Friday, 2 October 2020

Wild Whispers (Adult Wellness Sessions) With Wild One Adventures

 



If you went down to the woods on Wednesday, you be sure to find a small group of people having the most amazing time. 

Everyone who knows me even slightly, knows how much I absolutely love Wild One Adventures and how I make sure that Thea attends every session, so when I had the opportunity to attend a demo session for grown up Wild Ones you know I was right in there! 

We met up at 7PM and we were welcomed with a sign and fairy lights and lanterns leading us toward a fire.


When we'd all arrived, we sat down on wooden toadstools (me more carefully than most as the first time I'd sat on one I fell off backwards haha) and Louise welcomed us and explained what her thoughts were about the session and introduced us to Nicky. Nicky talked a bit about wellness and meditation. Though most of us knew each other or at least recognised each other from Wild One Adventures sessions, we went round and chatted about what we do and the kind of outdoor activities we all get up to. It was so nice chatting to other people who are like minded and in such a relaxed and friendly way. 

Once we were all introduced and relaxed we all went and got in a hammock. I've never been in a hammock before and was quite worried I'd end up flinging myself across the woods! Luckily Louise was lovely enough to talk me through sitting in and give me a helping hand and I got in safely. In our hammocks, we could meditate if we chose, nap or just take time to relax. 

The feeling of being in the hammock was lovely, it gently hugged my arms against me and it was so comfortable for my back. I loved looking up through the trees to see the fading daylight and listening to the rain dropping through the leaves and the river running nearby. I could quite happily have dozed off had I stayed in it longer.  


After a length of time, we could either spend longer in the hammock or come back round the fire. We all chose to go back round the fire and we all talked about how much we enjoyed the hammock experience.

We'd been asked to bring mugs and honestly I'd expected either tea or maybe hot chocolate...I was very wrong! Our choices were mulled wine of Baileys! Originally I was going to have a mulled wine, but Louise mentioned toasting a marshmallow and then dunking it in the Baileys, I WAS SOLD. It was quite possibly the most decadent experience I've ever had haha! 


Overall this was the most relaxing, friendly and freeing "adventures" I've ever had. It was something I needed so badly with everything over the past couple of years and I felt so light and positive afterwards. If you get the opportunity to take part and book into one of these sessions, I urge you to do it! 


Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I am excited to be part of the blog  tour for The Bone Shard Daughter. A big thank you to the author and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for having me along. 

The Bone Shard Daughter 

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor's reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire's many islands.

Lin is the emperor's daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright - and save her people.

My Review

Wow!! If I could get away with a one word review for this absolutely amazing book, then Wow pretty much covers it. I don't feel I've the right vocabulary for how much I enjoyed The Bone Shard Daughter, but I'll give it a go. 

I really enjoy a multiple POV (point of view) story, but it has to be really well written to pull it off. Andrea Stewart is like some sort of magician with how the story flows effortlessly between POVs as well as perspectives. Each character has their own feel and voice and I didn't feel any we're interchangeable. I flew through the book because I kept wanting to know what would happen with the next person.

The characters themselves were also really well developed, even the less focal characters. I really felt like I knew each one and I was invested in their stories right from the beginning. The relationships are also done beautifully in my opinion and seem very organic and real. 

The Bone Shard Daughter is a slower paced debut (and first in series) which I really enjoyed. I loved being part of the build up towards the deeper parts of the story instead big just being thrown right in the deep end. I'm chomping at the bit now, ready for the next book. I need more from the world and author! 

I would really recommend The Bone Shard Daughter and the hype really is deserved for this book. I gave it 5 stars. 

About The Author


Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn't pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.

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Saturday, 5 September 2020

Glamping With Wild One Adventures!


I've been trying to write an Instagram post or a review all week, but nothing felt right. So I've decided a chatty blog post was the best idea. 


