Reading saved my sanity.

I can still remember the strange feeling in my throat, my heart was racing, my hands and feet were so clammy and I felt like I was about to pass out.  I was scared, I felt like I was dying and I even had visions of paramedics using defibrillators on me. My thoughts …… I’m never going to see my husband and children again.

December the 2nd 2016, I had my first ever panic attack and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Give me childbirth any day, a panic attack is the worst feeling in the world. My husband had took my children to a party, I was home alone when it happened. I didn’t know at the time that it was a panic attack. I rang my mum for help but as I was talking to her, the feeling was getting worse, so I told my mum I was hanging up to call for an ambulance. My parents and the paramedics arrived and it was after all the necessary checks that the paramedic told me that I wasn’t dying I was having a panic attack. It took me a long time to calm down and when I did I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. I went to the doctors on the Monday and they started me on Sertraline. I thought I wouldn’t have one again, I was wrong ! I had my next panic attack 3 days later. I went straight to the doctors and whilst waiting to be seen I managed to get it under control but then another one came on. The doctor saw the state I was in and signed me off work until after Christmas. When I got home I had another 3 one after another. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. Breathing slowly did not calm me down but talking or singing did. It was whilst I was having one and my husband was trying to calm me ,he got me to name my ten favourite books – for a bookworm like me this was tricky I love loads of books but it worked and I focused on listing them to him and the panic attack went.

I realised to take my mind off the worry I needed to read and escape reality. So I focused on reading as much as I could and reviewing the books for my blog. I really started to lose myself in books like never before because I knew if I lost myself in the story I wouldn’t be thinking about the ‘what if’s’ that come with my anxiety. My counsellor said to me that it sounded like I was reading and imagining myself as the characters without any worries and when I thought about this I realised he was right, I wanted more than anything to relate to these carefree characters with no worries, who didn’t have anxiety and always felt like something bad was going to happen. I write my reviews on my blog with more passion than before and I am now focusing on building my blog up so that maybe one day I can make a career out of my reading and reviewing. My TBR pile keeps on growing thanks to Netgalley and all the lovely publishers and authors who supply me with proofs in exchange for an honest review. My mum doesn’t really understand why I read as much as I do and when I told her recently that I would love to not have to work and read all the time she simply replied “that’s why your depressed”…….. I’m not depressed I have anxiety and reading is better than any medication the doctor can prescribe me. My husband on the other hand is very supportive of me and my reading, he doesn’t mind all the books I have still to be read, he doesn’t mind when I disappear in the bath for over an hour to read or when I go to bed early to read because he can see that it is helping me and it makes me happy.

Thanks to all my Twitter friends and followers, we’re all on the same page when it comes to our love of reading. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my blog posts, this rally helps my confidence to grow.

 

Close To Me by Amanda Reynolds

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When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia – she’s lost a whole year of memories.

A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family ? Starting a new life ? 

She can’t remember what she did – or what happened the night she fell.

But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.

My Review.

A gripping read full of secrets, lies and betrayal. You won’t believe that this is a debut book, it is so well written.

I throughly enjoyed this book, I couldn’t put it down- I even didn’t want to go to work one day because I wanted to devour it all at once.

There are so many strong characters within this book and from the off I imagined Liam Neeson as Rob. I think it was the grey hair thing! Rob comes across as a strong, family man who would do anything to protect his wife Jo, who has had a fall and lost a years worth of vital memories. Jo before the fall comes across as a strong , laid back and caring mother yet after the fall Jo seems cold, bitter and very fragile- which is understanding when no one will tell you what happened in that year that you cannot remember. I felt that Sash was the favourite child and got whatever she wanted and I felt sorry for Finn as he seemed like the black sheep of the family- hardly getting a look in.

There are so many twists in this story , just as you think you can piece the mystery together, the story completely surprises you and goes in the complete opposite direction to where you thought it was going. I really liked how each chapter alternated between before Jo’s fall and after the fall, it really gave me a chance to get to know the characters ins and outs.

There was a strong message in this story for parents  with young children at home like myself, that message was to enjoy every moment with them whilst they are still living at home because once they have flew the nest you will wish you could turn back time and have them home again.

A fantastic book, perfect for fans of SJ Watson, Clare Mackintosh and Lisa Jewell. Thanks to Katie Brown at Headline for the proof copy.

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

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With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

Another wonderful book from the very talented Amanda Prowse, Amanda Prowse is a genius when it comes to writing stories because she always covers important real life matters that help people who have been in the same situation , you could say her books are like a self help guide combined with a novel.

