Blog, Creative, Ghostwriting, Happiness, Horse Riding, Life, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Positivity

Happy 2023!

Hi there – you amazing human being,

I know it’s a little late, but I hope you’ve had a wonderful welcome to 2023 πŸ™‚

Our festive season was so lovely – although, I’m not sure all of our furry babies were too impressed with their outfits… Haha!

Although I’m just getting over a horrible bought of the flu, which doesn’t help matters, I reckon January felt approximately 476 days long! While I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy riding the horses, and Cai’s walks have mostly been on the pavements instead of fields as it’s so muddy, I’m looking forward to lots of adventures – with both the horses and Cai – as soon as the weather has improved and nights are lighter πŸ™‚

In the interest of transparency, I feel it’s important to shine a light on darkness as well as the brighter times. I’ve been struggling with high levels of anxiety for a few months – which has made the winter weather seem all the darker, at times.

I’m beyond grateful for my fabulous family and friends (including my gorgeous animal family!), because they support me through everything; and I take at least a moment to be thankful for all the beauty I’m fortunate to have in my life, every day. However, sometimes, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life can become overwhelming – especially when emetophobia is involved.

Having been held hostage by emetophobia, and its associated anxieties, for over quarter of a century, I felt enough was enough and finally dusted off ‘The Thrive Programme’ textbook I’ve had in the bookcase for eighteen months and made a start on the course. So far it’s been slow progress, but that’s because I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I should be – though after having a setback while I had the flu, during which I had a terrible panic attack, I’m determined to push through and get on with the course.

Mental health should definitely be as highly regarded as physical health, and I’m done putting myself last all the time. I’ve had it pointed out to me by loved ones that I need to start considering myself and taking care of myself first – so, I am more determined than ever to get ‘The Thrive Programme’ done and dusted; it’s about time I took away the control emetophobia has over my quality of life πŸ™‚

I watched the impressive buzzard in the below photograph effortlessly lift themselves up and out of the fog encompassing them… Nature is on our side, if we take the time to learn how to harness our own power through being calm. Which is why, alongside vanquishing my demons, I’m going to do more of what I love (e.g. spend more time with my husband/family/friends, take Cai on more adventures, ride my horses more often, revel in my own literary creations, read more fantastic books, take up photography again, etc.) – since that’s the reason I work so damn hard constantly. So, please take this as your sign to do the same – life is too short not to relish the wonderfulness in your life; striving to reach a goal isn’t worthwhile if it costs you your health.

And, on an even more positive note, I finally have a plan for my own writing. This year, I’m focused on moving forwards with my literary endeavours; most namely, completing my YA series and its accompanying dyslexia-friendly versions. I also have sooo many other story ideas and endless scribbled notes that could prove to be the kindling that sparks my next novel or series of short stories. So, please ‘watch this space’!

In the meantime, I’ve edited typos in “Larry” and “Animals’ Guide to the Human Race” for the final time (I mean it! Haha) and they’re available in eBook format, as well as paperback and hardcover πŸ™‚



When I get the opportunity, I’m also hoping to update The Emet. Review website and Instagram page – I’ve just been a little too busy to do so for a while, for which I apologise! Though in case you’d like to pay The Emet. Review a visit, here’s the website address:

Anyways, I’m going to stop typing now and spend some quality time with Gareth and Cai πŸ™‚

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Blog, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Fiction, Happiness, Horse Riding, Life, Positivity, Reading, Writing

“Larry” and “Animals’ Guide” have been Republished!

Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re well πŸ™‚

It has been exceedingly busy here at ‘D.E. Kendall HQ’ over the last few months!

However, this post isn’t about a general update (hoping to write an update sometime in the next month), it is to celebrate the (FINAL) new editions of Larry and Animals’ Guide to the Human Race being republished πŸ™‚

The road to this point has been exceedingly long and winding, so it’s an enormous relief that two of my original books are finally finished…

So, I started writing Larry when I was 15 years old, and it has seen several versions in various states of quality/readability to reach its current edition – and I am delighted to have completed the journey, at long last! While I realise my perfectionism may not ever allow me to feel 100% proud of my work, because – as with every aspect of my life – I always perceive facets of myself through a highly critical lens (though I wish I didn’t!), I hope I have done the adaptation of Larry’s story justice.

After a close call with a vanity publisher in 2014-2015, Larry has been self-published, traditionally published, and has now been self-published once again for the final time. I’m tempted to craft a more in-depth blog post in future, to write about each phase Larry has endured to get here – please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading πŸ™‚

For now, if Larry can inspire even one person to treat animals with more kindness and compassion, 15 years of hard work will have been worthwhile. There has been a considerable amount of research and editorial work poured into Larry, and I hope you’ll gain something positive from reading it…

Larry: A Rescue Pony’s Story

by D.E. Kendall

This third edition of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race has been completely transformed from its previous editions, thanks to my improved writing and editorial skills owing to four years of a creative writing degree and over two years of ghostwriting experience. Therefore, I hope Animals’ Guide will provide readers with some much-needed positivity, in a world obsessed with everything that’s wrong instead of celebrating the little joys in life. For those of you who are familiar with Animals’ Guide, please rest assured that this version is almost unrecognisable from previous editions; it’s actually readable now (I hope)!