Last weekend was the last weekend of the summer holidays after obviously a very weird and difficult year so far. I'd wanted to do something special for Tristan and spend some time just one on one with him, but hadn't a clue what to do. 

I'd seen that Wild One Adventures had started offering glamping experiences in people's gardens, which I thought was amazing, but sadly something my back yard would not accommodate. As lockdown restrictions lifted, I noticed they had started offering the experiences at Brocklehead Farm and Caravan Site, so I asked about it and ended up booking for the 29th of August. 

As the time approached I'd let Tristan know our plans and he was ridiculously excited. He's never been camping before so it was going to be a new experience for him making it even more special. He counted down the days and talked about it constantly. 

On the day I was both excited and nervous as I wanted him to love it as much as I knew I would. 

Nerdish Dad dropped us off at the gates and the entrance was so lovely with a carved welcome sign. 


And we walked down to our pitch. I was pleasantly surprised with how many people were there and how the site was all laid out around a playground for the kids. On our pitch, our canvas teepee was all set up and outdoors there was a firepit and table and chairs all ready for us. 

Honestly I was impressed enough with just the outside, but when I opened up the tent I cried and Tristan whooped. It was so unbelievably stunning. 

It was so welcoming and Louise (Wild One Adventures) had thought of everything. There was lego and other bits for Tristan to play with and there was gin and Eccles cakes for me. We spent time exploring the tent and then we went looking for the loos and shower block. It might sound strange, but I've never seen such beautiful campsite facilities before and they were incredibly clean.


I then sat and just took in all the outstanding views and enjoyed my brew from my flask while Tristan was building all sorts of creations with the Lego. 

We did have a sprinkling of rain, but it didn't stop us from sitting by the fire - which I managed to light effortlessly - and enjoying the outdoors. 

For tea I had brought a picnic and we sat in the tent to eat and talk. Tristan tried an Eccles cake for the first time and he's definitely a fan! 


By this time it was about half 7 and Tristan was itching to go and play on the playground. I was a bit nervous as there were quite a few other children, but I didn't need to be. He made friends and they were all playing socially distanced games, like Touchless Tig, the rules of which changed constantly! 

While supervising, I sat quietly and really took time to focus on the moment. Listening to the kids laughing, feeling the cool breeze that was bringing the smells of someone's barbecue and watching the sun as it set was the most perfect moment I could have asked for. I haven't felt so light in a long time. As the sun was finally setting, Tristan came to join me and we watched it together. Another first time experience for him.


As it went dark we wandered back to our tent and got ourselves ready for bed and piled blankets on top of us as it'd got a bit chilly by this stage. Louise (Wild One Adventures) had left a pack of Uno cards for us to use and though neither of us had any idea what we were doing, we had the most amazing time just laughing and making it up as we went along, playing by fairy lights. This has to be one of my favourite memories from the whole experience and I know it's one of Tristan's too as he's told other people about it. 


We settled down for the best nights sleep I've had in a long time! 

In the morning, Tristan woke at seven as usual and he had us dressed and at the playground in record time! We did go say hi to the cows first though. I let him play for an hour or so while I enjoyed the views and then we sorted out breakfast before being picked up to go home. 


I cannot recommend this whole thing enough. Louise has made glamping even better in my opinion with all the thought and love and care that she puts into the whole thing. And Brocklehead Farm and Caravan Site is a perfect destination whether you're local or not. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect way to spend time with my boy and to treat him for coping with everything so well. He wanted to stay a second night and is already asking what dates I've booked next year. 

It's turned into quite a long post and I really hope I've done the experience justice.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

The Naseby Horses by Dominic Brownlow - Blog Tour Review

Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm happy to be sharing my review of The Naseby Horses by Dominic Brownlow. Thank you to Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for having me along. 

