Publication Day for “The Year that Changed Everything” by Cathy Kelly – Book Review

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Publication Day!

The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly

Disclaimer: Thanks to The Book Club on Facebook, I was fortunate to be given an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All views are my own.

When I was told I had been chosen to receive this book I was absolutely delighted – I am a huge Cathy Kelly fan and have always loved her brand of contemporary Irish female fiction.  But this also comes with the possibility of being disappointed by one of my favourite authors and having to write a review!

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Cathy Kelly

Ginger, Sam and Callie are three Irish women all about to reach a milestone birthday.  They have never met, lead completely different lives but share the same birthday – a day on which they will turn 30, 40 and 50.  Ginger is not celebrating her 30th how she had pictured it, in fact her personal life is far from anything she had dreamed of and she is now bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding on her own birthday. Overweight, overlooked, overdressed in a hideous bridesmaid dress and single.  Meanwhile Sam is planning a quiet day for her 40th birthday as she prepares for the imminent arrival of a much-wanted baby.  After years of failing to conceive she is finally pregnant and feeling excited, yet terrified in equal measure when her waters break. Happy birthday, Sam!  Callie is the woman with everything.  She was a model in her youth and is still has beauty and poise, has a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home and her greatest pride, her teenage daughter.  To the guests attending her lavish 50th birthday party she appears to live a charmed life.

The stories of these women are written in separate chapters, each chapter titled with one of their names. So, whilst the stories are completely separate, they weave around each other as the chapters progress over the following year of the title.  I enjoyed the way that the author wrote this, although I think I would have preferred reading it from a book rather than on the Kindle – just my preference as I tend to flip back in this style of writing.  Their birthdays all mark a huge change in circumstance for each of them with Ginger overhearing a damning conversation about herself, Sam giving birth to a beautiful daughter and the police breaking up the perfect party at Callie’s.  I am trying very hard here not to write any spoilers!

I have always the loved the passion that Cathy Kelly puts into her writing, and this book is no exception.  These women become real as their stories emerge from the page and their characters grow.  I don’t think that there will be a mother out there who can’t identify with Sam’s feelings of absolute fear as she takes her new born home – “how do I do this? How can I keep her safe? What if I can’t do this? What if I don’t bond? I don’t know what to do and I’m terrified of failing”.  Sam has another reason that is driving her fear and this is deeply connected with her family.  She has been a career woman, but not by choice, whilst her sister has a young family and seems to be the perfect mummy – their own mother is not the role model either of them would ask for, making for difficult relationships.  Ginger flourishes in front of our eyes as she throws herself, quite literally, into her work as a journalist (remember no spoilers) whilst grieving friendships and the lack of a man in her life, but that is not to say it is without some tremendous lows and heartbreak.  For Callie’s tale, all that I will say is that I grew to feel a huge respect for this woman as her world is literally pulled from beneath her feet, leaving her fighting for herself, her daughter and her self respect.

The chapters of the stories wind around each other like twines of ivy until there is one strengthened plant growing…a year on and an epilogue brings them to common ground.  Cathy Kelly has surpassed herself in the realms of female fiction here with warmth, wisdom, tears and laughter….I needn’t have worried as it completely lived up to my expectations. 5 stars

Publisher: Orion 22nd Feb 2018

Goodreads

Available from Amazon:

 

About the Author:

Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. Cathy is the bestselling author of The Honey Queen, Once in a Lifetime and Between Sisters, and is a No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Her trademark is warm and witty Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, a sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.
She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.
Find out more at www.cathykelly.com or follow her on Twitter @cathykellybooks

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Being mindful in the giving of health advice….I have a new role

Last week I took up a volunteering role as a Chronic Pain Advisor for the online community of a UK disability charity (Scope).  I was approached through this blog to take part and those of you who have been with me for a while will know that this is right up my street.  To say that I am deeply honoured to have been asked is an understatement.

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a new role

I have started to make some comments on the site, and it suddenly felt very real when an official title popped up after my name.  It has also made me consider the importance of just how we relate to each other and the advice that we give – as a health care professional, a volunteer advisor or indeed a loved one.  For each and every person is an individual and will come with very different needs – how often is this truly recognised by our health care professionals when seeing people with chronic conditions?

