#Review By Lou of. Where Is My Smile? By Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @LoveBookTours #ChildrensBook #Wellbeing #PictureBook

Where Is My Smile
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Illustrated By Hannah Jesse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Where Is My Smile? is charmingly illustrative with an engrossing story children can engage with and adults can use as a conversation starter about emotions.

Natalie Reeves Billing has many successful books, including the Monsterous Me series for young children.

Thanks to Love Books Group for the book and review opportunity. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

A beautifully illustrated picture book about mental health for young readers. Where Is My Smile? is the story of a little boy who can’t find his smile anywhere. He searches and searches, but it’s nowhere to be found. Where could his smile be? This delightful picture book is perfect as a bedtime story, and to help little children understand that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, but we can always find our way through it. Where Is My Smile? is the first in a new series of picture books from Natalie Reeves Billing focused on children’s mental health.

Review

This is a well illustrated book of a boy who is very sad. He knows he has a smile, but it appears to be lost. He searched for it around the house. He sees the rest of his family with smiles, but he can’t seem to fin his. Even the rainy weather means the sun has lost its smile… until one day, it all changes and smiles are back.
It’s a simple story where children can have fun looking for the boy’s lost smile and guessing where it may be and how he finds it. It is clear, not only in the blurb, but also in the construct of the story, that with a pinch of ingenuity, it can also be used as a simple conversation starter to engage with children who are sad or becoming depressed. The book holds a lot of family love and a solution to what makes the boy in the story happy.

The illustrations are bold and fun as well as meaningful in a way that will also help children engage with emotions, as well as easily follow the story.

It, in conjunction with other books and support, will be a valuable tool for any parent and an enjoyable story for many young children as they learn about their own emotions and those of others, so it also then brings some empathy and understanding, which Natalie Reeves Billing does very well in her books; as proven not only in this one but also books such as her Monsterous Me series. This book – Where Is My Smile? however, also focuses on wellbeing and specifically mental health p, in a way children will quickly understand through also being entertained.

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#BookReview By Lou Two Scoops Too Much By Terri Boas @TerriBoas @rararesources #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction

Two Scoops Too Much
By Terri Boas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am delighted to present my review of Two Scoops Too Much. Unfortunately a bit later than scheduled due to work commitments and recent illness. Find out about this meatier than the title suggests, book below in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below…
I thank the author for the lovely message and ice cream chocolates and Rachel Random Resources for organising and inviting me to the blog tour.

Two Scoops Too Much cover

Blurb

Two Scoops Too Much cover (2)Three’s a crowd, but not when it comes to best mates, Briony, Natalie and Lauren. As they tipsily toast the future down their favourite local, the Red Lion, the girls have never felt closer. For Briony and Lauren at least, being intimate friends has taken on a whole new meaning. But as things between them heat up, does that mean they’ll need to put a label on their relationship?And will their provocative plot to wreak revenge on Briony’s devious ex-lover, Mani, work out, or succeed only in putting her professional reputation on the line? Meanwhile, Natalie’s affair with her sexy spin instructor, Jason, is now firmly behind her, and she isdetermined to keep the sparks flying with her loyal hubby, Martin. That is until a girls’ trip to a swanky London hotel reveals her head and her heart are still at dangerous odds; an epiphany that will have dire consequences. As the friends unite in the face of an unbearable tragedy, they’ll need each other–and ice cream–more than ever before . . 

Review

There is much drama in Two Scoops Too Much, that is enthralling. It is easy to get caught up in the lives of friends – Briony, Lauren and Natalie.

The book is about relationships, in-terms of close friendships and love. There are ups and downs and some serious moments and the question whether the relationships formed can survive or not. There are big, weighty topics amongst some of the more lighter times. With humour amongst some meaty subject matters, makes this pretty entertaining.

 Not all of the characters have healthy, good mental health, so poor mental health is a feature.
You can get under the skin of each character in their work, relationships and possible futures.

From the office to a swanky hotel, which is absolutely lush, gives some great settings. You also get to know the local pub and homes too as passions and breakdowns become apparent.

As life events become increasingly challenging, especially one that will really rock them to the core, it is interesting to see how they then try to navigate their lives.

Overall, it is an engaging book, with compelling characters. It’s a good book that will go well with icecream.

About the Author

Terri Boas lives in Hampshire with her husband, Rich, daughter, Portia and Pud, the cat. She workspart-time at The Raven Hotel in Hook. Famous children’s author, Enid Blyton wrote the first of herhundreds of books right there! Two scoops, not three is Terri’s debut novel.

