Last post

I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and have finally made the difficult decision to announce that I no longer see myself as a book blogger. I have not used this blog for some time as to be honest I have lost my reading mojo and found that blogging became something of a chore, rather than something that I enjoyed.

I took a break last year and haven’t really returned to book blogging. Particularly when you compare with the level of activity I had last year when I felt like the blog was helping me to thrive.

A number of factors have pushed my decision on this, including IT issues (although I now have a shiny new laptop!), lack of time and a lot of stress from the day job and of course, lack of enjoyment.

I’ve had a great time in the world of book bloggers over the last few years, but it’s now time for me to move on. I have set up a new blog for when the mood takes me over at sheliadventures.wordpress.com. I wanted somewhere that would be a bit more like a lifestyle blog where I could talk about all the things that I enjoy or experience, or just have a rant! And I won’t rule out reviewing books there if I feel the need. You can also keep up with me at my main twitter account @Sheliruss.

I hope some of you keep in touch and keep up with some of my adventures outside of the world of books!

Sheli

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The Page

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Following a tragic car accident, Michael Sewell is alone for the first time. The loss of his wife, Margaret, after thirty years of marriage has left a hole far greater than Michael could have imagined.

Persuaded to go on holiday by his daughter Jane, he’s at the pool when a page blown from a book sticks to his chest. The words from the page resonate with Michael, describing in detail the exact events leading up to the accident. Now, Michael must delve into his past and face his future, taking him and his family on a horrifying and tragic journey toward the truth…

The Page combines dark humour with a racing storyline, as the reader tries to work out what will happen to the main character before he does. M. Jonathan Lee has been compared to Mark Haddon, Nick Hornby and Rachel Joyce.

My review: I read Jonathan’s debut novel The Radio about 18 months ago and was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed the book and was looking forward to the next instalment! So when Jonathan contacted me to read the next book in the trilogy, The Page, I jumped at the chance! I also have to apologise for the amount of time it took me to get round to this review, life has got in the way recently!

The Page isn’t a direct follow on from The Radio, and can be read as a standalone book (although you should definitely read both!). Michael loses his wife in a car accident and suddenly has to do things for himself after many years of marriage. Unfortunately for his daughter Jane, that means that he is spending more time with her and relying on her more, so she books him a holiday abroad in the hope that he will relax and gain some more independence.

Michael is an intensely unlikeable character, but Jonathan has triumphed in ensuring that such horrible person kept my attention and didn’t make me hate him so much that I wanted to disengage. The right balance was struck between me disliking him and still wanting to know more.

I really liked the whole concept of this book. The page from a book blew across the poolside and Michael picked it up. When he read this lone page, it detailed the run up to the real events of the accident that killed his wife and made him need to track down the rest of this book that paralleled the events of his own life. It’s such a clever idea and I’ve never read anything quite like it.

I really enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the next one. I’d really recommend reading both of Jonathan’s books to anyone. The Page will keep you intrigued from start to finish and will keep you wanting more by the end!

My rating: A fab five stars

I received an advance review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Blogging break

I have decided to take a blogging break indefinitely. You can find out more about why over at http://shelireads.blogspot.co.uk

If I decide to return to the blogging world, it will no longer be using this site due to the changes in wordpress rules regarding blog tours. Please check my blogspot address above to keep up with my reviews should I return after my break.

Sheli x

Book extract: A Nurse’s Life

As part of the virtual coffee morning for Macmillan being hosted by Great Storie’s with Heart, I am hosting this extract of A Nurse’s Life by Jane Grant. Don’t forget to make a donation to this wonderful cause.

A Nurse’s Life by Jane Grant

Heart-warming and humorous tales from a 1950s student nurse.

In this warm and witty book, Jane Grant recounts her life as a trainee nurse in a busy 1950s London teaching hospital.

Jane, and her friends Mary and Phyllis, discover that both happiness and heartache can be found on the wards of St. Bernard’s Hospital. Before long they realise it takes determination and a sense of humour to deal with the colourful characters of hospital life – and that goes for the staff as well as the patients.

The young nurses gain their medical training under the watchful eyes of strict, but generally fair, Sisters and Matrons. They meet patients who are facing the biggest challenges of their lives, and share with them moments of bravery and fear. There are times of laughter, but also of tears.

There is romance too, as Jane and her fellow student nurses enjoy the attentions of the hospital’s handsome young doctors, falling in and out of love for the first time.

A Nurse’s Life is a moving and amusing account of a bygone era, brought vividly to life.