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At a recent support group meeting the importance for sensitive communication skills became very apparent.  Everyone in the group either had the condition or had a relative/loved one with, in this case, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and had gathered to hear a medical professional, deemed an expert in his field, speak.  Spoonies, don’t shout me down, but I do worry sometimes that when a group gathers there can be a danger of frightening new members with horrific tales of hospitals and procedures, but also a competitive element toward who has which symptoms – I have written about this before.

It became increasingly obvious as this particular meeting went on, that a couple of comments made by the presenter were very upsetting to some group members.  I am certain that there was no ill will meant, but a point was made that this illness is not progressive, and the insinuation was that any progression in symptoms was down to the individual not exercising sufficiently.  Now there may be an element of truth in this – the need to keep moving in order to prevent deconditioning – but the way in which it was said made many in the room feel like they were not trying hard enough.  Picture yours truly sat in the front row in my wheelchair, and the message that I could have taken was that if I had done my exercises properly I could have restored my mobility and eliminated my pain.

Shoulder

My shoulder – dislocated

 

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My neck – vertebra popped out of alignment

Of course, I know that this is not the case for me and I also know that I do work at keeping as physically fit as I can and have always done my EDS exercises.  Years of yoga kept me nursing for nearly 20 years beyond my initial back surgery!  I also know that I can be bloody minded in my determination to do something…..but on days when fatigue hits, or pain flares, or the POTS leaves me reeling with dizziness and unable to sit upright, I assure you I will not respond well to being made to feel I am not trying! (Family..hold your tongues now and forget the other meaning of the word).

So this takes me back to my original point – we are all individuals and whilst we might share a diagnosis and certain symptoms, our actual experiences will all be different.  Only this morning someone said to me that they appreciated that their own pain was nowhere near as bad as mine, but they would like some advice….But pain is subjective and we cannot compare my pain with your pain.  I replied that one of the first things I learnt as a student nurse nearly 30 years ago was “pain is what the patient says it is” and I still believe this.  Sadly a lack of time at appointments, a lack of communication skills to unpick a patient’s symptoms, and a lack of continuity to develop a trusting relationship between patient and medic, all fail to allow for true individual care of the person.  This can be made even harder to swallow when a sweeping comment is made about symptoms by someone who has never actually experienced them.

Envy

 

It is so important for us spoonies to feel that we are listened to and being treated seriously – actually I think this is important for everyone, particularly where health is concerned and I hope to be able to justify the faith shown in me by the charity.  The exception to this though is the couple of cases of man flu in our house at the moment, and their belief that their pain is worse than anything else!!!  This is where my patience wears thin!

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

It is the beginning of the week so that must mean time for some inspiring blog posts in a little Monday magic!  The last week has encompassed Valentine’s Day, the second half of half term and a trip to Berlin in our household.

I did manage to get to the RSC Twelfth Night at our local cinema, and whilst I couldn’t stand by the end, it really is a superb production. Adrian Edmondson – yes of Young Ones fame – steals the show for me with an outstanding performance of Malvolio.

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Adrian Edmondson as Malvolio (source: Google Images)

When coerced by his colleagues into ridiculous costume, Malvolio gallivanted across the stage serenading the audience, making me think of a cross between a jester and an English Morris man!  So how did the rest of the family mark Valentine’s Day? We arrived home to pizza boxes and various teenage girls wrapped up in blankets in the lounge, and the student engineer did make a trip to London for an evening for two – I don’t believe he has a romantic bone in his body though!  As for the politics student, contact has been remarkably quiet this week….but he is probably even worse than his brother, so I would be very surprised if his girlfriend was given a card, let alone flowers!!

The eldest jetted off to Berlin for a weekend away with friends…..the friends were staying Photo from Clairein a posh(ish) hotel and our engineer was staying in a hostel next door.  Never one to waste money, his thought process went something like this “I’m not spending all that on a hotel, but if I stay next door I can sneak in with my mates and still use the facilities!”  We only knew he had arrived when his sister had a photo pop up on Snapchat…..I asked him to send some pics, thinking he  or his friends might feature in them, but this is what he sent! He is currently sending us angry emoji faces as he has been sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours in a plane that has a “problem”!  I believe they are now airborne, so hubby has been summoned to Heathrow……

 

I have selected a wide assortment of posts again this week – but I believe that there is something here for everyone.  The Big Money Saver post, whilst not specifically a chronic piece, is great for my spoonie friends out there and the post on PixieDusk “We Need To Talk about Cancer” is truly inspirational and I urge you all to read it.  When I found the wonderfully named Pass The Prosecco Please blog I was determined to find something there to share, purely because I love the name!!  The Mens’ Health Summit is really important – all you blokes out there should have a look, and if the men won’t, ladies please do! The posts are all fab, so sit back with a cuppa – or a Prosecco! – and steal some time to read relax and enjoy.

