Book Review – First Rhyme Mum

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I was recently contacted by the author Leanne Stoneley on Twitter (@MomRhyme) and asked to review her new book, First Rhyme Mom. Poetry is not one of my favorite genres but I took a look at her profile and website and really liked the sound of it, so agreed!

First Rhyme Mom

The Blurb

HUMOROUS, HONEST, HEARTFELT: A poetic journey through pregnancy and the first six months of motherhood. Split into two sections – one for pregnancy and the other for the first six months of motherhood – this collection of 40 poems covers topics, such as: announcing a pregnancy, giving birth, the lack of sleep, the highest and lowest emotions felt, the mommy social world, weaning, the funny bits, having ‘me time’, as well as a whole host of other things pregnancy and early motherhood thrust upon us! Written in a thought-provoking, original and relatable way, this collection is the perfect companion and keepsake for every parent and those soon to be. This is the first book in the ‘First Rhyme Mom’ series.

What I Thought

Well, I am so glad I moved out of my reading comfort zone to give this one a try – I loved it!

Leanne’s poems were a fab mix of the relatable (‘Fine’), to the funny (OMG! (Ode To Having A Wee)), to the beautiful (Sunbeam) and pretty much everything in between. It was modern, with current parenting ‘trends’ addressed within it’s covers, as well as with some of the feelings that mother’s to be and new mum’s have been experiencing for years.

This would make an ideal baby shower, new mum or mother’s day gift and I highly recommend a read by all mummies!

Extract From ‘…For Doing Wrong’

“What do I do? I’m a first time mom,

and all these feelings have me in a daze.”

“You need to do what’s right for you both;

we all have our own little ways.

By all means take on board what you need,

but don’t be swayed because opinion is strong,

as then you’ll feel pulled in different directions

and that you can’t do right for doing wrong.”


Leanne Stoneley ‘ …For Doing Wrong’

Buy now on Amazon UK – Paperback or Kindle

The Author – Leanne Stoneley

Leanne has worked as an English Language teacher for fifteen years and spent the majority of her twenties living in Japan and Spain, as well as in London, Birmingham and Leeds, UK. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Now in her mid-thirties, motherhood has taken her on a whole new adventure and is one she absolutely had to write about.
Leanne now lives back in her home region of the West Midlands, UK, with her husband and daughter.

Check out the First Rhyme Mom website


Leanne has kindly gifted me an extra copy of the book to giveaway. I have added some goodies as well, so to be in with a chance of winning a little Mummy care gift parcel please head over to my Instagram page to find the giveaway post going live today (Monday 18th March 2019).

Thank you for reading this review and I hope it has left you wanting to read more of this fab little book. What books have you read recently that have been a step out of your comfort zone? Let me know in the comments below, and how you found it! Don’t forget to head over to my Instagram page and enter the giveaway which will run till Friday – good luck!

I was gifted this book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. Clicking on an affiliate link will; not affect your purchase in any way but may earn me some extra pennies!

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

International Women’s Day 2019

Good morning and happy Friday. Today is a change from the hospital diaries and back to a bit of blogging which is lovely! I do apologize that these may not be as visually appealing as normal posts but I’m having to use my phone while in hospital.

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day (March 8) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day always has a theme, which is a campaign worked on throughout the year and this year it is #balanceforbetter

The #balanceforbetter campaign pushes for work from the grassroots to international level to help achieve a gender balanced world.

Book Review – Voices Of Powerful Women by Zoe Sallis

A fantastically inspiring collection of interviews with 40 successful and empowering women, including Maya Angelou, Isabel Allende, Mary Robinson and Shami Chakrabati, exploring their challenges and achievements.

In this empowering book, 40 amazing women who have exerted an influence on others in many different ways discuss their work, their achievements, their hopes and their fears, offering women everywhere inspiration and optimism for the future through their fascinating explanations of what they have achieved. Featuring politicians, environmentalists, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, actors, world leaders and Nobel Peace Prize winners, this book encourages readers to believe that they can achieve their greatest ambitions and help change the world for the better. 

