Book Round Up #4

Book Review, fiction, ya, contemporary, Lost for words, the housekeeper, letters to the lost

I thought it was about time that I did another book round up.  This one consists of mostly brand new books and I can't wait to tell you about them...Although there is a sneck peek in the picture of a book that isn't coming out until summer time due to me getting my publication dates mixed up...ahh, but look out for that review in July!

This is only a small amount of the new books I've read though as most of them are coming out on my birthday, May 4th, which is like the best birthday present ever, right?  So I'm going to do a big book review post on my birthday next week and it's going to feature probably my favourite book I've read all year in it...exciting!

So on to the reviews....

1.  The Housekeeper* by Suellen Dainty
"When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend—who also happens to be her boss—leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley (England’s answer to Martha Stewart), is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true.
Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life in a hectic world. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic, and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime, and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything."

This was a really mesmerising book.  The way it was written and the use of language just really had me captivated from the start.  I was a little anxious to start reading it as the press I'd read about it said it was a thriller and I'm a big scaredy cat and really don't do well with on the edge of your seat thrillers but I was totally fine with this.  I honestly wouldn't class it as a traditional thriller more of a intense, suspenseful read.  I loved the story, I thought it was so relevant to the times that we live in now with the whole 'internet celebrity' type situation that is going on.  I loved how pacey the story was too, I was constantly kept on my toes with the story.

This would be perfect for you if you like a contemporary read but with a really intriguing and edgy plot with a hint of mystery too.

P.S Can we take a minute to just look at how crazy beautiful the cover is too, ahh so pretty!

You can buy the book on Amazon and also get it on kindle for only £3.99.

2.  If Ever I Fall* By  S.D Robertson
"Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line, and now he’s going to lose his family too. All he’s ever wanted is to keep them together, but is everything beyond repair?
Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered. Nights are spent trying to hold terrible memories at bay, to escape the pain that threatens to engulf her.
Jack wakes up confused and alone. He doesn’t know who he is, how he got there, or why he finds himself on a deserted clifftop, but will piecing together the past leave him a broken man?
In the face of real tragedy, can these three people find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?"

This  story really took me by surprise.  It's written in such a unique way and I loved how fresh and powerful the writing felt.  I thought the way that the characters and their stories were told was just so beautiful.
I wouldn't recommend it if your looking for a happy-go-lucky summer read as its got some hard hitting and deep subject matters going on that will definitely pull at your heartstrings. 
But if you like your contemporary fiction with a big slab of drama and real life then this is a must for you. 
The characters and story really did stay with me for a while after I had finished the book and I think it's one that so many of you will really, really enjoy!

You can buy the book on Amazon and you can also get it on Kindle at the moment for only £1.99

3.  Letters To The Lost* by Brigid Kemmerer
"Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-travelling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart."

I really, really liked this book.  My first impression of it was that it was going to be maybe a little sad and depressing which is just not the type of book for me really but I was so surprised as it wasn't like that at all.
I liked how the story went differently to what I expected.  The author sort of takes you one way with the story then twists it in a completely different direction which I loved so much.

I love a 'letter-writing-to-mystery-person' theme in a story nearly as much as I love a road trip book so the letter writing in this book made me super happy.  I think it just adds such a great dimension to the book.

I would definitely recommend this to you if you just really love contemporary YA fiction as its just a really great example of that but it does have a bit of a deeper story hidden in there too.

You can buy the book on Wordery and get free delivery too.

4.  Lost For Words* by Stephanie Butland
"Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.
Into her refuge - the York book emporium where she works - come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.
Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can't hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?"

So I'm just going to go ahead and say if you love books, just read this one.  Seriously, its beautiful and sweet and comforting and heartfelt.  It's a stunning book, written in such a lyrical way that just makes you want to keep turning the page, I finished it in no time at all!

This really is a book written for book lovers, it has all the charm you could ever want.  It captures the feeling you get when you spend hours in a bookshop scanning the shelves, it really is such a wonderful read.

The story is really thought provoking and emotional but its mostly just warm, like a big cosy hug.  This is a book that you will want to curl up and read and not stop until you find out more about Loveday and her life.

