Book Review – Brace Yourself by S. E. Smart

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Good morning and happy hump day! I was recently contacted by Sarah on Twitter (@BraceYourselfSS) who asked if I would be interested in reviewing her new book. She describes it as a work of fiction, based on her own experiences, and the main character lives with chronic illnesses including Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome  (POTS) and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). I jumped at the opportunity to read a book with a chronically ill lead, and being in hospital has given me lots of time to catch up with my TBR list.

Brace Yourself by S. E. Smart

The Blurb

Brace Yourself is a light-hearted look at the atypical life of ‘nice’ Lizzy, who doesn’t understand why her body and her men always let her down. Looking to regain control of her life in this rom-com with a twist, will Lizzy’s bright-side attitude finally attract the perfect partner?

This isn’t a self-help book, but if you’ve lived with chronic illness you’ll identify with Lizzy’s struggles to stay upright in a world that knocks her down. We join Lizzy on her humorous journey through a series of painful disasters. 
But with bad choices, bad men and bad Doctors behind her, Lizzy finally braces herself for a comfortable life.

Brace Yourself observes what it’s really like to live with Chronic Illness. 
Lizzy spent much of her life negotiating undiagnosed Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTs), Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and associated conditions. Rated 5 stars by fellow spoonies and zebras, with plenty of ‘me too’ moments, this unputdownable novel combines rom-com with Lizzy’s health struggles until she finally gets her diagnosis.
Described by a reader as “witty, fun and spot on!” 

“Reading this is like hanging out with your best friend” – your single, disastrously dating best friend, who is a good laugh, and who also happens to have POTs and EDS.

What I Thought

I have always fancied the idea of writing a book with a disabled or chronically ill character, so was really excited to read this and see how it worked. I loved the cover of the book, and the subtle nods to things like the zebra (the EDS spirit animal) which people in the chronic illness community will love.

Any fans of Bridget Jones type rom coms, the ‘chick lit’ genre and anyone with a chronic illness is going to love this one! The story flows really well, is definitely very witty and the lead character is so likable, she becomes like a friend. I loved the fact that there was a story alongside the chronic illness, which shows people that our lives don’t solely revolve around our illnesses. For Lizzy in this book, that centers around the world of dating post divorce. Her chronic illness throws some often hilarious spanners into the works, as well as the usual dating nightmares that can exist.

Being chronically ill I could identify with so much of what Lizzy was going through in the book. It was so good reading something like that as there are very few books I have come across that I can relate to in this way. You will find yourself laughing out loud thinking that happened to me too, as well as commiserating, thinking I know ow she feels etc.

I believe this will be the first in a series of books about Lizzy and I really hope that is true. She is a fantastic character and I really enjoyed this one so would love to read more.

Where To Buy

Amazon (Kindle and Paperback)

I hope you enjoyed reading my review and really do think everyone should give it a read, especially if you have chronic illnesses yourself or are a fan of the genres I mentioned above. My mum has now taken my copy to read as she sat chuckling reading the first few pages when she came to visit me the other day! Have you ever come across a book with a chronically ill character in it? I haven’t but would be interested in hearing of any more – pop them in the comments below and I will check them out.

I was gifted this book in return for my honest review. All opinions contained here are my own

Blog Tour Book Review – From Mum With Love

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When I got the chance to join the tour for this one, it couldn’t have been more perfect – a book about a new mummy blogger. Yes please!

From Mum With Love by Louise Emma Clarke

The Blurb

Full-time mum Jess has had enough, and her husband, Chris, has just the solution to vent her frustrations – a blog.

Jess loves her daughter more than anything, but sometimes she just wants a little bit of freedom – some time for herself. Queue a laptop, a glass of wine and the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Overnight Jess’s inbox is full of notifications and before long she is officially a ‘mummy blogger’ but this new life comes with its own set of rules and regulations. With Queen of the Bloggers, Tiggy, blanking her in public, people recognizing her on the street and her life decisions suddenly judged by strangers Jess’s idea of ‘me time’ is slowly becoming a full-time job.

Will Jess be able to find the right life/work balance? Or will she wish she’d never turned to a world online?

What I Thought

Well this book didn’t let me down, I really enjoyed the read. The author herself writes her own blog and has three young children, which inspired the story. I am now following her on Instagram and look forward to reading her blog posts.

