#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Home Before Dark’ by Riley Sager #GhostThriller #Suspense @Audible

Today I’m reviewing another audiobook I listened to on Audible with my monthly credit, Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, a ghostly, mystery thriller narrated by Cady McClain and Jon Lindstrom

Home Before Dark: A Novel by [Riley Sager]

From the blurb

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

My Review

Home Before Dark is a cleverly plotted story of various generations of secrets, lies and crimes surrounding a mysterious Victorian house and estate in the woods, Baneberry Hall. The last owners, before Maggie inherited the house, were her parents, who lived in there for exactly 3 weeks before running away in the dead of night, with 5-year-old Maggie, supposedly fleeing from ghosts.

Maggie’s father, a novelist, wrote a bestseller based on their experiences, and although their lives improved financially, their family was destroyed after that fateful moment, and even today the adult Maggie cannot get over her experiences at the house. She’s still searching for the truth, which could be stranger and more devastating than her father’s book.

The novel is narrated by Maggie and her father in two time frames, past and present, and the plot cleverly unfolds amidst secrets, legends, lies, half-lies, and a few truths, until the mystery is finally solved.

I enjoyed reading the novel, because the story was engaging, and I love stories set in atmospheric houses with spooky legends. But, although the characters were authentic and interesting, I didn’t actually like any of them, especially Maggie or her parents, except the father (but that was mostly due to Jon Lindstrom’s brilliant narration!). Despite wanting to understand them, I found it hard to sympathise with their thoughts, actions or lack of affection.

Also, a little bit of love or romance of any type would have been nice. All the relationships portrayed between married couples, friends, or family, seemed cold or damaged. There wasn’t a single drop of warmth between anyone, but I’m a hopeless romantic, so I would say that. 

Overall. it was an entertaining story which was excellently read by both narrators. And I’m certainly curious to read more of Riley Sager’s books.

Check out my other fiction book reviews here or my non-fiction, personal growth books here.

Happy reading! 

 

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Recursion’ by Blake Crouch #TecnoThriller #SciFi #Romance #Suspense @Scribd

Today I’m reviewing another audiobook. This time I listened on Scribd, to Recursion by Blake Crouch, an unputdownable Science Fiction, Technothriller narrated by Abby Craden and Jon Lindstrom

Recursion

From the blurb

What if someone could rewrite your entire life?

‘My son has been erased.’

Those are the last words the woman tells Barry Sutton, before she leaps from the Manhattan rooftop. Deeply unnerved, Barry begins to investigate her death, only to learn that this wasn’t an isolated case. All across the country, people are waking up to lives different than the ones they fell asleep to. Are they suffering from False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious, new disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they never lived? Or is something far more sinister behind the fracturing of reality all around him?

Miles away, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing a technology that allows us to preserve our most intense memories, and relive them. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

Barry’s search for the truth leads him on an impossible, astonishing journey, as he discovers that Helena’s work has yielded a terrifying gift – the ability not just to preserve memories, but to remake them . . . at the risk of destroying what it means to be human.

My Review

I hadn’t read any books by the author and I don’t usually read technothrillers or science fiction, so I didn’t know what to expect from this novel, but I like to read outside my comfort zone so I started listening.

Beginnings are vital, a good first paragraph, page, chapter will make a novel irresistible to the reader, and that’s what happened with Recursion. I knew from the first line I’d love it.

Detective Barry Sutton rushes up to a skyscraper to stop a woman from jumping off but before she does so, she tells him she has a strange disease called False Memory Syndrome (FMS) which means she has memories of different lives, but only one is real at present.     

From this moment on, the novel is fast-paced, full of action and suspense as Barry decides to investigate the woman’s story and finds himself involved in a crazy conspiracy to control time and history. 

The story may sound far-fetched, but Recursion is so convincingly written that it feels authentic. 

