Set in the Cornish Village of Pendruggan this story follows the life of Penny Leighton who is struggling to be what she perceives as the perfect wife, mother, and TV producer. Her career has hit a rough patch and she’s feeling the pressure.
Penny is a forty-something married mother of one, who is used to a glamorous life as a television producer. Whilst on location in Pendruggan, where the Mr Tibbs Mysteries were filmed Penny met her husband, the local vicar. Penny had been shocked to find herself falling in love and getting married, followed closely by her getting pregnant. We meet Penny when her daughter Jenna is around a year old, and Penny is struggling with motherhood’s demands. She also finds herself plunged into a crisis in her career when the author of the Mr. Tibbs Mysteries refuses to write another volume of the highly acclaimed stories. Penny’s boss, Jack Bradbury, is putting pressure onto her to get Mavis Crewe to agree to produce another book so that the television company can produce another series of the show. It is at this time that Penny receives the news that her mother has died, and despite being estranged from her mum and sister, the news rocks Penny to the core. With all of this going on in her life Penny crumbles under the pressure and the new GP, also Penny’s new neighbour, diagnoses her with Post-Natal Depression.
This book was a wonderful escapist read, a book to while away the hours whenever you pick it up. The characters were lovable, mostly, and the pace of the story was just right for the genre. Having never read anything by Fern Britton before I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the book quite as much as I did.
Penny’s struggles were relatable, the new neighbours, Kit and Adam, and their two dogs, were a lovely addition to the story, and even Simon the vicar, Penny’s husband, was a likeable character. I particularly loved Queenie who runs the Village shop, although she wasn’t in the book as often as I’d hoped. However, Penny’s sister Suzie, I found an awful,character and didn’t like her at all, although she is crucial to the storyline. She was spoiled, vindictive and manipulative, and I secretly hoped Penny would send her packing.
There are a couple of other characters whose narrative we follow in this book, and the author has threaded them together in a clever way. The ending didn’t, for me, tie up as many loose ends as I would have hoped, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.
When we think of footballers we think of arrogant men who believe the world revolves around them. As a Manchester United fan I knew that Rio Ferdinand was a very private person, so I knew that he was not your typical, big-headed, self-obsessed sports celebrity. When I heard that his wife had died I felt a wave of sympathy wash over me for him and their three children, and for their families, but then I didn’t really give it much thought after that. Reviewing his book brought me back to that time in his life and I tried to recall what I’d read about Rebecca’s death at the time. All I could recall was that she was in her early thirties, and that she’d lost her fight with breast cancer.
This account of how Rio struggled to come to terms with the death of his wife and how he felt like he was failing his children gives an insight into a very private time in his life. Some people may not appreciate that he talks so candidly about his grief, his inability to cope, but his message is a powerful one; what support is out there for grieving widowers?
Rio Ferdinand is a self-confessed unemotional person. As a professional footballer he lived a very sheltered life in terms of how a household runs, and how to bring children up – in other words, he had no clue. Both of those tasks had been the domain of his wife Rebecca, but in the wake of her death he felt useless and unable to cope.
The book gives a little background information on Rio and Rebecca’s private lives, which I think is crucial in gaining the perspective that was intended when this book was written. The picture that is painted by Rio is one of a dedicated wife and mother who proudly keeps her home and children’s lives running like clockwork so that Rio can concentrate on his footballing career. He talks about how they had bought a property out in Portugal, a property that they had planned to spend many years enjoying once Rio had retired from professional football. Rebecca never got to enjoy that holiday home, her life was cut short before Rio had retired, leaving him crippled by his grief and having no clue where to turn to.
Asking for help was not in Rio’s nature, but this was something he had to learn to do for the sake of his children. All that Rio knew was how to be a professional footballer, The tools he had learnt to be at the top of his game were useless when it came to caring for his children, and this added to the struggle he was facing.
Talking about his grief, how he was almost consumed by it, how he eventually sought the help he needed, and how he began to move forward without Rebecca makes this a raw and often emotional read. This is not a feel good book, nor is it a self help book, it is one man’s account of how he struggled through the sea of grief that losing his wife caused. The important message within this book is that noting will ever prepare you for losing a loved one, grief is very personal, no two people grieve the same and this is important to remember. The book also offers information on where you can find help if you need to.
I don’t think this is the type of book you can say you have enjoyed, reading how one man almost drowned under the sea of grief that had engulfed him does not make for pleasant reading. The emotions are raw, the struggles are real, Rio’s experience is heartbreaking, but the aim of the book is to highlight all of the above and try to point other grief stricken people, particularly me, in the right direction. The book was written after a television documentary had been broadcast about the exact same subject. It is a very honest account of how Rio sunk into the abyss after Rebecca died.