The purpose for Animals’ Guide is to be read in small snippets as opposed to being read cover to cover as a novel. Therefore, Animals’ Guide has been designed to inspire positivity and laughter, no-matter where you are or whatever’s happening in your life – I hope Animals’ Guide becomes a form of comfort to readers, somewhere nice to turn when life gets overwhelming. Also, previous editions of Animals’ Guide have proven especially popular for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to reading, so it would be amazing if it appeals to an even wider audience moving forwards πŸ™‚

Please let me know what you think of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race – I’d love to know that it has made you laugh and/or brightened your day by even a teeny tiny amount…

Animals’ Guide to the Human Race

by D.E. Kendall

Infinite thanks for your continued support! πŸ™‚

Best wishes,


Blog, Eira, Equestrian, Horse Riding, Writing

Eira Diaries – Post #2

Hellooo! Welcome to the second post in the ‘Eira Diaries’ series πŸ™‚

So, it has been waaayyy over a month since I last wrote about the adventures of my beautiful pony, and the reason for that is our distinct lack of adventure over the last few weeks. But I’ll get to that in a minute…

At long last, I discovered a gorgeous saddle that fits Eira perfectly. She’s so comfortable in the saddle, that we were actually able to enjoy hacking without napping! And we managed to go for a ride out with Kara for the first time ever, which reminded me why I work so hard and go without a heck of a lot to pay for Eira’s lavish lifestyle; I realised how much I’ve missed being in the saddle, and Eira was delighted to be getting out and about again πŸ™‚

Our schooling sessions were going superbly as well, and Eira finally seemed to feel comfortable as she worked in a lovely outline, showing off her floaty paces and seamless upward transitions.

Then, the weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, and switched from sunshine to rain and back again several times a day for a couple of weeks.

One especially sunny morning, I brought Eira in from the field and noticed that she was slightly uncomfortable on her right foreleg. I checked for a digital pulse (a tell-tale signal of laminitis), but couldn’t find one – and Eira was still able to put weight on her sore hoof without rocking back onto her heels, so I assumed it was an abscess.

Since Eira didn’t seem too uncomfortable at that point, I allowed her a couple of hours’ turnout the day after I noticed her minor discomfort – she seemed to improve slightly as I was leading her in. However, the following day, something definitely wasn’t right and both her hooves seemed uncomfortable. So, even though she was still putting weight on her hooves and there was no sign of a digital pulse in any of her legs, I created poultices and wrapped Eira’s hooves in vet wrap. We gave her a thick, fluffy, shavings bed while awaiting the farrier’s response to my attempts to contact him over the weekend.

By Monday, Eira hadn’t improved. The farrier visited and removed Eira’s shoes, which instantly caused her to portray ‘that’ stance. There was no denying that Eira had laminitis – a word dreaded by horse owners the world over. Despite our best efforts to avoid it, and the seeming lack of grass in her field, laminitis reared its ugly head for the second time in Eira’s life πŸ™

This photo was taken on the first day Eira started to seem uncomfortable on one of her front hooves. As you can see, Eira developed a ‘crest’ overnight, thanks to the rain and sunshine causing a sudden rush of sugars in the grass of her field.

Eira was stuck in on complete box rest, until the farrier gave his permission for Eira to be walked in hand for a few minutes a day in her hoof boots (which protect the sensitive soles of her hooves from stony ground en route to the soft, spongy arena). Poor Eira hasn’t been able to enjoy much of the glorious sunshine we’ve been having, and hates that she’s now on a severely restricted diet of soaked hay. We’ve tried to brighten up her box rest experience by providing mini haynets dotted around the stable (which also prevents her from standing in one place all day) though she can’t enjoy her usual boredom-breaking toys, such as her Bizzy Bites toy, Likit, and Decahedron treat balls – and the poor girl can’t even enjoy apples and carrots in her haynet anymore. Eira is getting plenty of cuddles and lots of attention from everyone, however. And she’s enjoyed time out of her stable, being brushed and pampered on the rubber matting of the wash bay next to her barn. Though she’s not so keen on having a bath, it is the longest I’ve ever managed to keep her tied up!

We hope to update the Eira Diaries with exciting adventures in the very near future…

Though until Eira has recovered, we won’t be getting up to much unfortunately. I do, however, hope to write some product reviews at some point, so please check back soon πŸ™‚

My Beautiful Eira Β© D.E. Kendall

Thank you for reading! <3

Best wishes,

Dannika & Eira

Eira, Equestrian, Happiness, Life, Writing

Eira Diaries – Post #1

Welcome to the Eira Diaries!

Why the ‘Eira Diaries’? Not only does the title sound poetic, but both words contain ‘Eira’ – which, I think, earns extra ‘writer points’ πŸ˜‰

This series of blog posts will feature not only my beautiful pony, Eira, but also our family’s handsome horse, TΓ’n, and, from time to time, my sister’s gorgeous horse, Kara.

The reason I’ve decided to create a blog post series is to document the journey Eira and I are taking to get fitter and healthier, after many years of struggling to get moving with our adventures.

Throughout this series, I hope to include stories of both mine and Eira’s past experiences, alongside the tales of our – inevitably winding – road to fitness. I also hope to include some useful product reviews πŸ™‚

So, this first post of the series will focus on the beautiful pony herself…

I rescued Eira when she was 11 months old, in the summer of 2013. Destined for the meat market, Eira was bought at auction by landowners who were inexperienced in caring for horses, but longed to save horses from slaughter. Eira was turned out in a huge field with countless other horses who had been rescued from various auctions. The people who’d bought Eira thought it was a great idea to leave the mismatch herd of horses and ponies (from huge cobs to teeny tiny miniature Shetlands) fight over crates of bananas left in their field!

Perhaps naively, I purchased Eira without being able to get anywhere near her. There were several horses and ponies available to choose from, though even from a distance, I fell in love with Eira’s scruffy chestnut foal coat and near-white flaxen mane. The next day, it took us hours to get her into a trailer. When we arrived at her new, temporary home, she was so terrified of us that she hid in the corner and trembled whenever we tried to approach her.

