Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction

Women Like Us Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #memoir #preorder #motivational #nonfiction @igbooktours #LoveBooksTours #Virtualbooktour @lovebookstours  #WomenLikeUs #BlogTour #BookReview #WLU #MondayBlogs

‘Women Like Us’ is my life story so far! It’s raw, but I hope, inspiring account of my life lived as someone who always felt as if I was the odd one out. I had so many ideas but felt hemmed in by class, lack of opportunity and my own low self-esteem. I didn’t ever see how I could get on in life.

Growing up as a proper home bird and spending nights on the sofa with my wonderful, eccentric family, I felt as if the world was having a party to which I wasn’t invited, and it felt awful. The thought of writing a book felt like a dream, just out of reach, until at age forty-two, I took the leap, and the rest is history.

Now, ten years later and with over thirty books published, I decided it was time to tackle my greatest challenge –  how I felt about myself, my overweight body and my ageing face. Having lived for years feeling that I wasn’t quite good enough, or that I didn’t quite fit, I finally learned the secrets of living a happy life and am sharing them with you now.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

Reading this emotional and honest memoir, the reader can see why this author writes such heartfelt fictional stories. It’s recollections of a life so far from an ordinary woman who never lost sight of her dream despite the physical and emotional setbacks. It’s full of love and pain with underlying insecurity about fitting in and being good enough that so many of us can relate to.

Whilst the first part is poignant, the second half of the memoir is intimate and heartbreaking to read at times, but you keep turning the pages hoping that the author will find a way through her pain. The last part of the book is moving and motivational, and it resonates.

I enjoyed the honesty and the positivity of this memoir.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an international bestselling author of twenty-eight novels published in dozens of languages. Her chart-topping titles; ‘What Have I Done?’ ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Coordinates of Loss’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’ and ‘The Things I Know’ have sold millions of copies around the world. Other novels by Amanda Prowse include ‘A Mother’s Story ‘, which won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year Award. ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

She has been described by the Daily Mail as ‘the queen of family drama’. Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today. Her titles consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show, as well as featuring on numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on national and independent radio stations, including LBC and talkRADIO, where she is well known for her insightful observations and infectious humour.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning off the bedside lamp at night, that ensure you walk every step with her great characters and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, Mystery, New Books, Travel

The Girls Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @AriaFiction @HoZ_Books @Amy_C_Watson #BookReview #BlogTour #PublicationDay #TheGirls #friendship #age #mystery #love #life

Four old friends. Thrown back together after forty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a house and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they’re in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age.

Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn.

As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other?

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

I enjoy the current literary trend in fiction toward older women and their lives. The four characters in this story are so different but whatever drew them to live together when they were young intensifies when circumstances conspire to let them live together in their later years.

The story is told from three friends’ viewpoints, giving the reader an intimate insight into their past and present lives and motivations. The fourth friend Zara is the catalyst for their reconnection after nearly fifty years, and it’s her glamorous lifestyle allows them to be together again.

Friendship is an important theme in this story, exploring other contemporary issues like domestic abuse and mental health through the characters’ lives. I loved the story’s vibrant characters and the glamorous setting. The cosy mystery vibe that develops is facilitated by the setting and shows how deep the friendship between the women is.

The vivid characterisation and a believable blend of humour and poignancy make this an engaging and uplifting read.

Bella Osborne has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full-length novel. In 2016, her debut novel, It Started At Sunset Cottage was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Bella believes that writing your own story really is the best fun ever, closely followed by talking, eating chocolate, drinking fizz and planning holidays. She lives in the Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Motivational, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Stepping Up Sarah Turner 5*#Review @TheUnmumsyMum @TransworldBooks #SteppingUp #LiteraryHumour #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #sisters #romance #friendship #motivational #uplit #BookReview #parenting

Beth has never stuck at anything.

She’s quit more jobs and relationships than she can remember and she still sleeps in her childhood bedroom. It’s not that she hasn’t tried to grow up, it’s just that so far, the only commitment she’s held down is Friday drinks at the village pub.

Then, in the space of a morning, her world changes.

An unspeakable tragedy turns Beth’s life upside down, and she finds herself guardian to her teenage niece and toddler nephew, catapulted into an unfamiliar world of bedtime stories, parents’ evenings and cuddly elephants. Having never been responsible for anyone – or anything – it’s not long before she feels seriously out of her depth.

