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Stress Less, Accomplish More is more than just a book (or audiobook) about meditation and mindfulness. It contains practical, common-sense advice on dealing with stress, sleeping well, boosting your brainpower and changing your lifestyle for the better. Emily Fletcher discusses how to ‘up-level’ yourself by raising your priorities and goals in life; making small, but purposeful adaptations to your daily schedule can change how you think and also how you perceive the world. The book concentrates on a particular technique called Ziva meditation, which involves just 15 minutes of meditation twice a day. The science behind the technique is explained well, along with real-life case studies to highlight its benefits. The narration is very clear, in a relaxing, chatty style, and it felt as though I was listening to a knowledgeable friend or professional counsellor. A big advantage of listening to an audiobook about meditation and mindfulness, rather than simply reading a print version, is that I could practise the exercises at the same time. I found myself listening with my eyes shut, which enabled me to concentrate more easily. Stress Less, Accomplish More provides an interesting way to think more positively and reduce your stress levels, particularly if (or when) you’re feeling overwhelmed by your hectic lifestyle. I’ll definitely be listening to audiobook again, several times, to practise the techniques.
After a brief introduction by Carole Matthews into the book’s background, narrator Emma Powell introduces us to the main character Molly Baker – an ex-teacher who now runs a farm for children with specific needs. Or in Molly’s own words, the farm is open to ‘bewildered, damaged and troubled animals and humans’. The book is written (and therefore narrated) in the first person. I felt as though I was listening to a good friend chatting about her life – her run-down farm, her difficult childhood and her lovable animals. It all seemed very personal, especially as Molly is funny and witty, down to earth and full of heart. She describes everything around her so well that I could visualise it, including ‘clouds drifting across the blue sky’. Hope Farm is filled with animals, from naughty goats and angry sheep to the diva alpacas – and for me, the animals are the main stars of the show. The supporting human cast felt very real too, especially moody teenage tearaway Luke who is grieving for his mother and craving his celebrity father’s attention. Happiness for Beginners would make an enjoyable holiday read, with its satisfying happy ending. The chapters are short – most range from around three minutes to 10 minutes, so they are easy to fit into a busy (or lazy) spring or summer’s day. As expected, there is plenty of romance alongside heart-warming moments and amusing animal antics. There’s also a farm at risk of demolition to provide land for a high-speed train line. If you’re having a bad day and need a book to give you a hug, this is definitely one for you!
Until recently, Julia hadn't had sex in three years. But now: a one-night stand is accusing her of breaking his penis; a sexually confident lesbian is making eyes at her over confrontational modern art; and she's wondering whether trimming her pubes makes her a bad feminist. Julia's about to learn that she's been looking for love - and satisfaction - in all the wrong places.... Frank, filthy and very, very funny, In at the Deep End is a brilliant debut from a major new talent. #ImInAtTheDeepEnd
Random House presents the audiobook edition of Educated by Tara Westover, read by Julia Whelan. Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn't exist. She hadn't been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she'd never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn't believe in hospitals. As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.
This companion to Beautiful Broken Things is a vital, powerful portrayal of the complexities of mental health, friendship and love. Now a legal adult, Suzanne, the self-declared “queen of fresh starts”, leaves her foster parents, acutely aware that “this time, I’m on my own”. She’s moving back to Brighton, the only place she’s ever felt a sense of belonging. “I’m overdue some goodness”, Suzanne muses as she moves into a basic bedsit, with Auntie Sarah and dear friends Rosie and Caddy on hand to help her settle in. But Rosie and Caddy soon head off to their respective universities, leaving Suzanne feeling abandoned. Lonely and struggling to make ends meet on the wages from her café job, she forms a friendship with her 79 year-old neighbour, a storyline that swells with raw, life-affirming beauty. Alongside this, painful mental health setbacks are triggered, and further rollercoaster rides come courtesy of a confusing, overwhelming romance with musician Matt. Honest, authentic, moving and entertaining, this all-consuming story is sensitive and wise on the complexities of growing up, and offers a guiding hand to young adults facing mental health struggles.
A stunningly beautiful, courageous story, one that crosses through time to 1612, when witchcraft allegations went hand in hand with fear, power and corruption. This is a work of fiction based on real people, local residents, Pendle witches and all. Mysterious, yet almost gentle, I let the words take me, I felt myself floating, and then bites of uncertainty and disquiet started to gnaw at my awareness. The persecution of the women hammered home while an otherworldly existence lodged itself in my thoughts, and remains there. Deceptively powerful, moving and provocative, Stacey Hall has created a beautifully eloquent tale. Opening a window into a vivid feast of a read, as a debut novel The Familiars stands out from the crowd.