 

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 Things To Do Before The End of The World @emily_barr @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours #YA #Fiction

Things To Do Before The End of The World
By Emily Barr

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Olivia is not only shy, she is an anxious teenager, who doesn’t want to do anything much and would rather hide away from the world, until she makes friends with Natasha, who takes her out of herself a bit and she discovers that she can live life to the full. It has intrigue and is thought-provokingly inspiring in part and shows some negativity in others. There is intrigue and twists and turns as family secrets are uncovered.
It is a fictional Young Adult book, with a difference – the chapter headings can be practical for teenagers/young adults, for working out some life plans… Check out the blurb and review to discover more about this latest addition to the YA market.
I thank The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour of this book.

Things To Do Before The End Of The World cover

Blurb

1. Live your best life.
2. Uncover family secrets.
3. Trust no one

What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most?
You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before?

Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do she wants to be?

Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more.
And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her.

But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .

I walked home. I kept hearing footsteps behind me, but every time I turned around, no one was there.

Review

Things To Do Before The End Of The World coverCurtains up for a production of Romeo and Juliet, echoing the final scenes. It sets the scene for the rest of the book rather well in a temper of melancholy, in a way that makes you want to hug Olivia and then look her directly in the eye to tell her to go on the adventure to discover the family she never knew she had, until now.
It is a weighty book, full of teenage angst and emotion, that her mum tries to assist with and tries to convince her to seek some extra guidance with all her social anxieties.

I kept hoping for something uplifting and hopeful within the book, something that would seem to have Olivia on-track with life, instead of seeing her feel like she is clipped and heaved back with her social anxieties. It takes some time, but seek and you will find some positivity, some of it in the form of Natasha, who befriends Olivia, who eeks her outside of her innerself.

The clever part isn’t so much in the text within the text in each chapter, but the chapter headings themselves. That’s where the “Things To Do Before The End of The World” really are, as they pointedly start to give readers a list that screams to do something and to live life. That’s where the uplifting signs come from (except “Runaway”. I wouldn’t advocate anyone does that and “Don’t Trust Anyone”, although it does all fit well within the story). Some are also sensible and will be thought-provoking to teenagers as it reminds them to think about not wasting their time in education and also to think about their mum (or whoever takes care of them). The chapter headings really excited me, once I clocked onto what they were doing. These are what, more than anything, show teens about how to “live their best life”, in a guidance sort of way.

As for the story itself, teens will be able to relate, but I have to say, I had a bit of a heavy heart to begin with, when reading it as I waded through much negativity about the world, but there is a turning point and my heart somewhat lightened. It is all there and these elements stand out more than most. On the other-hand it shows what living with anxiety can do to a person and their views on the world.
There are some pretty dark elements however, about hoping to be in contact with the dead and “playing” with tarot cards.

The travel between Spain and France provides a bit of light relief and elements of that fun with the shows they see, the fashion and some of things the friends get up to and the plans they want to make. This does help turn a corner in the story and it starts to show some uplifting elements. It also has some realism of how life just isn’t all a straight line and there are ups and downs and some curveballs, but  and in someways this is a positive in a world where people have come to expect life to be either all up or all down and in reality its a whole mixture.

I think it will provide some thought-provoking elements for teenagers to hopefully be careful when they are abroad, but also to have some fun there and at home and to realise the world isn’t all bleak.

#BookReview by Lou of One Thousand Days and A Cup of Tea by Vanessa Moore @Scribblingpsych @Kyle_Books @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #Memoir #NonFiction

One Thousand Days and A Cup of Tea
By Vanessa Moore
Rated: 4 stars ****

Heart-rendering and emotional to the max; truthful with a surge of hope, no matter how hard things get, is depicted with searing honesty that is all affecting to the core.

Grief, it strikes all of us at some point or another, including the people you would least suspect, in this case, a clinical psychologist. This is her Vanessa Moore’s memoir. At the end of my review are a few interesting facts about grief. 

I thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to review. I thank the publishers Octopus Books and Kyle Books for providing me with a copy.

Meander down to find out more about the author, the blurb, my review, some facts and I’ve included a couple of links you may find useful.

About the Author

Vanessa Moore Author pIcVanessa Moore is a clinical psychologist. She studied Psychology at the University of Bristol, gained her PhD in Experimental Psychology from University College London and trained as a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry. She has had a long career in the NHS working in clinical, teaching, research and senior management roles. She specialised in working with children and families early in her career and she has published extensively in academic journals, mainly in the field of child psychology. She is a specialist magistrate in the family courts and she lives in Hampshire.

One Thousand Days Cover

Blurb

Vanessa’s husband Paul dies suddenly and tragically on their regular Sunday morning swim.
How will she cope with her dilapidated house, her teenage children, the patients who depend on her? Will therapy help? Why do mysterious white feathers start appearing in unexpected places?

