336 Hours Book Tour

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We are excited to be featuring the awesome book, 336 Hours, today! Scroll down for my review of this relatable, heartwarming, yet funny, story! At the bottom of this post, you can enter a giveaway to win the book for FREE!

336 Hours

By Rachel Cathan

Genre: ‘Based on the author’s true life experiences, 336 Hours is a humorous and poignant diary about one woman’s quest to be a mother.’

Release Date: 13th February 2017

Publisher: SilverWood Books

The next 336 hours will be tough. No, the next 336 hours will be really tough…

I feel like an Olympian, waiting to see whether the years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication are finally going to pay off, or whether my body is about to fail me at the last hurdle and make me wonder why I ever hoped I could win.

My best friend is pregnant, my single friends are planning their pregnancies and, after five long years of tests and investigations, I’m coming to the end of my third – and supposedly final – IVF treatment. There are 336 hours to survive before I’ll know if I get to join the motherhood club. That’s 224 waking hours of pure psychological torture. 112 sleeping hours to stare at the ceiling and wonder, what the hell am I going to do with my life if it turns out I can’t have kids?

Based on the author’s true life experiences, 336 Hours is a humorous and poignant diary about one woman’s quest to be a mother.

Extract 1:
They should have IVF farms for women like me to book into at times like these; pretty padded cells with flat-screen TVs and row upon row of feel-good DVDs and relaxation CDs, and beautiful gardens and luxury bathrooms with hot taps that would never heat up to embryo boiling temperatures, and gigantic rocking chairs so that we could legitimately sit and rock ourselves backwards and forwards for hours on end without looking completely crazy in the process.

Extract 2:
I can’t pretend to have a clue what she means, of course. I don’t know what it’s like to have little people shouting, ‘Mummy! Mummy! MUUMMEEE!’ all day long, to never be able to go for a wee on your own, to make spaghetti bolognese and then watch your dinner dates tip it straight over their heads, to stay up all night comforting a teething toddler, to spend hours coercing and pleading with very small people to put shoes and coats on so you can at last leave the fucking house.

But I want to know this life. Because that stuff gives you stories, first-hand experiences, and the right to exchange knowing smiles of solidarity with other frazzled parents as you all manoeuvre your wayward shopping trolleys around the aisles of Tesco.

And it comes with other stuff, too: the good stuff.

336 Hours cover

My Review

I was given this book as part of a book tour and am voluntarily reviewing it. I thought that this book was amazingly relatable. It details the main character’s struggles with the 336 hours before she discovers if her third IVF treatment has been successful. She and her “DH” (dear husband) have decided this is the final time they will attempt IVF. She details the physical challenges, but more importantly, the emotional ones. What will she do if this treatment isn’t successful? She contemplated a childfree life of travel and wealth. Or will she foster or adopt? If this test is negative, will she really be able to stop trying for a baby?

This book had a few hilarious “dry humor” types of scenes with the physical symptoms that infertility treatment cause. I nearly laughed aloud when she felt so gaseous but couldn’t fart. Brilliant writing about an “improper” topic.

I love books like this that delve into emotional struggles on tough, real-life situations. I think this book is a must-read for anyone struggling with infertility. I also think that people who haven’t struggled with infertility could gain an amazing amount of empathy from reading this story, especially learning what not to say to someone who is childfree. Overall, this is a heartfelt book with the right amount of humor.

Links and Author Info

BUY LINK

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Silverwood Books

 

ABOUT RACHEL CATHAN

author pic

RACHEL CATHAN is a writer from Bedfordshire. In 2001, a mutual friend introduced her to a part-time pub DJ in Southend-on-Sea. A month later, they had moved in together, around seven years later they tied the knot, and a little while after that – just like so many couples before them – they made the exciting and terrifying decision to start a family. And then, like a growing number of couples today, well…not a lot happened.

Throughout the subsequent years of fertility investigations and failed treatments, Rachel kept a diary of her experiences, and it’s from these first- hand encounters in the world of infertility and IVF that her first book, 336 Hours has been adapted.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/336Hours/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelcathan

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33350325-336-hours?from_search=true.

 

Blog: http://www.rachelcathan.co.uk/rachels-blog/

Website: http://www.rachelcathan.co.uk

Giveaway

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Saving Abby Review

Saving Abby

By Steena Holmes

Genre: Women’s fiction

3 out of 5 stars. I loved “Finding Emma” and “Emma’s Secret” by Steena Holmes and had been wanting to read more of her books for a while. In “Saving Abby,” Claire and her husband, Josh, have been struggling with infertility. They go on a worldwide tour to get inspiration for the children’s book series Josh writes and Claire illustrates. This vacation is also a chance for them to put the past and their baby dreams behind them and move on. The story flashes back and forth between their vacation and the present day, which didn’t make that much sense to me. I think the book would’ve been just as complete without the vacation flashbacks.

