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Book Review: Why Did You Go There? By Elliot Miles Emery.

Book Review: Why Did You Go There? By Elliot Miles Emery.

Thank you to Author Elliot Miles Emery for my copy of his recently published book – ” Why Did You Go There? Stories of an English Teacher in Russia”.
When I read the title of this book, my first thoughts were also, why would he choose to go there! This inspired me to read the book, so great title! I have also taught English abroad but never thought of going to Russia. I wondered if this book would make me consider Russia as a country to visit.

In the winter of 2018, lawyer, Elliot Emery, is sat at his desk at the law firm in the UK where he has been working for the past few years. He has just handed in his letter of resignation, deciding to embark on a new career as an English teacher in Moscow, Russia. Shortly afterwards, his manager comes rushing over and asks him one question: “Why are you going there?”. Several months later, having just slipped on the snowy steps leading out of his Moscow apartment building and landing on his stomach in a crumpled heap, Elliot asks himself the same question. However, in the remarkable year which follows, Elliot parties with a Russian model, battles with cockroaches in a university dormitory and tries to stop a Russian and Georgian child from strangling each other during another unsuccessful ‘Maths’ class. A year older, and perhaps wiser, he reflects on what has been a bizarre yet remarkable twelve months in one of the world’s most enigmatic and fascinating countries. “Why are you going there?” is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek account of the everyday life of a British expat in Russia. However, more than this, it is a story of culture, language, friendships and life in an often misunderstood country.

My Thoughts:
A tale of an British man in Russia. I hoped this book would give me tales about Russian culture, food, people and stories of teaching English in Russia. I was given, and enjoyed all of the above in this book.
Why Are You Going There? gave me everything I could want from reading a book about another country that I don’t know much about. Written in an entertaining and sometimes amusing way, Elliot tells of many different experiences throughout his time in this far away country.
The book had a few entertaining historical facts about Russia along the way. I don’t particularly like books full of historical facts when I’m reading for fun, so this was just the right amount for me.
The book has plenty of amusing tales of the cheeky children, which I was surprised at when I read them. My expectations of the schooling and conduct was not the same as I the experiences I was reading about.
Throughout the book the author adds photos of beautiful scenery and architecture.
There was one particular tale I was intrigued about. Elliot was recorded on Instagram doing a little dance which his students thought was most amusing and it sounded quite funny to me too. I might have to have a little search for this clip.
The writing was easy to read and flowed well. It felt like Elliot was telling me all about his experience in Russia which is just what I expected and what I wanted.
To sum up, while I still wouldn’t put Russia at the top of my ‘travel bucket list’, if the opportunity arose for me to work or travel there, then I would give it far more consideration after reading this book.
An enjoyable read , with culture, humour and adventure. A great book for anyone who likes to read about foreign adventures and learn about different cultures.



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Posted by on May 16, 2021 in Books


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Bring positivity to 2020 with : You Are Awesome by Neil Pasricha. Book Review:

Bring positivity to 2020 with : You Are Awesome by Neil Pasricha. Book Review:

Thank you to publishers Gallery Books and Netgalley for my copy of You Are Awesome by Neil Pasricha. I had a lovely email asking me if I wanted to read and review this book. The lady had looked at my blog and actually compared this book to a book that I had already read and reviewed. Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant Therefore thinking that I might like this one too. This is the kind of requests I like. Thank you Kalee.


From Neil Pasricha—New York Times, million-copy bestselling author of The Book of Awesome series and The Happiness Equation, thought leader for the next generation, and one of the most popular TED speakers in the world—comes a revelatory and inspiring book that will change the way we view failure and help us build resilience.

We are lucky. For most of us, famine, plague, economic depression, and other life-threatening catastrophes are the stuff of history books. We’re living in an era with the highest-ever rates of longevity, education, and wealth. Cars drive us home as our phones entertain us before we arrive to food delivered to the front door. We have it all!
But there’s just one side effect. We no longer have the tools to handle failure…or even perceived failure. When we fall, we lie on the sidewalk crying. When we spill, we splatter. When we crack, we shatter.
We are turning into an army of porcelain dolls.
A rude email from the boss means calling in sick. Only two likes on our post means we don’t have friends. Cell phones show us we’re never good enough. Yesterday’s butterflies are tomorrow’s panic attacks. Record numbers of students have clinical anxiety. And what about depression, loneliness, and suicide?
All rising!
What do we desperately need to learn?
RESILIENCE. And we need to learn it fast.
Read You Are Awesome to learn:
• The single word that keeps your options open after failure
• What every commencement speech gets wrong
• 3 ways to dramatically accelerate your ability to learn and adapt
• The 2-minute morning practice that helps eliminate worry
• Why you need an Untouchable Day (and how to get one)
• and much, much more…
Because the truth is, you really are awesome.

