Book review: Chronically Christmas

Spoon Shortage Sue is a blogger who shares her adventures with her followers as she ticks things off her bucket list with her trusty sidekick, Rolo her spaniel. This is her first book on her experiences with living with a chronic illness.

chronically christmas

Title  Chronically Christmas

Author  Spoon Shortage Sue

Genre Auto-biography,  short story

Blurb

A personal journey through chronic illness and disability. Chronically Christmas looks at how Christmas is experienced over a number of years. From first feeling unwell, to being diagnosed. From various treatments to steroid side effects. It’s the story of one woman’s struggle coping with the many different experiences faced when fighting chronic illness.

Spoon Shortage Sue is a mum, wife and assistance dog owner, a retired secondary school teacher, who runs a successful Facebook page – Spoon Shortage Sue & Spoonie Spaniel too. She has fought chronic illness and disability for a number of years and has shared with fellow fighters offering a positive outlook to dealing with the many struggles she and others face.

She also blogs frequently at spoonshortagesue.wordpress.com.

This is her first short story, a personal account of dealing with chronic illness and disability. She is also currently writing a more in depth account which will be published in the new year.

This upbeat short story is a pleasure to read. It is a well written snapshot of chronic illness and follows Sue’s Christmases from pre- diagnosis to the present, from anxieties at being in medical limbo to acceptance and living life to the full. As a follower of Spoon Shortage Sue’s blog it is great to see how it all began. She brings a smile to many daily on FB and wonderful to read her story. 
 

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Book Review: This Love by Dani Atkins

As a fan of Fractured and Our Song I was excited to see Dani Atkins’ new book This Love sitting on the library bookshelf. I was not disappointed and could easily have read it in one session.

 Title  This Love

Author Dani Atkins

Blurb 

Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a long time ago, but could this love change all of that?

Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family.
 
So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.

One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.

Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?

After reading Dani Atkins’ other books, I should have known this one would require a box of tissues. I think her books are top contenders for those requiring a tissue warning and possibly come with a supply of Kleenex and chocolate to help you recover from the emotional rollercoaster you experience while reading them. She has an ability to create interesting characters you become attached to and stay with you long after you turn the last page.

It is a romance which deals with love, friendship, grief and loss as well as living for the moment. The story begins with a bang and ends with a twist you would not imagine. It is a must for fans of Jojo Moyes, Jill Mansell and Dorothy Koomson.

It will take me a while to recover rom this one so my next read – Tom Hanks’ Uncommon Type – needs to be very good to keep my attention.

 

 

 

The Witching Hour by Silver RavenWolf

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing colour and falling which means Samhain/Halloween is fast approaching. It is a time for pumpkins, candy for Trick or Treat, ghoulish delicacies as well as vampires,  ghosts and of course, witches. This book is loosely connected to October’s theme but it steps away from fiction into non-fiction.

I have always been intrigued in wicca, witchcraft and magic so I am grateful to NetGalley and Llewellyn Publications for the chance to read the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Witching Hour: Spells, Powders, Formulas, and Witchy Techniques That Work

The Witching Hour

Author Silver RavenWolf

Publisher  Llewellyn Publications

Blurb

The Witching Hour—that moment when every fiber of your beings says, “This is the time to do the magick, the ritual, the enchantment for what I need.” It could be dawn, a misty twilight, or the deepest, darkest inky night. It’s a time when all of your being urges you to get up, get moving, and get working! Confidence that you can easily step from the problem at hand to the success that you desire seething around you. And you know, to the depths of your soul, it is time for magick! The moment of your own power has matured!
This is a book of magic—formulas and techniques for working with herbal blends and powders, techniques for connecting to the ultimate oneness of universe, inspiration for deepening your magical work and seeing your intentions become real changes in the world.

I am new to exploring magick so my knowledge is very basic. At the beginning I felt slightly overwhelmed by the wealth of information. I returned to the book after reading around the subject. This time the experience was different. This book is not one to be rushed, it requires a clear mind and read away from distractions. It requires focus like the Magick it is teaching. Silver RavenWolf provides in-depth information which can not be faulted, with tips about the little things which is perfect for novices like me.

Personally, I think this  is a book where a physical copy would work better than an electronic one for its ease of use, tactile nature and formatting. I am looking forward to adding one to my bookshelf.

