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Health & Fitness

June 2021 Featured Books

The Transparency of Time

The Transparency of Time

Author: Leonardo Padura Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Leonardo Padura’s Detective Mario Conde crime novels form the basis of Netflix’s Four Seasons in Havana and, after becoming utterly involved in The Transparency of Time (the ninth and final book in the series), it’s clear to see the appeal for producers. Padura’s writing balances a playful spirit of intellectualism with his distinct observations of people, place and time. Multi-layered, and rich with insights into Cuba’s history and current climate, The Transparency of Time sees Mario Conde become immersed in a centuries-old occult mystery. With his sixtieth birthday on the horizon, he ponders his shifting identity (“Didn’t they start calling Hemingway “Old Man” a few years before his suicide at sixty-one? What about Trotsky? Wasn’t he, at sixty, known as the Old Man when Ramón Mercader split his head in two with a Stalinist and proletarian blow from an ice ax?”) and decides “he had reason enough to avoid so much as aspiring to the category of Old Man”. Rather, “he was, at best, going to become an old fart.”   That decided, Conde needs a new case to get stuck into and his need is answered when Bobby, a former high school classmate implores him to find a stolen Black Madonna statue that belonged to his grandmother. A vehement follower of Santeria, an African-Cuban religion that fuses Catholicism with West African Yoruba spiritism, Bobby is desperate: “She’s powerful! Truly powerful!.. You’re my only hope. And you have to help me, right? For old times’ sake?” Conde helps, of course, and with him readers are led on a complex journey through occult history, back to the Crusades as he works to ascertain the provenance of the statue, with interwoven episodes from the Spanish Civil War. At once entertaining and challenging, Padura is a writer with distinct style and scope.

Sunshine Warm Sober

Sunshine Warm Sober

Author: Catherine Gray Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Sunshine Warm Sober embraces the joys of sobriety. This sequel to Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober covers what she has learnt over last three years, now that she has reached her eighth sober year. Using flashbacks to her past, she highlights her positive experiences of being ‘sunshine warm sober’ rather than ‘stone cold drunk’ during birthdays, holidays, dog sitting and other occasions. In her book, she explores addiction using medical, psychological and behavioural experts and case studies, discusses the role of alcohol in society, and answers thought-provoking questions such as: What does the label ‘addict’ really mean? Can you have an addictive personality? Is alcohol a parenting aid? Sunshine Warm Sober is filled with honesty, wit and warmth, as well as facts and personal stories. This fascinating read may help you to reassess your relationship with alcohol and change your life for the better.

eBooks of the Month
When We Become Strangers

When We Become Strangers

Author: Maggie Hamilton Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Loneliness has become a significant health risk in the UK. When We Become Strangers explores the impact of loneliness, isolation, disconnection and estrangement on our lives, and our (over)reliance on devices and the impact of social media. We live in a society where we don’t need to see another human for days but can still remain connected to the world. Sending a message to family and friends isn’t the same as a face-to-face encounter, though, and many relationships are struggling. We don’t even need to live alone to feel lonely. People can feel isolated in a busy household, surrounded by technology and retreating from the world around them. Loneliness may be caused by feeling little, or no, sense of belonging in a crowded room. When We Become Strangers is a thought-provoking look at the modern world. It’s an easy read and makes a lot of sense, with practical suggestions to combat loneliness, not just as individuals but as a society, connecting with nature, better building and city design, and more. This is a book of hope – that making changes to our lives now can reduce the impact of loneliness in the future.

Unbreak Your Heart

Unbreak Your Heart

Author: Katie Marsh Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

There is often something extra-affecting about novels that have their roots in real life events and Unbreak Your Heart is no exception. Seven-year-old Jake has spent much of his short life in hospitals receiving treatment for a life threatening heart condition and is absolutely determined not to leave his single dad, Simon, to live alone, resolute in his ambition to find Simon someone to love and to love him.  His hopes for his father are equally mirrored by Simon’s love and hopes for his son and the sacrifices he makes to ensure that Jake’s life is as good as it can be. Into this mix Marsh introduces us to the wonderful Beth, who moves into the cottage next door and who changes Simon and Jake’s lives forever. Inspired by the courage of Katie’s daughter who was born with a cleft lip and palate and who underwent seven operations in eight years, Marsh’s latest is an extraordinary story about, hope, love, yes of course, but also of courage.  It also about the redemptive and healing power of friends and family, how persistence pays off and above all a reminder that even in the darkest times of pain and difficulty, the light does shine through and can transform broken hearts. Marsh is always at her best when depicting the dynamics of close personal relationships and has a talent for crafting completely addictive stories that are both heart-wrenching and life-affirming without veering into schmaltz. That Unbreak Your Heart is also perfectly seasoned with some beautifully weighted moments of humorous relief merely adds to the pleasure of this transformative tale.

The Insomnia Diaries

The Insomnia Diaries

Author: Miranda Levy Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

If you have ever read any of Miranda Levy’s journalism you can’t fail to have been impressed by her straightforward, no-nonsense approach to any subject she turns her pen to and The Insomnia Diaries is no exception. Following a catastrophic single event, Levy had one sleepless night followed by another that became severe, crippling insomnia that affected every aspect of her life for eight years and which she recounts every stage of in this, often painfully honest, part memoir, part reportage. With over 16 million in the UK suffering from insomnia and a third of adults affected at least once a week according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - and this before the COVID-19 pandemic struck - Levy charts her own struggle, through medical treatment that led to dependency, via a Reiki practitioner, a hypnotist and multiple therapists and personal trainers as she leaves no stone unturned in her quest for the relief of a good night’s sleep. The links between sleep, mental health and wellbeing are well documented and with a foreword by scientist and sleep expert Dr. Sophie Bostock and contributions from a host of experts on the medical aspects, Levy makes it clear that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to this quiet, desperate condition.  What she does is to offers insights and guidance to anyone who wants to appreciate the issues and understand the complexities of finding the best way to get the rest they need.

