#BookReview By Lou – Mother of the Brontes By Sharon Wright #SharonWright @penswordbooks #NonFiction #Biography #Brontes #MariaBranwell #TheLifeOfMariaBranwell

Mother of the Brontes
The Life of Maria Branwell
By Sharon Wright

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mother of the Brontes is a highly interesting account of Maria Branwell. Thanks to Pen and Sword for gifting me the book. Discover what the book is about and my opinion in the blurb and my review.

Mother of the Brontes cover

Maria Branwell has spent 200 years in the shadow of her extraordinary children, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. Now the first biography of Mrs Brontë appears as a beautiful bicentenary paperback edition in October 2021, with a commissioned portrait of Maria at 38 based on the only two existing images in the Brontë Collection. Sharon Wright’s critically-acclaimed biography reveals Maria’s fascinating life as a Regency gentlewoman who went looking for an adventure and found one. A sudden passion and whirlwind love affair led to the birth of the most gifted literary siblings the world has ever known. From a wealthy home in Penzance, Maria was a contemporary of Jane Austen and enjoyed the social status of a prominent family with secrets. So how did Maria fall for the penniless curate she called ‘My Dear Saucy Pat’ hundreds of miles from the home she loved? And what adventures lead lover Patrick Brontë to their fateful meeting in Yorkshire? What family scandals did Maria leave behind in Cornwall? How did wealthy and independent Miss Branwell of balmy Penzance adjust to life as Mrs Brontë in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution? And what was her enduring legacy in the lives of those world famous daughters and troubled son?

Review

It is well documented about lives of the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Anne and Shirley, through the novels and poetry they wrote and biographies other people have written, even more is known about their brother – Branwell Bronte and their father – Patrick Bronte than the matriarch of the Bronte family – Maria Branwell. This book goes some way to rectifying this biography of her life in this treasure of a book that uncovers her life and her part as an individual and as part of the family she created.

Really delving into history and setting the scene to create background to how things were in the time of Maria’s life, it goes into detail about the backdrop of socio/economical/political scenes. This I felt was necessary to people now and into the future to understand how things were and also puts her life into context. You really get under the surface of how the world looked when she was alive, not just in broader terms, but also the families she may have known or seen around Penzance in Cornwall, the houses that were there and religious beliefs. It provides a focused texture and understanding in the first few chapters.

The book becomes even more compelling to discover why Patrick, so penniless, left Ireland and Maria leaves Cornwall for Yorkshire and how they courted each other and fell in love, even though there was class division of him being poor and her being wealthy, with social standing, but attraction and love won out, however unlikely that would initially seem, but they did and created a life and family together.
There are letters of this period of time, which were later handed down the family. There are extracts of her letters in the book, that feels really special to read and gives readers a glimpse into her letter writing style and means the book is able to retain some of her “voice” for present and future generations. It heightens providence and a real care of the Bronte family. The research is meticulous and the passion of its author – Sharon Wright to ensure this part of the family’s history can be read about in this way, really shines through.

There’s a look into day to day life within the Parsonage that really brings the place, that is still standing, located in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, (now a museum), to life. It shows life within those walls of husband and wife and their children, who, especially their daughters, were to become literary giants, whose work is still popular and is now shown in many media forms. Lesser known however, is that Maria could also write and there is a little bit of this within the book.

The book takes readers right to the end of Maria’s life and the impact her death had on how the family then behaved in their day to day living and continuing of their own lives.

This is an absolutely fascinating read and to be able to read it in her bicentenary year makes it somewhat even more lovely.

#BookReview by Lou of Own Your Period @chellaquint@QuartoKnows #PeriodPositive #YA #Teens #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember

Own Your Period
By Chella Quint

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Periods, they are the most natural things in the world in a girl and woman’s cycle, but for some can feel a bit of a taboo subeject and this can be a good resource. To a certain extent Own Your Period is empowering. It most definitely helps to increase knowledge about periods and answers those questions 9 year old plus girls may have. Find out more in the blurb and more informative review below.
Thanks to Quarto Knows publishers for gifting me a copy to review.

Blurb

Own Your Own PeriodHaving a period is an incredible thing – Own Your Period celebrates what the body can do and provides young people (age 9+) with everything they need to be prepared… and empowered.  

This fact-filled guide to periods is bursting with positive, honest advice on managing and understanding menstruation, covering every aspect of periods as well as lots of advice on puberty and growing up in a warm, friendly and reassuring way.