It only took a couple of days for Eira to realise that we weren’t going to hurt her, and, once she’d learned how to eat from a bucket, she decided she was happy to let us near – after all, someone who feeds you three times a day can’t be that bad, right?

By the end of her first week with me, I’d managed to remove the scraggly foal coat still clinging on since winter (it was June), and I couldn’t believe how beautiful my new pony was underneath all that grime and dust!

I chose the name ‘Eirawen’ for her because it means ‘snow white’ in Welsh, and at the time her mane and tail were so bright they looked almost white. Plus, it was clear from the get-go that Eirawen believed she was a princess, so the name suited her. It didn’t take long for her name to be shortened to ‘Eira’ – the name ‘Eirawen’ only resurfaces when she’s acting like a diva, or decides to stand on my foot.

Prior to Eira’s first vet visit, it was obvious she had conformational issues. As the years have passed, she’s developed a plethora of health problems that have meant her insurance costs are ridiculously expensive (#cry). Aside from having wonky legs that require specialist front shoes, Eira has very sensitive skin that turns into sweet itch over the summer, she had laminitis around 4 years ago so is now prone to that, she has cysts on her ovaries, a few small sarcoids, dodgy teeth that require 6-monthly check-ups, a flat back that makes it really challenging to find saddles to fit her, and she can’t seem to keep more than half of her mane at any given time. (Oh, and she likes to sit down in the field, like a dog!) So, all things considered, she looks pretty darn good for a pony with all those issues, if I do say so myself πŸ™‚

Eira has a naughty streak and can be stubborn when she wants to be – she also loves a buck when asked to canter, whether under saddle or on the lunge, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with discomfort or imbalance and everything to do with overexcitement. For all her cheekiness, Eira is the most gentle pony – no more so than when she’s with my niece, whom Eira adores. Of our family’s horses, Eira is the one we introduce visitors to, because she’s the only one who can be trusted not to accidentally headbutt, nip, or squish them! We may not be flying around show-jumping courses or dazzling in the dressage arena, though I am incredibly proud to have produced such a kind, willing – if a little stubborn at times – pony whose fate could’ve been totally different if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith 9 years ago…

Due to a hand injury 7 years ago (that still isn’t better 3 surgeries later) and having such a hectic life since Eira was old enough to ride, my poor girl is still extremely green under saddle – through no fault of her own. My parents and sister help take care of Eira when I’m unable to due to my ridiculously long work hours and when my hand is too painful to move, for which I am eternally grateful.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix her health issues, fix my hand, and add a few extra hours into every day, but for now, we’ll just have to settle for trying our best under our given circumstances.

I’ve ordered a saddle for Eira that should be arriving tomorrow, so *fingers crossed* it fits because it’d be fab to finally return to ridden work after a month-and-a-half of lunging!

Anyways, I hope you’ll look forward to the next instalment of the Eira Diaries πŸ™‚

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Dannika & Eira

Book Publishing, Book Review, Creative, Equestrian, Fiction, Reading, Uncategorized

A Book Review: The Horse Dancer

Welcome to my ‘Dannika Writes… A Book Review‘ series! πŸ™‚

As a writer, I have a natural affinity with words. So, it makes sense that I enjoy reading the literary creations of others, too. I began writing book reviews many moons ago; I was in a book club and it was suggested to me by a kind person there that I share my reviews online, as they believed others would appreciate my honest approach to reviewing reads both great and not-so-great.

Being a published author myself, I also realise how awesome it is knowing someone has taken the time to appreciate your efforts to entertain and/or enlighten them, then gone above and beyond to tell others about it as well. Reviews are vital to the success of every book in every genre; and that isn’t necessarily tied to positive reviews and recommendations. From an author’s perspective, constructive criticism plays an essential role in the development of one’s writing, and ultimately, it becomes something every writer appreciates (even if they don’t realise it at the time!).

I only read paperbacks, by the way – which is the reason I include links to the paperback copies of books I’ve reviewed. While I know eBooks are amazing – and that maybe, one day, I’ll get into reading them too – I’m afraid that, for me, nothing beats the delectable scent of a fresh, new paperback or that sensation of being able to actually hold a literary masterpiece #literarynerd (I advise against falling asleep whilst reading though; being thumped on the head by a book is not so fun…). However, should you feel that fellow readers would appreciate a link to the eBook version of a book, please include it in the comments below.

Before you delve into this blog post, I believe it’s worth mentioning that I do not apply ratings to my reviews. In my opinion, every writer is an individual and, to be honest, I don’t believe it’s fair to compare their works – how would one even rate the work of mystery writer in comparison to a romance novelist, or a sci-fi aficionado in comparison to a non-fiction biographer? If you’re happy to place a rating value on a particular book, however, please feel free to include that in the comment section of this blog post πŸ™‚

(Please note that I will be adding a brand new Book Review page to The Emet. Review website, for those of you who have emetophobia.)

In this post, I will be reviewing The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes…


“The 2009 novel The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.

In a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.

Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley’s life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses that of Sarah, she sees a chance to put things right.

But she doesn’t know that Sarah is keeping a secret, one that will change all their lives forever . . .”

My Review:

The Horse Dancer weaves stories of every character together through a tapestry of events. Moyes’ writing is saturated with such brilliant descriptive detail that it’s easy to become immersed in the story and empathise with the characters. I’m an equestrian enthusiast and horse owner, so I found the level of detail Moyes dedicated to her horse-related scenes absolutely wonderful! Although it’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to know anything about horses to enjoy the equestrian aspects of this story.

