Monday 31 May 2021

The Couple by Helly Acton | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received an e-book copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The Couple by Helly Acton - 4/5

"Millie is a perfectionist. She's happy, she's successful - and, with a great support network of friends and family (and a very grumpy cat) around her, she's never lonely. She has her dream job at a big tech firm and is on track to become the company's youngest ever Innovation Director. The last thing she needs is romance messing up her perfectly organised world.

Besides, normal people just don't have romantic relationships. Everyone knows that being in a couple is a bit . . . well, odd. Sure, everybody has that one coupled-up friend who messes up the numbers at dinner parties, but it's a bit eccentric. You know, like having a pet snake or living off the grid. Why rely on another person for your own happiness? Why risk the humiliation of unrequited love or the agony of a break-up when you can do everything yourself? No, Millie is perfectly happy with her conventional single life.

So when Millie lands a new project at work, launching a pill that stops you falling in love, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. That is, until she starts working with Ben. He's charming and funny, and Millie feels an instant connection with him. Is this the spark that science and society are trying to suppress?

Will Millie sacrifice everything she believes in for love?"

The Couple is a great twist on a regular romance. Society today tells us that to be happy and successful we all need to be in relationships. This book turns that on its head. The single life is the way to live and people who coupled up are seen as outsiders. They always need to justify why they are in a couple and even get punished by higher taxes.

29 year old Millie works at Slide, the world's fastest-growing strings-free sex app. She and her group of single friends enjoy their life. Millie has a type-A personality and has had a plan for her life since she was 16. It is all very career focused and she lives for itineraries and routine. Being in a relationship would completely ruin that. She believes that you don't need a relationship to be happy and you shouldn't rely on someone else to bring you happiness.

Ben comes to work for Slide after relocating to London from the Cardiff branch. He and Millie click instantly. A new pill is developed, Oxytoxin, which is an antidote to love. Millie and Ben are paired together to come up with a creative way to brand it. 

This is a very interesting read and not like anything I've read before. Not only does it explore love and relationships, but it was interesting to hear about Millie's work life and how she deals with setbacks. I loved her character development. Ben helps Millie see that work doesn't have to be her entire life.

I absolutely loved how any songs mentioned were reversed to be aimed towards self love like 'Love Me Like I Do' and 'Nothing Compares 2 Me'. It is very clever!

This is the first book I have read by Helly Acton, although I do have a copy of her novel The Shelf. I will definitely be reading it soon as I loved The Couple so much!

A massive thank you to Compulsive Readers for organising this blog tour and Zaffre Books for the e-book copy. You can find details of where to find other bloggers reviews in the graphic below.

Monday 24 May 2021

How To Save A Life by Eva Carter | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

How To Save A Life by Eva Carter - 4/5
"Sometimes saving a life is only the start of the story . . .

It’s nearly midnight on the eve of the millennium when eighteen-year-old Joel’s heart stops. A school friend, Kerry, performs CPR for almost twenty exhausting minutes, ultimately saving Joel’s life, while her best friend Tim freezes, unable to help.

That moment of life and death changes the course of all three lives over the next two decades: each time Kerry, Joel and Tim believe they’ve found love, discovered their vocation, or simply moved on, their lives collide again.

. . . Because bravery isn’t just about life or death decisions; it’s also about how to keep on living afterwards."

This book is a beauty. 

On New Year's Eve 1999, 17-year-olds Kerry and Tim are A-Level students hoping to become doctors. Whilst they are out celebrating, old school acquaintance and aspiring footballer Joel collapses. Kerry instantly runs to him, while Tim stands frozen, and performs CPR. He is essentially dead for 18 minutes but Kerry saved his life. 

The book then follows their lives over the course of the next eighteen years. Following Joel's cardiac arrest, he has an ICD fitted and can no longer play football because of it. His mood has changed and he feels like he has nothing to live for anymore. His life goes into a downward spiral and it is heartbreaking to read. 

