Book reviews, Non fiction

Sing Backwards And Weep by Mark Lanegan – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Kurt Cobain’s best friend and former Queens of the Stone Age member unveils the gritty underbelly of the Seattle music scene in the most honest and unflinching grunge memoir to date

When the rock maverick and grunge pioneer Mark Lanegan first arrived in Seattle in the mid-1980s, he was just another nihilistic waster seeking catharsis from rock ‘n’ roll. Yet little did he know that less than a decade later he would rise to fame as the apocalyptic frontman of one of the most trailblazing grunge bands of all time and soon fall from grace as a low-level crack dealer and a homeless heroin addict while watching some of his closest friends rocket to the forefront of popular music. Nearly three decades later, Lanegan is ready to revisit his gritty past in a gripping memoir Sing Backwards and Weep published in April 2020 by Orion’s new music imprint White Rabbit.

A sinister chronicle of the most tumultuous times of his life, from the formative years of his neoteric rock band Screaming Trees to his brutally honest accounts on the hardships of his life, Lanegan’s memoir is an unembellished tale of one of the most romanticised decades in rock history. From addiction to touring, petty crime, homelessness and the tragic deaths of his closest friends including Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley, Lanegan masterfully interweaves these stories into a coarse fabric of his life that is bursting with creativity yet dripping with drugs. With a voice that’s as “scratchy as a three-day beard yet as supple and pliable as moccasin leather” as once described by Pitchfork, Lanegan’s hoarse penmanship is much like his musicianship with its desolate yet highly nuanced and poetic narrative. From the back of the van to the front of the bar, from hotel room to emergency room, onstage, backstage and everywhere in between, Lanegan’s words flow eloquently from once city to another, from one year to another and one tragedy to another.

Between the chaotic years of touring and addiction, music remains the paradoxical anchor of hope glimmering on the bottom of the barrel, offering solace yet simultaneously pulling Lanegan further into the darkness. Sing Backwards and Weep tracks his artistic journey through a series of stories about his fellow musicians like Cobain whose impact on Lanegan’s music remains infinite. Their artistic camaraderie plays a central part in Lanegan’s life story, all the way from their first meeting to long phone calls on music and girls, jam sessions filled with brotherly love and eventually the bitter end with Lanegan being the last person Cobain spoke to before his death. Lanegan’s memoir offers a unique chance to be immersed in the sonic wonderland of influences behind his hauntingly raw signature sound by revisiting his first encounters with cult musicians and friends like Nick Drake and Nick Cave as well as dipping into his personal playlists of the time that included the likes of Leonard Cohen and Neil Young.

Sing Backwards and Weep tracks the volatile rise and fall of Screaming Trees in an unsparing manner while diving deep into Lanegan’s personal struggles. Unflinchingly raw and powerful to the bone, Sing Backwards and Weep is not your usual celebrity memoir with a pseudo-inspirational tag line, it goes beyond that by telling a story of a man watching his dreams catch fire yet finding a way to drag himself out of the wreckage as one of the most extraordinary musicians of our time.

Mark Lanegan on Sing Backwards and Weep: ”I am excited, honoured, and quite humbled that Lee has chosen my story to be the first White Rabbit release.”

White Rabbit founder Lee Brackstone: “Two days before I started at White Rabbit, this manuscript arrived, and I acquired it a few days later. It is a monumental book. I can’t compare it to any other memoir that has emerged from the music world. It’s a story of trauma, suffering, dysfunction, survival – and making great art out of all of that. It is staggeringly brave, honest and terrifying. I’ve no doubt it will become the classic account of the Seattle scene and its aftershocks into the 90s. It’s an heroic act to have committed these stories to the page and it shows Lanegan’s great courage and integrity that he has gone back and revisited these experiences. It’s a book full of horror and degradation, the pain of addiction and the depravity it encourages. I think it will be a helpful book for many people because it shows an artist laid bare, all the vulnerabilities and failings. It makes 90% of other music memoirs look like fakes and I learned from publishing Viv Albertine, that readers respond to the bare truth more than anything else.”

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MY REVIEW 

Sing Backwards And Weep is Mark Lanegan’s autobiography and it’s brutally honest and so fascinating.