The best parts of the novel are the two main characters, Barry and Helena and their timeless love story, which is breathtaking. I can’t help being an incurable romantic, and although this is not a romance at the beginning, it does soon turn into an epic romance across time and space.

I’m glad I read it and I’m going to read his other novels, too.

Since writing the post I also read Dark Matter, which is his first and most successful novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, too.

Dark Matter is another mind blowing science fiction technothriller about the choices we make, doppelgangers, alternate universes and what a person is prepared to do and give up to keep the life he chose and stay with his wife and son. I also listened to the audiobook which was also brilliantly narrated by Jon Lindstrom.

However, if I were to recommend one of the two, it would be Recursion. I found the plot more believably constructed, and the narrative more tightly spun. I also preferred the main characters because they were more engaging and complex. 

Check out my other fiction book reviews here or my non-fiction, personal growth books here.

Happy reading!  

 

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘The Book of Two Ways’ by Jodi Picoult #BookReview #Romance #Suspense @Audible

Today I’m reviewing another audiobook, The Book of Two Ways, by the great Jodi Picoult, a stunning novel about the choices we make, the life we leave behind and second chances, beautifully narrated by Patti Murin. I was so impressed by the narrative that after listening, I read the ebook version. 

The Book of Two Ways: A Novel

From the blurb

Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: Prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband but of a man she last saw 15 years ago: Wyatt Armstrong. 

Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, in which she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients. But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made. 

After the crash landing, the airline ensures that the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: Return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways — the first known map of the afterlife. 

As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried with them. Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly asked: What does a life well lived look like? When we leave this Earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices…or do our choices make us? And who would you be if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now?

My Review

‘My calendar is full of dead people’.

The first line of a novel novel pulls you in.

‘Brace, the flight attendants yell. Brace!
As we fall out of the sky, I wonder who will remember me.’

The first pages confirm your decision.

“Where do you need to go?”
Boston, I think. Home. But there’s something about the way she
phrases the question: need, instead of want; and another destination rises like steam in my mind.
I open my mouth, and I answer.

And the first chapter convinces you you’re about to read an epic novel and enjoy it to the very last page. 

After a stunning beginning, in which the heroine is faced with her own death, instead of going home to her husband and daughter, she makes the snap decision to go back to the man and the life the left behind in Egypt, when she worked as an archaeologist over sixteen years earlier.

The rest of the novel is an engaging narration of Dawn’s emotional journey through her past, her present and the decisions she must make regarding her future.

It’s a powerful novel about complex universal themes such as life, death, love, marriage and parenting, and about the decisions we make and the people and possibilities we leave behind as a result. It’s also about second chances and the freedom we have to change our minds and our futures. 

Dawn’s narrative wraps your thoughts as she takes you to Egypt and her life as an archaeologist, Boston, her family, the two men she loved, her daughter, her present job as a doula, and the decisions she must make, before it’s too late.

The Book of Two Ways is an unforgettable, emotional rollercoaster right up to the last agonising line. I can’t imagine any reader not loving this unique novel.  

Check out my other fiction book reviews here or my non-fiction, personal growth books here.

Happy reading! 

#WritePhoto ‘The Saxon Princess’ #FlashFiction #Netflix

The Saxon Princess, a 112-word flash fiction, was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

The Saxon Princess

Princess Judith hid behind the huge rock and retrieved her slaughtered father’s dagger. 

The entire village watched her run to the mountains, her wedding dress trailing behind. No one stopped her or helped. They feared Bolverker, the conqueror.

Night fell. She could freeze to death or go back to the humiliation of a forced marriage to a pagan raider. Bolverker waited. He would not show weakness by chasing an arrogant, Christian girl. Judith returned; it would be more honourable than dying in exile. 

Bolverker smiled as she entered. The poisoned blade was hidden under her dress. She was ready to kill or be killed for her God, her people, and her freedom.

****

As you may have guessed, I’ve been watching too many episodes of Vikings on Netflix!

I’ve also watched The Last Kingdom, which would be the follow up from a historical point of view, although both series are not connected in any other way, as far as I know.

