Review of This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens.

It was very surreal reading this book that is mostly set in 2020 and there is no mention of COVID, obviously!

I instantly loved Minnie Cooper – what a name! – she was just what you would want in a character for this genre. Quinn Hamilton started out as a decent sort of guy, but for me, he went down hill fairly quickly. His personal issues did explain a lot and I was torn over whether I thought they were the reason he was the way he was, or whether he used them as an excuse to hide behind when it came to intimacy.

The to-ing a d fro- ing from present day to the past was a little annoying, I totally got why the author had written chapters in the past tense and they did flesh out the background of both Minnie and Quinn, but I just wasn’t a fan of that style in this instance.

There are lots of comical moments in the book, and it isn’t dripping with saccharine sweetness, so it’s a perfect light-hearted read.
On the whole I think lovers of the romcom genre will love this book. Definitely recommended for lovers of that genre.

Saturday’s Read – Claimed By Rafa by Denna Holm.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I hadn’t read the first one so had no idea what I would be reading about in terms of the plot. The first few pages were still not enough to convince me this was a sub genre I was really interested in. I’ve never read this kind of book before – fantasy and sci fi, yes, but not this particular type. My first thoughts were that I would read the first chapter and see how I went.

The first chapter bypassed me long before I even realised, I think I was about six chapters in before I remembered what I was going to initially do. Once I realised that this particular book was not too dissimilar to any other sci fi or fantasy novel I had got about half way through.

I really did enjoy the story line and the twists and turns the author has weaved into it. Usually I will write about how believable the characters are, and so on, but that won’t do here. The characters are obviously not the usual female/male, but they do have a love story unfold. That blossoming romance that stutters and starts, just like any other romance novel, played out just how you would expect. The storyline isn’t drenched by it though, it is very much a secondary aspect to the storyline and I actually found that very refreshing.

The action within this novel is probably quite tame, but that suited me just fine. I think that is exactly what had me hooked, the lack of blood and gore and battles every other page.

Without reading the first book in this series I can’t say either way how it relates to the second, other than the fact that some of the characters are in both books. There were a couple of occasions where I was left wondering about something, but it certainly wasn’t anything major. This is definitely, in my opinion, a book you can read as a stand-alone.

Superbly written and very thoroughly researched, in the sense that it makes complete sense, the characters and plot flowed well. There are some darker moments when dealing with Aaliyah’s past, but they aren’t too graphic and they are essential to the storyline. They were written with care and compassion too, which is a credit to the author.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend it.

I read and reviewed this book for Reedsy Discovery.

https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/claimed-by-rafa-denna-holm

Review of Comfortably Uncomfortable: The Road To Happiness Isn’t Always Paved by Jacquelyn Phillips.

Raw, real and honest.

A book that guides you to face off with your fears and issues and gets into the dark places inside of you, shining a light for you on your journey of self-discovery.

Jacquelyn Phillips has ripped open her soul for all to see in this wonderfully written book. She delves into ALL OF HER ISSUES, showing us how they had crept upon her, how she had avoided owning them, and then how she faced them and finally started working through them.

Jacquelyn discusses the various treatments she has undergone over the years, detailing her opinion on whether they are effective or not. This, for me, was very refreshing. Many books of this genre will suggest a certain treatment, but rarely do you hear if the treatment is a waste of time. Obviously this is the author’s viewpoint and will not reflect everyone, but for me, I think her honesty is much needed in this field.

Throughout the book Jacquelyn references her relationship with her Mom. This pulled-back the curtain view into their personal lives is heartbreaking at times, but also offers hope to people who struggle with toxic family relationships.

The book is in three parts. The first part is all about Jacquelyn opening up Pandora’s Box getting all of her troubles and issues out into the open. This section may be uncomfortable reading, but it is absolutely necessary for us to understand how the next two parts work.

Part Two is all about the clean up phase. Here she shares the letters she wrote to her parents as part of her healing process. Those letters are raw and emotive, and they certainly don’t make for easy reading. But there is something beautiful in her words that leave you feeling the release and relief.

Part Three is all about turning pain into power. As someone who has a chronic illness, Jacquelyn has not only used her emotional pain to push her on, but her physical pain too. This is not the sort of book that preaches, it’s aimed at guiding the reader to find their self worth.

Given the difficult topics discussed in this book, I wasn’t sure if I would actually enjoy reading it. But I was surprised to find that this was a book I actually did enjoy reading.

I found this book inspirational and would recommend it.

https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/comfortably-uncomfortable-jacquelyn-phillips

Review of Better Than Capitalism by Samy Barnat.

This book is full of sobering facts about what we as humans are doing to our planet. The information contained in this book offers plenty of advice, compelling arguments, but also hope. Hope stemming from the actions we can take to heal our economic, ecological, political and health crises.

The author uses clear and concise language so that he book is easy to read – everyone should be able to access this information. There are plenty of hyperlinks to help you understand why this action must be taken. The topics being discussed are controversial, but we need to address these issues regardless of how uncomfortable we feel.

If you want to look into what we can do now to save ourselves and the earth, then this book is a must.

Review of A Forged Affair by MaryAnn Clark

forged-affair

 

I started reading this book aware that it is part of a series, but it is easy to read as a standalone book. To begin with I found the pace of the storyline quite slow, the author’s illuminative writing allowed me to picture the area of France that the book is set in, but at first I felt swamped by this.

Sticking with the story I found that after I had the first chapter under my belt the storyline opened up a lot more, the characters started to flow a lot more freely and I began to get a feel for them.

At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the protagonist, she came across as cocky. I soon learnt that this showing off that Niki was doing was a mask to hide her pain, and that warmed me to her.