The Naseby Horses

Seventeen-year-old Simon’s sister Charlotte is missing. The lonely Fenland village the family recently moved to from London is odd, silent, and mysterious. Simon is epileptic and his seizures are increasing in severity, but when he is told of the local curse of the Naseby Horses, he is convinced it has something to do with Charlotte’s disappearance. Despite resistance from the villagers, the police, and his own family, Simon is determined to uncover the truth, and save his sister. Under the oppressive Fenland skies and in the heat of a relentless June, Simon’s bond with Charlotte is fierce, all-consuming, and unbreakable; but can he find her? And does she even want to be found? Drawing on philosophy, science, and the natural world, The Naseby Horses is a moving exploration of the bond between a brother and his sister; of love; and of the meaning of life itself.

My Review 

Wow, this book was definitely a fully immersive experience. Though a debut novel, The Naseby Horses reads like a seasoned authors work. The prose is beautiful and poetic and honestly swept me into the quietly sinister and mysterious story. 

The Naseby Horses is definitely slower paced than I am used to and at times I wanted to read faster just to see what was really going on. That is an observation on me though rather than the book. 

Simon is an extremely interesting character and I was never fully sure if I liked him or not due to his unreliability. I love a well done unreliable narrator though and Simon is definitely well done. 

The focus on Simon's epilepsy was very well portrayed and has been the most realistic (from what a family member explains) version that I've ever read. It's a lot more in-depth than the usual character having a bit of a fit and that's the end of it. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the journey it took me on. I can only imagine and look forward to new work from Dominic Brownlow in the future. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

About The Author 


Dominic Brownlow lives near Peterborough with his two children. He lived in London and worked in the music industry as a manager before setting up his own independent label. He now enjoys life in the Fens and has an office that looks out over water. The Naseby Horses is his first novel. It was long listed for the Bath Novel Award 2016. 

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DominicBrownlow
Louise Walters Books: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/dominic-brownlow

Purchase Links:
Louise Walters Books: https://bit.ly/3a9QLqU 
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2DztRgr 
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3imRms1 
Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3fCFqAx 
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3fFJfVJ 
Blackwells: https://bit.ly/2PDF0PX 
Foyles: https://bit.ly/3acjnQ3 

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Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Grubane by Karl Drinkwater - Blog Tour Review

 

Today I'm extremely excited to be helping kickoff the blog tour for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater. Karl Drinkwater is one of my favourite authors, so I jumped at the chance to take part! I'm really hoping a hard copy bind up Lost Tales Of Solace will be released in the future so I can complete my Karl Drinkwater shelf!! A big thanks to Karl and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for having me along. 

Grubane

Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.

His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.

But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.

Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe

My Review

Grubane follows the actions of Major Grubane, and is viewed by the AI Aurikka12. As usual the writing of an AI, I feel is spot on. I always end up having them as a favourite character as though you can tell they aren't human, they learn and develop as the story continues. I get far too invested in how they "feel". 

As this novella is about Grubane, it is more military in tone than the other books in the and could have come across as dry. It does not at all though and kept me thoroughly involved and I read the entire book in one sitting. An 

I loved the use of chess throughout as it was something relateable and helped show how Grubane thought through certain situations and used his logical prowess. It also shows just how much work and thought goes into every story that Karl Drinkwater writes. 

Though not exactly an origin story, it definitely gives a lot more insight into Grubane and it means this novella fits perfectly read either before Lost Solace or after. A good back story is always interesting in my opinion! 

Another absolutely top notch and unmissable part of the Lost Solace series. I already can't wait for more. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

About The Author 


Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Nightborn by Jessica Thorne - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm pleased to be taking part of the blog tour for Nightborn by Jessica Thorne. A big thank you to Bookouture and the author for having me along.

Nightborn

Like deep dark water, it pulls them down. The faint fire of magic within them flickers and dies. Their eyes turn black as night. They are nightborn now.

Grace Marchant has been many things: streetwise orphan, rebellious servant, and now beloved companion of Prince Bastien, heir to the throne of Larelwynn. But their sunlit happiness is not destined to last. The golden magic which brought them together in purest passion is threatened by strange and ancient forces. Innocent people are becoming nightborn – cruel, deadly, unrecognisable to their loved ones – and these two young lovers are the only ones with power enough to stop it.

