#Review! The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene (@VanessaGBooks) @LittleBrownUK

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Blurb.

When life as you know it changes, will it define you, destroy you or make you stronger?

Best friends Isla and Sophie made each other a promise a long time ago: to never let life pass them by. Years later, Isla is in love, living abroad and fulfilling her dreams. But for Sophie, things haven’t turned out the way she was expecting and she hasn’t achieved any of the things she and Isla talked about.

And then, in one sudden moment, life irrevocably changes for both women.

Isla and Sophie have hard decisions to make but above all else they must face up to the uncertainty that lies ahead. It’s only when they realise that this is easier together, two friends standing side by side, that each woman can embrace whatever the future holds for them.

What does TWG think?

Did you ever make a list when you were at school, about things you wanted to achieve when you grew up? For those who did and didn’t lose their list, how many things did you tick off the list? I’ll admit, it never crossed my mind so it was lovely to read a book where people have actually written a list like that. Sophie and Isla both wanted to live their lives like a constant bucket list by ensuring everything was ticked off. However, Isla seemed to be much more determined to live by her list than Sophie…for now anyway. Based on the blurb, I assumed that the story was going to be about two friends that go through a LITTLE bit of heartbreak. I was not mentally prepared for what the two ladies ended up facing.

A lot of the book was centred around Sophie and Isla’s list of dreams, as well as working out WHY Sophie wasn’t becoming tick happy when it came to her own list. Then, out of nowhere, the entire storyline got turned upside down. Isla went from being the life of the party, to wondering whether she would even be able to party. Everything Isla thought she knew was no more, and the only certainty in her life was that realising that everything was now uncertain..

The way Vanessa wrote about such an eye opening situation, was outstanding. Having gone through (and going through) similar situations to Isla, her heartbreak affected me in many ways. I thought I would cry, but I didn’t. Instead, Vanessa’s realistic portrayal of a devastating circumstance, left me numb and heartbroken. Never have I ever had a storyline make me feel like that, and it’s not a bad thing either. It just goes to show that Vanessa quite clearly did her research on the situation and knew it would affect her readers in a multitude of ways. For me, all the above is proof of a very good writer.

Usually when books cover such big storylines, the finer details are often not as fine as they should be; apart from this book. Vanessa seemed to have all the minor details down to a fine art as nothing seemed out of place within the storyline.

The only thing that irked me about ‘The Little Pieces of You and Me’, was how quickly a situation went from very negative to rather positive. For me, I found that part to not be overly realistic as it seemed to downplay the credibility of the topic in general.

However, despite that, I did enjoy the storyline and the very different personalities of each character. It was lovely to have such diversity across the book as I never knew what one of the characters would come out with next. Especially Isla!

Overall, The Little Pieces of You and Me is a really heart warming tale; which focuses on the true meaning of friendship through the good times and the bad. Vanessa has created two best friends which a lot of readers are going to aspire to be like, and that in itself is a talent.
A really poignant, and warm storyline which will stay in your mind weeks after you have finished reading it. It’s still in my mind a month on.

Thank you Little Brown.

The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene, is available to buy now from Amazon UK

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My thoughts on Maya Berger’s – Luna Tree: The Baby Project.

Luna Tree: The Baby Project by Maya Berger.
Published: 11th January 2016.
Paperback: ISBN-10: 1519689853
ISBN-13: 978-1519689856
Available to buy on Amazon UKAmazon US

An insight into Maya Berger’s ‘Luna Tree – The Baby Project’. – Author guest post.

‘Maya is kicking up her heels, living the fabulous and mostly carefree life of a twenty-something young woman. However, in the back of her mind continuous longing for a good marriage and family lingers. How do you find the right man, the one who sticks through thick and thin? Will he provide you with the things you find essential in a relationship? Maya kissed a few frogs before finding her Prince Charming, but what followed was of higher importance. She started feeling chronic pain in her lower back, the pain that wouldn’t let her neither sit nor stand. Thus Maya began her relentless quest for diagnosis and healing, which she ends after discovering Energy healing. She travels the globe to receive and raise her own stored Energy, the one that changes everything. Her ultimate desires come true.’

Little over a week ago I was given the Luna Tree as a prize on Twitter by Maya Berger, so before I had read the book myself, I invited Maya onto my blog to find out why she wrote it. Here’s what she said: An insight into Maya Berger’s ‘Luna Tree – The Baby Project’.