Joe's Family Food

Joe's Family Food

Author: Joe Wicks Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time together with 100 brand new family-friendly recipes from Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, the nation's favourite PE teacher and record-breaking bestselling author. With 100 healthy, tasty, simple recipes to feed the whole family, this book is sure to provide new favourite go-to meals for speedy suppers, celebrations and everything in between. As the proud dad of two kids, Joe understands the realities of life as a busy parent. Sometimes you're short of time, and it's hard to come up with a balanced meal when you have a thousand things to think about! This book does the hard work for you, so cooking and sharing nutritious food can become a social, fun activity for your family. Each recipe is specially designed to please every family member, leaving you all feeling healthy, happy and satisfied. Including: Mexican chicken burgers with avocado smash and sweetcorn salsa Peanut butter popcorn Frying-pan pizzas with little trees and fennel sausage Cheesy orzo-stuffed tomatoes Broccoli and pancetta carbonara Filled with swaps to cater to all tastes and ideas for involving the kids when you're cooking, this flexible cookbook will soon become your family favourite. The man who kept the nation moving during lockdown, Joe has sold more than three million books in the UK alone. He has more than four million followers on social media, where fans share their personal journeys towards a happier, healthier lifestyle. All of his books have been non-fiction number one bestsellers.

Becoming: The Greatest You

Becoming: The Greatest You

Author: Krahtay Gaylah Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/06/2021

‘BECOMING: The Greatest You’ by Krahtay Gaylah is a book created in order to help you become the best version of yourself you can be.  Developed from the author’s own experiences this book contains Krahtay’s journey as well as exercises, examples and affirmations that you can use in order to discover your own path to become your best self. This book has been created to offer inspiration and guidance and is the kind of book that you can return to at any time and re-read with new eyes and a greater understanding. Each chapter is self-contained, with an introductory scenario, from the author's life or more allegorical as well as more detail about the lessons that can be found in each lived experience. This book also includes affirmations and questions that can help the reader to gain greater self-awareness and put each of the lessons held within this book into action. I found ‘BECOMING’ was really well laid out, and liked that you can jump between the topics that are of the most interest to you at the time. I liked that the author included their own experiences and introduced ideas with clear scenarios as opposed to only featuring more abstract “lessons”. I feel this helped to give context and also offer examples of how to incorporate these new ways of thinking into your life. I appreciated the opportunity to read this book and I think that 'BECOMING' is a really informative read for anyone looking to understand themselves more, perhaps heal from past trauma and make sure that life is lived to the fullest. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
Becoming: The Greatest You

Becoming: The Greatest You

Author: Krahtay Gaylah Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/06/2021

‘BECOMING: The Greatest You’ by Krahtay Gaylah is a book created in order to help you become the best version of yourself you can be.  Developed from the author’s own experiences this book contains Krahtay’s journey as well as exercises, examples and affirmations that you can use in order to discover your own path to become your best self. This book has been created to offer inspiration and guidance and is the kind of book that you can return to at any time and re-read with new eyes and a greater understanding. Each chapter is self-contained, with an introductory scenario, from the author's life or more allegorical as well as more detail about the lessons that can be found in each lived experience. This book also includes affirmations and questions that can help the reader to gain greater self-awareness and put each of the lessons held within this book into action. I found ‘BECOMING’ was really well laid out, and liked that you can jump between the topics that are of the most interest to you at the time. I liked that the author included their own experiences and introduced ideas with clear scenarios as opposed to only featuring more abstract “lessons”. I feel this helped to give context and also offer examples of how to incorporate these new ways of thinking into your life. I appreciated the opportunity to read this book and I think that 'BECOMING' is a really informative read for anyone looking to understand themselves more, perhaps heal from past trauma and make sure that life is lived to the fullest. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
How to Make Good Things Happen

How to Make Good Things Happen

Author: Marian Rojas Estape, M. D. Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2021

How to Make Good Things Happen is a well-researched book on managing your stress and anxiety levels, and how our mental health influences our physical health and day-to-day lives. Written by an American psychiatrist, it’s not a quick read or self-help book, but is more of a scientific look at our hormones and how our brain works in relation to our emotions – love, sadness, happiness, guilt – especially at times of stress. To combat stress, we need to train ourselves to see positivity in all situations, rather than focusing on negativity, and we also need to learn how to stop overthinking. The book uses practical approaches based on science, including the evidence for mindfulness and omega-3 foods in brain health. I loved the case studies dotted around the book – short stories about people the author has met over the years, some as patients and others just in passing. The book seeks to help its readers see the good in everything so that they can lead a healthier, more fulfilling life. An interesting read.

eBooks of the Month
Wild Nights Out

Wild Nights Out

Author: Chris Salisbury Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge.   With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to chattily speaking to children direct, but with a background in theatre and environmental education, and currently working as professional storyteller alongside directing the Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training, the author is well-placed to advise on how to engage young explorers.   As for the activities, the book covers a blend of games, walks and sensory experiences, the latter of which form an excellent foundation from which to explore the world at night, with exercises designed to focus and enhance one’s sensory perceptions. Then there are practical activities covering the likes of learning to call for owls, detect bats and understand the night sky alongside immersive theatrical activities, such as hosting nocturnal animal performances and fireside storytelling. With black-and-white illustrations throughout and activities to last the entire summer holidays, this certainly shines an inspiring and informative light on night-time nature.     You can find more recommended adventure reads in our curation for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.    