Goddess 2.0 is an anthology of Goddess teachings and thoughts on the Goddess by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate and over 20 other writers. In this anthology, each author shares with the reader their thoughts on life following Goddess worship, as well as how allowing the Goddess into their lives not only enriches lives but also how a life following the Goddess allows us to be more compassionate to ourselves, other people, and the world in general. What this book offers is hope to all of those people who are looking for an alternative way of life and worship to what the current patriarchal way of thinking offers.
Many subjects are covered in this book, they are as follows:
The Resurgence of the Feminine and the Awakening of the Soul by Anne Baring.
Power by Barbara Walker.
The Dark Goddess in the 21st Century: Facing Our Final Destination by Cristina Biaggi.
Feminist Theology as a New Religion by Shirley Ann Ranck.
Goddess Based Morality of Women’s Health; Abortion and Healthcare by Starhawk.
Goddess at the Center, Goddess Everywhere by Nancy Vedder-Shults.
One Small Step by Linda Iles.
Becoming the Priestess or Priest of Isis by M. Isodora Forrest.
21st Century Ministry by Rev. Dr. Patricia Iolana.
The GoddessAwaits by Bob Gratix.
Reviving The Serpent; Symbol of Regeneration by Amy Peck aka Amalya.
On Building Bridges, Not Walls: A Goddessian – Christian – Muslim Perspective by Trista Hendren.
The Mother of All the Living and Societies of Peace by Carol P. Christ.
What’s Good for Women is Good for the World: Foundations for a Caring Economy by Riane Eisler.
Reawakening Our Earliest Sacred Stories by Karen Tate.
Columbia: America’s Forgotten Goddess by Andrew Gurevich
Veganism: The Most Powerful Antidote To The Dominator Paradigm by Charlotte L. Cressey.
Activism and the Dark Aphrodite: Battling Oppression and Fascism in Greece by Harita Meenee.
Lillith Meets The Green Man by Elizabeth Fisher.
Goddess Ethics in Action by Bob Fisher.
Economics of Goddess Spirituality; Interconnection and Social Justice by Starhawk.
Women and Politics by Delphine DeMore.
What Does The Goddess Have To Do With Politics? by Tabby Biddle.
In this book, you will not get your usual fare of lists of Goddess names with explanations of which pantheon they belong to etc. This book talks about the Goddess in a generic sense, rather than an individual Goddess, except for a couple of articles where the authors have specified a particular Goddess by name. This book helps us to understand that Goddess worship, and following the path of the Goddess can be extremely fulfilling and integrate perfectly with every aspect of our lives.
For instance, Starhawk argues that healthcare is a moral issue and that it must be given universally, not just to those who can afford it. This is a topic that affects many people worldwide and the author’s argument can teach us that by following the Goddess we too can feel passionately about such important issues as health care and its availability to all.
Riane Eisler proposes that recognising the critical importance of “women’s issues” is essential for everyone, women and men, young and old, and that “caring societies” are not only more compassionate but also more economically successful.
Within this book, you will find a broad spectrum of ideas and causes that not only affect women and the poor but affect everyone, everywhere in the world. The book teaches us that it is OK to be passionate about causes that affect us all, that we can have an interest in politics and still be compassionate and caring. This book offers us a new way to worship deity in a compassionate and caring way, as opposed to what the patriarchal teachings have drummed into us for centuries.
The book is very well written, the topics are both thought provoking and enlightening. Each of the authors care very deeply about the issues that they have covered and their offerings are well researched and interesting, and very relevant to the book itself.
If you are looking for a light read or a comprehensive guide to Goddess names and pantheons then this is not the book for you. Admittedly, the book is a little heavy going, but that is to be expected given the topics that are covered. This book is for anyone who cares passionately about the world around them and is looking for an alternative form of worship and way of life.
Shelby’s Way reads very much like a melodrama and keeps the reader guessing all the way throughout the book.
Set in Los Angeles, Shelby’s Way follows the trials and tribulations of Shelby Carpenter, a beautiful young woman who is married to a Hollywood stuntman, Boyd.
Right at the beginning of the book Boyd disappears after a party, he was last seen with a divorcee named Nancy and he leaves Shelby for her. His deceitful actions leave Shelby feeling shocked and betrayed. Shelby and Boyd have an 8 year old daughter, Pamela, and to make ends meet Shelby must get a job.
As Shelby learns to stand on her own two feet three men come into her life and their lives are intertwined because of her. The first man, Sidney, is a married author who is famous and a lot older than Shelby. She leans heavily on Sidney for emotional support in the days, weeks and months after Boyd leaves her.