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Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You! (1)

http://www.thebigmoneysaver.com/6-fun-ways-to-save-money-when-hanging-with-friends/

https://pixiedusk.livejournal.com/468544.html

https://nothingbutpoetry.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/always-a-first-time/

https://askdrho.com/mens-wellness-summit/

http://christiehawkes.com/put-psychology-of-color-use/

http://www.balancedespitethechaos.com/blog/marvelous-massage

http://www.comfortbites.co.uk/2017/05/using-diet-and-lifestyle-to-ease.html

http://passtheproseccoplease.co.uk/im-not-good-at-resting-or-listening/

https://hypothyroidmom.com/im-fine-thanks/

http://healthy-life-box.com/no-wheat-no-sugar-no-dairy-delicious-avocado-coconut-sweet-potato-brownies/

Do you have a favourite?  Have you enjoyed these? If yes, please like, share and comment for your fellow bloggers.

Have a great week,

Claire x

Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!! via Dream Big Dream Often

 

This is from Danny at Dream Big, Dream Often….he is passionate about helping fellow bloggers.  If you would like him to share your page, then click on the link below and follow the instructions!

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Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

As most of my followers know I am big into helping other bloggers gain more exposure. My goal has been to grow a community of like-minded people and I am part way to my goal.  I am bringing back the open call to leave a link and I’ll share it for you!!

The basic rules are simple: leave me a link to your page.  I’m not sure it gets much simpler.  You can leave as many links as you want and I’ll cycle this post from day-to-day so more people can jump on board.  The link post I’ll create will publish on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

via Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

5 Star Book Review: Oracle’s Hunt by A. Claire Everward #SundayBlogShare @ClaireEverward

 #SundayBlogShare #SocialSaturday

I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review – thanks to The Book Club on Facebook. All opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

This is the first book in the Oracle Series.

Donovan Pierce is a United States Federal Investigative Division Agent and he has been called to a new case – the destruction of the data storage facility for the worldwide defense and security services. This will not be a mission to be taken lightly. Ever since a group of forward thinking citizens of the world had formed a peaceful alliance calling themselves the Internationals and had grown in numbers, strength and support from major powers, there were factions desperate to topple the peace and take power for themselves. This latest act of sabotage shows all the signs that it has been carefully orchestrated by one such group, as the level of professionalism has ensured that there are no traces of evidence left behind. Except one.

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Oracles Hunt

The terrorists couldn’t have known that the old security cameras for the facility were still operating, and that Donovan’s IT team have picked up one very important word: Oracle. But as the investigation commences, it is starting to feel to Donovan that someone is blocking his access to the information that he requires – someone with the highest level of security clearance. Then imagine his surprise the following morning when his new neighbour is sitting sipping coffee in the garden and she is none other than the elusive female who was part of a video call shutting down the investigation into this word the previous day! This is Lara Holsworth.

I really enjoyed the concept behind this book, particularly with current world politics as they are, and I immediately felt sympathetic to Donovan and also felt his frustration. He becomes more convinced that Lara is central to Oracle…..but just what is it and has the impossible been achieved with a functioning human/Artificial Intelligence interface? I must admit that I had to quiz my electronic/computer science engineer son about this – and was still none the wiser by his explanation! The relationship that unfolds between the two main characters is as interesting as the investigation, but I am not going to give away any spoilers! Lara is enigmatic, intriguing and attractive to both Donovan and the reader, and of course Donovan is described as a very fine specimen as well as being a fantastic investigator.

It was only one word, always the same word that lit up whenever it appeared, one word that was the target of those who had made such an effort to procure this information, destroying everything on the way. Just one word. Oracle.

The plot is intricate (I had to keep reminding myself of the different abbreviations for the various agencies – not so easy to flick back and forth on a Kindle)), fast paced and rang alarm bells for me as the reader for just how much fact there could be in this. With the increasing number of terrorist attacks that we see in the real world, it is hard to dismiss the criminal elements as merely fiction. But it kept me on the edge of my seat and I found it very difficult to put the book down, devouring it in a couple of days. I was delighted to see the opening for next in the series pop up on my Kindle and it is on my Christmas list.

