Book Review – The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

All I can say is wow wow wow!  I pre ordered this book on my kindle when I came across Cait’s page on Facebook and knew straight away it was a book I needed to read.  Well I read the book in two days, I was even reading whilst cooking, my girls were like, “mum!!!  why are you reading and cooking?”  I actually could not put the book down.  I think the book struck a cord with me because it aligns with what I am trying to do with my own life and our lifestyle as a family.

So many things in this book resonates with me, a lot of our actions of over indulging is usually due to us hiding or masking our feelings.  Emotional eating, retail therapy, social media pressure, etc.  In the past whenever I was really angry with my husband I would go out and buy something to either piss him off or make myself feel better.  The thing is I thought I was hurting him, but in actual fact I was really just hurting our family by taking away money that could have been used towards other things, because it’s not his money or my money, it’s ours.  By Cait not spending any money for a year, when she had negative feelings surface she couldn’t drink it away, shop it away or eat it away.  She had to face these feelings head on.

Now I am not sure yet if I can ban shopping completely for a whole year, but I think I will try and do it on a month by month basis and see how I go.  Since starting on changing my families lifestyle I am definitely more aware of everything we are spending money on, I’m okay with going to the mall and not buying anything or actually not going to the mall at all!  Unless we need something that is going to serve a purpose or if something need replacing because it stopped working then yes we will look at buying it.

Today I went to Kmart and you all know what happens when you go to Kmart!  You go looking for one thing and come out with about 10 things.  I made a list of exactly what I needed, I bought just those 2 things only and we were out of there, and this was shopping with two kids as well.  I wasn’t even tempted to look at the clothes, shoes or homeware stuff.  So I am pleased that my mindset is starting to shift.

I want to travel more with my family and those memories created from these trips are priceless and I would rather spend my money on that instead of material things.

If you want to come out of debt, lead a life of less stress and just be more happy, I would highly recommend you read this book.  I cannot believe the journey that Cait has been through and how her story has just inspired me so much more now with what I am doing.

Happy reading!

R x

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Book Review – The Golden Child by Wendy James

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This book is about looking into how bullying can effect a family but more so from the family of the bully rather than the other side.  Funnily enough I bought this book before I even watched 13 Reasons Why and so two heavy story lines in row.  This book is more around cyber bullying and the extent of it and off course the repercussions.

Beth and Dan have it all, a great life in America with their two girls, who are doing well in school, they seem to have it all.  Their girls are Lucy and Charlotte.  Lucy is the oldest daughter, she isn’t remotely close to being popular at school compared to her sister Charlotte who is the youngest.  Lucy does great at school, is truly the perfect child in the eyes of anyone really. Charlotte the younger, outspoken daughter, for her it’s all about being seen with the right crowd.

There has been a couple of bullying incidents involving Charlotte, the first saw the family leave America and head back home to Australia for a fresh start.  Off course Beth was a bit shocked at first but realised it was all an accident, and not intentional.  Soon they settled in Newcastle, they found a house and the girls started at a private all girls school.  It was all going well, Beth who is a blogger, found a job at a local politicians office, the girls were enjoying school, Charlotte was once again the popular girl, and Lucy was well Lucy, who throughout the book always seemed to be in the background.

Beth and Andi another mum from school, became friends in the hope of their daughters also becoming friends.  Andi’s daughter Sophie didn’t really have any friends, and wanted to fit in with everyone else.  The idea of being friends with Charlotte was beyond her wildest dreams!  She was ecstatic, except, Charlotte didn’t think being with Sophie was great for her reputation but their mum’s constantly had caught up forcing the girls together.

Then things once again went downhill, with Sophie being bullied over social media sites by lot’s of other kids in her school, including Charlotte.  In one of these post’s someone said to Sophie, “Why don’t you just go and kill yourself?”  Well, Sophie who was only 13 decided to try exactly that, she overdosed on sleeping pills.  Luckily she survived. But the incident, opened a can of worms.  Beth was beyond shocked, she was at the point were she believed she didn’t even know her own child, and she questioned herself as a parent where did she go wrong or where did she fail!  This not only effected their family but her friendship with Andi.

Sophie survived and had a new look on life, and she saw things a bit clearer now.  Slowly she started to notice things about her friends, including Charlotte and Lucy, and she put the pieces together.

Well the book bloody ended so abruptly, that I even asked my kindle WTF? Is that it? There is quite the twist at the end and I really wanted to know what happened next! But alas the book ended.

Happy reading!

