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

The Problem With Poppy Emma Sandford 4*#Review @ESandfordAuthor Illustrator Olena Osadcha @FullMediaLtd #Review #BlogBlitz @rararesources #BookReview #Kidlit #ChildrensBooks #TheProblemWithPoppy

Poppy the porcupine has always wanted to make a friend, but her defensive nature prevents her. When a young tiger cub stumbles upon her one day in the rainforest, she reacts badly and scares him away.

Determined to change her ways, she sets out to find him, but little does she know that the tiger cub is about to have a problem of his own. In the face of danger, will Poppy find a way to save the day?

The Problem With Poppy Website Shop Full-media.co.uk

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

My Thoughts…

A vibrantly illustrated children’s picture book about learning to trust, even when others have let you down. Poppy, the Porcupine is as prickly as her appearance, but with good reason. She wants to make friends but is frightened of being hurt. Her first meeting with Rory, the tiger cub, doesn’t go well. She perseveres and eventually makes a friend.

The problem of animal poaching is explored understandably, and the conclusion shows the importance of learning to trust and friendship positively. Parents and carers may need to remind their children of the dangers of traffic.

Overall this a colourfully illustrated story with good messages and likeable characters that should appeal to young children.

Emma Sandford is a Liverpool-born author and businesswoman based in Cheshire. For many years, she has wanted to write a children’s book that draws on her own experiences and helps young children overcome personal issues. One day, inspiration hit her: she realised that a porcupine has a very obvious defence mechanism where it shows its quills, stamps its feet and chatters with its teeth when feeling threatened.

Unfortunately, due to traumatic events in her life, Emma has also been defensive in situations where she didn’t need to be, and was frightened to let people get close to her. The Problem With Poppy is a fun way of teaching kids that while everybody has a natural defence mechanism, there is a time and a place to use it. By the end of the story, Poppy has learnt this valuable lesson and she makes a lifelong friend in the process.

Emma is planning on writing more books in the future that have similar important messages for youngsters. Watch this space!

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Inspiration, Motivational, New Books

The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club Faith Hogan 5* #Review @GerHogan @Aria_Fiction @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #SecondChance #Friendship #Life #Motivational #uplit #IrishFiction #TheLadiesMidnightSwimmingClub #MondayBlogs

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Easons (Ireland only)

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely heartwarming story set on the west coast of Ireland. It explores female relationships and the importance of living life to the full. The setting is an immense part of this story giving the women space to breathe and think. The relationship dynamics are relatable, and the author explores topical issues in an enlightened way.

Character-driven, it immerses the reader in the main protagonists’ lives, which is an emotional experience. Family drama, heartbreaking decisions and romance are interwoven into this literary puzzle, and despite the shocks and tears, it leaves you feeling uplifted.

Guest Post: The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club – Inspiration- Faith Hogan

It’s been a funny old year, I mean to quote those wonderful words, it’s been the best of times, it’s been the worst of times, certainly, it’s been an extraordinary fifteen months on this side of the pond and although I haven’t travelled to the UK since 2019 – that sounds much too long ago – this has been a year like no other in every part of the world.

Apart from the terrible tragedies that have moved each of us, even if they did not touch our lives directly, there has been such a complete upheaval of life as we’ve known it and sometimes, it feels as if we may never fully return to what went before as normal.

At the end of it all, I’ve found a much renewed love of the book that uplift my spirits. It’s been an essential part of my lockdown armoury. Losing myself in the words of favourite writers who can help me escape the worries that might otherwise have dragged me down further and let-s face it, the nightly news was as much as any of us needed to drift into the tragedies of life.

So, I’ve been reading lots of unashamedly uplifting, happy books. I think it’s helped me to see the positives of having been locked down in a way that has balanced out all the losses. And there have been many positives. While less air travel has meant travel is curbed, I’m also very aware that the environment has managed to get some much needed breathing space. It’s given us great family time – now we’re playing scrabble and regularly sitting down to watch TV programmes together that I’d never have watched otherwise. And it’s given us time to think; perhaps savouring the little things that we’d rushed about so much for before and missed out on the simple joy of them. Things like family meals, long phone calls with friends – when once a text flown off seemed to be as much as we could manage. And then, there have been so many who’ve had the opportunity to work from home and in some cases think of re-locating and maybe taking life off hold.