It tells of his journey to success as a member of The Screaming Trees, in the 80’s and 90’s, and his fall into drug addiction. This is not a pity party, just a dark, honest and at times humourless tale of an extraordinary life.

I found this to be a fascinating, entertaining and compelling read, a look into the darker side of a life in the music industry.

Thank you to Bei at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT MARK LANEGAN

Mark Lanegan (b. 1964) is an American alternative rock musician and singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of our time. He is the founding member of influential psychedelic grunge band Screaming Trees and was a full-time member of Queens of The Stone Age between 2000-2014 when he also penned the theme song for Anthony Bourdain’s award-winning TV show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown with QOTSA front man Josh Homme. He has collaborated with a long list of industry heavy weights over the years, including Massive Attack, Moby, Warpaint, UNKLE, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Eagles of Death Metal amongst others. Lanegan lives in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT WHITE RABBIT

White Rabbit is a new imprint published by former Faber Social impresario Lee Brackstone launching in April 2020. In its inaugural year of 2020, White Rabbit will publish twelve titles by music industry legends like Carl Cox, Richard Russell, Mark Lanegan, Annie Nightingale, Chris Frantz and Jehnny Beth of Savages amongst others. Dedicated to publishing the most innovative books and voices in music and literature, Brackstone aims to build on the uniquely successful publishing he was responsible for at Faber Social with authors like The Beastie Boys, Viv Albertine and Jon Save. Brackstone’s titles for his Orion imprint indicate the range and personality of a list that will indicate the range and personality of a list that will encompass memoir, history, fiction, translation, illustrated books and high-spec limited editions.

 

ABOUT THE ORION PUBLISHING GROUP

 

Where every story matter.

 

Book reviews, Fantasy

The Girl And The Stars by Mark Lawrence – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

East of the Black Rock, out on the ice, lies a hole down which broken children are thrown.

On the vastness of the ice there is no room for individuals. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is different.

Torn from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her life with, Yaz has to carve a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of danger.

Beneath the ice, Yaz will learn that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined.

She will learn that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she will learn to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest can you see the stars.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in the same universe as The Book Of The Ancestor series (Red Sister being one of my favourite fantasy novels), this is the tale of Yaz.

Yaz is a broken child, at 16 she is headed for the gathering and is expecting to be thrown into the pit with the other broken children. But, when her brother, Zeen is thrown down and she is spared, she jumps after him……

Here she finds another world, with survivors of the drop, a society that has been there for years. But Zeen is nowhere to be found……..so she sets out to find her little brother..

This is a tale of ice and cold, of magic, of stars in the darkness. 

It has cannibals, black ice that taints others, of corruption and power, but it’s also about a young girl accepting her ability to tap into the river is not a weakness, but strength. Can she save Zeen?

I love this book. Yaz is a great character, full of doubts but also determination to do what’s right. I loved being back on Abeth, with mentions of the places from Red Sister, but also very different as this is life on the ice and below it. For me it had a sense of wonder and atmosphere that reminded me of when I read The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin many years ago…..but this is very different, with fantastic world building, great characters and a wonderful plot…..and that end!!! Utterly brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/3bNEGaT 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. His first trilogy, The Broken Empire, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy, and both The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim have won the Gemmell Legend award for best fantasy novel. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Brist

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction

Q by Christina Dalcher – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.

Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.

Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.

But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…

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MY REVIEW 

What is your Q score?

Everyone is tested monthly, at school and work to find your score. It’s based on IQ, your timeliness (you lose points if you’re late for class or work), health and family wealth. 

Elena is a teacher, her husband Malcolm works in the Department of Education, so Elena’s score is improved by his status. They have two daughters, Anne and Freddie, both are doing well, even if Freddie needs a little help. But then Freddie’s score inexplicably drops…..with terrible consequences.

Q is a dystopian thriller, that’s truly terrifying as it feels so possible. In these current times we hear that if you are no longer young and healthy, you are expendable, so what if someone decided only those with a specific IQ, health and social standing score were worth life?  It’s then only a small step away from the eugenics of Q.

But, this is also the tale of maternal love, how far will Elena go to keep Freddie safe? 

I found Q to be a gripping, disturbing thriller and I read this in one sitting, I just had to know how it was going to end…..oh my ! 

