Book reviews, Family drama, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Supernatural, Thriller

Draca by Geoffrey Gudgion – Book Review

 

77B5BF46-5F51-4B50-B4D0-3F61F186F095
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A war-damaged veteran on a mission to self- destruct…

… a controlling father pushing him ever closer to the edge…

… and a yachtswoman who gives all she has to hold him back.

And between them all, there’s an old boat with dark secrets, and perhaps a mind of its own.
B6B996D9-6F82-40E0-B688-22B4509845C1

MY REVIEW

Old Eddie was fascinated by Viking culture and when he dies of cancer, his grandson, Jack,  decides to restore Eddie’s beloved boat, Draca. 

Jack is suffering from PTSD after his experiences in Afghanistan that left him damaged physically and psychologically. He is at odds with his father, Harry and his marriage to Charlotte is struggling too. He meets George, at the boatyard and she sees more than people know and has serious worries about Jack and Draca.

Will Jack give Eddie the send off he wanted, or is he on a different path?

This is a story of grief, not only that for lost family but of friends and the past. It deals with the stresses suffered by those in the armed forces, all set against the atmospheric sea and sailing. Beautifully descriptive, full of tension but with an emotional heart. A stunning read. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and my thanks to Geoffrey Gudgion for an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2Lm7207

Draca was released by Unbound on 14th May. Coronavirus logistics issues may result in Amazon being temporarily out of stock of paperback copies until early June. During this period Unbound will accept orders directly and will ship free of UK postage via https://unbound.com/books/draca/

PRAISE FOR DRACA

 

‘A terrific and compelling story which highlights mental and physical challenges that many who have served will recognise.’

General Sir Nick Parker Commander British Forces Afghanistan 2010

 

‘A cracking, believable yarn made even more authentic by the wonderfully descriptive sailing scenes – and by falling in love with the true heroine, the Bristol Channel pilot cutter Draca.’

Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE, former Yachtsman of the Year

 

‘Tension release, tension release, fear, laughter, fear, lust, so you don’t notice the tightening of the noose … the story sucks you in and won’t let go.

Suzie Wilde, Author of Sea Paths and Obsidian

 

‘A really cracking read about a soldier who attacks his battlefield demons through his passion for sailing – and sadly still needs help’

Sir Peter Wall, President of Combat Stress

 

Author royalties from Draca are shared equally with the veterans’ charity Combat Stress.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

2B208FE4-47CA-4A0D-82AE-453811A67BF1

GEOFFREY GUDGION served for over 10 years in the armed forces, and made his first attempts at writing fiction during quiet moments on deployment. He later stepped off the corporate ladder, in the midst of a career in marketing and general management, specifically to release time to write. His first novel, Saxon’s Bane, reached #1 in Amazon Kindle’s ‘Ghost’ category, and he now writes full time. When not crafting words he is an enthusiastic amateur equestrian and a very bad pianist. 

Book reviews, Mental Health, Womens fiction

Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman – Book Review

809E6439-B803-4EF7-9AB3-851C34AA91E0
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.

Brilliantly tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a glorious new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.

7FD44F5D-7852-491F-B2BC-B5CB16DA862D

MY REVIEW 

Judy is a bit of a mess, she has separated from husband Gary, he’s still living in the house and smoking/eating a lot of pot for medicinal reasons. Teddy, her son is now a teenager, moody, quiet and is embarrassed by his mum. Judy just wants her adoring little boy back.

Then one day, she finds a baby sling, an old present she had stuffed to the back of a drawer as she found it ridiculous, but she puts it on and tries several things to mimic the feel of a baby……..without joy until she tries the dog. The little sheltie settles in, kept happy with a ‘bully stick’ and other scrumptious treats!!!!!! Judy starts to feel a little better, with some comfort but others think she’s a bit weird…

This is the tale of life in all its messy glory, the good, the bad and the downright hideous. It’s told with lots of humour but also with sadness and a little hope. You’ll love Judy and all her foibles, you’ll laugh with her and cry with her too. A thoroughly entertaining and heartwarming read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A991C668-E848-42D8-B965-4CC1BE53ECD7

Laura Zigman is the author of ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, which was a bestseller and was made into the film Someone Like You, starring Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd), Dating Big Bird, Piece of Work and Her. She has also been a contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, son and deeply human Sheltie. 

Book reviews, Mental Health, Non fiction

Everything Is Going To Be K.O by Kaiya Stone – Book Review

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In Everything is Going to be K.O. Kaiya Stone writes about her own experiences of living with specific learning difficulties: from struggling at school to being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia while at university, to performing her own one-woman stand up show inspired by her journey.

Always funny and unfailingly honest, Kaiya outlines the frustrations of having SPLDS but also the ways in which they have fuelled her creativity. She calls for neurodiversity to be celebrated and stresses that instead of questioning how we are ‘supposed’ to think we should take pride in our cognitive differences.

Everything is Going to be K.O. is an uplifting book for anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to live with learning difficulties today.

8910243D-619E-4AC1-A154-CF5203FD21E1

MY REVIEW 

This is Kaiya Stone’s memoir, telling of her slightly unconventional upbringing with her marvellously ‘hippy’ parents, to her life with Specific Learning Difficulties.

She writes with such humour and honesty it makes this a delight to read, but at the same time it deals with the seriousness of living with SLDs. I learned a lot and now have a greater understanding of the difficulties many people have to deal with on a daily basis.

It’s honest, open and illustrated with charming drawings, all of which make this a thoughtful and uplifting read. Brilliant.

Thank you to Martina at Midas PR for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Mental Health

Four Minutes To Save A Life by Anna Stuart – Book Review

09A70CC3-51FC-44BB-8EC5-3DB541EFE36E


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

There’s always time to help out a stranger…isn’t there?

Supermarket delivery driver Charlie enjoys his new job, because he doesn’t have to spend too long with people, who, he’s found, are nothing but trouble. But when he’s assigned the Hope Row street, he realises there are a lot of lonely people out there – and for some, he’s their only interaction.

The supermarket boss tells Charlie he’s a driver, not a social worker – but Charlie can’t abandon the Hope Row residents and he sets about trying to draw them out of their shells and back into the world. But will his helping hand make everything worse?

5168EAF8-F3C7-4E2D-AC46-70308DD6BEC1

MY REVIEW 

Oh my heart…..I love this book.

Charlie starts his new job as a supermarket delivery driver and on his first round, he recognises a name. Someone from his past and it’s time for him to make amends.

On his round he meets, Ruth a borderline alcoholic who is grieving a marriage breakup and misses her daughter. Greg, disabled by a horrific accident  is an online inspiration but also lonely and Vikram, mourning the death of his wife, estranged from his son but cooks meals every Friday, hoping if he keeps cooking he will come.

Charlie has his secrets, but he is such a lovely soul, he manages to introduce these lonely people to each other and things start to brighten until secrets come to light…

I can’t say too much for fear of spoiling this truly emotional tale but it is a real tearjerker in so many ways. It’s also very timely as it deals with depression, loneliness, grief and guilt and how small acts of kindness can make such a huge difference to people. 

I fell in love with all the characters, Vik’s cooking sounded absolutely delicious and the friendships so heartwarming. If you need a little warm hug of a read then this is just perfect, but have some tissues to hand as there will be tears. 

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here : https://amzn.to/2SVoYlF

 

 

About the Author:

24627D4F-821F-442A-B911-4CE46982CB0F

Anna Stuart has wanted to be a writer ever since she sat up in her cot with a book. For years she wrote short stories and serials for the women’s magazines before being published by Pan Macmillan as a historical novelist under the pseudonym Joanna Courtney. Her Queens of the Conquest series, set in the pre-1066 years, has been published to acclaim in all formats including audiobook and been translated for European markets but she returned to the contemporary world with Bonnie & Stan in 2019. Four Minutes to Save a Life is her second novel under the Anna Stuart name.

Book reviews, Classic Fiction, Mental Health

Saving Lucia by Anna Vaught – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How would it be if four lunatics went on a tremendous adventure, reshaping their pasts and futures as they went, including killing Mussolini? What if one of those people were a fascinating, forgotten aristocratic assassin and the others a fellow life co-patient, James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, another the first psychoanalysis patient, known to history simply as ‘Anna O,’ and finally 19th Century Paris’s Queen of the Hysterics, Blanche Wittmann? That would be extraordinary, wouldn’t it? How would it all be possible? Because, as the assassin Lady Violet Gibson would tell you, those who are confined have the very best imaginations.

 

MY REVIEW 

Well, where do I start ? 

Lucia Joyce, daughter of the famous James Joyce,  is in an asylum. It’s here she meets Lady Violet Gibson. Violet is here as she had shot Mussolini, intending to kill him, but just got his nose…(this is all true, I had to look her up after reading Saving Lucia). She tends to be ‘emotional’ and as Mussolini forgave her, she has been sent to the asylum, rather than prison or firing squad.

As these aging women become friends, Lucia is writing down Violet’s story….

We mustn’t forget the other women here too….Anna O and Blanche..

What follows is a trip through the imagination, of what is, was and could have been, as seen through the eyes of these incredible women. It reads like a written daydream, it flits about like Violet’s passerines telling their incredible stories.

It can feel a little jumbled, but this is how we think and once you are into the rhythm, you’ll fall in love with amazing book and the women within.  A book to treasure.

Thank you so much to Jordan Taylor-Jones and Bluemoose Books for the opportunity to read Saving Lucia for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

AF1D377D-C58D-4F6F-B7FA-CBB65FB8257B

Book reviews, Mental Health

The Existence Of Amy by Lana Grace Riva – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

77CF9A50-22D9-4764-9D75-92D3C50EDB31

MY REVIEW 

Amy has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression, she is fully aware of her condition and really just wants a ‘normal’ life.

She has a job and friends, but her life is ruled by the OCD and it’s accompanying anxiety, all of which she tries to hide. Her close friends are aware and they are kind and so supportive. 

I found this to be a compelling read, it’s a contemporary, compassionate story with an insight into mental illness and the importance of friendship. It’s realistic with great, likeable and believable characters. I can thoroughly recommend it. 

Thank you to the author. Lana Grace Riva for a free copy of her rather special book. This is my honest and unbiased review.