If you love contemporary, investigative plots with great three-dimensional characters, you will enjoy this. Five stars from me!

Publisher: Author & Sister (2017)

Available from Amazon here:

Author Biography:

Anna Claire Everward

A. Claire Everward is a suspense author with a love of knowledge and a lively imagination that made writing the natural thing for her to do. Claire is also the author of The First, and is currently working on her next book in the Oracle series with the help of her two hyperactive cats and a laptop named Stanley.A1FEpiy0jnL._SY200_

Claire spent years away from home getting a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, with a risk management specialty. During that time, she lived in the university, surrounded by forested hills and too much silence, so to keep away the boredom she also took on an MBA, and now she feels ridiculously over-educated.

She tried to work in her field, she really did, and even put her education to good use in the finance field. But eventually her love for writing took over, and she decided to leave it all and move to the world of her imagination. Her characters had a lot to do with that—they had lived in her mind, waiting patiently for her to be ready, for too long, they felt, and so they finally decided enough is enough and took over. And Claire didn’t put up that much of a resistance. She has always loved to read, but writing, that’s a whole new world she soon knew she could never give up.

Link with Claire on social media:

Amazon author: www.amazon.com/author/a.claire.everward

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/AClaire_Everward

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annaclaire.everward

Twitter: https://twitter.com/claireeverward

https://twitter.com/authorandsister

Instagram: https://instagram.com/authorandsister

Website: http://www.authorandsister.net

Email: kate.a@authorandsister.net

 

 

 

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! #Valentine’sDay

Love is in the air…..well it is Valentine’s Day this week anyway, and I hope that love is in the air for you, whether it be romantic or otherwise.  February 14th has never been a huge deal in our house – I don’t think Dad has ever sent Mum a card let alone flowers.  I have had flowers and cards over the years…and the occasional meal out – but I think after a particularly memorable night, crammed between 2 other couples in a Chinese restaurant and listening to their conversations as we couldn’t hear each other, the consensus was better to stay at home. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We might have passed this on to our kids having just mentioned it to one son, who looked at me as if I was mad even mentioning doing something to mark the day.  Funny thing is we are going out this year – hubby is taking me to a live RSC streaming of Twelfth Night….might even get a McDonalds out of it if I play my cards right (are they gluten free I wonder?!).

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Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You!Valentines (1)

So fingers crossed the current flare of POTS symptoms have passed by Wednesday otherwise he will be taking his daughter or mother in law!!  Talking of POTS – that is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, not the cooking variety – I saw the online community working at its best over the weekend.  A member of a POTS group put up a very distressed post that signalled an intentional overdose of drugs was being taken – the members of the group went into overdrive to find out where this person lived in the world, making contact with personal friends to check on them, calling on Facebook to help via the reporting suicidal thoughts, and sending message after message of support and hope.  I am so pleased to report that a message was posted last night saying that a stranger had called an ambulance, and the POTSIE was safely in hospital being assessed and truly appreciating all the good wishes.  No trolls, no nasty comments – social media at its best!nope

Yours truly has been sitting watching the winter Olympics and gasping out loud.  The wind!! How are those snowboarders doing it?  I have found the ice dancing particularly inspiring – it took me back to being about 8 and reading the Noel Streatfield novel White Boots.  That book changed my life and I was going to be an ice skater!!  Dad took me to Streatham ice rink in south London, I put one foot on the ice expecting to glide away – and, you guessed it, my derriere met with a very cold, wet landing.  Bang went that dream.  But some of those Olympians are inspirational – the young Russian girls literally float over the ice with such ethereal beauty, and the Canadian pair are just something else.  A human body really shouldn’t be able to do that!! (My bendy  friends will recognise this sentence!).