A Stunning, vital wake-up call of a novel about racism, social inequality and not giving up told through the eyes of an incredible, unforgettable sixteen-year-old. Starr straddles two very different worlds. She has one foot in Garden Heights, a rough neighbourhood ruled by gangs, guns and dealers, and the other in an exclusive school with an overwhelmingly wealthy white student population. One night she’s at a party when gunshots are fired and Khalil, her friend since childhood, takes her to his car for safety. Khalil is unarmed and poses no threat, but he’s shot dead by an officer right in front of her. It will take a lot of courage to speak to the police, and to face the media who choose to highlight that Khalil was a “suspected drug dealer”, while omitting to mention that he was unarmed. But, with their neighbourhood under curfew and a tank on the streets, Starr risks going public. Danger escalates as the hearing approaches (and beyond), but Starr isn’t about to give up fighting for Khalil, and for what’s right. Alongside the intense struggles and conflicts faced by Starr’s family and community, there are some truly heart-melting moments between Starr and her white boyfriend Chris (their shared love of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is super cute), and also between Starr and her parents. Complex, gripping, stirring and so, so important – I can’t recommend this remarkable debut enough.
What if you weren't the hero? Kihrin grew up on tales of long-lost princes and grand quests - despite being raised in a brothel, making money as a musician and street thief. One day he overreaches by targeting an absent noble's mansion, hunting for jewels. There he witnesses a prince performing a terrifying dark-magic ritual. Kihrin flees, but he's marked by a demon, and his life will never be the same again. That night also leads to him being claimed as a lost son of that prince's royal house. But far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He must also discover why his murderous father finds Kihrin more valuable alive than dead. Soon Kihrin attempts to escape his relative's dangerous schemes but finds himself in far deeper waters. He becomes tangled in a plot to kill the Emperor, rob the Imperial Vaults, claim a god-slaying sword and free bound demons to wreak havoc across the land. Kihrin also discovers the old tales lied about many things: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love - and the hero always winning. But maybe Kihrin isn't fated to save the empire. He's destined to
This collection includes: The Bridesmaid: A beautiful stone statue and her living double lead Philip into a nightmare of obsession and murder. Going Wrong: Besotted with his childhood sweetheart, Leonora, psychopathic Guy Curran will do anything to make her his. King Solomon’s Carpet: London’s Underground links a group of misfit housemates and is the catalyst for a devastating crime in this compelling tale, written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. People Don’t Do Such Things: A suburban couple befriend a charismatic novelist, but their relationship soon slips into sinister territory. The Fever Tree: On safari in South Africa, Ford and Tricia find the tensions in their marriage exacerbated by the unforgiving wilderness. The Dreadful Day of Judgment: Clearing up an abandoned cemetery, John, Gilly and Marlon’s personal demons come to the fore. Thornapple: Poison enthusiast James becomes captivated by the ruthless Meribel on a visit to her wealthy aunt. Among the casts of these seven suspenseful adaptations are Jamie Glover, Mark Strong, Reece Shearsmith, Paul Rhys, Danny Sapani and Juliet Aubrey.
This is the first of a trilogy and therefore must, of course, set the scene for those to come. It is about a cult that uses a beautiful old house on a Swedish island as its centre. The leader is Oswald, naturally unbelievably charismatic. Our heroine is Sofia, a sad lost girl suffering from a broken relationship and looking for a purpose in life. An obvious recruit. Oswald asks her to set up his library, an enticing offer. All goes well until winter sets in and brings the fog of the title. It also makes prisoners of those on the island. Then things get spooky. This is a long, slow tale with little action but if you are interested in cults then you will find it fascinating.
‘I have mentors in every area of my life, as a comic, a dad, a recovering drug addict, a spiritual being and as a man who believes that we, as individuals and the great globe itself, are works in progress and that through a chain of mentorship we can improve individually and globally, together . . . One of the unexpected advantages my drug addiction granted is that the process of recovery that I practise includes a mentorship tradition. I will encourage you to find mentors of your own and explain how you may better use the ones you already have. Furthermore, I will tell you about my experiences mentoring others and how invaluable that has been on my ongoing journey to self-acceptance and how it has helped me to transform from a bewildered and volatile vagabond to a (mostly) present and (usually) focussed husband and father.’ – Russell Brand Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped describes the impact that a series of significant people have had on the author – from the wayward youths he tried to emulate growing up in Essex, through the first ex-junkie sage, to the people he turns to today to help him be a better father. It explores how we all – consciously and unconsciously – choose guides, mentors and heroes throughout our lives and examines the new perspectives they can bring.
No one is perfect. But that doesn't stop us from imagining ourselves smarter, funnier, richer, or thinner, and how much happier we would then be. Love for Imperfect Things, by the bestselling Korean monk, Haemin Sunim, shows how the path to happiness and peace of mind includes not only strong relationships with others, but also letting go of worries about ourselves. Packed with his typical spiritual wisdom, Sunim teaches us to embrace our flaws rather than trying to overcome them, and demonstrates that love has very little to do with perfection. With chapters on self-compassion, relationships, empathy, courage, family, healing, our true nature, and acceptance, as well as beautiful full-colour illustrations, Love for Imperfect Things is a much-needed guide for learning to love ourselves - imperfections and all.
Find out what we think is hot this month with our special Audiobooks of the Month category dedicated to audiobooks that stand out from the rest.