An excerpt from A Nurse’s Life:

The St. Bernard’s Training School contained about fifty probationer nurses at one time; these were trained for three months before going on the wards. During the year four ‘sets’ of nurses received training. Nurses were put in bedrooms in groups of four: how these groups were sorted out is unknown to me. Did the psychologists pick out those of similar backgrounds and tastes? Did Matron take notes when she interviewed us, and send down our files to Sister? Or, as seems more probable, was the arrangement one entirely of chance?

Whatever the system, the result was that, in nine cases out of ten, the strangers with whom one shared a bedroom became, by the end of one’s training, one’s most intimate friends, and this was recognized by the authorities, who, as far as possible did not separate the original quartet.

The first few days at Borwood were frantically busy and confusing. They were divided into periods of classes, practical work, meals, and study periods. During one of these, Mary had gone to see Sister Tutor about leaving early to catch a train at the week-end. She came back into the classroom and announced: ‘Sister Charlotte wants one of us to volunteer to be a patient for the blanket-bathing class.’

There was silence for a moment. ‘Does the victim have to be blanket-bathed?’ asked Sarah.

‘Oh no, I shouldn’t think so,’ said Mary, obviously knowing nothing about it.

I asked what blanket-bathing was.

‘Oh, I know!’ said Sarah. ‘I remember now my mother had one when she was in hospital. They put blankets next to your skin to raise the temperature.’

‘It sounds bliss,’ I said. It was a very cold day and the classroom was none too warm. I added, ‘I’ll be the patient if nobody else wants to.’

Mary went off to take my offer to Sister Charlotte. A group of nurses sitting in front of us started to laugh and said I was brave. I took no notice, though I did remember at that moment the advice of my brothers never to volunteer for anything.

The time came for our class. I went into the Practical Classroom, which was icy cold, and changed into the very unglamorous pyjamas that the hospital provided for patients. I got into the bed, which was in the middle of the floor surrounded by chairs for student nurses. They assembled, chattering, while my friends hurled ridicule at me from the front seats, and I sat there, trying in vain to look at my ease.

Sister Charlotte walked in briskly, and all talking abruptly ceased.

‘Now, Nurses,’ she said, ‘blanket bathing is one of your most important treatments. An ill patient greatly appreciates being washed.’

An appalling vision began to present itself to me. Sarah grinned, Pat giggled and Mary gave a sympathetic smile. A whisper went round the class.

‘It is really,’ Sister Charlotte continued, ‘merely a matter of common sense. You must have plenty of hot water, get up a good lather, and remember to keep the patient warm.’

She rolled up her sleeves and approached me.

‘First of all we strip the bed,’ she said, and started peeling off the counterpane. ‘Then we get our hot water.’

She signalled to the junior Assistant Tutor, who rushed out of the room carrying two enormous jugs.

‘We get out our toilet requisites,’ said Sister Charlotte, rummaging in the locker beside the bed. ‘Then we fill our bowl.’

The assistant, returning, poured out the water.

‘You must,’ said Sister Charlotte firmly, ‘undress your patient completely.’

There was a stifled gasp from the class, while I turned bright red.

She then proceeded to peel off the pyjama jacket from my frozen body, bending my arm at right angles to my back. I tried desperately to retain my modesty with the blanket. She then moved down to my feet and started pulling at the trousers; airily handed the pyjamas to her assistant to put on the radiator, and advanced on me with the flannel.

She washed me thoroughly, remarking at intervals on points of interest.

‘You must never forget, Nurses’ ‒ digging her fingers in my ear ‒ ‘to wash the ears thoroughly.’ She lifted my arm above my head. ‘Always remember to wash the areas where excess perspiration takes place, twice, and powder.’

By this time I had studied the ceiling to the point where I knew its every detail, for I did not dare to look at my classmates. As she finished with my final leg (‘You must always start with the limb farther away from you’) I gave a deep sigh of relief, and perked up enough to give a weak smile at my friends.

Sister Charlotte then stood back from the bed, but showed no signs of putting on my pyjamas again.

‘Now it is very important, Nurses,’ she said, emphasizing every word, ‘that when a patient is in bed all day, the Pressure Areas should receive a great deal of attention. They should be treated four hourly.’

She then poured more hot water into the bowl, and asked me to turn on my side. She whisked back the blanket, soaped her hands and remarked: ‘You must lather the buttocks well, first washing, then rubbing.’

She continued to suit the action to the word, while my teeth chattered and the bed springs creaked. ‘To harden the skin,’ she went on, having dried the affected area, ‘put spirit on.’ This she applied, further lowering my body temperature. ‘Then powder well.’ I thought the whole thing sounded rather like a cooking-recipe.

