Books of 2020

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Even though this was a year filled with lots of time at home, it was not a year where I felt able to throw myself into reading (not like me!). However, I did manage to read a few books over the course of the year and I thought I would share my insights with a mini-review.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I adore Brené Brown as her books are filled with open and honest insights about being human, and how we can improve our personal situation by leaning into the truth of who we are. We are flawed! And by learning to embrace our vulnerability, we grow stronger. Be inspired and dare to be who you really are and find out it makes for a happier life.

The Electricity of Every Living Thing by Katherine May

Katherine’s story of walking the South West Coast Path, sharing her experiences and insights along the way. She also is open about learning that she is autistic and her relief at finally understanding who she is. Sometimes we have to go on a journey to find ourselves.

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

A perfect read for a book lover. Light and charming. It is a heartwarming adventure set in Scotland. Characters you will love and a book that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, just what we needed in 2020!

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

I cried and laughed reading this book. A story of triumph over the tragedy of ending up homeless and the crazy idea of walking, and living, the South West Coast Path. Raynor tells her true tale with dignity that beautifully captures imagery to inspire. From the depths of despair to a depth of learning. Everyone needs to read this book and realise that when life turns sour, there is always HOPE when you get off your sorry ass and go grab your hiking boots.

Wintering by Katherine May

The perfect book for 2020! Katherine May could not have envisioned that her book would capture the feeling of 2020 across the globe, but she did. Wintering is about stepping away from the world and learning to slow down and go with the flow. It is about rituals and the little things that make us feel good. If you haven’t read it, you should. We all have periods of Wintering in our lives… and many of us are doing that right now.

Your Mind is Your Home by Kamran Bedi

How many of us suffer with a mind that tortures us constantly? If you do, then read this book. Kamran is a Mental Health & Wellbeing Practitioner (to the stars) and he shares his insights into how our minds can trick us. He shares some easy to follow steps to transform our minds from torturer to best friend. I love the references to social media, which makes his approach fresh and up-to-date.

A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

What wrong with a bit of romance set by the sea? Absolutely nothing. This was a lovely light read, perfect for a summer’s day sitting by the sea with the backdrop of a row of brightly coloured beach huts. Enjoyable. Fun. A real treat.

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club by Katie May

An eclectic group of women are thrown together to form an open water swimming club. Might seems a little boring, but the relationships and the characters of the members are far from it. This books will have you laughing. You too will feel drawn in to their antics… and you never know, you too may want to jump in.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Would you chose to live a different life if you could? Well, that’s what happened to Nora when she ends up in the Midnight Library and gets the opportunity to try other ‘what could have been’ lives. Matt Haig is so clever – a great story to read, while being a thought provoking book about life. No wonder it is an international bestseller. Love it!

The Whitstable Pearl Mystery by Julie Wassmer

Get to know Pearl Nolan and the seaside town of Whitstable, as Pearl is embroiled in finding out why her friend was murdered. The first in the series by Julie Wassmer (former script writer on Eastenders). If you enjoy ‘cozy mysteries’ you will love these books. Even better the books are being adapted for TV (due for release 2021).

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

If you love Matt Haig’s imagination, then this children’s book does not disappoint. Parents, read this to your children and enjoy the magic. Matt Haig is the new Terry Pratchett of our times. Just announced, this book will be released as a movie in December 2021.

UPLIFT – Book 1 compiled by Janet Groom

Well, I couldn’t let this one go by… When the pandemic forced us into lockdown at the beginning of 2020, I reached out across the UK with the call for stories, art, poems and little bits of hope to share in a book. 30 incredible people took part and the UPLIFT Book was released in May. It is a colourful book infused with hope with the aim of raising spirits. It also raised money for three key organisations who supported, and continue to support, people at this time of COVID. I am truly honoured to bring this book into the world.

Stories are a bonds that unite us, bringing us together.

Words are whispers of hope in the storm, guiding us safely home.

Songs are the voices of angels, protecting us with their love.

TOGETHER WE UPLIFT THE WORLD

— Janet Groom

All books are available to purchase on Amazon

Top Ten Must Reads – 2018

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My favourite books of 2018 to add to your 2019 Reading List

“A book is a dream you hold in your hand.”