It’s well written, with great characters and a very clever plot.  I loved Elena, even with her spiteful past, Lissa and Ruby Jo are brilliant and Malcolm is a truly despicable excuse of a man, which makes this a tense, terrifying and heartbreaking read. Utterly compelling.

Thank you to HQ, the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Q for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2XNlKov

 

Book reviews, Fantasy

The Heron Kings By Eric Lewis – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

After a warlord slaughters her patients, Sister Alessia quits the cloister and strikes out on her own to heal the victims of a brutal dynastic conflict. Her roaming forest camp unwittingly becomes the center of a vengeful peasant insurgency, raiding the forces of both sides to survive. Alessia struggles to temper their fury as well as tend wounds, consenting to ever greater violence to keep her new charges safe. When they uncover proof of a foreign conspiracy prolonging the bloodshed, Alessia risks the very lives she’s saved to expose the truth and bring the war to an end.
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MY REVIEW 

Alessia, a novice in the temple of Polytheon, treats all those injured in the War that is raging. But a Lord enters the temple and slaughters all those deemed on the other side. As a result Mother Tanusia decrees only those fighting o. The side of this Lord will be treated, leaving anyone else to die at the gates.

Alessia decides to leave and do her physic-ing without restriction. Travelling alone she eventually meets Ulnoth, whose family had been killed by soldiers and is hell bent on revenge.

Gradually they meet others and become a small band of survivors with no allegiance to any and call themselves The Heron Kings.

When they find plans of a conspiracy they decide to join the war with them aim of ending it once and for all.

A well paced tale with great characters, Alessia being my personal favourite, lots of scheming, violence, blood and gore in a clever plot that makes this a gripping read from start to finish.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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By day Eric Lewis is a PhD research chemist weathering the latest rounds of mergers and layoffs and still trying to remember how to be a person again long after surviving grad school. In addition to subjecting his writing to one rejection after another, he can be found gathering to himself

as many different sharp and pointies as possible and searching for the perfect hiking trail, archery range of single malt Scotch. Don’t ask where, because he’s never lived anywhere for longer than five years.

His short fiction has been published in Nature, Electric Spec, Allegory, Bards and Sages Quarterly, the anthologies Into Darkness Peering, Best Indie Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 and Crash Code, as well as other venues detailed at ericlewis.ink. THE HERON KINGS is his first novel. 

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices. 

Book reviews, Horror

Boy In The Box by Marc E. Fitch – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

This is what true horror is meant to be, quiet and thoughtful, an eerie sense of something lurking just ahead in your path with no way of escape.” — Eric J. Guignard, award-winning author and editor, including That Which Grows Wild and A World of Horror

Ten years ago a mysterious and tragic hunting accident deep in the Adirondack Mountains left a boy buried in a storied piece of land known as Coombs’ Gulch and four friends with a terrible secret.

Now, Jonathan Hollis and brothers Michael and Conner Braddick must return to the place that changed their lives forever in order to keep their secret buried. What they don’t realize is that they are walking into a trap — one set decades earlier by a supernatural being who is not confined by time or place: a demon that demands a sacrifice.

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MY REVIEW 

Jonathan, Gene, Michael and Conner had a boys weekend away, with laughs, drinking and hunting. But, by accident a young boy is shot, panicking and not thinking straight they decide to bury the body in a box in the woods. Who was this boy and why was he alone in the woods?

For 10 years the guilt has eaten at them all, Gene couldn’t take it any more and took his own life. At the funeral, the other three talk as they’ve found out developers are about to start digging. So they return to the woods planning on digging up and re- burying the boy’s body.

But while they are in the woods, things start to get creepy, is something there with them? The tension builds as the men begin to unravel.

This is full of tension and atmosphere, in a dark psychological horror that’s gripping with some real goosebumpy moments. Not one to read at night……Brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Marc E. Fitch is the author of the novels Old Boone Blood, Paradise Burns and Dirty Water, as well as the books Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot and Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science. His short fiction has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including Best Horror of the Year vol 10.

Marc received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University and has worked as a bartender, psychiatric technician for in- patient behavioral health hospitals, and most recently as an investigative reporter for a public-policy organization. He was the recipient of the 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship and the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize. He is the father of four children and lives and works in Connecticut.