The second man, Jeremy, is another married man, a lawyer, who is smitten with her from the moment he meets her. The third man, Marc, is a family friend, recently divorced and a successful screenwriter.
Shelby reminded me a lot of Scarlett O’ Hara, whether that was intended or not, that’s who I envisaged as I read this book. Like Scarlett, Shelby has a good heart and uses her femininity to get on in life. Shelby isn’t malicious, nor is she a loose woman, she is very attractive and men seem to fall over themselves to help her.
The story seems a little confusing at times, there are a lot of different threads being weaved and it isn’t until they all come together at the end that everything makes sense.
Shelby’s Way is a lighthearted read that centres around the lifestyle of lesser known people in Hollywood and the surrounding area. It has scandal and heartache and despite her ditziness, you can’t help rooting for Shelby.
Anyone looking for a lighthearted read will love this book.
4 stars. ****
*A link to buy this book is included at the bottom of this post.*
How Forever Feels is the fourth installment in the Friends First series. Prior to reading this book I had not read the other three books in this series, but I found that How Forever Feels could be read as a stand alone book anyway. Much of the history pertaining to the other characters who crop up repeatedly in this book gets explained, making it easy for the reader to grasp their relevance and understand their stories.
Maya McKay was married to Jack Rhodes’s best friend, Will, but they are now divorced after Will cheated on her. Jack and Maya were always good friends but Maya hasn’t seen him since her divorce. That all changes one evening when she is in a bar with her friends and she sees Jack standing at the bar. They exchange pleasantries and Maya finds his return has invoked certain feelings for Jack within her.
Jack has always had feelings for Maya but he didn’t act on them years earlier because his friend Will had his eye on her. Jack owes Will and his family a huge debt, they rescued him from terrible circumstances when he was a teenager and now he feels he could never betray them. The trouble is, the chemistry between Maya and him is smoking hot and it’s only a matter of time before they give in to it.
Can Maya and Jack overcome the feelings of guilt that they have about their attraction to one another?
A book that lovers of this genre will want to read. The characters are strong and often feisty, which I think makes for an excellent story. The writer weaves the story in such a way that the reader cannot help but be invested in what happens to Maya and Jack.
Lovely read. Recommended. 5 stars *****
When Everyone Shines But You by Kelly Martin is a book unlike any other you will read. I guess the genre that this book is categorised as would be self-help. Usually, when you read a self-help book the author encourages you to be positive, bury your anger and never be jealous of anyone.
All good and well in theory, but putting all of that into practice is another matter entirely. If your life has been one catastrophe after another or one big mess after another then it is really difficult to just swallow all of that anger, bitterness, the disappointment, then you will understand just how difficult it is to be the best version of yourself.
This book encourages the reader to be fully present in the moment and if that means you have to work on why you are feeling angry about something, then that is what you have to do. The author tells us that it is healthier to vent in private – she suggests using a journal or even a trusted person whom you can vent away to. Self-help books have a tendency just to focus on the positive but Kelly wants us to work on all of our feelings. This is very different to the usual love and light that most self-help books preach and I found it wonderfully refreshing.
Am I angry that some people use me? You bet I am. Kelly writes that it is OK for me to feel that anger. She encourages me to get personal with it and work with it, and I have found that this is a lot more healthy than suppressing it and expecting it to just go away. That’s the thing with negative emotions though, ignoring them will not just make them go away and left to their own devices they have the potential to fester and grow into something rather unpleasant. Dealing with the negative stuff releases those feelings that we have about the situation that is getting us all bent out of shape and that in turn leads to a much healthy version of ourselves.
Kelly also encourages us to let go of our ego centred way of thinking. This, for me, is where the real work on ourselves is. How many times have we thought that we need something only to feel disappointment once we have actually got it? That is the ego urging us on, telling us we must have the thing we desire. Be it the latest gadget or a few more friends on social media, chances are we don’t actually need it, we just want it. Kelly has a trusted method she suggests we use whenever we are faced with making choices. She suggests we ask ourselves these three questions:
Do I need this? Why do I really want this? Is there anything beneath this want that may be messing with my judgment here?
By asking ourselves these three questions when faced with making decisions we can, the author assures us, be sure we are not just letting the ego lead.
This book is a revelation when it comes to getting rid of the negativity in your life. Positivity is encouraged but dealing with the negative is also encouraged and this is usually where we get into trouble when we do this kind of work. Kelly doesn’t promise that we are going to suddenly become forever shiny, happy people, that just isn’t real. What she does encourage is to deal with all of the negative emotions as and when they arise in order to release them so that they have no power over us. For me that is a winning formula, it is down to earth and very practical. Not everyone buys into positive thinking anyway so this book is just what you need if you fall into that category.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to take their life in their own hands and steer it towards the best version of themselves. This book gets right into the heart of why we so often fail at becoming better versions of ourselves. If you are looking for a no-nonsense book that will help you improve your life, then this is the book for you.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. FIVE STARS *****
What an amazing book!
