Adrenal Fatigue – Pin review from Cathy, Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts

Cathy at Ty Siriol Ceramics and Crafts recently posted a short review for this book on pinterest which I thought I would share with you.

The “blurb” from Amazon reads “This is an incredibly informative and reader-friendly book about a common debilitating medical condition that goes largely undiagnosed and untreated. ADRENAL FATIGUE: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a very empowering work cram-packed with vital information about a condition that very likely affects millions of people”

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Cathy writes “I’ve recently read this book to try to get to the bottom of why I’m so exhausted, among other things. It’s a really good read and helps you to assess if this could be a problem for you as well as giving really thorough advice….” Remainder of her short review is here:

http://pin.it/tyWipX2

On Amazon the book has received 151 reviews with an average 4.5 stars out of 5.

THE GIRL IN BLACK by Kathy Lauren Miller – A REVIEW

K. D. Dowdall

“The Girl in Black” by Kathy Lauren Miller is a hauntingly taut murder mystery as well as an awesome page-turner! The mystery begins with high school senior, Kate Mckenna who happens to live in an old Victorian manor that is also the Mckenna Memorial Funeral Home. Her father, Dr. Brendan Mckenna, happens to be the county’s Chief Medical Examiner. Shy Kate, whose social life as always been nearly non-existent until she is thrust into the limelight when the promiscuous prom queen, Ashley is found tortured and murdered.

Accusations run rampant in Kate’s High School concerning several male students that were involved with Ashley. To make matters worse, Ashley’s remains now reside at the funeral home where Kate lives. Kate and her best friend Cooper, a computer nerd, and Kate’s unattainable heartthrob, handsome Shane, all become involved in Ashley’s murder. Suddenly, Kate finds herself in the cross hairs of the sadistic…

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Kids’ Book Review from Raisie Bay – “The Goldfish Boy”

I found this lovely book review on “Raisie Bay My Blog, My Way” and I think that it follows on nicely from my last review covering autism.  This book is aimed at children aged 9 – 12 years old and included in the narrative is the serious anxiety related condition Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

I bought this book because the theme called out to me. I thought it would be a good read for my 11 and 9 yr old daughters.
There are always those kids at school that behave a little differently and are hard to be friends with. Maybe they are bullies, or maybe they are just too unlike anyone else. Maybe they are just like the main characters in this book.

The Goldfish Boy is a story about Matthew, a twelve year old boy stuck in his bedroom because of debilitating OCD. But what is OCD and why does Matthew have it? ……

Please read the full review here: Review: The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

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Book Review “The Girl at the End of the Road”

Disclaimer: I was fortunate to be given a copy of this book by The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Girl at the End of the Road by K A Hitchins

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Vincent has found himself in a situation that any self-respecting “City” boy would balk at.  He has lost his job, his rented home, possibly his high maintenance girlfriend and perhaps most humiliating of all, he is on his way home to his parents’ house in Suffolk.  Rural Suffolk.  At this point in his life, a decade or so after leaving school, he did not expect to find himself becoming reacquainted with his childhood bedroom or learning how to live with his loving, but in his eyes, staid middle aged parents.

But he is clear in his own mind that this is just a temporary glitch.  The downturn in the economy and his huge personal debts will not hold him back.  However adjusting to life in the rural village of Elmsford proves hard for Vincent, who assumes himself to be a city hotshot.  There is no immediate access to internet, the job offers that he expected to flood in are nowhere in sight and his social life is virtually non-existent – unless you count dog walks with his parents’ elderly dog.  A trip to the local library brings him face to face with a memory from the past in the shape of librarian Sarah Penny.  Having run into this old school friend once, he finds himself encountering her on dog walks and then actively seeking her out.

So begins what initially seems to be the most unlikely of friendships.  Sarah is the antithesis of friends who have featured in Vincent’s life as she is serious, quiet, slightly dowdy and happy to be in Suffolk.  She is certainly unlike the city girls who dress and make up to the nines, expecting champagne fuelled dates and expensive accessories.  Sarah, in her almost simplistic view of the world, makes Vincent accept some unpleasant truths about himself and his attitudes to life.