You can buy the book on Amazon now

I really hope you enjoyed the reviews and find a new book to fall in love with...

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Love Yourself

self care, self love, ways to live a better life, ways to being more love into your life

A few weeks ago me and my sister were talking about the whole 'Self-love/Self-care movement that is happening.  I was saying how I love the idea behind it but the name is so bad and alienating to a lot of people I think, it makes it feel like a Gwyneth Paltrow trend rather than just really great and helpful ways to live your life.  But aside from the dodgy name I thought today I would join the bandwagon and thrown in a post with some of my favourite Self-care tips.  These are just some simple things that will help you take care of yourself both physically and mentally.  Here are some things that I live my life by....

1.  Help Yourself - I think so many people spend their life always putting themselves second, third or even 100th in life.  I get it and I understand it.  We've all been there, if you have someone  who you look after, if you have children or you just really want to help other people because you feel you can. These are all such amazing things and definitely the reason why the world is a better place because  so many people are willing to put someone else's needs in front of their own. But here's the thing, to take care of other people you've got to also remember to take care of yourself. 
On a plane, what's the first thing they tell you to do when the oxygen masks come down in an emergency? Put yours on before you help anyone else even your child. Because in basic terms, you've got to save your own life to be able to save someone else's.  So you've got to take time to look after yourself or you won't be able to help those people who need you or who you want to care for.  When you feel pushed to your limit or overwhelmed, your body is telling you to take a break, even if its just sitting for 5mins to have a cup of tea.

2.  Meditate - I can't recommend meditating enough to you.  It's a life changer...seriously.  You can read my post about Meditation HERE .

3.  Treat Yourself - This could be in anyway you want.  Yeah, it would be lovely to be able to buy yourself that new pair of shoes you've been lusting after and if you've got the spare cash, do it. But for most of us treating yourself would be painting your nails, doing a facemask and allowing yourself to take the night in and binge on that new Netflix show you've had your eye on. No guilt is allowed, don't tell yourself you should be doing something more productive with your time. You deserve this.

4.  Be In The Now- Aside from meditation this is the other biggest thing for me in this list.  This small change in your mindset will really make your world feel so different.  Consciously try to bring yourself into the moment.  If your doing one thing and thinking about  something else that your going to do an hour later or even a month later, stop! That time is not here yet, its not yours to plan for and use it up before you've got it. But what you do have is this exact moment, second and minute.  Live in it and be aware of it because if you don't you will miss 'now' because you were planning for 'then'.

5.  You Can't Be Everyone's Best Friend -  It's ok if some  people don't get you or you don't get them, as long as no one is being unkind about it.  Wish them well and move on with your life not giving it another thought.  Don't stress about all the reasons why they didn't want to be your bff , they just didn't, end of story.  It's not your reason to have, will it make you feel better knowing? No, it won't, so don't go looking for it.  Just except that its ok that sometimes you just don't vibe with a person, no drama, no hate.  No one is being nasty so don't give yourself or someone else a hard time about it  You do you and let others do the same...

6.  Change Your Inner Narrative - Everyone has a sort of inner narration, right? If your inner narrative is not positive and loving then its not healthy for you or anyone else.  Change it. For every negative thought you think about yourself, your actions, your appearence, replace it with a positive one. Your thoughts make you who you are.  Want to be a happier, calmer, kinder person? Change your inner narrative to match.

7.  Take Baths - Some studies have shown that baths can have a really positive effect on your health.  They can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress induced headaches and help you sleep better at night.  As an added bonus, the steam from a hot bath can help clean the pores on your face and along with a good skin care regime can give you clearer glowing skin.  Taking baths is a great way of bringing that 10mins of calmness in to your life and they really force you to be in the moment too.

8.  Keep Learning- Some people seem to think once school/collage/uni is over then so is learning but I see it as the opposite.  I think with the use of the Internet, learning should never be over and thanks to google its nearly always a free process.  I get that you might not have time in your life to start an online training course or anything like that but that's not the type of learning I'm talking about.  I mean learning about life and the world.  Pick a subject, it could be anything and everything.  Love, happiness, empathy, cats, dogs, architecture, art, royalty.  It doesn't matter just pick a subject that you are intrigued by or interested in and start googling.  Learn about things, just because you can.  Rather than browse twitter or instagram on your daily commute, google that subject that's always fascinated you.  There is no test, there is no limit to how much you should know. And hey, you might even win that quiz at  Christmas due to your insane knowledge of evergreen trees! I truly believe that for us to be the best version of who we are then we should educate ourselves on the world around us. 

