Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Meditation For Children by Shelley Wilson - Blog Tour Review


When Anne Cater of Random Things Tours sent an email asking if anyone would be interested in a book on mindfulness for children, I knew I had to take part. I have a very excitable six year old and though he loves yoga as a calming technique, exploring other options is always interesting. I'm extremely happy I did! 

Meditation For Children

Author and meditation tutor Shelley Wilson takes you on a magical journey to a calm and happy place that you and your child will love.

Children of all ages can learn and enjoy the benefits of meditation.

Designed to help access creative abilities through relaxation and imagination, these stories help develop the necessary tools needed at a young age for lifelong healthy habits of managing stress and anxiety while also improving learning skills.

Meditation for Children is a simple way to introduce children to mindfulness through guided visualisation. Includes a handy reference guide and instructions.

My Review

I'll start off by saying I absolutely loved this book, so how much of this will be "review" and how much will be "gushing" will be interesting to see! 

The book begins with some advice and tips, setting expectations for the techniques used and how to achieve them. Though these are, I'd imagine, aimed at parents, my six year old found it easy to read and grasped the concept of what the book was about. I think this is masterfully done as though he understood, I also didn't feel like it had been "child proofed" in any way. 

The book includes ten stories which all are the perfect length to keep anyone engaged throughout, even a younger child. Each story is accompanied by beautiful illustrations which we spent time looking at before reading each story. I like how it encourages a habit of reading a story before bed each night, we already have this in practice and have for both children from birth. The way we used the stories was to read them after the main bedtime story, to settle down and concentrate on the words and close his eyes (which is why we looked at the pictures first) and to slow ourselves down ready for a good sleep. 

Even reading the stories and following the guidance, I felt myself calming and my heartbeat and being slowing down and I felt lighter once I'd finished each time. I've never really meditated myself before, not in a concentrated effort any way and I feel this book has inspired even me as an adult to look into mindfulness for myself as well as the children. As a parent, you don't always get time to bring yourself that calm that you may need to get through the day, but as this book shows, it can take literally only a coupe of minutes to achieve. 

Overall an absolutely amazing book and one I'm very glad to have read. We will be reading the stories again and again in the future. 

I gave this book five stars.


About The Author


Shelley Wilson is an English author of motivational self-help titles and young adult fantasy fiction. 

Her sensible side writes non-fiction books to inspire you to be the best you can be, and her cheeky and playful side writes young adult fiction to remind you to nurture that inner teen.

Shelley is a single mum of three, has a crazy black cat called Luna and is obsessed with vampires, Tudor history, and exploring castles. 

She's tall (5ft 10inches) which seems to surprise people when they meet her. She often hears, "you're much taller than your profile picture!" 

Find her on twitter www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72
or Facebook www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson 

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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Toletis by Rafa Ruiz - Blog Tour Review


Today I am joining the blog tour Toletis by Rafa Ruiz and sharing my review of this lovely book.

Toletis

The trees are disappearing and the adults don't care. Toletis, his dog Amenophis and friends Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, lusciously green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed ...with some very unusual help? A deep appreciation for nature, art, language, music, friendship, family, the passing of time, old age, loneliness, and the importance of sitting still and reflecting on life, pervade this exquisite story. A must read for 7 to 107 year olds!

My Review

I'll start my review as I have been recently and discussing just how lovely the cover is. It's very distinctive and the colour alone would catch your eye. The illustrations throughout match that of the cover and are all beautifully coloured and joyful to look at. Also I can honestly say I don't think I've ever read a children's book that has such gorgeous end papers and french flaps! Really gorgeous at both the front and back of the book.

Onto the story! Toletis is beautifully written and well thought out, the story follows through the seasons and different activities throughout the year. I loved how each chapter contained a different activity or occurrence and that each one had some sort of gentle message to help make the world a better place for everyone.

The character Toletis is so charming. Sometimes in children's books, as they are to entertain children, the characters can be.....not so entertaining to adults. However that isn't the case in Toletis and I found him to be thoughtful and a good friend to both his real life friends and to nature. Oh and of course his dog too! His relationship with the mist was playful and helped move you through the story.

The language used throughout is lyrical and easy enough for the younger readers, but without talking down to them and it gives them some talking points to ask and discuss if they want. I think the translator has done a wonderful job capturing the magic of the story.

I love how the author has captured how easy it is for a child to cross the boundary between reality and imagination, it gives the book a magical realism feel which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall I gave this book 5 stars.

About The Author


Rafa Ruiz is a journalist and author who has a staunch commitment to culture, art and the environment. He spent 25 years at Spanish newspaper El PaĆ­s and is a partner-founder of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA). He has written numerous children’s books, and he codirects the Mad is Mad art gallery in Madrid which gives space to up-and-coming artists. He is one of the partner-founders of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA).

The Illustrator


Elena Hormiga is an illustrator with a sense of humour. She studied and worked as an engineer and later turned to illustration.