The story could be very clichéd, and at first Vincent is a pretty unlikeable character.  But it was with real interest that I watched his character evolve from spoilt young man to something altogether different.  Maybe there is an element of fairy tale to this, but as Vincent grows so does Sarah and the reader begins to have a glimpse into a simple world of an exceptional young lady.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I believe that there is enough already written about Sarah’s autism not to be giving anything away.  I am not autistic so do not pretend to have any inside knowledge about this complex condition.  But I do belong to a community of chronic illness sufferers, some of whom are on the autistic spectrum and I have recently read articles by author Laura James, who has autism and my own condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  I feel that Sarah’s autism, which included her extraordinary intelligence, has been handled sensitively and with relevance to real life.  For instance, her coping mechanisms at dealing with life following her mother’s death and her growing relationship with Vincent.

This book made me think, made me sad and in parts made me laugh out loud.  Perhaps most importantly it made me examine my own attitudes to those we consider to be different to ourselves and also those closest to us.  In my disability chronic illness community we call ourselves “spoonies”, in the book Sarah and her friends call themselves “The Specials” – a fantastic name.  Of course there is a moral to the story for Vincent regarding what in life really makes you happy…..and sometimes you are unable to see it for trying too hard.

For me a great read, with a long review, but 5 stars all the way!

Book Review “Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening” – a little magic in the ordinary

Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening by Gina Dickerson

I was very pleased to be given a copy of this book by The Book Club on Facebook in return for a fair and honest review.  All views are my own.

“For everyone who sees a little magic in the ordinary”

 

Nineteen years ago on the Isle of Stone a tall menacing figure demands that Father Peter hands over a child that has just been born, and when a younger man scares it off, the figure turns into a hideous black cat with flanks of rotting flesh.  This is our introduction to the strange world that is about to reveal itself to us.29367199

Kaelia is introduced to us with her friend Bay at the age of eleven, playing in a local playground that will play a significant role in her life.  She is a happy, seemingly normal young girl with her life ahead of her, when out of the blue strange things start to happen or rather she makes strange things happen.  Fast forward to present day, Kaelia and Bay are now nineteen years old and on a trip out with their college, when an unthinkable accident happens – or is it?  Kaelia begins to think that strange forces are at work, the “them” that her parents have warned her about.  So begins Kaelia’s journey to discover her destiny, by way of a magic book, a huge wolf in a cave, and a journey to the Isle of Stone where a long lost grandmother lives.  Maybe she will hold the answers to Kaelia’s questions and shed some light on the mysterious Salloki whom her parents had warned her about.

A confession.  I really haven’t read much fantasy fiction, probably only Harry Potter and the Twilight series in recent years, with my kids.  So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this young adult series opener or whether I would like it.  But one of the things that I love about being a part of a book club, and specifically The Book Club on Facebook, is being given the opportunity and encouragement to try different genres and new authors.

This book came along at a time when I have been having what us “spoonies” (chronically ill) describe as a flare and as such I have been tied to the sofa for more hours than I would prefer, and equally have had periods of brain fog which doesn’t lend itself to Tolstoy.  Ms Dickerson’s Kaelia was perfect for me!  I found the book easy to read and quickly became totally absorbed in the trials and tribulations of this young flame haired lady as she learnt to harness her powers.  The mix between the real world and the magic world sitting right under the nose of us mere mortals was just right.  I enjoyed the suspense as Kaelia discovered her birth line and those pledged to help her in her task to fulfil her destiny.  There are some lovely characters – particular favourites of mine were the students at the magic academy, Cadence and Jade, the Sifars – and even the wolf, a Vallesm, takes on a character of his own.  The darker characters are described so well: Thom who emanates a stench of decay and changes into a horse with putrid, rotting flesh in order to re-enter the underworld; Bran, the Necromancer who can bring back the dead, is dressed in black and described as the other side to the coin of Kaelia – is his interest and friendship for  Kaelia genuine or purely a means to an end?

I don’t want to reveal any spoilers and it is hard to talk too much without doing so!  But what I will tell you is that this a good, fun fantasy, in my opinion ideal for young adults….and us adults who are young at heart!  My teenage daughter is going to give it a go – as a Harry Potter fanatic I expect her critique to be pretty hard.  So going back to my original confession…..I have another to add to it.  I enjoyed this enough that I have also read the next in the series, and enjoyed book 2 even more!  Roll on book 3, Gina Dickerson……

4 Stars ****

Blog Tour Book Review – “Somebody Like You” by Donna Alward

I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of this novel by the author Donna Alward and Justine Sha at St Martin’s Press, New York in exchange for a fair and honest review – to be featured as part of the “Somebody Like You” blog tour!

ab66c2ab5e7e84b2d7c463589fdcc899Laurel Stone has returned to her small home town of Darling at a time in her life when she had expected to be spreading her wings and making a new “grown up” life.  She has done everything just as she had planned…studied hard, with uni and a degree, moved to the city, taken the sensible options and achieved a good job, home and relationship.  But by her mid twenties it has gone wrong, she has had her heart broken and followed the only route that seems open to her – home.

