Friday Challenge – Could You Adopt Better Habits?

Friday Challenge – Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of the Friday Challenge where we are joined Shelley Wilson, author of How I Changed My Life In A Year.

Shelley is sharing with us easy ideas about how we can make our lives better and also the lives of those around us.

Here are links to the previous weeks. Week 1, http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5MH

Week 2 http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5MJ

Over to Shelley…

Shelley Wilson

Could You Adopt Better Habits?

 

We could all benefit from changing our routines once in a while. Simply choosing to drive a different route to work can do wonders for your well-being. For my book How I Changed My Life in a Year, I spent month six adopting better habits by growing vegetables, eating a vegetarian diet and de-cluttering.

 

When I teach my personal development workshops I inevitably touch on the topic of de-cluttering as it is one of the simplest ways to feel lighter and brighter. Clearing your personal space can have a profound effect on body and mind. A clear canvas is the perfect starting point for any new venture, creative idea or period of recovery.

 

Using my simple four-step process, you can quench your craving for a little inner peace and maybe find the odd fiver tucked away in an old coat pocket!

 

  1. Take responsibility. Are you surrounded by magazines, CDs or twelve glass vases? Does your wardrobe contain ‘thin’ clothes and ‘fat’ clothes? Is your cupboard under the stairs full to the brim with shoes, coats and bespectacled wizards? Decide to do something about it now.
  2. Take it slowly. When faced with a mountain of ‘stuff,’ don’t panic. It may look overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Take it one room at a time. When you look around the room you have chosen, break it down even further, and take it one piece of furniture at a time. Clear a desk drawer or one shelf on the bookcase and then build up to the entire desk.
  3. Tools to help. All you’ll need are three cardboard boxes. Label the boxes: Donate, Bin and Sell. Take all your unwanted items that are still in good condition to a charity shop. Throw out all the broken items or anything that no longer has value. Sell as much as you can at a car boot, your rubbish is someone else’s treasure.
  4. Completion. You’ve done a car boot and transferred all the unsold items into your donate box; you’ve driven to the local refuse centre and dropped off your bin box now you need to deliver your charity box. DON’T leave it by your front door or in the boot of your car, you’ve done so well, don’t stop now.

 

Challenge accepted and achieved. A clutter-free home makes for a clutter-free mind and can help you feel better about yourself and your environment. With the clean slate you are ready to tackle anything that comes your way, so I extend my challenge to you – adopt a better habit, change an overused routine or tidy up your writing desk.

How I Changed My Life In A Year

 

‘How I Changed My Life in a Year’ – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KAAUE88

Also on Amazon.com

 

Find Shelley on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

We’re back next Friday for another challenge.

Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Midnight SkyMidnight Sky by Jan Ruth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Midnight Sky has a lovely rural setting in North Wales near Snowdonia, with a smaller minor setting in Chester. Laura Brown lives with her partner Simon and together they run Dragon Designs. They are property developers.

Laura’s sister Maggie lives at Hafod House in North Wales and invites Laura to her birthday party where she meets locals Liz and James Morgan-Jones who run a stable yard. They have some cottages that need modernising and making profitable, Maggie hopes Laura can land the job for them but James is a difficult person to get on with and they start off on a bad foot.

There are some wonderful engaging characters in this book to get behind, Maggie’s daughter Ellie is mildly autistic and learning to ride is an ideal therapy for her. Whilst her older sister Jess is wild, out-spoken and has a major crush on James. Maggie herself is wonderfully protective of all her brood and will go to great lengths for them all.

Then there is Simon, Laura’s partner, struggling through a divorce with a demanding ex-wife and children who take up much of his time and energy. Yet nothing prepares you for the harrowing heart-ache that James is suffering and only Laura can penetrate the walls of mental protection he has built when she becomes equally as vulnerable in her own life.

