To conclude her Book Blog Tour – Q&A with author Laura Trentham

Earlier this week I posted my review for new novel Leave the Night On and now to celebrate and conclude her blog tour, here is a fantastic Q&A with author Laura Trentham.

 

  1. What inspired the novel plot?

Plots are strange things for me…I can rarely pinpoint anything in particular that triggers an idea. They usually pop into my head when I doing something else entirely like making dinner of driving the kids around.

  1. What’s your favorite scene? Why?

I love the scene where Sutton gets drunk and finally propositions Wyatt for real. I hope it’s funny and sexy and the reader can feel her mortification when she thinks he turns her down.

  1. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Wyatt. He’s sexy and tough, but also incredibly sweet. He loves his family and would do anything for them. My heroes are complex and most definitely not a-holes.

  1. Any other books in the pipeline?

Two more Cottonbloom books! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT (1/30/2018) features Wyatt’s twin brother Jackson. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE (8/2018) is Mack Abbott’s book. Also, sometime in the fall of 2018, I’ll have a military themed romance/women’s fiction book releasing! I’m super excited about it too.

  1. What led you to write in this genre over others?

Actually, my first books were historical romances, and I’ll be re-releasing two and adding a new book in my historical Spies and Lovers series this fall (Sept/Nov 2017). But, while the historical books were on submission with publishers, my agent suggested I try a contemporary. It sold to St. Martin’s Press only a couple of months after my historicals sold. I’ve set all my contemporaries in the American south because that’s where I was born and have lived most of my life. I understand the way southerners talk and think.

  1. Do you have a favorite book and author?

I’m going to have to throw it back to Mary Stewart as my favorite author. I quite often reread her books. But as far as which book I’ve reread the most, it would have to be Julie Garwood’s The Bride.

  1. Why and how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t even consider writing until five years ago. My daughter started preschool, and going back to work doing what I went to school for (chemical engineering) wasn’t feasible. I sat down one morning and started writing. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing. I won’t lie, it took a lot of work and rewrites to get those first manuscripts good enough. But, eventually, I signed with an agent and sold them both.

  1. What’s your favorite way to relax?

Reading! (I know that’s a shocker:) I also enjoy the mindlessness of games on my phone.

  1. What’s your favorite food?

Fried rice! I just learned to make it at home. My rice cooker is my second favorite appliance (behind my coffee maker!)

  1. Sounds like Sutton’s fiancé’s a cheating…um…cheats.  Why did you decide to use that as an aspect of your story?

Andrew is a secondary character in the first Cottonbloom trilogy about the Fournette siblings. He’s kind of a slime ball in those books too.

  1. Tell us something about Wyatt that we don’t learn from the book.

He likes to wear women’s underwear. Just kidding!! Actually, I’m drawing a blank, he’s an open, honest kind of man.

  1. This book is set in Mississippi.  Does this location contribute to the story in some way?

It’s actually set half in Mississippi and half in Louisiana. I wanted a southern location. But, I also envisioned a twist on the wrong side of the tracks story. In Cottonbloom, the more affluent live on the Mississippi side and the blue-collar working class live on the Louisiana side. I wanted that push-pull and rivalry between the two. It informs the relationships between my couples.

Thanks Laura for a great new read!  I will be looking out for some of the other Cottonbloom books….quite fancy finding out what happens to those other Abbott boys!

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Blog Book Tour: Review “Calling Major Tom” by David M. Barnett – Part 1

This week has seen author David M Barnett on a book tour flying between the online world of blogs & social media and the real life world of book stores, as he publicizes his wonderful book “Calling Major Tom”.  You can meet David at The Grove Bookshop, Ilkley  gateway to the Yorkshire Dales on Thursday 13th July from 7pm, if you are in the area!

I first wrote a book review at the beginning of the year ahead of publication and later recommended the book to my local book club as our monthly read.  I would like to share my review with you again, before putting some questions from our book club to the author.

Warning: whilst the review does not contain spoilers, the subsequent questions might!

Book Review for Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett

I was given a copy of this book(ARC) 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.

Review also on goodreads, Netgalley & Amazon

Questions for the author

Who was the inspiration for the Thomas Major character?
Why space? And specifically Mars?
If Calling Major Tom were to be made into a film, who would you like to play Thomas Major? Matt Damon of The Martian fame?
The family dynamics between Gladys and her grandchildren are tangible – has David had first hand experience of dementia and if not where did he gain his insight for Gladys’s actions that made us laugh and cry?
Did Thomas see in the Ormerod family what had been missing from his own upbringing? Could he have ever moved forward from this if he had stayed on Earth?
When you started the book, did you intend that it would be so humorous?
 I remember that at the end I felt it wasn’t particularly heartwarming because I didn’t see how Major Tom was going to survive on Mars. What did the author think would happen next – or is there a sequel?
And finally….the obvious – are you a Bowie fan?
Some of the comments from my book club included:
Just finished the book, laughed out load, and cried, loved it!
 