The book is structured around ten questions, with the 40 interviewees providing a pithy and insightful answer to each one. Topics range from influential early experiences, inspirations in life and most admired female figures to causes of anger, greatest fears, how to change the world and advice for the younger generation. 

The full list of powerful women featured in the book is as follows: Isabel Allende, Christiane Amanpour, Maya Angelou, Hanan Ashrawi, Joan Baez, Benazir Bhutto, Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, Emma Bonino, Shami Chakrabarti, Jung Chang, Kate Clinton, Marie Colvin, Marion Cotillard, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Carla Del Ponte, Judi Dench, Shirin Ebadi, Tracey Emin, Jane Fonda, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Dagmar Havlová, Swanee Hunt, Bianca Jagger, Nataša Kandić, Kathy Kelly, Martha Lane Fox, Dame Ann Leslie, Professor Wangari Maathai, Mairead Maguire, Mary McAleese, Soledad O’Brien, Sinéad O’Connor, Yoko Ono, Mariane Pearl, Kim Phuc, Paloma Picasso, Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, Paula Rego, Louise Ridley, Mary Robinson, Jody Williams.

What I Thought

I read this book in three short stints as I found it so interesting! Had the time, finishing it in one day would have been very possible. I thought it was perfect to share today with you all on International Women’s Day

The women featured in this book have some amazing stories, ideas, experiences and knowledge and share it so well in this structure, with the selected questions the author chose to use. The questions didn’t come across as too literary or academic, which meant it was an interesting general read rather than feeling like you are studying something. It was good to have a section on what each women does and did, as some of the names I didn’t recognize. Seeing some of these topics from different viewpoints was an eye opener and I really enjoyed it.

I love non fiction as well as fiction and if you are a fan I would definitely give this one a try as I found it fascinating.

Link to buy on Kindle

To round off I thought I would answer a couple of the questions asked in the book myself. My answers won’t be nearly as good I’m sure, but if you give the book a read you will see how it makes you think about your views, values and ideas like it did mine.

Did your upbringing or early experiences influence the direction your life took?

Without a doubt. I don’t think anyone could claim what happens to them ‘along the way’ wouldn’t affect things at all. I think mine had a more profound impact as it’s been the heath issues I’ve faced and that’s not something I can change by moving where I live or getting a better job for example. Since being little I’ve always wanted to be in the field of caring – a vet or doctor growing up. My Uncle told me how they birthed cows age 9 and that idea went out the window. Unfortunately my poor health saw me have to leave college and studies, so things then did take an unplanned track. I’m now however, back with a more solid idea of how I want to help people, and that has come from more and more experiences which I have built up along the way.

Amazing support from my family, friends and medical team have also always had such a positive impact on my life too, which has made sure I don’t back down from a challenge and still aim high, despite my limitations at times.

Family pic

What most promotes you to anger, and do you believe in forgiveness?

First – anger. So many see anger as a bad thing and I do believe being angry alot, isn’t good for your soul. However, anger is just another emotion and as long as you can express it safely and without hurting others, why is it a bad thing to admit something has angered you?

Things that anger me are when people are taken advantage of or belittled because of their nature. It took me a long time to realise it, but I was the sort of person who could very much allow this to happen. I’ve said before that I believe I’m a generally nice person. Not a word many use to describe themselves I’m sure, but I don’t mind it and I don’t find it a bad thing. However, some will use that against you, whether to make you feel down or whether they manipulate you for their own good. Discrimination in all forms angers me too – we have one shot at life and I’m not sure why people want to spend it constantly fighting and battling!

As for forgiveness, I don’t think it as something someone receives, but something someone gives. I think it’s more to do with the person who was wronged letting go of what’s happened and not letting it impact on their life, self esteem, self worth etc. They forgive to move past it. The person who needs forgiveness will have to decide whether they just accept it or whether they use it as a lesson to then improve themselves or a situation.