This story covers the subject of miscarriage and how it affects both the mother and the father. I fortunately have 2 healthy children but I could relate to Lucy in the way that she described that everywhere she looked there were pregnant women or newborn babies because before I conceived my first child I was told by a doctor that I would probably struggle to conceive naturally due to hormone levels not looking right, I remember clearly how when I was told this it was like I was punched in the gut because all I wanted was a baby and then everywhere I went there were pregnant women, it was like it was being rubbed in my face. Fortunately I did conceive naturally but I remember feeling scared every time I went to the toilet, scared I would loose my baby due to my stupid hormone levels. I felt for Lucy strongly, I just wanted to give her a big cuddle. Lucy deep down never gave up hope, she was inspiring. Jonah was fantastic in how he supported Lucy, he was like a big warm duvet on a cold day, comforting and embracing Lucy. Camille was a breath of fresh air that Lucy and Jonah needed – although Lucy could not always see this.

I especially loved the letters after each chapter and as the story went on,I began  to understand more where Lucy was coming from and felt as if I was unlocking her big secret.

This is a story that broke my heart but made me feel extremely grateful for my 2 children.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in return for my honest opinion.

 

 

My 2nd home when I was growing up

Today I went to my local library to have a browse for some books that my daughter may enjoy as she has lost her reading mojo and like me she has anxiety so I think winding down at night with a book will help her.

Anyway I took some photos to share with you of my village library. This place holds so many happy memories for me, I was in there all the time growing up and when I was a teenager I would get quite annoyed when my friend was telling me to just choose any book !!! I would be in there an hour at least reading the backs of the books.

This little library is closing next month as our village is getting a bigger library so it kind of feels like the end of an era for me.

The Sisters of Battle Road by J.M.Maloney

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1939 Annie Jarman and her six young daughters were evacuated from their south London home and sent to the Sussex countryside to wait out the war. Refusing to be parted, they faced the unknown together, never imagining just how much their lives would change.

From the trials and tribulations of leaving London, the destructive horror of the Blitz and terrible family tragedy to tea dances, romances and the triumph of making a new life in the country, The Sisters of Battle Road is the compelling true story of six ordinary girls who carved out a life in extraordinary wartime circumstances.

Today, the six young girls – Mary, Joan, Sheila, Kathleen, Patricia and Ann – are six remarkable women who have lived to tell their tale of sisterhood and its unbreakable bonds in the shadow of World War Two.

An emotional true story about 6 sisters who are evacuated with their mother at a young age and even though times were tough they made the best of a bad situation and always stuck together. The sisters had such a close bond with one another and always stuck together, this really made the story even more wonderful for me.

Although there was a war going on, I would have loved to have lived back in those days, when neighbours actually spoke to one another, there were no iPads that the children were hooked too, they made their own fun. One thing that especially struck me of how society has changed was how when the Jarmans moved into Battle Road, people would help them out and give them furniture yet today people won’t give you anything for free !!

I learnt a lot from reading this book about History and the war, I never knew there was such thing as a Morrison shelter ! I was in my garden the other day and a plane went overhead and I imagined how scary it must have been to hear planes coming over back then ,knowing they could drop a bomb at any moment !!

This is a story that will forever make me feel grateful for the little things in life that we take for granted.

Thanks to Rosie Margesson at Transworld books for sending me a manuscript.

 

 

 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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12.07. There’s a monster at Connor’s window. It’s not the one from his nightmare. But it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Connor. It wants the truth. 

My review

This is a book that has been published a while but I only came across it because of the movie trailer and great reviews. I really want to watch the film but I am the type of person that if there is a book of the film I like to read the book first and then watch the film. I just hope the film loves up to the book now as it is such a great story.

This story follows Connor whose mum is sick, she has cancer. Before the ‘monster’ arrives, Connors mums illness does not seem too bad but then when the monster arrives it makes it seem bad and things go downhill quickly. Initially Connor is afraid of the monster but the more he sees of him and hears his tales ( tales that coincidentally coincide with Connor’s life) , Connor becomes less afraid and more dependent on the monster. I especially loved the ‘belief is healing’ quote.

I read this book in 3 days and highly recommend it.

The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

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When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help.


Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop.

Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate.

And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish?

My Review

A delicious, feel good read that will leave you with sweet memories, perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Carole Matthews and Caroline Roberts.

I knew I was going to love this book by the lovely, captivating cover. I have a sweet tooth (I have a mouthful of fillings to prove it!) so this story was a perfect match for me.

It has a real variation of characters, all of which I liked except for Isobel , the vile yummy mummy who tries to make Marnies life hell. Marnie herself I really liked but I sometimes felt like I wanted to give her a good shake to boost her self-esteem, she seemed to hide behind her fringe a lot ! I thought Beth was a breath of fresh air, I connected with her especially as she nicknamed her unborn baby Bunty – that was my childhood nickname and I enjoyed the little history snippets from her, I learnt something new about Henry VIII ! Josh reminded me of Marnies mum in how he seemed such a free spirit. Doris was a typical busybody who thought of herself as a sleuth, some of the things she came out with had me grinning.

This is a story of fate, love and reminds you that ‘there is no place like home’ , wherever you are in the world you will always have one special place that you belong. I am thrilled to read that the next Installment of ‘The Beachside’ story will be out in April as ‘The Beachside Flower Shop’ , I hope to read about familiar characters.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this lovely story.