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle

Time is creeping on; in a few weeks people will be getting into the festive spirit and will start to indulge in some of the Christmas reads that are appearing on the shop shelves. I have a stash I have been lucky to be given in exchange for an honest review (so watch this space in the coming weeks) including this one , A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson.

A Rock'n'Roll Lovestyle ebook hi-quality-1.jpg

Title: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle

Author: Kiltie Jackson

This was a refreshing, festive read with depth and soul not seen in many Christmas romances I have read recently. Sukie is a strong, independent character who has a successful career and  2 men she can rely on, Tony and Adam – her cats. Her feisty, down to earth and fun personality carries the book forward to make it a pleasure to read with a few chuckles along the way. She jumps at the chance to go to Austria, her dream destination, not knowing it will be a trip that will change her life when her path crosses with the now reluctant rock star, Pete Wallace.

I became emotionally attached to all the characters as their present and back stories unfolded so when the malice which is threaded throughout the book increased, my heart was in my mouth as I turned each page in trepidation.

This  well written debut is described as a 21st-century love story but it is more than that. It is also about friendship, fun, life and revenge.

If you are a fan of Karen Swan and Jill Mansell this book is well worth reading while snuggled under the duvet and indulging in a mug of hot chocolate.

I am looking forward to reading more from Kiltie Jackson and excited to hear she has a new book in progress.

A Rock ‘n’ Roll style is available through Amazon

You can find out more about the author Kiltie Jackson on

www.kiltiejackson.com

www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson

kiltiejackson@gmail.com

 

Thank you Kiltie for sharing this book with me.

Happy Reading!

 

 

The Cottingley Secret Book review

Do you believe in fairies?

Blurb

In 1917

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true–didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself

Genre:  general fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

I stumbled on this book on Twitter and was instantly drawn to it because I remember being fascinated by these photographs of fairies as a child. The book captivated me from the first page and is as gentle, serene and magical as the fairies themselves. The descriptions are atmospheric and made me believe I was in Yorkshire playing in the beck or browsing the shelves of the Irish book shop which has a character of its own. I enjoyed how the two stories entwined and the relationship between the characters past and present.

 It is a perfect book to read on a crisp Autumn day and may inspire you to connect with nature and hunt for fairies yourself.  

Have you read it? I would love to hear what you thought in the comments below.

Happy reading.

Anne with an E : reviewing new Anne of Green Gables books

With Netflix airing the Anne of Green Gables show Anne with an E, I was excited to have the opportunity to read two new Anne of Green Gables books in return honest review courtsey of Netgalley.

Anne of Green Gables is a classic children’s book by L.M Montgomery. If you haven’t read it you are missing a treat. Set in Prince Edward Island, it follows Anne Shirley, an imaginative orphan who has the curse of red hair (her thoughts – not mine. I would love red hair) as she finds her place and self with Marilla and Andrew Cuthbert. The series covers everything; friendship, the meaning of family,community, heartbreak, zest for life, appreciating imagination and books. Once read it is easy to see why the books have been treasured and loved for generations. They are readily available for free on ebooks or at library so you have no excuse not to sink back into bed or sofa with the originals this Autumn.

anne

Title: Anne of Green Gables a graphic novel

Author: Mariah Marsden

Publisher Andrew McMeel Publishing

Genre Children’s Classic , Comic and  Graphic novel

My initial thoughts of the idea of Anne in a graphic form was uncertainty  but what a joy this book is.

An original retelling of the classic children’s book Anne of Green Gables in the form of a graphic novel. The illustrations are delightful and capture the nature and feel of L.M Montgomery’s Avonlea and Anne Shirley. It is a good introduction to the series but will also be loved by those who have already taken Anne to their hearts.

Out 24th Oct 2017

anne cook

Title The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook

Author Kate MacDonald, L.M Montgomery

Publisher Quarto Publishing Group – Race Point Publishing

Genre Cookery Children’s Literature

A lovely book for fans of Anne of Green Gables of all ages, young and old. Full of tasty recipes inspired by the series, it is a treat to read and would make an ideal gift.
The simple format and handy tips is perfect as an introduction to cookery for children though it will appeal to adults too. I love the fact it does not just cover sweet food but a range of meals.

Out now

Happy reading!