In the thirty odd years I have been involved in this subject never have I read a book as in-depth as this one. A reader who had no knowledge of this particular subject could buy this book and after reading it have a good understanding of what candle magic is all about.
The book is split into four parts and each part has a wealth of information that is clear and concise, beginners and adepts alike will find plenty for them in this book. Part one deals with the correspondences for candles, colour and type etc. Then it deals with everything from scents and oils to ethics and curses, plus everything in between. The author really has covered all bases. There are so many tips, even an old hat like me picked up a few. One in particular that I really liked was to use a wax crayon to roll or dribble over a candle to add colour – what a fantastic tip.
The author tells us that it is OK not to have shelves and cupboards full of magical paraphernalia and items for use during spellwork and ritual. Not many authors, I have found, will tell you this, and for me it was a refreshing change. The author encourages us to be inventive when it comes to using items that you don’t have for a spell, using our imagination rather than shelling out for unnecessary items.
Part Two of this book covers the basics of ritual. from altars and altar candles, to circle casting, to sending healing. The topic of outdoor candles is covered here, as is candles for seasonal celebrations. Plus, there are plenty of suggestions for candle use during the sabbats.
In part three the topic is meditation, divination, and psychic sight. There are plenty of examples of how candles can be used to aid meditation. The author also discusses how candles can be used as a divination tool. There are also plenty of suggestions on how to increase or improve your psychic sight.
Part Four covers the history of candles, chandlery – which means candle making – and safety whilst using candles, quite a comprehensive list on this subject. The history of candle making section discusses candles in witchcraft history.
At the end of the book, there are plenty of references and a bibliography, well worth checking out too.
I found this book to be a comprehensive guide to candle magic and wish it had been around back when I was first learning about such things. The information is just what novices need, with all of the information held in one book rather than several books. I feel this area of the market has been crying out for such a book for quite some time, and now, thanks to Lucya Starza such a book exists. This book is a delight and a must for anyone who has an interest in candle magic.
5 stars ***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Recently I was asked to review some products from the Forever Living range. There was quite a selection of products for me to sample and that was a positive for me right away. There was no one particular product pushed to the forefront, it was a case of sampling what I wanted and giving my honest review.
Before this opportunity came up I had no clue as to who or what Forever Living is. As always when reviewing a product I research the product, the company and what people are saying online.
As with a lot of products that are sold both online and via people setting up their own work from home business there are always people who will tell you that such things are pyramid schemes. No, Forever Living is not a pyramid scheme – I’m fairly certain pyramid schemes are illegal anyway. In situations like this, I prefer to form my own opinion and usually what I find when I have done the research is that people form an opinion based on what other people have said. I think that is unfair, because unless you go and do the research yourself you cannot really give an honest opinion. What I have found is that some products are quite pricey and this puts a lot of people off. That, of course, is their prerogative, if they choose not to use Forever Living because they do not want to pay out a certain amount of money then that is totally up to them. I am not going to lie, the product range is quite expensive, but if you research each product and compare it to something else that is similar in make you often find that the price is comparable. For instance, they have a gel product that is used for soothing joint and muscle pain. I have yet to try this product – I have ordered a tube – but I am willing to pay a couple of quid more than the nearest comparable product because nothing else has worked for me.
I have an allergy to salicyclic acid – found in anti-inflammatory medications and gels and creams, as well as aspirin. I have tried several creams and gels that work to soothe joint and muscular pain but they have not worked. I don’t know if this product will work – I will review it once it arrives and I have used it – but I decided to try it out because nothing else has so far. That is the point here, I have tried cheaper products and not yielded any results, so if you read this review and think to yourself that a cheaper product is out there, chances are I have tried it and it has failed.
Anyway, onto the product reviews.
Forever Living products are all aloe vera based products. Aloe vera has healing properties that soothe and calm, meaning a kind and gentle product that won’t irritate your skin.
I have to admit I used this product as a shower gel. Using a blob about the size of a 50p I washed my entire body – a little goes a long way. The product lathered up into a rich, creamy lather and my skin felt lovely and soft afterwards. When I first used it in the shower I hadn’t realised it was not a complete body wash – I was in a rush and had just grabbed it – so I had wondered if there would be any skin irritation. There was no burning or irritation at all. The smell was quite subtle, which was a plus for me as I hate overbearing smells. Aloe Vera products can often have a strong odour to them but this is not the case with this product.