All the main characters were adequately ‘fleshed-out’, though my favourite character has to be Boo, the horse – whose bravery was the most believable of all. I think it’s worth mentioning that there were a few plot ‘twists’ that I anticipated, and there were minor aspects of the story that were improbable – for instance, it is highly unlikely that a couple in the middle of a divorce could plausibly live together, and a young girl being invited into the home of complete strangers was difficult to comprehend. However, for any tiny details of the story that were improbable, there were exciting scenes and emotive storylines that made The Horse Dancer so readable it was difficult to put down at times!

The beginning of the book introduces two seemingly separate storylines as it develops the individual backstory of each protagonist – if you dislike stories that are set out this way, it might take you a little longer to get into the story itself; but I assure you it’s worthwhile. There are many well-written chapters in the middle of the story that are compelling – they offer suspense, emotion, and action-packed excitement. As for the ending, I felt it provided a satisfying conclusion and wrapped up the story nicely.

I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for an indulgent read to enjoy of a chilly winter’s evening, cwtched up in a blanket as rain patters against the nearest curtained window.

Adventure, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Equestrian, Ghostwriting, Nature, Open University, Photography, Reading, Writing

Long Time, No See!


Long time, no see – 3 months, to be exact o.O

I’m always apologising for being busy, though this time, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to include a brief (well, brief in terms of my writing) update along with my hope that all is going wonderfully well in your life – if it isn’t, please know you are not alone πŸ™‚

So, I finally completed my Stage 2 modules as I study for BA(Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. Due to my ridiculously heavy workload, I initially intended to complete one module at a time for the final Stage 3 section of my degree, though I’ve given deep thought into what I’d like to achieve, and have had endless discussions with my loved ones about my terrible attempts to forge a work-life balance – I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am to relieve pressure long term, I’m going to follow their advice and study full time from Sept/Oct this year, so I’ll have less pressure on my time as of June/July 2022. That means I’m going to take a small step back from taking on new ghostwriting clients with lengthy projects – if you’re a prospective client with a lengthy project, I apologise! But I have to focus on improving the quality of my assignment scores, since I achieved 80%-95% for Stage 1 modules (though I did complete them part time, around part time employment) and only 65%-75% for Stage 2 modules (completed around self-employment; the hours for which I spend working I dread to count!). I am still accepting smaller projects, such as blog posts, website content, articles, and short stories πŸ™‚

I am not at liberty to discuss any aspect of ghostwriting projects – as I sign confidentiality agreements for every project – though I can let you know that business has been incredibly busy, for which I am exceedingly thankful! Unfortunately, I did experience my first (and hopefully last) setback in my ghostwriting endeavours, when a client failed to pay the final fee for their project; they disappeared the day after I sent them the final document. I admit that my trust in the basic, moral goodness of human nature was tested, and though I have chalked it up to being a valuable lesson learned, it was also the catalyst for my decision to pursue the completion of my degree full time as I reassessed what I’d like to achieve through ghostwriting. It saddens me that despite my best efforts to help people and make a difference for the better, someone could be so thoughtless as to waste my valuable time and effort – especially since I’d turned down other projects to help the client, as there was a tight deadline and I was told the project meant a lot to them. So, I have decided to focus on completing my degree, and whilst I will continue ghostwriting and proofreading, I am only going to take on projects I know I’ll enjoy, as I am going to spend more time on my own writing whilst I pursue a primary school teaching career (unless, in the meantime, I manage to emulate a fraction of J.K. Rowling’s success with my own novels, enabling me to write for myself full time; which is highly unlikely!).

I have always been driven to make a difference for the better, something I have strived to do through ghostwriting and proofreading – for instance, I’ve taken on many projects free of charge for charitable organisations, alongside my busy work schedule – though have found that my love of writing has been tested on occasion when I’ve had to work 14-hour days while struggling to juggle everything going on in my hectic schedule. Enduring a miscarriage – as well as suffering with my mental health as a result of the constant stress caused by the struggle against the rising pressure of everything – has taught me that life is too short not to do what I love for a living. Whilst I love writing – and have earned more money through ghostwriting than any other job I’ve ever had – I cannot sustain the level of work I have been. I’m not making as much of a difference for the better as I intended through the type of ghostwriting work I do. Although I am going to continue working for several of my fantastic clients, for whom I provide ghostwriting projects regularly, I will be dedicating more of my time to achieving success with my own writing (since I’m able to do so for my clients, I may as well try writing bestselling pieces for myself too!), and I am going to work towards becoming a primary school teacher; following in the footsteps of many amazing female relatives before me, primary school teaching is a career I expect to be as challenging as it is creative, but will allow me steady, structured working hours and the ability to work as part of a team and ‘switch off’ at the end of the day (instead of being immersed in my solitary work 24/7) – enabling me to make the most of my life, whilst still making a positive difference to many young people’s lives πŸ™‚

Moving on from my career aspirations, I created a special book for my niece (whom I hadn’t seen for a year due to pandemic lockdown restrictions) for her 5th birthday. She’s going through a tough time with her health, so I felt it would cheer her up to have a book created specially for her πŸ™‚ Whilst I still have a lot to learn in terms of illustration and typesetting a fully-illustrated document, I thoroughly enjoyed working on Evelyn-Rose’s book around my crazy work/uni/life schedule; it helped me channel stressful energy into something positive. In case you’d like to view it for yourself, the link to the listing for “Evelyn-Rose’s Magical Adventure” is here.

Something I’d been debating for many years was getting a second tattoo. My first experience was traumatic, to say the least, so I’ve spent years researching and pondering whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Though I am pleased to say that I did go ahead with getting a tattoo, inspired by a photograph I’d taken on the last family holiday we went on with my wonderful grandparents – something my late Nan and I talked about for a while was my getting a peacock butterfly tattoo, so I hope she’d have appreciated my decision to finally go ahead with getting it done πŸ™‚ As it happens, butterflies are also representative of the beauty of change, of hope, and of triumph through adversity – a fitting testament to my life experiences.

