Until Next Weekend – Rachel Marks

Today I’m happy to be sharing my review for Until Next Weekend as part of the Michael Joseph Books blog tour. Thanks to Chrissie and Olivia for this gorgeous proof copy to read and review.

Synopsis:

NOAH AND KATE WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER FOR EVER.

Married with two gorgeous sons, it looked like they’d got their happy ever after.

But marriage isn’t easy. And one day, Kate left, taking their two boys with her.

These days, Noah is a weekend dad – and it breaks his heart. He misses the chaotic mealtimes, the bedtime stories, the early mornings and the late homework.

Suddenly, he decides enough is enough – he has to win his family back. Starting with Kate.

The only problem?

IN SIX WEEKS’ TIME, KATE IS GETTING MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE . . .

My thoughts:

Last year during lockdown one, I read and enjoyed Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks (see my five star review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/04/20/bookreview-saturdays-at-noon-by-rachel-marks-a-five-star-read/)

I’m pleased to say that I loved Until Next Weekend too. Noah and Kate were in love and had two gorgeous boys. But things changed and Noah didn’t notice until it was too late. He finally realises the mistake he has made when Kate is getting ready to marry Jerry.

The book looks at how Noah and Kate fell in love, and then out of love. My favourite scenes include those when Noah is at school, as a primary school teacher. Having worked in a primary school for a few years, the school scenes are so believeable, especially the ‘getting ready for PE’.

Noah has to make some much needed changes and apologies, some are more difficult than others. Will he allow his friends to help him? Will Kate be impressed by the changes?

This is a no spoiler review, so I’m determined not to spoil the story for future readers. This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, with a great mix of characters and an emotional story. At times Noah drove me to distraction but I did find myself warming to him once I knew his full back story. I also realised after reading this that it isn’t often I read a book with a male main character.

Happy to recommend this book (I already have been on social media), and also to remind readers to read Saturdays at Noon too if they haven’t already.

Author Bio:

Rachel Marks studied English at Exeter University before becoming a primary school teacher. Despite always loving to write, it wasn’t until she gained a place on the 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online novel writing course that she started to believe it could be anything more than a much-loved hobby.

Her inspiration for her first book, Saturdays at Noon, came from the challenges she faced with her eldest son, testing and fascinating in equal measure, and the research she did to try to understand him better. Every Other Weekend is her second novel.

The Really Resilient Guide by Andry Anastasis McFarlane

Today I’m starting the book tour for The Really Resilient Guide by Andry Anastasis McFarlane. Thank you to Helen Lewis at Literally PR for the invitation and copy of the book.

Synopsis:

The world of work has become virtually unrecognisable. Constant uncertainty, short-term contracts, high staff turnover, budget cuts and a lack of financial security. These all contribute towards huge demands on mental health and well-being. * In this landscape, resilience is key to both surviving and thriving. Being adaptable, flexible, having staying power and a healthy self-awareness is resilience. It’s a set of behaviours and a mindset. And the good news is that this can be learnt. *

With Andry Anastasis McFarlane’s REALLY RESILIENT approach, you’ll learn to navigate workplace adversity and embrace change. You’ll become more effective at responding to crises and make calmer decisions. You’ll have a greater positive impact on colleagues and clients alike. * Drawing on real-life examples, executive coaching insights, emotional intelligence, global wellbeing research and solutions-focused approaches, The REALLY RESILIENT Guide blends compassionate yet reassuringly practical guidance, with 27 relevant, proven resilience-building techniques you can quickly and easily practise at home or at work. * Whether you are facing a challenge, in the middle of a change, or considering leaving your job entirely, this book will empower you to overcome obstacles and develop the confidence to handle almost any professional situation.

My thoughts:

One of the twenty Skills 4 Success that the students I work with on the Future Leaders Programme designed by Villiers Park Educational Trust is resilience, so this book was an interesting and informative read. We are currently over a year into a global pandemic and resilience is something the whole world needs, with repeated lockdowns and coping with working in different ways.

