For when I’m gone by Rebecca Ley

Thanks to Rebecca Ley for a signed copy of her debut novel, a gift from a Twitter competition. Here is a mini review for the book published by Orion Books in the UK.

Synopsis:

Because there’s never enough time to say goodbye…

Sylvia knows that she’s running out of time. Very soon, she will exist only in the memories of those who loved her most and the pieces of her life she’s left behind.

So she begins to write her husband a handbook for when she’s gone, somewhere to capture the small moments of ordinary, precious happiness in their married lives. From raising their wild, loving son, to what to give their gentle daughter on her eighteenth birthday – it’s everything she should have told him before it was too late. 

But Sylvia also has a secret, one that she’s saved until the very last pages. And it’s a moment in her past that could change everything…

My thoughts:

This is an excellent debut novel about a heartbreaking topic. Sylvia is dying and creates a manual for her husband, Paul, to ensure he knows who to ask for help and what the children need etc.

The book moves backwards and forwards in time, looking at how they met. what happened to Rosa, how they coped after the cancer diagnosis and how Paul copes after her death.

Beautifully written, emotional and a book I didn’t want to put down. I’m happy to recommend the book and I look forward to reading more by Rebecca Ley in the future

The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild

Today I’m joining in the Rachel’s Random Resources cover reveal for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing this book later this year.

Synopsis:

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

Pre-Order Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

Publication Date: 8th July

Author Bio –     

Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication. 

Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.

After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle. 

Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.

Social Media Links –              www.facebook.com/authorjuliawild

Twitter:                                    @juliawildauthor

Instagram:                                juliawildauthor

Website:                                  www.juliawildauthor.co.uk

Home by Penny Parkes

Thank you to Books and the City / Simon and Schuster UK for a digital proof copy of Home by Penny Parkes to read and review. This is the first book I’ve read by Penny Parkes. The book is due to be published in July 2021

Synopsis:

A gripping and heartfelt story about overcoming the past and finding where you belong.
 
Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.
 
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.
 
Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.
 
Compelling, rich and evocative, Home is Anna’s journey to discovering that it isn’t where you settle down that matters, but the people you have around you when you do

My thoughts:

I first saw the cover for this book at the Books and the City 2021 Showcase in December 2020 and settled down last month to read my digital proof copy on NetGalley.

This was an emotional read. As a mother, it was heartbreaking to read about why Anna grew up in foster care, and had to keep moving on. This also explained why Anna had been happy to keep moving and only spending a short time at each house sitting location. However, could it now be time to stop moving?

Anna’s relationship with her best friend from University has been her most important relationship since her childhood, and we slowly find out why Anna is concerned that Kate’s marriage to Duncan could change this.

I enjoyed reading this book. Although the story is heartbreaking in places, I’m pleased to say that it is uplifting too. Anna and Kate love reading, and this love of reading is important to the story.

Author Bio:

Penny Parkes survived a Convent education largely thanks to a ready supply of inappropriate novels and her passion for writing and languages. 

She studied International Management in Bath and Germany, before gaining experience with the BBC. She then set up an independent Film Location Agency and spent many happy years organising shoots for film, television and advertising – thereby ensuring that she was never short of travel opportunities, freelance writing projects or entertaining anecdotes. 

Penny now lives in the Cotswolds with her husband, two children and a geriatric spaniel. She will often be found plotting epic train journeys through the Alps, baking gluten-free goodies or attempting to prove that you can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks.

Twitter: @CotswoldPenny

Your Friend Forever by Zena Barrie

Today I’m sharing the opening pages from Your Friend Forever by Zena Barrie with the Damppebbles.com book tour. The book was published last week.

Synopsis:

Preston, 1981. Maud, who is twelve and lives with her dysfunctional parents and her elder brother, spends a lot of her time in her bedroom writing letters to her favourite popstar, Tom Harding, the lead singer of a punk band called Horsefly.

No one really understands her or tries to – and she thinks Tom just might have some answers to her many, many questions… 

Please check out the reviews by the fabulous book bloggers above.