By the way, The Last Kingdom is based on thirteen novels brilliantly written by Bernard Cornwell and read on Audible by Jonathan Keeble. I love the series, and I’m currently reading and listening to the audiobook! I’ll be reviewing it soon.

There are also plenty of Vikings, Normans and Saxons in The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett, a fabulous novel set in this period, which I recently reviewed here. 

The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge Book 4) by [Ken Follett]

My favourite time period is still the 19th century and early 20th century, however, the Medieval era is a close second!

In which period are your favourite historical novels, series or films set?

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘The House on the Water’ by Margot Hunt #BookReview #Whodunit #Mystery #Suspense @Audible

Today I’m reviewing The House on the Water, a thriller and mystery novella by Margot Hunt, and narrated by Taylor Schilling

The House on the Water Audiobook By Margot Hunt cover art

From the blurb

Every year, Caroline Reed takes a trip with her best friend, Esme Lamont. They’re usually accompanied by their spouses—but this year, everything’s changed. Esme has just gone through a bitter divorce, and Caroline is wondering if her own marriage is reaching its breaking point, as she and her husband John cope with the discovery that their nineteen-year-old son has been abusing drugs. Still, the inseparable duo books a week-long stay at a beach-front home in Shoreham, Florida, inviting Esme’s brother, Nick, and his new husband, Ford, hoping the additional guests will help lighten the mood.

After a blissful first night in the vacation home, tragedy strikes, and one of the houseguests is found dead. While it’s assumed at first to be a horrific accident, it quickly becomes clear that there’s something more sinister at play, and over the course of this fast-paced, deeply chilling novella, the potential motives of each guest are revealed—until a shocking conclusion is reached.

My Review

I don’t listen to many novellas, but I read the blurb and thought I’d take a chance with The House on the Water, and I was pleasantly surprised. Although it is described as a mystery and thriller, which it is, it is also a ‘whodunit’ in the traditional sense of the ‘Agatha Christie’ way! A group of friends in a house, a murder and everyone is suspect, because everyone had a powerful reason and the opportunity to commit the crime.

It could have been any of them, and I had fun wondering who it was, guessing and changing my mind, until the culprit owns up at the very end, but there’s another little twist… 

It was a light, easy and satisfying read. I love listening to audiobooks while I exercise, go for a walk or do the cooking, and it was great for that. For such a short read, the characters were mostly engaging and well-rounded, the suspense built up gradually, and the plot was cleverly thought out. 

The one narrator, Taylor Schilling, was very good with all the different voices. I’ll be listening to some more of the author and narrator’s novels and novellas which are included in my monthly subscription, so they’re great value.

By the way, there are plenty of similar novellas, which last between one and three hours, on audible. They’re great for a short listening break! 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ by Anne Bronte #BookReview #Victorian @Audible #Audiobooks

I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall too many years ago, in my teens, when I read all the Bronte sisters’ novels, but I just couldn’t for the life of me remember much about the story. So, as the version I read, narrated by  Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter was on Audible Included, which means that as a member, I could listen for free, I decided to have a go at the audio version. I wasn’t surprised when I was hooked immediately, I’ll tell you why right away.  

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Audiobook By Anne Brontë cover art

From the Blurb

Fleeing a disastrous marriage, Helen Huntingdon retreats to the desolate mansion, Wildfell Hall, with her son, Arthur. There, she makes her living as a painter. Finding it difficult to avoid her neighbors, she is soon an object of speculation and gossip. Brontë portrays Helen’s eloquent struggle for independence at a time when society defined a married woman as her husband’s property.

Before I start my review, I’d like to tell you why I love Audible. I know I’ve told you many times already, but it’s even better now! My monthly credit allows me to buy one audiobook of my choice every month, plus there are daily deals and frequent sales and two for the price of one offers, plus there are loads of free listens in the ‘Included’ catalogue, which has new additions every week, and there are podcasts.

