Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship

Her Husband’s Mistake- 5* #Review Sheila O’Flanagan @headlinepg @HeadlineFiction @sheilaoflanagan #Family #Relationships #Life #PublicationDay

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Living and then married to her school sweetheart, Roxy’s adult life has always been a partnership, she thought their marriage was strong, their family, all they both wanted. When her father became terminally ill, she expected, and received her husband Dave’s support, until she didn’t.

Arriving home unexpectedly after the funeral, she finds her loving husband committing the ultimate betrayal, with their attractive next-door-neighbour, and just like that everything changes for Roxy and her young children.

Even though this a soul-destroying discovery, it is written with self-deprecating humour, Roxy is restrained, her reactions even surprise herself, but she is a reflective thinker and doesn’t make life-changing decisions on impulse. She walks away to the safety of her childhood home, kids in tow, to decide on the future for all of them.

Grief for her father and her marriage rule her emotions, but she has responsibilities and moves forward, even though she wants to hide in a dark room and lick her wounds, like an injured animal. This story charts her journey of self-realisation, as she discovers new challenges and possibilities suddenly visible now she is released from the safety bubble of her marriage.

Dave wants his easy life back, even though he is the one who jeopardised it, It’s hard to feel any empathy for such a self-absorbed creature. Roxy is strong, giving and dependable, she is easy to empathise, many mothers will recognise something of themselves in her behaviour and personality traits, regardless of their circumstances.

Easy to read, with contemporary issues and believable, complex characters, this story of empowerment and family life is relatable, and that is why it’s so engaging to read.

Posted in Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

Hard Pushed – Leah Hazard -5* #Review @Hutchinsonbooks @PenguinUKBooks @hazard_leah #Memoir

No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.

Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all.

Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward.

Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK Cornerstone – Hutchinson Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Authentic, awe-inspiring and absorbing, this sharing of a midwife’s working life is a must read for everyone. Humorous and poignant it explores what it’s like to be responsible for assisting new life into the world through the eyes of a dedicated midwife as she shares her experiences with the women she helps.

Midwifery has mystical connations, and if you have ever experienced the brutality and wonder of birth you understand why. I’ve experienced birth twice as a mother and once as a birthing partner, and this memoir brings it all back. The writing is informal but full of vivid imagery and genuine love and respect. It made me cry, laugh and remember.

Out in digital on 30th April 2019 and Hardback and Audio on 2 May 2019

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Romance

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker – 5* Review – Jenni Keer @AvonBooksUK @JenniKeer

Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away forever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

I love that there are so many stories at the moment about cross-generational friendships, which portray older people in a positive light.

‘The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker’ is a lovely example of this type of story featuring Lucy aged 25 and Brenda aged 79 and their strong friendship, which provides the reader with humorous, magical and poignant moments.

Brenda has lived a full often glamorous life and is still a flamboyant character. However, it’s her kind nature that makes her stand out and what draws Lucy to her. Lucy is not typical of her generation, she finds everything in life difficult, lacks self-confidence for a variety of reasons and is still seeking that perfect someone, even though she pretends to everyone, including herself most of the time that she isn’t.

The plot see-saws between Lucy’s home and work life, with engaging characters in each, they are all very human; flawed and realistic, which makes the story believable too, even though it has a strong flavour of the extraordinary.

There’s romance for Lucy, family problems and work stresses. Brenda has to face some cruel realities, but helping Lucy onto her rightful life path makes her focus on the positives rather than the negatives, of her life.

Friendship, frailty and fun sum up this book, one that I would recommend to everyone.

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

Posted in Book Review

Roar – Cecelia Ahern – 5* Review

 

I am woman. Hear me roar.

Have you ever imagined a different life?
Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided?
Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

The women in these startlingly original stories are all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Was Kept on the Shelf and The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

A lovely collection of impressions, interpretations and idealism with a feminist theme. Short stories that focus on women. Society’s constraints, their role in the family and the workplace. The stories have a distinctly magical, mythical makeup but the problems they showcase are real, relevant and faced by every woman today whatever her age.

Although some of the experiences are disturbing, they are told in a readable way that engages the reader and makes a point without being overpowering.  This is a book you can dip in and out of without losing the thread. For the most part, all the stories are enthralling and this book is novel quality, with an overriding storyline. Each story can be regarded as a chapter and the theme of women’s in the 21st century is highlighted and reinforced.

Definitely, something I ‘d like in my Christmas stocking because it shows how far women have come in my lifetime and how far we still have to go.

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

 

Posted in Book Review

In Another Time- 4* Review – Caroline Leech

It’s 1942, and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort in the Women’s Timber Corps.

As Maisie works felling trees alongside the enigmatic John Lindsay, Maisie can’t help but feel like their friendship has the spark of something more to it. And yet every time she gets close to him, John pulls away. It’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past, and the pain he’s been hiding.

Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. And as she helps John to untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to heal what’s broken.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

‘In Another Time’ is aptly named. Its strength is that it captures the culture, prejudice and ethos of WW2 Britain and even though I would like more details on the day to day lives of the lumberjills; you get a sense of who these pioneering women were and what sacrifices they made for the war effort.

Maisie’s independent spirit makes her a perfect candidate for the Womens’Timber Corp (WTC). The clash of personalities makes the story authentic, and the complexity of the main characters makes it easy to empathise or not with them.

John is a troubled character, but despite her naivety, Maisie begins to understand his emotional trauma, but a girl can only be pushed away so many times. Their romance is sweet but hampered by their circumstances, tragedy and the jealousy of others.

The ending is heartwarming and what Maisie and John deserve.

A lovely story for young readers that will appeal to anyone who likes a little romance and is interested in the unsung heroines of WW2.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins – Children’s Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Memoir

everything I know about love – Dolly Alderton 3*Review

When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown-up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.

Glittering with wit and insight, heart and humour, Dolly Alderton’s powerful début weave together personal stories, satirical observations, a series of lists, recipes, and other vignettes that will strike a chord of recognition with women of every age – while making you laugh until you fall over. Everything I Know About Love is about the struggles of early adulthood in all its grubby, hopeful uncertainty.

Amazon UK

Amazon

 My Thoughts…

‘Everything I Know About Love’, is a memoir written by a woman in her late twenties, while the writing quality is excellent, am I showing my age? (definitely a 20th-century woman). Aren’t memoirs usually written by people in the autumn of their years?

This book encompasses the central themes of the 21st-century: a fascination with all things celebrity and reality. Parties, drugs, sex, friendship are its mainstays, retold in a charmingly entertaining way. What I didn’t like is the casual reference to ‘Class A’ drugs as if they are nothing out of the ordinary, something everyone does. Drugs were a feature of life when I was in my teens and twenties, but they weren’t socially acceptable as they are now. 

The fast pacing holds the reader’s interest, and the life events recounted, read like a novel. If you are looking for a snapshot of life for young women of a particular social class in the 21st-century, this is a great example.

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