Hector: At Ground Level by Gary Finnan #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: I

am 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!

Author Bio

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. 

Buy Link 


Expectation by Anna Hope

I’m happy to be sharing my review for Expectation by Anna Hope today on my blog. Thank you to Alison Barrow of Penguin Random House UK for a copy of the paperback book. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.


Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

EXPECTATION is a novel of the highs and lows of friendship – how it can dip, dive and rise again. It is also about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. Most of all, it explores that liminal space between expectation and reality, the place – full of dreams, desires and pain – in which we all live our lives. 

My thoughts:

As a woman, a mother, a daughter and a wife this book certainly did resonate with me. The dreams and aspirations we have as we finish our school exams, leave University, start our first jobs, fall in love, agree to marry someone, and/or conceive a child all change over time – sometimes we achieve our original dream but often we take subtle diversions, which may or may not lead back to the original dream.

In this day of social media, we often see the high points in other peoples lives – we don’t see that the singleton out partying is actually lonely, that the new mother is struggling with sleep deprivation and that the career woman would give it up at the drop of a hat to be a mother. As the saying goes “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” but still so many of us dream of changing something without realising how lucky we are to have what we already have.

Anna Hope has captured the modern life of many women in the UK perfectly. Her writing brings the characters of Hannah, Cate and Lissa to life. All three have flaws and face challenges, especially as their friendship is challenged by some major challenges and betrayals.

At times the book made me feel uncomfortable, would friends really betray each other in this way. However, the writing made it all too believable. My daughter is almost 15 and developing into a young woman. I will be putting my copy of the book aside for her to read when she becomes a woman and heads out into the world, full of her own hopes and dreams.

Anna Hope:

ANNA HOPE studied at Oxford University and RADA. She is the internationally prizewinning and bestselling author of Wake and The Ballroom. Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation. She lives in Sussex with her husband and young daughter.

An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond

As we head into the summer of 2020, many of us have already waved goodbye to our plans for a summer holiday – I know that I won’t be relaxing by a pool in Spain or fossil hunting in Lyme Regis anytime soon. However we can still enjoy a virtual visit to Cornwall with this fabulous novel by Lucy Diamond, published in paperback in the UK today. I’m looking forward to picking up a paperback copy to add to my Lucy Diamond collection.


Summer is here, and down in Cornwall Lorna’s holiday cottages are fully booked. The sun loungers are lined up beside the swimming pool, the sky is blue and a new set of arrivals are on their way…

Em’s planned the perfect break with her teenagers plus her new boyfriend, George… but now his difficult six-year-old is coming too. Will their romance survive the realities of parenthood?

Maggie’s hoping a seaside holiday will bring her and her daughter closer together, but when her ex makes a surprise reappearance, it changes everything. Can she trust the man who broke her heart?

Olivia has escaped the domestic grind, only for the past to catch up with her. Maybe the time has come to confess all – if she can find the courage…

Meanwhile, the teenagers are running wild and love is in the air. With friendship, heartache and secrets in the mix, will this holiday turn out to be a scorcher – or simply too hot to handle?

My thoughts:

I have read the majority of the Lucy Diamond novels (I usually take the latest paperback on holiday) and this is one of my favourites. It is a well written book with characters brought to life in such a way that you feel as if you know them personally.

The four main female characters all have various forms of ‘baggage’ – loss of loved ones, ex husbands, new relationships, extreme tiredness etc. They spend a week in Cornwall at Lorna’s holiday cottages and their lives will never be the same again. I loved the way the individual stories evolved and became woven together.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for a digital proof copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own.

Lucy Diamond (from Amazon.com)

Lucy Diamond grew up in Nottingham and went to university in Leeds where she studied English Literature. After graduating, she worked in publishing and at the BBC, and in her spare time she began writing children’s books under a number of different pen names. 

Two small children later, an evening class in creative writing motivated her to try a longer piece of fiction and explore some of her own feelings about motherhood. This eventually became a novel, Any Way You Want Me, and she was thrilled when Pan Macmillan made her an offer of publication.