And I love to listen to audiobooks while I work out, go for walks, do the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing out cubboards, and much more! Here’s more information, in case you’re interested. (By the way, I have no commercial affiliation to Audible, I just wanted to share how great I think it is!) 

My Review

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was easy for me to enjoy. You all know how much I love Victorian Fiction, and as I had completely forgotten about the plot, it was like reading it for the first time. 

It’s a very long, three volume novel, as was the custom of the time. It is over 800 pages and over16 hours of narration time. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the Bronte sisters. Her first novel was Agnes Grey, which I only vaguely remember, so I’ll probably be reading it again, soon, too.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was first published in 1848 under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Although it was very successsful, it was considered the most shocking of the Brontë’s novels, and I can’t imagine why, because the main female character, Helen, is so very pious that she is at times quite nausiating. In fact, I was often furious with her subservient behaviour, especially in the third part of the novel, but more about that in a moment.

The first volume is narrated by Gilbert Markham (by the way, one of my new favourite romance heroes!), who is telling his friend about how he came to meet the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. He was intrigued and fascinated by Helen Graham, a beautiful and aloof, young widow, who moved into the crumbling, old Hall, with her young son, Arthur. They do eventually (very eventually), become friends, but then she becomes the target of local gossip and it is discovered that she is not a widow, because her husband is alive.

The second volume is narrated by Helen, who gives Gilbert all the letters she wrote from when she met her husband to the moment she left him. Here she shows herself to be a devoted wife, who is in love with an unworthy husband, and although she put up with a lot of psychlogical and some physical abuse, she was finally strong-willed and determined enough to abandon him.

This part of the novel certainly gives us a clear insight to the life of the country gentry and servants of the era, as well as the submission of women, even wealthy women, to their husbands,  fathers and religious notions of women’s piety.  I both pitied and admired Helen at this point, because I thought I was going to read a 19th century, #MeToo novel, and I almost did, but as I read the third part I discovered I was wrong. 

This third part, narrated by Gilbert, describes how she returned to her husband and what happens afterwards, but I won’t spoil it for you by telling you how the ending comes about. I will tell you I was exasperated with both Gilbert and Helen, and her brother, but especially with Helen, for being so obstinate and submissive. So, although I did enjoy the ending, I found it was not the feminist novel I had been expecting to read.   

A modern editor would have reduced the novel by half, even I, lover of Victorian literature, was impatient for something to happen and maddened by the going round in circles of the same events, and long drawn out conversations, which did not move the plot forward a single inch! 

There are two major difficulties in reading this type of Victorian fiction, for the modern reader; in the first place the excessive length, verbosity and repetition of certain parts, and on the other hand, the cultural and emotional distance, with contemporary readers. The later makes it hard to understand or sympathize with their passive acceptance of patriarchy, gender differences and medieval attitude to religion, and the former can become frustrating.  

However, there was one aspects that reminded me of contemporary society; harmful and spiteful gossip and blatant lies, which still occurs today, except nowadays it would spread on social media, instead parlours and at sunday service.   

I would recommend the audio version, because it brings the characters and events to life and makes the tedious parts more enjoyable (and you can speed them up!).

I hope I haven’t put you off, because it really is worth reading. The prose flows smoothly and the vocabulary and expressions are gorgeous, and you will be rewarded with an authentic, first-hand glimpse of what life was really like for women, men and children, in Victorian England. 

Have you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? What was your impression?

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Cara Bastone #BookReview #Romance @Audible #Audiobooks

Today I’m reviewing an Audiobook, which is not available in print, at least not at this time, and quite honestly, it’s such a perfect audiobook that I can’t imagine ever wanting to read in print or kindle.

Call Me Maybe Audiobook By Cara Bastone cover art 

From the Blurb

Can a customer service call really lead to love at first talk?

True love is on the line in this charming, laugh-out-loud rom-com—created specifically for the audio format!

