Book Review and Tour: The Pieces of Me and You by Rachel Burton

Last year I was lucky enough to read Rachel Burton’s previous novel, The Things We Need to Say, which I loved. The review can be found here. When I saw the news she was releasing a new book I was eager to read it and was excited to be invited to this blog tour.

Book Review: The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton

The Pieces of You and Me

Book Cover for The Pieces of You and Me

Title: The Pieces Of You and Me
Author: Rachel Burton
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
Release Date: 21st February 2019

Purchase Link: mybook.to/PiecesYouMe

Blurb

They say time can heal all wounds…

When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?

My Thoughts

I loved this book and related to it on many levels. As someone who spends too much time under the duvet, I instantly connected to Jess who has ME.  Jess has adapted to life with chronic illness, living at home and has carved out a successful career as a writer despite the tendrils of her condition affecting all aspects of her life. There were times it made me cry and say “I know that feeling”. The frustration of watching peers being busy their lives with no need for naps, medication or pacing, the emotions of having to let go of your old life to make way for a new one and the fear the illness will steal more from you in the future. It describes Jess’s dilemma balancing her heart’s desire with the knowledge how much ME affects relationships and it discusses whether being with your soulmate is enough to face a future of uncertainty together. Rupert has his own demons he faces, and it was refreshing to see the other side of the story.

The depth of emotion between the two characters touched me when Jess’ diary told the story of their lives, from best friends to lovers and the circumstance which ripped them apart. It is a tale of deep love, trust and the importance of revealing your true self. The other topics covered include grief, mental health, but they are dealt with sensitively and does not wallow. It left me with feelings of hope and uplifting.

I am grateful to Rachel Burton for writing an honest heart felt depiction of life with a chronic illness, showing its fears hopes and uncertainty but how with the power of love and determination someone can make a new but different life. As an aspiring writer having a character achieve success while pacing her writing time around fatigue gives me hope.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is a love story but it is also so much more.  I would like a physical copy on my forever shelf to read again when I need encouragement but also to share so others can understand the realities of life when it is turned upside down because of illness.

Author Biography

The Pieces of You and MeIMG_20181116_124903 (1)

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….
Social Media Links 

Twitter: twitter.com/bookish_yogi
Instagram: Instagram.com/Bookish_yogi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rachel-Burton-353151308524664/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rachelburton6/pins/

Thank you to Rachel Random Resources and HQ Digital for my advanced copy so I could review.

Happy reading!

Love

 

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The Complicated Business of Talking with Dystonia

The Complicated Business of Talking

Following my last post and the goal to reveal snippets of life with living with dystonia it felt apt to share the first ever post I made on my old The Ups and Downs of being Wobbly in 2013. It only feels like yesterday.

Dopa-responsive dystonia affects all my muscles now including my voice.

The Complicated Business of Talking

September 2013

I never realised how complicated talking and holding a conversation was until it began to go pear-shaped. To talk to someone many things have to occur:

1, you need to listen and remember what the person is saying
2, you need to think of an answer and the words you wish to use to express it
3, send these words to your voice box, tongue and muscles in your mouth
4, the voice box has to do what voice boxes do and your muscles have to co-ordinate themselves so the words come out.

If any of these stages falter the conversation can become tiring, difficult, frustrating and bizarre. Sometimes only one or two stages of the above partially or completely fail so I can work round it. Other times nothing will work so it’s easier to keep my mouth shut.

I can ask my family multiple times the same question before I will remember it. They must get sick of me asking 5 times whether they would like a cup of tea before I can remember it long enough to get to the kitchen. I would definitely be useless as a waitress. Telephones and having conversations in supermarkets are the worst. I think my brain decides that holding the phone and having a conversation in a noisy place is too hard and it prefers to go on strike.

There are times I know what I want to say. I can even visualise it but the word refuses to come. Good job my family are good at listening to convoluted explanations when a simple sentence would have done. Why say “it’s on the table” when you can say ” it’s on the thing in the kitchen. We sit at it for dinner”. Gestures are good too. My daughter will win at a games of charades with the practise she gets.

Other times, the words are there but trying to get my tongue, voice box and muscles in my mouth to work together is impossible over the stupidist words. Why is it so hard to say peas or beans or yes? At least the long explanations can resolve that obstacle with “green round things” or “red round things”. Again, charades work or you can play a game of fill in the blanks of a sentences. For example, “Would you ____ a cup of ____ ?

If all else fails, you can just be quiet and nod in the right places.

I am so lucky I have a great family who accepts our new way of communicating and they are becoming very good at it. I am lucky I have my trusted yellow ones (Sinemet) which gives my brain a kick start so I can have periods of the day when talking is easy and understandable. In these brief periods, I can do the phone calls I need to make and talk to friends when they visit. I guess, however tiring, difficult and frustrating talking can be, it can make life different and more interesting.

rachel-gorjestani-2430895_1920

Green Rounds Things

Love

Book review: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland.

