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Awaken Your Creativity with Pam Grout

Hi Lovely, 

It's me, back again just as I promised :) 

Today I want to share with you a book that if I'd followed from cover to cover ...well you wouldn't be hearing about until next year. The book I want to share with you is one that centres on helping you unleash your creative side for an entire year. 

It's by Pam Grout, author of E-Squared, E-Cubed, and Thank and Grow Rich. Let's take a look shall we. 

Art & Soul Reloaded is written by Pam Grout, and is published by Hay House UK

With her trademark humor, enthusiasm, and no-nonsense guidance, #1 New York Times best-selling author of E-Squared Pam Grout invites you on a yearlong “apprenticeship” to recognize and unleash your innate creativity.
Making art does not necessarily mean painting a gallery-worthy still life or belting out a Grammy-winning song. It simply means finding a way to give your inner muse a voice in this world. Sure, there’s drawing, dancing, singing, and writing. But there’s also art to be made from creating your own pair of angel wings or inventing a new toy or curating your own at-home film festival.
Each week features a project of self-examination, an inspirational message, a real-world example of a celebrity who has addressed similar obstacles, and three zany activities to awaken your infinite creativity.
It’s time to declare the beat of your own drum.

I absolutely love anything that allows me to feel inspired, and either create something or write. It's one of the reasons I started this blog initially - because I love writing so much, and being creative.
I'm also quite partial to crochet and sketching on the odd occasion.
In this book Pam challenges you to a year long exploration of your creative self through weekly challenges that are designed to awaken your mind and get you thinking outside the box.
I really enjoyed reading the first 3-4 weeks in this book and have found myself to rekindle my love for being creative. So much so that I've found myself painting the classroom windows as part of displays - we have 2 kinetic letter monkey's and the window is now resembling 2 monkey's in a tree. I've also rekindled a love for journalling - something I did in my anxiety recovery but not since hitting recovery. It's a very therapeutic way of living, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else I can reload in my creative brain and soul. 

Awarding this book 4.5/5 stars 

Life Lessons Come In Nugget Size

Hey Lovely, 

How are you doing? I took the whole of September off to focus on getting back into the swing of work which meant that I didn't have much time for reading - not like I used to. It exhausting looking after 30 children every day and this time around they are the little ones, so I very rarely get to sit down for long at work. It's very busy and by the time I get home I'm just wanting to relax and sleep. 

Anyway, I did manage to read a few books over an extended period which I will be sharing with you over the coming couple of weeks by way of catching up. We have lots to look forward to. 

First up is an absolute dream book for those of us who are so busy and need short and insightful. It's by a wonderful author whom I have so much love for; Julia Cameron. Some of you may know her from ther famous The Artists Way book that introduced the world to Morning Pages. I first discovered Julia at University when I was studying Creative Writing and I still to this day love her work and techniques I learnt from her. 

Shall we take a look at this book she's recently published? Good I'm glad you said so. 

Life Lessons : 125 Prayers and Meditations is written by Julia Cameron, and is published by Hay House UK

In her signature compassionate voice that has won over the hearts of millions, Julia Cameron offers a collection of inspiring and encouraging messages to help you notice the beauty of life, trust the unfolding of events and know that you being looked after and protected, no matter what is happening.

All too often we yearn for a more spiritual life but tell ourselves it's too difficult. But the smallest prayer is heard and answered. The simplest overture meets with a loving response. Each of the prayers in this book is a starting point. Taken collectively, they offer an approach to the Divine that is powerful as well as simple. These prayers not only allow us to reach out to God, but they allow the Divine Energy to reach out to us.

The book is called Life Lessons because each entry is a corrective to commonly held misconceptions of the divine. Like the postures assumed in hatha yoga, they stretch us gently. Through these prayers, we learn more of ourselves and the divine. 

A little different from the fictional books I usually review her but I found reading Life Lessons really inspiring. Literally a sentence of two to a page, Julia offers us inspiring wisdom that is a lesson of life for us to pray over, meditate on, or like me; think about or journal on. 