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Romance

The Museum Of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated – a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby’s shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display.

Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences.

It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.

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MY REVIEW 

Laure lives in Paris and is the curator of The Museum Of Broken Promises. People arrive to donate items, a baby shoe, a biscuit tin and more, each of which have stories behind them.

Stories of betrayals, lost loves, lies and upsets in their lives and by donating these treasures and their memorIes they find a peace, a letting go of the past. Laure has donated her own item, a train ticket.

Told in two timelines, the present and 1986, it tells of the political turmoil in Prague in the 80’s, the harshness of the communist regime and the people who lived it.

It’s also a love story with romance, fear, loss and heartbreak.

Beautifully written with a real sense of time and place. I found this to be haunting and unforgettable. A must read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Elizabeth Buchan was a fiction editor at Random House before leaving to write full time. Her novels include the prizewinning Consider The Lily, international bestseller, Revenge Of The Middle Aged Woman and The New Mrs Clifton. Buchan’s short stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines. She reviews for The Sunday Times and Daily Mail and has chaired the Betty Trask and Desmond Elliot Literary prizes.

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Horror

The Wrongful Death by Kenneth B. Andersen – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise. 

The Wrong Death is volume 3 of The Great Devil War series.

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MY REVIEW 

In The Wrongful Death, Philip is now settled with his role in Hell, but now is able to come and go.

But when Sam (who Philip had been mistaken for in Book 1 and is the reason he is now Satan’s right hand man) accidentally arrives in Hell the mayhem begins.

Satan is busy with Hell’s ‘issues’ and wants Philip to find Sam……

There’s mystery, intrigue, betrayal and even a visit to Heaven. With humour and great characters this is another great read from Kenneth B. Andersen and I’m already looking forward to Book 4.

Thank you to The Write Reads for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Political thriller, Thriller

The F*ck It List by John Niven – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You are dying. Who do you kill? 

Set in a near-future America, an America that has borne two terms of a Trump Presidency and is now in the first term of Donald’s daughter as president, Frank Brill, a retired small-town newspaper editor, lives in a world where the populist policies Trump is currently so keen to pursue have been a reality for some years and are getting even more extreme – an erosion of abortion rights, less and less gun control, xenophobic immigration policies.

Frank, a good man, has just been given a terminal diagnosis. Rather than compile a bucket list of all the things he’s ever wanted to do in his life, he instead has at the ready his ‘fuck-it list’. Because Frank has had to endure more than his fair share of personal misfortune. And he has the names of those who are to blame for all of the tragedies that have befallen him.

But eventually, as he becomes more accustomed to dishing out cold revenge and the stakes get higher and higher, and with a rogue county sheriff on his tail, there only remains one name left at the bottom of his fuck-it list.

Part political satire, part compulsive thriller, The F*ck-it List is John Niven at his coruscating best.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in 2026, America and Frank’s Doctor tells him he has cancer, but he knew this already….it’s time to get out the list,

This is a tale of politics and hatred, the consequences of these on lives in the real world and a man with nothing left to lose.

The F*ck It List tells of a dystopian America ruled by the Trump family! It’s terrifying in that the US seems to be only one very small step away from the events in this story.

It’s a dark, road trip that’s racing toward a tragic end. Frank is a man who has messed up his personal life more than once, but just when it’s settled and he is actually sober and happy the rug is pulled out from under him, over and over. He’s flawed but likeable and you have every sympathy for him….

This cautionary tale is full of dark humour, it’s tragic, fierce and disturbing and I loved every minute.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/John-Niven/The-Fck-it-List/24883550

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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John Niven was born in Irvine, Ayrshire. He is the author of the novella Music From The Big Pink and the novels, Kill Your Friends, The Amateurs, The Second Coming, Cold Hands, Straight White Male, The Sunshine Cruise, No Good Deeds and Kill ‘Em All.

 

Audiobook, Book reviews, Non fiction

Animal Societies By Ashley Ward – Audiobook Review

 

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In our modern world of social media and relentless technological advancement, we are more connected than ever before. Though the scale of this connectivity is new, the instinctive desire to gather with our own kind has ancient roots. We can see the origins of our own societies in the social behaviour of the animals that share the planet with us. What’s more, human characteristics such as altruism, empathy, leadership and language can also be witnessed among animal groups. 