Paint your toes. Pick up the wrong coffee and bagel order. Drive from Brooklyn to Jersey in traffic so slow you want to tear your hair out. It’s amazing all the useless things I can accomplish while on hold for three hours with customer service.

My shiny new website is glitching, and my inner rage-monster is ready to scorch some earth… when he finally picks up. Not the robot voice I expected but a real live human named Cal. He’s surprisingly helpful and really knows his stuff, even if he’s a little awkward…. in an adorable way.

And suddenly I’m flirting with him? And I think he’s flirting back.
And suddenly it’s been hours, and we’re still on the phone talking and ordering each other takeout while he trouble shoots my website.

And suddenly we’re exchanging numbers and sending texts and DMs every day, leaving voice mails (who even does that anymore?!).

And suddenly I’m wondering if it’s possible for two people fall in love at first talk.

****

Before I start my review, I’d like to tell you why I love Audible. I know I’ve told you many times already, but it’s even better now! My monthly credit allows me to buy one audiobook of my choice every month, plus there are daily deals and frequent sales and two for the price of one offers, plus there are loads of free listens in the ‘Included’ catalogue, which has new additions every week, and there are podcasts.

And I love to listen to audiobooks while I work out, go for walks, do the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing out cubboards, and much more! Here’s more information, in case you’re interested. (By the way, I have no commercial affiliation to Audible, I just wanted to share how great I think it is!) 

Call me Maybe is on the free Included catalogue for members. 

My Review

What can I say? I was hooked from the first line.

I was about to start my weekend chores and I thought I’d listen to some light romance, believe me, it makes ironing and peeling potatoes, so much more motivating!

I didn’t know what to expect, but it didn’t matter, because it was free and I could leave it and start another book if I didn’t like it, but of course, I didn’t stop listening until the end.

I’m a fast audioreader, because I put the speed on 150 usually, so I got through the 6 hours in a few hours less. My kitchen and whole house were spotless by the time I finished reading! 

It was a hilarious, fun, sweet, uplifting romance between a shy, tech nerd and a fun-loving extrovert, who do not meet until the very end of the audiobook. There is no sex, phone or otherwise, but there is a lot of chemistry and magic between Cal and Vera. 

The characters are engaging, believable and both so unique and so likeable that I loved getting to know them. This is because the dialogue was well written, but that’s only 50% of an audiobook, the other 50% is due to the narrators who were absolutely perfect.

There was a small plot twist towards the end, which wasn’t hard to see coming, but it made the end even sweeter.

I love discovering new authors and I’m glad I got to know Cara Bastone. I’ll probably be reading or listening to some of her other books, such as Just a Hearbeat Away in the future (my TBR pile is endless and growing every day!).

Just a Heartbeat Away (Forever Yours Book 1) by [Cara Bastone]

(I couldn’t resist the temptation, so I started Just a Heartbeat Away last night, on my kindle. It’s such a sweet romance, with such endearing main characters, but more about that another day!)

Do you listen to audiobooks? Which was the last one you listened to? And if you don’t, I think you really should!

 

 

 

#MondayMotivation ‘7-Minute Body Plan’ by Lucy Wyndham-Read #MondayBlogs #Fitness #Health #PersonalGrowth

Over the past months I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on the topic of personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which nothing can be taken for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.

This Monday I’m really excited about introducing you to fitness and health influencer Lucy Wyndham-Read. I swear by her workouts! They really helped me keep up my physical and mental motivation during lockdown and I’m still doing her workouts!

I discovered Lucy, quite by chance, as I was looking for youtube videos with short, simple and effective exercises to do at home, while on lockdown, back in March. Lucy is a brilliant trainer, her videos are clear (she explains the exercises and then does them with you), they transmit enthusiasm (her voice and motivational talk while doing the activities is energising), achieveable (I’m over sixty and I can do them all with no problems), and effective (you feel great after doing them!).

