#Review – The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer by Nicola Bourne (@njbrn) #reallife

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The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer is for every woman touched by cancer but still determined to feel in control of their life.

Giving real advice from a number of fabulous women effected by cancer, it includes tips, examples, stories, memoirs, information and ideas covering everything from post-operative styling, ideas to stay social when you can’t go out, dealing with doctors, ways to stay lifted and mots more. All with plenty of kind words and inspiration to keep women on-track during this time.

What does TWG think?

How on Earth can a reviewer or a blogger, ‘review’ a book that has been written about the authors own personal journey? I mean, it’s not like we can sit in front of our computers, dressed to perfection in black tie (ahem), and rate the book 2 stars because it ‘wasn’t sad enough’ or ‘the storyline didn’t hold my attention and wasn’t believable’, or even writing that the ‘storyline was far too sad and completely unrealistic’. The author may even come back with ‘oh oh, okay, I do APOLOGISE about my life not giving you enough entertainment’. Who the hell are we to judge or comment on how someone else lives their life or deals with an extremely uncertain and devastating hurdle? EXACTLY. We can’t, and I won’t. With the blog post I am about to write, I have removed my reviewer hat as this is NOT a review. Instead, it is purely my thoughts in no particular order, and most definitely not commenting on the ‘storyline’ or ‘book structure’.

Why?

Because my dear readers, the author of this book; Nicola Bourne, has had to battle something you only see other people getting and never believing it’ll ever reach you. Cancer. The thing is, prior to the diagnosis, Nicola had had a few ‘iffy’ moments which had resulted in a fair few trips to her GP, taking home information which she could have easily sourced herself from our good friend Google. However, that information was incorrect and their failure to delve further into Nicola’s symptoms mean that her cancer ended up being an aggressive little devil. There was only one option (aside from chemo etc), and that option still didn’t guarantee Nicola’s life at the end of it. She had to endure an extensive 12 hour operation to remove multiple, multiple things including the back wall of her vagina. Yes ladies, you’re probably wincing right now, and I’ll admit that I did too when I read that. However, I cannot even begin to imagine the emotional pain Nicola felt when she got told that news. It’s not really the sort of thing you can go ‘oh okay, no problem’ to, is it?

You’re also probably wondering why I am telling you that (above) when it’s in the book, yes? I have left the finer details out yet given you an overview of her diagnosis because something in particular shouted out to me, and I need to highlight it. When you go to see your GP, you really do expect the doctor/nurse to take you seriously and not fob you off for being ‘too young’ for particular illnesses (if you’re showing the symptoms), or anything similar. You expect them to listen, take note and investigate. Hell, we constantly get told to ‘go to see our gp’s’ if we have symptoms of such and such or if we require further medical advice. Instead, Nicola had to PUSH for a diagnosis. We KNOW our own bodies.

In this guide book, Nicola covers things from telling your family and friends that you have cancer to advice on how to pamper yourself after surgery, and even offering advice on going on holiday with a different you. She has literally given you a friend (in book form) from the start of your medical journey, to life after it; ensuring that even if you do have the support around you, she is giving you additional support from someone IN THE KNOW.

Now, I’m not taking anything away from the cancer topic at all, but, when Nicola discusses how she felt in regards to her treatment from her gp, and how she felt with other people refusing to believe that she was ill because she ‘looked fine’, it caught me very deeply. Those emotions, actions and feelings Nicola wrote in black and white, a lot of people battling chronic illnesses will be able to take away with them after reading this book. Selfishly perhaps, I felt as though she understood me even though I was looking at her words from a completely different angle. It was as though Nicola became the voice of many.

The intense emotion is highly evident throughout the whole book, and rightly so. After all, Nicola had her whole world turned upside down and yet she has still written a book to offer guidance for other people! The guidance in her book isn’t all directed at cleansing your aura and becoming Buddha’s bosom buddy, she has kept it real, humorous and extremely laid back. Honestly, it was as though I had had Nicola ring my doorbell, grab and coffee and sit me down to talk to me about her rollercoaster journey; so matter of fact and so powerful. I am tearing up writing this as I think that Nicola Bourne is an incredibly brave, humble and selfless woman for what she has had to fight, and probably still continues to fight on a daily basis in various other ways.