The Enchanted Life

The Enchanted Life

Author: Sharon Blackie Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

A thought-provoking book that almost shakes thoughts loose and sets them free in a bid to reclaim the enchantment within ourselves and the natural world around us. There are concerning studies that suggest: “the brains of people in this generation might be developing differently because of their almost constant interaction with technology”. This book explores history and myth, other peoples musings and findings, through to Sharon’s own thoughts in order to offer us the tools to find the enchantment again, to relish and really live with it. Dr Sharon Blackie is an award winning writer and we are confirmed fans here at LoveReading. Sharon is our June Author in the Picture, editorial expert Joanne said If Women Rose Rooted creates: “a richly interesting perspective on other ways of living” and I simply adored the 13 bitingly beautiful stories in Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women. She is also a psychologist and mythologist, she understands our need to connect to the world around us. From the first few paragraphs The Enchanted Life really resonated with me, it made me stop and listen, it captured and thoroughly provoked my thoughts before setting me on the trail: “to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again”. I read, I agreed, I believed, The Enchanted Life is a meaningful and truly lovely book that I can thoroughly recommend.

Star Books
An Extra Pair of Hands

An Extra Pair of Hands

Author: Kate Mosse Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2021

An Extra Pair of Hands is an emotional journey, following Kate Mosse as she became a carer for her father, mother and then mother-in-law in a short space of time. This is a book about what it’s like to be a carer, not as a paid employee but to be there for your family at times of illness, crisis and increasing fragility – because you want to be, not because it’s just part of a job. I felt like I was there in her memories, not only during her practical day-to-day activities and dealing with their essential needs, but also the impact on her own mental health. Carers silently, stoically and heroically do what they do out of love and for little or no reward. It can be hard, both physically and emotionally – always thinking of, and dealing with, loved ones’ needs other than their own. In her book, Kate Mosse also touches on the impact of pandemic and lockdowns and the shielding of older & vulnerable people. An Extra Pair of Hands is a celebration of family and love and an exploration of grief and ageing – it’s raw, witty, heartbreaking and honest.

Inner Alchemy

Inner Alchemy

Author: Zulma Reyo Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/05/2021

‘Inner Alchemy’ by Zulma Reyo is a book that helps its readers on a path of personal growth and universal understanding. Written by Psychotherapist Zulma Reyo, who also has in depth knowledge and understanding of a variety of alternative therapies and practices, ‘Inner Alchemy’ mixes theoretical based teaching with practical opportunities for understanding.  This is a book to ponder over and to return to in future, potentially with new eyes and from a further enlightened perspective. Constant change, reflection and learning is encouraged throughout the book. As we get older, experience new things, challenge ourselves in new ways, 'Inner Alchemy’ will offer even more rewards, as its teachings take on a new meaning, or become clearer.  This spiritually enlightening read is well-laid out and easy to follow. The images used throughout are beautiful. Rich, bright and colourful but meditative graphics featuring mandalas and landscapes evoke our connection to the world around us, but the brightest light connects to the centre of the subject, reiterating that all change in the world starts from within. I liked the glossary of key terms at the beginning, this is a useful tool as you work your way through the lessons in this book and ideal for any beginner. I also liked the ‘review’ subheadings at the end of each section, I feel these allow you to take an extra moment to pause and reflect on key points as well as taking the time to put in to practice the questions and affirmations As stated, ‘Inner Alchemy’ is a revised and updated edition of ‘Mastery: The Path of Inner Alchemy’ a book that was originally published in 1989. Changes have been made in order to reflect the world around us, amid a pandemic and the economic instability and cultural changes taking place currently.  This is an intriguing and informative read that I would recommend for those looking for spiritually and meditatively focused change.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Repotting Your Life

Repotting Your Life

Author: Frances Edmonds Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/05/2021

Repotting Your Life is a book about self-renewal – recognising when it’s time for try something new, and being brave enough to take the plunge. This was highly entertaining, with all of its plant, nature and gardening analogies. Replanting ourselves so that we can grow and flourish again, whether it’s in a new environment or a new situation. The author uses her own experiences to help you think about who you really are, what you would really love to do, and what you’re capable of doing next. Her step-by-step plan – from wilting and withering and being potbound to making pots and plans, then pulling up the roots and, finally, bedding in – will help to give you the confidence you need to find new pastimes, change your career, move house, find new friends and relationships... An inspirational book for anyone stuck in a rut and looking for a way through the tangled hedging to fresh pastures on the other side.

Self-Contained Scenes from a single life

Self-Contained Scenes from a single life

Author: Emma John Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/05/2021

A wonderfully readable, thoughtful yet amusing, and sometimes painfully honest memoir from journalist Emma John as she asks: “What does happily ever after look like when your Prince Charming never shows up”. Emma is in her forties, she is not in a relationship, nor plans to be, in Self-Contained she looks at a society that views single as a temporary arrangement and, what it actually means to be on your own. Emma visits her past as she galloped through her twenties into her thirties and then entered her forties. She explores with intense personal reflection and writes with a self-depreciating wit. She is also incredibly honest and friendly, I felt as though I was having a heart to heart with one of my best friends. I have to admit to blushing beet red as I read one particular section, I still cringe at the memory of twenty-something me saying to a friend: “someone will come along when you’re least expecting it” and her vexed reply that she: “wasn’t looking”. Self-contained isn’t in the slightest bit preachy, it just feels as though Emma is allowing you into her thoughts, and in turn it made me think about mine. Chapter 14 is a wonderful closing chapter and it really, really made me smile. Self Contained: Scenes from a Single Life is a book for everyone, no matter how old you are, whether in a relationship or not, there is much to discover and appreciate between the pages. 