Topics covered include the fascinating science behind why things happen, with all the details of menstruation through to the menopause explained, as well as answers to all essential questions like what’s a vulva and what does it look like, what do periods actually feel like, and what happens if blood stains your clothes?

Menstrual expert and educator Chella Quint’s witty text slays superstitions, busts common myths and fights period shame, while providing practical information about menstrual products, tracking cycles and sharingher own personal stories.

Funny, insightful and warm illustrations with friendly chatty text makes this an everything-you-need-to-know essential handbook, which pre-teens can refer to before their periods start, and will appreciate when their cycle is more established. 

This complete guide will prove an invaluable companion to any young person about to start their first period, and will help them embrace their cycle with positivity and pride, and grow into healthy, happy people!

Review

Own Your Own Period is a valuable book for ages 9+ and aims it just right at this age group. It’s informative and reassuring. It is warm and inviting and full of illustrations that go with the information provided. It will answer all those pressing questions without scaring pre-teens and teens alike. In doing so it will debunk myths, presumptions, misconceptions. It will prepare older children and teenagers for starting their periods and take away some of the awkwardness. The tone of the book also assists in this and makes it readable for this age group and makes it less text book like. The title is also great because it isn’t anyone else’s period but your own, but what the book shows is shared experiences that some may be able to relate to with their own periods.

There are sections about what you may feel when you get your period as well as the biology so you can understand your body more. The environmental part isn’t quite so well done and could have been done a bit better so it doesn’t feel so pressurised as people try to find what works best and feels comfortable for them.
The explanation of how to use some sanitary products is good enough.

There is some wit in some of the anecdotes provided and this lightens the mood and will make it feel more comfortable for readers experiencing or going to experience their periods for the first time. The fun-facts also make this easy for information to digest, as does the structure of the book that also goes some way into encouraging the end of period shame. The cover is also great at showing girls, that whatever your skin colour, you’re likely to have a period and hopefully it can go someway to help break down barriers in all cultures and backgrounds. The chatty layout normalises it to a certain extent and brings some positivity in the fact that this can be used to enhance, gain knowledge in a real way.

The book can also be used as a tool for 9 plus year olds to start a conversation with their parents because when with something like a book, it can make this easier as it arms you with info that you may want to talk about, and the same goes with parents/carers too with their children or young people in their charge.

The Suicide Prevention Pocket Guidebook @welbeckpublish #welbeckbalance #TheSuicidePreventionPocketGuidebook #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember #MentalHealth

The Suicide Prevention Pocket Guidebook
By Joy Hibbins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Would you know how to support someone who is in crisis and having suicidal thoughts? This book will assist you in enhancing your knowledge. Thanks to Welbeck Books/Welbeck Balance for gifting me this important book to review. Discover the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

The Suicide Prevention Guidebook cover picUnderstandably, we may feel extremely cautious about how to approach or talk to someone who is having suicidal thoughts; we may be worried about saying or doing the ‘wrong thing’ – and this often creates a barrier to helping.

In this pocket guidebook, Joy Hibbins, founder of the charitySuicide Crisis, shares her invaluable experience of helping people through suicidal crisis. Using the charity’s groundbreaking approach, Joy helps you gain the practical skills, knowledge and confidence you need to support friends, work colleagues or family members during a time of crisis.

This book will show you how to: 
• Understand the complexity of suicidal feelings and what may lead to a crisis 
• Be aware of factors that can increase someone’s risk of suicide 
• Directly ask someone about suicidal thoughts 
• Build empathy and a strong connection with the individual in crisis 
• Learn strategies to support someone and help them survive

The fact that you care, and you want to help, can make such a difference to someone who is in need of support.

Review

This is an easy to follow and digest guidebook that is accessible to all. The book is broken up into short, easy to read paragraphs, with some examples too, which enhances understanding and firms up what the chapter is saying, as does the short summaries at the end of each chapter. There are also a comprehensive list to who to call when you need support for yourself, a loved one or a complete stranger who you find yourself supporting. Being a pocketguide makes it easily transportable to have easy to hand.