The book is a guide to how anyone can help build their resilience, and why sometimes we may be less resilient than normal. Andry Anastasis McFarlane shares her advice alongside real life examples. To be able to be resilient, Andry encourages the reader to look at their well-being, by connecting with others, to continue learning and to be active etc.

This is the perfect sized book to keep in your laptop bag or in your office desk drawer, to refer back to on a regular basis, to ensure that you are able to keep being resilient when you really need it. Happy to recommend this useful book.

Author Bio:

Andry Anastasis McFarlane has blended her Executive Coaching and facilitation career with over twenty years of researching and practising resilience-building in some of the world’s leading charities, universities and innovative start-ups. Having survived losing two jobs, setting up a business and initially losing all her clients, and juggled physical health issues with maintaining a successful career in the midst of lockdown and the global financial crisis, she is perfectly placed to guide you on your path to achieving resilience in the workplace. 

• When she isn’t writing, leading workshops or coaching, she spends her time gardening, walking and working hard not to be the worst mosaic artist ever. 

About The Really Resilient Guide
• When COVID-19 struck, Andry Anastasis McFarlane – expert learning consultant and author – knew she had to act fast to save her business. Using her 25 years of coaching knowledge, practising resilience-building and learning from stories all over the globe, Andry moved her entire business model to online learning in just 10 days – and succeeded.

• Now Andry is launching The Really Resilient Guide, a new book and online, video-based courses designed to help individual professionals succeed at work in challenging times.
• Great for professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs.

Book and course links
• The Really Resilient Guide paperback, £7.95, is available at: https://amzn.to/2DN9QCW and for download on Amazon Kindle 
• A shorter, introductory online taster course is available £9.99, as well as the longer courses to invest in, starting at £24.99 : https://thelearningmoment.org/
• Just launched: free Really Resilient Guide Facebook support group for anyone learning on our free or paid resilience courses: https://www.facebook.com/reallyresili…

Socials 
l:linkedIn:andry-anastasis-mcfarlane
f: @TheLearningMoment
t:@_learningmoment
i:thelearningmoment
Contact 
w: thelearningmoment.org

The Wife Who Got A Life by Tracy Bloom

Thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invitation to read and review. Thank you to Harper Collins / Harper Fiction for a copy of the book to read.

Synopsis:

THE WIFE WHO GOT A LIFE perfectly captures the joyous chaos of family life and is the story of Cathy Collins, who’s come up with a list to help her nail the business of getting older.

After initially feeling annoyed by her sister’s gift of a ‘Motivational Journal’, she develops a list of monthly goals she believes will set her up for tackling the coming of middle age.


JANUARY – Write the list!

FEBRUARY – Ditch Periods

MARCH – Ditch Cooking

APRIL– Get a Life Outside the Family, preferably with ‘Young’ People

MAY – Secure My Son’s Future – i.e. Put a Rocket Up His Arse

JUNE – Teach My Daughter How to Not Get Screwed Over by Relationships

JULY – Reduce My Carbohydrate Footprint

AUGUST – Agree Who Will Clean Mum and Dad’s Toilet

SEPTEMBER – Make the Necessary Announcements about the Menopause

OCTOBER – Have the Really, Really Important Chat with My Husband

NOVEMBER – Fall in Love Again

DECEMBER – Dance with Hugh Jackman


But Cathy isn’t the only one in her family with a midlife bombshell to drop and when her husband throws his grenade into the mix, bossing the list doesn’t look quite so easy… and as everyone knows, a year can seem like a VERY long time…

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Tracy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just the synopsis made me smile and wonder how much this book would relate to my own stage in life, as a mother of two teenagers, a husband who had quit his job, two dogs and daughter of elderly parents.

I enjoyed reading about Cathy, her family and her friends. Cathy has lots of responsibility, for her own immediate family and for her parents. She wants to make changes to her life and her monthly visit to her book club helps inspire her to make changes.