Extract:

January 1981

For the attention of Mr Tom Harding 

Friends of Horsefly 

PO BOX 113

London W2 

8th January 1981 

Maud Harrison 

22 Slater Street 

Hutton 

Preston 

Dear Mr Harding, 

One’s name is Maud Harrison and one is pleased to make your acquaintance. One is twelve years old, thirteen next week so one might as well say one is thirteen (a teenager). One lives in Preston, not in the centre where all the shops are, but in a place called Hutton. It’s basically just lots of houses. There are some posh houses and some not posh houses. I live in one of the not posh houses. We do still have all our windows though (although the bathroom window is held in with chewing gum) so one mustn’t complain about one’s lot. One’s mother called one’s father a ‘fucking fucker’ when she realised he had fixed the window with Hubba Bubba and not special window putty from the do-it-yourself shop. Apparently it’s ‘not the same fucking thing’. One is a really big fan of your band (Horsefly) and of you in particular (as you are the songwriter and one gets a lot from the songs: life information, feelings, and most importantly inspiration for one’s life). One read in Smash Hits that you collect thimbles since your Great Grandma left you some in her will. How did she die? (I hope it’s not hereditary.) One has enclosed the thimble from one’s Mum’s sewing box. She doesn’t use it (one has never seen her use it anyway). One hopes it fits. Your hands are probably bigger than Mum’s. Do you have big hands? One has wrapped it in toilet roll (it’s clean). Please could you send one your autograph and post it to one in the enclosed SAE (stamped addressed envelope)? One really likes the trousers you were wearing in Sounds magazine last month. They are quite unusual aren’t they? You never see trousers like that in Preston. One only has one pair of trousers and they are flared and much too short so it can be quite embarrassing having to wear them. One has grown quite a lot recently, in length but not in width. One doesn’t have any women’s hips yet, you cannot pinch an inch anywhere. One is now the same height as a naturally short woman or a woman who has suffered stunted growth due to poor health. 

Yours in anticipation of a favourable reply, Miss Maud Harrison 

P.S. How tall are you? 

P.P.S. Are you married? 

P.P.P.S. I hope you don’t mind receiving unsolicited correspondence (letters). I suppose it comes with the territory of being a very successful pop star. 

P.P.P.P.S. It’s not that I don’t have any actual hip bones. I do, I can feel them. 

They’re just still in line with my rib cage. I’ve been led to believe this will change after I have metamorphosed (changed) into a functional woman. How old were you when you changed into a functional man? 

*****

For the attention of Mr Tom Harding 

Friends of Horsefly 

PO BOX 113

London 

W2 

14th January 1981 

Maud Harrison 

22 Slater Street 

Hutton 

Preston 

Dear Tom, 

(I do hope it’s okay to call you that. I’m trying to be less formal but not overly familiar. Do please let me know at your earliest convenience if you’d prefer me to address you in a different or in a more inappropriate manner). 

Hello, it’s me, Maud Harrison, I’ve written to you before (last week). Did you get my letter? Firstly apologies if I confused you in my last letter by saying ‘one’ all the time. I read that that was the proper way to refer to yourself, but my English teacher took me aside the other day after I’d used it in some homework, an essay about what I’d done over Christmas (very little), and asked me if I was the Queen and when I said no he told me to ‘stop bloody referring to yourself as “one”, then’. 

When I opened my exercise book he’d also put in the margin that he’d stopped reading after six pages because it was too long. So I’m very sorry if it was confusing, I’m quite new to writing letters. I’ve only really written one before that I can recall and it was to a girl in France called Marie who was supposed to be my pen pal. My teacher gave me her name and address. I didn’t know and still don’t know much French so it wouldn’t have been a very good letter. Mostly just asking her directions really. She never wrote back. 

I’m not completely sure that my Mum posted it to be honest, French stamps are quite expensive. 

I go to Hutton South Comprehensive, I’m in the second year, most of the people there (pupils and teachers) are dreadful and the lessons don’t do much to inspire me. Every day we go through the motions of a normal day at high school, everyone is just waiting for their lunch and then waiting until the bell goes and we can all go home, no one actually wants to be there, it’s a shame really when we’re all supposed to be learning. The teachers all smell of coffee and fags apart from Mr Parkinson who Sarah (my best friend) says smells of whisky (and fags). I’ve never had a fag or drunk whisky and my Mum and Dad only drink tea, Dad did used to go to the pub but he hasn’t for a long time. Sarah’s Mum drinks coffee but I’ve never tried it. Sarah has had Mellow Bird’s (sexy coffee). 