This book mixes rough, rugged Welsh countryside with a busy horse-yard, property developing and interior design, plus the all important possibility of romance to make your heart melt.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com Just 77p or $1.24 for a limited period

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette

Today’s book review comes from Karen, she blogs at http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com

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Karen chose to read and review Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette

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My Opinion

The book introduces you to Lisa-Marie, a teenager whose grandmother sends her to her aunt Bethany at Crater Lake for the summer. The little community around Izzy – trauma counsellor at Camp Micah –  in the cabins by the lake also welcomes another summer guest. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With Disappearing in Plain Sight, Francis Guenette has created a story that doesn’t let you off the hook The reader gets to know the community members pretty soon. The characters, their ways of dealing with stuff, their feelings, and the events are very real. You may often think differently, however you know that there are persons in your life who act and feel like the characters in question. The characters and locations are fittingly described; you feel Francis’ love for characters and site. Disappearing in Plain Sight gets you hooked – even if it is not your typical genre. I was drawn into the story right away. I felt close to Lisa-Marie, like being an invisible part of the community. Disappearing in Plain Sight is a great read for contemporary fiction fans, readers who like to uncover the inner demons, and self-awareness.

This is a book to read again.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Shared Skies by Josephine O’Brien

Shared SkiesShared Skies by Josephine O Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shared Skies is a YA fantasy novel and the first book in a series. We meet Gaiah Hansfort aged 18 and straight away she is in trouble at school. A loner she has trouble from the “Popular Set” who like to bully her, but her reactions have now led her into big trouble. She’s found that sometimes, just by thinking, she can change a person’s thoughts. But now the police have been called.

Officer Bryant wants to talk to Gaiah’s father, but he’s a recluse artist, who has never got over the death of his wife. Gaiah is left feeling alone most of the time in a big house, desperate to share the loss of her mother and then the departure of her Grandparents with her father.

Gaiah has another problem too, her hair. Every day it grows to waste length, and every day she cuts it off, she feels like a freak of nature. Gaiah’s mother died when she was six years old, they used to live in Scotland with her Grandparents, but, her father moved them to London in an attempt to make a new start.

Officer Bryant reveals the lies that Gaiah has been feeding her Dad about school and from it she finds a way to help. She contacts Gaiah’s Grandparents and arranges for Gaiah to go and live with them and make a new start. Strange circumstances follow Gaiah on her trip north and a chance meeting with a green eyed stranger is just the beginning of a new chapter in Gaiah’s life.

Gaiah will learn that she is a precious child of a melded love between people from parallel universes. Her mystery power of suggestion is called encognating and her people need her to help protect the earth from the Or’ka.

I liked this book and read it in a day, eager to follow Gaiah’s path, I soon realised that the story was not going to end in just this one book, but I was quite hooked by the storyline. It will be interesting to see how the Or’Ka respond to Gaiah’s own melding.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Sterna reviews Romancing My Love by Melissa Foster

Today’s review comes from Sterna, she blogs at http://sternakruger.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/romancing-my-love-the-braden-series-by-melissa-foster/

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Sterna chose to read and review Romancing My Love by Melissa Foster in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review is on behalf of BrookCottage Books. Romancing My Love is book #17 in the Love In Bloom series and #9 of The Bradens.

Pierce Braden is thirty-six, with dark hair and dark eyes, six three and two hundred and ten pounds of solid muscle and a very successful business man with a shrewd mind and a tendency to fix things for people, and if that isn’t enough to send your heart into overdrive already, he is a family man with a big heart and a genuinely caring nature.
And though he has never had trouble finding woman, he has always seen them as somewhat expendable, never letting anyone close, which is why he is caught completely off guard with Rebecca’s less than enthusiastic response to him when they first meet.
Rebecca Rivera is intelligent, fierce and absolutely gorgeous; and the last thing she’s thinking about while trying to piece her life back together after losing her mother, is a man, especially a man who seems to be in the annoying habit of wanting to fix everything for everyone.

Pierce and Rebecca meet in the opening chapter, where he witnesses first-hand how capable she is of standing her ground and defending herself when she decks a guy that was pawing her, and immediately has the reader rooting for her from the first pages. And Combined with her unfazed reaction to his wealth or status had me in laughing out loud at some of her comments to him and he’s reaction to being handled so nonchalantly.