As a clinical psychologist, Vanessa Moore is used to providing therapy and guidance for her patients. But as she tries to work out how to survive the trauma that has derailed her life, she begins to understand her profession from the other side. Like her, many of her patients were faced with life events they hadn’t been expecting – a child born with a disability or life-limiting illness, a sudden bereavement, divorce, failure – and it is their struggles and stories of resilience and bravery that begin to help her process her own
personal loss.

Taking us through her journey towards recovery as she navigates the world of dating and tries to seek the right therapy, Vanessa uses her professional skills to explore the many questions posed by unanticipated death and find a way forwards. Beautifully written and honestly relayed, One Thousand Days and One Cup of
Tea is a heartbreaking grief memoir of the process of healing experienced as both a bereaved wife and clinical psychologist.

“This book is about a period of great loss in my life, a time when the tables were completely turned on me. I was a qualified therapist who suddenly found myself needing psychological therapy. I was a trained researcher who became my own research subject, as I tried to make sense of what was happening to me. I was an experienced manager who now struggled to manage the events taking place in my own life. Yet, throughout all this turmoil, my patients were always there, in the background, reminding me that there
are many different ways to deal with loss and trauma and search for a way forwards.”
Vanessa Moore

One Thousand Days Cover

Review

Grief, it’s always around people. We live, we die and most people know someone who has died and most have experienced grief. The book is an honest account from Vannessa Moore who is a clinical psychologist, who needed assistance from psychological therapy herself to move past her own grief and turning her research onto herself as she became her own research subject. It’s a brave move to have made and even more so to write about in such a judgemental world. I will say, grief is experienced differently by everyone and that’s okay. This is very much Vanessa Moore’s account of it, but she has been through a huge gambit of emotions that somewhere, people will be able to relate to some part or all of it. It’s a searing look at each stage of grief as it is lived through.

The book starts off sedately with just how normal life can be trundling along, until the next moment, it isn’t like that anymore and it changes because of a sudden and most unexpected death. It has emotion and the racing thoughts of who you need to instantly call and what to tell the children and the lead-up to the funeral. She talks of desires of unburdening onto complete strangers. People may find this relatable, if they’ve unburdened onto someone else or someone has onto them. She talks candidly about how she feels when she sees Jennifer – a Psychotherapist, who listens and sometimes shows some concern. This is certainly her accuracy and account. I cannot say if this is true for everyone, but it is for Vanessa Moore and her experiences are very interesting.

It’s a surprisingly pacy book. I half expected to be trudging through it and was glad that this isn’t the case at all. It is however a book that can be dipped in and out of and is perhaps wise in some ways to do this, depending on how you’re feeling yourself, but it is a worthwhile read as it isn’t a “poor me” story, it goes beyond that. Something terribly sad happened, but it has a truth of warts and all about it, but is just about matter-of-fact too, with some of the pragmatic.
It also seems not to hide anything that she experienced in her grief, from being so low that she found solace and comfort in talking about it, to being enraged to finding a psychosymatic calmness in white feathers and imagining they are a symbol. She seems to have experienced it all. The book does move on from her counselling sessions and onto some of her work and clients and more into her own personal life, such as the quandry as to whether to date or not and into some pretty dark corners, but also, for her, and maybe for others reading this, brings some hope for a brighter future.

There is also an interesting snapshot into how things are changing in the NHS and her views on this. It also gives interesting illumination into psychotherapists. The attitudes and more…It comes to a great and very truthful conclusion, that many readers, I’m sure will find agreeable, she also manages to give a bit of hope for everyone now as she ends on a hopeful note about the pandemic, which everyone can relate to, no matter how you’ve lived through it.

What I do think would be perhaps wonderfully helpful in books that tackle such emotive and universal subjects such as these, is a list of just a few websites and contact numbers to charities who specialise in the book’s topic, in case there is anyone who would like to reach out. That aside, this is such a worthwhile book to read. I of course, also wish 

Facts:

  • Some 800,000 women lose their spouses each year in the UK. Statistically, women are far more likely to be widowed and far less likely to remarry than men.
  • A study done by Amerispeak found that 57% of Americans are grieving the loss of
    someone close to them over the last three years.
  • According to Child Bereavement UK, a parent of children under 18 dies every 22
    minutes in the UK; around 23,600 a year. This equates to around 111 children being
    bereaved of a parent every day.
  • 1 in 29 5-16 year olds has been bereaved of a parent or sibling – that’s a child in every
    average class.

Useful, Confidential Links

ChildBereavementUK                    Samaritans

One Thousand Days BT Poster