When Claire returns home, she starts getting horrible headaches and being exhausted all the time. It turns out she is finally pregnant! Josh and Claire are so excited, but Claire’s symptoms are getting worse, not better. Josh and Claire’s best friend, Abby, push her to get checked out. They find out that Claire has a brain tumor and they can’t do anything to treat it while she is pregnant. Claire makes the choice of her baby’s life over her own. There is also the subplot of Claire having placed a child for adoption when she was a teenager and her continued grief over that situation.

This book had an interesting premise, but it could’ve been better executed. Claire’s brain tumor was discovered so late in the book, even though that was a huge part of the plot. In addition, there was no struggle in Claire’s decision. She decided she wasn’t going to get treatment until after the baby came and that was that. I think it would’ve been interesting to see Josh and her labor over that decision or see more conflict when they both had different opinions. Even though the subject matter should’ve been tear-inducing, I didn’t feel like the book really delved into all the emotions that the characters would be feeling. Josh was super supportive one minute and then annoyed with Claire the next. Claire was pretty resolute and we never really saw her stress over dying, even as she was making “just in case” preparations. The character who seemed to be the most developed was Claire’s mother, Millie. She was very relatable and you could feel her regret over choices she made in the past and her uncertainty as she attempts to make things right.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read, it just wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.

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Beneath the Apple Blossom Blog Tour

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We are excited to be a part of another book tour! I loved this book that dealt with some serious issues, but had hope, friendship, and love despite it all. Keep reading for an awesome excerpt of the book, my review, and a giveaway! You could win a free paperback copy of this wonderful book!

Beneath the Apple Blossom Summary

Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction

Release Date: 04/08/16

Publisher: Lemon Tree Press.

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

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Book Extract

“Connie stopped and looked around. She had wandered a little way off the path and was in a small grassy clearing surrounded by trees heavy with spring leaves and blossom. Not in the mood for making small talk with a stranger, she chose a spot in semi-shade out of sight of the path, leant back against the slender tree trunk and closed her eyes. A slight breeze caressed her face and every so often she got the wonderful sensation of sunlight on her. She took a deep breath and drank in the scent of damp grass and spring flowers – fresh, sweet and alive – then opened her eyes to the canopy of white against the blue sky. The apple tree was bursting with blossom like masses of white teardrops.

She had everything to live for even if it didn’t feel like it right now. Life was a journey, and the best journeys were the ones that couldn’t be predicted before setting off, or that weren’t an easy ride to reach the destination. Right then, on    a perfect spring day beneath the apple blossom, she made a pact with herself to keep loving life whatever was thrown at her. She may have suffered yet more disappointment but she could still see beauty in the world and feel at peace.”

My Review

This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. This was a great book. Main character Pippa begins writing a blog about her attempt to get pregnant and begin fertility treatments. Through the blog, she meets a friend named Connie, who is also trying for a baby. Meanwhile Pippa’s sister, Georgie, is trying to fight off her husband’s attempts for them to have a second. She feels overwhelmed by the one she already has and thinks it all happened too young. Pippa’s best friend, Sienna, never wants children, although her boyfriend wants marriage and a family. All of these ladies go through a journey of difficult circumstances (through their own making or otherwise) and come out the other side with storms weathered and lessons learned. 

I loved the hope that was present in this book, even as each woman’s life wasn’t turning out the way they expected it to. I also loved the lessons and examples of friendship. I think any woman can really relate to what the characters are experiencing and that feeling of being “stuck.” It was an engaging story, despite the serious topics covered. I would highly recommend this books to those who love women’s fiction.

Links and Giveaway

Buy Links

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katefrostauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kactus77

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7131734.Kate_Frost

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katefrostauthor/

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/104783514144778238847/about/p/pub

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-frost-29976041?trk=hp-identity-name

Blog: http://kate-frost.co.uk/index.php/blog/

Website: http://kate-frost.co.uk/

a Rafflecopter giveaway : Click for your chance to win a free paperback copy of the book!

*Book cover, excerpt, and blurb provided to me as part of the book tour*

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Most Wanted Book Review

Most Wanted

By Lisa Scottline

Genre: Mystery, thriller, women’s fiction

I’m giving this book a 2.5. I’ve read a few of Scottoline’s books and always enjoyed them. I’ve thought of her as similar to Jodi Picoult, but with more moral characters. This book was a disappointment to me based on her other novels.

