#Review by Lou of -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such good entertainment and fun which is so uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit. 
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2

#Interview by Lou with Backstories Author – Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #ShortStories #Backstories #Charities

Interview with Simon Van Der Velde
Author of Backstories

Today I welcome Bestselling author – Simon Van Der Velde, whose new book, is Backstories for a Q&A session. It is already becoming a success story in itself for this debut short-story teller with his book rapidly reaching Amazon no 1 bestseller – for lit shorts new releases. The book is available now.
What a priveledge to be able to interview him.

Backstories
is a highly original collection of 14 intimate short stories about famous and infamous people who you may know. These tell their stories, fictionalised, but with enough fact so you, the reader, can guess who the narrator is. I rated it 5 stars and was hooked into each story from beginning to end.

You can find out more  Here First, check out what he has to say in his interview/Q&A session with me as we talk about Backstories, Writing, Desert Island Books and Music and Emerging From Lockdown. You can also find buy and social media links and the charities this book supports at the end.

Backstories

What or who inspired you to write short stories and do you have a particular routine to your writing day?

There were always books in our house, so I guess writing is an ambition that goes right back to childhood.  I do love novels too, but sometimes I feel there’s greater power and truth in the shorter form.

Backstories (2)The best ideas come in that fuzzy place between wake and sleep.  Ideally, I roll out of bed and start writing – often in my ‘office kimono’, with those ideas still fresh in my mind.

You are clearly fascinated in the human soul and bearing all, what inspired you to delve into the deeper and sometimes darker corners of life to create your characters?

I’m not much use at parties.  I find the superficial boring. Give me the truth every time.

You have a particular writing style and don’t let on too easily who the narrator is of each of the stories. Was there a particular reason or inspiration for this?

The longer I write, the more I see that a story is a collaboration between reader and writer.  Readers aren’t interested in writers showing off how clever they are, readers want to be engaged – to be an active part of the process, and in Backstories they absolutely are.  Let’s call it an interactive reading experience.

What was your favourite short story in this collection to write and why?

I love the Guitar which was the inspiration for the collection – and Past Time and Jive Talkin – but in the end I think All Over Now is my favourite, probably because it was hell to write and rewrite and throw away and start again over and over and over, but in the end I really feel I did the character justice – and at is what I aim to do – to do justice to these great men and women – and give a human insight into the bad guys too.

In couple of sentences, how would you describe your book?

Let’s call it an interactive reading experience – or as someone said – the thinking person’s masked singer.  Certainly, I’d say it’s the most original book of the year.

Music notesWhat are your top 3 Desert Island books and music?

Waiting for the Barbarians, The Heart of The Matter –
and for music – Springsteen’s Thunder Road
                                 gets me every time

What is your next writing venture?

Backstories II, Backstories Musicians, Backstories Leaders.pen and paper pic

And last question, because let’s face it, it’s hard to avoid…. What is the main thing you are looking forward to getting back to, when it is safe to do so?

A few glasses of decent whisky with friends

Thank you very much to Simon Van Der Velde for giving me the opportunity to interview. It was a pleasure having you on my blog.

Buy and Social Media Links

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

Amazon – Backstories              Audible

Goodreads-Backstories   

BookBub-Backstories

http://www.simonvandervelde.com/

#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

#CoverReveal What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster @zafatista @eturns_112 @TrapezeBooks #WhatsMineandYours

What’s Mine And Yours
By Naima Coster

This afternoon I am excited and delighted to be part of the cover reveal for What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster. Take a look at the lovely cover and as you browse down, you’ll see the blurb to discover more what this book is about. Thanks to Ellen Turner at Trapeze Books publishers for allowing me to be part of this.
Published 27th of May, so this is the perfect opportunity to whet your appetite and get to know a bit about the book.

WMAY-cover-still jacket

Blurb

WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS is a breath-taking new novel about identity, family, love and the ways in which race can affect even the closest of relationships.

 When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all-white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives.


On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee’s steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle’s enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey’s daughters return home to visit her in hospital, they’re forced to confront the ways their parents’ decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love

#BookReview by Lou of My Sister Is A Monster, My Brother Is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #MonstrousMe #ChildrensBook

My Sister Is A Monster, My Brother Is A Monster
by Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing with you the next installment of this wonderful series. Each book is complete within themselves and are worth collecting them all for the complete family of them. It is a split-perspective story, so you see both the sister and brother’s point of view. First one and then flip the book over to see the next, in whatever order you like, so it’s a bit like 2 stories for the price of 1 and with all the same excellent characters in both. It’s fun and it encourages a sense of self and empathy. Find out more about the author, the blurb and my full review of this excellent book as you meander down the page. Discover a link to activities that accompany the book after my review.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review. Thanks to the author Natalie Reeves Billing for sending me the book.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (5)Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

My Brother Graphic 1

Blurb

Two Books in 1! The Monstrous Me Collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this book, a brother and sister are convinced the other is a monster. But, are they really? When we look at the story from the other side, we see a very different story.