From inspirational athletes to inspirational blog posts!  This week I have added in some posts for Valentine’s – they are alternating with the normal mix of fab posts from some old  pals and some new friends – some spoonies, others not!  So sit back and relax with some great Monday Magic blog posts!

https://shailajav.com/how-it-all-began-15-years-ago/

https://legallyblindbagged.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/night-to-shine-my-two-cents/

http://thedestinydive.com/2018/02/05/valentines-day-date-ideas-that-dont-include-a-restaurant/

https://ginlemonade.com/2018/02/05/anxiety-us/

https://thimbleandtwig.com/crafts/make-rose-petal-bath-bombs/

http://penny-pennystreasures.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/no-matter-how-long-winter-spring-is.html

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sweetheart-coconut-cookies

https://theinvisiblef.com/2018/02/12/overcomers-louise-webb-healing-body-turning-illness-something-positive/

http://suzyhomemaker.co.uk/valentines-day-decor-2017/

http://www.abalancedbelly.co.uk/need-talk-fistulas/

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/02/bloody-sexy-drunk-origin-valentines-day/

https://melissavsfibromyalgia.com/2018/02/08/move-every-day-and-some-neck-and-back-pain-yoga-links/

https://www.elitedaily.com/p/i-cant-afford-a-valentines-day-gift-so-instead-im-planning-adorable-surprise-for-my-so-8138638

http://ladyjaney.co.uk/5-blogging-goals-2018-dares-wins/

http://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/valentines-day-blood-orange-cocktail

https://bettysib1998.wixsite.com/young-sick-invisible/single-post/2018/02/05/f

http://www.lifehack.org/524580/100-quotes-about-love

https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/2018/02/06/dizzycast-ep-3-a-disclosing-dizzy/

https://laurenconrad.com/blog/2018/02/friday-favorites-275/

http://mummyitsok.com/blog/what-is-postnatal-depression/

Really share the love this week and share these posts, comment and make a blogger’s day!

Have a lovely week,

Claire x

 

 

Post Comment Love

The Mystery Blogger Award

img_0989I am delighted to have been nominated for this award last month by Kim – I have delayed sharing it to avoid boring you all, having already written about one award in January! It is always an honour to be recognised by a fellow blogger and I am so thankful to Kim at Keep It Mindful blog. I “met” Kim at the end of last year soon after she started blogging about living life as a young mum with 2 children and a chronic illness. Kim has Multiple Sclerosis and writes with frankness and honesty on all manner of things – about her illness flares to potty training! Visit Kim here on Keep It Mindful and find out more.

The Mystery Blogger Award:

“It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
  Created by Okoto Enigma.

The rules are:

Put the award logo/image on your blog.

 • List the rules.

 • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

 • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

 • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

 • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

 • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

 • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

 • Share a link to your best post(s).    

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Three Things about me:

1.  I am an avid reader, belong to several online book clubs and a local one where we meet monthly in the pub.

2. I started nurse training 30 years ago next month – March ’88 set.  We are having a reunion weekend in May – I haven’t seen some of the others since the early ’90s.

3. I have a fish phobia – live fish or fish with heads & eyes.  Not great when hubby had a huge tropical fish tank when we were first married!!

My Nominees:

 

My questions for you:

  1. What book has made an impact on you (at any age!)?
  2. Who from history would you like to have a drink  with?
  3. Tea or coffee? Cup or mug?
  4. What has been your greatest achievement?
  5. How would your friends describe you – in 3 words?

 

My answers to Kim’s questions:
1. What made you start blogging?

I was about to have a trial for a spinal cord stimulator to help control my chronic nerve pain and the blogging idea was to cover two bases: for friends and family to know how I was doing & save hubby on phone calls; I had received so much support from others online and I thought maybe I could give back some support & experience.  I must admit the fact my kids thought no one would want to read anything their mum wrote was a bit of a red rag to a bull!

2. Where would be your dream place in the world to see?

Thailand

3. What is your ultimate goal in life?

For me this links to number 5 – to live life to the full whilst I can.  We never know what is around the corner.  If my kids are happy, generous and thoughtful adults…and I have been able to support/help others for as long as possible (I know, I know – the nursey, touchy, feely bit!) then my job is done!

4. If you had one super power what would it be?

Recently I have watched the TV spin off from the X Men, The Gifted – the gift of one mutant was the ability to change/take away the feeling of pain.  This would be my super power!!

5. Who or what is your motivation?

One of my closest friends died aged 37 from breast cancer and I have cared for various young patients as a cancer, AIDS & hospice nurse who died.  They are definitely my motivation, particularly now I have chronic illness, to live life to the full.  There are too many to list here but a few names that stay with me are Clare (aged 21 uncontrolled type 1 diabetes), Connie (age 23 cancer), Paul (age 28 AIDS), Sunil (mid 40s Motor Neurone Disease), Samantha (age 27 breast cancer) John (mid 30s Cancer of tonsils).