“My mother warned me about men who look like you.” That line will stay with me forever, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing it a lot more in the future …

Rebecca’s self-sufficient, I-can-handle-it-all-myself attitude might be masking up a much deeper fear though, one that could shake her to the core if uncovered … and Pierces’ controlling nature and choice to keep everyone at arm’s length could be the result of his own crippling tragedy …
There are real and truly emotional pieces in the book that had me swallowing a lump in my throat and left me wanting nothing more than to hug Rebecca with all my heart.

Beautifully detailed story with sassy, sexy characters that are like friends in the end, and which never once had me feeling as if it was being dragged out or worse, rushed and with missing pieces.
The back story is well written in, giving the book just that much more color and depth.
And the warm, heartfelt ending left me with a smile on my face and a strong urge to immediately find not only the next Braden story, but also to read or re-read the first eight Braden novels again!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Under His Protection by Lily Bishop

Under His ProtectionUnder His Protection by Lily Bishop

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book picks up a character from Lily’s first book in the series “No Strings Attached” and this is Lee’s story. Lee Thornton aged 33, is an ex-marine who has set up his own security firm. He lands a job for Senator Martin Crowne, who wants security for his daughter.

Elizabeth Crowne is an attorney who wants to run for State Attorney General, the top legal office in the state where she can help fight cases especially those of abused women. But someone has been sending her threatening anonymous letters. She tries hard to resist the need for 24 hour security protection, but after a house break-in, the danger is closing in.

There are several people who could be the ones threatening Elizabeth, top of her list is ex-fiancé James Simpson, plus it could always be linked to the case she is working on. Lloyd Baker is currently in prison for money-laundering, but he’s willing to do a deal with the FBI for a bigger fish.

The danger levels ramp up and Lee persuades Elizabeth to come to the Bahamas with him for his brother’s wedding, away from the media and where he can protect her. But they still can’t find out who wants Elizabeth out of the way, until it’s nearly too late.

This is a romantic mystery, it was good to catch up with the characters from the first book. It was a while a go that I read about them and I did need reminding who they were. The next book promises the development of another character for whom there will also be a mystery to solve.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Diane reviews Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

Today’s book review come from Diane, she blogs at http://www.fictionzeal.com

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Diane chose to read and review Boot Camp Bride (From the July Book review Challenge)

Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

Charlene (Charlee) Montague’s dream after graduation had been to report breaking news from a war zone.  She has high ambitions to live up to the successful careers her parents and brothers have achieved.  Instead, she has to make do with her newbie reporter job at What’cha! doing grunt work for her unyielding boss, Vanessa Lloyd.  But, Charlee is book-smart knowing seven languages; she’s determined; and she’s downright hard-headed.  Her best friend and the boss’s daughter, Poppy, pulls her unwillingly to attend What’cha!’s prestigious book award ceremony.  There she meets author, Rafael Fonseca-Ffinch.  She doesn’t recognize him and becomes exceedingly rude.  He knows the owner of What’cha!, Sam Walker.  But instead of Sam firing her for her behavior, Mr. Fonseca-Ffinch had requested that Charlee be assigned to his current research project going under cover to spy on supermodel, Anastasia Markova.  Charlee knows there’s more – much more – to this story and to Mr. Fonseca-Ffinch than meets the eye.

 

Charlee was a fun character to watch and the story line was amusing.  It did make me a bit sad for her that her whole family, being high achievers, seemed to close her out and make her feel small.  They had gotten used to not expecting much from Charlee.  I’m not sure which is worse – to have your family feel as though you’re as good as you’re going to get, or to begin to feel that they may be right.  This was a light, easy read.  The bantering between Charlee and Ffinch was witty and made up much of the story.  They play act their engagement so she can attend bride boot camp with Anastasia in Thornham in the English county of Norfolk.  This is a chick-lit and as is the case with most of that genre, you can predict the romance.  However, it is much more difficult to guess the mystery and danger that faces Charlee and cheer on Ffinch as he tries to protect her.  I rated Boot Camp Bride at 3.5 out of 5.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

BackPacks and Bra Straps by Savannah Grace

Backpacks and Bra Straps (Sihpromatum #2)Backpacks and Bra Straps by Savannah Grace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Backpacks and Bra Straps is the second book following Savannah and her family as they spend a year Backpacking. They are a family group; Mum, older brother Ammon (a seasoned traveller), 18 year old Bree and 15 year old Savannah. They started their journey in China and the first book “I Grew My Boobs In China” tells of the way they adapted to the people and the cultures of the countries they began to travel through. Not on any big tourist trails, they have a small daily budget and travel on buses and trains as the locals do.