Duvet days are continuing so I was appreciative to receive a copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland to read. I loved her previous book Lost for Words so I settled down with a cuppa, jelly beans — my new favourite thing thanks to Sunflowers in February,  and Nigel snuggled next to me hoping to be equally impressed.

Book review for The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

 

Title The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Author Stephanie Butland

Publisher Bonnier Zaffre

Release date 19th April 2018

Blurb

Loveday Cardew won everyone’s heart in Lost for Words, now it’s time for Ailsa Rae to live, love and be loved . . .

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.

Have her friends left her behind?

And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her.

She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.
But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Thoughts

As a duvet dweller AKA Spoonie or someone with a chronic illness I  relate much to Ailsa thoughts and the emotions she expresses in her blog before her transplant and after as her health improves. She uses her blog to connect with people outside hospital bed as many do, raise awareness of the ability of transplants to change someone’s life and help make decisions with her life. I enjoyed the pleasant mixture of blog posts, email, and narration.

It follows Ailsa as she ventures into the new world of wellness, which means negotiating her close relationship with her mum and discover her well self. The book comes across as well researched and makes you connect with Ailsa. It is uplifting and made me want to get my dancing shoes on and dance. Or at least put the music on loud and sway imagining I was on strictly come dancing. As with her previous book Lost for Words Stephanie Butland has given me another character to love and remember.

Would I recommend?

Yes, for its humour, insight into the life of someone dealing with chronic illness and beyond as well as its delightful characters. This is one of those books I want a physical copy of for my bookshelf so I can indulge again in the future.

Thank you Netgalley and for sending me an advanced copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae in exchange for an honest review.

 

Happy reading!

Celebrating 20 year’s of Harry

 

June has arrived already and this poor blog has been neglected as I have dwelled under the duvet with zero spoons. Many books have been read by our members on the topics of books vs movies, different cultures, floral books, children’s books (always a favourite to do) and finally classics with Jane Eyre being a popular choice.

#HarryPotter #tea #BookClubforSpoonies #DuvetDwellersbookclub

Perfect combination tea and Harry Potter

 

This month we celebrate 20 years since we were first introduced to the most famous boy wizard, Harry Potter and the magical world of JK Rowling. For some, it will be a time of comfort reading as they plunge themselves into their well-thumbed editions while others will cautiously tiptoe into Rowling’s imagination to meet the famous trio and Hagrid for the first time. It will be fascinating to see what their views will be. Will they find the story worth the wait and be asking the sorting hat what house they will be in or will they shrug their shoulders, bewildered at all the hype that still exists around the protagonist and friends?

Personally, I love the Harry Potter series and the community it has created. It doesn’t seem 20 years ago I picked up my copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone from the shelf at Woolworths. The children in the library I worked at were excited about the book and the reservation list of a copy to borrow was ever growing so I needed to buy it. I was hooked the moment Dudley was scared by the snake at London Zoo. The following years on release nights, I was queuing up at midnight with many other bookworms young and old, at the local bookshop eager to read the next instalment. Each volume conjures up happy memories every time they are read. No other series has captured me like that apart from possibly the All Souls Trilogy.

If Harry Potter is not your thing we are celebrating series of books in general? What would you recommend?

Want to join in discussions and natter about books – click here for a warm welcome to our book club for people with chronic illnesses otherwise known as spoonies.

Happy reading!

 

Twas the days before Christmas

The tree is dressed in its best baubles and the lights are twinkling. Stockings are hung in anticipation they will be filled with our favourite things – books!

This time of year, books are great to curl up with to escape the overwhelming and hectic preparations, gather spoons or indulge in festive stories that flood the book shelves in the shops. What have you been reading?

christmas-parcel

Are you hoping to find a particular read under the tree?

It is also the time for reading old festive favourites or following family traditions. We particularly love the Swedish tradition of  jólabókaflóð and believe it should be adopted worldwide. Imagine how many happy bookworms there would be and new book lovers created everywhere.

We are pleased to release our themes for 2017 including the one we are all excited about – Harry Potter month in honour of the 20th anniversary of the release of the first installment, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Yes – it really has been out that long. We are also looking forward to the discussions on books vs movies in January. This will conjure up lots of discussions.

Watch this space for exciting book club news in the New Year!

Have a lovely Christmas and hope it is filled with lots of books, spoons and happiness.

Happy reading!

reading blanket free stocksnap

 

Do you love books and have a chronic illness, disability or class yourself as a Spoonie – we would love to welcome you in our warm friendly group.