Not finding this easy and it is because I am not liking using the iPad to read. (Book club read it – at my suggestion – before available as a  paperback book)
 
very quick read after the initial few pages…very funny..
General consensus was that we all really enjoyed it!

Answers to follow in Part 2

The book is published by Trapeze Orion Books UK
 
Available from 29 June in paperback, currently £5.59 and ebook £1.99 on Amazon

Calling Major Tom and also from your local bookstore (prices vary).

This contains an affiliate link.

Review of Roomba 630- Is it Worth the Price? from Darci at Life UnPlanned Blog

I belong to a great group for giving practical advice for Mom Bloggers – Life Unplanned – run by the lovely Darci.  She has just reviewed a cordless, robotic vacuum cleaner and it sounds great, particularly for my Spoonie pals!  I want one…..

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Picture from Life Unplanned Blog

“Are your floors a hot mess?  Do you struggle to manage your entrepreneurial duties with maintaining your home in a somewhat presentable state?  I try… lord, I try.  And I’ve found the most exciting appliance that will make you feel on your game and spoiled at the same time.  The Roomba 630 is a basic model iRobot Vacuum-Cleaning Robot.  That’s right, it’s a robot that vacuums for you!  Say what?  Hallelujah!  When I heard the concept, I just had to have one.

The Roomba has technology that navigates throughout your home, has an advanced 3-Stage cleaning system with brushes that reach into corners and suction your floors, simple one-button start, automatic dock and recharge, and vacuums over all floor surfaces including, carpet, tile, hardwood, and laminate without a glitch.

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  See my full disclosure policy here.)

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

My reason for originally trying the Roomba was that I’d had to have surgery on both hands, which made it very difficult to push a traditional vacuum.  The Roomba was gifted to me, and I’ve never looked back!……..”

FOR FULL REVIEW PLEASE GO TO LIFE UNPLANNED BLOG – ROOMBA REVIEW

Balanced Belly Book Club: The Good Gut Guide by Liz Earle

I think you already know that I like a book review and as someone who is increasingly suffering with gut problems, this piece by Jen nutritional therapist at A Balanced Belly blog jumped out at me.  Might be heading off in search of a new book this afternoon…..

“This month’s balanced belly book club review is….. The Good Gut Guide by Liz Earle.

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Image from Amazon

What is it?

The Good Gut Guide is written by skincare guru Liz Earle (think that seems a bit random? Well it’s not really. I’ve blogged before about how our skin is very much connected to our gut) It really is a guide in every sense of the word- it offers sections on the science of our gut microbiome, practical how-to guides (with everything from a probiotic face mask to fermenting foods for dummies), a week by week programme and, of course, lots of recipes.

What I Liked About

I apologise for the gushing and can assure you that not every book review will be littered with over the top praise, but this is truly one of the best books I’ve read about gut health……”

For the full review please follow link: The Balanced Belly Book Club – review The Good Gut Guide

The Princess and the Pea – from little Princess Rubie at My Stripy Life Blog

I have to share this post with you from My Stripy Life blog – a fellow EDS zebra.  Except part of this post has been written by 7 year old Rubie and incorporates a review of her favourite story.  Enjoy……

The story tells of a prince who wants to marry a princess, but is having difficulty finding a suitable wife.  One stormy night a young woman drenched with rain seeks shelter in the prince’s castle. She claims to be a princess, so the prince’s mother decides to test their unexpected guest by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night.  She covers the bed in 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds. In the morning she asks the princess how she slept.  ……..

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Picture from My Stripy Life

For decades I have related to the story of the Princess and the Pea.  As a child I was always tossing and turning in bed at night uncomfortable…………Now, I have my own princess who feels every bump in her bed and is finding parallels with this story and her own life.  When she had to complete a book review for homework this week on her favourite traditional tale she immediately chose this story……”

To read Rubie’s review please follow this link:  Rubie’s review of The Princess and the Pea

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.

Album Review: The Lonely Cry of Space & Time by Anna Coogan

I have just read this review for an artist that I have never heard of in Hifi Pig magazine.  Not quite in character for me – usually Duncan, Mr Intimate Audio, who would be doing this – but I thought I would have a listen based on the review.  Very, very unique sound – slightly reminiscent of Kate Bush…..anyway I have ordered it for Mr Intimate Audio, so great review James Fleming at Hifi Pig!!

The fight against ignorance is central to The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time. Combining the natural with the political, the scientific with the philosophical, and then soundtracking those themes with stirring, atmospheric electric guitar-strumming and haunting vocals is a deadly concoction.

Anna Coogan’s operatic Kate Bush-esque vocals spread the good word across The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time. A voice of reason in an era that conclusively proves that common sense is neither, Coogan’s words are a subversive and eloquent “fuck y’all.”

Underneath its sweet tones and stunning musicianship is a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo of today. The status quo appearing to be ignorance.