Join Biologist Ashley Ward as he takes listeners into the intimate worlds of social animals. Journeying from Aysgarth Falls to the Great Barrier Reef, it becomes clear that animals are not so far removed from us as we might imagine. In a time where humans are struggling to navigate cityscapes, isolation and a loneliness epidemic, Ward shows us that studying the social behaviour of animals offers insights valuable in their own right as well as a window into the evolutionary basis of our own species.

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MY REVIEW 

Animal Societies is read by Ashley Ward and his passion clearly comes across, as does his humour. It’s full of marvellous descriptions, such as a storm at sea and fascinating insights into the social nature of the animal world.

It covers the behaviours of so many different species, including krill, cockroaches, bees, fish, baboons, chimps and even whales. I’ve learnt so much,  from a bees waggle dance to the features of whale pooh…….oh that image !

Great narration and an amazing subject makes this an absolutely engrossing listen, perfect for anyone with an interest in the mysterious world of animal behaviour.

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook from Audible.com, to take part in this blog tour and for the promotional material. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Available here from Audible.com : https://amzn.to/2Y2uGX3

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Play by C.S. Barnes – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How do you solve a case when there isn’t a crime scene?

When DI Melanie Watton and her team are called in to investigate a video recording that surfaces in a local school, they realise that they have a complex case on their hands.

When the recording is studied by the Medical Examiner, it becomes apparent the team are now faced with a gruesome recording of a murder. Over the course of several minutes, the killer administers drugs before suffocating a man on camera.  With no known crime scene, the team have nothing more than the video evidence in front of them and face a challenge to identify both the victim and the killer.

But when a suspect is discovered Melanie and her team are up against a killer who is more evil than anyone could have imagined…

Play can be read as the sequel to C.S. Barnes’ mystery thriller, Copycat or as an unmissable stand-alone. If you are a fan of detective stories by authors such as Helen H. Durrant and Angela Marsons, then you’ll love this unmissable police series.

C.S. Barnes is also the author of the critically-acclaimed psychological thriller, Intention.
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MY REVIEW

This is the second book to feature DI Melanie Watton, but can also easily be read as a stand-alone.

Play starts with a video being passed around pupils in a school, but when a teacher sees it he realises this may show a murder and so calls the police.

DI Melanie Watton and her team begin the investigation by trying to identify the man in the video, but things get dark when this is identified as real, a snuff movie. This takes them to the dark web and worry that this may not be an isolated murder.

Wow….this is a police procedural with a really dark edge, it has up to date tech, great likeable characters and a twisted, complex plot to keep you gripped from start to finish. Dark, disturbing and utterly engrossing and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

Thank you to C.S Barnes for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

YOU THOUGHT IT WAS THE PERFECT FLAT…

When Jessie moves into a flatshare at Maver Place, she’s finally found a decent place to live.

And when she’s befriended by fellow tenants Lauren and Sofie, she’s got great flatmates to share it with.

You think she’s safe. You think she can trust these people.

You’re wrong.

When you flatshare, how well do you really know the people that you’re living with?

The Wrong Move is a dark, twisty domestic thriller following Jessie, who moves into a new flatshare in Brighton with three other flatmates. She thinks she’s found the perfect place to live – but when she learns that a previous flatmate has disappeared in suspicious circumstances, she starts to doubt if she can really trust these strangers after all.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in Brighton, Jessie is looking for a new flat share after ending an abusive relationship. After many viewings she finds the perfect place to live. Her flat mates are friendly, some more than others. 

Lauren is super friendly and welcoming, helping a Jessie to settle in, Sofie is in a relationship with the ego that is Henry and is rarely at home and Marcus is quiet and a bit of a loner, but friendly and helpful,

For the first couple of months everything is fine and settled but then Jessie’s anxiety ramps up due to odd little incidents……what happened to the previous occupant of her room, Magda? 

Who can she really trust? 

I really enjoyed The Wrong Move, it has a creeping, subtle tension which is enhanced by the clever writing, the way the perspective of the narrative changes between the characters, sometimes within the same paragraph really added to the weird sense of unease.