I have been revelling in the beautiful weather lately, taking every opportunity I can to get Cai walked and ride/spend time with my horses, as well as to delve back in to another of my hobbies – photography πŸ™‚ I’ve not been feeling quite myself, so I’m currently working hard to exercise more and eat healthier, in hope of losing weight, improving my strength, and toning up; I’m pleased to report that it’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished my final end-of-module uni assignments, though I feel better already for spending more time out and about. You can follow some of Cai’s adventures on his Instagram page.

However, as often seems to be the case, my injuries have made being more active far from straightforward. Not only has my hand been more painful lately (due to increased exercise through following YouTube HIIT/Pilates videos, horse riding, Cai pulling on his lead, etc.), but I have discovered that my jaw is dislocated and has been causing me major issues in the form of pain, swelling, and headaches – I had mistaken the issue as being an impacted wisdom tooth for a long time; it was the thought of having another tooth removed that put me off making an appointment with the dentist, but if non-invasive treatments don’t work, I might have to go through some pretty unpleasant surgery on my jaw o.O

My boyfriend, Gareth, and I have a few events to attend this year, as well as a few days away in Edinburgh to look forward to this summer – and I’m working hard on improving my self-confidence – so, I’ve spent a little time practising using make-up. My skin has been terrible lately – which I imagine is largely stress-based – and that hasn’t helped me feel better about myself. Whilst I’m nowhere near as great at using make-up as I’d like to be, I’m hopeful my face painting/sculpting skills will continue to improve…

I’ve been working hard to improve my confidence whilst driving, and am pleased to be making progress πŸ™‚ I even went to the cinema a couple of days ago, for the first time in around 18 months!

Annndd I’ve decided to dedicate as much time as I can to my own writing by taking it more seriously – as such, I’ve signed up for Mslexia and WritersHQ, which will help me gain confidence by interacting more frequently with fellow writers. I’ll be making more time to read books from fantastically inspirational authors too, to improve my writing as much as possible and ‘switch off’ – just received a mega Waterstones order; anyone else love that ‘new book’ scent? πŸ˜‰

For more regular updates, please feel free to visit my Facebook page, Instagram page, and Twitter account πŸ™‚ I am also updating The Emet. Review as often as I can.

I hope to be more active in terms of content creation for my blog from now on, so you can expect more interesting posts than this – such as a short story series, book reviews, and a variety of posts about all things literary, equestrian, and mental health πŸ™‚

Anyways, I hope all is well with you; I look forward to reading messages about all the exciting things happening in your lives too!

Stay awesome <3

Best wishes,



A Revival of Reviews

Hi Fellow Readers πŸ™‚

I hope you are staying safe and well!

Having just re-discovered a book review site I set up after having major hand surgery early 2018 – when I was confined indoors – and had joined a book club, I felt it might be interesting to share those reviews here. As a disclaimer, I will explain that when I wrote these reviews I hadn’t yet worked for a publishing company, nor had I started any editorial/proofreading training. I didn’t start my BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing until much later that year too, so my apologies if the writing style isn’t what you’re used to from me…

Life with the Lid Off by Nicola Hodgkinson

Back of the Book:

‘When single mother Nicola Hodgkinson decided to follow her rural dream, it involved transporting her young family – three rowdy children, her beloved horse, a wilful donkey and two single-minded bantams – to a ramshackle cottage in an idyllic seaside village. The family soon attracts the horrified attention of nosey neighbours, and annoys motorists by hogging country lanes with a horse-drawn caravan.

But amid the chaos, the magic of family life shines through, peppered with humour; love, moments of high drama and nostalgia.’

Firstly, I have to mention how shocking the amount of interests I have in common with the author of this book are – not only am I passionate about horses, my favourite book is Black Beauty, and I thoroughly enjoy everything nature/wildlife related, but I also love to write stories that are emotive; stories that I hope invoke laughter, relatability, and deep thought.

I quite literally laughed out loud on so many occasions whilst reading this book – I thoroughly enjoyed the style in which it was written, which kept me so gripped that I stole every spare moment I could and finished reading it in less than a day!

Nicola Hodgkinson’s sense of humour shines through, regardless of how embarrassing or ridiculous the situations seemed – however, this humour was laced with a darkness that, just as happens with us all, did seem to preside over certain moments. Despite the darkness faced, on ploughed the story – to weave a wonderful tapestry of what country life is really like.

Although surprising, I felt the story’s end offered the chance of a new beginning – something so many people fail to believe is possible as their age progresses. It’s truly refreshing to read a story written by an older author whose view on life is so appreciative and positive, regardless of the relentless struggles she had to deal with. And the fact she couldn’t fathom the writings of Virginia Woolf only made me like her more (apologies to any Virginia Woolf fans!).

I applaud the honesty of life’s revelations as Nicola Hodgkinson portrays them, though I also admire her way with words. Some of her descriptions offered such magical scenery, that it genuinely inspired me to strive to try writing such lovely imagery myself.

I definitely give this book 10/10 – and although aimed at the adult market, I’m sure it’d do no harm for a YA audience to delve into this story too πŸ™‚

I recommend this read wholeheartedly, and am probably going to purchase a copy of my own to read (the copy I read was owned by the Book Club I’m part of) during difficult times as a comfort of sorts; if in no other way than to relate to equine based hilarity!

Thank you for reading <3

Regulus by Aaron Ozee

Book Description:

‘King among the mice and eater of all the cheese. Regulus, the lord of all squeaking feuds within the wall, is betrayed by those closest to him for the ego he holds so high. Struggles between the just and wicked come to pass in this paramount tale of the darkest and brightest sights in our lives.’