Hope you enjoyed reading a but of something that wasn’t about the hospital. I certainly enjoyed writing it but it will be good to get back on my computer! Maybe time to look into a laptop for me – any recommendations let me know in the comments below please!

Blog Tour Book Review – The Fake Date

Good morning Monday and happy new week to you all!  Hope you all enjoy today’s book review, I have managed to do a lot of reading while I have been poorly, so there are lots to share.

The Fake Date by Lynda Stacey


The Blurb

Nine hours and eleven minutes…

That’s how long it’s been since Ella Hope was beaten to within an inch of life and left for dead.

She lies, unable to move and praying for somebody to find her, as she counts down the minutes and wonders who could have hated her so much to have hurt her so badly.

Was it the man she went on a date with the previous evening, the man linked to the deaths of two other women? Or somebody else, somebody who wants her out of the picture so much they’re willing to kill?

Whoever it is, they will pay … all she has to do first is survive..!

What I Thought

So, another contender for my top ten books of the year here!  I really do enjoy a thriller, especially one that hold up it’s descriptions like ‘will keep you on the edge of your seat’.

The Fake Date had me hooked from the start.  I really liked the character of Ella and her determination, yet vulnerability after what happened to her.  The author portrayed this so well.  The rest of the characters were great too and you really are kept on the edge of your seat thinking of who might be responsible.  The way that Lynda Stacey added in short parts from the ‘baddies’ viewpoint was great – it kept me guessing and I had a huge list of possible suspects towards the end!

A fantastic thriller and perfect for anyone that likes this genre.  Would be great for anyone wanting to try a thriller too as it has all the great things you should expect from one.  A fantastic read!

Where To Buy

Amazon (audiobook and Kindle versions available)

The Author – Lynda Stacey

Lynda grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire,

Her own chaotic life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of psychological / romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.


Social Media Links –


Twitter – @Lyndastacey


Would love to hear what you thought if you have read this one?  Let me know in the comments below what you thought, or if you intend to give it a read after my review

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Thankyou to Rachel’s Random Resources and Ruby Fiction for my ARC of this book in return for my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  See more reviews on this book and what other readers thought by checking out the blogs below


Book Birthday Blitz – Barnabas Tew And The Case Of The Missing Scarab

And so to my second book review of the day – this time doing it’s first birthday tour before the sequel comes out in September!

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab

Barnabas Tew - Cover

The Blurb

Barnabas Tew, a detective in Victorian London, is having a hard time making a name for himself, probably because most of his clients end up dead before he can solve their cases. His luck is about to change, though, for better or worse: Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, notices him and calls him to the Egyptian underworld. A terrible kidnapping has occurred; one that promises to put an end to the status quo and could perhaps even put an end to the entire world. It is up to Barnabas (along with his trusty assistant, Wilfred) to discover the culprit and set things to right. Can he turn his luck around and solve the most important case of his life?

What I Thought

I think just seeing the author’s name got me excited for this one and oh how she delivered.  A quirky, imaginative and funny book which I thoroughly enjoyed!

The partnership of Barnabas and his sidekick, Wilfred is brilliant and although the plot is completely crazy, this is where the author shines.  The characters and settings were excellently described and came to life on the page.

For anyone looking for something a little different to read then do not look further than this!  The story was original and entertaining, with fantastic characters and a side of history thrown in (I do enjoy a bit of history!).  I am really looking forward to the next book out in September now.

The Author

thumbnail_Barnabas Tew - ColumbkillNoonanPhoto

Columbkill Noonan lives in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where she teaches yoga and Anatomy and Physiology. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her first novel, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” by Crooked Cat Books, was released in 2017, and her latest work, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds”, is set to be released in September 2018.

In her spare time, Columbkill enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, aerial yoga, and riding her rescue horse, Mittens.


To learn more about Columbkill visit her




Where To Buy



I love discovering something a little different that keeps me thoroughly entertained while reading it.  Let me know what you think about it in the comments if you have read this one too


Thankyou to Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of his book in return for a review.  All opinions in this post are my own and honest