My sister Cover

    My Brother FINAL cover

Review

This is again, another terrific book that flips 2-ways to tell 2 stories. This time it focuses on the brother and the sister. It, like other books in this collection, has interactive elements of trying to find the Monstrometer as you go along. It adds an extra layer of fun and it is great that there are activities on her Lollipop Lodge website, which you can find just after the review.
Half the book is My Brother Is A Monster and then you flip it over to find My Sister is a Monster, or indeed, vice-versa, which is also fun and quite different.

The story starts at breakfast time, moving onto school and back home again before heading to bed. It tells of how the brother has the worst eating habits, bully’s his sister at school and then at home, won’t let her play with his toys and messes up the rules and the house. Then at the end, it demonstrates how he does love his sister really and does something courageous for her.
On the flipside, her brother sees his sister as being a monster as she is fussy at breakfast and has rules and then come school, won’t join in any games she thinks she will lose. At home she won’t leave her brother alone and tidies up rather prematurely. After all that, she then gives her brother a lovely homemade gift and shows she does love him after all.

The book is well-rounded and encourages empathy and understanding as children will be able to see through the eyes of both characters and work out how things really are and what is percieved. I has wonderful humour, rhythm and illustrations throughout will easily engage children.
This is a book that is part of a great collection that will be sure to delight children throughout at home and in the classroom. It can be used for both reading for pleasure and in a nursery and young classroom school setting, such as Reception or Primary 1, for fun and for stimulating conversation. 

Link to Activities

www.lollipoplodge.com

My Brother BT Poster

#BookReview of The Unicorn Prince by Luca Simone Lo Piccolo and ArtinAction #ChildrensBook (4-6 yr olds) #Kidslit

The Unicorn Prince by
 Luca Simone Lo Piccolo
and ArtinAction

Rated: 4 stars ****

Enter a magical kingdom of a unicorn prince who learns a valuable lesson from a fairy. With bold illustrations, a story, plus colouring-in pages, this is a delightful book for 4-6 year olds that will give pleasure as well as subtly teach them social lessons. Please note on the book you may see his name as Lo Piccolo Luca Simone.
Follow down to find out more in the blurb and my review. Find out what the second book is called and a buy link.

The Unicorn Prince

Blurb

A fun and valuable tale which encourages kids to celebrate people for who they really are.

The Prince of the Unicorns is the most beautiful unicorn of them all – but he has a problem. He thinks he’s so beautiful and special that he doesn’t want to play with the other unicorns in the kingdom! But with the help of a magical fairy, he might just learn a valuable lesson about vanity and humility which changes his mind forever…

With lovely illustrations and a heartwarming story, this touching children’s book teaches kids a valuable lesson about how a person’s character matters far more than their looks or their status. Encouraging kids to see past vanity and celebrate others for who they truly are, The Unicorn Prince uses an enjoyable story to impart a lesson which they won’t soon forget.

Book details:

  • A Fun and Engaging Story For Children Aged 4-6
  • Teaches Kids a Valuable Lesson About Humility and Not Thinking Too Highly of Oneself
  • Makes a Creative Gift Idea For Christmas, Holidays, Birthdays and Special Occasions
  • Ideal as a Bedtime Story, For Groups, or To Help Your Child Strengthen Their Reading Skills
  • And Much More!

With free bonus coloring pages for your child to bring to life with color, this wonderful tale will quickly become a favorite part of your bookshelf and a story which you find yourselves returning to time and time again.

The Unicorn Prince

Review

Pitched well for 4-6 year olds, the book is bright and eye-catching in its full pages of illustrations. Don’t be put off by the fact it is 48 pages, this isn’t 48 pages full of writing . On each page where the story is being told in a few short sentences, are illustrations and almost uniquely, this alternates with pages with no words, but a full page of an illustration, accompanying also what has just been read, which definitely has a high visual impact. From around page 33 onwards are delightful colouring-in pages that accompany the story very well as they depict some of the story. The colourings are suitable for the age-range and not too intricate, but without being too basic either and there are plenty for children to have fun with.
This makes the book very accessible for children of all abilities and how it is as wide-ranging as 4-6 year olds.
It is sure to motivate those children who are also perhaps reluctant readers when they reach 5 and 6 year olds too. It’s very much a book that children can look at independantly, share with their friends and for the story, share with an adult to read it to them or with them. The story has the elements and types of characters that children will be familiar with many fairytales, but taken to modern times and issues surrounding how society, including children can view themselves and the valuable lessons on a more positive path can be realised, but in a magical and wondrous way, with a unicorn prince and a fairy.

The book tackles themes of loneliness amongst the young and also attitudes of thinking highly of themselves over others. It illustrates very well how the Prince has everything materialistically, but what he doesn’t have is friendship and how this makes him feel. It also shows his snobbery a bit and how he thinks because he is a prince, that he is better and higher than anyone else in society. There is a fairy who shows her power and changes perspectives on the Unicorn Prince and how he is viewed by making the sky dark, thereby diminishing his physical beauty and glow about it, making him seem like all the other unicorns.In amongst all the emotion children will see, there is a change in tide to show a more positive and happy pictures as the Prince Unicorn discovers games and the enjoyment of just playing around and being like the other unicorns.

This is a good book for any story-time and as well as reading for pleasure, it can be used to open-up a discussion too. There is also a second book called – The Unicorn Prince and The Fairy Vase.
Buy Link: Amazon