Book Review

Let’s Make Pom Poms – Katie Scott

I have a really fun craft book to tell you all about today. As you all know, I love all things crafty so I am so happy to be on this particular blog tour. Many thanks to Katie, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Fun and easy makes for all the family. Get crafty with pom poms with 15 easy to follow step by step guides. Make your own set of fluffy dice, sushi that looks good enough to eat and an everlasting Christmas tree as well as many other exciting projects.

by Katie Scott

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

I love making pom poms, there is something very therapeutic about it, and had hoped to be able to share a couple of pictures of some of my creations from Katie’s book. However, my pesky pom pom kit has gone into hiding (probably made a run for it after being over used!). As soon as I hunt it down, I will share my makes with you all. In the meantime, let me just share with you my thoughts on the book.

This looks a really lovely book, full of ideas for all the family to get involved with. I am particularly excited about Flurry the snowman and snowy Christmas tre (I do love Christmas), although I am quite tempted to try the sushi too, as well as the floral burst, and of course the bookmarks. Who am I kidding? I want to try all the projects!

The photographs that accompany each project are bright and eye-catching, and the detailed instructions are easy to follow. I seriously can’t wait to get stuck in, and I just know that my friends’ children of all ages would love this book just as much as I do. In fact, I might borrow them for an afternoon to help me out with a project or two.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Scott is a craft and book blogger who lives in the county of Kent, UK. Living at home with her husband and infant daughter, Katie loves nothing more than long evenings in with a good book, a pile of crafting goodies and a very large pot of tea.

Let’s Make Pom Poms is her first crafting book.

Find more work from Katie Scott on her blog.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs taking part in the tour.

Let's Make Pom Poms Full Tour Banner

Book Review

The Poppy Field – Deborah Carr

As we approach the centenary of the end of the First World War, and I find myself surrounded by the fabric poppies that I am making for a remembrance event, I am honoured to be able to talk to you today about The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr.

BLURB:

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.

Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.

This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.

You can purchase your copy of The Poppy Field here.

The Poppy Field Cover

REVIEW:

The Poppy Field is a poignant story of the parallels between two women living 100 years apart, who find themselves drawn to the same building in France. The book shifts between the present day and the latter half of the First World War, as Gemma, our modern day nurse, unravels the tale of Alice’s war, whilst searching for her own sense of peace.

World War One, the Great War, was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but the world we live in today sometimes seems to be headed full circle, as reflected by Tom’s experiences in Kabul, and even by the injuries witnessed by Gemma working in a UK trauma centre.

Whilst I enjoyed Gemma’s part of the story as she tried to settle her personal demons whilst renovating the old farmhouse, it was Alice’s story that really got under my skin, and lit a fire under my inner war historian. Whilst the true horrors of the casualty clearing stations where VADs like Alice spent their war are just unthinkable, Deborah Carr’s writing brought them to life through her sensitive characterisation of the varied patients that passed through them. I was intrigued to see mention of the “casualty dogs” as this was not something that I had come across before, but have since read up on further. I had no idea that dogs were used in this way during the war.

There were a number of times when reading this book when my emotions got the better of me, but there is one particular scene about a quarter of the way in that really got to me, and which I hope Deborah won’t mind me pinpointing (don’t worry, it doesn’t give anything away). In this particular scene there is a conversation between two of the soldiers at the casualty clearing station who are wondering if anyone would remember the soldiers who fought and all the men who died in a hundred years time. Even writing about this now brings a tear to my eye, because as we approach this hundred year mark, yes, we do remember and we will continue to do so.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Poppy Field - Deborah Med

Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather’s time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.

She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a ‘special commendation’ in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Many thanks to Deborah and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with my copy of the book. As always, be sure to stop by all the other amazing blogs taking part in the tour.

The Poppy Field Full Tour Banner

Book Review

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back – Sariah Wilson

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back (The Ugly Stepsister Series Book 1)  As a Cinderella retelling, viewed from the perspective of an ugly stepsister, this book had the potential to be all too predictable and sickly sweet. However, the delightfully cynical nature of Mattie, the eponymous ugly stepsister, stops this from being the case. Constantly belittled via Skype by her absent mother, Mattie has cast herself in the role of ugly stepsister and misfit, viewing the beautiful, outgoing Ella as the perfect fairy tale princess, complete with handsome prince in the form of Jake, Mattie’s crush since she was a child. But, as this book shows, what people see on the outside is not always what is true of the person on the inside, and princesses don’t always want to wear their crowns.