 

My 2 favourite posts that I have written are: Today You Beat Me and Be Kind to Each Other

Thank you again, let’s keep the positivity and enjoy your day/night.

Claire x 

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good morning – just about at the time of writing – and welcome to February.  It is a freezing morning here and we have even had a few flakes of snow – yours truly plans to stay indoors for the day.  It must be cold as the lovely girl actually put on a coat when she went out to do her paper round this morning, and believe me this is unheard of!.  Then it took hubby nearly 10 minutes to defrost the car windscreen, which was just as well as the student engineer and his other half wanted a lift to the station, but they were both still in bed 10 minutes before hubby needed to leave to get the girl to school!!  I have never seen two young men get out of the house so fast!!

Never a dull moment in our house this week with umpteen trips to see different doctors.  Gastroscopy on Monday – “would you like sedation, Claire?” “err…do I look stupid? Of course I want sedation!!! I’m a nurse and I have seen these….” – orthopaedics on Tuesday,(will write a proper post), GP on Wednesday.  Dad was really disappointed that I couldn’t arrange anything for Thursday and Friday!!  But of course there was the Blue Moon to distract everyone…or not in our case as it was too cloudy to see….and for me it really didn’t matter as fatigue and brain fog as dense as those clouds took over.  Well that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!pexels-photo-271897.jpeg

I wouldn’t want to leave out the middle child – particularly as we did receive contact from our politics student that wasn’t football related.  At 11pm Saturday night the ipad pinged and a message popped onto the screen – words to the effect “I have flu, I’ve thrown up everything I’ve eaten…what do I do?”.  Isn’t it amazing how these young, independent adults suddenly want their mummy & daddy for advice?  I mean what does he really think we are going to do from 300 miles away?  That makes me sound awful, and I’m not, honest – it just amused me. pexels-photo-416520.jpeg“Keep drinking….no, not alcohol, water!  Paracetamol….well ask a friend to go buy you some…..and don’t exceed the 24 hour limit!!”  We did speak to him yesterday and half his halls have flu, but I think he will survive.  I mean, I have had a shoulder hanging out again all weekend – what is he complaining about?? (This is tongue in cheek for those of you now wondering about my sense of humour – believe me, the son in question has the driest, darkest sense of humour around!)

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In England the 1st February was #TimetoTalk Day – recognising and talking about mental health and illness.  I hope that opening up about this health issue is not confined to one day only, and I have found some great blog posts that focus on different aspects of mental health.  There is also a cosmetics review, some tips for all us bloggers to help our writing, and tips to juggle a busy life.  Two posts that really jumped out at me this week: one is published on a new blog, Chronic Pain India – please read the story of Namrata, A Hashi Warrior; the second is something close to my heart as an ex NHS nurse – the decision of The Ealing Mummy to leave the NHS.

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Monday Magic 5th Feb

 

So give yourself that break from whatever you are doing, grab a cuppa, sit down and explore some fantastic blog posts!

https://avionneslegacy.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/staying-afloat-while-riding-the-waves-of-depression/

https://myanxietymatters.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/the-amazing-power-of-storytelling/

https://chronicpainindia.com/2018/02/02/the-winning-horse-a-hashi-warrior/

https://phayteaspulse.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/simple-guide-to-having-a-daily-blog-routine/

https://www.raisiebay.com/2018/01/dont-look-forward-look-back.html

https://orianasnotes.com/2018/02/02/review-urban-decay-naked-illuminated-trio/

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Image courtesy of Oriana’s Notes

https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/patient-medical-history-new-doctor-appointments/

http://honestmum.com/my-tips-on-juggling-work-and-family/

http://theealingmummy.com/the-day-i-was-interviewed-live-on-bbc-television/

http://butstillbreathing.com/hypocratic-oath-a-letter-to-all-the-doctors/

Please give some feedback and comment, like, share posts!