Books of the Month
Mummin' It

Mummin' It

Author: Harriet Shearsmith, Toby & Roo Ltd Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

The book is split into five main sections: food, home, travel, body/beauty and life. The food section is particularly helpful, from meal planning and budgeting to delicious-sounding recipes and step-by-step cooking with kids (with full-colour photos). Inside, there are easy ways to make your home child-friendly, stylish and tidy(ish), followed by tips on travelling with kids (abroad, at home, camping etc), beauty and fashion tips (on a budget, with little time) and finally how to still have a life (friendships, sex life and work life). It’s written in a ‘best friend’ tone – easy to read with plenty of humour – and I found myself nodding along at the advice. You can’t get much more practical than this, with its tick-off checklists, space for meal plans and notes, and even a ‘working mum guilt’ word search. Mummin’ It is ideal for parents with children at nursery and/or primary school, and a book that you’re likely to return to again and again.

eBooks of the Month
Win at Work and Succeed at Life

Win at Work and Succeed at Life

Author: Michael Hyatt Format: Audiobook Release Date: 20/04/2021

You don’t have to choose between your career and your personal life. Many people feel fulfilled by their professional accomplishments, and they should. Yet, career wins can come at great cost to your health, relationships, and personal well-being. Failure in those areas can boomerang on your career’s success. Why does it seem impossible to both win at work and succeed at life? Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller know we can do better because the five principles in this book have revolutionized their professional achievements while supporting personal lives rich in meaning, relationships, and vitality. Today, Michael and Megan coach their clients to live the Double Win. The Double Win sees work and life in partnership, not opposition. Succeeding at life, in turn, fosters a clear mind, creativity, and a rested body so we can focus on the work that matters most. This is not an abstract hope. It’s a concrete, daily reality. Michael, Megan, their employees, and their clients live it. And it’s a real possibility for you as well. Backed by insights from psychology and organizational science and illustrated with eyeopening case studies from across the business spectrum and their own coaching clients, Win at Work and Succeed at Life is their manifesto on how you can achieve work-life balance and success.

Audiobooks of the Month
Soundtracks

Soundtracks

Author: Jon Acuff Format: Audiobook Release Date: 06/04/2021

Overthinking isn't a personality trait. It's the sneakiest form of fear. It steals time, creativity, and goals. It's the most expensive, least productive thing companies invest in without even knowing it. And it's an epidemic. In Soundtracks, New York Times bestselling author Jon Acuff offers a proven plan to change overthinking from a super problem into a superpower. If you want to tap into the surprising power of overthinking and give your dreams more time and creativity, learn how to DJ the soundtracks that define you. If you can worry, you can wonder. If you can doubt, you can dominate. If you can spin, you can soar.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Sparks In My Skull

The Sparks In My Skull

Author: I D Atkinson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2021

‘The Sparks in My Skull’ by I D Atkinson is a science fiction based Young Adult novel. An interesting concept, where young adults suffering from migraines develop additional cognitive abilities called aether varying from precognition to psychokinesis. The downside of these additional abilities are their time-bomb brain, that could suddenly develop a fatal brain bleed.  In this dystopian story, where society lashes out in fear towards things and people that they don’t fully understand, we meet Echo and Flynn, who flee to a sanctuary for others with aether, but are they really safe there?  ‘The Sparks in My Skull’ is an interesting storyline and each of the characters are infused with personality. The book introduces you slowly to each character and to the different forms and abilities that aether can take. I found the speech a little contrived and the initial incident at the party with Echo personally a bit frustratingly unbelievable. I feel a younger audience may like this book more and this book made me consider that maybe I am now a bit too old for Young Adult fiction. The plotline is interesting and entertaining, and I wanted to read more to learn about aether, and what would happen to Echo and Flynn. I would say ‘The Sparks in My Skull’ is an easy to read story that would be a great recommendation for fans of YA dystopian fiction and fantasy. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Why The F*ck Can't I Change

Why The F*ck Can't I Change

Author: Dr Gabija Toleikyte Format: Ebook Release Date: 21/01/2021

Why the F*ck Can’t I Change? is a scientific look at our emotions and why it can be difficult for us to change our mindset, long-standing habits and productivity. While the title is a sweary one, the book’s contents aren’t sweary at all. This is a fairly academic book on behavioural change, focusing on the biology and anatomy of the human brain. It has been well-researched by its neuroscientist author, using scientific studies and reference books. There are some case studies, self-help advice and practical tips, but it’s not a quick read. The book features some medical jargon so it may not work for everyone, but each chapter has a useful summary at the end. If you’re looking for a book that gives you more than the usual self-help ‘change your life’ advice, because you want to understand the root cause of why you feel, think and behave the way you do, then this book may be the answer. Purchase Why the F*ck Can't I Change from: Amazon Apple Kobo Google

May 2021 Featured Books

Smoke Hole

Smoke Hole

Author: Martin Shaw Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/05/2021

A small thought-provoking book that holds huge impact, I recommend opening your heart and mind and letting the stories in. Martin Shaw, author, mythologist, and wilderness guide, describes himself as a teacher of old stories and a guide into deep places, which resonates profoundly with the contents of this book. He invites us to step into three stories and register, in fact, properly absorb their meaning. If you have an interest in stories, if you currently look around you and feel that there is something missing in your world, then allow yourself to fall through the layers of the story and explore. He mentions that he’s always written for those at a crossroads, and that now he finds we’re all at one, Smoke Hole is his attempt to meet one infection with another: beauty. I found myself nodding in agreement, his words make sense as does the way he sees the world. I enjoyed the way he brought meaning to the stories, he encourages you burrow and hunt and search before then letting the stories sit in their own glory and be truly themselves. Smoke Hole is a wonder of a book, beautiful in itself, and in what it encourages you to find, to be. I absolutely adored it. 

You Will Get Through This Night

You Will Get Through This Night

Author: Daniel Howell Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/05/2021

A practical guide to taking control of your mental health for today, tomorrow, and the days after, from the Sunday Times bestselling author and beloved entertainer 'There's a moment at the end of every day, where the world falls away and you are left alone with your thoughts. A reckoning, when the things you have been pushing to the background, come forward and demand your attention.' Written by Daniel Howell, in consultation with a qualified psychologist, in an entertaining and personal way from the perspective of someone who has been through it all - this no-nonsense book gives you the tools to understand your mind so you can be in control and really live. Split into three chapters for each stage of the journey: This Night - how to get through your toughest moments and be prepared to face anything. Tomorrow - small steps to change your thoughts and actions with a big impact on your life. The Days After - help to look after yourself in the long term and not just survive, but thrive. You will laugh and learn - but most of all, this book will assure you that even in your darkest times, there is always hope. You will get through this night.