9.  Pick Your Tribe Wisely - Make sure the people who are in your life are good for you.  Their life, the way they live and their attitudes affect you.  We become what we immerse ourselves in, so if you are around negative, unkind people, you will slowly but surely be affected by their behaviour. Take note of anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself or speaks to you in a mean or unkind way and remove yourself.  If you can't physically due to working along side them or having to see them in a mutual circumstance all the time, then find a way to limit their access to your life.  Be kind to them but don't tell  them your business anymore.  If you don't like the way they judge your life, don't give them the information they need about you to be able to make those judgements.  It's your life, only share it with who you choose.
This also goes for your online tribe too, only follow people on social media who inspire you and make you want to do better and be better.

10.  Be kind to yourself and other,  always.

I hope you like my list and that some of these things might help you bring a little more self love and care into your life this week.

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P.S The lyrics that I used in the picture I made above are from THIS song, you need it to be your self-care mantra!

Ray Ban Sunglasses

round metal gold ray-ban sunglasses, round sunglasses, festival style

These are most definitely the sunglasses of my dreams.  I have lusted after them for about 2 years and finally the other week I managed to nab a pair in the sale on Sunglasses Shop and they have more than lived up to my expectation's.

I really don't think you can beat Ray-Ban for price, style or quality.  I am so excited to finally have these in my life (the drama, I know) and can't wait to wear them all summer long.

Sunglasses Shop are doing 20% off all Ray-Ban sunglasses for this weekend exciting!
You can use the code RAY20 to get yourself a new pair of sunnies on Sunglasses Shop here. 

Let me know which pair you go for?

Book Review - Good Clean Food by Lily Kunin

good clean food by lily kunin book review, plant based cookbook, clean food dirty city

Good Clean Food*
"In her debut cookbook, Good Clean Food, holistic health coach Lily Kunin shares plant-based recipes that showcase the benefits of eating clean, wholesome food. With a simple and pared-down approach, Kunin guides readers on how to create colourful, nourishing plant-based meals, bowls, smoothies, and treats using gluten- and dairy-free ingredients."

Last week I put up THIS post about some of my favourite cookbooks.  When I got this book through the post I thought about including it too but decided it was actually so good it need a post all to itself.

I'm not going to lie, I think sometimes recipe books especially the plant based ones I buy can get a little samey and I didn't really know what to expect from this one but oh my, I was blown away by it. 

This book is based on Lily's blog.  I wasn't familiar with her blog before I read the book so I really didn't know what the visuals would be like but I have to say without a doubt, aesthetically its the most beautiful and appealing cookbook I own.  The images are so striking and inviting and also helpful as Lily shows a break down of how she makes some of the food in visual guides too.  I honestly can't rave about how pretty the layout and design of the book is, if I ever made a cookbook (I'm not and I wouldn't) then I would want it to be just like this, such a clean and simple design.

My favourite ever recipe book like I mentioned in my last post is from Deliciously Ella but I have to say this has went right up there and is now a joint favourite with that.  The recipes are new and easy to follow, they also don't require you to have 20 different ingredients and all cook relatively quick which is a must for me.
I have tried so many meals from this already and they have all been perfect.  I have a list of the meals I want to make from it over the next few weeks as well, it's just really packed full of beautiful food and meal ideas.

Lily is a wonderful narrator of the book and she made everything feel very easy and approachable. I am now not only the biggest fan of her book but also now her blog after discovering it through reading this.  It's a really great one to check out if our looking for some plant based recipes.