I’d really like to play in a rock band when I grow up. At school when we do music the only instruments are recorders, xylophones, euphoniums and trumpets. The music teacher Mr Ward did say I could take a euphonium home and give it a try but Mum said I’m not allowed to learn that type of instrument because of my asthma, well she said ‘good God no way’, then she said because of my asthma. I hardly ever get asthma really, my brother has it worse than me. I told all this to my teacher and he just rolled his eyes. I’m not sure if he was rolling his eyes to my Mum or rolling his eyes at my asthma. What do you think? I’m not sure teachers should be allowed to roll their eyes at the pupils. It’s not fair for them not to explain things properly. Do you think I should ask him to explain himself? I don’t really like the noise of a euphonium anyway so I’m not too bothered. They don’t have a euphonium in The Clash do they? You don’t have a euphonium in Horsefly do you? It’s only really good for Songs of Praise (when you can see all the people 

in their best clothes miming along to a hymn hoping to get talent spotted) or if you want the noise of an elephant or a rhino plodding through some woods or something, and that’s not really music is it? More of a sound effect. My Dad has a record of sound effects, I’m not sure why. Lots of ones of taps running and the sound of rain and different doors opening and closing. It rains all the time in Preston so we don’t really need a record of it. It’s not like I ever miss the rain so much that I want to play it on a record. We can’t play it any more anyway as the radiogram gives us an electric shock if we plug it in. Dad won’t get rid of it though, even though it takes up half the front room. He doesn’t like your music, he says he only likes Ska. He bought some two–tone shoes and Mum got really angry about them. She called him a ‘fucking arse-hole’. I think it’s because we don’t have much money. Also I’m not sure where he’ll wear them. I haven’t seen him wear them yet, apart from sat in the front room but he did look really happy with them on, he kept looking down and smiling at them, I was watching him for ages, I watched him watching the telly in his new shoes. I could do with some new shoes. When did your feet stop growing? It would be really handy if mine would stop growing. 

I’m being shouted at so I have to go now.

Your most humble servant, 

Maud Harrison 

P.S. Mum was just shouting in general, it wasn’t specifically at me, but when I went downstairs it became specifically at me so I’ve come upstairs again, I just seem to always be in the way. 

P.P.S. I’m not sure if I am a humble servant really. I have quite a humble opinion about what I look like but I have quite a high opinion about my mind (I think it is better than most people’s minds that I come into contact with). I think some of this is down to you. I read an interview in NME where you said you ‘read everything you can get your hands on’, and that you like reading poetry, in particular Keats and Browning. So I try to read everything that I can get my hands on too. Are you familiar with the poetic works of Pam Ayres? 

P.P.P.S. Are you humble? You always look quite humble in your pictures, or maybe sad, certainly not proud which I think is the opposite of humble. I’m not a proud person even though I have a high opinion of my own brain, well maybe I’m secretly proud, although I am telling you about it so I think that just makes me a show off. I’ll try to stop doing that. 

P.P.P.P.S. I’m going to be a teenager next week. I’m not sure I’m prepared for it at all. I wish there was a book I could read that wasn’t just about puberty. I know my body is going to change but I need to know all the other things. I suppose we are expected to find out for ourselves. I’d rather read a manual so I don’t have to keep getting things wrong. P.P.P.P.P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m called Maud (an old woman’s / witch’s name) it’s because I’m named after my Dad’s auntie that he fancied. She died before I was born though and I’ve never seen a picture of her. It’s probably a good job she’s died because if my Dad had carried on with her instead of my Mum I wouldn’t exist, or I could have been an inbred (a human ass) and incapable of bearing children (if I ever wanted to)

Author Bio:

Zena Barrie lives in Manchester and runs the Greater Manchester Fringe and the Camden Fringe. She ran the Kings Arms pub and Theatre in Salford for a while and also the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, as well as working in a wide variety of roles at the Edinburgh Fringe (from street performer to venue manager). In the 90s she did a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts specialising in playwriting. Up until recently she has been co-hosting the award winning spoken word night Verbose. She is also one half of performance art duo The Sweet Clowns. Your Friend Forever is her first novel.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZenaBarrie

Website: https://zenabarrie.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zena_barrie/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Rv70t6

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/32fSBD9

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/2OSgKgd

Foyles: https://bit.ly/3v6QYEz

Bookshop.org: https://bit.ly/3abMbcU

Blackwells: https://bit.ly/2REJ9HF

WHSmith: https://bit.ly/3uRX5fv

Hive.co.uk: https://bit.ly/3e4S64D

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats by Unbound on 29th April 2021

Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale

Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and Hope Road Publishing for the opportunity to read, review and share my thoughts about this magical book on the blog tour. The book was published on Thursday 29th April. My thoughts are not influenced by the gift of a proof copy.