What if she’s simply not up to the job?

With a little help from her best friend Jory (purely platonic, of course …) and her lovely, lonely next-door neighbour, Albert, Beth is determined that this time she’s not giving up. It’s time to step up.

This is a story about digging deep for strength you never knew you had and finding magic in things that were there all along.

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I received a copy of this book from Transworld Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I like this book because of its engaging blend of heartbreaking sadness and heartwarming humour. Beth is relatably flawed and easy to empathise with, and I care what happens to her. Sensory imagery brings the characters and events to vibrant life. Beth’s viewpoint captures the emotional clarity of their daily lives in a poignant way that keeps you immersed in their story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Friendship, Motivational, New Books

Dreamy Days and Random Naps Mawson 4*#Review @MawsonBear @OdysseyBooks #PictureBook #Lovebookstours #BlogTour #Motivational #BookReview @lovebookstours @igbooktours @KellyALacey #DreamyDaysandRandomNaps #MondayBlogs

Mawson Bear awakes and ponders on the art of creative napping. Scotland the Brave imagines doing great deeds. Professors Caddy and Bree hold the highest hopes for their visionary inventions. Samantha sees wondrous things all around her. The Seekers journey all the way to the edge of the world, being sure to return, of course, by bedtime.

Flop down and relax awhile with Mawson and his drowsy friends. Refresh the soul in the tranquillity of simple joys and innocent dreams.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

#Mawson

My Thoughts…

Having read ‘She Ran Away’ by Mawson, I knew that this picture book would have messages and thoughts for adults and children. Mawson and his bear friends discuss the importance of dreams and napping. The photographs reflect the text and are lovely. Following your dreams, remaining hopeful and giving your mind a rest from everyday routine and problems are recurrent themes.

This book promotes mindfulness and is an excellent thought-provoking discussion tool for children and adults.

Mawson is a big-hearted, soul searching Writer-Bear. His little books are stuffed with moments of happiness for frazzled grownups. Ever since he can remember, Mawson has loved to sit atop a cushion and ponder about this baffling world he has found himself in. Friends approach him about their own dilemmas. They seek instant answers that will make everything all right. Mawson does he is best by pondering even more deeply. But he often falls asleep and wakes as baffled as ever.

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Why not slow down and relax a while with Mawson’s friends in their cosy, whimsical world. Refresh the soul in the tranquility of innocent hours and simple joys.

Read my review of She Ran Away From Love

Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books, Motivational, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

Mike Nero and the Superhero School Natasha Carlow #Illustrator Kyle Stephen @natasha_carlow @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours #BlogTour #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #BookReview #MikeNeroandtheSuperheroSchool

Can I tell you something about this school? You see this isn’t a regular school. This is a superhero school…” 

First days can be tough, especially for someone as shy as Mikey but Mikey’s new school is a little different. On his first day, he meets his principal and some incredible children who help him discover his own superpower within and he learns that no matter what we may look like on the outside, everyone has something that makes them valuable. 

Can Mikey learn to use his newfound superpower to make his school a better place for all students?

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an engaging story for young children that explores how being different is a positive thing and the importance of being inclusive and kind to everyone.

We share Mikey’s experiences as he visits his new school. He is nervous and wonders if he will make friends. The concepts are easy to understand and reinforced by the illustrations. Mikey realises that his new classmates understand each other’s differences. The story focuses on the positives and celebrates kindness and understanding.

Natasha Carlow

Natasha is a wife and mother of two amazing rainbow babies. She resides in Trinidad and Tobago, where she works as an Itinerant Counsellor working in Youth and Guidance. She is the author of the award-winning Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies, which tells the story of how faith brought healing and hope to her family after the pain and loss of miscarriages. Her experience with grief and loss moved her to create avenues for other families in her country experiencing similar things. She is a contributing writer at pregnancyafterlosssupport.org and Her View from Home. Inspired by her son, Natasha wrote her newest book MIke Nero and the Superhero School which focuses on a young boy with special needs and how he comes to discover the superhero within himself. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking fancy restaurant meals at home and eating them in her pyjamas.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, New Books

The Library Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @Amy_C_Watson #BookReview #Paperback #PublicationDay #TheLibrary

Unboxing of #TheLibrary

Tom is invisible. He happily blends into the background of life. But Farah Shah changes everything. Farah makes Tom want to stand up and be seen – at least by her. So Tom quickly decides the best way to learn about women is to delve into romance novels, and he finds himself at the village library where he befriends seventy-two-year-old, Maggie.

