Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson | Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a proof copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson - 4/5
"Norman and Jax are a legendary comedic duo in waiting, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they're fifteen. But when Jax dies before they turn twelve, Norman decides a tribute act for his best friend just can't wait, so he rewrites their plan:

1. Look after mum | 2. Find Dad | 3. Get to the Edinburgh Fringe

Sadie knows she won't win Mother of the Year and she's not proud she doesn't know who her son's father is. But when she finds Norman's list, all she wants is to see her son smile again... So they set off on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh, making a few stops to find Norman's dad along the way.

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman is an inspiring, feel-good novel about a small boy with a big heart - and even bigger dreams."

This is a beautiful story that made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Norman and Jax are best friends. They have been completely inseparable since they met at the age of 6. They think of themselves as a comedy duo and at the age of ten, they come up with a Five Year Plan which ends with them performing at the Edinburgh Fringe and becoming rich and famous.

When Jax dies just before his twelfth birthday, everything changes. Jax was always the outgoing, boisterous one while Norman is more reserved. Following Jax's death, Norman decides to rewrite their plan; Do Edinburgh Fringe, Look after mum, Find dad.

The chapters alternate between Norman and mum Sadie's points of view. Sadie has been a single mum for all of Norman's life. Her motherly and unconditional love for Norman is beautiful. He is everything to her and she will do anything to make him happy, so she agrees to help him find his dad on the way to the Fringe. Leonard, an elderly man she works with, agrees to help her whittle down the potential dads and do the driving up to Edinburgh from Penzance, with a few stops along the way.

Henderson writes beautifully and it is an easy read. Heartbreaking but also hilarious. The character developments of both Norman and Sadie are wonderful to read.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

The Girl On The Platform by Bryony Pearce | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The Girl On The Platform by Bryony Pearce - 4/5
"I am the girl on the platform.
When new mother Bridget catches her train home from London, she witnesses something terrible: a young girl is taken from the platform, right before her eyes.

No one knows where I am.
But no one is reported missing and with Bridget the only witness, she is written off as an attention seeker. Nobody believes her – not even her own husband.

Can you find me? 
But Bridget knows what she saw, and becomes consumed with finding the little girl. Only she can save the child’s life… but could delving into the mystery cost Bridget her own?"

This is a great thriller!

New mum Bridget has gone back to work with husband Tom staying at home with their daughter Grace. On Bridget's commute home from work, she sees a child being taken from a platform that her train passes.

She reports it to the police but no one else on the train saw it happen. No children have been reported missing either. No one, not even the police, believe her. Bridget then takes it upon herself to find this missing girl but she ends up getting more than she bargained for.

This novel is written very well and Bridget's post-natal depression is a very accurate depiction. You can really sympathise with not only her, but her husband Tom too. He seems like the nicest and most tolerant man!

Bridget becomes a bit obsessed with looking into child abductions and the statistics and you can feel the frustration from her husband for putting it before her family but also from Bridget for not being listened to.

I had sort of guessed what the outcome was whilst reading but I felt like I had to keep reading on to see how it all panned out. It is full of twists and I love that it gives the reader information and clues for us to pick up on. 

A massive thank you to Avon Books for having me on the blog tour. You can see where to find other bloggers reviews in the graphic below.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Worst. Idea. Ever. by Jane Fallon | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received an e-ARC version of this book for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Worst. Idea. Ever. by Jane Fallon - 5/5
"Best friends tell each other everything. Or do they?

Georgia and Lydia are so close, they're practically sisters.

So when Lydia starts an online business that struggles, Georgia wants to help her - but Lydia's not the kind to accept a handout. Setting up a fake Twitter account, Georgia hopes to give her friend some anonymous moral support by posing as a potential customer.

But then Lydia starts confiding in her new internet buddy and Georgia discovers she doesn't know her quite as well as she thought. Georgia knows she should reveal the truth - especially when Lydia starts talking about her - but she just can't help herself.

Until Lydia reveals a secret that could not only end their friendship, but also blow-up Georgia's marriage . . .

Georgia's in too deep.

But what can she save?

Her marriage, her friendship - or just herself?"

Jane Fallon is very quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. She has this special way of writing that instantly grabs you in the first chapter and doesn't let go. I read this book in less than a day and it had me laughing throughout.

45-year-olds Georgia and Lydia met as art students. Whilst they both wanted to get into illustration, life has turned out differently for them. Georgia is married to Nick and they have 18-year-old twins. Lydia is single. Georgia has a book deal for her children's books, Wilbur the Wallaby, and Lydia is stuck in a job she doesn't like.

Lydia starts an Etsy shop for items featuring her drawings but it seems to be going nowhere. Georgia creates a fake Twitter account under the name of Patricia to help boost Lydia's spirits. What she doesn't expect though, is for Lydia to form a relationship with "Patricia" and confide in her. Some of these things being ones Georgia may not want to hear. Things regarding her husband Nick's fidelity.

This is such an interesting and gripping read with loads of twists. I genuinely found myself gawping and grinning the whole way through, eager to see what was going to happen next. I found the topic of rivalry, competitiveness and jealousy fascinating. I think it is because it is something that could be true and could really happen. Nothing was far fetched, the characters all had depth and were very well developed. I already can't wait for Jane's next novel.

A massive thank you to Penguin Michael Joseph for having me on the blog tour. The graphic below shows where you can find the reviews of the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Autism Awareness Month with Pablo

[AD/Gifted - We received the books mentioned in this post in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

April is Autism Awareness Month and it is one that is close to my heart. My eldest child, C, is autistic and when he was first diagnosed. We had a lot of mixed emotions. 

Not long after C got his diagnosis, we heard that a new TV show called Pablo was due to air on CBeebies and not only is the main character an autistic boy, but the production company, Paper Owl Films, are based in my home city of Belfast. Double excitement for us.

Pablo really quickly became a favourite children's show for us because we were eager to show C someone who represented him. We have always been open with C about his autism and at the age of 8, he is well aware of it and understands what that means.

When we received these two books in the post - Pablo Picks His Shoes and Pablo's Feelings - C was delighted. He said "Pablo is autistic and I am autistic. He goes on adventures in his head and maybe that is why I can't turn my brain off at night." He then went off to read them straight away.

Upon reading Pablo's Feelings, he shouted to me, "Oh, Pablo's face sometimes forgets to show what he's feeling. Maybe that is what happens to me!" It was like a light had switched on in his head. He completely understood that and resonated with it.

I knew exactly what Pablo Picks His Shoes was going to be about before we'd even opened it as it is something that C has trouble with himself - making decisions. Pablo is choosing which shoes to wear but is afraid he will hurt his other shoes' feelings. For us, C is always afraid that he will make the "wrong" decision, no matter how many times we tell him that there is no wrong choice. He is worried that the choice that he doesn't make will be better and he will have no way of knowing what would have happened. I think it was nice for him to read about someone else having this issue too.

These books are fantastic to read with any child, not only autistic ones, to help them understand a bit more about how autistic brains work.

You can purchase these Pablo books from Penguin.