LOVE IN LOCKDOWN BY CHLOE JAMES – BOOK REVIEW

PUBLISHED BY AVON ON 23rd NOVEMBER 2020

A joyful love story set against the backdrop of lockdown – perfect for fans of The Flatshare

What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

Lockdown is putting Sophia’s life on pause – just as she planned to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest. He’s going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until the night he hears a woman crying from the balcony under his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.

Chloe James is a pseudonym for Fiona Woodifield whose debut novel, ‘The Jane Austen Dating Agency’ was published in February 2020.

Fiona writes uplifting romantic comedies. When not to be found with her head in a book, she is usually out in the countryside enjoying the changeable British weather with her family and three dogs.

WHAT DID I THINK?

I really love a feel-good story and this really was that, even though it did bring all the memories back of our time in lockdown this year. A brilliant story to be written and got out while the pandemic is still going on. Lovely characters who you just really wish were in your life as they are all so nice, we need more of them in this world. A nice happy ending that yes, you know deep down its all going to turn out ok but you still want to read it because it makes you feel good and it is entertaining. Go order this now and be nice to everyone.

AMAZON

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WRITING PROGRESS

I do hope you have progressed and written many words, please do not worry if you have not written the required amount as like I said at the beginning some words are so much better than no words. Give yourself a pat on the back then write some more.

We are not halfway yet so there is still plenty of time for you to produce a good amount of writing. How many words have you written so far?

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STRESS AWARENESS WEEK 2-6 NOVEMBER 2020

I think we are all well aware that many people are stressed at the moment as let’s face it there is a lot to be stressed about! I still sometimes lay in bed and think, what on earth is happening all over the world, it’s like a bad nightmare. You would never have dreamt in your wildest dreams that a virus would spread all over the world killing people.

This will go on until we eradicate it from each country and that will only happen if we shut all the borders, Europe has been so badly hit as people are moving from place to place. Yes, it will be hard but worth it as the way we are going it’s just going to keep re-occurring. The government give us stress as they do not seem to do the most obvious things, half term was such a good time to have a lockdown.

We all deal with stress in many different ways and that is ok as whatever works for you is good. Being aware of other people or family suffering is where you can help, from a kind word, offering to chat or any other help you can give or advise. Sometimes people just need to know they are not on their own and you do care.

A stranger told my friend ‘do not stress about things you cannot change‘. My daughter says to me ‘mum it’s not your problem, don’t take on the stress‘.

Two very good pieces of advice, so write them down and stick them up somewhere to remind yourself, as I think we do these two things without realising.

Health, wealth and family, we could stress about all these things and some of us do, but if your health is ok at the moment then stress could make it become worse. Many people are suffering from money problems, if you have food on your table and there are many food banks now you can get help from, if you cannot pay a bill then tell the company, they will help. Keep your family safe by wearing a mask if you have to go out, don’t get too close to people, stay safe.

Use social media to keep in contact with family and friends, phone them or have facetime calls. Take yourself for a walk even if it is just around the garden or go to a park and meet your friend there, you don’t have to be next to them to have a chat.

I got myself some stamps and wrote to the grandchildren, they love getting post and will enjoy writing back to you, I always pop a stamp in the envelope for them.

As we go into lockdown again this week try to keep positive and think that it is not forever, it’s keeping us well and with our families and friends.

Take care

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CURRENTLY READING

C.J. Tudor is a very good author, The Chalk Man was a best seller. I am about a third of the way through but finding it a bit slow at the moment, I am sure things will speed up though.

Look out for my review

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CHRISTMAS BUCKET LIST

I am sure it is going to be a very different Christmas this year due to the pandemic as some things you will not be able to do. We may not even be able to see all of our families, I know this is upsetting but we just have to get on with it and make it the best we can. I know that is easier said than done, believe me. We must protect the ones we love and keep them safe.

I liked this Christmas bucket list, so many good ideas to get you in the Christmas spirit and especially good if you have little ones. Here are some others for you to try. 

If you are stuck for ideas then have a look on Pinterest, there are loads of things to do for all ages. When do you put your decorations up? It seems to be getting earlier every year, not that it matters, the children love it. If it gives you some happiness then I say let’s get the tree decorated, while on lockdown you could make some decorations and cards.

Buy some new Christmas books from Amazon and have a reading session and then you have the Christmas channel on Sky where you can have a family film session with popcorn.

Have the children write their letter to Father Christmas? There are some sheets you can print off from Pinterest with some puzzles to do with the children. Have a writing day with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Whatever you do, have a fun November everyone and stay safe.

 

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BEST OF OCTOBER

 

I loved reviewing in October as I had some useful things to try out. This box of favours I thought was excellent, making such a nice thoughtful present for Christmas, especially with lockdown and money being a bit tight.