Your Mental Health Workout

Your Mental Health Workout

Author: Zoë Aston Format: Ebook Release Date: 13/05/2021

Your Mental Health Workout focuses on giving your mind some attention, in the same way you might change your eating or exercise habits to get physically fitter. Think of it as the mental health equivalent of a five-week gym membership, focusing on your thoughts and feelings and how you respond to them. The book was very easy to navigate, with weekly checklists and planners at the beginning to keep me on track (printable copies are available from the author’s website). Everything in the book is very practical and explained in simple terms and a friendly tone. I loved the way Zoe Aston, a psychotherapist, approaches a mental health workout in the same way we would approach a physical one – setting goals, warming up, weekly workouts and daily workouts – with easy exercises to build ‘mental muscle’. There’s even an additional chapter on ‘Physio for your feelings’. A fun and informative way to look after my mental health and keep stress and anxiety at bay. 

eBooks of the Month
Bedtime Adventure Stories for Grown Ups

Bedtime Adventure Stories for Grown Ups

Author: Anna McNuff Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/05/2021

In the bedazzling world of adventure sports, many would say (me included) that Anna McNuff burns the brightest. The title for her latest book, Bedtime Adventure Stories for Grown-Ups, may surprise many of her following who don’t regard Anna as especially grown-up and may also be surprised at the implication that she ever sleeps! There’s a laugh on every page of this compilation of some of the author’s "mini-adventures” over the years - although what’s mini for Anna might be mega for most... Close to home and abroad, on wheels and on foot, at all times of the day and night … Anna’s appetite for adventure is insatiable and her talent for wordplay and punchlines ensures that the stories are lively, colourful and likely to turn up your lust for living. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about these dreamy adventurous bedtime tales… is that they are actually, really, true. I mean, who climbs over their backyard gate to be sent all over Europe by the public egging her on with daily votes on where to head to next? Answer: This gal. ~ Greg Hackett   Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.    

Diary of a Young Naturalist

Diary of a Young Naturalist

Author: Dara McAnulty Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Diary of a Young Naturalist recounts a year in the life of an autistic and highly gifted 15 year old, struggling with school, bullies, moving house and fearing the decline of the natural world whilst rejoicing in it. Dara McAnulty is clearly an extraordinary person and a beautiful and mature writer. His descriptions of his adventures in nature are inspiring for children, but also sure to brighten the souls of many an adult too. The intensity with which nature presents itself to the author is overwhelming, and his ability to share this with the reader is enthralling. It’s a rollercoaster ride being in the head of this young man, but the book has the magic to open our eyes and ears to what beauty is around us each and every day - if only we looked!    McAnulty's knowledge of wildlife and nature is simply extraordinary. His autism is a burden but also a super-power, providing him with piercing insight to a world that simply cannot be ignored with all its truth, tragedy and hope pouring out of every hedgerow, pond and dry stone wall.   This is a diary which highlights our essential connection with the natural world, the landscape and our history embedded within it - but more importantly, it is also about our futures. Dara McAnulty is on a mission, and if the quality of this book is anything to go by, he will have a huge impact. For many children, this book will be the beginning of a wondrous journey. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival

Debut Books of the Month
White Blood

White Blood

Author: Lawrence Trevelyan Weaver Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2021

White Blood explores the history and benefits of human milk, a natural food source that most people take for granted. Human milk nourishes babies from the moment they are born, providing them with all the nutrients they need for growth and development in their early months. Yet the debate on ‘breast versus bottle’ continues, especially in countries where breastfeeding rates continue to decline. Written by a paediatrician, nutritional scientist and gastroenterologist with an interest in history, White Blood is far more than just a reference book looking at how milk is made in the human body. Using research and quotes from leading physicians, historians and social historians, this fascinating book shows how human milk has been crucial to infant health, growth and survival over the centuries. It’s beautifully illustrated with pictures – colour artifacts, paintings and photographs – from ancient civilisations to the present day. This book explores the vital question of ‘why breastfeeding matters?’ and taught me a lot!

21 Breaths

21 Breaths

Author: Oliver James Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2021

21 Breaths by Oliver James is a gorgeous little yellow hardback book. It’s excellent quality, inside and out. The first section of the book focuses on the benefits of breathing techniques. Oliver James relates the story of when he discovered breathing techniques could change his life, followed by simple explanations of how these can affect different parts of your body, and how they may help to change how you feel too. Then there’s a chapter with four simple tests to check how to assess whether you’re breathing correctly – it really did make me think about ‘how I breathe’ and how my breathing could be improved. In the main section of his book, Olive James describes breathing techniques to suit various physical and mental needs, including pain, constipation, sleep, confidence, anxiety, posture and stress. Each breathing technique is explained clearly, with simple tips to follow. The book contains beautiful black-and-white drawings of the author demonstrating each breathing exercise, and these really helped me to get my posture and positioning right. A fascinating book that’s easy to dip into or read all the way through – and it looks great too!

