Monday, 20 September 2021

Favourite reads and which tea you should drink whilst reading them!

When Teatime Lits confirmed they wanted to collab, I knew we had to do something bookish AND with tea. After all, we are both huge book and tea fans!

We decided on our favourite books and which tea goes with which book, so here are my picks.

Thank you Teatime Lits for collaborating with me! You can find their post here:

I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

A love story set in the 1930s with a complicated love triangle! The book follows Cassandra Mortmain and her eccentric family, who live in an old castle and deal with impending poverty.

Tea choice: for a vintage taste with some sweet notes to follow the theme of romance, I choose Cherry Bakewell tea by Bird and Blend 

The Wreckers by Julie Hearn

The myth of Pandoras Box combined with post apocalyptic Britain. This book follows 5 teenagers and their adventure after accidentally releasing an ancient evil...

My pick of tea would be Black Magic Matcha!

Gattys tale by Kevin Crossley Holland

Gatty the village girl - steadfast, forthright, innocent and wise - has never been further than her own village. But when she is is picked by Lady Gwyneth of Ewloe to join her band of pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem, Gatty's previously sheltered life changes forever.

Tea pick: Earl Grey, a classic tea with notes of cornflowers to give it an adventurous kick.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane's beloved classic brings one of the greatest romances to life. Whilst society tells her she must marry for money, Elizabeth Bennet wants to marry for love whilst keeping her strong morals and loyalty to family.

Tea pick: a Rose tea with flowery notes, but strong in taste and quality...just like Lizzie!

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild 

Pauline, Petrova and Posy are orphans determined to help out their family by attending the Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training. But when they vow to make a name for themselves, they have no idea it's going to be such hard work!

Tea pick: Moondrop Dreams, after reading this fantastic novel, may you drift off and dream of your own adventure!

Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie 

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn't want to go to parties at the weekend - in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book. It's like she hasn't found her people ...That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old "friends" who only talk to her when they need something. It's time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like "shut up and Shakespeare" ... and LOTS of chocolate.

Tea pick: chocolate digestives! Though if you have a friend like Ed, don't show him this tea as it will be gone IMMEDIATELY. 

Friday, 17 September 2021

Just Another Mountain by Sarah Jane Douglas

Just Another Mountain is definitely one of those you will hold to your heart after you've read it, and feel a myriad of emotions.

With stories from childhood to adulthood all joined by the love of nature and walking, I haven't felt as much about a book, than i did when I read this, in years. It felt an honour to read what Sarah had shared, like a friend passing you her diary.

Her mum's cancer battle, and then hers, had my grieving alongside her. Recently a good friend passed away to cancer and I haven't spoken to many about how I'm feeling. Sarah's recap of watching her mum fight the disease, and what she herself went through, was so true to my own experiences that I felt comforted.

There is a deep honesty to this book that I appreciate. The vulnerability is so beautifully human that I respect it greatly, but despite the heavy topics and life experiences there isn't a loss of humour or lightness. The fun and sweet moments are still prominently there and I enjoyed every moment of getting to know Sarah and her life.

Reading this has helped me feel more connected, and every scenic moment is described so beautifully without embellishment that I had to get outdoors myself and be reminded just how freeing it is.

Thank you for sharing your life with me, Sarah, I am truly grateful.

Favourite lines:

"Turning up at a friend's house, she was promptly given a pair of socks and shoes. I wished I could have known her then."

"She was more than just a mum. She was my very best friend, the person I knew I could always turn to."

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Emoji response: πŸ’–πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜…❣πŸ’”πŸŒ³πŸž

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Starstruck by Beth Miller ~Blog Tour

About the book

Sally Marshall is just your ordinary suburban woman, who gets by performing as a tribute act to a pop star (Epiphanie, even more famous than Beyonce). She, along with dozens of others. Until one day she is asked by the real Epiphanie to do a life swap for a couple of weeks. Epiphanie trades Madison Square Gardens for doing gigs in pubs. Sally is catapulted from suburban semi life to double for a mega-star, her life turned upside down. But which life will they each choose in the end? Laugh-out-loud and unputdownable, Starstruck will leave you feeling warmer about all the different lives we choose


Today is my stop on the book tour for Beth Miller outrageously funny new novel, Starstruck.