Now the author of fourteen novels and a Sunday Times bestselling author, Lucy writes with warmth and honesty about the joy and surprises, as well as the complications, that love, family and friendships can bring.

Lucy now lives in Bath with her husband and three children and writes full-time.  

Her website is http://www.lucydiamond.co.uk

She is on Twitter @LDiamondAuthor, and has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LucyDiamondAuthor.

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

Thrilled to share a mini review for a book read from my Kindle after too long in my TBR pile.


Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend and William’s father, Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam connect with his own son. Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down because she is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody – especially William – must discover.

By turns life-affirming, heart-wrenching and joyful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman’s fierce determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day.

My thoughts:

After reading my first Catherine Isaac book a couple of months ago (Messy Wonderful Us), I finally got around to reading this book which has been sat on my Kindle for quite a few months.

This book is a voyage of discovery for Jess who travels to France with her son William, to spend a summer holiday with her ex/his dad, Adam. The story covers topics such as friendships, illness, addiction, keeping secrets and lack of communication, but overall is an uplifting read about the importance of love.

The majority of the story is set in France, at Adam’s holiday resort. As this is the nearest I will have to travelling there this year during the worldwide lockdown, the descriptions of the places to visit and the food, were much appreciated. This was the perfect book to read in a sunny back garden on a bank holiday weekend.

I must admit that Messy Wonderful Us is still my favourite book by Catherine Isaac, but this is a very close second.

To see my review of Messy Wonderful Us visit https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/03/29/bookreview-messy-wonderful-us-by-catherine-isaac/

View all my reviews

Just My Luck by Adele Parks #bookreview

It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.
Sunday Times Number One bestseller Adele Parks returns with a riveting look at the dark side of wealth in this gripping take on friendship, money and betrayal, and good luck gone bad…

My thoughts:

Thank you to HQ for a digital review copy of this book – my thoughts are my own.

I was pleased to be invited to read a review copy of the 20th book by Adele Parks – I enjoyed reading Lies Lies Lies on my summer holiday last year. This book is another fast paced, dark story full of secrets, lies and some very unpleasant, selfish characters.

I enjoyed the story, which is told by Lexi (who bought the winning lottery ticket) and her 15 year old daughter Emily. I must admit that I wasn’t totally convinced by the 15 year old narrative (having got a teenage daughter of my own) but it didn’t spoil the story. Jake quickly becomes the most detestable character but is closely followed by many of the ‘friends’. After longing to win the lottery for over 15 years, it changes Lexi’s life in so many more ways then she ever expected.

My favourite character is Logan, the younger son, who seems to be the only person not corrupted by the huge amount of money. The story of Toma Albu, running alongside the lottery win story, was thought provoking and sadly too realistic.

If you enjoy a read full of secrets and twists, then I’m sure you will also enjoy this book, just as I did. Published on 14th May 2020.

View all my reviews

Homeward Bound by Richard Smith #bookreview

George is a recently widowed seventy-nine-year-old. He nearly made it as a rock star in the 1960s and he’s not happy. Tara is his teenage granddaughter and she’s taken refuge from her bickering parents by living with George. Toby is George’s son-in-law and he wants George in a care home. 

George has two secrets. 1) He’s never revealed why his music career stalled. And 2) No-one knows just how much the disappointment of opportunities missed still gnaw at him. He craves one last chance, even at his age. When it presents itself, through the appearance of a long-lost distant relative – whose chequered past should set alarm bells ringing – he can’t resist. 

For Tara, living with her grandfather is a way to find her own path and develop her own musical ambitions. She isn’t prepared for the clash between different generations and living in a strange house full of her grandfather’s memories – and vinyl records.

They get off to a shaky start. George takes an instant dislike to the sounds from her bedroom that seem more suited to Guantanamo Bay than anything he would call musical. But as time plays out, they find there are more similarities – neither know how to operate a dishwasher – than differences, and parallels across the generations slowly bring them to recognise their shared strengths. But when Toby inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events, it leaves Tara with the same dilemma her grandfather faced five decades before with the same life-changing choice to make

My thoughts:

Thank you to Matador Books for a copy of this book – my thoughts about the book are my own.