Books of the Month
Those Who Can, Teach

Those Who Can, Teach

Author: Andria Zafirakou Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

I was not too sure what to expect when picking up this book but having read the introduction and hearing the author speak on Woman’s Hour Radio 4, I was keen to start. It is an incredibly readable book. Not what I was expecting, a book to inspire teachers, but a book packed with the most fascinating, and often quite harrowing stories of her pupils at Alperton Community School.  She talks about the children in such an insightful way, telling the reader not just about their time in the classroom, but about their background and their families and the huge impact this has on their abilities and successes in school. The difficulties and challenges some of her pupils’ face are both memorable and moving. She conveys to the reader so clearly the effect that lack of language, cultural differences, cramped conditions and poverty can have on a child’s ability to learn. She looks at the whole person, beyond the bluff and bravado to the real child beneath. Her empathy with her pupils and the obvious passion for her subject really do shine through. I liked her honesty. She believes that she is ‘almost an imposter’ and there are far more worthy winners of the Global Teachers Prize, but reading the many examples she writes about, I feel she is underselling herself. She intersperses her account with insights into her own life, her upbringing and her adult life with her family.  The book teaches us all valuable life lessons: Never judging a child on first impression and the importance of mutual respect are two themes that run throughout the book. I thought initially, it was a book for teachers, but this is a book for anyone. I think on reading it, we will all wish that we had had a teacher such as her when we were at school.

NOISE: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood

NOISE: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood

Author: Danusia Malina-Derben Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2021

‘Noise: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood’ is a fresh look at how mothers can raise children while still maintaining their own identity outside of this role. Informed and inspired by the author’s experiences of being a single parent, teenage mum, mum to triplets and a successful academic and working parent, ‘Noise’ has been created, not as a book that holds the answers, but as a book that asks pertinent questions so you can find your own answers.  As stated constantly throughout, every mother experiences motherhood differently and the author is very clear in acknowledging this manifesto has grown from her experiences. I like the clear boundaries of how Danusia introduces a topic, an obstacle to maintaining a clear sense of identity and her own experience of the ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’ positioning of being a mother and expected by society to give everything to her children and a human, who need space time and their own desires met in order to flourish. Then the author steps back to ask more abstract questions, allowing any mother or mother-to-be reading this to work out how the “Mother Stoppers” and internalised idealised rigid structures and “noise” of motherhood has had an impact on them.  I liked the concept of this book as an opportunity for discussion. This book is a chance, not to eradicate the “noise” of internalised societal roles and structures, but to alter the noise that exists in order to make it more realistic, supportive and beneficial for future generations of mothers. I think that this is an insightful and educational book for anyone who would like to be a mother.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReadng Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Appreciation and Meaning Journal

Appreciation and Meaning Journal

Author: Andrew Eltes Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/03/2021

Written by an experienced practitioner, the principle aim of the journal is to encourage the user to appreciate the value of living in the present rather than constantly searching for happiness in future - possibly hypothetical - events. It is written in a clear, non-jargonistic way, using language that is accessible to its readers. The author reminds us that just as following a daily morning routine is known to be beneficial to our well-being, completing a journal can be a valuable and positive tool in our journey of self-development and improvement. Links with other positive roots in yoga, meditation and slow, controlled breathing is also encouraged. The first part of the book consists of ways which help the reader to understand how best to make use of the ten daily, reflective questions which form the body of the journal. The author employs his own experiences in order to convince us of the real benefits to be had in responding each morning to these ten empowering questions. The examples given are easy to understand and fall within most people's range of everyday thinking. In order to extend the impact, we are also encouraged to answer mentally or speak aloud thoughts and ideas that will not fit into the space given. Every seven days, three new questions are included. Each daily journal begins with a quotation and is arranged over two pages. The back of the journal consists of a short meaningful conclusion and lined pages for note making. This is the type of book that I would purchase for myself and would give to like-minded friends as a gift. I would however choose a hardback copy. I especially like the unpretentious approach and its simplicity of format. Often when quotations are used, they are there for effect but the ones included here are varied in provenance and I personally found them extremely reflective. There are a lot of similarly themed books on the market at the moment so competition for marketing feels tough. Many are 'pretty' and seem to have no real foundation to them whereas this feels genuine and as if the author really cares for his readers. However, I feel that a little more focus upon its aesthetics might encourage its appeal and I would have welcomed the inclusion of some simple illustrations and variety of text formats to enable this. Val Rowe, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Burnt Out

Burnt Out

Author: Selina Barker Format: Ebook Release Date: 28/01/2021

Burnout is a buzzword of recent years, as technology plays an increasing role in our lives, with 24/7 access to the world. It’s not surprising that it’s hard to switch off at times. In Burnout, author Selina Barker explains ‘how to thrive with a hectic lifestyle’, using practical tools and exercises to guide us. The book is colourful and well-designed, making it a pleasure to read. It begins with a ‘Burnout SOS’ for those of us in need of urgent help because we’re physically and mentally exhausted, already right in the middle of a major burnout, or about to have one. The rest of the book takes a step back (prevention is far better than cure), for those of us not yet at the burnout stage. It explains what can cause burnout, how to get our energy levels back and how to redesign our lives. It’s a book that you could dip in and out of, and refer to again and again. It was fun to read – making me laugh at times – and highly encouraging. The comforting companion you need at a tough time.

eBooks of the Month
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

Author: Charlie Mackesy Format: Audiobook Release Date: 12/11/2020

Four very different characters take centre stage in this unusual and beautiful tale. There’s a horse, wise and reliable; a boy, Christopher Robin-like in his curiosity and kindness; a mole, driven by an optimism, and love of cake; and a fox, vulnerable and in need of love and understanding. Full of tenderness and compassion, with much to make readers smile and more yet to prompt a sense of forgiveness, even of ourselves. Though simple enough for the youngest children, the words will resonate just as much with adult readers. A very special book.