This is, without a doubt, a truly remarkable book about a truly remarkable woman’s journey; who has selflessly offered her hand to anyone facing the dreaded C. I am in awe at Nicola’s courage to write about her journey so black and white, as well as her strength to be able to fight the horrific disease. Yes, okay, maybe she didn’t ‘have any other option’, but she did have the option as to whether she shared her story to help others, strangers even, which is what she chose to do.

Nicola Bourne, you have my utmost respect. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for understanding me even though you had no idea that you did.

If you know of anyone fighting cancer, or if you are fighting the journey yourself, you are able to buy Nicola Bourne’s ‘The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer’ right now:
Buy from Amazon now.

It’s TWG’s turn on a very special tour for a very loved author. #TommyVcancer!

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I have been staring at my computer screen for the last ten minutes, trying to find the right words on how I can start this particular blog post. I mean, how can my words help? Honestly? They can’t do much except help spread awareness. TWG is part of a very special blog tour that has been organised for a very brave man named Tommy Donbavand, and his family. Tommy was diagnosed with throat cancer in March of this year, so this tour is to raise awareness for Tommy, his family, and the battle he is up against. Several of the tour stops are hosting giveaways and at the end of the tour on the 30th June between 8pm-9pm, Vivenne and Chelley will be hosting a Twitter chat. To get involved in any of the Tommy chat and discussions use the hashtag #tommyvcancer!

You’re probably wondering right now how you can help, yes? Well here is how:
Paypal Link.
Patreon Link.
Tommyvcancer Website.

About Tommy.
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Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum).
In theatre, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films). As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister. Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.
Visit Tommy’s Website here.
Follow Tommy on Twitter here.

Another reason for the blog tour is to shout very loudly about Tommy’s books because, as mentioned above, he has written a number of books for the YA/child audience and I am about to tell you about just one of them! It was incredibly hard to choose a book to review for this tour as Tommy has written so many incredible books.

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Buy Tommy’s books here.
‘ “AAAYYYOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW!” Stunned awake by piercing screeches from next door, Jamie, newly arrived in the neighbourhood, is certainly experiencing the scream in Scream Street. Favel has an infected tooth and Dr Skully fears the worst – the young banshee needs medicine, and fast! With the help of Luke, Resus and Cleo, Jamie must track down the ingredients for a life-saving remedy. But the four friends are dicing with death: if they’re not careful, Favel won’t be the only one biting the dust…’

I will hang my head in shame for a few seconds because I hadn’t read any of Tommy’s books until this tour! However, I had heard of them over the years, especially with the TV shows. I think ‘Scream Street: Wail of the Banshee’ has got a fantastic amount of detail with enough events throughout the story to keep young minds entertained! What is even better, is that this book is part of the Scream Street series, so once any YA/adults have finished reading this particular book, there is many more to choose from!Scream Street: Wail of the Banshee’ has excitement and mystery running right the way through it. Nothing too scary but enough to make the mind wander. I may be 26 but it certainly made my mind wonder!
Tommy’s writing captures the essence of the story and the magic that is there in front of you if you look hard enough, and believe. The enthusiasm that he has incorporated through his own words, into the story, is mind-blowing. Because the book is intended for younger minds, although many adults will enjoy it I’m sure, Tommy has still managed to create a flurry of light-hearted fear within the story. If i’m honest, I never thought that was possible to do, but it is. The story even has skeletons, but he makes them funny skeletons. I am in awe of this man’s talent and I urge you to buy several of these books for your own children, or for any child that you know. If your child isn’t a bit reader, I am sure that will change once these books are read!


Thank you to Viv at Serendipity Reviews and Faye Rogers for allowing me to be involved in such a special tour. Thank you to all of The Writing Garnet’s readers for reading this post and supporting Tommy and his family at such a difficult time in their lives.
I will leave you with one more thing. TOMMY KICK CANCER’S BUTT. #TOMMYVCANCER!