The book is written in a diary format from Cathy’s point of view. Initially she wasn’t impressed by the journal she received from her sister Lizzy who lives in the USA, but then she starts an action plan for the year ahead after her husband Mike announces he wants to retrain as a teacher.

Much as I enjoy cooking for my own family, the repeated lockdowns over the past 13 months, and lack of the option of eating out, found me wondering if I could find my own ‘Robbie’ to help ease the load.

This book is full of humour but there is also some heartbreak. My favourite part of the book is when the DSR is introduced. This was a light bulb moment and I now need to have the discussion with my own husband about this. To find out more, you will need to read the book.

Thank you Tracy Bloom for this fabulous book. Please can we have a novella follow up so that we can see how Cathy adapted to the lockdowns – was she able to add Robbie to her household bubble? How did she cope with Mike working from home and the teenagers studying at home?

Today is the penultimate day of the blog tour, please check out the other reviews too.

Author Bio:

Tracy started writing when her cruel, heartless husband ripped her away from her dream job shopping for rollercoasters for the UK’s leading theme parks, to live in America with a brand-new baby and no mates. In a cunning plan to avoid domestic duties and people who didn’t understand her Derbyshire accent, she wrote her romantic comedy, NO ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY, which has sold three quarters of a million copies to date. @TracyBBloom

#bookblitz Setsuko and the Song of the Sea by Fiona Barker

Thanks to Kelly for the invitation to join the Love Books Tours book promotion for this beautiful book. My full review will follow next month on the blog tour.

Synopsis:

Setsuko loves the sea. She swims its shallows. She dives its depths. But she worries that her friends have chosen to abandon her way of life. Then she meets a whale who also fears he is the last of his kind. In return for giving him hope, he gifts her a song which she uses to remind people of the beauty of the ocean. Setsuko took the song and made it her own. They played together from the first crisp light of morning until the setting of the evening sun. Everyone who heard Setsuko’s song was filled with the wonder of the sea.

They remembered the beauty and mystery of the ocean. A story of an unlikely friendship, Setsuko and her friend the whale have one thing in common ― their love of the sea. Much like the revered ama-san, ― women who have been diving off the coast of the Shima peninsula in Japan for over 2,000 years ― Setsuko is a strong girl who is on the path to becoming one of these real-life mermaids.

10% of the net profits from each book will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity working for seas full of life. Visit www.mcs.org.uk to find out more.

FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS by Ruth Torjussen #bookblitz #lovebookstours

Today I’m joining the book blitz for Friends and Neighbours with Love Books Tours.

Synopsis:

Life as a Marie Osmond impersonator living in Stoke can be challenging enough.

But when your best friend has died and your other friends have moved away it can suddenly get a whole lot tougher. Now heartbroken Jenny has a female shaped hole in her life which – despite the presence of many women – won’t go away. Grief has turned her into a first-class snob.

Husband Lonny preps the house for climate change and is unable to halt Jenny’s unravelling. Then gorgeous Trudi wafts into the creative writing class and brings some much-needed hope.

Feeling that this is the only way out of her depression, Jenny’s intention to befriend Trudi builds to an obsession while facing all manner of setbacks. A motley crew of unsuitable local women is encroaching while lovely Trudi remains elusive. Why is something that used to be so easy, now so hard?.

Mixing serious issues with much hilarity ‘Friends and Neighbours’ is a feel-good story for our times.

Author Bio:

Ruth Torjussen grew up in Stoke but now lives and works in Brighton as a Shared Lives Carer.

She is a passionate advocate of eating local food grown through regenerative farming as the answer to climate change.

Follow her on Twitter @RTorjussen,

Instagram @ruth_torjussen

YouTube Torjussen Ruth

What the World Needs Now-Bees! @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for this gorgeous children’s book today. Thanks to Love Books Tours for the invitation.

Synopsis:

Inside the sprawling forests of Ontario, Canada lives a  friendly black bear named Melly. One of Melly’s favourite things to do is EAT! And many of the delicious fruits she snacks on wouldn’t grow without the help of some very important little forest creatures. 