Ronell x

 

Book Review – My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

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You know it’s a good book when you think about it every waking minute and try to work out when is the next time I get to read it.  At one stage I had it sitting in my recipe holder, so I read whilst I cooked!  Fair to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Like Katie (Cat) everyone has this image of living the London or New York life, (I know you have thought about it!) thanks to Sex and the City, we all want to experience the NY life, drink Starbucks coffee and wear amazing clothes and hail a yellow cab.  Same with London, wrapping up in woolen coats, sitting in a corner cafe sipping a hot drink whilst it rained outside, all the while looking ever so professional, hair straight and tied back, black glasses (you possibly have perfect vision but still insist on wearing it for “the look”).

I know a lot of books I have read over time, I feel like I want to go to these places, well that is how it is for Katie.  Her dream was to work and live in London, she has an amazing Instagram account, of perfect photos showcasing her life in London, fancy restaurants, hot chocolates, food, buildings…..only thing is that was all a pretence.  Her IG account is what she aspired her London life to be,  but it was far from what her actual life living in London was.  It was hard, and not like the fantasy she had in mind.

I suppose this is a bit like real life, people always perfect IG feeds, but we will never really know who the real person is behind all of that.

When she finally hit’s rock bottom after loosing her job in London it was time to return home, back to the farm.  That’s where she is truly herself and only when she is herself, she starts to shine!  She becomes more confident in who she is as a person and over time realises she doesn’t need to pretend or have a fake persona.  This makes her stronger.

There were some really funny bits in the book too that makes you laugh out.  Off course there is a handsome guy thrown in the mix too.  In the end she just might get the life she always dreamed off however, it wasn’t a straight road getting there.

Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did, I was actually a bit sad that the book ended!   After reading this book I know, I will always choose real over perfect!

Ah well, time to find another good read!

Ronell x

 

 

Book Review – The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty

This is the first time that I have read one of Sinead Moriarty’s books and I could not put it down at all!  I’m sure that I ignored my husband and children on more than one occasion. I bought this book just before we went camping and it was the perfect book to take with me.

The book grips you from the start, it jumps all the way forward and gives you a teaser of what’s to come, so once that is done you kinda get the picture in your head of what you think happened.  But what get’s you turning and turning the pages is that because you know that small piece you now want to know what led up to that point and more so the fall out after that!

I remember reading it sitting outside amongst our friends and I got to the part where things got a bit intense a little sob escaped me but I didn’t want to be a blubbering mess. I suppose it’s because you put yourself in that situation and having children you think that it’s you in the place of Alice.

The characters and story seemed so realistic I’m sure there are people out there that have been in similar situations.  Alice’s world get’s turned upside down not once but twice!  She however picked her self up and moved forward for her children.  All her decisions that she made were for her family.  There was a part in the book where I thought, she is going to make a tough call and put herself first but even then she didn’t.  She made sacrifices for her family and in the end it worked out I suppose.

What I liked was that we also got to see what’s happening in the story from the youngest daughter Holly’s perspective so it was nice seeing things through a child’s eye and understand their feelings and thoughts so to speak.

I would highly recommend this book it was a brilliant read and I cant wait to read more of her books.

Happy reading!

Ronell x

Book Review – Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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Wow!  Where do I start with this book.  It is such a gripping story from the start.  Some parts of the book when it describes one of the main characters being a white supremacist and the things he did growing up made me a little uncomfortable, I just didn’t like it much.

Reading this story has stirred up some old feelings that I have, being a person of colour myself.  The thing is growing up in South Africa and going through the apartheid era it’s hard not to ignore or feel the pinch a bit when you come across stories like this.  I’m sure my memories are nothing comparable to others going back generations that had to grow up in the system.

From memory I only remember once when I was in high school, my family and I went to a beach in a white suburb and after we were there for a little bit we were told to get off the beach as it was for white’s only and we were not allowed to swim there.  After much heated words were exchanged we left.  I’m sure our parents and their parents before have many more stories than I do.

But the thing is these little things stay with you, and throughout your life you always deep down wonder if things are said a certain way or you are treated differently because of your colour.  I mean when I apply for jobs I have so much self doubt because I always think my name doesn’t sound Indian and it’s like a disclaimer that I should put on my CV, that I am Indian, which I know is absolutely crazy, but I can’t help feel that way.

It was this that came across in the book as well, throughout life Ruth had to make adjustments or try and blend in.  Reading this book you get to walk in the shoes of a black person and see what’s its like to live under the scrutiny of others.

The court case that follow’s in the story, I felt I was sitting there in that courtroom watching it all unfold.  I alway’s find with Jodi Picoult’s books they pull on all your senses that you can’t stop reading, and you become this silent character in the story.  The strength of the main character Ruth is astounding and everything she believes in she stands for no matter what the consequences are.