My Thoughts:

I read this book in parts. For me it was the kind of book that I didn’t want to read all in one go. I wanted to absorb each chapter as I read it and take in the advice and positivity.

The book starts with the authors experiences and why he felt recognising our awesome-ness is important. He gives examples of how his life went “wrong”, and explains in steps how we can accept and overcome the trials and pain that life throws all of our ways. The book is realistic and not in any way patronizing ( which some self help books may be). The Author acknowledges that it is not an easy thing to do to accept things that have gone wrong or that you can’t change. But he shows us ways to realise the potential that we have, the things that we do have rather than what we don’t.

The Author didn’t live an easy life and decide to preach to us. He had testing times and shares his experiences both good and bad with us.

I found this book helpful, positive and a book that I will keep to dip in and out of as I feel the need to. I particularly like the idea of ‘Untouchable days’

One of the nice ideas I read about in You Are Awesome is that the Author started a blog where he wrote one good thing in every day. Similar to the Positivity Waves we read about on Twitter and wordpress started by the incredibly awesome Meggy It’s a way to look for the little things that make you smile and happy. These all count and by acknowledging them, we can see things more clearly.

A good self help book that I definitely recommend to help you realise that You Are Awesome. 😊





Posted by on February 15, 2020 in Books


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Mini Review, Short Story by Susan Willis: The Author is Missing. Is His Story Happening For Real?

Mini Review, Short Story by Susan Willis: The Author is Missing. Is His Story Happening For Real?

I have read lots of short stories the past year. This last one by Author Susan Willis was the one to finish off my Goodreads yearly challenge. I set my Goodreads Challenge at 30 books to read for 2019, and this was number 30. Yes, Short stories do count!


Rupert Robbins had instant success last year with his first crime novel. It was a best seller. His husband, Ian, is supportive and encourages him every step of the way. Rupert can write anywhere, but his favourite place for inspiration is in the park. It is while he is there one day that Rupert helps an older lady who stumbles with her shopping bag and twists her ankle. Will Rupert wish he’d looked the other way and not been the good Samaritan?

My Thoughts:

This is another quick coffee break read by the wonderful Author Susan Willis. In my opinion, this is her best short story so far.

It was based on an Author, a reader and a cosy criminal act.

The characters were portrayed well enough to give good pictures of them in my imagination. There were only two main characters so the short story had enough substance to fill these personalities. Both were very different.

I didn’t know where the end would lead. When I got to the end, I was satisfied that I had read a mystery book with good character definition, great descriptive detail and included a beginning, middle and end.

I look forward to more short stories by Susan Willis in 2020. 🤞

*I just found out that Susan Willis is having her first ever blog tour for her new full sized novel beginning February 1st 2020, hosted by the awesome Rachel’s Random Resources. Keep an eye out for that.  See the book HERE! 





Posted by on January 4, 2020 in Books


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To live or to Die…. Book Review: The Doctor by Lisa Stone.

To live or to Die…. Book Review: The Doctor by Lisa Stone.

I had seen this book talked about on Twitter pre release. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy via Avon publishers, so thank you very much. After the reading the blurb at the back, I was hopeful this would be an addictive thriller, and I was right. The Doctor is a fantastic read!


How much do you know about the couple next door?

When Emily and Ben move in next door to Dr Burman and his wife Alisha, they are keen to get to know their new neighbours. Outgoing and sociable, Emily tries to befriend the doctor’s wife, but Alisha is strangely subdued, barely leaving the house, and terrified of answering the phone.

When Emily goes missing a few weeks later, Ben is plunged into a panic. His wife has left him a note, but can she really have abandoned him for another man? Or has Emily’s curiosity about the couple next door led her straight into danger?

My Thoughts:

The Doctor had me gripped from the first chapter. We meet anaesthetist Dr Burman and his wife Alisha. Immediately I got the sense that something wasn’t right with this couple. We also meet their neighbours Emily and Ben, happily married with a young son. As the story goes forward we get more of a sense of the characters and their relationships. Emily and Ben, seemingly a happy “normal” couple. And Dr Burman- a bit strange and very studious about learning what he considers to be his trade and how he can become a “credit to medical science”!! 🤤. Then Alisha Burman who is ill and doesn’t leave the house. Does her husband love and protect her so much that he does everything for her…… or not????