Christine had to use a sperm donor to conceive because her husband, Marcus, is sterile. Marcus does not seem comfortable with the fact that they used a donor, although he agreed to it. Christine sees a serial killer being arrested on TV that looks a lot like her donor and freaks out. I really felt hooked in the beginning of the book and felt panicked right along with Christine. Christine and Marcus try to find out if their donor is the serial killer, but due to confidentiality, they’re unable to find out. Marcus decides to sue the clinic to get the information they want, while Christine decides to investigate for herself.

This is where the book takes a ridiculous and “icky” turn, in my opinion. Christine goes right to the jail without telling her husband and asks Zachary, the accused, outright if he’s their sperm donor, making up a fake story about being a reporter. I felt like Christine was opening herself up to huge liability here. What if he found out that she was carrying his biological baby and tried to get custody or later stalked them or even killed her, since he is in prison for murder after all? When you use a donor, you are taking anonymous biological material. As someone who is a huge believer in adoption, I was offended by Christine’s feeling of attachment to Zachary and her constantly saying things like, “his baby is inside of me” and “we’re connected.” She took way too much of a personal interest into his life. In my opinion, the parent is the person who acts like a parent and biology does not make a parent. I didn’t blame Marcus for being so angry with her at the things she did without telling him. Although, there were times when he annoyed me as well by not communicating to Christine. She gets mad at him for not being involved and not acting like a father, but then she gets close to Zachary and basically puts her life on hold for him. Christine ends up finding Zachary a lawyer and then working as a paralegal (for free!) just to try to prove his innocence. On top of that, regardless of how Zachary behaves or the evidence that is put in front of Christine, she hardly ever thinks that he is guilty. She is so quick to make excuses for him. She really started annoying the heck out of me halfway through the book.

When I was able to put aside Christine’s ridiculous motivations, I found myself interested in the investigative process that she took. We follow along as she interviews neighbors, checks out the crime scene, talks to Zachary and his lawyer about her findings, and talks to Zachary’s friends. As I was getting back into the story, the conclusion to the mystery came about in a sudden and highly unlikely way. There was then a twist to the resolution of the book that I liked. I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers.

The more that I read Scottoline’s books, the more I notice she uses some of the same phrases over and over. I think this was even more apparent because I was listening to the audiobook. Every time I heard, “She fed the car gas” and “Christine swallowed hard,” I thought I would scream. This is just a side note.

This book had an interesting premise, but I wish Scottoline had gone in another direction with it. I ended up being annoyed with all of the major characters and some of the unlikely situations. However, there were times when the book was keeping my interest and I did want to find out the ending the whole time. I would not recommend this book to others, but would suggest that they read another one of Scottoline’s books instead.

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Cradled Dreams Book Review

Cradled Dreams

Author: Beverly  Hoffman

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Drama

Published: April 23, 2013 by Abbot Press

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3 out of 5 stars! I was given this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a Brook Cottage Books tour. I love reading about complicated ethical issues, especially related to the unprecedented situations technology puts us in. In this book, Georgie has been unable to get pregnant. Her sister-in-law, Robin, has a broken heart over it. At Thanksgiving, she blurts out that she is willing to carry a child for Georgie. The family takes nearly a year to decide if they want to move forward with the offer. They sit down and work through every question they come up with. They have a contract written. They seek religious advice. It appears as if everything has been thought out.

However, as Robin feels the baby growing within her, she begins to wonder how she can give it to Georgie to raise. She is torn between feeling like she is abandoning the life inside her and breaking Georgie’s heart. For much of the book, Georgie and her husband prepare for the child, not knowing Robin’s struggle.

There are many outside characters in this story that are somewhat (often very loosely) connected with the two main characters. I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth, Georgie’s mother and Robin’s mother-in-law, who is still recovering from the loss of her husband. Georgie and Robin attend different churches and various church members are profiled. I didn’t like this part of the story. It profiled “Christians” on completely opposite ends of the spectrum- those who are legalistic, judgmental, and self-righteous and those who believe every path/religion/spirituality leads to God. I am a Christian and I found most of the character’s belief systems to be inconsistent and unrealistic. I think the author was trying to make a religious point with the book, but it was very unclear to me what it was. I thought it would have been better to focus in on the two main characters. Perhaps she could have profiled their husbands’ thoughts and feelings rather than focusing on outside characters.

When the book was relaying the story of Georgie and Robin, I was engaged. Although I got frustrated with Robin, I did understand where she was coming from. My heart hurt so much for Georgie with the possibility that she might not end up with the baby she had longed for for so long. I definitely became attached to the characters and wanted to see them end up fulfilled and happy. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in the ethics of surrogacy and in reading about family relationships.

 

Cradled Dreams

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