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

 

Book Blog Tour & Review: “When The Stars Come Out” by Laura Trentham

 

Review Tour

 

Disclaimer: I was fortunate to be given an advance copy of this book by the author and publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Blog Tour – for the latest in Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom series 

I wonder if you remember my previous review of Laura Trentham’s book Leave The Night On in which we met the Abbott brothers?  Well this new contemporary romance in her Cottonbloom series follows the brothers again, focusing particularly on Jackson, twin of Wyatt who we met before.  The Abbott garage is in trouble, not least because eldest brother Ford has announced that he plans to sell his share and he has now disappeared.  The remaining three, Jackson, Wyatt and Mack have now idea where he is and no idea who the mystery buyer could be.

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Book review - Stars

 

Still employed at the garage is mechanic Willa, quietly and diligently working under the bonnets of cars and trucks, but hugging a multitude of secrets about her life and loves to her heart.  She doesn’t think that anyone notices her, with her home cut hair, charity shop clothes and beat up old car – and this is how she wants it.  She certainly doesn’t want Jackson to know how she feels about him.  But Willa hasn’t factored in that the Abbott boys are a close-knit family and do notice when someone they care about is in need.  Wyatt has had a few rough edges knocked off him since falling for Sutton Mize (see my last review!), and Mack has always looked out for Willa.  But it is Jackson who has started to notice Willa as a living and breathing woman, rather than just a mechanic and he wonders why she is living in a cold, damp caravan, driving a clapped out old car and failing to eat properly.  Don’t they pay her enough and why does she want cash only?

“I’ll have a pork plate and sweet tea to go.” Willa did a mental calculation for tax and
pulled out two fives. More than she should spend, but her stomach vetoed any protest. Now not only was she saving to fix her car, but she needed a cushion. If she had to move, money was a necessity. Any decent place required a deposit for rent. Not to mention utilities. And how long would it take her to find another job that didn’t require her Social Security number or real name? The thought made her stomach hurt from something other than hunger.
“Make that two for here, Rufus, and I’m buying.”
Willa spun around. Jackson Abbott’s chest filled her vision. The animal like noises her stomach was making must have drowned out his approach.
“Sure thing, Jackson.” Rufus favored them with a grin and turned to dole out barbeque, baked beans, and slaw. She tucked her hair behind her ear, feeling intensely vulnerable without her steel-toed work boots, coveralls, and ball cap. Her flip-flops, worn-out jeans with a rip at one knee, and a black T-shirt with the emblem of a band she’d never listened to were from the thrift shop down
the street.
“You don’t have to pay.” When she found her voice, it was breathy.
“I want to.” His words were low and rumbly and sexy, and she resisted the urge to lay her cheek against his chest, desperate to have someone, anyone, to lean on, even for a moment. Obviously, hunger was impeding her mental faculties.
In the two years she’d lived in Cottonbloom, she’d never run into Jackson outside of the garage. Her forays to secretly watch him race didn’t count since he’d never noticed her. The only place she was a regular was at the library, because it offered free Internet and entertainment—two things she couldn’t afford to waste money on.
Her mental faculties slipped further away as she allowed her gaze to wander over his shoulders before rising. He’d showered, his damp hair darker than its usual rich brown, but hadn’t shaved, his stubble even more pronounced from the afternoon. The scent of soap and clean laundry was mouthwatering in a different way than the barbeque was. The butterflies in her stomach did a slow bump and grind. God, she was hungry for so many things.

So begins the romance that forms the bedrock of the story, but it is by no means plain sailing.  Willa is a determined young lady who trusts no one and is living a life on the run – but what or whom is she running from? Her back-story winds through the book allowing us to watch a veneer of self-preservation to be chipped away as her confidence in those around her begins to grow.  She allows herself to form an attachment to a stray dog and this is when her true nature starts to shine through and little by little we learn just what Willa is running from and how much of this is herself.

Gracefulness

Jackson has his own demons to tackle, in the form of his absent brother and his estranged mother, who abandoned the family as children.  But we see him mellow as his feelings for Willa deepen and he realises that he can have what he sees his twin enjoying – that is a loving relationship.

This would not be a good contemporary romance if there were not some glamour and an opportunity for the hero to be dazzled by the hidden beauties of his new love.  Ms Trentham does not fail us, and with the help and friendship of Sutton, Willa allows herself to once again feel feminine and become the lovely young woman that is hiding beneath her greasy overalls.

not a car - Social Media

I think that if you enjoy a good romance, with some intrigue and some great characters then you will enjoy When The Stars Come Out.  It can be read as a stand-alone book, but I personally enjoy a series that is set around a town and which interlinks characters and plots from book to book – like large chapters of an overall novel.  This is an easy to read, light story that will brighten these cold, wet months at the start of the new year.  I am now looking forward to the next instalment – surely, we need a tale about the other Abbott brother, Mack! Please, Laura Trentham!!  Four stars from me.