Yes, it’s been the best of times and the worst of times.

But the one thing I’m sure of, is that a good uplifting book is one of those things that has really come up trumps throughout, a little like scrabble and strangely, The Grand Tour – yep ,in the Hogan House we’re on a binge!

I wrote The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club the year before we’d even heard of Covid 19. I’d written it purely for the joy of telling a story that would uplift my own spirits and so far it seems to have had the same impact on readers who’ve picked it up.

It’s unashamedly feel good, gentle and ultimately heartening, you may cry at certain parts, but you will laugh much more and I hope, as you pick up the threads of Lucy, Jo and Elizabeth’s lives, you will feel you are on a journey with old friends – people you’ll root for, people you’ll be sad to say goodbye to at the end. Because, we all want a happy ending, don’t we and there’s nothing that we could want more than a happy ending for the people we love!

And, as we near the end of this extraordinary year, perhaps we’ve all learned something we hadn’t expected – happiness can be found in the most unexpected places and if we’re wise, we’ll grab it when we can. And happiness is the one thing that we can feel, no matter if we are living in the best of times or indeed, the worst of times…

So, go on, choose your own kind of happy today, jump in with the Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, I promise, you’ll feel better once you’ve dived in there….

Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

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

The Spirit of the Horse Pam Billinge 5*#Review @pam_billinge @Blackbird_Bks #BlogTour #BookReview #memoir #Motivational #nonfiction #Horses #Love #Life

Sequel to The Spell of the Horse.

The Spirit of the Horse is about following dreams, finding your truth and how much stronger joy can be when we learn to interconnect with all that is.

‘Masterful, uplifting and insightful, this book has left an indelible stamp on my heart.’ Justin Featherstone MC

When Pam follows her dream to a farmhouse with five acres in northern France, she is able to live alongside her horses for the first time. Here, in the heart of nature, deeper insights are revealed into the healing connection between horse and human and the incredible power of presence to transform. Might it be that learning to honour and communicate with another species helps us to reframe the way we perceive each other, as well as how we might see ourselves?

Paperback (£9.99) available to order from Waterstones

and all good bookshops and the usual online platforms.

Ebook (£3.99) Amazon UK iBooks

 [US]Kobo

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

My Thoughts…

I haven’t read The Spell of the Horse, the book this is a sequel to, but this book reads well without having done so, although it did make me keen to read the book that came first. This book hard to define but is very readable, with messages that everyone can take away and think about.

As a memoir, it is engaging and honest. It has depth, Pam’s experience working with her ‘herd’ to help her clients to work out their anxieties, future choices and problems, is emotional, fascinating and thought-provoking.

It’s compelling to explore the spiritual connection between humans and horses through case studies and Pam’s insights. This is a poignant and powerful book.

Pan Billinge – Photo Credit Sabine Coe Photography

Pam Billinge is a therapist, coach and author who specialises in embodied horse-led learning.

This unique approach relies entirely on the emergent relational process between horse and human. At her bases in the UK and in France, Pam supports people of all nationalities, ages and walks of life with their personal and professional development.

Through her workshops and her writing Pam wishes to share the healing wisdom of horses whilst advancing the cause of this
sometimes much-misunderstood species. She hopes also
through her work to reconnect us with the natural world from which we are too often separated.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel, Travel Blogging

The Little Swiss Ski Chalet Julie Caplin 5*#Review @JulieCaplin @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticEscapes @rararesources #Switzerland #Cake #Chocolate #Cheese #Romance #Travel #HolidayRomance #BlogTour #BookReview @Juleswake #MondayBlogs

It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…

Food technician Minna has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!

So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’ve read all of the romantic escape series and apart from travelling to lovely places you meet engaging characters and experience their emotional journeys. Mina goes to Switzerland, to stay with her godmother at her Swiss ski chalet. Mina is recovering from a messy breakup and social media notoriety. She’s not looking for love, but fate intervenes, and the results are romantic and unexpected.

The reader is given a flavour of Switzerland from the vivid descriptions of the chocolate, cake and cheese. The ski chalet setting is picture-postcard, and the characters are varied and larger than life. The romance has a touch of magic about it and is gentle but passionate.

This is a perfect escape read and full of romance, but it’s also a story of self-knowledge and following your dreams.