In times of peace, striking a deal with their closest enemy would be unthinkable, but now their only hope is to ally with the neighbouring Valenti royal family: manipulative, cunning, and always with an eye on the Larelwynn throne. The partnership comes at a devastating price… if Grace wants to defeat the nightborn, she must watch Bastien marry a Valenti princess.

Grace knows she must make this heart-wrenching sacrifice for the good of the whole kingdom – but she also fears the magic in her veins, usually so warm and bright, is turning cold as deepest midnight. A beguiling darkness whispers to her from within. Is Grace herself becoming nightborn?

Time is running out. With Bastien promised to another, and a stony distance growing between them, will Grace find the source of the nightborn curse before every last soul is consumed by the darkness?

My Review

After reading Mageborn, I was thoroughly excited to read the next installment and I was not disappointed.

Following the slower paced first book, full of wonderful world building, Nightborn is fast paced and action packed almost beginning to end and it was brilliant.

The characters really came into their own, especially Grace which was really good to have followed from the beginning. I also enjoyed how relationships changed and evolved as the story progresses. Sometimes you find in series that relationships (friendship or romantic) hit a certain level and the stagnate for the rest of the story. This doesn't happen in Nightborn!

The story was well thought out and kept me engaged. I really cared and wanted to know what happened next. I would have liked a bit more use of powers, but that's just my opinion.

Overall a really excellent second book and I'll continue looking forward to more from Jessica Thorne!

I gave this book 5 stars.

About The Author


Jessica Thorne saw Star Wars at an impressionable age and life was never the same. She’s loved fantasy, romance and science fiction ever since and spends her time looking for adventure – in the pages of her books.

Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long and won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2015.

Author Social Media Links:


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Sunday, 10 May 2020

The Happy Couple by Samantha Hayes - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm happy to be taking part in the blog tour for The Happy Couple by Samantha Hayes. Thank you both to the author and Sarah Hardy for having me along.

The Happy Couple

Me and Will. Will and Me. A perfect match. He said he would always be there for me, but it’s been a year since he drained his coffee, walked out the front door and vanished.

Did he leave me? Or did something terrible happen? I’m scared someone finally found out about what happened on the drive home that night…

I lie awake at night trawling the internet for rental properties, desperate for an escape. Until I see my husband’s gorgeous face smiling back at me from a photograph on the fireplace in someone else’s home, and something inside of me snaps.

At the house, I find no trace of him and the woman who lives there has no idea who I am. But I’m certain she’s hiding something behind the locked door upstairs. I know that if I want answers, I have to stay.

You might think that what’s inside that room is the answer to all my questions and the end of all my pain. But it’s only the beginning…


My Review

The start of The Happy Couple is a slow burn and the story comes together bit by bit before it really gets going. I like a gentler pace in my psychological thrillers sometimes as you can get lost in all the information too easily when it's thrown at you.

I'm not sure if I liked any of the characters, but I'm not really sure if I'm supposed to. Some of the lesser characters felt slightly less well rounded than others, but they were all still very easily imagined.  Jo, the main character was relatable and I could feel how confused she must be. I know if it was me, I wouldn't let it go without an answer and I'd be constantly doubting my sanity, so I completely empathised with her.

The pace picks up the closer to the ending you get and I was sat on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next! Would I find out what was really going on? The ending, without spoiling anything, is going to be a marmite ending. Some people are going to hate it, but people like me will absolutely love it!!

I gave this book 4 stars.

About The Author


Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003 and her sixteenth novel, THE HAPPY COUPLE is out 6th May. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on 'real life fiction'. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, 'What if this happened to me or my family?' And you'll always find a BIG twist at the end of her novels!

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING says "We're big fans of Samantha Hayes. Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping..."


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