But what awaits her in a small town where everyone knows each other, and each other’s business?   Laurel Stone doesn’t want to rock the boat.  She wants to please her parents, her best friend, the town’s business community, even her ex.  But there is another ex from her high school days who is still living in Darling and he was the first boy to break her heart.  With a small crime wave sweeping through the community, how will Laurel cope with coming face to face with said ex, now police officer Aiden Gallagher, when her new garden centre is vandalised?  He was the first boy she had kissed and the whole town knows this as the photographic proof is hung in the town hall.  A 5 year old page boy and bridesmaid kissing on the town’s infamous “Kissing Bridge” and adorning the tourist information ever since.

This is “Chic Lit” at its best and a really lovely read for a winter weekend in February.  In Laurel we have a heroine who puts the feelings of everyone else before herself, burying her own feelings rather than face them.  She loves her new business, the Ladybug gardening centre, and is even inspired to give a homeless man a job, but she seems intent on ruining her own personal happiness.  She could be a bit too saccharine, but the whole way through the book the character of Laurel is written with something feisty bubbling just beneath the surface.  What will it take to push it to the fore?

At first Aiden is depicted as a twenty something version of his high school self, the popular boy with good looks and a swagger to match.  But he is constantly drawn back to Laurel, even persuading her to a holiday celebration at his large family’s home, although he can’t seem to do right for doing wrong where Laurel is concerned.  I think that Aiden grows up and opens up through the course of the book, and we learn about a different side to him as we meet his family.

There are some great back stories and lovely characters.  I particularly like Laurel’s best friend Willow, the yoga loving, hippy, wholefood café owner who provides the delicious sounding chocolate brownies that have a star role!  The homeless man George who both Aiden & Laurel take under their wings – his observation that “when you’re invisible you notice a lot” was so touching – and Oaklee the young very enthusiastic campaign manager for the town’s tourism.  She is determined to recreate “that” photo on the Kissing Bridge now that Laurel is home again.

This is a feel good story about relationships exploring family, sexuality, friendship and romance.   It doesn’t pretend to be a classic piece of literature – but it is a really enjoyable, easy read contemporary romance.  Great for spoonies!

Now I’m off to spend this wet, dark February evening starting the next in the Darling series, “Somebody’s Baby”……review to come!

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Book Review “My Husband’s Son” by Deborah O’Connor

Its been a rough couple of weeks and I’ve been unable to manage any writing – more of that in a life post!  But I’m trying to catch up with some of my book reviews in time for Christmas recommendations……

My Husband’s Son  by Deborah O’Connor

I was given a copy of this book through the Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions & thoughts are my own.

 

Heidi and Jason, a couple who are flung together in the most heart breaking of 29908515circumstances.  They have both experienced the nightmare of any parent – a child abduction – and the emotional & physical roller-coaster that accompanies it.  This is a book that depicts a psychological drama, with suspense & investigation, whilst also being sensitive to the human relationships of all the characters.

Heidi, a single mother, and Jason, a divorced father, met at a child safety conference to which they had both been invited because their children had been stolen from them.  They found that here was someone else who not only understood but shared a need to talk over memories to the point of obsession; someone who had a love hate relationship with sleep; someone who understood the need to keep looking back when others wanted you to look forward.  Within six months Heidi had packed up her life in Rochester to move north and in with Jason, and later they married.

Their individual stories unfurl within their joint story after Heidi spots a young boy in an off licence.  She is convinced that this youngster could be Jason’s son, Barney, who has never been found – but when she takes Jason to the shop he is certain that it is not his son.  “No matter how many years have passed……I’ll know him and he’ll know me.”  But Heidi is unable to put the boy from her mind and begins her own crusade to find out more about him.  As she goes “undercover” to investigate, she discovers secrets kept by people she trusts, relationships that are not all that they seem and that maybe a single life event does not have to define a person.  She is also forced to ask whether a parent will always instinctively know their own child.

I really appreciated Deborah O’Connor’s character development throughout the course of the book.  Heidi and Jason share a complex & often dysfunctional relationship which at times seems destined to fail.  At times it is difficult to see whether they have any connection beyond their children, Barney & Lauren, and there is always the elephant in the room – Heidi knows what happened to Lauren (no spoilers!) Jason does not recognize that Heidi is in turmoil – as she works her way deeper into the lives around the boy, her job suffers, relationship with family & friends break down and she finds herself empathizing and developing relationships in the most unlikely places.