I absolutely adored the Aloe face scrub. I have used many face scrubs in my life and have found that quite a lot of them are too harsh, too abrasive. It can be difficult to find one to suit my sensitive skin. This product left my skin feeling amazing after I used it. I am not one prone to gushing over beauty products, but I really would buy this product over and over again. I have never been so impressed with a face product. I have really sensitive skin and even the best of products can irritate it so I was a little worried this product might too. My skin felt soft and fresh afterwards and this was a huge plus for me. I even asked my daughter to try it out, she also has sensitive skin. Her verdict was that the product had a lovely smell and that she did not experience any stinging or burning whilst using the product either.
The Forever Aloe Moisturizing lotion was another product that both myself and my daughter tried out. Again, the smell was very subtle and left our skin feeling soft for quite a long time afterwards. The lotion was light and did not leave a greasy feeling on our skin afterwards, some moisturisers can leave your skin feeling greasy and oily but this one did not do that.
I absolutely loved the Aloe Vera Gelly. This is a product that I am definitely going to be buying over and over again. Again, the smell was quite pleasant and subtle. The product left my skin feeling lovely and soft and there was no residual stickiness or greasiness.
All in all I would recommend quite a lot of the products that Forever Living offer, sure, some things are expensive and that is bound to put some people off, but if you are looking for quality natural products then that is what you will get with Forever Living products.
This novel has been dubbed “The Princess Bride meets Jane Austen”.
Antonia Barclay is a headstrong nineteen-year-old who lives in the Scottish Borders with her family. The novel is set in 1586 but the author has added a modern twist to the tale by allowing her characters to use vocabulary that is more in keeping with this era. This lends a lighter feel to the prose – quite often the narrative can be quite heavy when the story is set in this era and that can be quite off-putting for many readers. The author has mixed the old with the new here and allowed the two to intermingle wonderfully. At the very start of the novel the author makes a lighthearted pact with the reader, giving a gentle warning that all forms of social, political and fashion correctness will be overlooked in favour of frolic and adventure.
The novel is fun and unconventional, it really isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, so you really need to suspend your belief and just let the author’s words entertain you. Antonia is quite a character, headstrong, determined, adventurous, she is an empowered young woman. She is at an age where she is expected to be concentrating her time and efforts on activities such as harp playing, embroidery and finding a suitable husband. Antonia would rather be riding her horse and spending time alone, but between her three brothers, her mother and her best friend she is cajoled into what they term as more womanly activities. Antonia is a likeable character because she does not let society define her. She knows her own mind and she’s not afraid to voice her opinion.
Antonia’s mother convinces her that she must attend an upcoming ball at a neighbouring estate and tells her she must also attend a dinner at their own home that evening. The dinner is being held in honour of Sir Basil Throckmorton. Just before dinner that evening, Antonia bumps into Sir Basil’s son, Rex, an overweight, overbearing, obnoxious oaf and he leers at her, makes lewd comments about her womanly shape and all but gropes her in the hallway. This onslaught is interrupted by Breck Claymore, another guest at dinner that evening. Breck saves Antonia from the disgusting Rex, and when their eyes meet it is love at first sight. The action comes thick and fast from this point on. Antonia and Breck begin officially courting after Breck has secured Lord and Lady Barclay’s permission to court their daughter.
Antonia discovers that her parents are not actually her real parents, but that she is the secret daughter of Mary Queen Of Scots who is imprisoned over the border in England. The Throckmortons have also discovered this and Sir Basil plots to use Antonia against both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, thus overthrowing King James of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth of England. Sir Basil plans to prove Antonia is Queen Mary’s daughter and then marry her so that he can execute his plan to overthrow the Monarchs.
Once Antonia discovers that Queen Mary is her mother she takes off to find her, enlisting the help of a man named Gus. Gus is the brother of Minne, Antonia’s nanny, both Gus and Minnie know the truth about Antonia’s parentage and have kept the secret for nineteen years. But once the Throckmortons arrived on the scene Minnie knew Antonia’s life was in danger.
The novel is lighthearted and jolly. Even when Antonia is kidnapped by the Throckmortons the author keeps the tone light and jolly. This helps the story move along at a really good pace and adds a touch of humour to what could be an otherwise dark novel.
The book is very well written and the language the author uses is superb. This book is for anyone who loves historical romances. It may not be to everyone’s taste, maybe not even those who would normally read historical romance, because of the lighthearted comedy element that the book has.
This is not my usual read but I think it was a really enjoyable book and such a fun read.
5 stars *****