As each chapter got ingested into my bookish brain, I became more and more anxious for the females in this plot. Dr Burman may be considered a Dr Death or Dr Life…… depending on whose point of view you see it from.

This is the first book I have read by this Author, Lisa Stone. For a first book, it has made me want to read many more of her words of thrilling fiction.

I read this book fast and later at night than I should of. It was most definitely a case of ‘ just one more chapter’.

It was fantastic to read a thriller with a unique plot which totally had me engrossed from the first to the last page. I don’t know how true the medical facts are in the book, but for me involving cryonics in the plot was something different, exciting and thrilling.

As five star read for me and I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy a thriller with a difference.




Posted by on October 19, 2019 in Books


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#Papercraft and murder!! Book review: Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy. Stationary Shop Mystery 1

#Papercraft and murder!! Book review: Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy. Stationary Shop Mystery 1

Can you imagine how delighted I was to be approached by an Author who not only really looked at my blog and reading preferences, but also had written a book containing my love of crime stories and papercraft!!! I didn’t think such a book existed. But this is the first in a series! 😁


Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.


Publication date: September 24th 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press


I was excited to start this book with it being a cosy mystery based around a crafter who owns her own craft shop. Delta has moved to Montana away from her beloved Gran to start a new business venture which includes papercrafting 💖

Within a few days Delta gets far more than she bargained for in her new town. A murder happens on the same night in the same hotel as her very first craft fair as owner of her new craft shop Wanted. Not only is she in the next room when the murder occurs, her business partner and her business partner’s brother are implicated in the crime! Is Delta’s dream job about to be ruined as her best friend and business partner get blamed for a murder? Delta sets upon finding out who the murderer is, and why they did it.

There are plenty of suspects and plenty of motives. With the help of ex policeman Jonas and canine friend Spud, Delta starts her sleuthing.

Delta is a likeable character. Of course I enjoyed her love of crafting and the mentioning of all types of crafting products that I also use, like washi tapes, stationary and pretty notebooks. It was also a nice touch where Delta made a suspicions board and used washi tape to link her thoughts.

Delta easily makes friends with the local people in the area and becomes a member of The Paper Posse who are a group of women who chat and look out for each other. Together they share clues about the murder and also share some amusing nick names.

Last Pen Standing has the traditional cosy mystery sleuthing, clues and red herrings. But it has the added brilliance of being set in lovely little town with a main character who loves to craft.

I very much look forward to the next book in this series.

Have you read this book? Do you know of any other stationary / crime books? Are you a crime and stationary lover yourself?





Posted by on October 15, 2019 in Uncategorized


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Dead Guest, Introduction to DS Mark Cage. Short story review & what to expect from the new detective by Author Scott Gidman.

Dead Guest, Introduction to DS Mark Cage. Short story review & what to expect from the new detective by Author Scott Gidman.

There ia a new detective in town and his name is Detective Mark Cage. Written by Author Scott Gidman, we are in for a treat.

‘Dead Guest‘ is a very short story, but packed with good reading for us crime / detective lovers. We see an introduction to this detective when he comes home to find a dead body in his house. 



DS Mark Cage is muddling his way through life. Working the long hours which caused his divorce he is in desperate need of a break. Unfortunately for him, he has to first deal with an unidentified corpse waiting for him on his kitchen floor when he comes home. Can he convince the DI he didn’t kill anybody? Can he help solve who the man is and where he comes from or even catch the killer?

This is a short story, not a full novel and is the first taste of Detective Sergeant Mark Cage.

The next book in the series, Picture Perfect, is due for release December 2018



My Thoughts:

This is a fabulous short story that you can whizz through in a coffee break. I am always keen to find new detectives to love, and I am pretty sure that Mark Cage will be one of those.

After a very busy day, Cage comes home to find a dead man in his kitchen. With no idea who? how? or why? Cage’s detective head is straight on as he calls the police who rush to his home, when Cage realises the finger will be pointed at him!

Can he prove his innocence and find out what happened? You know I can’t tell you that, but what I can tell you is that I am looking forward to the full length novel ‘Picture Perfect’, which is due out in December.





Posted by on October 28, 2018 in Books


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