The inclusion of chapters showing the story from Jake’s point of view is a lovely touch, and adds a depth to a character who might otherwise appear unworthy of our heroine’s devotion.

With touches of John Hughes and The Princess Diaries, this book is a must read for fairy tale lovers of all ages.

Blog

Isolation Junction – Jennifer Gilmour

HUPH20170612A-013_C

Starting from today, 8th January, and running until Friday 12th January, the lovely Jennifer Gilmour is offering her novel, Isolation Junction, for free on Amazon Kindle. You can find my review of the book here, but in the meantime, in her own words, Jennifer explains why she has chosen to do this:-

My name is Jennifer Gilmour and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, I have published two books both with a focus on raising awareness about domestic abuse at their core. Whilst both aim to raise this awareness one is written as a work of fiction whilst the other is a compilation of survivor stories and therefore non-fiction. Both work in different ways to educate and raise awareness of this insidious and unacceptable behaviour.

Over Christmas, incidents of domestic abuse reported to the police rise. Assault and domestic murders increase 25% during the festive period with a third of them been on Christmas Day itself. Bombarded with images of the perfect nuclear family gathered around the gold baubles of a Christmas tree, it can be easy to forget that Christmas is a time of coercion, punishment and violence for many women* and men.

Now I know it isn’t Christmas anymore but January can be just as bad because all those credit card bills come in alongside your usual direct debits. There is even a day in January called Blue Monday and this year it’s on the 15th. The date is generally reported as falling on the third Monday in January, but also on the second or fourth Monday, or the Monday of the last full week of January.

The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.

Can you imagine this formula and applying it to an abusive relationship?

For 5 days my debut novel Isolation Junction is going to be FREE on Amazon Kindle, this is the first time ever to happen. It’s the week before Blue Monday, I wonder if those reading will be inspired to take action?

I ask you all to share the link and break the silence surrounding domestic abuse.

UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

* https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2015/12/it-s-hardest-time-year-why-domestic-violence-spikes-over-christmas

Book Review

Isolation Junction – Jennifer Gilmour

IsolationJunction Cover

Synopsis:

Ice cold rain splattered her face; her toes and fingers were numb and yet she sat there huddled up and gently rocking herself. It was a black night with no stars, like someone had just switched off the sky. The only light shining on her face was the orange glow of a single street light. Rose couldn’t cope anymore, she was crying into her hands so hard it hurt her heart; it was a deep spike of a pain rushing through her body and this wasn’t the first time she had felt it.

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?

Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change? 

Review:

When I start reading this book, I was concerned that the subject matter would make it a difficult book to read, that it would be depressing and upsetting. However, this is not the case at all. Jennifer handles the content sensitively, and although you can feel Rose’s desperation, the way in which the book moves from the present day to flashbacks of the abuse that Rose suffered, means that there is a feeling of hope running throughout the book.

Isolation Junction is such an important read for anyone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship as it shows that there is help available, and a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark things may seem. I (thankfully) have never found myself in a situation anything like Rose, and this book was a real eye opener for me. Before reading it, I would have said that I didn’t know anyone who had been in an abusive relationship, but now I recognise a lot of what was going on with a friend back when we were in our early twenties. There is so much emphasis on physical abuse that I think people forgot about the mental abuse and coercive behaviour that a lot of victims suffer at the hands of their abuser.

Please read this book and help spread the messages that it contains.

Note from the Author:

Information about Isolation Junction:

Isolation Junction was fully funded by a Kickstarter Campaign which over funded at 110%.

Over eighteen months within 2015-2016 I wrote my first novel with the aim of not only raising awareness of an insidious behaviour which brings hidden misery to so many but of bringing about changes at a national level.  A ‘survivor’ myself, I am well aware that changes to national policies and working practices are still needed so that situations in which women (and men) present in emotionally abusive situations are recognised and dealt with appropriately and with compassion.

I believe that particular training needs to be focused on recognising the perpetrators of this behaviour, as often they are very persuasive people who are able to manipulate the services themselves.

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/690571062/isolation-junction