Julie Caplin

Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Friendship, Motivational, Paranormal

Benevolent by Erin A. Jenson 5*#Review @ErinAJensen @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #RandomActsofKindness #love #fanfiction #Supernatural #Life #Motivational #BlogTour #BookReview #Benevolent

A story about the purpose of life, the healing power of fandom, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Tormented by the in-crowd at school on a daily basis, there were two things that gave fifteen-year-old Abigail Perkins the strength to keep going—her best friend, Danny Cobb; and her favorite television show, Supernatural. But the night Danny’s mother calls to say that his battle with cancer is nearing its end, and the doctors don’t expect him to live through the night, even Supernatural can’t dull the ache in her heart.

Devastated by her impending loss and crushed that Danny’s mother won’t allow her to visit him one last time, Abigail crawls into bed and cries herself to sleep that night; and she wakes to find Supernatural’s most endearing angel standing at the foot of her bed.

Told from Abigail’s perspective as she nears the end of her long life and revisits the moments that defined it, this story was inspired by the deep connection that Supernatural fans feel with the show’s beloved characters, and the show’s miraculous ability to help its fans through troubled times.

Amazon UK

100% of the net proceeds from this book will go to Random Acts charitable organization.

Random Acts inspires many amazing things around the world every day — from small acts of kindness, such as inspiring someone to buy a stranger a cup of coffee, to much bigger acts of kindness like building a school in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

To learn more about Random Acts visit randomacts.org

My Thoughts…

Benevolent is a lovely story full of emotion and a message that resonates. Abbie is dying, and her previous life is playing out in her mind one last time. It begins with her dearest friend who she lost too soon and her first meeting with her guardian angel.

Supernatural the iconic series is Abbie’s solace in times of trouble. Naturally, her guardian angel resembles Castiel from the series. The first chapter is heartbreaking and sets the scene for a book that claims your emotions and provokes your thoughts.

A song title heads each chapter. This is Danny’s gift to Abbie.

The writing is lyrical, and the characters are believable even though the carefully constructed world is magical. It makes you cry, smile, remember things in your life, and all these things make it enjoyable.

I purchased a Kindle copy of this book, as 100% of the net proceeds from this book will go to Random Acts charitable organization.

Erin A. Jensen

Erin A. Jensen is the Amazon International bestselling author of The Dream Waters Series. Her debut novel won the bronze medal for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and received honorable mention in the 2018 Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-book Awards. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time daydreamer, she lives in upstate New York with her husband and two sons

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Motivational, Non-Fiction, User Guide

365 Days of Gratitude Journal Marielle S. Smith 4*#Review @MSWordsmithNL @rararesources #GratitudeJournal #MentalHealth #positivity #motivational #BookReview #BlogBlitz #Guide #365DaysofGratitudeJournal

‘Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.’ Rumi

Being grateful is easy…

…when everything goes according to plan.

But how do you keep at it no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 to claim your copy. 

Amazon UK Amazon 365 Days of Gratitude Journal

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

My Thoughts…

If you believe in the value of gratitude journaling but are struggling then this book may be helpful. It is easy to use with useful prompts to guide your thoughts. If specific prompts don’t work for you, adapt them. It’s a guide, not a rulebook.

Attractively set out, it’s easy to summarise your weeks and months of gratitude journaling with weekly, four-week and three-month prompts. There are also motivational quotes to inspire you.

If you want to remember what’s good in your life and focus on the positives, this guide may be for you.

Marielle S. Smith

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Motivational, Non-Fiction

Hector: At Ground Level by Gary Finnan @GaryFinnan @BalboaPress @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookBlitz

This Little Book is about being present to the wonders that exist around us At Ground Level, discovering all that we fail to see when we spend so much of our lives chasing bigger, better, faster, more, endeavouring to fly higher. Everything else seems much more desirable around us than ourselves, or our lives and loves, after a long day at the slug farm.

When do we decide how to proceed with the life we have built thus far: Joy, Passion, Marriage, Divorce, Suicide, Enlightenment? Choices we have made. What if you built from a place of strength rather than always feeling diminished and unfulfilled? A life built upon the life you have, rather than the elusive life you imagine, yet fear. Build a great life in balance with your best self and your nurtured relationships. Transformation is seeing the hidden gems that truly exist in plain sight.