Fast forward to now and the book has been read and time has been spent thinking about the contents of the book. With other books I wouldn’t spend a couple days thinking in detail about what I had just read, but this book was different. It’s about Maya’s life, the paths she has taken to get to where she is now, and the hurdles she has fought to get over.
In the book, Maya describes her relationship with her family as well as her personal relationships in her bid to find ‘the one’. She tells the readers her ups and her downs and how life for her was ‘normal’ until one day she woke up, and her whole life changed.
Maya started to have physical struggles that left her in chronic pain, and despite going to all the ‘best doctors’ as recommended by family or friends, not one of them could give her a definitive diagnosis.
The way that Maya approaches her story with such honesty is refreshing. She explains how she rubbish she felt and how frustrated the situation was for her. I am quite aware that a lot of people reading this will probably be able to relate to the frustration of no diagnosis, constant pain, life limits and severe frustration. Yes? Thought so, myself included.
Maya even explains how and why she turned to alternative therapies, despite being aware of how people would say that she is ‘paying for air’. The thing is, it seemed to help for her and put her in a more comfortable state and the life limits not being as rigorous as before.
Who is anyone to judge? Firstly, Maya lives in a completely different country which has different cultures and beliefs as opposed to the UK. Secondly, it’s her money, her life. She found something that worked for HER and she grabbed it. I personally find it admirable that Maya had the confidence to stick to her guns and carry on with what she felt was right. It takes a lot of guts to do that, especially where chronic illnesses are concerned because you’re not only fighting with your own body, you’re fighting with other peoples misunderstanding of you.
Luna Tree is just one story of a persons battles through life, not only in terms of finding her diagnosis, but finally becoming a mother. Everyone has a different story and a different approach to whatever their life throws at them. This story is an honest, admirable, and a very powerful account of reality for Maya. The strength that one person can have is very commendable, especially when she has found a way to turn it around.
Nobody fights the same battles, nobody jumps the same hurdles. As long as you jump your own hurdles and fight your battles in a way that is right for you, who is anyone to ask for anything different?
Thank you Maya for sharing your honest story.

 

An insight into Maya Berger’s ‘Luna Tree – The Baby Project’.

I had seen the cover of ‘Luna Tree’ before whilst browsing Amazon, and it’s one that definitely caught my eye. How could it not? Then one day, I stumbled across the lady herself, Maya Berger on Twitter, where I won myself a copy of the beautiful book. The cover intrigued me, the author intrigued me, I just knew I had to get her onto my blog and find out more, which leads us to now. Maya has kindly written a guest post about why she wrote her book ‘Luna Tree – The Baby Project’. I read the post, and I cried. I cried because it hit home in more ways than one, and I am sure a lot of you will be able to relate to parts of it as well.
Now, I will hand you over to Maya and her heartfelt words…

‘THE STORY BEHIND LUNA TREE

‘Firstly Kaisha, thank you for the chance to tell your readers about my book!

Luna tree is the first book I’ve written. It is about my desire to become a better version of myself, and my dream to have a baby. I was motivated to write a book because I had very big obstacles to overcome to get to where I am today. I start the book with a peek into my childhood and adolescence. Then I describe my early relationships and finally the period of my life when I met my husband. It was important to me that a reader gets to know my background, where I am coming from. Then I got sick with autoimmune illness that almost made me handicapped. It lasted for almost three years and in that period I visited numerous Western and Eastern medicine practitioners and travelled the world to find a cure. The worst part was not knowing what was wrong with me because you don’t know if there is a medicine for it. Not knowing how will I live for the rest of my life without the ability to sit, or walk, or even lie down without the special mattress was something that I was living with every day and it was hard to accept it.

Finally, I got better and conceived a baby. It was an incredible experience, and I felt a need to share it with everyone, especially with people who feel they are in a dead-end street. Today I am healthy and the proud mother of my baby girl Luna.

I don’t think I am the strongest person living. I cried so many times I can’t even count them. The solution is not to give up. I would cry and then find another doctor, then I would cry again and seek another one until I realized that the doctors might not ever diagnose me properly – that’s when I turned to alternative practitioners. There is a solution for every problem, we just have to find it. The worst is to just accept the situation and feel sorry for yourself. It doesn’t really mean you accepted the situation, it just means you gave up.

Through my whole life I had to care for someone: My Mom, my sister, my boyfriend… and finally there was a person who took care of me and I could relax. But then things went downward. You know, like when you work hard and have no time to be ill, and then you finally get some time, and what happens? You get sick, because you spent the last atom of your strength and now you have no energy for anything. My “time off” started on our skiing trip when I suddenly expected my husband to solve all my little problems that never even existed before (because I was to busy solving other people’s problems ).

I started to write Luna Tree when I got my baby girl. I would write when she was asleep. I always had time for writing, because I felt the need to share my story and maybe help someone in a similar situation feel better. Nowadays, I write an hour or two daily in the morning or evening when I don’t have other responsibilities like my work as a presenter, housework or playing with my girl. If you love doing something, you will always make the time to do it.