A story, although entertaining for children, fueled by the underlying importance of being appreciative instead of greedy. Children won’t only find this book funny, but it’ll also teach them about treating others as equals – showing that differences are to be celebrated, not to be utilised for self gain.

This is something we don’t often find nowadays, books that offer children a sense that their moral compass is their responsibility to wield and control.

Choosing the subject of a rat has proven popular for series such as Wind in the Willows etc. It seems to be a suitable character choice here too! The illustrations are just lovely, so children of all ages would enjoy them.

On the topics of learning and illustration, some of the wording may seem a little advanced for young children – however, given the cleverness and clarity of the illustrations, it enables children to widen their own vocabulary by using the images to give definition to words they may not have encountered before. As well as this, the style of poetry is not the general ballad type, in which every last word of every or every other line rhymes. There are a variety of sentence structures, allowing children to explore a diverse range of writing style which they may not find in other children’s books.

I think it unfair to give a score to children’s books, since I am not their intended audience and so my mind may not appreciate the book in the same way a child would. Therefore, I suggest this book is suitable for children of all ages, whether read by parents or children themselves.

Thanks for reading <3

Small Truths by Josanne Wilson

Book Description:

‘Following the lives of Isabella and Estafano Celestino, there are so many changes as their family enter the early 1900s. Business is booming, and the married couple utilize their wealth to improve the lives of those less fortunate – as well as to take care of their employees. As they tussle with the challenges of balancing family and work-life, can Isabella and Estafano’s love survive such turmoil, or will their love find them lost amidst the temptations their wealth unveils?’

About the Author: ‘Josanne Wilson’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy and she always wanted to build a story around their journeys. Wilson is married with five children and one granddaughter. She enjoys reading, writing, crocheting, and making crafts. She lives in Jamestown, New York.’

Talented author Josanne Wilson tells the tale of Isabella and Estafano.

Continuing on from the Cobbler’s Daughter, Small Truths entails a series of unexpected twists in the storyline. Laced with romance, drama, tragedy and happiness, this book would be an ideal summer holiday read.

It’s so easy to become entrapped in the fascinating descriptions of a world we wouldn’t know now, with the rise of technology and social media.

If you enjoy historical or romance novels, you will certainly enjoy reading Small Truths – which will entertain until the very last sentence.

I rate this book 8/10, and recommend you keep an eye on Josanne Wilson’s Author Page for its official release:

Thank you for reading <3

The Cobbler’s Daughter by Josanne Wilson

Book Description:

‘In search of a better life, young travelers make the journey from Italy to America in the late 1800s. Not only do Guiseppe and Josephine find that better life – they also find each other. What begins as a few stolen glances on the ship soon becomes a clandestine affair. When Josephine realizes she’s pregnant, they both worry about how her abusive husband will react. Enjoy reading the story of how they each make a home in their new homeland, how each endure hardships but find prosperity through hope, love, and a belief in God. Understand that life is short and it’s important to follow your heart.’

About the Author: ‘Josanne Wilson’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy and she always wanted to build a story around their journeys. Wilson is married with five children and one granddaughter. She enjoys reading, writing, crocheting, and making crafts. She lives in Jamestown, New York.’

Following the hazardous journey from Italy to America in the late 1800s, the Cobbler’s Daughter depicts the detriments and fortunes of two families pulled together through tragedies – held together by the strength of family.

As the story unravels, it reveals not only interesting historical descriptions of the time, but also the awakening of a multitude of emotions and feelings of every character.

Delving into the intertwined connections of the characters, this story won’t cease to keep you turning the page – to follow each of the shocking revelations around every corner of the narrative.

Recommended to readers of romance and historical novels.

I would give this book 7/10, simply because there were not chapters to break up the story’s sections – though that is just personal opinion.

Thanks for reading <3

Together by Julie Cohen

Book Description:

‘Robbie and Emily they have been together for decades. Now, their joints are creaking and their eyesight is failing – but their love for each other is as fresh and fierce as the day they first met. They have had children and grandchildren, lived full and happy and intimate lives. But they have been keeping a secret since the day they met, when their lives changed forever. Over the years, the sacrifices and choices they made have sealed their fates together.’

(Borrowed from a local Library, on recommendation of a relative who’d enjoyed it…) This book is structured reading events backward from 2016 to 1962. As you progress through the pages, history is revealed and secrets are slowly but surely unraveled.

The reader is kept guessing throughout!

It’s difficult to understand why the book is structured the way it is, until the story begins to take shape. I actually found the unusual setup interesting, and I believe it matched the subject of this story well.

The settings and situations read fluidly, with lovely descriptions of the environment – as well as characters that really draw you in. You’re made to feel for the characters’ circumstances, which definitely brings them to life.

I particularly loved how the characters’ pet dogs were described! Although a secondary detail of the story, I felt realistic canine characters added a sense of depth.

I was grateful the story wasn’t left on a cliff-hanger! Though the conclusion was shocking…

Found the style of writing so ‘readable’, that I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

It kept you wanting to find out what might happen next; which I liken to getting hooked on binge-watching a new television series!

My review mark for this book is 8/10. I enjoyed the read, but felt there were a few small details that were left unexplained (which I imagine is largely due to the backward structure of the story-line) – and the ending was such a surprise, that it took away a little from the sense of affection you might have developed for some of the characters; whilst leaving you wondering what happened to other characters.

I’d recommend as a Book Club read, as ‘Together’ offers much opportunity for the discussion of a variety of topics.