An unsettling, gripping and thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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JENNIFER SAVIN is an award-winning journalist and currently Features Writer at Cosmopolitan. Jennifer has a particular passion for investigative journalism – something which has found her in all manner of situations, from going undercover to share a tiny bedroom with a stranger for 10 days while tackling the housing crisis, to going undercover to expose the ‘landloards’ offering vulnerable women free rent in exchange for sex.

 

The Wrong Move is her debut novel.

 

You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniSavin

and Instagram @savcity 

Book reviews, Family drama, Mystery

The Girl In The White Dress by Paul Barrell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Girl in the White Dress is quite simply unforgettable and unputdownable. It is based on a true story . Every Family has secrets. Imagine discovering you were guilty of something you can’t remember. 

1974 A family from London take a trip of a lifetime to the Caribbean aboard the cruise liner Oriana. 2005 The Peak District. Following the death of his wife , Paul finds a menu card from the Oriana covered in personal messages from the ghosts of his childhood.

One particular address catches his eye , and memories are stirred as he begins to dream about a girl in a white dress.Gradually with his mothers help he starts to unravel the identity of a long forgotten childhood sweetheart, and the disturbing truth about an incident that took place in their cabin.Something that would implicate his whole family, a Pandoras box of lies and deceit. Paul never saw the girl again after the cruise.

Their shared guilt had remained hidden for 30 years. That was until today… It is a remarkable true story about loss and grief, and one person’s quest for the truth. 

Sometimes in life things happen to us that are beyond our control; you don’t need to believe in ghosts or the supernatural, just believe in the Universe and the threads of random chance that link us all together.

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MY REVIEW

The Girl In The White Dress is a tale of guilt.

Paul had been on a cruise with his family when he was 13 years old, he remembers very little about the trip though, until he finds an old signed dinner menu from the ship, The Oriana.

He begins to have nightmares about a young woman and water, and with his mother’s help he decides to try to find one of the guests.

Here secrets long forgotten are unearthed. Can Paul make amends and put things right?

A well written, fast paced tale that keeps you engrossed from start to finish. Beautifully descriptive and has a real sense of time and place too. An entertaining read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Paul Barrell is a keen sportsman and has skied all over the world. He is a serial entrepreneur and has owned restaurants, wine companies and is passionate about food and wine. He came to writing later than most and writes about people and events that have shaped his life. 

His first book, Postcards From Pimlico is currently being turned into a screenplay for TV. He now lives in the Surrey Hills with his wife and rescue dog, Lottie.

 

Twitter @paulbarrell

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Psychlogical thriller

The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The dark and breathtakingly tense new novel from the queen of psychological thrillers

A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’ wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?

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MY REVIEW

Jemma and Matt had been invited to the wedding of Lucas and Nina at the beautiful Polskirran in Cornwall. But after a tragedy the wedding is cancelled. But now on the anniversary Lucas has invited everyone back…..but why?

Lucas tells everyone they are going to play a game…..but things take a nasty turn…

The police arrive and Stephanie King begins her investigation.

This is such a gripping read, with great characters, a twisty involved plot that really keeps you guessing and so much tension from start to finish. A thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Rachel Abbott began her career as an independent author in 2011, with Only the Innocent, which became a No.1 bestseller on Kindle, topping the chart for four weeks. Since then, she has published eight further psychological thrillers and sold over 3 million copies. She is one of the top-selling authors of all time in the UK Kindle store, and her novels have been translated into 21 languages.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction.

 

#TheMurderGame

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer

Book reviews, Non fiction, Poetry

The Princess Of Felling by Elaine Cusack – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Princess Of Felling describes Elaine’s childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970’s and 1980’s. 

The book pays homage to her hometown of Felling on Tyne and is an extended loving letter to her late parents.

This illustrated poetic memoir features a Foreword by Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Rossena Petcova and unique maps by poet and artist Steve Lancaster.

The book contains reminiscence by Felling folk plus guest appearances by Nick Heyward, David Almond, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, The Reverend Richard Coles, Lady Elsie Robson, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gyles Brandreth and more.