I really loved the honest way she wrote about the first year of motherhood and the troubles Mums so often face. I felt like I could identify with so much of what she wrote – the nerves of attending the mummy and baby groups for the first few times, the loneliness, the feelings towards your partner after they have gone back to work and you get that dreaded text – I am going to be late home!She balances this nicely with the pure elation that being a Mum brings, which I really loved. I felt a part of her and her group of mummy friends – some lovely people who I couldn’t help feeling that I would be friends with as well.

I did feel the blogging part was a little bit rushed. I suppose to be able to fit in with the timeline of the book, it had to work out pretty quickly. I am sure there are some bloggers that experience this immediate and amazing success as soon as they begin blogging. However, in my experience, it starts slowly and takes a lot of work and patience to build a successful blog. I enjoyed reading about the experiences she had with the blogging community though, and feel this could be a definite reflection of the way thugs can be. I am lucky enough to have met some amazing people through my blogging work, but have heard of some people experiencing issues.

I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to book two. Definitely worth a read!

Where To Buy

Amazon

Google Play

Kobo

iBooks

The Author – Louise Emma Clarke

Louise’s blog, Mum of Boys and Mabel has over 100k followers. Having moved to Dubai with her family she’s now back in the UK and is enjoying writing. From Mum with Love is her debut novel.

Follow Louise

Facebook: @mumboysandmabel

Twitter: @mumofboysmabel

Follow Aria

Website

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Thankyou to Aria for including me on this blog tour. I was gifted the book in return for my honest review. Check out other reviews oat the blogs below

Blog Tour Book Review – The Secret To Falling In Love

The Secret To Falling In Love by Victoria Cooke

The Blurb

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

What I Thought

Where To Buy

Purchase Link

The Author – Victoria Cooke

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Giveaway

WIN an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

CLICK TO ENTER

Blog Tour Book Review – How (Not) To Marry A Duke

It is finally Friday, yay!  Hope everyone had a great week and the children who went back to school this week have had fun filled, happy times.  The boys both really like their new teachers and have enjoyed the first four days back.  I cannot wait to pick them up later for the weekend, I am so excited for snuggles and fun!

How (Not) To Marry A Duke

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The Blurb

A hilarious romantic comedy perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jo Watson and MegCabot.  One minute, Jemma Pears is a struggling theatrical make-up artist in London. The next, she’s been left a vast fortune by her estranged grandmother. The catch: she must marry a man with a title to inherit. Jemma thinks this is truly impossible: she’s a romantic, searching for true love, not just a convenient marriage…

And besides, where would she even find a titled guy?

Enter Ashford, the new Duke of Burlingham. His legacy: massive debts that he must payback immediately or risk the bank seizing his assets. Or worse: his mother’s wrath! When their lawyer hears of their situations, a secret match is made despite their mutual hatred of each other: through marrying Ashford, Jemma can inherit and Ashford can pay back his debts immediately. Problem solved. That is, until their marriage is leaked to the press and everyone finds out

Now they have to play out the charade for at least a year or risk going to jail for fraud! A hilarious pretense ensues and Jemma must battle against a crazy mother in law, a stuffy aristocracy, and finally, and most surprisingly of all, confusing feelings for Ashford.

What I Thought

I must admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book.  It was by no means terrible, but seemed a little outdated and predictable at times.  I enjoy reading a fun, frothy chick lit/romance every now and again, but this one just did not grab me.  There were some funny moments and the interactions with other characters were good, but the two main characters were quite unlikable.  Jemma is a Cinderella/Eliza Doolittle type character but as I never really connected with her as a main character, I was never really on her side. I didn’t like Ashford from the start and he never really managed to redeem himself.

As I said, I do not think this is terrible, just not for me.  Anyone who really enjoys this genre will like this, but for the occasional reader, I would choose something else.

Where To Buy

Amazon: mybook.to/HowNotToMarryADuke

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2PcUw3I

iBooks: https://apple.co/2MZVoag

The Author

Felicia Kingsley was born in 1987. She lives in a small town near Modena and works as an architect. Her debut novel How (Not) to Marry a Duke was the second most read e-book in Italy in 2017.

The Publisher

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Thankyou to Aria and NetGalley for my ARC of this book in return for a review.  All opinions are my own

Check out the other reviews on the blog tour

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