Synopsis:

From the co-founder of the Jaipur Literary Festival, a brilliant, funny, and moving novel set against the background of the festival, and the characters that make it tick

Told from multiple perspectives, from the authors enjoying moments of adulation after years of creative isolation, to the star-struck public mingling with their cultural icons, to those in-between, who are both author and fan, thesediverse stories of lost love and regret, self-doubt, and new beginnings come together in a narrative that is as varied as India itself. 

From a septuagenarian who has completed her semi-biographical novel but does not want to part with it, to an author who receives a threat in the form of a poison pen letter; from a historian who reunites with a past lover, to a burglar who is passionate about poetry; from a young woman who has no idea what this world has in store for her, to an American woman looking for the India of her hippie youth, this metafictional, wryly funny novel is an ode to literature. 

Partly a love letter to the greatest literary show on earth, partly a satire about the glittery set that throngs the festival year after year, and partly an ode to the millions of aspiring writers who wander the earth with unsubmitted manuscripts in their bags, Jaipur Journals is a light-footed romp that showcases in full form Gokhale’s unsparing eye for the pretensions and the pathos of that loneliest tribe of them all: the writers.

Please check out the other reviews being shared by bloggers and book reviewers too.

My thoughts:

When the email from Anne popped into my inbox, I nearly said no. But there was something about the synopsis that intrigued me, and I’m glad I said yes please. This book brings Jaipur to life, the people, the food and the Literature Festival.

As an avid book reader, I still haven’t visited a Literature Festival in person (but have joined a few via zoom recently). However, after reading Jaipur Journals, I’m now concerned that I will find them rather dull.

The book is full of stories within stories, as authors and visitors mingle at the Literature Festival. The story features dreams, ambitions, relationships and poison pen notes. Rudrani Rana is at the centre of the story, hoping to be a published author but with no patience for some of the authors. She makes an unlikely friend in Jaipur, and the chance meeting changes the course of events for both of them. At first I wasn’t sure whether I liked her, but I did find myself hoping that she would succeed in her quest.

This was a book I settled back and enjoyed reading. I’ve never been to India (the nearest I’ve been is Sri Lanka and the Maldives), but Namita Gokhale’s writing transported me over four thousands miles from the UK to Jaipur. The writing is magical, moving quickly between characters and events, a real rollercoaster ride for the reader. I’m happy to recommend this colourful book, full of small dramas and large characters. Thank you Namita Gokhale for an escape from reality.

Author Bio:

Born in Lucknow, India, NAMITA GOKHALE, is an award-winning writer, publisher, and the co-founder/director (with William Dalrymple) of the Jaipur Literary Festival. She is the author of over twenty fiction and non-fiction books including the best-selling Paro: Dreams of Passion, Priya, and Things to Leave Behind. In 2017 Namita was awarded the first ever Centenary National Award for Literature by the Literary Society of Assam for her service to the Indian nation in supporting and showcasing Indian writing talents. Described as one of the finest Indian writers, she lives in New Delhi

The funny thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson

Happy publication day to Julietta Henderson. Thank you to Becky Short from Bantam Press for a proof copy of this fabulous book to read and review. Here is my 5 star review.

Synopsis:

It was a journey they would always remember . . . for a friend they’d never forget.

Norman and Jax are a legendary comedic duo in waiting, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they’re fifteen. But when Jax dies before they turn twelve, Norman decides a tribute act for his best friend just can’t wait, so he rewrites their plan: 

1. Look after mum | 2. Find Dad | 3. Get to the Edinburgh Fringe

Sadie knows she won’t win Mother of the Year and she’s not proud she doesn’t know who her son’s father is. But when she finds Norman’s list, all she wants is to see her son smile again… So they set off on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh, making a few stops to find Norman’s dad along the way.

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman is an inspiring, feel-good novel about a small boy with a big heart – and even bigger dreams. 

My thoughts:

Having seen early reviews for this book, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review it myself. I just wish I had been able to is down and read the book in a day, rather than over three due to work and family commitments – I didn’t want to put it down. Norman is an unusual name for a young boy – my great Uncle Norman would have been about 92 now.

The story isn’t just about Norman, but also about a superb supporting set of characters, from his mum Sadie, his recently deceased best friend Jax, the cleaner at Sadie’s work, Leonard and the people they meet on their journey.

Norman and Sadie take turns to tell their stories including the happy days with Jax and how they dealt with his death. Sadie has made a friend at work, Leonard, who helps her cope with working for a misogynistic car dealing boss, and also to help Norman tackle his newly revised plan.

