Book Review of Leicester Writes Short Story Prize Anthology 2020

I’m not completely sure where my obsession with short stories started from but it is fairly new I think and I’m now so interested in reading them. This book is in its fourth year. I’ve read the first two books, somehow missed out on getting the 2019 one and have just recently finished this on. There are twenty stories and although they are all amazing, I have picked out some of the ones that left a lasting impression.

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Think Like a Monk

Think like a Monk: Train your mind for peace and purpose every day by Jay Shetty.

I don’t normally do a book review until I’ve finished reading it but I thought I would give a taster for this only because, right now he is in the middle of a 20-day meditation and passages from his book reading session (by middle I mean day 5) which he is doing live at 5.30 pm on Facebook and Instagram.

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Loving Insights

This is an extract from the book Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen from Chapter 3:

  • Meditate, meditate, and keep on meditating until you’ve learned to let go of all the things you fear to lose.
  • Take the step. Don’t be afraid. Follow your intuition, wherever it takes you.
  • You will always be okay! Money and material things come to you when you dare to trust in life’s ability to take you exactly where you need to go. When we live in fear we create tense vibrations that keep the things we long for at a distance. Worrying is praying for what we don’t want to happen. Focus on what you want, not what you fear!
  • Do no harm – but take no shit!
  • Ask the universe for what you want. If you don’t know what you want in life, how are you ever going to create the life of your dreams? Write down everything you want to create. Be detailed. Take all the active steps you need to take. Ask for what you want and keep your intentions loving and clear.
  • Explore the world and soak up the wisdom that lies in every lesson you learn along the way. Life is meant to be an adventure.

The full review of the Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen can be found here: Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

Some quotes to download can be found here as a PDF:

The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse

I’ve read this book by Charlie Mackesy once already but now my daughter is reading at school, it’s made me want to read it again.

The book is very simple and easy to read but the meanings behind them are so profound, it’s beautiful. Each page can be read on its own and you can dip in and out as you please with beautiful pictures of the four characters. Some of the pictures are in colour and some are in black and white sketches. Seeing them on Instagram and possibly other social media platforms make it easier to be reminded of them.

I’ve added some links to my favourite pages that he has on Instagram.

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The Hands Free Pledge

I want to make memories,
Not to-do lists.

I want to feel the squeeze of my child’s arms,
Not the pressure of over-commitment.

I want to get lost in conversation with the people I love,
Not consumed by a sea of unimportant emails.

I want to be overwhelmed by sunsets that give me hope,
Not by overloaded agendas that steal my joy.

I want the noise of my life to be a mixture of laughter and gratitude,
Not the intrusive buzz of cell phones and text messages.

I am letting go of distraction & perfection
To live a more simple life consisting of what really matters.

I’m living Hands Free.

© Rachel Macy Stafford 2010

Thought this poem would be apt especially with lockdown easing and the busy-ness of life slowly coming back.

I’ve attached links to two of her book reviews that I have done here:

Hands Free Mama

Hands Free Life

Rachel has also written another two books which I still need to read. They are Only Love Today and Love, Live Now.

Superattractor by Gabrielle Bernstein

Even though I bought this book as soon as it came out, it took me a while to read it. I think the main reason I resisted was because the last book I read by Gabrielle Bernstein had so much food for thought that I felt like I needed the headspace to be ready to read this book. 


Eventually I did start the book and then with the manifesting challenge coming up in January I decided I wanted to finish it before it started. The book was deeply thoughtful as expected.

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The Almost Mothers

My book review of The Almost Mothers by Laura Besley

I was so pleased to receive a preview copy of this book. The fact that the title had mother in it felt like I would be able to relate to it immediately. With a collection of 26 flash fictions and short stories about the joy, pain and strangeness of being a mother, this was a very interesting book. 

A couple of stories were a little futuristic and slightly surreal looking at mothers through aliens eyes or into the future with dire consequences.

Initially, the second story I read shocked me. Calling the baby ‘it’ made me feel uneasy and then leaving ‘it’ in the garage sounded so wrong. I discovered had I read the title I might have guessed what’ it’ was earlier, although by the time I got near the end, everything started making sense. 

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Tales from Garden Street

After over six months of the writing course, our efforts culminated into a short story collection, Tales from Garden Street, that you can download on amazon. The link for this can be found below.

It feels weird writing about a book in which my story is in because I still feel my writing is not that great. But it is out there and published and I do feel honoured and humbled to share this book with so many excellent writers.

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To Love and Let Go

Here is my book review of To Love and Let Go by Rachel Brathen.

Wow! What a powerful and heart-wrenching book. I read this book on a weekend spa break and was openly crying over the pages. I felt like I was there with Rachel Brathen, feeling her pain as she dealt with the death of the three closest people in her life. At the same time, she had to deal with the fragility of her mum’s life and the heartaches that came with her mum trying to commit suicide several times for various reasons.

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