Audiobooks of the Month

April 2021 Featured Books

Cyberjutsu

Cyberjutsu

Author: Ben McCarty Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Written by Ben McCarty, technically reviewed by Ari Schloss and with a foreword by Malek Ben Salem, this is a thoroughly revised and polished book that uses the concept of ninjas to take the reader through the variety of different areas that you need to be aware of when it comes to cybersecurity. Using relatively recent translations of Ninja scrolls, information that for most of history has been kept hidden, ‘Cyberjutsu’ contains theories of how ninjas were so successful at being the elusive and deadly characters we know, and how this analogy can be used to allow the reader, “think like a hacker”, gain perspective and use a variety of different methods to improve and protect their programs, software or personal details from attack.  Although the intended audience for this book is security professionals, I found that the language used throughout and the use of the ninja analogies helped to translate concepts into scenarios I could visualise. With an easy to follow layout which is explained in the opening pages, this book takes you through teachings and philosophies from 400 year old ninja scrolls before going on to explain how these teaching can be connected to cyber security and finally what you can do to keep your organisation safe as well as a checklist of recommended security settings.  An interesting book full of useful information and recommendations that would be beneficial for anyone who has information online. 

In Search of Mycotopia

In Search of Mycotopia

Author: Doug Bierend Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

An interesting and immersive book about the undeveloped potential of mushrooms. If our relationship with nature interests you, if you believe that in order to thrive we should live in harmony with nature, then I can highly recommend reading In Search of Mycotopia. Doug Bierend is an American journalist who writes about science and technology, food, education, and how we can live in a sustainable world. Here he looks at the potential of fungi, and we meet a variety of people and ideas that could contribute to our working in harmony with nature. The author challenges the reader throughout this book, he questions our idea of expertise and asks us to look at fungi in a completely new way. The various chapters include a section at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London where it is clear that amateurs and experts have worked together throughout its history in the study of fungi. This is readable, inclusive, and the big messages that I kept hearing throughout this book, were about bringing people together and working together in order to gain a better relationship with nature. In Search of Mycotopia highlights the importance of fungi in an eloquent and engaging way.

eBooks of the Month
Nobody Tells You

Nobody Tells You

Author: Becca Maberly Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Nobody Tells You is a brilliant and reassuring companion for anyone starting out on the path to parenthood, from getting pregnancy all the way through to feeding your baby. Featuring diverse real-life stories, it feels so natural and personal, like you’re chatting with friends. These are real people (with their twitter handles and photos) answering real questions about different types of pregnancies, babycare and parenthood. So you know that whatever you’re thinking – or feeling – is normal, and that you’re not alone. It’s a reminder that parenting may be a struggle at times – all those niggling things that no one else is going to tell you and you’ve not yet dared to ask. ‘Yes, contractions can hurt.’ ‘It’s natural to worry about your baby.’ ‘It may take time to bond.’ This book is packed with simple advice from healthcare professionals too, featuring essential tips on morning sickness, hospital items, and more. I wish I had been given a book like this before my two sons were born.

Star Books
Second Thoughts On Having and Being a Second Child

Second Thoughts On Having and Being a Second Child

Author: Lynn Berger Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Second Thoughts by Lynn Berger is a literary and scientific insight into having and being a second child. Translated from Dutch, it is part memoir and part discussion about birth order, sibling rivalry and sibling relationships. By the time the author wrote this book, she already had two children. But here she recaps on her decision-making process to have a second child after her daughter was born. Second Thoughts is a balanced look at second-time parenthood. There’s a lot packed into its 200 or so pages – it’s written in a balanced, non-judgemental way and isn’t intended to sway readers in one direction or another. Lynn Berger explores psychological research and speaks to experts to see whether (or how) birth order may influence personality and development. She brings the science to life with personal anecdotes about growing up with a young sister and the interactions between her son and daughter as they discover each other and the world around them. Having a second child tends to be a heart-led decision, rather than a scientific one. But this will be helpful background to anyone with an interest in psychology.

Beach Explorer

Beach Explorer

Author: Heather Buttivant Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2021

Beautifully presented, packed with puns, and shot-through with an environmental ethos, Heather Buttivant’s Beach Explorer is the perfect companion for days at the beach, with fifty activities and oceans of facts that are sure to inspire and astound children and adults alike. Highlights of the practical projects include finding fossils, starfish bums and mermaid purses (yes, you read that right!), and the step-by-step instructions for pressing seaweed and making your own plankton net. What’s more, alongside all the “how to make and find” activities, Beach Explorer is packed with facts that are sure to enliven even the most dedicated of beach bums, from finding out about the world’s largest poo (which, by the way, is the “bright-orange rancid-smelling poo” of the mighty blue whale), to discovering how fish camouflage themselves. The book ends with an excellent chapter on how to “Be a Wildlife Champion” that highlights how “humans are creating environmental problems”. Importantly, the author shares lots of ways young eco-minded explorers can help combat these problems through the likes of picking litter and planning climate-friendly beach trips.

The Madness of Grief

The Madness of Grief

Author: Reverend Richard Coles Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

The inescapable truth of life, of all life, is that it ends. It is argued that some societies deal with this inevitability better than others, but the pain, the loss and as Coles puts it, the madness, are universal. In December 2019, Reverend Richard, variously a member of Bronski Beat, The Communards, the BBC and a man of the cloth, lost his beloved partner, David. It was unexpected. It was a shock.  While it might be reasonably assumed that a ‘death professional,’ as Coles has described himself, might be prepared for such a personal tragedy, the reverse is true.  As he charts the administration, the ‘sadmin,’ required to deal with the formalities of death, Coles’ chronicles the emotions that flood and drive him, from the weirdness of midnight shopping for no matter what (and ending up with three sorts of parmesan) to the awful realisation that the loss of his partner is also the loss of their planned future. In “The Madness of Grief” Coles runs his hand along the grain of grief and documents every knot and splinter. What he has written is such an evisceratingly eloquent account of personal anguish, rich with honesty, pathos and yes, humour, that it is in fact a universal hymn to bereavement that will resonate with each and every reader. It marks Coles out as the C.S. Lewis of - and for - our times.

