#GuestPost MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH by HANNAH PEARL @ChocLituk @HannahPearl_1

Delighted to be with you today to hand over the blog to the lovely HANNAH PEARL  as she shares some thoughts on her wonderful new book MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH, which was released yesterday.  It’s a book very close to my heart as I have M.E too, so it really struck a chord with me and it’s a book I cannot recommend highly enough… go get your copy NOW!!

Over to you Hannah….


Guest Post: Meet Me on the Buddy Bench by Hannah Pearl

My inspiration for writing Meet Me on the Buddy Bench was to explore what happens when life takes an unexpected turn. It’s all about finding happiness even when life isn’t easy or straightforward. This happened to me when I got ill just over seven years ago and didn’t fully recover. I wanted to write about a character who develops ME as this condition continues to really limit what I can do. It means so much to me to have this opportunity to raise awareness of the condition, but to hopefully do this within a book that reaches past our community and is read more widely too.

Meet Me on the Buddy Bench is a romance, and I hope that people will enjoy watching Ava and Sam fall in love as much as I enjoyed writing their story. Romance books are so powerful, and I needed them when I, like Ava in this book, could suddenly no longer do all of the simple things I once took for granted. I needed their uplift, their positivity, their support, their encouragement. Their reassurance that people do find happiness even when they’ve experienced unexpectedly difficult times. Romance books kept me company when I was suddenly alone for hours at a time. They offered hope and made me laugh and cry in turn.

I hope that this book can entertain people, but if it can also bring comfort or companionship to anyone who needs it, that would make me very happy indeed.


About the Book:

When an ordinary park bench becomes a lifeline …

As a primary school teacher, Ava Lam is familiar with the β€˜buddy bench’: a rainbow painted bench where sad or lonely children can sit to show they need a friend.

But are buddy benches just for kids? Ava might have assumed so – until she finds herself sobbing her heart out on a park bench and a kind stranger sits down next to her.

The stranger, Dr Sam Stone, has a house, an impressive job and he’s even training for a marathon – all things that seem painfully out of Ava’s reach in her new and scary circumstances. But, whilst Sam appears to have everything figured out, it turns out he needs a sympathetic ear just as much as she does.

Is the encounter a one-off, or could the β€˜buddy bench’ begin to represent a source of comfort and support that will become precious to them both?


Buying Links:

 Kindle: https://amzn.to/36YZOxI

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3EuHaKc 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3uYgaQk

 Nook: http://bit.ly/3I0HlOt


About the Author:

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labyrinthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Follow Hannah on Twitter here: @HannahPearl_1



#BookReview Finding Joy by Morven-May MacCallum #LymeDisease #pwME #invisibleillness

About the book

I would like to introduce myself, I feel it’s only fair. Only I know you so well now, you might get a scare. I know you know I’m in there, though I crept with greatest stealth: I am the hidden monster buried within yourself. Joyce is only sixteen when she’s torn from the life she loves. Two years pass, but Joyce, her family, and her best friend Logan, are no closer to learning what’s causing her dizzying array of symptoms. As Joyce tried to come to terms with her increasing limitations those around her struggle to understand what she is going through. Baffled and unsure, the doctors eventually diagnose Joyce with ME and CFS. But when Joyce and her family refuse to accept this diagnosis, her mental stability is called into question. Desperate for the truth and scared for Joyce’s life, their only hope lies in a private hospital where she is finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Can Joyce survive a treatment as brutal as her illness? Can she find her way in a world she no longer recognises?

Published by Brown Dog

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Β£8.99 paperback

hive.co.uk  Β£7.49 paperback

Amazon Kindle Β£3.33


A really insightful and heartfelt story which is obviously written by someone who has gone through the frustration of having an illness such as Lyme, or any of the invisible illnesses, and understands the despondency and isolation that the illness brings and through the character of Joy is able to share her thoughts, hopes and many fears of what lies ahead for her and what it takes to live day to day with an illness that completely devastates you and makes even the simplest of tasks a huge struggle.

Joy is 18 and should be living a life full of amazing adventures and out with friends all the time – but she’s not.  Her days are spent mostly alone and in darkness, but she has the support of her Aunt who she lives with and sees her at her worst and how an illness has robbed her of a life.

What I liked about the way this story was told was that it not only featured the point of view of Joy, but also that of her Aunt Beth and her friend Logan too and that was a inspired way of seeing an illness from different viewpoints.  As a carer Beth gets to see the reality of Joy and the life she lives and that frustration she shows at not being able to get the help for her when needed comes across only too clearly.  And in Logan, it isn’t until he sees Joy at her worst that he truly begins to understand the impact that the illness she is dealing with has on her so it really helps you connect even more with how devastating it can be not only for the sufferer but those around them.

The exhausting journey that Joy and her Aunt go on to get a proper diagnosis is one I’m sure many invisible illness sufferers can really empathise with, and there is also a great use of lists throughout as to many things that go hand in hand with invisible illnesses such as the do’s and don’ts of things to say, the lists of symptoms suffered, the limitations, the preparation needed in achieving an outing or task etc and that also helps give a greater insight into the daily battles someone might be facing.

As a M.E sufferer myself, I found this to be told with such heart and compassion and often had a tear in my eye at the similarities in my experience of life on a day to day basis and it was an emotional story to read that I hope will help others learn a little bit more about illnesses that you can’t see.


My thanks to the author for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.