It was a brilliant story and highly recommend it, but it’s not hard to recommend one of her books.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Ronell x

Book Review – Two by Two Nicholas Sparks 

Another great story by Nicholas Sparks, and it was a tear jerker!

I’ve read stories when a couples marriage breaks down and it’s usually the man that leaves, thus leaving the women to pick up the pieces. However here the tables are turned and it’s the husband who is left to do that and also be the primary caregiver of his daughter. To be honest some parts of the book when reading I wanted to bitch slap his wife! She was just plain mean! 

This book showed me the amazing bond that fathers have with their daughters and no matter what crap was going on in his life he always stopped everything for his daughter. It made me think about my husband and our girls and the bond that they have. 

The book also covered the relationship you have with your family and friends and how when times get really tough it’s the ones that stick around and help. But just when you think life knocked you over once and you’re starting to get back on your feet, you get another blow, this time closer to home. 

I loved reading this book it evoked so many emotions and got me thinking about my family, my husband and our kids and even my friends. 

Highly recommend this book. 

Happy reading!

Ronell x

Book Review – Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino

I’ve just finish read this book and I was actually sad that it ended. I felt the story and the way it was written had absorbed me totally into this small little town called Triento in Italy. 

The great thing about this book first up is that it’s not your typical 20-30 year old looking for love and a new life it focuses around slightly more older women which gives it such a better depth of story. 

The characters are a lively bunch and have great hidden stories behind each one of them.  I don’t know about anyone else but whenever I read a book that is set in another country etc I find myself reading in that accent in this case Italian and British English. Is that weird? 

Being someone that loves food and everything about it the way food was described in the book it’s like I could smell and taste it all, it made me quite hungry!  

This book is truly great if you want to loose yourself into a another world and now I just want to know what everyone is up to from the story! Also I now want to move to a little Italian village. 

Happy reading!

Ronell x

Book Review – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

I have read a few of Liane Moriarty’s books so when her new book came out I was pretty stoked. 

The book is centred around an accident that occurred at a BBQ with some neighbours. You had to read at least over 50% of the book to actually get to what the accident was about. So the whole time reading you learnt about the days leading up to the BBQ the days after the BBQ and the day of the BBQ but geez Louise they just went around and around in circles and I found myself thinking just hurry up what happened that’s so bad!!

Well finally we get to what happened and yes it’s not something anyone would want to go though but it only has a small part in the book the actual scene! The book then focuses on the repercussions that this accident had on everyone. 

In my option I found the rest of the story pretty underwhelming and wasn’t impressed with this book compared to her other ones. 

Ronell x 

Falling by Jane Green

I have read so many of Jane Green’s book’s they are such easy reads, and I’m a romantic at heart so love the chick lit books.

To me this book has your typical over worked young girl who left her birth country to look for greener pastures in New York, only to find it’s not all that great, so looking for a change,  Emma finds herself in Westport, Connecticut.  The way the lifestyle in the quiet beach town is described almost made me pack my bags, and move the family to Westport.

As I was reading the book, it became a little predictable, in that I knew what was happening before it did. It’s about Emma finding herself and where she fits in everything. The characters are great, and Dominic’s parent’s actually sound very similar to a typical Indian family even though they are not.

Without giving too much away, the ending left me SHOCKED!  I was sitting there, looking at the book (or kindle in my case) and thinking, did that just happened??  Are you serious?? Expecting the book to answer me back!

I really enjoyed the book even though it was a little predictable,it was nice to be taken away to Westport, and if you want something light and romantic then you should read this.

Happy Reading.

Truly Madly Guilty…

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Oh how I love a good book!  Reading is something that I have loved forever.  Pre kids I read at every opportunity I had, now you will find my recipe stand with a novel…Oh the days when time was plentiful!

My husband wasn’t too pleased with how fast I was reading and how quickly we were running out of space on our bookshelf! I knew I could always borrow a book from the library, but I loved buying books and had a dream of having a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves and one of those ladders on wheels….ahhh a girl can dream.  My husband went out and bought me a Kindle, so there goes that design idea!

I will share with you my reviews of books that I have read, so if you are ever looking for a good book, you can always check in here at my book club and have a read!

The first book of Liane Moriarty that I read was Big Little Lies, oh and that was a goodie.  I believe they are making that into a movie with Reese Witherspoon.  I went on to read a few more of her books and to which they did not dissappoint.  I was pretty excited when I saw that she had a new book out, Truly Madly Guilty.

I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts on the book!

Happy Reading x