Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Night that Changed Everything - Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

The Blurb
Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn't cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They're a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Night That Changed Everything is a funny, feel-good and bittersweet story, told in alternate chapters by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice.

The Review
Following on from the success of The Best Thing that Never Happened to Me (which I still haven't managed to read yet, despite all my good intentions) Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice are celebrating publication of another emotion and humour filled story of love and friendship in The Night that Changed Everything. 

Told through the eyes of both Rebecca and Ben as their relationship unravels, this story had me hooked - I can absolutely see where the comparisons to Richard Curtis films come from.  Everything about this novel is so absolutely British in nature, from the London setting to the typically blunt banter, to the way it walks the fine line between laughter and despair.

Although this could be marketed as a romance, I'd say this is as much about the love between friends as the love between couples, particularly how the ripples of interactions between pairings within a larger friendship group can affect others.  There were times I wanted to scream at varying members of the group (including both Ben and Rebecca!) for their behaviour and the justifications they made for it, and if it weren't for the touching and genuine bonds between the friends this could have been a very bleak read indeed as Tait and Rice don't shy away from painful storylines.

I absolutely loved this one, it's just what I look for in a book and Laura and Jimmy are also inspirations in terms of my own writing - any writers who can strike the balance between laugh out loud funny and total tearjerker in just a few sentences are.

If you've enjoyed books by Erin Lawless, Giovanna Fletcher or Jenny Colgan, I'd recommend you give this a try.

The Night that Changed Everything is out now, published by Transworld.

With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

True Face - Siobhan Curham

The Blurb
We are living in the age of the image - the perfect image. From the constant bombardment of air-brushed photos, to the dubious lifestyle choices promoted by celebrities and the obsession with social media, young women are under pressure as never before to project a persona of perfection. And this is having a catastrophic effect, with girls as young as seven developing eating disorders and female self-loathing reaching epidemic proportions.

True Face shows you how to resist the pressure from the 'perfection police' and take off the masks you wear to proudly reveal your true self to the world. In chapters dealing with body image, bullying, social media, love, sex and more, Siobhan Curham encourages young women and girls to be honest, dream big, and create lives that are happy and fulfilling. Keep Calm and Carry On is replaced by a new mantra: Forget the Fake and Keep it Real. This book is a breath of fresh air. Perfect for ages 13+ - and for the Girls fan in her 20s/30s too!

The Review
I first heard about True Face in the summer of 2015.  I've spent my whole life feeling uncomfortable about my body and how I look, and a lovely blogger friend recommended that this book might be helpful.  Off the back of her recommendation, I asked for this for Christmas from my sister in law.

I have to admit that I was initially a bit sceptical.  I don't read a lot of self-help books, I'm not really in the target market for this teen book and my issues are so deeply ingrained that it was hard to think it might benefit me.  On that count, I've got to hold my hands up and say I was wrong.  It really made me consider what I could do to make myself as happy as I could be, in terms of changing and accepting my body and making time for the things that are important to me.

The strength of this book is Siobhan Curham's honesty.  Through sharing her own experiences she conveys how it is possible to take control and change your own life for the better - sometimes through small adjustments, sometimes through larger ones, but all through learning to accept and then love your true self. 

There are reflective activities throughout the book, such as thinking about the things that made you happy as a child - would those things still make you happy now?  Do you still do them?  If not, why not?  As someone who often says I've not changed much in terms of my hobbies and interests, it was a useful exercise and I've changed my routine to make time for more of what makes me happy. 

I'm never going to be an extrovert and I'm probably always going to be one of life's worriers, but taking time to consider what makes me who I am helped me develop a confidence and self-belief that enabled me to push myself in numerous aspects of my life - my work at pre-school, my writing, and yes, my weight loss. 

Recommended for anyone who needs reminding of their own self worth.

True Face is out now.