Much to my relief, she then returned my pyjamas and dismissed the class.

My sympathetic friends transported me, white and shaken, to our room, where I had the last slice of Sarah’s birthday cake to restore my morale.

The next day’s demonstrations were also a little shattering to the nerves. A man from the local fire-station was called in to teach us emergency fire-drill. The climax consisted in having a rope put underneath your arms, and being dropped out of a window from the top floor. Interest was heightened by nurses getting hit on any window that happened to be open at the time, or becoming stuck on the shrubs growing in the beds underneath.

Moving on

I’ve made the decision to move this blog wholly to blogger as of 1st November 2014 due to the changes to wordpress policy regarding blog tours.

My new blog is already up and running at http://shelireads.blogspot.co.uk and will run alongside this one until I take a blogging break in October. I have thought a lot about this, but I love blogging and think that blog tours are a great way for authors and publishers to promote books. I want to continue to take part in blog tours without the fear that my blog will be shut down due to breaching policy, and risking losing all of my hard work over the last year or so.

Please come and join me over on blogger where you can follow me on Google + or by email. You can also continue to follow me on twitter and Facebook using the links at the side of this page.

I hope you’ll continue to read and enjoy my reviews and posts here at Sheli Reads, and see this as just my next move in the wonderful world of blogging.

Guest post: Why I Love Romance by Julie Shackman

Alpha males who are completely uninhibityed and seething with emotion and passion.

Think Rhett Butler, Heathcliff and Mr Darcy.

Heroines who know what they want from life and are not frightened to show how they feel.

Ever since I was about 13, I have been fascinated with the romance genre. I would stare in awe at the glossy covered novels of Judith Krantz and devour every word.

I would hold these often gold embossed novels in my hands and wonder what it would be like to write romantic tales and have readers savouring every word. To have people, comma, cry and lose themselves (hopefully!) in your stories.

The varied characters, settings and intricacies of my favourite genre never ceases to amaze me.

When I started pulling ideas together for “Rock My World”, my debut contemporary romance novel, I hoped to create the magic of the romance novels I read.

Stevie Vee, my ghostly 80s rock singer, whose spirit can’t rest – but why?

Matt Jardine, the sexy, arrogant journalist. Is there more to him than just his newspaper empire family name?

And reporter Ruby Cameron, my protagonist. Feisty, always championing the underdog and often inadvertently putting her foot well and truly in it!

From gorgeous locations to time travel and moral dilemmas, romance novels boast some of the most imaginative, funny and creative authors around.

In a world where news can often be depressing, it is heart-warming to know there are novels out there which can reach out to the reader and truly deliver the “feel-good factor”.

How could anyone not fall in love with reading romance?

Julie is the author of romance novel Rock My World – available to buy now!

Rock My World New Cover - 27 March 2014

Ruby Cameron is an ambitious reporter for a local paper where she is fed scraps of news, and lives with a man whose “idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when we pop out to the shops”. But after catching her squeaky clean boyfriend in flagrante delicto she ups sticks and moves into her own small home, only to discover the ghostly presence of a cheeky rock star who becomes her confidant as the dynamics of her small town, and her feelings about her dashing new boss, begin to throw up more questions than she can answer. Will Ruby discover who she really is, and perhaps more importantly, who she wants to be?

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About Julie

I trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of mine. When I’ve not got my head in a book or drafting one, I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. Writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for me – I usually require coffee, music and noise. “Rock My World” is my first contemporary romance novel . I have just finished writing my second novel and am polishing that at the moment whilst beginning to do some research for my third. These are also contemporary romances with a good dose of humour (hopefully!). I’m married, have two sons and live in Scotland.
ttp://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ICRU3J6/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRU3J6/

https://twitter.com/G13Julie

https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

Publisher – Not So Noble Books http://www.radicaleyes.it/notsonoblebooks/

 

Harry Potter Studios – March 2014

The promised post from my visit to the Harry Potter Studios!

Musings of a geek girl

So I’ve finally started to do some of the things on my “30 before I’m 30” list, despite the fact I haven’t actually found 30 things I want to do yet! One of the things I’ve managed to tick off, was a visit to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios Tour in Leavesden.

We are both massive Harry Potter fans (although I really do love the books more than the films, and still remember how I imagined things the first time I started reading them!) and really wanted to do this. We toyed with the idea of going up to London on the train, staying overnight and then travelling out to Leavesden. After looking how long it would take to drive in comparison with the cost of train tickets and a hotel, we decided to make it a road trip for the day, and save a London trip for another…

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