Niki’s relationship with Didier was uncomplicated at first, her desire to help him out was really endearing. Her need to stand up to the bullies on his behalf really won me over. Her relationship with Luc was really complicated and this had me very frustrated right the way through the book. That said, the complications were as a result of her pain and therefore quite understandable.

During the first chapter, when I felt the story was slow, I was really certain I was not going to enjoy this book. After about the third or fourth chapter I found that the emotions of all concerned had got me gripped, I have to admit that this did surprise me.

The author has carefully woven a rather surprising story of love, friendships, heartache and an utterly independent woman who you will find endearing but frustratingly stubborn at the same time.

Her descriptive account of the area really helps to set the scene for this story. The characters are both likeable and believable, although some of the background characters lacked dimension at times. That said, this did not take anything away from the storyline, nor did it interfere with the flow of the story.

I found this book enjoyable and thought provoking. Niki’s character caused me to ponder what it would be like for a young female to be travelling around France and then to dive headfirst into a friendship with a man she has just met.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, her knowledge about the area of France that the book is set in and the activities that the characters are involved in comes across very well. I would definitely recommend this book to family and friends.

Review of Roar.

This book appealed to me as soon as I saw the title. Thirty short stories by thirty women who were sharing their stories, their voice with the world. I have seen some fairly negative reviews on this book and did wonder if I had maybe picked a book that was not as good as I had initially thought.

The stories in this book are all inspiring, not really in a “grab em by the balls” sort of way, but in a way that shows there is always someone out there who is having issues in their life too.

Having read through the book I found I was disagreeing with the critics, but that doesn’t make their opinion any less valid, on the contrary, it allows us to see that this book is dividing opinions, and therefore it makes it worthy of a read.

I didn’t have a clear favourite story, each time I read one I would think about how much I felt what that particular woman was going through. Then I would move onto the next story and the same feelings were evoked again.

Each story is thought-provoking. Each story touches you somewhere deep inside and stirs up a whole host of emotions. From the story about the woman who feels invisible to the story about the refugee mother who feels fear each time she takes her children to school.

This book gives a voice to all women who feel alienated in one way or another. This book champions women the world over, giving the female population a voice to be heard, allowing our struggles to come forth and challenge them.

It may not be to everyone’s taste, and that’s perfectly fine. My opinion is that I found it very thought-provoking and humbling. I felt a deep sense of respect for these women who shared their stories, albeit through the author.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Essential Oil Diffuser Review.

As a lover of essential oils and all things scent related I was very happy to review this product for Organic Aromas; you can find them here.

As soon as the product arrived I knew it was going to be something special.  Gone was the image I had created in my mind – think a ceramic vase shaped item with reeds with essential oils added, and you have conjured up the image I had.  Now replace with the image of a gorgeous, polished wooden base with a custom blown glass diffuser.  The contrasts are striking.  To help aid your visualisations you can view the diffusers here – Essential Oil Diffuser.

Included in the box was a bottle of their Signature essential oil blend.  After reading the instructions and carefully setting the diffuser up I was good to go.  Once I had plugged the diffuser in and turned the dial on I was blown away by the gorgeous array of colours that unfolded before my eyes.

 

This delightful diffuser is so easy to use, it really is as simple as adding the essential oil, plugging it in and allowing the gorgeous scents to permeate your home, or office, relaxing your mind and spirit.  A full explanation of how the diffusers work can be found here.

Essential oils have healing properties in them and can be beneficial to our health and wellbeing.  Using them in a diffuser is an excellent way of incorporating them into your life, especially if you are concerned about using them directly onto your skin.  There are so many oils you can choose from, but if you are not sure what to use in your very own diffuser then Organic Aromas have some suggestions – Essential Oils.

Some questions you may want answers to:

What is a nebulizing diffuser?

A nebulizing diffuser is a specific type of diffuser that uses the process of nebulization to achieve evaporation.  This means that the essential oil is broken down into tiny particles and then released into the air as a very fine mist.  So, the diffuser releases the essential oil into the air as a fine mist.

 

What are the benefits of using a nebulizing oil diffuser?

The benefits of using this type of oil diffuser are that the dispersal of the essential oil into the room, or office, with the scent and healing properties of whichever oil you have used in it.  Not only do you feel the positive effects that the essential oil has, but you can smell it too, and that, for me at least, is always a positive.  Whenever I feel low, stressed, ill, or even just tired the uplifting aromas of essential oils always have a positive effect on me.  For a long time now I have used an oil burner when I am working, not just to give my home a lovely smell, but also to help keep me in a positive frame of mind too.  The drawback to the oil burner is that you have to keep checking up on the level of oil and water and ensure your candle stays lit.  With this type of oil diffuser, you simply add your oil, plug it in and  can go about your day without the need to constantly check up on it.  Unlike other electric diffusers, these diffusers are quiet, there is absolutely no noise from them, so no distracting buzzing or humming in the background.  Included in the box that your nebulizing diffuser comes in are two pipettes for adding the essential oils to the glass bowl, ruling out fiddly and messy setting up.

View Nebulizing Diffusers for yourself to appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of these products.

Organic Aromas can be found at the following places on social media:

 

https://www.facebook.com/organicaromasaromatherapy/

https://twitter.com/OrganicAromas

https://www.instagram.com/organicaromas/

 

I have used my diffuser every day since it arrived and it has become a firm favourite already.  I am still trying out different oils and blends, so have yet to decide on a favourite scent, but the possibilities are endless.  Overall this product is a fabulous addition to any home or office and is beneficial to the health and well-being of those who use it.  Pricewise it is a little higher than your average diffuser, but, when you consider the craftsmanship that has gone into producing such an excellent product you feel like the price fairly reflects the quality.  So far I am very satisfied with this product and would highly recommend it.

Overall Rating  5 stars. *****