Maggie has been happily alone for ten years, at least this is what she tells herself. When Tom comes to her rescue after a library meeting, never did she imagine a friendship that could change her life. As Maggie helps Tom navigate the best way to ask out Farrah, Tom helps Maggie realise the mistakes of her past won’t define her future.

But when the library comes under threat of closure, it’s up to Tom and Maggie to rally the community and save the library!

Will these two unlikely friends be able to bring everyone together and save their library?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a heartwarming, insightful exploration of friendship and its importance. Tom’s life isn’t easy. He copes by withdrawing into his introverted world. The library’s attraction for Tom is for something more than its books. There he meets Maggie. She’s not the teenage girl he seeks but an older lady who tries to keep busy and loves the community feel of the library. Maggie is an extrovert, hit hard by the inherent loneliness of old age. Both are needy, and both have something to give to each other and the community too.
This contemporary story told from both character viewpoints is humorous and poignant. The characters are believably created and relatable. The community spirit is uplifting, and the character development and self-realisation satisfying.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Motivational, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

My First Animal Moves Darryl Edwards 4* Review @FitnessExplorer #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #Motivational #Exercise #Movement #Fun #Animals #MondayBlogs #MyFirstAnimalMoves

Nathan loves to play, but he loves his video games more.

Can a trip to Animal Moves land convince him there’s more fun outdoors? Best-selling author and speaker Darryl Edwards has created this fun adventure inspired by his passion for encouraging kids to move in an ever-increasing sedentary environment.

Discover the joys of animal moves with your little cubs in this first book of movement. Join Nathan and his cute, but the sometimes lazy, dog as they crawl, jump and balance their way through the animal kingdom re-enacting moves designed to emphasise fun. It’s all in this exercise for kids book that focuses on family fun boredom busters.

HELPING KIDS MOVE AND GETTING KIDS OFF SCREENS THROUGH FUN ANIMAL PLAY

  • Do you want to make physical activity for kids fun?
  •  Are you looking for ways to help your children develop strength, coordination and balance?
  • Do your children love learning about animals?
  •  Are you worried about too much TV and screen time?
  • ✓ Do you want to teach young children about the importance of physical activity?
  • ✓ Would you like easy and fun fitness games to include in your day?

My First Animal Moves is your answer. Play along together, keeping everyone healthier and happier, promoting physical, mental and emotional well-being. You’ll all release more mood-enhancing hormones as a result, which help you feel good every day.

It’s written by professional movement coach and award-winning author Darryl Edwards who is best known for his groundbreaking TED Talk “Why working out isn’t working out“, viewed over a million times worldwide. My First Animal Moves distils the ideas in his bestselling Animal Moves book and Animal Moves Fitness Decks into a colourful picture book for children.

A Children’s Book to Encourage Kids and Their Guardians to Move More, Sit Less and Decrease Screen Time.

This unique story takes a different stance from many popular titles in this arena, with a fun activity that encourages children’s active play while aiming to get families moving and reading together. It takes the humour and colour in kids’ yoga books to a whole new energy level with active play for the entire family.

Get My First Animal Moves to help your family thrive through movement today.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The concept behind this vibrant picture book of encouraging children to move more and sit in front of screens less is motivational. Nathan and Lola are engaging characters, and the animals they meet are lovely too. The animal moves are simple to stimulate conversation and development. Children and parents are inspired to exercise together and have fun finding new animal moves.

This book is a fun introduction to movement for young children and their parents.

Darryl Edwards

Darryl Edwards is a Movement Coach, author of the best-selling books “Animal Moves” and “My First Animal Moves”, and a thought leader in the area of creativity and innovation in fitness and health. 

Darryl developed the Primal Play Method™ to inspire others to make physical activity fun while getting healthier and more robust in the process. 