How to Run a Marathon

How to Run a Marathon

Author: Vassos Alexander Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

In addition to all the essential technical advice and insider knowledge that one would expect from a solid “How to..” book, the first half of How to Run a Marathon is very much focused on the “Why?". A few chapters in, you realise why radio presenter and sports journalist Vassos Alexander has afforded as much time to inspiration as he has to execution. Unless, deep down, you really want to run a marathon, it simply isn’t going to happen. To help you find the itch there are many inspiring (and funny!) tales of why running 26.2 miles is something so life-changing. From the blind to the barefoot, we hear the running stories of some extraordinary people from a man who seems to know everyone in the game. From Athens to Boston we run alongside a community where love and support are as present as personal achievement. And from Vassos himself we get the inside track on the very personal journey of the marathon runner in all its fun-loving, food-poisoned, rain-soaked and wall-hitting glory. Learn how to train, how to stretch, how to ‘respect the taper’.. and gain some crucial nuggets of wisdom: “A good laugh and a long run are the two best cures for anything”. This book has everything to get you over the line. ~ Greg Hackett   Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.

A Girl's Guide to Being Awesome

A Girl's Guide to Being Awesome

Author: Suzanne Virdee Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/09/2020

From finding your sparkle (which the author defines as “unleashing the natural talent inside you” and "feeling and believing you can do anything”), to dealing with anti-social media, Suzanne Virdee’s A Girls’ Guide to Being Awesome is a pitch-perfect guidebook for girls navigating the confusing path to adulthood. The author, an award-winning TV journalist and radio broadcaster, contextualises her approach and advice through her experience as a tenacious, aspiring journalist who refused to give up. Sassy inspirational soundbites (“life is tough but so are you”; “success is a decision”; “don’t wish for it, work for it”) sit alongside detailed discussions of big issues, among them education, anxiety, sex and online grooming.  The book also suggests empowering practical exercises, and provides nicely-designed space for readers to jot down their own thoughts on the likes of dreams and ambitions, using one’s sparkle, social media, and feminist icons, which will surely prompt deeper thinking and help young women hone valuable life skills.

Bellybutton the Source of my Strength

Bellybutton the Source of my Strength

Author: Daniel Felix Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/08/2020

Bellybutton: The Source of my Strength is an inspirational, autobiographical tale of Danny, and his struggles to cope with bereavement and his journey towards embracing the Christian faith and his work to support his family.  Daniel Felix tells his story in the first person from the beginning, born prematurely and brought home into a heavily religious West Indian family living in the East End of London. The book continues to share what growing up was like and how the bond he shared with his mother developed over the years. I liked the interesting perspective that was used to tell the story of Daniel's birth and time as a premature baby in hospital and there are humorous comments dotted through the text that made me smile.  Bellybutton: The Source of my Strength is a very different title, but as I read I understood more that it not only represented Danny’s connection to his mother and her faith but perhaps to creation overall, and the development of his Christian faith. From reading this book it is clear that Daniel was able to use his faith to help him find the strength he needed to be there for his family. I think that this is a good book for those who enjoy autobiography and for readers looking for a book that focuses on an autobiographical tale of spiritual enlightenment.  

Evolve Your Brain

Evolve Your Brain

Author: Joe Dispenza, DC Format: Audiobook Release Date: 17/01/2017

Joe Dispenza, DC, has spent decades studying the human mind-how it works, how it stores information, and why it perpetuates the same behavioral patterns over and over. In the acclaimed film What the Bleep Do We Know!? he began to explain how the brain evolves-by learning new skills, developing the ability to concentrate in the midst of chaos, and even healing the body and the psyche. Evolve Your Brain presents this information in depth, while helping you take control of your mind, explaining how thoughts can create chemical reactions that keep you addicted to patterns and feelings-including ones that make you unhappy. And when you know how these bad habits are created, it's possible to not only break these patterns, but also reprogram and evolve your brain, so that new, positive, and beneficial habits can take over.

Audiobooks of the Month
Working Hard, Hardly Working

Working Hard, Hardly Working

Author: Grace Beverley Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

We all know the pressure of feeling like we should be grinding 24/7 while simultaneously being told that we should 'just relax' and take care of ourselves, like we somehow have to decide between success and sanity. But in today's complex working world, where every hobby can be a hustle and social media is the lens through which we view ourselves and others, this seemingly impossible choice couldn't be further from our reality. In Working Hard, Hardly Working, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed 'lazy workaholic' Grace Beverley challenges this unrealistic and unnecessary split, and offers a fresh take on how to create your own balance, be more productive and feel fulfilled. Insightful, curious and refreshingly honest, Working Hard, Hardly Working will make you reflect on what you want from your life and work - and then help you chart your path to get there.  A BOOK TO HELP YOU Create your own Productivity Method: Work smart and do more of what you love Make your routine work for you: Optimise your habits and reap the benefits Understand your value: Get into your flow and enjoy your everyday Engage in effective self-care: How stepping back can help you move forwards

Audiobooks of the Month
Healing Is the New High

Healing Is the New High

Author: Vex King Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/04/2021

Achieve genuine inner healing, let go of trauma and find clarity, resilience and freedom with #1 Sunday Times bestselling author Vex King. Vex developed powerful inner healing techniques to help him break free from his troubled past, heal his emotional pain and trauma, and create a new and empowering belief system. Since then, he's helped thousands of people worldwide unlock their own healing journey. And now he's here to help you become your own healer too. Vex shares how to experience healing through the layers of the self, combining yogic principles and simple, accessible techniques for exceptional, long-lasting results. These transformative practices include: Working with your body's energy Exploring and raising your inner vibration Creating positive relationships Exploring your personal history and rewriting limiting beliefs Uncovering your true self and reigniting your fire Taking charge of your inner healing is one of the greatest acts of self-love. By committing to this process and raising your vibration - the energy that courses through you and you radiate out into the world - you'll create space to welcome more joyful experiences into your life.