Today, I am finishing my second book, also a chick-lit memoir, so to say. It is a funny story about two girls invited to a Belgian wedding. There is a twist, too, and I think readers will love it!

As far as the books I like go – I love psychological dramas, chick-lit, sometimes thrillers. I read all books by Lianne Moriarty, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Rainbow Rowell. Those are my favorite writers, but I’ll read anything if I have the time.

Very honest post, don’t you agree? Many of us battle with life long illnesses, or come up against brick walls when it comes to things in our lives. Everyone us different, everyone’s battle is different. But to see an author put it into one of their books for the world to see, and to make the reality of chronic illnesses/autoimmune diseases widely known, it is empowering. Why? Because we need awareness, we need support, and we need people to understand in their own special way. Just like Maya.

How many of you have read the book? If you haven’t read it yet (I haven’t but it’s bumped up my list so expect a review this week), then I will pop the links below of where you can buy it. It’s currently available in both paperback and e-book format. I don’t think this book is one that you should miss:

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Where to buy:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the author – Maya Berger:
Maya Berger is a 41-year-old woman from Croatia. Born in Zagreb where she lives, Maya studied in Dubrovnik and life was rosy until something stopped her – Ankylosing Spondylitis. Maya battled chronic pain for years, and was misdiagnosed for quite some time, so when AS was finally defined, she felt relief. She also found a way to get rid of chronic pain for some 85%, following some alternative medicine options.  As Maya personally dislikes depressing books, she did everything to avoid writing one… regardless of a somewhat heavier topic. Most of the people who read it say it’s an uplifting read. She calls it a humorous guide to recovery and healing.

Maya’s Twitter
Maya’s Facebook
Luna Tree Website.

Big thank you to Maya Berger for taking the time to be with us here today, I really do appreciate it!

The years of loving you – Review

The years of loving you –  by Ella Harper.
Published
19th November 2015 by Harper Collins Publishers (Avon books)
ISBN: 978-0-00-758184-9
Available on Amazon in multiple formats (paperback and kindle).

‘What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call Ed in a crisis?

Ed, the very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in different directions.

Molly starts to question every decision she has ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? When the only certainty they shared was each other….’

Stop for a moment and think about YOUR life. Have you ever had to break devastating news about yourself to any of your loved ones? Or have you been the one to receive the terrible news, getting told that lives will never be the same again? Yes? Thought so. Me too, except that I was the one breaking the horrible news…..multiple times. So was Molly…
The story begins in the present, lots of laughing, drinks and a hint of tension. Throughout the story you not only follow Molly’s life, you follow Ed’s life as well. Ed and Molly have known each other for many years, they share a history and a connection so deep that they have remained friends right into their adulthood. Ed has had a troubled life with secrets and problems he is too embarrassed to tell anyone, even Molly. Unfortunately for Ed, his life comes crashing down and he ends up making one of the biggest mistakes of his life….
Molly is married to Sam, a man who has his eyes firmly focused on the prize….his business. Molly has to compete with it, even when she has to sit down and break the news to him that she has a chronic illness. An illness that will not only change her life, but her loved ones lives too. They will see her grieving over a life she has lost, whilst also trying to adapt to a life that is unpredictable…very unpredictable. Unfortunately, Molly finds herself battling with extra problems and becomes lonelier than ever.
Who will come through for Molly in her darkest times? Sam, or Ed? Or nobody?
The book stood out for me because of the illness situation. I had to find out how other people reacted to life changing news. Why? Because I relate to it in more ways than one. I have multiple chronic illnesses. Reading about what Molly went through and how other people reacted to the news, had me in tears. It’s a topic that people don’t want to talk about and I am very pleased to find Ella Harper putting it in her story. It is real life. People go through it every single day. Personally I found that to be my connection to the storyline and to the characters. Also, I was hooked on finding out whether the girl got the guy, or the guy got the girl!
In every chapter there is something that will grab your attention, whether it’s something funny, or sad. Ella Harper’s style of writing is very engaging and I found myself in the story like I was someone watching everything unfold right in front of me. Depending on your beliefs about certain situations within the story, you might find yourself siding with a certain character and their own decisions. I know I did. ‘The years of loving you’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a book because it takes you on a journey of love, life and self discovery. Personally, I found the ending to just appear, like it was too short, and I think that is because I was incredibly engrossed in the gripping story that I didn’t realise it was coming up!
Ella Harper has managed to capture the soul of each character, bringing them to life in a way that I have never experienced before. A wonderful book that will bring out every emotion possible. A book that will open your eyes to different eventualities, good or bad. A book that will make you think anything is possible. Ella Harper, thank you. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.