Published: January 30th 2018 by St Martin’s Paperbacks

Book Links:

Goodreads

Amz: Amazon
BN: Barnes & Noble
iBooks: ibooks
Kobo: Kobo
GooglePlay: GooglePlay

Author biography:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in
Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an
English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical
Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. KISS
ME THAT WAY, Cottonbloom Book 1, won the Stiletto Contest for Best Long Contemporary and finaled in the National Readers Choice Award. THEN HE KISSED ME, Cottonbloom Book 2, was named an Amazon Best Romance of 2016 and was a finalist for the National Excellence for Romance Fiction. TILL I KISSED YOU, Cottonbloom Book 3, is a finalist in the Maggie contest. LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, the latest Cottonbloom book, was named an iBooks Best Book of the Month and a Recommended Read from NPR.

When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to
soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be- read pile of books on her nightstand.

Link with Laura on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraTrentham
Or join my reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1733284316920632/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraTrentham
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lauratrentham/
Sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bwbOkD
Follow me on Bookbub for new release or sale announcements:
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/laura-trentham

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Monday Magic 29 JanGood morning on the last Monday of January!  Our week has passed in a flurry of parents’ evening, book club, Burn’s night celebrations and not forgetting our son’s better half being offered a great new job.  Funnily enough we haven’t had any news on the politics student other than a text about football scores – oh, the life of a first year student!

Parents’ evening was like a speed dating event…five minutes per teacher and when the bell rings get up and run!  Not sure the computer goblin automatically churning out slots on the online booking system had allowed for mass movement between the hall and the library, and he hadn’t allowed for a wheelie like me – although hubby just used the wheelchair to barge through other parents!  For Burn’s night we were greeted by a piper resplendent in kilt , sporan and full regalia.  How is it that one set of bagpipes can sound as loud as the  (what is the collective term for bagpipes – haggis? sporan? noise?) whole Edinburgh Tattoo?  It certainly had the desired effect of moving guests swiftly from the lobby to the dining area, but I think the ladies serving whisky must have been deaf and in need of a few drams by the time the meal was served.  Slightly disappointing this year was the lack of kilts….couldn’t persuade hubby into one!

Our book club read the new Emma Donoghue book The Wonder this month – review to come – and as usual we had lively debate from the actual book, to last month’s book again (The City and The City by China  ……..) which is being made into a TV series starring David Morrisey, to the current BBC TV series McMafia and Hard Sun.  Amongst the blog posts that I have for you this week is an online book club aimed specifically at those who would find it hard to get out of the house to attend one.  This could be spoonie friends, elderly, young/new mums….anyone who enjoys a good book.  Talking of which, I am taking part in a blog tour this week so will just drop a flier in for it – more info later this week.Review Tour

I am sitting here Nil By Mouth and have a hot date with a gastroscope this afternoon, so it does pain me somewhat to invite you to pick up your coffee…..but I will do just that and encourage you to kick off your shoes, sit down and enjoy some great posts from some lovely bloggers.  Maybe I will give the pilates a go whilst you down your caffeine….

https://survivinglifeshurdles.com/the-surviving-life-book-club/

Social-Media-4-540x540

courtesy of Surviving Life’s Hurdles blog

https://www.midlifesmarts.com/theres-new-ism-plump-ism-and-its-rife/

http://achysmile.com/index.php/2018/01/25/daughters-migraine-school/

https://www.nicolefrancesca.co.uk/homepage/2018/1/22/i-am-the-1-10-statistic

http://millysguide.com/6-reasons-pilates-good-mental-health/

https://www.chronicmom.com/2018/01/how-to-deal-with-people-who-dont-believe-youre-sick.html/

https://reclaiminghope.blog/2018/01/26/whats-your-favorite-01-26-18/

https://www.trulymadlysassy.com/2017/12/19/the-gift-of-loneliness/

https://ribbonrx.com/2018/01/29/two-frightening-side-effects/

https://emlinthorpe.com/2018/01/22/being-blanked-made-me-smile/

 

Please comment, like, and share the posts you love.

Have a lovely week,

Claire x