This is one of the latest videos on her youtube channel, a fun, 7-minute indoor walk, perfect for lockdown or rainy days! I urge you to subscribe and get access to all her free videos! She has tons of videos, so you’re bound to find something for you! There are 4, 7, 10, 20 and 30 mintute workouts. She even has workouts you can do sitting down!

After watching and doing her workouts, I was curious. Who is this fabulous online trainer, who has 1.6 million followers on youtube and says she’s on a mission to help women love and improve their bodies, whatever their shape, size, age or fitness level.

I found out that Lucy is in her mid-forties and has been a Personal Trainer and fitness expert for over 20 years. So she knows what works to achieve real results, claiming her followers achieve incredible fitness transformations with her short and accessible routines. And I can vouch for that!

I also discovered the real Lucy and the motivation behind her mission in her inspirational Ted Talk, ‘Yes, I Can’.

Now to Lucy’s book, 7-Minute Body Plan. This marvellous, little book has four parts: An intorduction where she justifies and explains her fitness method, 9 7-minute workouts with images and explanation, Healthy recipies, and  finally  the 7-Minute body plan for life.

This book is just like having a life-long gym membership at home, you don’t need to go to the gym or invest in any equipment. You can design your own 7-exercises-in-7-minutes workout, by choosing and combining the 49 moves the book offers.

The recipies are delicious, and easy to prepare at home. I’ve only tried a few so far, like the courgette, noodles and Coriander pesto, for example, which was delicious. I love the smoothies, too, Green Goddess with avocado, apple, cucumber, celery and seedless grapes, for example is a delicious way to prepare your own homemade, energy drink!

The book also has plenty of tips amd ideas to keep your motivation and energy level tip top!

I love Lucy. She’s is a life-saver!

7-Minute Body Plan: Quick workouts & simple recipes for real results in 7 days by [Lucy Wyndham-Read]

Find out more about Lucy, she’ll change your health and fitness routine for the better!

Watch Lucy’s vieos on Youtube

Follow Lucy on Facebook

Follow Lucy’s Blog

Amazon US author page

Amazon UK author page

 

 

#MondayMotivation ‘The Five Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins #MondayBlogs #PersonalGrowth

Over the past months I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on the topic of personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which nothing can be taken for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.

This Monday I’m sharing my experience of reading The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by [Mel Robbins]

The Five Second Rule will tell you how to enrich your life and destroy doubt in five seconds!

I first came across Mel Robins about six years ago when I saw her TED Talk, which has almost 25 million views on Ted alone, although it is also available on other platforms such as YouTube.

Mel is a brilliant speaker because she puts her point across simply and clearly and she also backs everything she says with science and research. She’s the perfect mixture of humour and wisdom. She makes everything sound simple! Just listening to her makes you want to get up and go!

However, I hadn’t read her book, The Five Second Rule, published in 2017, until very recently.

Her proposal in The Five Second Rule is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, because it isn’t. Knowing what we should do and doing it. is in fact probably the hardest thing we will have to do. I love this quote, in which she says ‘you’re never going to feel like starting to do ‘hard’ things, such as getting up early, doing exercise, etc. We will always put it off for ‘tomorrow’ or make excuses, ‘I’m too tired today’, ‘I’m too busy’, etc. We are all expert procrastinators.

YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO FEEL LIKE IT | Mel robbins, Second best quotes, Motivation

On the other hand we often search for a mentor, teacher, coach, or friend, to encourage or guide us and help us with our problems or to fulfil our desires. That’s another form of procrastination. By giving someone else the power, you let go of your own emotional strength.

Mel insists that we should take the initiative and push ourselves and she gives us a simple strategy to break the laziness or lack of initiative which prevents us from doing what we really want to do.

Our lives belong to us and the choice is ours and so is the power. Her book offers us the tool to empower us any time we feel we are losing control of our lives or our emotions. Even if we don’t feel like it, we need to get out of our lethargy, stop making ecuses and ‘Do it anyway.’