– Neil Gaiman

Books, Books, Books

As a writer, I am also an avid reader, although I must admit that in past commuting was my precious time to bury my head in a book and be transported to another world, or to be experiencing a different life through the eyes of someone else… it was pure magic! Now I have to make time to read, which has meant being open to reading e-books and listening to audio books, but my first love will always be a physical book in my hand.

So, here are my top book recommendations from my 2018 reading list, and it was really hard to narrow it down to my top ten!

1.  Rising Strong (by Brené Brown)

Want to know what makes for a ‘wholehearted’ life and how to weather the storms of life – then this is the book for you. Brené Brown is a researcher, who uses her data to find out the secrets to why some people fair better with life in general than others. It is about failing, getting right back up and going on. It certainly made me review my own life and how I can learn ways to shift negative patterns and adopt ways to begin living a ‘wholehearted’ and happier life.

I also listened to an audio book (Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice) to accompany the book, which also reinforced her insights and learnings as share by the author at as live event.

2.  Recovery – Freedom from our Additions
     (by Russell Brand)

I listened to the audio book version, and I must say it was, at time hard to listen to Russell Brand drone on. However, that said, there were lots of insightful points. I don’t consider myself an addict, but there were definitely points that resonated with me. The AA 12 Step Program is also very valid to anyone who wishes to transform their lives and start to live a life of purpose. Check it out, and see what comes up for you.

3.  On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft  (by (Stephen King)

As a writer/author, this is a definite MUST READ… and so I dutiful read it. Yes, it is packed with lots of well-written anecdotal stories about Stephen King’s lengthy writing career, along with pointers on his writing style and tips.  Does it help you become a ‘bestselling’ author like Mr King? That I can’t say, but it will get you thinking about your own writing, and how you can improve it.

4.  Conversations with Me (by Caroline Palmy)

A beautifully written memoir of Caroline’s personal story to overcome the trauma and impact of divorce. I love the way it is structured with a series of questions she poses and then answers. It is open and honest, and offers the gift of ‘hope’ to anyone who is going through the same experience. Caroline proves you can get through it, and find yourself, and happiness, again.

5.  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris (Jenny Colgan)

What’s not to love about this easy to read ‘Chick Lit’ book? It is set in Paris, a city I adore, and it has lots of chocolate in it, as well as romance. I admire her writing style and the story flowed well. Definitely a ‘feel good’ read, snuggled up on the sofa, with a cuppa and a box of chocolates at hand – perfect!

6.  Stop ‘Should-ing’ and Start Wanting (by Judith Quin)

Taking back control of your life, becoming ’empowered’ starts with your self-talk. In her debut book, Judith shares with us her story of removing the word ‘should’ from her vocabulary, and why we need to reconnect with what is right for us by ‘wanting’. Easy to read, with lots of great little exercises to do along the way too. Follow her advice and before long you will be living a life you WANT to live.

7.  This Book is Not for You (by Carole Boudreau)

A self-help book with a difference – it was written by the author for herself as a blueprint to FEEL GOOD, but she has kindly shared her learnings and practices with us. I liked Carole’s forthright style – she tells it as it is. Definitely crammed with tips for us all on how to tune in to feeling good again.

8.  Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life 
     (by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer)

I have listened to the audio book three times now, because I love his voice… it is so calm, reassuring and makes me feel good. In the book he shares his understand and learnings from researching Tao Te Ching and how we can adopt it into our lives. I must admit it is quite long, with some 81 verses. However, if you are on a spiritual journey, then I would definitely recommend it.

9.  How to Fall in Love (by Cecelia Ahern)

Not the best book from Ms Ahern, but it was an enjoyable read, and she is on the list because she is one of my favourite authors. I love her writing style and enjoy the references to life back in Ireland (this one is set in Dublin). Her sense of humour matches my own, and this book does not disappoint on that score. It is a corny ‘chick lit’ romance, and that was just want I needed when I read it.

10.  The Naked Knitting Club (by Janet Groom)

OK, I’m biased on this one – but why not, as it’s my list!
This is my debut novel, a ‘chick lit’. The story follows the life of Cate Taylor from when she makes a New Year’s resolution, which sets her on a path of transformation and stepping outside of her comfort zone. She ends up joining a ‘naked knitting club’ and her life starts to change. There is some knitting, but mostly is about relationships, friendships and life, with a little romance sprinkled into the mix.

Let me know what your top book recommendations, as I am now planning my reading list for 2019! Happy Reading 🙂


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