Birthday Giveaway!

Cancer & Me, Writing & Blogging

Virtual Book Tour

As ‘The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer’ Virtual Book Tour coincides with my birthday I thought it was the perfect excuse for a Birthday Giveaway!

To enter, just pop your name and email address in here and don’t forget to tell your friends!

Find out about all the goodies that I have ready to send out to you in this video…

To enter, just pop your name and email address in here and don’t forget to tell your friends!

Already signed up, no worries, that means you are already entered into the draw!

Hope you are enjoying the Virtual Book Tour.  I am having the best time doing it, but would love to hear what you guys think, so please do let me know.  And don’t forget that we have LOADS more coming up.  I have a book review coming on The Writing Garnet, I am giving an interview at TEND Nutrition, a guest blog post about writing at Womb Cancer Support UK, a webinar about how to get started writing at Coaching Emily, my Birthday Giveaway draw, and a review at Through the Looking Glass… Plenty more to keep you entertained.

Nx

 

Book Review – Where’d You Go Bernadette? By Maria Semple

To Love To Read

If I could give this book 6 stars I would. It’s intelligent, thought-provoking and moving whilst being hilariously funny but my favourite thing about Where’d You Go Bernadette? is the unusual way the story is told. Through the paper trail of emails, faxes, letters, notes and Bernadette’s daughters opinions on the paper trail – all of which lead to Bernadette going missing.

I think that it is quite rare that you find a book that is a piece of good literary fictions as well as gripping and funny.  It says so much about the way we live now, rising questions like, what is privacy and what crosses the line during a time when so much about everyone is so readily available?  Brings up so many questions, I think it would make a fabulous book club book.

I so enjoyed this book, I just wish it had been double the length.

Happy Reading! Nx

Buy Where’d You Go Bernadette Here

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1st Birthday of The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer

Cancer & Me, Writing & Blogging

I cannot believe that my book was published a year ago today!  Happy Birthday to my book!  The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer was a labour of love and nothing compares to the getting wonderful, heartfelt messages from ladies who have been touched or helped in some way by reading it.  I have written honestly about the parts of writing a book about cancer which can be difficult in an earlier blog post but those emails and messages I get from people – knowing that I have been able to use my love of writing and turn something so negative into something positive is, quite simply, amazing.

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Over the last year I have posted a few blog posts on writing and why I wrote The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer, I think my favourite is What Do You Wish You Had Done?  It is something I try to keep in my mind, what do I wish I had done and what do I still want to do.  It can be so easy to fall into a routine and stop pushing yourself but this post reminds me that no one else is going to make amazing things in my life happen.

And I think we should all ideally not wait for a near death experience to push us into action.  We owe it to our future selves to create the life we want.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how many people are effected by cancer; how it comes round and round, time and time again, yet I also know that if I had my cancer ten-years ago, I would not have survived.  Now I am 3 years into remission and it is only getting better.  More and more of us are surviving even extreme cancer diagnosis’ and I love that my words can help others who are going through similar experiences.

Publishing this book was one of my proudest moments, along with this blog and I really want to send a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have read, commented, reviewed, been involved, anything… Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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To anyone who had or had cancer I just want to say… You are so strong, especially on the day’s that you don’t think that you are, the days that you want to give up, those are the days when you are actually the strongest because you keep going.  You are going to do things you only dreamt of before.  You are going to be even more amazing because at one point you were stripped of all and (if not now, in time) you will rebuild.  Give yourself time and be kind to yourself and let the magic of life unfold.

Happy Birthday book x

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Book Review – One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley

Any Human Heart, To Love To Read

I first heard about One Million Lovely Letters about a year ago when a friend sent me the link to the website.  I was beyond amazed by the concept – if you feel like you need a hug in an envelope, email Jodi Ann Bickley and she will handwrite you a letter to remind you how awesome you are.  See – amazing!

I looked for the website recently because I had a story idea that’s based on a similar concept.  When looking, I saw that Jodi Ann Bickley has written a book by the same name which was immediately ordered and quite literally devoured by me.

image1.JPGI think everyone should read this book.  It should be on the school syllabus.  It should be a staple in everyone’s lives, because it essentially reminds the reader that we all that have a choice to be a cloud or a ray of sunshine in someone else’s day.

Having said that, it’s not all “life is perfect, be positive and everything is completely fabulous all the time.” Jodi is beautifully honest about some pretty brutal emotional and physical difficulties and illnesses that she’s been/going through.  About how even when things are starting to go right, she still has personal hurdles to overcome.