Having read the blurb on the back of the book, I was keen to find out more. This is the third book I’ve read this year with an elderly protagonist (main character) – the other books being Saving Missy and Away with the Penguins.

The story looks at George and his family after the recent loss of his wife. His son-in-law, the obnoxious Toby, is desperate to put his father-in-law into a retirement home. George finds a compromise by inviting his granddaughter Tara to share his house near her new University so she can keep an eye on him and report back to her mum, Bridget.

During the story, we find out more about how George’s dreams and ambitions in the music world were derailed, how Tara needs to find her own path in life (and not be railroaded by her boyfriend) and how Bridget needs to find some happiness. Tara and George develop a new relationship, based on their enjoyment of music.

There are lots of funny moments to make you laugh out loud but also heartbreaking moments too. As readers of my reviews know, I always appreciate a dog being included in the story and George has Hunter, his ageing Labrador. I also thoroughly enjoyed the music references and found myself watching Homeward Bound by Paul Simon on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHI2nWdRdXw

This is a book I’m happy to recommend as a feel good but thought provoking read. Ideal for all ages.

The author – Richard Smith:

Before I dedicated myself to writing my first novel (‘Homeward Bound’) I was a producer of TV commercials, sponsored documentaries and educational and promotional films. It took me around the world and into places not normally accessible to visitors – up to the top of the Elizabeth Tower to see Big Ben strike twelve, on a speed boat around the Needles and North Sea oil platforms, and to the Niger Delta in Africa . . . to name but a few. It’s been a privilege and made me a terrible tourist! While I always hoped my films were saying something useful and might even make a difference, rather worryingly two of them were featured in a British Library annual exhibition, ‘Propoganda’!

Writing the book meant giving up the filming (you can’t develop characters in a novel when there’s a video edit or a voice-over script to be delivered) and making writing a nine to five. My office was public libraries – free from distractions and with the discipline that I couldn’t go home until my laptop battery had run out of energy. 

‘Homeward Bound’ is fiction but it’s based on things I’ve seen, experienced or learned through my life (I’m 70 going on a bit more) and hopefully, readers will recognise the characters in the novel, finding them loveable and interesting, while reminding them of the passing of time and the value of family.

View all my reviews

Book review for How to Marry Your Husband by Jacqueline Rohen

Currently 99p on the Kindle, I decided to treat myself to this book and I’m glad I did.

Publisher comments:

He broke her heart. Now it’s her turn.

Rachel has just seen her husband David kissing another woman and she knows her marriage is over.

To make matters worse, she has just discovered that her romantic destination wedding wasn’t exactly legal.

No marriage means no divorce. Heartbroken and angry, she and her friend hatch a foolproof plan:

Step one – Make David fall back in love with her.
Step two – Marry him
Step three – Divorce him and break his heart.

Simple enough.

Rachel just has to be careful that she doesn’t get swept up in the romance and end up falling in love with him…

My thoughts:

After being married for 21 years, the biggest issue in most marriages (including my own) is miscommunication. We are all so busy that we don’t actually see things correctly or listen properly – Rachel and David’s stories showed the consequences of this.

I enjoyed how the story was split between their two perspectives – suddenly something very innocent to one of them appears as proof of betrayal to the other. The story reminded me of a game of tennis – we were on Rachel’s side then bounced over to David, then back to Rachel. 

This is a romantic comedy perfect for escaping into during the current pandemic crisis. Slightly far fetched but good escapism.

Currently available in ebook only, the paperback will be published in July 2020.

#Lockdown reading part 1

It’s three weeks since the UK went into Lockdown. For the first two weeks I worked from home – liasing with students, preparing reports, updating my CPD and attending online team meetings.

For the past 10 days, I’ve been on ‘holiday’ as I have a term time only contract. Normally we would be out, visiting friends and family but 2020 will be known as the year of ‘staying in saving lives’.

In addition to starting to clear out cupboards and cook numerous meals for my constantly hungry teenagers, I’ve been able to do more reading. 12 books in 3 weeks.

The start of Lockdown
Last week
This long weekend

My favourite books were The Authenticity Project, We Begin at the End and The Phone Box at the Edge of the World.