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After months of picking books up and putting them down again, or not having enough time to read I have finally had a really good run of reading! It probably helped that I had a week of work over Easter and that the sun came out!

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather by Pierre Szalowski

‘Once upon a time in a frozen city . . . strangers fall in love, wishes come true, and lives will never be the same again

When his parents split up, and his dad leaves home, a ten-year-old boy begs the sky to help him. The next day an ice storm covers his city. When the power goes out and the temperature drops, people must turn to each other to survive.

But for one neighbourhood the catastrophe brings surprising new beginnings. Julie, the dancer who lives across the street, helps Boris, an eccentric Russian mathematician, save his fish from the cold weather. And the urbane Michel and Simon open their door to Alexis, their embittered neighbour, and his son. But will the ice storm bring the boy’s parents back together?

Hilarious and heartwarming, Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather reminds us that happy endings might still be possible.’

I can’t tell you how refreshing and pleasant it was to read this book, it is like a modern day fable – where people learn important things with a little helping hand from something that may or may not be supernatural. Heartwarming is a good word to describe it and there were plenty of moments that had me chuckling.

After I had finished reading it I looked up ice storms on YouTube and were amazed to see what they look like in real life. It really is a strange natural phenomena, the sight of trees with all the branches drooping to the ground is very surreal!

If you want to feel hopeful about this big messed up world of ours than I would really recommend spending a couple of hours in this book!

One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley 

In the summer of 2011, aged only 22, Jodi Ann Bickley contracted a serious brain infection that would change her life forever. Jodi had been performing at Camp Bestival on the Isle of Wight. Returning with pockets full of glitter, and her favourite bands’ songs still playing in her head, She thought the happy memories would last forever. A week later, writhing in pain on the doctor’s surgery floor and unable to put the pain she was suffering into words, Jodi found out that she had been bitten by a tick and contracted a serious brain infection.

Learning to write and walk again was just the start of the battle. In the months that followed Jodi struggled with the ups and downs of her health and the impact it had on her loved ones. Some days the illness was too much for Jodi to bear and she found herself wondering whether she could go on. She had two choices: either to give up now or to do something meaningful with the time she had been given. Jodi chose the latter. This is the story how she turned her life around, and in doing so, touched the lives of millions.

ONE MILLION LOVELY LETTERS is one woman’s inspirational journey to recovery, and is a witty and uplifting testament to the power of words to heal heart and mind.

I picked this book up in my on going mission to read more non-fiction work and I am so glad I did! This is another heartwarming story except that this story is true! Parts of it was hard to read, Jodi’s journey is a difficult and frustrating one and it is uncomfortable stepping into the shoes of someone whose body is failing them. But Jodi’s compassion and empathy leap off every page and as you read about the people she reaches out to in her letters it is impossible not to think about the people in your own life who are struggling and try to think of things you can do to make their day brighter.

It really is an inspiring story! And you can check out the One Million Lovely Letters website here.

What I Did by Christopher Wakling 

A boy runs across a busy road.

His father catches him and smacks him.

A passer-by looks on.

This is what happens next.

What I Did is told from the viewpoint of six year old Billy who on a very bad day ran across the road and was smacked by his Dad. A neighbour sees it all and reports them to Social Services, sending the family into the surreal and fearful world of Care Workers, meetings and preliminary investigations.

This is a subject that could have felt very grim but in the hands of Billy it is actually a funny and engaging read. Billy is in equal measure intuitive and oblivious which leads to some wonderful observations dripping in irony. Billy also has an obsession with natural history and the animal kingdom which causes a few misunderstandings as he rattles on to the social workers about ‘predators’;  his favourite subject.

You also feel your sympathy stretch in ten different directions and your heart goes out to families and social workers who do have to face this in real life. I raced through this book and really enjoyed following the events through Billy’s wide eyes!