I just wanted to write a quick note on the title of the book. I know a lot of people feel quite strongly against the use of the word 'Clean' when it comes to food and eating and personally I would never use that to describe the way I eat as I've always felt it was too Gwyneth Paltrow for me.  But I just wanted to note that in actual fact when you read Lily's 'food journey' story at the start of the book you find out that she really isn't a clean eating crusader and she really champions finding your own way with food and eating whatever food makes you the healthiest and happiest.  So don't be worried that it's going to be all good/bad food or anything like that because Lily is super open-minded and welcoming to all in the book.

You can buy the book on Amazon or Wordery and get free delivery

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Things To Watch #2

tv show, recommendations, tv show reviews, what to watch on netflix

I thought I would share with you guys all the TV shows I've been loving the past month or so.  You can see what I was watching last month in THIS post.
Here we go....

1.  Pretty Little Liars -  Ok so technically not a show that I've watched yet this month yet but I had to include it because THE LAST EVER EPISODES ARE STARTING IN TWO DAYS....I am crazy excited about this.  I am legit going to watch the new episodes with my black hoodie on, so I can be all A themed.  So exciting, I just can't wait to see how they end things and round everything up. 
Pretty Little Liars starts on the 19th of Apr on Netflix.

2.  The Pop Game -  This is a show that I sort of stumbled across.  I watched the first episode and was completely hooked.  It's basically about Timbaland, the big music producer scouting a handful of young singers from YouTube and putting them through a sort of popstar bootcamp style competition.  I really like it, the singers are all really great and I think there is something really interesting seeing people who are so Internet famous try and become real life famous too.  Also I like that there is no mean-ness in it, Timbaland is great and really encouraging.  He also uses his songwriting team, who have wrote for Britney, Justin etc and got them to write new original songs for these young singers which I really love too.  It's a really fun watch and definitely something to check out if you like music reality type shows.
You can watch it on Mondays at 9pm on Lifetime.

3.  Britain's Next Top Model-  I love these model shows but I'm not going to lie, I feel like this season of BNTM hasn't been the greatest and the Australian top model shows are definitely winning for me.  I'm still watching it though and I'm interested to see who will win but I just don't really love the judges or the contestants that much this year.
You can watch BNTM on Thurs at 9pm on Lifetime.

4.  LOVE-   My hopes were so high for LOVE season 2 and when it finally hit Netflix a few weeks ago, it definitely didn't disappoint. I just really love the whole feel and vibe of this show, there is something kinda calming about watching it too for me.  Such a fun, funny and sweet show that I would totally recommend you giving a watch of season 1 if you haven't already.
Watch LOVE on Netflix now.

5.  Chesapeake Shores -  Ah one of my favourite shows I've watched in the last month.  I am obsessed by hallmarker movies, you know those painfully cheesy romcom movies, well I watch a double-figure amount every month.  I can't get enough of them, they are my favourites. The Hallmark channel made this TV show and its basically one long hallmarker and it's as amazing as you'd think.  It's actually pretty beautifully shot and it has Jesse Metcalfe in it as a washed up rockstar so all boxes are ticked!
I got through the whole season in about a week.
You can watch season 1 on Netflix now.

6.  So Cosmo-  This show makes me so happy.  It has a real old school reality show vibe about it.  Its set in the offices of cosmo magazine in New York and it gives you everything that you'd want from a magazine based show.  It has the clothes, the glamour, the drama and the gossip.  It's not the first show I've watched that's been set in the Cosmo office but its by far the best, definitely my other favourite this month,  I really look forward to every episode and just wish I could totally binge on it.  Such a fun light hearted show that will give you all the Devil Wears Prada feels.
Watch So Cosmo on E every Wed at 9pm.

7.  Keeping Up With The Kardashians-  Special shout out has to go to the Kardashians this month.  I have always been a massive fan on the show and not in the 'oh I kinda hate it' way but in the genuine 'I have so much love for it' way.  I think the show somehow keeps getting better and better and how the family are handling what life has thrown at them this season is just amazing.  Such heart breaking scenes with Kim and the robbery, it was just so sad.  If you've fallen out of Kardashian love for a few seasons then you should definitely give these new episodes a go, they are awesome.
Watch KUWTK on E at 9 on Sundays.

I hope you enjoy this post and maybe find a few new shows to love too.  As always I would love to hear what you guys have been watching the past few weeks and if you have any recommendations too?

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