The Translator


Ben Dawlatly took an MA in Hispanic Studies and Translation Theory at UCL. He translates both technical and literary texts. However, his real calling is in fiction and poetry.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig - Blog Tour Review


When I received an email asking if I'd be interested in taking part in the blog tour for Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, I'm pretty sure I responded before the email even finished downloading! I couldn't have been more excited to get involved in one of my most anticipated books of the year.

Wanderers

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world's last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unravelling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.


My Review

Ahh apocalyptic fiction, where have you been? It's been quite a while since my last apocalyptic novel and I honestly hadn't thought that I had missed the genre, I was wrong. I forgot just how much I enjoy being creeped out by end of the world scenarios and imagining myself in the situation and trying to plan what I would do to survive.

Chuck Wendig has taken the genre to the next level and completely modernised it. Everything felt much more intense and real because the occurrences could happen in real life at any given minute. That to me is far more scary than any fantastical or infinitesimally small chance occurrence. Some of the topics are incredibly on point in the current climate and it takes very little imagination to envision it playing out as it does in Wanderers.

When reading I usually have to identify with at least one character to fully immerse myself in the story, but in Wanderers I didn't find that. I didn't personally identify with any individual character, but I did recognise traits in each person that I could understand and that really worked for me. Everyone was flawed and that made them both human and again real.

The story itself is over a whopping 800 pages long, but I can honestly say it felt like a book half the size it read so quickly. Obviously there is a lot of lead up to what happens, with introductions to the characters, but every chapter kept me wanting to read more, just one more.

I love the darkness, I love the relevance, I love how everything is woven together. Wanderers is incredible and is a masterpiece of modern apocalyptic writing. I gave it five stars and have already been recommending it to my friends.

About The Author


Chuck Wendig is an American author, comic book writer, screenwriter, and blogger. He is best known for his popular online blog Terribleminds, and for his 2015 Star Wars novel Aftermath, which debuted at #4 on The New York Times Best Seller list and #4 on USA Today's best seller list. As of early 2016, Wendig writes Hyperion for Marvel and The Shield for Dark Circle Comics.
He was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2013.


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Monday, 17 June 2019

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers - Blog Tour Review


Life Of A Nerdish Mum is honoured today to be kicking off the blog tour for The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers.

The Sea Refuses No River

The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it's like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life 

In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck', and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, 'The words are purposes. The words are maps.'

My Review

I seem to be really drawn to poetry at the minute, so when the opportunity to read The Sea Refuses No River, a collection of poems about grief I jumped at the chance.

I don't mention covers as often as I probably should, but the cool simplicity of this book cover really matches the feel and tone of the poems and I think is quite beautiful. The picture doesn't quite do it the justice it deserves, it's even more striking in real life.

I dove in and out of The Sea Refuses No River, I feel the topic and the poems are heavy and so lend themselves to being read in instalments rather than reading all in one sitting. Each time I picked the book up, I read the next poem, though sometimes I admit to being pulled into the mood of the words and reading more than the one that I had planned to read.

I was trying to chose just one favourite out of the collection, but as it's my review and I can do what I want, I'm choosing two. The first is - Tea And Buttered Toast is really well constructed, it caught my attention from the title alone and kept me right to the end. The second is - Seven Full Stops, it really made me think about the different way people I know both read and speak and I really enjoyed the rhythm.

A special mention has to be made of Every Garden Is A Gift as it is beautiful and haunting and I completely felt the emotion behind it.

Overall a solid and compelling collection of poems. I will definitely be looking out for more of Bethany Rivers work.

I gave The Sea Refuses No River four stars.

About The Author


Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.

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Friday, 3 May 2019

Bad Mommy Stay Mommy by Elisabeth Horan - Blog Tour Review


Here at Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I've been looking forward to taking part in the review of Bad Mommy Stay Mommy by Elisabeth Horan.

Bad Mommy Stay Mommy 

Elisabeth Horan was in the grip of postpartum depression after the birth of her second son, 'red and writhing a salamander underfoot'. In this collection, Elisabeth finds the courage to survive. Uplifting, guttural: Horan leaves her reader roaring for more.

My Review

Bad Mommy Stay Mommy has been one of my most anticipated reads so far this year. A collection of poems about motherhood and mental health, is definitely my cup of tea.

It's strange I have to say, as I started to read through the poems, I felt less alone and that feeling only strengthened the further I got through the collection. Being a parent can be a very lonely state, even if you have a partner and a support system in place, you have thoughts and feelings and struggles and you think that you are the only person who has felt that particular way. You feel guilty for thinking certain things and unsure about if you are ever doing the right thing. No one really ever talks about this because you don't want to be judged. Elisabeth Horan has enough bravery for all of us though and shows us that it's ok to feel the way you feel and that no, you are not alone!

Having had post natal depression after having mini Nerdling, there were certain poems in the collection that really spoke to me and I found myself crying more than once. Not through sadness, but through acceptance and realisation that the way I felt was valid.

Horan's writing is eloquent, honest and sometimes brutal and I enjoyed every single page. I will definitely be dipping in and out of this book again and again in the future.

I feel the poem "Therapy" almost at the end of the collection, is one of my favourites. It portrays a journey and has a feeling of celebration that she has worked hard to get to where she is and deserves to be there. I also love the Shawshank Redemption reference.