 

Available for the publisher www.limelightclassics.com

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MY REVIEW

This is an absolutely charming memoir of growing up in the North East…full of memories from friends and neighbours, to the music, film and tv of the time. 

It’s warm, funny and sad at times too.

I love the illustrations and photographs which bring back memories of childhood and the poems are gentle, funny and packed with emotion. A little treasure of a read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

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Www.dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com

Promo

*PROMO* – TIDELANDS by Philippa Gregory

ONLY 99p at the moment….    https://amzn.to/2xIGRxn

THE BRAND NEW SERIES FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR

England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . . .

Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament.  The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast.

Alinor, a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in-the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband.  Instead she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life.

Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbours. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.

‘The first in a planned series . . . The author crafts her material with effortless ease. Her grasp of social mores is brilliant, the love story rings true and the research is, as ever, of the highest calibre‘    Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail

Book reviews, Mental Health, Womens fiction

Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.

Brilliantly tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a glorious new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.

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MY REVIEW 

Judy is a bit of a mess, she has separated from husband Gary, he’s still living in the house and smoking/eating a lot of pot for medicinal reasons. Teddy, her son is now a teenager, moody, quiet and is embarrassed by his mum. Judy just wants her adoring little boy back.

Then one day, she finds a baby sling, an old present she had stuffed to the back of a drawer as she found it ridiculous, but she puts it on and tries several things to mimic the feel of a baby……..without joy until she tries the dog. The little sheltie settles in, kept happy with a ‘bully stick’ and other scrumptious treats!!!!!! Judy starts to feel a little better, with some comfort but others think she’s a bit weird…

This is the tale of life in all its messy glory, the good, the bad and the downright hideous. It’s told with lots of humour but also with sadness and a little hope. You’ll love Judy and all her foibles, you’ll laugh with her and cry with her too. A thoroughly entertaining and heartwarming read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Laura Zigman is the author of ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, which was a bestseller and was made into the film Someone Like You, starring Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd), Dating Big Bird, Piece of Work and Her. She has also been a contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, son and deeply human Sheltie. 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

I Am Dust by Louise Beech – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

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MY REVIEW

Oh my heart, where do I start…..?

I Am Dust is set against the background of a busy theatre and is told in two timelines, 2005 and 2019. In 2005 three teenagers play a game, a game involving a ouija board……they want ‘powers’. But be careful what you wish for.

In 2019 Chloe still works in the theatre but starts to remember bits and pieces from the past….she sees and hears strange voices and she wonders if any of it is real. 

Then Ginger comes home and Chloe remembers!

I love this book, the characters are so real from the troubled Chloe and her self harm, Ginger and her ambition to the larger than life Chester, I felt for them all. 

This is a beautifully written tale, full of emotion, of love and longing with a poignancy that will cause tears. The supernatural edge gives this a darkness and some really creepy and goosebumpy moments. An incredible supernatural thriller, a definite must read and I love it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here : https://amzn.to/2XGw8OF   Or better still an independent bookstore…..  (Really you should, it’s a brilliant read !!!)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, YA fiction

The Book Of Koli by M.R Carey – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is — what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

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MY REVIEW

Young Koli has grown up in Mythen Rood in Ingland. It’s not an easy life, summers are hot, winters are cold and the trees want to kill you…..so does the wildlife and the shunned men.

Some people are born able to control the ancient tech that keeps the society going…these are the Ramparts, but Koli finds out a secret and an adventure begins.

I loved the world building,  the fantastic creatures and the moving trees…although the Choker tree seeds that burrow into flesh and sprout are a thing of nightmares…I have to admit to struggling at first with Koli’s manner of speaking…..written like a 5 years olds grammar……but once I got used to it I found it charming and fit Koli’s character.

Well written, great characters and with a clever plot all make this a thoroughly engaging read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

 

Book reviews, Science fiction

Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang – Book Review @MidasPR @HoZ_Books #Vagabonds

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In 2096, after Earth has successfully colonised Mars, a war of independence erupts and Mars breaks away from Earth’s rule. Over the next century, two radically different societies develop, each regarding the other with mutual suspicion. Eventually, Mars sends a group of young delegates to spend five years on Earth in an attempt at reconciliation.