The book is covers all manner of sub-topics and takes your hand on what is a huge subject and leads you through. It goes through what you may be feeling when faced with someone who has suicidal thoughts and vaildates them, such as fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, guilt and more, as well as reassuring that the book will equip you with the tools to manage this situation, that you may not already have. This can be highly useful because you just don’t know if or when you will come across someone who is suicidal. The book splits suicide into parts, including Passive Thoughts of Wanting to Die, Active Thoughts About Suicide, Suicidal Intent. It also explains certain terms as well as increases your understanding about what may lead to a sucidal crisis. The book then goes onto debunking as many as 10 myths/misinformation about suicide. The book then tells you of warning signs, including what they may say or do and potential mood changes. So, this gives you information that puts everything into context and what to look out for. The book develops from here into how you can help practically and lists questions you can ask and how to handle them as they helpfully include many permeatations in answers; your body language and actively listening; tone of voice; topics to focus on; how to help them survive (again, if it is more than 1 crisis point they have experienced in their lives) and creating a safety plan.

The book responsibly also talks about how to care for yourself after supporting someone who is at suicidal crisis point. It also says about what support the person in crisis can also recieve and who you can call.

The book is all in all one that seems very valuable for everyone.

A #GuestPost – Article – 7 Books to Help You Manage or Conquer Your Anxiety By Dr. Harshi Dhingra #DrHarshiDhingra #Books #ConquerAnxiety #ManagingAnxiety #NonFiction #MentalHealth #SelfHelp

7 Books to Help You Manage or Conquer Your Anxiety

Today I am delighted to host a guest post. I introduce you to Dr. Harshi Dhingra who is an Associate Professor in Pathology at Adesha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Bathinda. Dr. Harshi Dhingra has written a fabulously informative article that includes 7 practical and informative books to help you manage or conquer your anxiety, including blurbs, of what are considered the 7 best books. They are all are non-fiction and are by authors who are experts in their field. There are also various highly useful links that will also support you and enhance your knowledge throughout the article. The article then concludes with the sources used.
I will now hand you over to Dr. Harshi Dhingra, who I also thank for getting in touch via my Contact page and for working on this.

We’ve all been there – racing thoughts, quickening breath, difficulty focusing, and feelings of dread or fear. Too often, though, these anxiety symptoms can control your quality of life. It can also go beyond just feeling anxious and into a full-blown anxiety disorder and addiction.

In the U.S. alone, approximately 18% of all adults suffer from some form of anxiety. Worldwide, over 200 million people grapple with anxiety disorders on a daily basis.

All too often, anxiety and substance abuse or addiction can go hand in hand, one leading to the other in many cases. So, getting a handle on your anxiety improves your chance of a successful recovery or from traveling down that road of substance abuse and addiction altogether.

It only makes sense then that the more tools you have to counteract the anxiety, the better. Today there are books out there that can help you manage your anxiety or conquer it all together, and here are seven of the best to get you started.

1. Hope and Help for Your Nerves: End Anxiety Now by Dr. Claire Weekes

To guide you on your anxiety journey, Dr. Claire Weeks has created a step-by-step tool for helping you understand where your anxiety is coming from and how to conquer it for good. One of the keys is getting a handle on those overwhelming intrusive thoughts that are often at the core of your fears and doubts. A pioneer in the treatment of anxiety, Dr. Weekes presents successful results from her years of experience, adding to her credibility and this book’s valuable messages.

2. I Want to Change My Life: How to Overcome Anxiety, Depression and Addiction by Steven M. Melemis, MD, Ph.D.

If you’re looking for ways to overcome not just anxiety but also depression or addiction, the five-point plan in this book is a valuable tool. Combining information on symptoms, treatments, and prevention strategies, this book goes one step further and provides ways to learn new coping skills. The included one-month program that helps you get started, focusing on a timeline and exercises.

3. Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh

Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks
If you prefer learning from someone who has been where you are, Barry McDonagh’s unique book
Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks is for you. After suffering with anxiety and panic attacks himself, McDonagh found a way to overcome them and, as a result, devised the DARE technique. His approach is one of challenging your fears instead of dealing with them or managing them. The book is written in straightforward, relatable language and provides step-by-step methods to get you started. In addition, along with the book, you receive access to a free app, a kind of on-the-go anxiety relief tool.

4. Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Jennifer Shannon, LMFT

Don't Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry


Overthinking and constant worry can get you in trouble. They can overtake your life to the point you’re unable to make decisions or enjoy life at all. The aim of this particular book is to teach you how to deescalate anxious thoughts and stop feeding the monkey mind with negativity. The author is a psychotherapist with 30-plus years of experience in
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and the treatment of anxiety. Her writing is as entertaining as it is helpful, and she includes illustrations and mindfulness techniques as additional aids.


5. Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal the Mind by Judson Brewer, MD, Ph.D.