There are heartbreaking moments, including the death of Jax and also Sadie’s dad. However this book is also full of humour, as Norman meets his potential fathers (if it is good enough for Donna in Mamma Mia and it works here too), hones his comedy routines and tries out new accommodation (loved the Lenny Henry mentions). This is a non spoiler review so I can’t want give anything more away about the comedy moments without giving clues to the story.

Sadie is trying to do her best for Norman, and we find out how what happened in her past has led to this moment in time. We also find out more about Leonard, who I found myself wishing had been allowed a chapter or two of his own.

This is an emotional book, as you find yourself hoping for the best for Norman and Sadie. This is a book I will be reading again, and will be recommending far and wide. I was left uplifted by the story but bereft at leaving Norman, Sadie and Leonard behind. I look forward to reading more by Julietta Henderson in the future.

Stories to Make You Smile : The Reading Agency

Thank you to the Reading Agency, Specsavers, the publisher (Simon and Schuster UK) and the authors for donating their time and work to producing a free ebook for World Book Night.

Synopsis:

A seriously entertaining collection of feelgood stories guaranteed to put the smile back on your face written especially by ten bestselling novelists:

Jenny Éclair
Mark Watson
Veronica Henry
Eva Verde
Richard Madeley
Katie Fforde
Dorothy Koomson
Vaseem Khan
Helen Lederer
Rachel Hore

From a hilarious race against time to a moment of unexpected eavesdropping, from righting wrongs in rural India to finding joy in unlikely places, these stories are all rich in wit and humour, guaranteed to lift your spirits and warm your heart.

Stories to Make you Smile is a co-commission between The Reading Agency and Specsavers as part of World Book Night 2021.

My thoughts:

An great mix of short stories, featuring wedding cakes, a baby elephant and disgruntled siblings from a collection of well known writers. Currently free on the Kindle and Apple Books.

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

Guardians of the Planet: How to be an Eco-Hero by Clive Gifford and Jonathan Woodward

Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Group for the opportunity to read and review this important book. Thank you to Buster Books for a copy of the hardback book to review.

Synopsis:

This environmentally positive book contains everything children need to become guardians of the planet. Kids can learn how to become keepers of the coasts, friends of the forests, home heroes and much more through a mix of compelling facts, creative activities and proactive tips.

Key environmental topics are clearly explained, and the easy-to-follow projects and suggestions help to put the issues in an everyday context. From reusing clothes and composting food to reducing water waste and giving wildlife a helping hand, this book will encourage children to engage with environmental problems and inspire them to take care of our wonderful planet.

The book includes an introduction by ClientEarth, an organization that uses environmental law to protect oceans, forests and other habitats, as well as all people, and a foreword by Brian Eno.

Printed using waterless ink on FSC paper.

My thoughts:

This book is one that should be in every home and primary school across the world. That may seem a very bold statement but please let me explain why.

I’ve worked in a Primary school and have two teenagers of my own. We are all aware that each family needs to do their best to look after our world, to ensure its survival. This book gives young people details about why we need to make changes AND how to make those changes.

The book is colourful, easy to follow and full of practical ideas. There are so many different ways to be an Eco-Hero, at home, at school and in your community. I will be donating my review copy to our local primary school and I will be buying new copies as presents for the younger members of our family.

Author Bio:

Clive Gifford is an award-winning author of over 140 books for children and adults. These include Out Of This World (Buster Books) which was shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and Cool Technology (Scholastic) which won the School Library Association Information Book Award 2013. Clive’s titles range from the serious (Robots, The Kingfisher Geography Encyclopedia, Planet Under Pressure: Pollution and Wow! Science) and sporty (with books on the Olympics, football, basketball and skateboarding) to the downright silly (Joy’s Annoying Toys, The Huge Rude Duke and The Curse of the Toxic Trousers).

Clive has travelled through 70 countries, run a computer games company and taken part in all manner of sports from parachuting and gliding to Ultimate Frisbee. His books have been shortlisted for the TES Information Book of the Year, the Blue Peter Prize and the British Book Awards as well as winning Smithsonian, Children’s Choice, NAPPA and PBS awards. Sir Ranulph Fiennes called his latest book on Explorers, “An inspiration to all adventurers.” whilst The Guardian declared that his Kingfisher Book Of Football, “was worth a season’s training” and the Manchester Evening News labelled it, “The classiest football book around.”

Clive’s official website can be found at www.clivegifford.co.uk