This second book has them crossing into Russia with a 7 hour delay whilst the train and all its occupants are searched, making their journey from Mongolia a whacking 37 hours. You get up close and personal accounts of their travels going to amazing places like Lake Baikal, the deepest, oldest and cleanest lake in the world. Along the way they meet people who so often go out of their way to help them find accommodation, buy tickets and deal with language barriers. It returns your faith in mankind.

Their journey doesn’t go without challenges and fears, sometimes the journeys were really dangerous as mad drivers raced on roads up and down mountain sides and crossing border controls was often painstakingly slow with the need to work their way around officialdom on a number of occasions.

What is great about these books, is meeting the real people and seeing places that few others experience because of the way the have chosen to travel. Living in close proximity does have it’s own challenges which they learn to overcome, and the life lessons that Savannah has more than makes up for being taken out of her Canadian school and leaving her friends thousands of miles away.

This part of their journey ends with Bree’s friend Steph joining them for a two week hike to base camp mount Everest, a most memorable journey and I felt I travelled with them every step of the way, it meant different things to each of them when they conquered the climb and as they left the area in a helicopter for their next adventure Savannah reflects on her new word “Sihpromatum” a curse that turns into a blessing which sums up how she feels about much of this experience.

I really do recommend these books to anyone with even a slight interest in travel and the rest of the world.

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Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

The Wannabe Author by Mary Papas

The Wannabe AuthorThe Wannabe Author by Mary Papas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wannabe Author is just 13 pages long. It is a sad but realistic novel which will make many authors cringe when they think back to their first attempts at writing. It may also open the eyes of many first time authors who are currently writing their own masterpiece.

The main character hates her job and her boss and finds release in writing down scenarios which let her escape her frustrating reality. This gives her a reason to go on and actually opens a door. Beneath the process of amateur book writing and publishing, she has found the strength to resign from her job.

Her whole book process is a huge learning curve which looks depressing at first glance, but underneath she may have learnt lessons which she’ll use if she can get past this experience and her urge to write is stronger than her sense of failure.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews

Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Angie reviews A Single Step by Georgia Rose

Today’s Book Review comes from Angie, she blogs at http://angieslifeblog.wordpress.com/

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Angie chose to read and review A Single Step by Georgia Rose

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Emma Grayson applies for a job working on Melton Estate looking after the horses and stables for Lord Cavendish and after a successful interview, decides that this is the fresh start she needs to try and move on from the hurt and betrayal she has suffered over the years. It is on the estate that she first meets Trent and instantly takes a dislike to him which is just as well, since she has sworn off relationships. On top of having to deal with Trent and his moody ways, she has also had to fight off (literally) unwanted advances from some of the guys she works with and all she wanted was a life of peace, keeping herself to herself.

Trent also has secrets of his own and eventually Emma becomes more curious, wanting to know why he is always going off with Lord Cavendish for days on end and why is he so keen on making an enemy of her? Eventually Emma becomes part of Trent’s past but can she forgive him, or even worse can she forgive herself.

I should warn you that you may need a tissue for the first few chapters of this book, the authors writing is so raw; its almost as though she is telling her own story and you felt the raw emotions through the words which I think can take someone special to grip you like that. The story did drag a little in some places but nearer to the end, I was totally hooked with Trent’s secrets being unravelled.

I also liked that even though I aren’t a fan of horses and don’t understand anything about horse riding, I could understand the jargon that Georgia used throughout and found it easy to picture the scenes in my mind.

I would give this book a 3/5 rating  – romance with a twist

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com