What the World Needs Now: Bees! explores the vital role busy, busy bees play in helping plants to grow the food people and animals love to eat.

My thoughts:

A few years ago, I worked as a teaching assistant in our local Primary School when my own children were young (the hours fitted better than my previous job as a Medical underwriter). One of my main roles was to try to encourage reluctant readers to enjoy choosing and reading books.

I’m sure that this book would have encouraged even the most reluctant of readers. It is so bright and colourful, and gives a clear message about why we need to support our bees to save our wildlife and ourselves. Some of the terminology does appear advanced for 4 year olds, so personally I would have put this in Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2. To be read independently, I would expect the reader to be a strong reader in Year 2 or above.

I will be passing on my review copy to our local school, and I believe that the children will enjoy it as much as I did.

Author Bio

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m ageing myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-panelled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me. 

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again. 

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist. 

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as a local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

https://www.cherylrosebush.com/

About the book:

As you might have seen on IG, our UK Shopify online store is now open for business: www.Environmentalkids.co.uk.  We are really proud of our set up in the UK. All books in the series are printed in and shipped from the UK, which means we can pass along shipping savings to the customer, and the books have the lowest carbon footprint possible.

100% recycled paper, biodegradable lamination, vegetable-based inks and carbon-balanced printing we use, and now more than ever, these are books you can feel REALLY good about buying.



EnvironmentalKids.com

#CoverReveal Transference by John Bowie (Black Viking Thriller #2)

Today I’m joining in with the Red Dog Press cover reveal promotion.

Buy Links: 

Red Dog = https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/transference 

Amazon = mybook.to/BV2

Synopsis:

BRUTAL, DARK AND LYRICAL MANC NOIR’

As clubbers in Manchester’s most notorious club partied hard in the 90s, a girl collapsed, falling from the stage after a bad pill.

Few noticed.

Those that did, didn’t care – lost in a hedonistic haze.

John Black, an ex-SAS soldier, who was working security that night, carried her out in his arms.

Now on witness protection for exposing the city’s underworld after the girl’s death, he goes back to the city that disowned him – to confront the orchestrator of his pains… and reclaim his lost identity.

John writes articles, poetry, reviews, short stories and novels. His fiction is a semi-autobiographical mix of dirty realism, crime fiction and noir. Ghostly references to a heritage that includes the Vikings, Scotland, Ireland and the North, flavour the words throughout. Often with a dark but humoured edge.

John’s writing has appeared online and in print for the likes of Bristol Noir, Storgy Magazine, Litro Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Necro Magazine and Deadman’s Tome.

He grew up on the coast in rural Northumberland, a region steeped with a history of battles, Vikings, wars and struggles. These tales and myths fascinated him as a child, and then as an adult. In the mid to late nineties, he studied in Salford enjoying the bands, music, clubs and general urban industrial-ness of Greater Manchester, including the club scene and the infamous Hacienda. He was also there when the IRA bomb went off in 1996.

John has been partly inspired by 50s pulp hard-boiled detective fiction and the beat generation authors and poets. John aims to celebrate his female characters from his real-life through his writing, whilst retaining the hard-drinking, cynical honesty and the accessible writing style of these genres.John lives in Bristol with his wife and daughters, where he has been since the late nineties. He is a professional designer, artist and writer as well as a proud husband, father, brother and son.

Married at First Swipe by Claire Frost

Today I’m sharing my thoughts about this gorgeous book being published today in the UK. Thanks to Books and the City / Simon and Schuster UK for a digital proof copy via NetGalley to read and review. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free gift.

Synopsis:

The brand new novel from the author of acclaimed debut LIVING MY BEST LIFE. Perfect for fans of Helly Acton, Mhairi McFarlane and Laura Jane Williams.
 
