Parlour) picked Monty the Black Labrador (retired service dog) – festive red collar and a shampoo bath with paw massage.

April (orchard owner and cider producer) picked Harvey (fruity fruit farmer) – a bottle of her finest mulled cider. 

Pete (dairy farmer and relief fire fighter) picked DeeDee (bon viveur, runs the Tea Dance club) – a fireman’s lift all the way down the High Street, once around the war memorial and back again followed by a complimentary hand-milking lesson.

Kitty (owner of The Spotted Pig café) picked Marigold (Lord Lucan’s wife and WI chair) – her special Panettone bread pudding with a jug of rum custard.

 Matt (village farrier and April’s husband) picked Teddie (Kitty’s little girl) – an afternoon helping out in the stables followed by a ride around the orchard on Joan, the beautiful, gentle old chestnut mare.

Thanks so much to Alex Brown for joining me today! Follow the rest of the tour using the hashtag #NotJustForChristmas on Twitter!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Blog Tour Stop - Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson

 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson! I am very excited by this tour as I adore Lisa and her fabooooolous books!




What They Say:

Full of romance and festive magic, Mistletoe on 34th Street is the funniest and most charming love story you will read this Christmas!

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.

Jon, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

What I Say:

A new book from Lisa Dickenson always puts a smile on my face. A new Christmas book from Lisa makes me want to wee in excitement!

Mistletoe on 34th Street isn't your average festive read. It's full of wit, just a bit of drama and hilarious antics from a (mostly) loveable cast of characters. Olivia is someone you'd want to be friends with, someone you'd maybe take under your wing.

As Christmas Day approaches, will Olivia learn to love what she's been missing her whole life? Will the magic of a New York Christmas win her over? And which charming man will she be spending time with under the Mistletoe?

Lisa is my Queen of Christmas, a festive firecracker. Best enjoyed with a mince pie and a gingerbread latte. 10/10



Thanks to Clara Diaz and Little Brown UK for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Praise for The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson

‘The romcom that you NEED to read!’ Fabulous 
 ‘5 stars’ Heat
‘A fantastically talented writer’ S magazine


Author Bio:

Lisa Dickenson is the pseudonym for Beyoncé. OK, FINE, THAT'S NOT TRUE. Lisa lives by the Devon seaside, stuffing cream teas in the gobs of anyone who comes to visit, and writing stuff down that she hopes is funny.  Her first novel was the copyright-infringing Sweet Valley Twins: The Twins Holiday Horror, which she wrote in primary school and gave up on after five pages. Twenty-ish years later Lisa went on to be a *real author* and wrote the Novelicious Debut of the Year, The Twelve Dates of Christmas. In summer 2016 out popped You Had Me at Merlot. She’s now keeping her fingers crossed that everyone will like her third paperback, Mistletoe on 34th Street, and that New York City gives her a free apartment near Central Park as a ‘well done'.



Follow Lisa online for all her book news and Beyoncé-obsessing: www.lisadickenson.com | @LisaWritesStuff

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Blog Tour Stop - Searching for a Silver Lining with Guest Post

Hello Lovelies! Thanks for joining me today! I'm super excited to welcome the sparkly loveliness that is Miranda Dickinson to my blog today as we celebrate her fantastic new book "Searching For A Silver Lining".  So, without further adieu, let's hand over to Miranda.
 
 
Meet The Cast - #4: The Silver Five
 
I always wanted to write about a road trip and when I created The Silver Five I realised their story would be perfect to tell using a journey. With lead singer (and now inimitable pensioner) Reenie Silver, the rest of the band lived out their dreams of stardom in the early part of the 1950s. Drawn to London from all over the UK, The Silver Five were put together in a group by enigmatic impresario and manager Rico, who promised them their dreams. I adored creating The Silver Five, not just as they are now but as the starry-eyed young hopefuls they were in the 1950s.
 
Reenie assumed lead singing duties, joined by talented nightclub singer June Knight, joker Tommy Mullins, handsome Johnny ‘Chuck’ Powell and fresh-faced teenager Alys Davis. As five people they couldn’t be more different and their time together as a band was characterised by personality clashes, rivalries, disappointments but also great hopes and fun. Then, in 1956, on the night of their biggest gig at The Palm Grove, the band split up – causing a sixty-year rift and the end of their collective dream. Searching for a Silver Lining tells the story of Mattie Bell and Reenie Silver’s attempts to put that wrong right, by trying to reunite the band to play the concert that never happened…
 
If Searching for a Silver Lining is made into a film (dear Richard Curtis, you know you want to do this!) my dream casting of The Silver Five would be a who’s-who of famous British stars: Julie Walters as Reenie Silver, Dame Maggie Smith as proud and defiant June Knight, Derek Jacobi as loveable Geordie Tommy Mullins, Bill Nighy as handsome and funny Somerset singer Johnny ‘Chuck’ Powell and Phyllida Law as wonderfully eccentric (and a later-life national treasure) Alys Davis.
 
Thanks so much for reading this blog exclusive! For more, follow my Searching for a Silver Lining blog tour. I really hope you enjoy reading the story!
 
 
Thanks for stopping by Miranda! I love all these insights.
 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Changes and Happiness!

Helloooo! It's been a long time since I wrote a post. Life has been moving along very quickly and very smoothly and I couldn't be happier with the way things are headed.

So, what's been happening? Steve and I are completely and utterly engrossed in each other. I had a combined Birthday (I turned 39), housewarming (more about that in a bit) and meet Steve party in the middle of last month. It was lovely to have most of the people I love in one room at the same time. My friends have never met each other and have always been kept separate so it was nice to have them together for the first time ever. I 3 wore a dress and had my hair and makeup done. I felt like a Princess!



Steve and I have been splitting our time between my new home in Lancashire and his in Birmingham. The week following my party, we came to Brum and I met up with a friend, Manda, who I haven't seen in 3 years. It was a brilliant day and it was so nice to have her meet Steve and share my happiness with her. Earlier that day, Steve and I had been shopping for my engagement ring and he proposed in the middle of the BullRing shopping centre. Of course I said yes! This man is the most amazing, kind, caring, considerate man I have ever met and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together.


 
 
So, more about my new home. For the first time in my life, I am renting a home of my own. I love the house and am having so much fun adding bits and pieces making it my own, out own. I love having Steve around and being a part of it all. I am finding it fun learning how to be a proper grown-up! I have bills and responsibilities and I get to grumble about paying Council Tax! Woohoo!
  
I have begun taking my little stamp business seriously and am loving supporting my customers and suppliers. It's not easy, the work is really tedious and monotonous, but I hope I can make it work and build a proper life for us by doing this.
 
A few other changes I have made are external. I have had my hair chemically straightened, got a new tattoo and had my first ever gel nail manicure. The hair makes me feel like a million dollars, a totally new woman and I love it! The tattoo is to symbolize my new beginning. It's a 3D butterfly in pink and turquoise on my chest and I adore it! I got Steve's initials incorporated in it too. The nails make me feel feminine and pretty, something I struggle with regularly.
 


 
 
So, there you go. You're all caught up! It's been a busy time and I'm a happy bunny! My counselling is all finished, I'm still on my anti depressants and anti anxiety medication but the dark days are few and far between now. That's what being loved and feeling safe can do for you...
 
Thanks for checking in and sticking with me! Love ya! Txx