In 2196, the delegates are brought home to Mars, along with a group of representatives from Earth. Among them is Luoying, an eighteen-year-old dance student and the granddaughter of the governor of Mars.

As Luoying and her friends struggle to reacclimatise to Martian society, she tries to uncover the secrets of the past: what caused the mysterious deaths of her parents, and why was she really sent to Earth? Under the growing threat of interplanetary war, Luoying is left questioning the future of Mars – and man’s place on it.

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MY REVIEW

Luoyang is returning home to Mars after spending 5 years on Earth. The Mercury Group, a group of young people had been sent to study and live on Earth by Luoyang’s grandfather, the governor or Mars.

On her return she realises the differences between the two planets is not as vast as she believed and wonders where she now belongs. She is a vagabond.

Eko, is a filmmaker on Earth and has travelled to Mars to do the same, to document the society that Earth believes is a dictatorship. He is also searching for reasons why his beloved teacher had spent many years on Mars, only to return to Earth.

This really is an epic science fiction tale, but there are no aliens, sandworms or space battles, it’s about politics and society. On Earth, thoughts and ideas are monetised, everything is about profit, pure Capitalism. On Mars, thoughts are shared, art is purely for arts sake and available to all. Money is not sought as the be all and end all and income is based on age, housing is allocated depending on which Atelier (work or section you choose to be part of) Socialism in action.

But, both societies have their problems. It’s not utopia/dystopia but a mix of both. 

I loved the way this is written, the language used is almost poetic at times and I felt this is really a coming of age tale as Luoyang tries to find her place in life and where she feels she belongs and she questions her experiences both societies, the good and bad of each.

It’s not a quick read at 600 pages, but it’s beautifully written and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. I loved every minute. 

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here:  https://amzn.to/3a5dQt9

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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From Clarkesworld magazine:

In 2002, Hao Jingfang was awarded the First Prize in the New Concept Writing Competition. She gained her undergraduate degree from Tsinghua University’s Department of Physics and her Ph.D. from the same university in Economics and Management in 2012. Her fiction has appeared in various publications, including Mengya, Science Fiction World and ZUI Found. She has published two full-length novels, Wandering Maearth and Return to Charon; a book of cultural essarys, Europe in Time; and the short story collection, Star Travellers. Her fiction has appeared before in English translation in Lightspeed and Uncanny 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

8 1/2 Stone by Liz Jones – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 

When I reach eight and a half stone:

 

  • I will be able to shop in Topshop. If only I could fit in a size 10 or an 8, just walk in a shop and not even have to try it on because let’s face it I will be straight up and down, then everything would slot neatly into place, completing the easiest jigsaw puzzle in the world: all straight edges.

 

  • I will be able to go swimming and not displace all the water and create a tsunami.

 

  • I will fit in changing rooms, without banging my elbows or exposing the moon of my arse through the curtain when I bend over.

 

  • I will be able to fit behind the narrow benches at Ronnie Scott’s to listen to jazz instead of being offered a chair, at the end.

 

  • I will be promoted and not have my desk moved to inside the stationery cupboard.

 

 

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MY REVIEW 

This is quite difficult to review in that it deals with how we perceive ourselves, how we believe if we were thinner, richer, healthier , then all our problems would disappear and we could be happy.

But, the person we are will still be there and until we accept that person in all its shapes and sizes then no amount of changes made to our appearance will make much difference to how we feel.

8 ½ Stone is full of humour and sarcasm, it is also desperately sad at times too. It made me laugh and cry at its honesty. A tale of self acceptance and once we do that life may just be a little easier. 

Thank you to Martina at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Liz Jones’s novel, Eight and a Half Stone, is out in ebook on 12th April, £8.99, available on all outlets including Apple Books and Kindle. A paperback follows in August

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Liz Jones has millions of readers across the world and was shortlisted five times in the last six years as Columnist of the Year at the British Press Awards and Columnist of the Year 2012 at the BSME awards. Liz Jones, former editor-in-chief of Marie Claire — where she ran a high profile campaign to ban skinny models — fashion editor at the Daily Mail and now columnist at the Mail on Sunday, grew up in Essex, and suffered from eating disorders from the age of 11 until her late thirties.

 

#EightAndAHalfStone