 

Book review: Oh! What a pavlova by Isabella May

oh pavlova book

Title: Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May

Genre: Women’s fiction, contemporary  fiction

This book requires a warning;   your tastebuds will tingle and tins full of baked goods should be sourced before you grab a cup of tea to read. Within a few chapters, I fancied focaccia, coconut macaroons and more. My diet went out of the window while reading this book.

In this debut, Isabella May has incorporated cake, travel, affairs and domestic abuse in this story following Kate Clothier. Like the initial impression of a well made pavlova, her life is perfect. She has a good job, travels to many different cites, has the ability to buy good clothes and foreign holidays as well as a secure relationship but when the dessert is sliced, its many layers are revealed. Some of these are rather messy. In one layer of Kate’s life, she is the confident professional, another she is looking for a boost of self esteem while in the other she is trapped in an abusive relationship.

It is easy to relate to Kate, who is not perfect and approaches her life with humour, flings and cake. She is either eating it or thinking about it.  She could easily be your friend, collegue or sister. This connection I felt made me eager to see if she could accept the situation she finds herself in, build strength and break free. Isabella May’s book shows relationships are not simple and abuse does not have to be constant but can ebb and flow over time,  adding to the confusion for the abused. This books highlights how domestic abuse can occur without friends and family knowing as well as showing things can change.

The only disappointment I had was the lack of recipes for all the cakes discussed at the back of the book.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you, Isabella May for an ARC in exchange for a fair review. I look forward to your next book next year.

Book review: The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The Surrogate

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

Genre: psychological thriller

I had heard wonderful things about this book and after reading The Gift , I eagerly waited for its arrival.

The Surrogate did not disappoint. From the start I was lured in to the story of Kat, who is desperate to have a child and Lisa, who offers to act as a surrogate when they meet by chance. The two women share an old but troubled friendship though it is clear from the start, secrets are also shared and hidden. There are loops and turns throughout the book that lead you to question everything but unlike many psychological thrillers I have read recently, the ending is a complete surprise.

After reading The Gift and The Surrogate I have concluded Louise Jensen creates books which are designed for days or evenings when you can escape reality and indulge in reading a book in one sitting. They are page turners and you do not want to do anything but read.

I loved this book and have already bought a copy of The Sister to add to the top of my TBR pile. The only downside is once I have read it, there will be no more books of hers for me to read until she writes her next one.

Thank you NetGalley and Bookoutre for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Chasing Eveline book review

Chasing Eveline

Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser

Genre: Young Adult

Chasing Eveline fitted into July’s book club’s theme, “All about the Music” like a glove or a cassette slotted into its case. It follows teenage Ivy on her plan to reunite an 1980s indie rock group in the hope it will lead her to find her Mum. Chasing Eveline was Ivy’s mum’s favourite band and she shared her love for it with daughter. The small hurdle of the Chasing Eveline members living in Ireland and lack of money will not stop Ivy’s dream of bringing the group together.
This coming of age story entwines the themes of friendship, family, grief, teenage embarrassment with the love of retro music. Forget streaming and downloads this book is about the joy of cassettes and vinyl. It is light-hearted and easy to read but Leslie Hauser captures the deep emotions grief brings when you are left behind.
I was also relieved this lovely debut did not fall into the trap of the clichéd Hollywood ending.

Rating 🌟🌟🌟

Book review: The Gift by Louise Jensen

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This is the first book I have read by Louise Jensen but it won’t be the last. This is how a psychological thriller should be; an emotional journey with twists and turns you cannot predict,even if you think you can. Curiosity and fear drives you to read just one more chapter.
The Gift follows the story of Jenna, who after receiving a heart transplant from Callie, begins  to remember things she shouldn’t. Things only Callie knew and when Jenna’s dreams are saying Callie’s death was not how it first appeared, she has no choice but to listen.
I have read about cellular memory before in Cecelia Ahern’s light hearted ‘Thanks for the Memory’ and Jodi Picoult’s ‘Change of Heart’ touched the topic slightly but this is a different take on it. It is an intriguing subject you can’t help wanting to know more about.
This is a book to read in one sitting if you can, with no distractions apart from a cup of tea because once you start you will not want to put it down.
I am now looking forward to reading Louise Jensen’s new release ‘The Surrogate’.
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Have you read it? What did you think?
Happy reading!