We also follow Kerry and Tim's lives, all three of their relationships and how they link in together. There is massive depth to this story and while I didn't warm to any of the characters initially, I had a soft spot for Joel by the end. We see each of their struggles and how they manage to get out of them. There are a lot of crossed wires and near misses. 

How To Save A Life is a stunner of a book and carries an important message about how important it is that we all know how to do CPR correctly. It also covers topics such as death, mental health issues, miscarriage and drug abuse.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Live Well Every Day by Dr Alex George | Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book in order to take part in a readalong. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Live Well Every Day by Dr Alex George - 5/5
"Dr Alex is on a mission to empower us to make our own health choices, take positive control and feel equipped and inspired to make those small changes today that energise and future-proof for life.

'Health and happiness come from the cumulative effects of many small and positive daily changes to our lifestyle. It's about building sustainable and healthy habits - taking small and purposeful steps to a healthy future. By the end of the book, I hope my readers have developed their own "bespoke health toolkit" to be used across every aspect of their lives, and to make long-lasting and meaningful change.'

What you do consistently has a direct impact on your day-to-day health, your immune system, your mental health, your metabolism, your bone density, your heart health, your blood pressure, your energy levels and how you fight disease generally. Your lifestyle is often your body's biggest support system and the more robust you can make that the more you can rely on it to get you through every day. Think of it like your life insurance policy.

Live Well Every Day addresses the very modern health challenges of today's world - anxiety; social pressure and mental health; immune system health; how to be fit, flexible and eat well in a sedentary world; sexual health; gut health and more... Get the facts, pick your goals and take action with Dr Alex.

Small changes. Big results."

I have followed Dr Alex on Instagram for around three years now and I just think it's wonderful how he has used his new-found fame and growing platform following his television appearance.

Live Well Every Day, Dr Alex's first book, has been on my radar since it was announced and I was delighted to take part in the readalong with Adventures With Words.

Live Well Every Day is aimed to put us in charge of our own health. It is divided into seven chapters; Passion & Purpose, A Healthy Mind, Nutrition, Fitness & Flexibility, Recharge, Sex & Relationships and Taking Control Of Your Health. Dr Alex believes that each of these are fundamental areas of health. If we focus on keeping ourselves healthy when we are young, both mentally and physically, we are less likely to develop health problems when we are older.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. Not only do we have information on how to keep ourselves healthy such as mindful eating habits, tips for a better bedtime routine and easy exercises to incorporate into our daily routine, but there are case studies and bits about Dr Alex's own experiences. It is great for people who don't know where to start.

I love that there are activities for us to do and blank pages for us to fill in like our health MOT, a food diary and movement diary. Some things I knew about myself already but reading about it in this context made me face it head on and now I know what to do to change things.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson | Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a proof copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson - 4/5
"Norman and Jax are a legendary comedic duo in waiting, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they're fifteen. But when Jax dies before they turn twelve, Norman decides a tribute act for his best friend just can't wait, so he rewrites their plan:

1. Look after mum | 2. Find Dad | 3. Get to the Edinburgh Fringe

Sadie knows she won't win Mother of the Year and she's not proud she doesn't know who her son's father is. But when she finds Norman's list, all she wants is to see her son smile again... So they set off on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh, making a few stops to find Norman's dad along the way.

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman is an inspiring, feel-good novel about a small boy with a big heart - and even bigger dreams."

This is a beautiful story that made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Norman and Jax are best friends. They have been completely inseparable since they met at the age of 6. They think of themselves as a comedy duo and at the age of ten, they come up with a Five Year Plan which ends with them performing at the Edinburgh Fringe and becoming rich and famous.

When Jax dies just before his twelfth birthday, everything changes. Jax was always the outgoing, boisterous one while Norman is more reserved. Following Jax's death, Norman decides to rewrite their plan; Do Edinburgh Fringe, Look after mum, Find dad.

The chapters alternate between Norman and mum Sadie's points of view. Sadie has been a single mum for all of Norman's life. Her motherly and unconditional love for Norman is beautiful. He is everything to her and she will do anything to make him happy, so she agrees to help him find his dad on the way to the Fringe. Leonard, an elderly man she works with, agrees to help her whittle down the potential dads and do the driving up to Edinburgh from Penzance, with a few stops along the way.

