#Review by Lou of The Imperfect Art of Caring By Jessica Ryn @Jessryn1 @alliyabouyis @HQstories @HarperCollins #BlogTour #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction

The Imperfect Art of Caring
By Jessica Ryn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Realistic, identifiable and heartwarming. The Imperfect Art of Caring shows so much in its character’s lives. Find the full review below the blurb. Thanks first to HQ Stories for gifting me the book and for having me on the blog tour.

Blurb

The Imperfect Art of CaringOne small act can make a big difference

Violet Strong is strong by name but not by nature, or so she thinks. She listens but never talks about herself. She’s friendly but doesn’t have many real friends. She’s become good at keeping people at a distance ever since she left home at eighteen and never looked back.

But when Violet is forced to return home to care for her estranged mother, Glenys, she quickly finds out that life as a carer isn’t easy. Feeling overwhelmed, she’s forced to turn to the other local carers, including childhood friend, Adam, for help.

Although returning home still feels like a mistake, maybe it will help Violet right some wrongs. After all, she can’t keep running from her past forever, and in learning to look after others, perhaps Violet can start to finally love herself…

Review

Caring, it’s a position so many people find themselves in and there are the challenging conversations to have with family for what to do for best. This is the situation sisters Violet and Jodie find themselves in, when it comes to the time to chat about what to do with their mum, Glenys. Then there’s also the added complexity that Violet hasn’t seen Jodie for years and what to do with her mum’s house, thinking of residential care and also caring for her in the interim period, whilst they decide what to do for best and sort out necessary arrangements. There’s also the assessments, when Violet, ends up looking into care homes and the way that Glenys is feels true to life.

There is some humour and some lovely descriptions and book series titles, blogs, life to be lived, which gives it a 3 dimensional feel, because when you’re dealing with caring there are other things going on too and the world doesn’t just stop. This book is heartwarming and shows kindness within its characters.

The book moves onto Tammy, who is also needing care. There’s only her and her mum and Tammy, who has a disability is trying to live independently, something that her mum finds a bit hard to get her head around at times. The descriptions of how silence is, is intense.
Their stories converge as they end up being neighbours. There are thoughtful, poignant moments throughout and some wise advice from a guy called Adam Croft.
It’s interesting seeing Tammy trying to get on with her life, but also bearing in mind all that her mum has told her. Violet also helps a bit and gives some sound advice. There’s also a search for Tammy’s father, but also a bit of doubt kicks in as to whether it is a good idea or not. In the meantime, it is interesting and positive seeing Tammy progress in life.

For both Violet’s and Tammy’s stories of how life is playing out for them, there is strength of character through the emotions and the getting through life the best they can. There is also a bit of potential romance in the offering.

There’s the highs and lows of caring that are within the book and whether you’re caring for someone or not, even though this is a fictional book, there’s lots both sets of people can take away with them. For carers, it is that it is an “Imperfect Art of Caring” that people try their best to muddle through, and also gives ideas of how to find some support.
For the cared for, there is the drive and determination running through life as well as support.
For those who don’t care for anyone in the sense that this book is talking about, it gives a pretty good picture of the situations faced, at least from a point of view, but without being too heavy.

There’s also the care shown for libraries and a campaign to support them, which is pleasing as so many are lost. It also demonstrates that they are places to ask people for help in. It’s short, but really stands out.

The book is realistic and shows that caring is indeed an “Imperfect Art”, which, anyone who is caring for someone in any situation will know and will have experienced some of what is in the book to a certain extent, depending on situations, including juggling their own life. I see the book as pretty realistic as I am an unpaid carer, writing a blog and juggling other life things as well as caring.

#BookReview by Lou – The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories #TheWildGirls #Thriller

The Wild Girls
By Pheobe Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once started, I had so much fun reading The Wild Girls. It is entertainment with trepidation, intriguing notes, travel and terrific energy within those pages in this stand-alone book, that will keep you hooked into this thriller until the end. It’s a luxury retreat at a safari and birthday party with a difference.

Thanks to HQ Stories for gifting me the book.

Find out more about it in the blurb and then read onto my full review and find the praise, website and  buy links too.

The Wild Girls

Blurb

FOUR FRIENDS.
A LUXURY RETREAT.
IT’S GOING TO BE MURDER.

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
Has it all, but chose love over her friends…

THE TEACHER
Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…

THE MOTHER
Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…

THE INTROVERT
Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

THE HUNT IS ON.

Review

The Wild GirlsThe writing is dramatic and carries a terrific energy, even when it is something as simple as a letter dropping through a letterbox!

It’s entertaining, finding out about the lives of Grace, Alice and Hannah the sub-characters ( the main characters, as seems to be a style, which I have grown to like more, have parts of chapters to themselves). There is also quite an introduction of the characters, leading up to the first chapter. There’s Grace, who recieves an invitation to Felicity’s birthday in Botswana; Alice (and Tom) who appears to be having financial issues; Hannah (and Chris), who have a young family. These are The Wild Girls!

It has much intrigue surrounding Felicity’s invitation. There is more than meets the eye to it and it isn’t as simple as an invite and that isn’t just the location, this involves how it insinuates how relationships between The Wild Girls have been, prior to this, which is said within the book.

Deception Valley Lodge Complex adds an unexpected twist to the accomodation in the gorgeous setting of Botswana, with the African plains, wildlife and Limpopo River, not least as to how it is all set-up and there are messages abound from Felicity, which add mystery and intrigue. There are notes and messages abound from the birthday girl, but the book becomes twisty and has an unexpected sinister and feel with tension and mystery building about the birthday. This is a book with many surprises within it. It has a feel of Agatha Christie’s – “And Then There Were None” in a sense, as people’s feelings, insecurities and life stories start to tumble out and somone vital is missing, so the hunt is on to find out what is going on as it turns out the birthday party gathering isn’t all as is seems and far from what the guests were expecting.

Part Two has many revelations and set before Botswana. This is more deftly done than expected as it is as interesting as Part One and pieces things together. It is cleverly written and writing it this way round works very well and flows incredibly well from what went on previously in the first part. It’s a chance to see the characters outwith Botswana and how they interacted with each other then. Part way through, I was hoping for at least a part 3 and it came and plunged the characters to their present time in Botswana and the pace picks up again and the tension builds another notch and it is breath-taking or gasping in the darkest way, which may also make your spine be chilled to the bone as the biggest and deepest revelation of them all comes out.

In a world where foreign holidays are a bit off the cards just now, this book does well in replacing that travel in its vibrancy and the wonderful premise of a birthday party.

Praise for The Wild Girls:

‘Combines a beautiful, exotic location with a slithering, unsettling sense of suspense. A page-turner, full of secrets and reveals’ Adele Parks, Platinum

‘A delightfully sinister tale’ Crime Monthly

‘Tense, well-paced and with a cast of relatable flesh-and-blood women, The Wild Girls is an exhilarating, read-in-one-sitting ride’ Louise Candlish

Links and Buy Links

The Wild Girls 

Phoebe Morgan’s Website

Waterstones

Bookshop.org

Amazon