Thank you for reading this review <3

A Sorry Affair by Kirsten Nairn

Back of the Book:

‘Jen and Mack are the perfect couple; meeting at university, moving in together and engaged to be married. Then, one day, Abbi turns up on their doorstep and throws a huge spanner in the works of their seemingly well-oiled relationship. On that day, Mack’s life is turned upside down and it seems there’s no way back. Resigned to the fact that the relationship is over and Jen is selling the house, Mack is forced to go back home and live with his parents. He comes to blows with his father, who was close friends with Jen’s father, and emotions run high when past hurts are revisited. Despite several letters from Mack, years pass without any word from Jen.

The reader is left in suspense, always wanting more and wondering if it really is the end for Jen and Mack.’

The story follows a unique perspective of three people affected by an affair.

Although at first difficult to get to grips with, the original style and setting of the story became intriguing – I found myself enthralled by the story, and couldn’t stop turning the pages!

I particularly liked the way Kirsten Nairn built up the image of each character through their own perspective in each chapter. It really gave the characters a great sense of depth, to the point the characters felt as though they were real people who could be anyone, anywhere – neighbours, acquaintances, colleagues etc. It just goes to show that you can never know what’s going on in another’s life, behind closed doors!

I don’t normally read many romance novels, though I’d definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys romance, or would like a steady introduction to reading romance genre for the first time. I believe it would be suitable for adult readers, especially if you enjoy a little suspense.

There was a balance of emotions, which never left me feeling too disheartened or overly ecstatic for the characters. Although there are times that make you truly feel for the characters’ situations, the surprising twist at the end of the story almost consoles you for all that.

It genuinely leaves you wanting to find out how the characters’ lives turn out – which is definitely the mark of a good writer.

Personally I believe I would give this novel a score of 7/10, because I feel the script could have read with more fluidity to begin with – given that the style of writing is so original. However, once I understood the layout of the chapters, the book was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I struggled to put down!

Thank you for reading <3

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

My first ever ‘Book Club Read’ – for the first Book Club meeting I attended, 20th February 2018 πŸ™‚

Back of the Book:

‘It’s 1928. Freddie Watson is still grieving for his brother, lost in the Great War. Driving through the foothills of the French Pyrenees, his car spins off the road in a snowstorm. Freddie takes refuge in an isolated village and there meets a beautiful, captivating woman. They spend the night talking of love and loss and war. But by daybreak, Fabrissa has vanished and Freddie realises he holds the key to an ancient mystery that leads him deep into the mountains, to a cave that has concealed an appalling secret for 700 years…’

A grieving Englishman seeks solace for his mental health in France. Whilst there, he happens across a ghostly, mystifying lady, who helps him talk about his grief; and step foot on the road to recovery after many years. Losing her suddenly, he fights all odds to find her. When he does, his discovery is haunting…

I really like the way the book is set out. The way the story is told enables your imagination to become immersed within it. The author’s descriptive style of writing makes the book exceedingly difficult to put down!

If ever you’ve, or someone you know has, suffered mental health issues, the protagonist Freddie is not only relatable, but the author genuinely makes you feel for his character – willing positivity to shine upon his life’s darkness.

Scenes of revelation are written so very well, that your imagination is gifted vivid images that could so easily be reality somehow – I believe this book could be transformed into a fantastic film! I felt the length of the story, and indeed the book itself, was just right. Not so long as to make you lose interest, yet suspenseful throughout its 239 pages.

I like how much background information and research are included after the story; the author was very gracious in her acknowledgements too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Winter Ghosts’ by Kate Mosse, and look forward to discovering more of her work.

I rate this book 10/10.

Thank you for reading <3

I also included a selection of brief reviews of equestrian-themed books I grew up reading…

For readers who love all things equestrian, this list comprises of works I believe are essential equestrian reads πŸ™‚

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

About the Author:

“Anna Sewell was born in 1820 in Norfolk, England. After an unfortunate accident, Anna seriously injured her ankle – for the rest of her life she couldn’t walk for any length of time and needed a crutch. This led to her travelling by horse-drawn carriage, which contributed to her love of horses and concern for their welfare. Although she passed away in 1878 – so sadly didn’t see the popularity of Black Beauty after its publication in 1877 – Anna Sewell’s work resulted in the use of bearing reins – which are particularly painful for a horse – falling out of favour. There is also an Anna Sewell memorial fountain and horse trough outside the public library in Ansonia, Connecticut, in the United States of America.

Black Beauty, having sold an estimated 50 million copies, is one of the top ten best selling novels for children.”

Book Description:

“Black Beauty is a well-bred horse with a fine black coat, who beautifully narrates the story of his life. The story tells of his idyllic upbringing, followed by the hardship and cruelty he suffers at the hand of unscrupulous owners, before finding security and happiness in a new home. Being one of the most popular children’s novels ever written, Black Beauty’s story was successful in inspiring more humane treatment of horses in Victorian Britain; anti-cruelty impact of this novel is still recognised today.”

My Review:

“Powerfully thought-provoking, Black Beauty is still one of my most favourite novels of all time. (It has even inspired my writing!) The way Black Beauty makes you truly feel what horses at that time were experiencing is beyond enchanting. Whether you’re a child who’s pony-mad, or an adult experienced equestrian, Black Beauty is sure to make you laugh, cry, and long to cwtch the nearest horse/pony!”

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

About the Author:

“After meeting a World War I veteran, who had been in the Devon Yeomanry working with horses, Michael Morpurgo began to think of telling the story of the universal suffering of the Great War through a horse’s viewpoint. He also met another villager who had been in the cavalry in the Great War – and a third villager who remembered the Army coming to the village to buy horses. Michael thanks these men in the dedication of the book. Another event inspiring the writing of War Horse was when Michael encountered a young boy with a stammer who was terrified if spoken to by another person, was able to speak freely to a horse – the trusting relationship that child had with the horse amazed many.