I gave this book 5 stars.

About The Author


Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain - especially those ostracised by disability and mental illness. Elisabeth is honoured to serve as Poetry Editor at Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and is Co-Owner of Animal Heart Press. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique, and a 2018 Pushcart Prize Nomination from Cease Cows.
Elisabeth lives in rural Vermont with her husband and two young sons. When not being poet, she works as a secretary and loves riding horses & dancing the salsa---
Follow her on Twitter @ehoranpoet  &  ehoranpoet.com

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Thursday, 18 April 2019

The New Achilles by Christian Cameron - Blog Tour Review


Today Life Of A Nerdish Mum is happy to take part in the blog tour celebrating the release of The New Achilles by seasoned historical fiction author, Christian Cameron.

The New Achilles

Alexanor is a man who has seen too much blood. He has left the sword behind him to become a healer in the greatest sanctuary in Greece: he has turned his back on war.
But war has followed him to his refuge at Epidauros, and now a battle to end the freedom of Greece is all around him. The Mediterranean superpowers of Rome, Egypt and Macedon are waging their proxy wars on Hellenic soil, turning Greek farmers into slaves and mercenaries.

Greece needs a champion.

When a wounded soldier is carried into his temple, Alexanor believes the man's wounds are mortal. But he is not destined to die. But Alexanor must face his own daemons before he can help the hero face his.
Because this is the new Achilles. His name is Philopoemen.

This is Greece's champion. The last hero. He is the new Achilles.

My Review

I only discovered my love of historical fiction a couple of years ago, but I sadly don't find time to read the genre very often. When the opportunity to read The New Achilles came up though, I jumped at it as I absolutely love Greek history in part due to my Greek heritage. Also the story sounded fascinating.

The action is right there from chapter one and continues right the way through the story. There are many extremely well written battles, both exciting and detailed. I'm not always the biggest fan of battle scenes in books (in War and Peace, I far preferred the "peace" sections to the war scenes), but in The New Achilles, I was kept engaged and wanted to know the outcome, instead of zoning out or skim reading.

Alexanor is an interesting character as he is someone who has moved from a life of fighting to a life of peace, before becoming embroiled again in the world of war. He is a far more stable character than you'd imagine and I really enjoyed his presence and his character development.

You can tell the author is a historian, this is not a detrimental thing, as the language and terminology used is obviously correct of the time period. I enjoy learning when I read, so having to use the glossary (and good old Google) on occasion was really helpful. The author's knowledge also helps with the feeling of authenticity of the places and people of the time period. This all really helped immerse me fully into the story. 

Overall a really excellent and intense read, not one to be sped through, but one to be savoured.

I gave this book 4 stars.

About The Author


Aka Miles Cameron. Also publishes as Gordon Kent with his father Kenneth M. Cameron.

Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.


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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The Secret Life Of Moles by Liz Burgess - Blog Tour Review



Thank you to Clink Street Publishing for having Life Of A Nerdish Mum on the blog tour for The Secret Life Of Moles (And Their Friends) by Liz Burgess.

The Secret Life Of Moles (And Their Friends) 

Liz Burgess has always held a keen interest in nature, especially small furry mammals!

Long fascinated by their secret activities at home in her own back garden, and the fields surrounding it, she decided to explore this special underground world, and find out more about moles and their other little friends. Liz Burgess lives in South Yorkshire and The Secret Life of Moles is her first book for children.

My Review

The Secret Life Of Moles follows Ragwort Teasel, a young mole, as he wants to spread his wings and move out of the family tunnels into more space. There's a road being built and there's a farm and tractor near by so he has to go into uncharted territory. Along the way, there are trials and tribulations until finally he is settled nicely in his new home.

As the story progresses, it shows how working together and helping your friends can assist in achieving your goals. There is also give a small insight into how moles live.

The Secret Life Of Moles is aimed at children, I would say it would be better for age seven and up as there is a lot of text and though there are pictures, they are simple (but beautiful) sketches with no colour and they are not very often. As a grown up reading the book, I found the names of things difficult, wingthings, climbing fox etc. But I'd imagine for children this would be a fun way of describing each animal and them guessing as what they were.

Overall an engaging story and I will be interested to see what Liz Burgess produces after The Secret Life Of Moles.

I gave this book 3 stars.

About The Author


Liz Burgess lives in South Yorkshire has enjoyed a varied career, including working for a UK Environmental Charity, the latter 10 years as a Director. She had always had a keen interest in nature especially small mammals, activities in her own back garden and the surrounding fields inspired her to write the Secret Life of Moles. Any reference to a moles natural behaviour in The Secret Life of Moles is correct according to Liz’s small amount of research. All the drawings were been done by Liz in pencil and ink.

At the age of 68, Liz enjoys hiking, bird-watching anything to do with wildlife. She has done quite a bit of foreign travel, including rain forests, jungles and was fortunate to see a 'tiger' in the wild. Liz retired at 60, previous to this she worked for an environmental charity for 28 years. Mainly involved with operational developments but she does have a background in Human Resources and Employment Law.

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