WORKBOOK FOR UNWINDING ANXIETY BY JUDSON BREWER: NEW SCIENCE SHOWS HOW TO BREAK THE CYCLES OF WORRY AND FEAR TO HEAL YOUR ...

Don’t let the word “science” in the title of this book or the fact that it’s written by a neuroscientist intimidate you. With 20 years of research under his belt, the author easily breaks down all he has learned into a practical format to help you understand your brain. Where this book excels is in its step-by-step plan to help you break bad habits and escape the cycle of fear and worry that is leading to your anxiety and addictive behavior.

6. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook


For those who learn better with a textbook or workbook type-format, this classic has been around for over 30 years with continual updating. The author discusses anxiety disorder origins and points to holistic approaches to help you recover and better care for yourself. Included inside are sections on relaxation, breathing strategies, mindfulness, nutrition, and exercise tips. This workbook also includes guidelines for treating additional mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and
obsessive-compulsive disorder.

7. Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now by Jill Weber, Ph.D.

Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now by [Jill Weber PhD]


This handy book is a great resource to use as a quick reference guide. Its easy-to-use layout offers varying practical techniques for identifying and managing anxiety whenever it hits. You most likely won’t want to read this book all the way through in one sitting. Instead, become familiar with its contents, so you know where to go when panic attacks or anxiety are getting the better of you. One unique feature, however, is the “Go Deeper” prompts for
therapeutic journaling.

Anxiety is no laughing matter, and the more you can do to help yourself, the better. Begin by looking for a book with actual effective techniques and relatable language and layout like those on this list.

Sources

health.harvard.edu – Managing intrusive thoughts

drugabuse.gov – Drug misuse and addiction

health.harvard.edu – Panic Disorders

ncbi.nih.gov – Cognitive behavioral therapy

newsinhealth.nih.gov – Breaking Bad Habits: Why It’s So Hard to Change

nimh.gov – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

urmc.rochester.edu – Journaling for Mental Health

sunshinebehavioralhealth.comMental Health Resources for Anxiety Disorder and Addiction

#Review By Lou – Drinking Custard – Diary Of A Confused Mum By Lucy Beaumont @LucyABeaumont @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #DrinkingCustard #Memoir #Parents #Families #NonFiction

Drinking Custard – Diary Of A Confused Mum
By Lucy Beaumont

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Drinking Custard Graphic 3

Today I am on a blog tour for an entertaining non-fiction – autobiographical book – Drinking Custard – Diary of a Confused Mum. Discover more in the blurb and review below. Thanks first to Random T. Tours for inviting me to review on the blog tour and for Octopus Books for gifting a hardback copy of the book. 

Drinking Custard Graphic 2

Drinking Custard Graphic 7

Drinking Custard Graphic 1About the Lucy Beaumont
and the Book

Known for her sharp, witty and surreal view on everyday life, Lucy shares the unpredictable craziness of being a mum in this brilliant and laugh-out-loud ‘mumoir’. Mums everywhere will recognise the madness of it all. From when Lucy was hospitalised with indigestion in her third trimester (blame the burrito), to when she was *this close* to slapping her hypnobirthing instructor, to fi nding herself drinking a whole pint of custard in one sitting.
Drinking Custard also captures Lucy’s marriage to comedian Jon, as they navigate Lucy’s raging pregnancy hormones and balk at pram prices together.

 

Drinking Custard Graphic 5

Review

Firstly, Lucy Beaumont makes it clear she hasn’t written a parental advice book. As I read through the book, this is a book with humour and with anecdotes that parents may be able to relate to in their own lives.
There is about Lucy herself, who is also a comedian and her lifestyle as well as how she met fellow comedian – Jon Richardson, who she rubs up the wrong way from time to time. It’s really rather funny!

The way the book is set-out is fun, quick and easy to read for those busy parents. It’s easy to dip in and out of. It’s an entertaining enough book for something different to read to lift people’s mood.

Drinking Custard Graphic 6

There are some serious moments too, about hormones, the changes within her body whilst being pregnant and the challenges of those night feeds. There’s also joy of reaching certain milestones too, between missing the life pre-baby. There’s the changes in conversations from Homes Under The Hammer exchanged to Paw Patrol and Bing etc. and the groups to join up to and progressing onto nursery runs.

The book is entertaining and seems to be an honest, yet humorous account of life and becoming and being parents.