However the key isn’t knowing about it, it won’t work unless you make yourself do it.

How? Well that’s what the The 5 Second Rule is all about.

According to the blurb, the five second rule will help us, become confident, break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt, beat fear and uncertainty, stop worrying and feel happier, and share your ideas with courage.

Mel’s proposal is based on two main concepts, psychologist Julian Rotter’s the locus of control (1954), which, simply put, refers to people’s perceptions of the individual power they think they have to control their actions and what Mel refers to as the power of the push and the five-second rule, which provides the push people need to take control of the moment and act.

It’s a fabulous book and I encourage you to read it, but there are other ways to hear about Mel’s proposals, as well as her Ted Talk, she has many Audible exclusive lessons or podcasts such as her latest publication, which I’ll soon be listening to, exculusively on Audible called, take control of your life

Take Control of Your Life Audiobook By Mel Robbins cover art

This is an Audible exclusive series of sessions or podcasts in which Mel Robbins addresses topics such as anxiety, fear of change, rejection, and loneliness, imposter syndrome and feeling trapped in the wrong career, and relationship problems. There’s an accompanying PDF available after purchase.

Mel also has a strong presence on YouTube. If you want to listen to her own explanation of her life journey, the five second rule, and other ways you can improve your life, you can listen to and watch her in an interview on YouTube which was filmed two weeks ago,

Mel also has a YouTube channel which I’m subscribed to. Her channel has tons of short, vlogger type videos as well as longer videos and live streams about her life and thoughts, where she tackles personal issues such as fear, forgiveness, stress, etc. Check it out, I bet you’ll find something helpful and entertaining.

And remember, as Mel tells us:

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Hating Game’ by Sally Thorne #Romance #BookReview @Audible

I read a lot of psychological thrillers, historical and literary fiction, and personal growth books, so I alternate with light and/or steamy romance, although romantic comedies are my favourite type of escapist fiction. I love stepping into a fairytale world where happy ever afters are guaranteed, after a tiny bit of angst and a few misunderstandings or some suspense…

Charade_movieposter.jpg (251×397) 

It’s all Cary Grant’s fault, he taught me to love romantic comedies, Audrey Hepburn is also guilty, as Charade (1963) is my favourite and if you haven’t seen it you’re in luck, because you can still watch this timeless, suspenseful, romantic comedy, which is also a thriller, set in Paris (where else?), for the first time!

But, back to today’s featured novel. I’ve recently discovered Australian author, Sally Thorne, who has written two bestselling novels so far, The Hating Game (2016) and 99% Mine (2019). I enjoyed them both. Today I’m reviewing her first novel, The Hating Game. Amazon.com link below.

The Hating Game: A Novel by [Sally Thorne]

From the Blurb

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman work together and they hate each other. They have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. The tension grows when they both apply for the same promotion.

My Review

The Hating Game is a fun office romance, in which two colleagues who hate each other intensely, mainly due to their opposing personalities and life experiences, find themselves competing for the same promotion. They both desperately want the job for personal and professional reasons. As a result, the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, and that’s when they discover that they don’t hate each other after all, but can they trust each other?

The premise doesn’t sound new or riveting, but I assure you it is a highly entertaining read. Their daily banter is entertaining, and the way their relationship gradually develops from enemies to lovers, as well as the expected resolution of the problem and happy ever after, is as believable as it is adorable.

I admit I was in the mood for a light, fun, romance and that was exactly what I got! The Hating Game is well written with engaging characters, for me that means I just kept turning the pages and hardly noticed a few hours had passed. In fact, I read it twice, once on my kindle and once on audible.

I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook version. Did I tell you I love listening to audiobooks while I’m cooking, cleaning, working out or doing my laundry? It makes chores such fun!  

leaves.jpg

By the way, Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell are going to star in the film based on novel. More information about the movie here-

So, if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, you’ll love The Hating Game! Amazon UK link below.

Colouring by my granddaughter, Elsa.