In the hectic daily lives that we all have, we seem to have less and less time to think about life or what it's trying to teach us and indeed what we are already in possession of in terms of life experience and wisdom. We just work to live rather than living to work. Life Lessons offers us that moment of stillness, of mindfulness to just stop, breathe and think. 

I loved this book and its placed near the front door so that just before I pick my keys up to leave I can read a nugget of wisdom, and do the same when I come home from work. 

I've found myself journalling on occasion on some of the nuggets to record my own thoughts. 

I really like this book, and award it 4/5 stars. 

Christmas Cover Reveal | Sue Moorcroft is BACK!!!

OK this is actually rather exciting for me as I am MORE than ready to start reading Christmas books. I know it's August but let's face it, Autumn is the best time of the year to snuggle up, get cosy with a book and a blanket. So, whilst I eagerly await all this years Christmas titles to arrive I am going through my back-catalogue and reading a few that I haven't gotten around to reading yet. Sometimes we find hidden gems of the past don't we? 

Anyway, TODAY I am excited to share with you along with everyone at HarperCollins and the bookblogging community my first Christmas Cover Reveal of 2017!!! 

Sue Moorcroft is back with this beauty ... 

Publishing in eBook: 9th October
Publishing in Paperback: 2nd November

The #1 bestseller returns with an irresistibly festive tale that you won’t be able to put down!
Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community cafĂ© it’s always dreamed of.
After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.
But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.
However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…
Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Blog Tour | True Love at the Lonely Bookshop

Hello Lovely, 

How are you? Have you been enjoying your summer? I'm still (only just about though) on my summer holiday before heading back to work in September with the kiddies where it will be all mayhem and tears with the little ones on their first day back. But I'll be spending time with each of them and sorting out their first reading book of the academic year. Which brings me nicely onto what I want to share with you here today. 

Annie Darling has written another beautiful story about a bookshop (Am I the only one to get ridiculously excited about a story set in a bookshop? - I hope not!) and this time, it's all about true love. In fact, can we just take a moment to gaze adoringly at the book cover please as we take a quick peek at what this books all about? 

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop is written by Annie Darling, and published by the lovely HarperCollins. You can purchase it from Amazon UK in Paperback or eBook

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?
Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan
Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.
Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise - not to fall in love with each other…

Now doesn't this book just sound amazing? I'm very lucky that I don't often get a book to read/share on a blog tour that doesn't sound amazing - publishers do this amazing job of matching the right books to the right people (a little like a dating agency), and today, I have for you an exclusive and rather exciting extract to share with you from this book. So sit back and enjoy - I know I will. 

Verity couldn’t believe that she was talking about her imaginary boyfriend with a complete stranger. ‘I’m abso­lutely one hundred per cent happy being single but I’m having a hard time getting my friends on board with that.’
Johnny pursed his lips thoughtfully, which did delightful things to his mouth. ‘Maybe you just haven’t met the right person.’
‘I don’t want to meet the right person. I have a busy job, great friends, an extremely needy cat. I don’t need anyone else in my life.’ Verity clutched her glass tighter. ‘So, what’s your story, then? Surely you can’t have any trouble meeting women?’
Johnny ducked his head. Verity was sure it was to hide his pleased but bashful smile. He must have mirrors in his house so he could see that he was very pleasing aesthetically. ‘No, no trouble meeting women.’
Of course! It was obvious. Now that she was no longer crucified on the altar of her own embarrassment, Verity could process the raw data sitting opposite her. No man could look like that and . . . ‘Oh, right. You’re gay. OK. And you haven’t told your friends? Really? Well, it’s none of my business, I suppose.’
‘I’m flattered that you seem to think that,’ Johnny said, his voice all barbed wire now, instead of velvet vowels. ‘You didn’t even make it a question, just an unequivocal state­ment, but no, not gay.’
Verity put her hands to her crimson cheeks. ‘Sorry. I don’t usually run around outing people . . . One of my best friends from uni is gay. And two cousins. I’m all about the LGBT rights. I love the gays!’
‘Well, I’m glad to hear that but I’m still not gay.’
Johnny’s eyes were a very definite blue now. Like the sea in winter; frost-tipped and cold. Verity suspected that he was a Darcy. It was very rare to meet a Darcy.
It probably came from having read Pride and Prejudice so many times that she knew it off by heart, but on meeting new people, Verity always found herself assigning them roles in Pride and Prejudice. She’d met a lot of Jane Bennets and Charles Bingleys, far too many Mr Collinses, an occasional Wickham, but a Darcy was rarer than a single man in possession of a good fortune who was in actual want of a wife. And actually meeting a Darcy wasn’t that much fun.
In fact, it was unbelievably awkward for a count of ten, then Johnny’s phone beeped. As he picked it up Verity realised that there was no good reason to stay and suffer.
She said goodbye, quickly got up, though Johnny was riveted to his phone and gave no acknowledgement of her hasty departure. ‘Stick both glasses on my tab,’ she yelped at Luigi who still couldn’t hide his disbelief that Verity had broken with her usual Friday night routine for the first time in three years. Not only that, she’d also been seen in the company of a man.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the extract, if you loved it like I did make sure you pick up a copy via the links above and let me know what you think of the book. 