Both musical and cultural; here is a classically-trained opera singer armed to the teeth with an electric guitar, a record’s worth of great songs and sharp lyrical insight into the 21st century. If the top 40 sounded like this, we wouldn’t have Supreme Overlord Donald to worry about.”

Full article can be found here :Anna Coogan: The Lonely Cry of Space & Time

It has some great artwork too!!

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Review “PainXit Tens machine” from Zec at Sat on my Butt blog

It is always interesting to those of us with chronic pain when a new pain killing device comes onto the market.  With so much metalwork and a spinal cord stimulator, I would probably be limited as to where this device might be useful, but Zec’s positive review on Sat on my Butt sounds like it could be worth a go!

“I have been sent a PainXit – TENS machine from designed2enable, simply put it is a portable TENS device to help combat pain.

I have a full size TENS machine and I have used it for many years, it doesn’t help with all of my pain but I know when it is likely to help and when it isn’t. I also have a similar pen device that contains a piezo crystal and delivers a shock when you click the button but I have never found it to be much help.

The PainXit – TENS machine is powered by a AAA battery and delivers a 1000 w at 0.4 mJ , now I know that sounds scary but believe me it isn’t.”

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Full review can be found Sat on my Butt

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designed2enable website

Pain Relief Cushions – my review of a natural product to aid in pain relief

Disclosure: “I have been given a “Cosy Cushion” Pain Relief Cushion as part of a product review. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.”

When we have pain the natural thing to do is reach for something to give us some comfort and hopefully in the process reduce the pain….or get rid of it!  This goes for a toddler falling and bumping a knee, to a broken bone, to labour and childbirth, to post operative pain.  Fortunately these pains are usually short lived (yes, I know that some labours go on for days, ladies) and will become a memory.  Not so chronic pain, which by definition is pain that has been regular and ongoing for over 6 months.

For most of us living with chronic pain, we have had to find our own methods to help to ease the symptoms in conjunction with drugs and medical intervention.  My back and leg pain is caused by nerve root damage, and I have always found heat to be one of the few things to offer me any relief.  So I was really pleased when Pain Relief Cushions gave me the opportunity to trial and review one of their wheat and lavender cushions.file_000-22.jpeg

Pain Relief Cushions state that their mission is to “provide freshly filled cushions at point of order” and that “the same cushion can be used hot or cold”.   The cushions can be heated in the microwave or will take heat from a radiator in order to “give a gentle, penetrating heat which goes deep into the muscles, eases and relieves pain”.  They can also be kept in the fridge and used for cold applications such as swellings and sprains.  The company is approved as a member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen.93fd76617fb1e63bbe687ab604fbddeb

I requested a long cushion to use across my lower back and down the length of my leg, but the cushions come in several different shapes and sizes to suit differing needs.  It arrived well packaged with a covering letter, a flier describing the product range and care instructions, and a separate insert with care instructions for the heating and freezing of the pillow.  The pillow is completely natural – the cover is luxurious cotton velvet, available in a selection of colours, and the filling is wheat and optional lavender.

I did opt for lavender and this was the first thing that I noticed on removing it from the packaging – a very pleasant change from some of the less sweet smelling similar products I have used before.  However, the teens in the house did not like the lavender smell, which initially becomes stronger upon heating – personal preference, I guess, as my husband and I both liked it.  The bag is well labelled with clear heating instructions and power settings for your microwave – an average time being 2 minutes.  The care instructions are easy to follow explaining the importance of bunching up the bag, that the microwave plate must be freely spinning and that a new bag might feel “damp” the first couple of times that it is heated.  Likewise the instructions for cooling/freezing are clear.

I have been using the Pain Relief Cushion daily for approx a month now and have been very happy.  When sitting I regularly use an electric heat pad but as this is plugged into the mains, it is not always convenient to use.  This is when a microwave heat bag really comes into its own, and whilst I have used similar products in the past I found this wheat bag to be superior in quality.  Before I have found that wheat bags have not stayed warm for as long as my trusty cherry stone heat bags, but the Pain Relief Cushion does stay warm for a similar time span and is well made.  Remember I use it daily and heat it several times a day, so it is very well used.  16906976_998625020269091_6683417726205034496_n(1)

I cannot claim that it gets rid of my nerve pain, but it certainly helps to ease it.  It has also been very helpful for the Ehlers Danlos join/soft tissue pain that I have all over my body – it was particularly good for my neck and regularly dislocating shoulders!  The pictures were taken on a “popped” hip joint day.  For those of us with monthly cramps, it is a great safe alternative to a hot water bottle!  I personally haven’t used the cushion as a cold compress.

The only piece of negative feedback came from my daughter with regards to the packaging.  She commented that in her opinion the flier would attract younger people to the product with a more contemporary, clean look – she is naturally artistic with an eye for graphic design.

From the time that I have used my Pain Relief Cushion, I would definitely recommend it as an aid to pain relief and will continue to use mine.

The products retail in the UK at  www.painreliefcushions.co.uk and in the US at www.ease-pain.com

The company can also be found on social media : TwitterFacebook and Pinterest