This book reminds us that everything is not perfect – it never is – but we still have the option to be kind.

The story itself is captivating but the language used and they way the story is told is equally gorgeous.  The author is a poet (by day) and I think it really come across in the beautiful language and Bickley has an amazing way of drawing you in and expressing so much emotion through her words.

This book feeds your soul and is well and truly on my ‘favourite books of all time’ list.

My children (like me) think that getting post is the best thing ever but (again like me) they only get anything around their birthday.  About half way through the book, I decided to write my children (ages 6 and 4) letters to remind them how awesome they are.  I posted them and they were so excited finding them on the doorstep and even more excited when they realised it was from me.  It was so much fun getting to see their little faces as they read how much I love them.  They both have them under their pillows now.  Such a simple idea but it brought so much joy to all of us.  I implore you to do the same.  Write a letter to someone and let them know how awesome they are.

If you are feeling inspired by the concept, One Million Lovely Letters is currently collecting  letters from all over the globe to go into an exhibition so are asking lovely people to post lovely letters.  Here is Jodi Ann explaining all about it…

One Million Lovely Letters the book (plus Jodi and the whole One Million Lovely Letters concept) is a massive 5 out of 5 for me.

Get it, read it, share it – your life will only be inhanced by reading this wonderful book.

Happy Reading x

The 5 Most Popular Posts of 2015

Cancer & Me, Delicious Healthy Recipes, To Love To Read, Writing & Blogging

I actually cannot believe today is New Years Eve and the end of 2015!  As NYE can make us a little reflective, I thought that I would give you all the links for the 5 most popular posts on this blog in 2015!

  1. The Stupid Things People Say When You Have Cancer! – This is actually my most popular post of all time, I think because it is just as useful for people who don’t have cancer as those who do.
  2. Top 5 Things to do When Someone Has Cancer – I imagine this is for a similar reason, it’s useful for everyone.
  3. Holy Island by LJ Ross – Book Review – This book was such a huge success for LJ Ross and people seem to like reading about Holy Island, just as much as they like reading Holy Island.  Final instalment is out this year, can’t wait!
  4. Kiddie Friendly Green Juice – AKA Dinosaur Juice – This post was actually from 2014 but remains one of my most read this year!  Clearly I need to be doing more posts on the healthy juices I get my kids to drink.
  5. The Problem with NOT Losing Your Hair When You Have Cancer – I remember being so nervous when I wrote this post.  It is a side of cancer that you don’t hear very much about and I was worried about people’s reaction to the post.  But I needn’t have been, you guys couldn’t have been kinder and I got some very sweet messages from people who had exactly the same thing.  I’m so pleased this post made it onto the list.

So there they are, my top 5!  Are they yours?  Was there another post you preferred?  Let me know in the comments.  And if there is anything you would like me to write more about, please feel free to let me know about that in the comments too.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!! Nx

Happy-New-Year-2016

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Book Review – A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

To Love To Read

images-2I am in mourning.  Mourning the loss of every character I am now completely in love with after reading A Place Called Winter.  I am aware that may make me sound crazy but this is one of those books that embeds itself so deeply under your skin you never want it to end.

Gale has written numerous novels before but this is the first one I have read.  It is drama and there are moments that will make your heart cry but there are also the warmest moments set in the harshest on conditions.  Nevertheless, if you are in the middle of chemotherapy and feeling very emotionally raw, maybe wait!

The novel is mainly prose, almost like poetry it is so beautifully written and the story is experienced through the eyes of the protagonist Harry Cane – the real Great-Grandfather of the author – who moved to Canada in the early 1900’s to set up a homestead but no one ever knew why, Gale has then used artistic licence to imagine all the blanks.images-3

My favourite thing about this novel is the depth and heartfeltness of the characters.  The whole book is character driven and (with the exception of the antagonist) I think you will fall in love with every single one of them.

It is set in such an interesting era that I knew nothing about and the circumstance that Harry Cane finds himself in, repeatedly adds to the characters and the depth of the beautiful story.

I highly recommend this book, it may even be one of the only books I read more than once.

A Place Called Winter is available now online and in bookshops.

 

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Book Review – Sycamore Gap by L.J. Ross

To Love To Read

You may remember that a few months ago I gave a glowing review for LJ Ross’ debut novel Holy Island, the result was that I couldn’t wait for Ross’ second novel in the DCI Ryan series.  Thankfully, I know Ross so I could badger her (repeatedly) and get added to her beta list, yay!