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Giveaway to Win a Signed Copy of My First Animal Moves plus an Animal Moves Fitness Deck for juniors (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction, Poetry

The How  Yrsa Daley-Ward 4*#Review @PenguinUKBooks #YrsaDaleyWard #TheHow #BookReview #Instagram @yrsadaleyward #MondayBlogs

A treasure trove of inspiration and an invitation for personal renewal from the acclaimed author of bone and The Terrible

We still dream though, don’t we? We are gifted with a way into ourselves, night after night after night.

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s words have resonated with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world: through her books of poetry and memoir bone and The Terrible, through her powerful writing for Beyoncé on Black Is King and through her always-illuminating Instagram posts.

In The How, Yrsa gently takes readers by the hand, encouraging them to join her as she explores how we can remove our filters, and see and feel more of who we really are behind the preconceived notions of propriety and manners we’ve accumulated with age. With a mix of short, lyrical musings, immersive poetry and intriguing meditations, The How can be used to start conversations, to prompt writing, to delve deeper – whether you’re on your own or with friends, on your feet or writing from the solace of home.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Original personal thoughts give the reader a chance to share the author’s ideas for a healthy self. Written in a mix of exercises, ideas, and personal experiences, the book explores life’s challenges and how to attain your best self. There is an underlying honesty that is refreshing. The author doesn’t profess to have the solutions but suggests they are within each of us if we take the time to look.

There is an absorbing balance of lyrical musings and notes that keep the reader engaged. I particularly like the idea that dreams are important for happiness, and imagining what you want to be in as many details as possible brings it closer to fruition.

This book can be enjoyed on many levels and has a wide reader appeal.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Motivational, New Books

Freckles Cecelia Ahern 5*#Review @HarperFiction #Freckles @HarperCollinsUK @Cecelia_Ahern @fictionpubteam #BookReview

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
 
When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city.
 
But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long:  who are the people who made her the way she is?  And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future? Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.

Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin. 

Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.


Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Allegra or Freckles is a young woman finding her place in the world. She doesn’t relate well to others but enjoys her role as parking warden in Dublin. It is whilst doing her job she meets someone who tells her something she cannot forget. Her quest is to find the five people who define her. Told from Allegra’s viewpoint, the reader has intimate knowledge of Allegra’s often confusing world. The story has many layers and believable characters. Allegra draws the reader’s empathy, and you want her to succeed and be happy. Allegra develops as a character, learning from each encounter, and by the story’s conclusion, she knows herself.

The ending is poignant and uplifting and gives the reader hope that Allegra’s future is hopeful.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, New Books, Romance

Finding Summer Happiness Chris Penhall 4*#Review @ChrisPenhall @RubyFiction @ChocLituk @rararesources #Summer #SecondChance #Escape #Friendship #Community #Romance #uplit

You won’t find happiness without breaking a few eggs…

Miriam Ryan was the MD of a successful events and catering company, but these days even the thought of chopping an onion sends her stress levels sky rocketing. A retreat to the Welsh village of her childhood holidays seems to offer the escape she’s craving – just peace, quiet, no people, a generous supply of ready meals… did she mention no people?
Enter a cheery pub landlord, a lovesick letting agent, a grumpy astronomer with a fridge raiding habit – not to mention a surprise supper club that requires the chopping of many onions – and Miriam realises her escape has turned into exactly what she was trying to get away from, but could that be just the thing she needs to allow a little bit of summer happiness into her life?

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I received a copy of this book from Ruby Fiction in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A gentle, humorous story that explores life’s pressures and how taking a trip, even if it is not what you expected, can give you a better perspective. Miriam finds running her successful company is damaging her health. Her escape is not what she expects. However, it helps her to come to terms with her past and present life.

The setting is well-described and integral to Miriam’s life changes. Believable characters add emotion and vibrancy to the story. There is a good mix of humour and poignancy with uplifting friendship, romance and self-realisation.

This is a lovely escapist summer read.

Chris Penhall

Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020. Her short story, Lily McKee’s Seven Days of Christmas appears in Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction’s Cosy Christmas Treats anthology.

Her new novel, Finding Summer Happiness, which is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales was published in May 2021.

Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.
She also has her own podcast – The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title!

Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it!

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

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