Hannah lives life on the edge. Never one to pass up on a new adventure, she has truly been living her best life. But once the adrenaline wears off, she wishes she had someone to spend the quieter moments with too. Learning that her best friend’s online dating business has taken a hit, she comes up with an idea that just might solve both of their problems…
 
Jess has been with her husband for twenty years. They have a stable marriage, great kids and run their own businesses. But what looks like a perfect life from the outside has its own problems within, and with her business on the brink Jess can’t help but wonder where the spark has gone in her life, and whether settling down is all it’s cracked up to be.
 
When Hannah embarks upon her latest scheme: finding a man using Jess’s dating app and meeting him for the first time at the altar, both women start to realise the grass isn’t always greener. Can Hannah help her friend save her failing business or will Jess stop her from making what could be the biggest mistake of her life?
 
In the modern tech-fuelled world of dating, is it possible to find true love? 

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Claire Frost, and I will now be looking to read her debut novel, Living My Best Life, too. I will make a disclaimer here – I have never watched Married at First Sight so I cannot comment on how that would be similar or dissimilar to the story.

I initially expected the book to be mainly about Hannah, the bride to be who has agreed to let her best friend Jess find the perfect match for her, to hopefully find the love her grandparents enjoyed. However, I found that Jess was actually the main character for me, she wanted to look after her best friend Hannah, be a perfect mum, provide financial security to her family but was in danger of losing sight of how important her own marriage was. As someone who has been married for 20+ years, it can be easy to lose sight of what you already have.

A modern relationships story, full of great characters, humour, soul searching and dating apps. I enjoyed my escape from lockdown to spend time with Hannah and Jess, and happily recommend this book to readers.

Future reviews:

Books and the City are publishing more fabulous books this year, watch out for reviews of these books on my blog over the next few weeks and months:

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Today I’m sharing my review for this new book being published by Hot Key Books today. I received my copy via Readers First after reading the opening chapters and requesting a copy.

Synopsis:

From Jennifer Donnelly, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Stepsister, comes a fairytale retelling that’ll forever change the way you think about strength, power, and the real meaning of “happily ever after.”
Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen’s huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman took out his knife . . . and took Sophie’s heart. 

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule — a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she’d heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can’t extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength. 

My thoughts:

This is my first novel by Jennifer Donnelly and I have to say that I was very impressed. This is a modern version of Snow White and personally I believe that it is the best version I have read. I enjoyed watching Once Upon a Time on TV over the past decade and this would make a great film or TV show too.

Sophie has been bullied to believe that a Queen cannot be kind or to care about other people and finds herself facing death. However the kindness of strangers at her time of need, and the repayment for her own kindness from the past, mean that Sophie may be stronger than she thinks when facing her enemies.

A great retelling full of dark magic, a poisoned apple, a handsome prince, an archer and an evil stepmother with a reminder about how to seize your own happy ever after.

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for the latest book by Lucy Coleman. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that that I reviewed A Summer in Provence by Lucy in April and June 2020 (can be read at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/27/summer-in-provence-by-lucy-coleman/). Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Boldwood Books for a digital proof copy of the book.

Synopsis:

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina. 

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in. 

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases. 

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secretslog fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft.

My thoughts:

This is my first Christmas themed book to read and review in 2020. The setting sounded lovely – a rural area, with a marina and a community that takes care of friends and family.

My favourite parts of the book included the Santa Ahoy cruises – as my own children are teenagers now, I miss the magic of the young people when they believe in Santa, and Immi battling with a huge turkey, trying to fit it into her fridge, plus all the other Christmas food.

Immi and Gray are looking forward to spending Christmas together, after a year of changes. The story introduces us to their friends and families as the countdown to Christmas begins. Immi wants to create a perfect Christmas Day but events conspire to change everything. She also has secrets to discover which may alter everything.

This isn’t a ‘light and fluffy’ Christmas book, it is about a young woman trying to find happiness for herself whilst putting others first. A thoughtful and well written story, and a different feel to A Summer in Provence.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3fGdGvu

Author Bio:

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor

lucycolemanromance.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter