I have been a keen crafter for many years now, and I love sewing, but I have only recently made attempts at making my own clothes and I have also become more conscious of trying to make my sewing more sustainable. As such, I am sure you can imagine how excited I was when I heard that the latest activity book to come from Lexi Rees was based on a subject so close to my own interests. I couldn’t wait to get started reading it when it landed on my doormat.
The Fashion Fix is full to the brim with ideas for the budding designer or eco warrior, championing ways to make the most of your wardrobe through upcycling, accessorising and more. There are ideas for things to do with clothes once you no longer want to wear them or have grown out of them, from turning them into soft furnishings to arranging a swap shop with your friends.
Informative without being preachy, The Fashion Fix contains details about the fashion industry that you may find surprising, and that will certainly help with making more ethical and sustainable decisions when buying clothes.
Eveyjoan’s illustrations really bring the ideas in this book to life in ways that would make Joseph’s Dreamcoat look dull. It really is a joy to behold, and there are hours of fun to be had completing her beautiful activity pages.
Although this is an activity book for young people, there are ideas for breathing new life into your wardrobe that I am just dying to try!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lexi was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the Scottish Highlands, although she now lives down south. When she’s not writing or tutoring, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats, She’s usually covered in sand, straw or glitter.
Eve is a London-based illustrator and digital designer. Her quirky, creative style is characterised by bold colours and lively lines. Eve’s unique background as a tattooist means her work spans from print, to digital, to people – and her ethos of sustainability is significant throughout her work and is echoed by her love of slow fashion.
Today I am joining the blog tour for The Silent Oath, the fourth book in The Oath series by Michael L Lewis. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and to Michael for providing me with a copy of the book.
The Silent Oath is the fourth in The Oath series that depicts life at Blackleigh Public School, and also serves as a stand-alone novel.
1958.Jonathan Simon, 17, is in his fourth year at Blackleigh. Self-conscious about his appointment as one of five Prefects in Trafalgar House, he’s apprehensive as to whether he has what it takes to carry out his responsibilities.
Jonathan knows: 1) The school code of conduct mandates no snitching on anyone. 2) The student Prefects have absolute power to discipline. 3) Mr. Phillip Temple the new Headmaster is determined to revise the school admission policy to achieve a more even playing field in education.
The pressure mounts in an unforgettable school trip to Paris, prejudice spreading through the school and to the school’s Board of Governors as they ruthlessly oppose the new Head. They will stop at nothing to get their way. In his effort to strive to support the Headmaster’s goals, Jonathan will have to overcome far more than an oath of silence executed by his enemies to prevail…
Another year at Blackleigh sees Jonathan Simon face new challenges as he tries to assert himself in his new role as prefect. With a forward thinking headmaster in place, a strong head boy, and the arrival of girls at the school, could this finally be the term that real change comes to Blackleigh? Of course not. If anything, the plotting and intrigue are even more disturbing this time around, as the elitist element take a more planned and considered approach to rid their school of the students that they deem to not be good enough to walk their hallowed halls.
Whilst it was nice to see the return of some much loved faces, I enjoyed the new element of the girls hall very much, not least because Jenny brought her own methods for dealing with bullies to the school – methods that the boys had never encountered before.
Given how this book concluded, I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for Jonathan and his friends (and foes) in the next instalment of this series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. This is the fourth novel in the Oath series, taking readers on a journey through the lives of three dynamic schoolboys between the ages of 13 and 15. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.
I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for The C Word (Confidence) by the wonderful Mel Schilling today. Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part, and to Murdoch Books for providing me with a copy of the book.
If you think you weren’t born with confidence, it’s time for a reframe. Step beyond imposter syndrome, a crisis of self belief or a deficit of bravery with this empowering and practical guide to making friends with your fear and building the skills of confidence in every aspect of your life.
Human behaviour and performance specialist Mel Schilling walks you step by step through taking control of your relationships, career and life, demonstrating that confidence, resilience and self esteem are skillsets to be learned and are essential to helping you thrive. Building on the work she does to coach celebrities, world leaders and game changers, now anyone can learn the tools and skills to expand their comfort zone, to take calculated risks and to develop emotional bravery and fluid competence.
Complete with journaling opportunities, as well as case studies to demonstrate the four sections of the book, Mel teaches us how we can move through the four stages to mastering confidence (fear, courage, confidence, competence) in order to successfully implement it into all corners of our everyday life.
So, if you’re ready to move from barely functioning to absolutely flourishing, it’s time to embrace The C Word.
I am not a confident person. I never have been and I doubted I ever would be. I also often find it a struggle to connect on any significant level with self-help books. However, reading this book feels like sitting down for a coffee and a chat with a trusted friend. Mel’s writing style is warm and down to earth, and you get a sense that she knows that The C Word Method works because she has tried it herself.
There is a lot to like about this book, but I think what I love most about it is that it isn’t about overnight results or pushing yourself instantly and terrifyingly out of your comfort zone. It is about building towards your goals, learning how to reframe your thoughts and mastering your fears. For someone who struggles with anxiety and low confidence, this is huge. I finally feel as though I have found a book that speaks to me at my level – and perhaps more importantly, it feels as though I now have a set of tools that come without judgement if you don’t instantly succeed at what is being suggested and have to go back and try again until it really clicks.
Am I 100% confident after reading this book? No. Do I have the tools in my pocket to help me on the road to becoming more confident? Absolutely yes. It’s going to take time, but I know I will revisit this book many times as I work on improving my confidence and becoming the empowered woman that I have always wanted to be but never thought I would be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Based in the UK, Mel Schilling is a specialist in human behaviour and performance. Mel is known for being one of the Relationship Experts on E4’s BAFTA nominated series, Married at First Sight UK (#MAFSUK).
She has built a 20 year career as a therapist, business consultant and leadership coach for high performing people.
A thought leader in Confidence and Courage, Mel draws on her 20 year background in psychology, as well as stage and screen performance, to ensure her speaking and consulting engagements are highly informative, actionable (and always entertaining).
Oh dear, I have fallen so far behind with my reading challenge updates! Life has not been the easiest just recently, but things are looking up again now, so I finally have the spare brain space to catch everyone up with what I have been reading. Brace yourselves, this post is going to be a long one!
READING CHALLENGE BOOKS:
Witches Steeped in Gold – Ciannon Smart
It feels as though I read this book an absurdly long time ago to be talking about it now, especially as I have its sequel on my list to read in September. I absolutely loved this book, and I will be writing a full review of it, together with Empress Crowned in Red very soon, but in the meantime, I give you my selection for a book with a colour in the name.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
This is a very helpful challenge book, as it fits beautifully with a prompt from each challenge, being both a book that was made into a movie and a book written in epistolary style. I have been putting off watching the film adaptation as I always prefer to read the book first, but now I can finally sit down to watch.
Murder at the Vicarage – Agatha Christie
No huge surprise here that this book is for the prompt to read a book by Agatha Christie. I must confess that this is only the second Agatha Christie book I have ever read, the first being And Then There Were None. I have also never watched any of the Miss Marple adaptations, so this was my first real encounter with the amateur detective. I don’t think it will be my last though.
Lark Rise – Flora Thompson
Okay, I am cheating a little bit here. Whilst this book nicely fits the book that is more than 20 years old prompt, it has a slightly more tenuous link to the other prompt I am using it for – a book set in your city/town. I live somewhere pretty small, so I couldn’t find a book that was actually set here, but Flora Thompson did live in the village for some years, and was actually the post mistress for a while.
A Secret History of Witches – Louisa Morgan
For my book set in the 1800s, I took advantage of the broad nature of the prompt to head back to the witchy books that I love so much. I read and loved Louisa Morgan’s The Age of Witches a couple of years back, so I was keen to read this book which spans the generations of a family of witches, and it didn’t disappoint one bit.
The Raven Spell – Luanne G Smith
This was my choice for a book suggested by a member of the Fiction Cafe (if you aren’t already a member, look us up on Facebook!) within the last seven days, and actually, I had seen it recommended by more than one member, so it seemed the obvious choice. Again, this author is one I have read previously and enjoyed, so I was glad to find a way to fit another of her books to my challenges.
The Queen of Nothing – Holly Black
I chose this as both a book that is part of a series and a book that is the last in a series – as you will see below, I actually binge read the entire series whilst on holiday in Dorset. YA fantasy is my absolute favourite genre, and I adore Holly Black, so it was a no-brainer for my holiday reading.
The Ghost of Ivy Barn – Mark Stay
This is a book that I was reading for a blog tour when I realised it was the perfect choice for my book with chapter titles. I absolutely love Mark’s Witches of Woodville series, and you can read my full review of The Ghost of Ivy Barn here.
Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s – Jennifer Worth
I am absolutely addicted to the Call the Midwife TV series, so I was delighted when I realised that Jennifer’s book was the perfect choice for a book that features a compass direction in the title. It absolutely made my day that I could so easily recall the characters and events in this book from scenes in the TV series, and I am looking forward to reading more of Jennifer’s writing.
OTHER BOOKS READ:
My New Superjob and Post-molecular Comfort Food by Anton Eine – these are fantastic, quick reads by Ukrainian author Anton, and you can read my review of both here.
The Fatal Oath – Michael L Lewis – I thoroughly enjoy this series about elite boys school, Blackleigh, (more on that soon), and you can read my review of this instalment of the boys adventures here.
Snow Blind – P.J. Tracy – I love the Twin Cities series and I am slowly making my way through them. I like to dot them between other reads so I don’t run out too soon!
With This Kiss – Carrie Hope Fisher – this delightful romance with a sprinkling of magic was another book that I read for a blog tour, and you can read my full review here.
The Fossil Beach Murders – Rachel McLean – if you don’t know by now that I love everything Rachel has written, then you must have been living under a rock. I can’t recommend her books highly enough
The Magicians – Lev Grossman – this was a book club read that I actually had mixed feelings about, mainly because it didn’t match my recollections of the TV series (I watched that before I knew there were books), but I will still be reading the second book because I have to know what happens next!
Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl – Joya Goffney – another blog tour book and one that I just thought was beautiful and important in equal measure. Read my full review here.
The Write Balance – Bonni Goldberg – although my writing has taken a backseat recently, I couldn’t resist signing up for the blog tour for this fab book. Read my review here.
Hotel Magnifique – Emily J Taylor – this is a book that I received via NetGalley and really need to get the review written for. If you are a fan of the Caraval series, I thoroughly recommend this book, and even if you aren’t, how gorgeous is that cover!
The Missing Girls of Alardyce House – Heather Atkinson – I got a bit more than I bargained for with this gothic historical novel. Sadly, it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I have seen a lot of positive reviews for it.
Fantasy Short Stories – Suzanne Rogerson – another favourite author making an appearance. I love Suzanne’s full length novels, so I knew I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for her short story collection. Read my review here.
The Trial – S.R. Masters – I took part in the One More Chapter readalong for this thriller and had an absolute blast sharing thoughts with everyone else taking part. My review is long overdue, but is coming soon.
The Seawomen – Chloe Timms – this is another book that I read on holiday, and it is gloriously atmospheric. I can’t wait to share my thoughts in my review which will be available soon.
Bad Things Happen Here – Rebecca Barrow – and another holiday read, (we had a very lazy holiday by the river), this time a YA thriller for which the review is coming up.
The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, and The Lost Sisters – all Holly Black – as mentioned earlier on, I adore Holly’s writing and binged all four of these (including The Queen of Nothing) whilst on holiday.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven – Juno Dawson – another witchy book (is anyone sensing a theme yet?), and this one is an absolute cracker. The review of this one will be up soon, but in the meantime, just know that I am VERY excited for the sequel.
The Wedding Cake – Isabella May – well, you all know I love the Foodie Romance Journeys and dive into them just as soon as I can get my little hands on them. Read my review of Isabella’s latest showstopper here.
The Name She Gave Me – Betty Culley – this is a beautiful novel in verse about finding yourself no matter the obstacles. My review is coming soon.
Blood and Money – Rachel McLean – well, I did say earlier that I love Rachel’s books, and here she is making another appearance on this epic round up!
The Hike – Susi Holliday – I got a bit ahead of myself reading this because I was so excited to have it, so you will have to wait until October for my review!
Equinox – Paul McCracken – another blog tour, and this time I am making one of my occasional forays into sci-fi. Read my review here.
The Temple House Vanishing – Rachel Donohue – much the same as anything with witches in, I also find it very hard to resist books based at boarding schools – although this convent school in Ireland is a bit bleaker than the elite boarding schools that I seem to normally read about.
All Eyes On Us – Kit Frick – well, I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but I am nearly there so I am including it for August – more to come when I reach the end.
Phew, we made it to the end of the list! As you can see, I have a LOT of reviews to catch up, so keep your eyes peeled for those coming soon!
If you need a reminder, these are the challenges that I am aiming to complete this year. I think I am a little behind schedule!