With his wife, Michael Morpurgo founded ‘Farms for City Children’, a charity that allows inner city children to experience spending time on rural farms.”

Book Description:

“Told through the eyes of Joey, War Horse follows Joey’s journey during World War I. Originally a working farm horse, Joey was sold by the farmer to become a cavalry horse – which saddened his young owner Albert. Having been captured by Germans, then finding himself in the care of young Emilie. Joey and his companion enjoy farm life for a short while, before being taken away again to pull an artillery wagon.

After many trials Joey finds himself alone in no-man’s-land, wounded by barbed wire. Eventually ending up in veterinary hospital, where he reunites with an old friend.

A children’s novel that teaches not only of the horse’s role, but also of the devastation experienced during war.”

My Review:

“It’s impossible not to fall in love with honest, hard-working horse Joey. His willing nature and integrity highlight how much of an impact wartime had on horses, as well as people. Through brilliant storytelling, War Horse carries you through every emotion – drawing you in with each page turn. I originally read this novel whilst in school, and would choose it as reference whenever wartime was the topic in class. I felt it so very important to show the truth of war through the eyes of a horse, whose involvement in it wasn’t through choice – if future generations continue to read War Horse and relate with Joey’s experience, I honestly believe it holds the power to prevent war ever happening again.”

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

About the Author:

“The Horse Whisperer was the debut novel by English author Nicholas Evans. Selling over 15 million copies, with The Horse Whisperer Nicholas experienced much success – especially in the United States of America. The story is said to be inspired by a real-life horse whisperer from America.”

Book Description:

“Beginning with teenager Grace and her horse Pilgrim going out riding with Grace’s friend Judith on her horse Gulliver, The Horse Whisperer follows the journey of Grace and Pilgrim after an horrific accident in which Judith and Gulliver lose their lives. Desperate to help her daughter through the trauma of losing a leg, her friend and the trust of her horse, Grace’s mother Annie seeks the help of a horse whisperer. Taking the reader on an emotional roller coaster, The Horse Whisperer follows Grace and Pilgrim’s expedition to recovery together – along with the short-lived affair Annie has with Tom, the horse whisperer himself.”

My Review:

“I read The Horse Whisperer for an English Literature project whilst at school. Having watched the film beforehand, I believed I was prepared for what I was about to read. I wasn’t. There was so much depth in the writing, that it became impossible to stop turning the pages. Found myself staying up until the early hours – even on a school night! – to ‘finish one more chapter’. A gripping tale I found fascinating – since equine behaviour is a subject close to my heart anyway – not only does The Horse Whisperer travel through coping with post traumatic stress experienced by horses and people, but also enlightens to the effects a traumatic event has on those indirectly involved in the resulting impact of an accident.”

Heartland Series by Lauren Brooke

About the Author:

“Lauren Brooke is one of the pen names of British writer Linda Chapman. As well as writing the Heartland series with Beth Chambers, she has written around 200 books – most of which are fantasy series for younger children.”

Book Description:

“25-book series about young Amy Fleming who lives on a horse ranch in Virginia called Heartland. Amy, along with her family and friends, rescue and rehabilitate mistreated horses. Amy prefers treating horses with natural remedies and therapies, over traditional methods. Having experienced trauma resulting in psychological issues herself, the series follows Amy’s story as she overcomes her own issues whilst working tirelessly to help horses. Heartland has a target readership 8-14 year olds.”

My Review:

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading every book in the Heartland series. I’ve forever been interested in equine behaviour and welfare, so reading these heart-warming and uplifting stories became a lovely past-time for me whilst in school. I even encouraged my friends to start reading Heartland! I would definitely recommend this series to any child who loves horses. However, regardless of the fact this series was written for children, I am certain adults would enjoy this series just as much – especially if they hold interest in the field of equine behaviour and alternative remedies.”

The Silver Brumby Series by Elyne Mitchell

About the Author:

“Australian author Sybil Elyne Keith Mitchell was a keen horsewoman, famous for her series of children’s novels. Elyne Mitchell won many awards for her writing.”

Book Description:

“The Silver Brumby series follows the adventures of creamy-silver stallion Thowra and his herd of wild horses. The reason Thowra is known as ‘The Silver Brumby’ is because during winter Thowra’s cream coat becomes much paler, having an almost silver shine. In combination with his silvery mane and tail, Thowra’s pale winter coat blends into his native snowy landscape. A rarity for a brumby, since their coats are usually black, bay, grey or chestnut.”

My Review:

“Wonderful stories following the adventures of wild brumbies in Australia. I read these stories as a child, and believed them fantastic! Usually finding stories originating from Britain or America, to learn about the Australian landscape through these magical stories offered a lovely reading experience I believe children today would also thoroughly enjoy.”

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

About the Author:

“American author who primarily wrote horse stories for children, Walter Farley’s most famous book was ‘The Black Stallion’ published in 1941.”

Book Description:

“Following the story of a wild stallion known as ‘the Black’ or ‘ShΓͺtΓ’n’ who encountered young boy Alec Ramsay, and ended up stranded on an island with him. They form the strongest bond. When they’re eventually rescued, the Black and Alec are found to be a formidable racing partnership – and are trained by retired racehorse trainer Henry Dailey. Due to the fact his breeding isn’t documented, the Black races as a mystery stallion, enabling young Alec to remain his jockey.”

My Review:

“I’ve never been a fan of horse racing. Though The Black Stallion wasn’t purely about racing. It told the tale of the unique bond between a horse and his boy, brought together under unique circumstances. The Black Stallion novel is full of descriptions depicting the time in which it was written, providing an outlook that may have otherwise been lost to future generations.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this time capsule of book reviews πŸ™‚

Take care <3

Best wishes,