Also, if you haven't already, why not head over and visit some of the other blogs that have been taking part in the tour and show them some love. 

Blog Tour | To Provence with Love - TA Williams

Hello Lovely, 

How are you? I would ask if you are enjoying the weather, but right now here in the UK we're having a typical British Summer that feels very much like Autumn and fears of Summer having abandoned us early are unspoken. 

Today however I am stopping by to tell you all about a fabulous story that will have you dreaming of sunshine and escaping for summer from your daily grind. I am grateful to be taking part in the Blog Tour for TA Williams (he's a favourite author of my Mum's) and his new book; To Provence with Love. Shall we take a look? 

To Provence with Love is written by TA Williams, and it is published by HQ Digital. You can purchase a copy via Amazon

Escape to the south of France with this perfect feel-good summer romance!

Anything is possible…

Struggling writer Faye Carter just can’t believe her luck. She’s off to Provence to write the autobiography of a famous film star and she’ll be staying in the stunning chateau!

So when she meets charming (and completely gorgeous) lavender farmer, Gavin, she knows that she’s made the right choice – even if glamourous, elderly Anabelle seems to be hiding something…

But when the sun is shining, the food is delicious and the air smells of honey, anything seems possible. Will the magic of Provence help Faye finally find a happy-ever-after of her own?

At first I admit that reading a story set in France wasn't the top of my list - I'm much more fond of stories set in Italy BUT I'm so glad that I did because I would have missed out on a real gem of a book had I not. To Provence with Love is a beautiful story that had me reminiscing about films I've watched in the past and for this reason I was completely swept away by it. 

TA Williams, writes the most beautifully detailed descriptions of the location that I was utterly romanticized by it all and it had me wanting to book a ticket to the French countryside to see these lavender fields first hand (If only I had my passport!). If you think the cover to this story is beautiful, you will be mesmerized by the actual detail found within it. 

We meet Faye who I could closely identify with - she's a school teacher who loves her job but is rather fed up with the administration of the school -in particular the head teacher. I can 100% relate to this, and so when Faye is offered the chance to do something different and get paid to do it she jumps at it. Like Faye, I've been given the opportunity to get out of a similar school and work somewhere else - not as exciting as Faye's opportunity - but I still grabbed the opportunity for myself.

Faye heads off to Provence to write an autobiography for a famous old lady who is Hollywood royalty and gets swept away with not only listening to Miss Beech's life story unfold, but her own starts to take a turn. Of course there are two men who Faye meets; Obelix...I'll let you discover that one! and Gavin the hunky dark haired gorgeously handsome farmer...But after Faye having her heart broken by her womanizing ex she's not interested and Gavin has Dominique anyway...doesn't he? So she's thrilled that she can be just friends. 

I'll be honest and say that I haven't quite finished the book yet so even though I would never spoil the story for you - I couldn't anyway because I don't know just yet. I'm enjoying the storyline, and the setting. The characters are warming, honest and enjoyable to read. Even though I've not yet finished, I'm awarding this book 4/5 because it is an amazing story, superbly written and a joy to read. 

All About The Author

I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...

I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.