 

Drinking Custard BT Poster

How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas – Rules Of The Road, Stories Of The Field By Susan E. Gibson #SusanEGobson #BarlowPublishing #NonFiction #Volunteering #VolunteeringOverseas

How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas
Rules Of The Road.     Stories Of The Field
By Susan E. Gibson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a comprehensive book that gives practical and very useful advice for anyone who has a desire to go overseas to volunteer. As an experienced volunteer myself, but in the UK and not overseas, I know the importance still, of what the author conveys and how it can be good to impart advice when so experienced in a variety of ways. Everyone who wishes to volunteer abroad will find this book helpful, practical and thought-provoking.
Please find out more in the blurb and full review below, as well as a bit about her. Thanks to Barlow Publishing for gifting me a copy of the book.

How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas

Blurb

Do you want to travel and make a positive impact on the world? This book is designed for you. It will give you practical tips on how to decide what to do and where to go. It will help you to prepare for life in a new country where life is very different. And it will help you to make sure you help the organizations serving as your host rather than be a burden. This book has lots of stories from the author’s experience around the world. She started as many volunteers do, with no idea of how to help people on the ground. After a great many stumbles, she discovered the key to being a successful volunteer overseas: First, go to learn. Then you can help.

Review

The book starts with an interesting, thought-provoking foreward by Nobel Laureate – Professor Muhammad Yunus and then Susan E. Gibson writes about what she wants to tell people about volunteering overseas and why she has written this book in the first place. Throughout, she clearly knows what she is talking about and had so much experience to share.

She wrote it, at least in part because so many people want to volunteer overseas, especially students, but she also writes how other adults also have this desire. She herself has worked in many countries and has volunteered overseas too. It states in the book there are also TED Talks and You Tube videos on this, so readers of the book may also wish to take a look at these to back up the knowledge gained from the book further.

The book was written during the Pandemic of Covid-19 and she talks a bit about the changing world, which is useful.

The book also gets readers to learn about volunteering abroad and also prompts prospective volunteers to really question what motivates them and if they really, truly want to do this abroad or not. It ensures people don’t take this decision lightly. It encourages people to volunteer locally first so they can get a feel for what it is actually like to do that and what the impact on your life and other people’s lives actually is. It also goes into how certain useful skills can be learnt as you need to learn before you’re in a position to be able to actually help, even in a volunteer post.

The book is full of really useful advice and what to watch out for so you don’t end up somewhere that is unethical and will take advantage on the tourist just wanting to help. It also talks about goals when volunteering and about expectations and what skills are useful to share and what to do if you’re limited in your skill set ie what sorts of programmes may be open to you.

There are useful tips in how to plan your trip abroad and what you need to do in advance of arrival to your destination and how to adapt when you arrive into a new country, often with a different culture, different food etc and personal safety. The book perhaps could have gone further into personal safety aspects, but it’s a pretty good snapshot. There is also good parts about when you’re actually at work, forming relationships with different people etc.

By the end there is also advice in how to reconnect with people who were left behind at home and to re-establish a new routine back at home.

It’s pretty comprehensive and gives some good and useful advice that people considering going abroad can take forward with them to wherever they end up volunteering. There is also a good checklist at the back, which people may well like to use for when they do go travelling, along with a summary of the book and a glossary.

About the Author

SUSAN E. GIBSON has been involved in the non-profit sector for more than 35 years. She has worked and volunteered in 70 countries. In 1992, Susan went to Bangladesh where she got her training in microfinance at Grameen Bank from Professor Muhammad Yunus. From 1992-2001, Susan was a consultant providing technical assistance and conducting workshops in team building, communications and microfinance principles for NGOs, UN agencies and donor governments. Currently she is a philanthropist actively engaged with NGOs in the areas of refugees, human rights and education for girls. She serves on the board of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which reports on challenging issues such as modern day slavery, climate change and women’s rights. The Foundation also offers pro bono legal support to NGOs seeking justice for victims of slavery and trafficking. Susan has served on the board of the International Rescue Committee (IRC-UK) 2012-18 and remains involved in refugee issues. She was Vice-Chair on the Carter Center UK board 2010-14 and was Co-Chair of the Human Rights Watch London Committee 2006-10. Susan was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and was based in New York in the 90s for her career in the development sector. For the last 20 years, she has lived in London, UK with her husband and teenage son. In July 2021, she and her family are starting a new chapter in Washington, DC. How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas is her first book. Connect with Susan on Instagram @amazingvolunteer and AmazingVolunteer.com