Reminding me of Bridget Jones and Princess Diaries, this book did not dissapoint with its dry humour and wtf moments that kept me wanting more.

There are some delicious characters, and not to spoil anything but I really need a book where Indigo is the main character. I was so happy when I got to a scene with him and sad when I finished the hook, as he was too good to say goodbye to.

The plot itself is brilliant: super star trades places with tribute lookalike. I was on tenterhooks wondering if they'd pull it off, and there are definitely some tense moments!

What I like most about this books is that it focuses on making people's happy endings come true with friendship and giving. After the pandemic and so many bad things happening, a book where good things happen in the end is definitely needed! I couldn't think of a better ending to this book, it really is beautiful.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can order Starstruck HERE

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Wrecked Lives ~Blog Tour ☆

It is my stop on the tour today, reviewing Wrecked Lives by Donald Wraith!

Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours for the copy of the book in exchange for a review.

~About the book~

Written from a Spanish perspective, where the overall theme is a story of survival against the natural elements.

In the late sixteenth century, a farmer from AndalucΓ­a searches for his runaway son who has left home to join the ships of the Spanish Armada on their holy quest of 1588.

The story unfolds away from the façade of politics, religion and military objectives, to highlight the frailties of human beings in their will to survive against the raw power of nature.

Over several months the characters experience many dangers, where tough decisions have to be made for themselves, and others to survive. All entangled within the horrors of battle and numerous shipwrecks.


It didn't take long until I felt like I was being swept off on an adventure. With the Treasure Island/Pirates of The Caribbean vibe, I utterly adored how the book focused simultaneously on the curiosity of a boy and the true terrors of history in the war between Spain and England. I'm such a history nerd and loved all the details about the Armarda and Spanish history especially!

As the story focused on Alfredo's mission to find his son, I could feel the urgency and fear of a father. Juan Carlos was seeing everything as a big fairytale mission, where even facing English battleships was met with childlike wonder no matter the dangers. I loved how it showed both perspectives, of that of an adult and a child, and how their relationship prevailed under this worrisome scenario.

Lastly I loved learning about the history of the Spanish Armada and the timeline was especially helpful. The book was both entertaining and informative and will be great for history lovers too.

Rating: 3.5/5
Emoji response: 😫😳😱🏴‍☠️☠πŸš’πŸ’°

You can order Wrecked Lives HERE.

Message from the author

As a retired electrical project manager in the Petro-chemical industry, I found time to complete my art degree with the Open University. It gave me the insight into research which led to various opportunities completely out of my own experiences. The first of which was to become and online English teacher for students in China, which I really enjoyed. The second was to complete a book that I had started a few years ago. I enjoy searching for fictional stories intertwined in factual events, where the characters emerge from the pages by themselves. Wrecked Lives was one such novel, as it inspired me because of the way in which the weather affected the whole story. The actual events that took place along the Scottish and Irish coasts also allowed me to research my own ancestry. My maternal grandfather originated from Orkney, and I knew of the Westray Dons on the island that gave me a tentative link to the story. Other factors came to light which allowed the characters to emerge, and they became easy to direct. Research is an important tool when writing about historical events, although I have found there to be several variations of the same facts. As a fictional author, I simply used the information to suit my storyline. It has also led me to writing a sequel, as there were too many unfinished stories to the first book.

Friday, 10 September 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day as an autistic person

Two weeks, that's how long it's been since myself and many autistic advocates (who have been going at this for longer than I have) began fighting Spectrum 10K because of their behaviour and unwillingness to listen to the autistic community. 

That fight is still ongoing, and I am tired.

Yesterday I turned on my laptop and saw a post about a study relating autistic people to insects. I saw screenshots from "autism mom" blogs talking about how their life was so hard because of their child. Then I saw the video of a police officer kicking an autistic child to the ground.