The impact upon everyone touched by the cases of Lauren & Barney is enormous – from the parents, extended families & friends to the police officers investigating the cases.  It really is a heart breaking story with psychological twists & turns that I believe will see you in a very different mind set by the time you reach the staggering conclusion.  Is there always such a thing as the right course of action? Five stars!

 

Book Review “Calling Major Tom”by David M. Barnett

Book Review for Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett

 

I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley via The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair & honest review.  All views are my own.calling-major-tom

 

I challenge you, whether Bowie fan or not, to read this book without constantly having Space Oddity going round your head!  Thomas Major is a lowly scientist working at the British Space Agency when he finds himself in a position to be the first man to visit Mars.  The only thing is that it is a one way mission, but Thomas has his own reasons for wishing to leave his life behind & entering a self imposed solitude.  Back on earth the Ormerod family are struggling to survive – teenager Ellie & younger brother James living with grandmother Gladys whilst their father is in jail. Ellie should be having the time of her life shopping & partying with her friends, but instead her mother has died, she is working 3 jobs, caring for her brother & worrying that social services will split them if they realise that Gladys has dementia.

It was difficult to see how these two very separate story lines could interlink and work, but they dovetail together beautifully from the day that major Tom tries to call his ex-wife from space and Gladys answers the telephone.  Their lives are linked through the most unusual series of events which see Thomas Major helping the Ormerod family overcome financial and social issues…and even come to terms with a few of his own demons.

I loved this book – it made me laugh and cry.  The view from the space ship window is described so vividly that I could see it, and the personalities of the individual main characters brim with life.  The comedy that the writer incorporated into the character of Gladys turns a sensitive situation into a human one.  She made me laugh out loud.  The back story for Thomas Major unfolds and he is surprised to find himself changing as his relationship with the family on Earth develops and makes him re evaluate.  These people were very easy to identify with and I wanted to know what life had in store for them.  Mr Barnett makes the reader care.

A feel good story showing the best in human nature without over sentimentality, and how communities can come together.  An uplifting read that I give 5 stars.

Also on goodreads, Netgalley & Amazon

Noodle Trails – a book review

Noodle Trails by Eileen Kay                                                                                    A Book Review

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I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Noodle Trails from The Book Club on facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review – all opinions are my own and not sponsored.

 

Eileen sets off for her regular annual travels with Thailand firmly in her sights, only this year the circumstances feel different.  In the past she has visited foreign parts under her business guise of Eileen’s Imports indulging in her passion to work with small producers of Fair Trade goods.  These trips took her to Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Africa and always her favourite, Thailand.  However this trip came as a long term relationship was ended suddenly and out of the blue by her partner, and also as Eileen was having to accept that her once thriving business was no longer profitable.  The change in the economy meant that the goods that she imported from small groups of, often, women working on the poverty line, were no longer in demand from the struggling shops & traders of the UK.  But the trip has already been booked, and maybe it will provide a time of both grieving and healing for these two great losses in her life, before she can move on to a new life in Scotland.

As a blogger, I was keen to read this journal and experience blog posts brought together in a book.  The disclaimer at the beginning does state that whilst the book is based upon real events, many have been dramatized and some is fiction.  I have never been to Thailand, or in fact any of the countries that Eileen describes, but she transported me there with wonderful descriptions of the scenery, the people and the infrastructure.  But my favourite descriptions were of the food!  Every place that she stayed in was rated by the local food – not the food served up to the tourists, but that served in a local lady’s front room or café where the residents would eat.  The aromas and tastes conjured up by Eileen’s writing made me salivate for noodles and ginger and chilli!

I learnt so much about Fair Trade – and Eileen’s guilt at letting down her contacts in villages in the middle of nowhere when she was unable to place an order this year.  Small orders from western businesses could keep a whole village in work and food for months at a time.  But I also laughed out loud at the descriptions of the family from whom she rented her final bungalow – the mixture of Italians and Thais was lovely, and I really hope that these lovely people were real and not fictional!  I enjoyed this so much that I have found Eileen’s blog and her facebook page (www.facebook.com/Noodle-Trails-Eileen-Kay) and continue to follow her as she writes another book, learns Thai and I believe continues to wander Thailand.

I rate this book 4 stars.