We have all heard someone say, The grass is greener on the other side. Is it?

Most of us were 4 or 5 years old when the belief structure we made with life set in: Iam stupid, I am weak, I don’t deserve, etc. We engaged believing that we should spend our lives proving that we are who we believe everyone else thinks we are. Breaking the cycle of doubt is essential. Loving self is the first love.

The grass is greenest where you are!

Amazon UK

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author. 

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Under a Starry Sky Laura Kemp 4*#Review @Laurajanekemp @HachetteAudioUK @orionbooks #Audiobook #Audiobook #Review #UnderaStarrySky #SecondChances #Wales #FamilyDrama #Love #Secrets #Romance

One summer to change her life…

Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way.

So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm.

Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers.

But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from Hachette Audio UK Orion via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is perfect for an audiobook listen. The narrator is professional and believably voices the characters. The story is simple, and the characters are authentic and relatable. The combination of characters, plot and setting are what makes this heartwarming.

Told mainly from Annie and Wanda’s point of view the story begins with the fire that destroyed more than buildings fifteen years ago. It altered the village and the lives of Annie Lew and Wanda. The story follows their current lives which are full of angst, guilt and regret with some well-placed humorous touches.

The life experiences are realistic and draw the listener into the story. The final chapters are uplifting and the ending romantic.

Posted in Book Review, Young Adult

Ride A Bright Horse Jennifer Dovey 4*#Review @matadorbooks #JenniferDovey #YAFiction #Teen #Horses #motivational #retro #selfdiscovery #comingofage #AnimalFriends

Relatable, fun story about a growing bond between a novice rider and her horse
Based on a real horse and the author’s memories of her
Ideal for young riders 12+ – and everyone! – who is interested in horse riding or animals

Jenny has always wanted to ride but has always been very nervous about doing so. However, today’s the day and she approaches the horse chosen for her with a stomach full of butterflies –and finds, to her delight, a kindred spirit in Daisy.

Daisy is a mischievous horse, full of quirky charm and ready to teach Jenny that the bond between a girl and her horse is unlike anything she could imagine.

Without ideas about what horses should do, Jenny allows Daisy to be a freer spirit, and as Jenny encourages Daisy to learn new skills, Daisy becomes both pupil and teacher and Jenny’s confidence and ability to ride improve.

With only their instincts and deepening bond to guide them, this pair are about to embark upon the friendship of a lifetime.

Ride a Bright Horse portrays the fun and affection, laughter and tears and harmony of spirit between a rider and a horse, as they share a most unusual journey.

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

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely story based on real memories for anyone who loves horses. Jenny loves animals and wants to ride, but she’s nervous. Daisy is a horse at the riding school with a good heart. Together they have adventures, as only a young person and an animal can.

This is full of happiness, sadness, learning and having fun. It has a retro quality to it, but the sentiments are relevant today. Written with emotion, it engages the reader from the first page.

It bought back memories of my time with horses as a girl and young adult. An enjoyable read perfect for preteens and young adults. Or anyone who loves horses.

Jennifer Dovey was raised in a sleepy village in Wiltshire. She has now retired and lives on a hilltop in deeply rural South West France with her husband. Her love of the countryside and fond memories of the irresistible charm of her mischievous horse Daisy have inspired her first novel

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Motivational

Billy Tapper Zillionaire Gary Finnan #BookBlitz @GaryFinnan @LoveBooksGroup #HistFic #LoveBooksTours #1950s #1960s #BillyTapperZillionaire

Amazon UK

This colourful novel of adventure, family, and courage shows young Billy McTaggart coming of age as a tapper in a British railyard during the bitter years following World War II. Bullied for his small stature but endowed with a sharp mind, the fierce ambition of his sweetheart Meg, and the love of his Mam, Billy navigates a rapidly changing world where steam engines give way to rock and roll, Elvis, and the Beatles. Everything changes for Billy in one breathtaking moment when he uncovers an amazing secret hidden inside a rail car. Romance, loss, pain, and elation follow his path up and out of England’s rigid class system. Through it all, Billy maintains his generous spirit and sense of what is right. Billy Tapper Zillionaire captures the humanity of simple relationships for an accidental bystander to history growing up in the 1950s and 60s.

Amazon UK

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author.