It takes a lot of strength for me to believe I have a place in this world when things like this happen all the time. There is always something that degrades and belittles autistic lives and no matter how much we fight, advocate and educate, it doesn't seem to get better. You do a search on "autistic child arrested" and there are countless articles of autistic children being assaulted by police officers. In the US autistic adults, especially black males, are shot and/or murdered.

All of this is a fight that we seem to be taking on alone. I've followed countless advocacy non profits who haven't ever spoken about autistic issues. They've never spoken out online and so many nuerotypicals leave us to fight alone. It is really heartbreaking.

This is why, when World Suicide Prevention day comes around, it feels like a sham. There are countless posts about talking to people and ringing helplines, all retweeted by the very people who don't stand with us. Companies who don't hire nuerodiverse adults speak about mental health in the workplace, medical professionals who are often abelist support the posts about not ending your life. In my eyes, they are all filthy hypocrits. 

I feel like the autistic community is being left behind by society more and more. On a personal level I feel the strain of having to fight harder the older I get. Last year I decided my burn out was so bad, I needed to fight for myself and get accommodations to work from home. This fell flat immediately and I felt absolutely isolated and humiliated.

In an effort to support the next generation against the same problems, I joined a mentoring program to help kids and teens. Instead of support and a positive environment, however, the project was dominated by nuerotypical professionals who gave abelist advice, didn't pay autistic mentors on time and leaked our data.

These fights are constant, and for a world that apparently cares so much about suicide prevention, we are often left shouting into the void, unheard.

Suicide Prevention isn't just a helpline number or a trip to the GP. It is the following and more:

-nuerodiversity training done by nuerodiverse people in schools and workplaces
-nuerotypicals being good allies and standing with autistic people 
-medical researchers listening to what the community classes as support instead of publishing harmful studies
-Autistics being understood instead of questioned or disbelieved
-parents of autistic children advocating instead of being martyrs
-the media giving air time to actually autistic people instead of parents of autistic children

Until the issues get fixed, World Suicide Prevention Day will mean very little to those struggling. We have been asking for help for many years with little effect, so if you truly care, please start listening.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Books That Matter, September box ~Sally Rooney edition!

I couldn't NOT buy the Sally Rooney box by Books That Matter. She has had my heart ever since her novel Normal People made me weep a billion times over.

My box arrived in pretty good time, which was awesome as I was frantically looking out for the post person every day (I had it delivered to work as I was too impatient to have to wait till I got home).

It arrived in BTMs new style boxes which I LOVE. It is very chic and modern and I love the message inside.

Ripping open the tissue paper (are you one who rips into it or carefully opens so as to save it for later?) I practically screamed in delight at seeing the book and immediately grabbed it to hug it to my chest. It was in the middle of TWO snack packs (thank you BTM they are much needed) and underneath was a gorgeous print and two bookmarks.

Finally, underneath that later, was the anticipated tote bag which I will absolutely be using daily (though I may also use it to carry Sally's books around.) There was also this month's magazine with a Sally Rooney feature and some amazing recommendations. 

This month's box is of course perfect for Sally Rooney fans, but I do utterly love how carefully curated each box is to follow a colour scheme and have each gift incorporate the book so well. Having been a subscriber to BTM before I can definitely say this is my all time favourite box and I would love it if they did more author themed collabs in the future.

You can subscribe to Books That Matter and check out their boxes HERE!

Thursday, 2 September 2021

The Meeting Point Release Day πŸ’–

Happy Publication Day to Olivia Lara!

Her new novel, The Meeting Point, is out today!

~About the book~

What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend's phone holds the directions to true love?

'Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend's phone?'

'He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I'm the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.'

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn't expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more...

Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi Mcfarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

~Author Bio~

Olivia Lara's love for words started as a child when she spent her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Bucharest, now a Marketing VP in San Francisco – in between she lived in France where her love for Paris and the Alsace region was born. Her first book, Someday in Paris, became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards. She lives in the Bay Area, California.

Buy the book: Amazon