 

 

 

I love coffee so this was a super-insulated coffee pot that I now make and take to my desk as it keeps it warm so I can keep the coffee topped up to keep me going.

 

 

 

I asked Izzy to try this new make-up that launched in the UK. We both said how natural it looked on both of us, also loving the small size of it all so it can fit in your smallest of handbags. Also, the refillable pots are a brilliant idea. This Mineral make up is vegan and natural so I think it will prove to be very popular.

The children had half term during October so I took Izzy to Kaspa’s as a thank you for helping me.

My favourite book of the month was this one by Nick Louth who is a very talented author who writes amazing stories about murder. Goodness knows what goes on in his head as this one is unbelievable, you will never guess the ending and who the murderer was. Definitely another best seller and stick it on your Amazon Christmas list.

Mia got a puppy so spent the first couple of nights sleeping with him! So sweet.

That was October, it went very quickly, I read a few more books and now I am ready for writing November.

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NOVEMBER WRITING

Did you do your preparation for this month and your writing?

I am just about sorted with my to-do list so I can concentrate on my writing for a whole month, actually, I think lockdown has come at a good time for all us writers as there will not be any visitors, some of you are working from home so no wasted travelling time and more writing time.

I am eager to get started so spent yesterday writing some blog posts so for the next few days I can just do my memoir writing. I am only writing down how many words I am doing on my writing, not my blog but as long as I am writing every day I will be happy. I need to cut down my time on social media and I have to write a story for my writing group anthology.

I best get on with it all, good luck

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THE BODY ON THE ISLAND BY NICK LOUTH – BOOK REVIEW

PUBLISHED BY CANELO CRIME ON THE 22nd OCTOBER 2020

He was never truly gone, only biding his time…

Late on midsummer’s night, there is a splash in the river Thames. A body is found on an island, asphyxiated and laced with strange markings. For DCI Craig Gillard it’s a baffling case. The victim’s identity is elusive, clues are scarce and every witness has something to hide.

Meanwhile one of Britain’s deadliest serial killers is finally up for parole after a deal to reveal the location of two missing bodies. The felon has his own plans to get even with witnesses, accusers and the officer who caught him thirty years before. And who was that? A young trainee, by the name of Gillard.

Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. He self-published his first novel, Bite, in 2007, which was a No. 1 Kindle best-seller in 2014. It has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into six languages. Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times and has published seven other books. Nick is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

WHAT DID I THINK?

Nick is one of my favourite authors so I have read and reviewed all his books on my blog. This one is really intriguing I doubt anyone will guess who committed the murders……where he gets his ideas from I will never know. A brilliant story writer with red herrings to throw you off course so giving you a choice who the culprit is. As usual, I didn’t guess it but enjoyed this so much and will recommend you get this on your Christmas list.

AMAZON

 

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NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH – NOVEMBER 2020

National Novel Writing Month 2020 (NaNoWriMo)

November 1November 29

Today is the beginning, are you ready? I have done my prep during October which wasn’t a lot as I have written most of it but I have to now start to pad it out with information, I just have the main facts written down.

Good luck

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THE BOY BETWEEN BY AMANDA PROWSE & JOSIAH HARTLEY – BOOK REVIEW

PUBLISHED BY LITTLE A ON 1st NOVEMBER 2020

Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one…

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.

Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.

In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.

For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.

Josiah (Josh) Hartley lives in an isolated farmhouse in the West Country, but close enough to Bristol to enjoy its music scene. He is an animal lover and servant to two French Bulldogs. Equally happy at a music festival or watching rugby with his mates, he likes the outdoor life and with Devon only a short drive away often heads to the sea to surf and sit on the beach watching the sun go down. After a stint at the University of Southampton and another at the University of Bristol and one unsuccessful suicide attempt, Josh decided to write about his descent into mental illness and the depression that has held him in its grip for the past few years. The Boy Between carries the overriding message that things can and often do get better. It’s a book of reflection, raw, honest and full of hope: the proof being that Josh is still here and now excited about what comes next. He is ready to catch any opportunities that life throws his way, quite a thing for someone who only three years ago was living in a world gone grey, ready to disappear from the face of the earth…

Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author twenty-five novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is, and will always be, writing. This is her first work of non-fiction.

WHAT DID I THINK?

If you like Mandy’s books then you will love this as it gives you a bit of an insight into her life including the ups and downs. This delves into the depths of depression from the persons perspective and the mothers, it is harrowing, sad and makes you realise how bloody awful it all is for everybody that has a connection to that person. There are triggers so please be mindful of that and take care while reading.

I hope this book becomes a best seller and millions read it as it truly describes some of the very real points that can happen, I’m not saying everybody with depression will feel like this but it will help you to understand the complex ‘thing’ this awful depression really is.

I wish Josh all the best and thank you for being so brutally honest in the writing of this book.

AMAZON

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