Unknown-2I thoroughly enjoyed Sycamore Gap.  I really liked Holy Island but I definitely think this sequel is better. From the word go I was completely in the midst of this captivating story, still set in the North-England, with the location adding to the story significantly.

We get so much more insight into the characters, learning about Ryan’s past as it comes back to impact on the present, including all the relationships between the characters.

What I like most about this novel is the way it intertwines.  That is the story, the characters, the crimes, the past, they all intertwined and connected with Ross pulling at the various threads to draw the conclusion out.  I did also really love the imagery drawn from the location, I am desperate to visit Hadrian’s Wall now.

You don’t need to have read Holy Island to understand Sycamore Gap, there are enough tip its of information to keep things clear – without going on about the first book.  Having said that, I would read both, just because they are both awesome.

I could not put this novel down as the crimes, suspense and questions build but Ross has balanced the dark excellently, offsetting it with humour, some good old banter and Frank’s enviable ties.

It’s no surprise to me that Sycamore Gap has flown into the number 1 spot on the Amazon bestseller lists, just like Holy Island before it.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Sycamore Gap is available now on Amazon Kindle, currently only £1.99

Holy Island is available now on Amazon Kindle, currently £2.55 and in Paperback, currently £8.99

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Landfill by Helen Gordon – Book Review

To Love To Read

I read this book after doing a fabulous workshop with the author.  I know Landfill by Helen Gordon has received mixed reviews but I loved this book.  It is one of those books that get’s under your skin and you think about when you aren’t reading.

My favourite thing about this book is the language.  It is so beautifully written, with words and sentences that catch the heart.  Which is fitting as this really is a book about the heart.  It’s not non-stop action or about resolving issues as book these days so often are but about going through an emotional change within.

A thoroughly enjoyable novel, with language you can just get lost in, perfect for me.  I would certainly recommend Landfill.

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Happy World Book Day!

To Love To Read

Today is World Book Day.  An awesome day when we get to celebrate all things book related!  You may have seen this week I have been asking people to let me know which book they would recommend and a sentence on why, so here it is a fantastic list put together by my fantastic reader’s.

I hope you will find something inspirational to read…..

6a010536b33b69970b017ee82ff5e6970dRebecca by daphne du Maurier

The first book I remember staying up all night to finish and being utterly hooked until the very end.

Katherine

41vD2CTb7RLShantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Because it’s got everything.  Love, crime, passion, violence, everything.

Tom

Gatsby_1925_jacketThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Because “I love her and that is the beginning and end of everything” … Beautifully depicts what lengths someone would go to for the incurable feeling of love. No matter how much time you spend with your family, the heart breaks, marriages, kids and happiness; Love is the centre of everything and the two worlds shown in the novel depict what society today is made up of.

Riah

71h2sjik5al-_sl1380_The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Moving and different and wonderful.

Karen

LittleprinceThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A timeless lesson on life, which you can read from childhood to adulthood , complemented by beautiful drawings from the author.

Mathilde

CrimeandpunishmentcoverCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Was a game-changer for me. Hard hitting knowledge of human nature hits socio-economic differences in Russia. Brilliant!

Louise

bookcover2Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

One of the first great classics I read, its tale of friendship has stayed with me.

Jessica

 

BridgetJonesDiaryBridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

“I like you very much. Just as you are”. Empowering and says what thousands us are thinking. Never got bored.

Elly

TheOutsider_001The Outsider by Albert Camus

I love this text because it taught me an existential view on life which can be very helpful at times.

Jake

200px-WallyLamb_IKnowThisMuchIsTrueI Know This Much is True

Little did I know when I read this book that I would go on to have twins! This story of love, loss, redemption and facing your demons was very poignant to me in my twenties.

Jessica

9780312282592The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye

Sweeping epic spanning the final days of the Raj in India.  The description of the geography of India at the time is so real it’s almost as if you could step into it.  Fantastic story of struggling with identity and different kinds of love.

Louise

The Things They CarriedThe Things They Carried by Tim O’Brian

I am not a fan of military stories but this is so much more than that.  Set in Vietnam, the practicalities and emotional duress of war as well as the camaraderie and a real human story.  It’s only a short story, very easily readable.

Me!

51OtEsflERL._SL500_ 2Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

These books were and remain true loves of mine and reignited a love of reading in me after teachers had done their best to kick it out of me at school.  Pure magic and escapism.

Me

If you have a book you would like to add, please leave a comment below or message on me on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Reading x

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