Henderson writes beautifully and it is an easy read. Heartbreaking but also hilarious. The character developments of both Norman and Sadie are wonderful to read.

Saturday 8 May 2021

The Girl On The Platform by Bryony Pearce | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The Girl On The Platform by Bryony Pearce - 4/5
"I am the girl on the platform.
When new mother Bridget catches her train home from London, she witnesses something terrible: a young girl is taken from the platform, right before her eyes.

No one knows where I am.
But no one is reported missing and with Bridget the only witness, she is written off as an attention seeker. Nobody believes her – not even her own husband.

Can you find me? 
But Bridget knows what she saw, and becomes consumed with finding the little girl. Only she can save the child’s life… but could delving into the mystery cost Bridget her own?"

This is a great thriller!

New mum Bridget has gone back to work with husband Tom staying at home with their daughter Grace. On Bridget's commute home from work, she sees a child being taken from a platform that her train passes.

She reports it to the police but no one else on the train saw it happen. No children have been reported missing either. No one, not even the police, believe her. Bridget then takes it upon herself to find this missing girl but she ends up getting more than she bargained for.

This novel is written very well and Bridget's post-natal depression is a very accurate depiction. You can really sympathise with not only her, but her husband Tom too. He seems like the nicest and most tolerant man!

Bridget becomes a bit obsessed with looking into child abductions and the statistics and you can feel the frustration from her husband for putting it before her family but also from Bridget for not being listened to.

I had sort of guessed what the outcome was whilst reading but I felt like I had to keep reading on to see how it all panned out. It is full of twists and I love that it gives the reader information and clues for us to pick up on. 

A massive thank you to Avon Books for having me on the blog tour. You can see where to find other bloggers reviews in the graphic below.

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Worst. Idea. Ever. by Jane Fallon | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received an e-ARC version of this book for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Worst. Idea. Ever. by Jane Fallon - 5/5
"Best friends tell each other everything. Or do they?

Georgia and Lydia are so close, they're practically sisters.

So when Lydia starts an online business that struggles, Georgia wants to help her - but Lydia's not the kind to accept a handout. Setting up a fake Twitter account, Georgia hopes to give her friend some anonymous moral support by posing as a potential customer.

But then Lydia starts confiding in her new internet buddy and Georgia discovers she doesn't know her quite as well as she thought. Georgia knows she should reveal the truth - especially when Lydia starts talking about her - but she just can't help herself.

Until Lydia reveals a secret that could not only end their friendship, but also blow-up Georgia's marriage . . .

Georgia's in too deep.

But what can she save?

Her marriage, her friendship - or just herself?"

Jane Fallon is very quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. She has this special way of writing that instantly grabs you in the first chapter and doesn't let go. I read this book in less than a day and it had me laughing throughout.

45-year-olds Georgia and Lydia met as art students. Whilst they both wanted to get into illustration, life has turned out differently for them. Georgia is married to Nick and they have 18-year-old twins. Lydia is single. Georgia has a book deal for her children's books, Wilbur the Wallaby, and Lydia is stuck in a job she doesn't like.

Lydia starts an Etsy shop for items featuring her drawings but it seems to be going nowhere. Georgia creates a fake Twitter account under the name of Patricia to help boost Lydia's spirits. What she doesn't expect though, is for Lydia to form a relationship with "Patricia" and confide in her. Some of these things being ones Georgia may not want to hear. Things regarding her husband Nick's fidelity.

This is such an interesting and gripping read with loads of twists. I genuinely found myself gawping and grinning the whole way through, eager to see what was going to happen next. I found the topic of rivalry, competitiveness and jealousy fascinating. I think it is because it is something that could be true and could really happen. Nothing was far fetched, the characters all had depth and were very well developed. I already can't wait for Jane's next novel.

A massive thank you to Penguin Michael Joseph for having me on the blog tour. The graphic below shows where you can find the reviews of the other bloggers taking part in the tour.