Book reviews, Mental Health, Non fiction

What Doesn’t Kill You: 15 Stories Of Survival by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska – Book Review

5693362D-338F-448A-A88A-FC2CCF233263
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Contributors include Cathy Rentzenbrink, Rory Bremner, Melanie McGrath (a Mail on Sunday best British writer under thirty-five), Irenosen Okojie (a Betty Trask Prize-winning novelist) David Owen (a Carnegie Medal nominee), Lily Bailey (author of Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought) and Kate Leaver (writer for Glamour UK, Vice and the Guardian)

– Their rich and varied stories show that our struggles need not define us, and can even become the grounds for future success.

– This is the latest groundbreaking anthology from the publishers of The Good Immigrant, Repeal the 8th and Common People.

– For fans of Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive, Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail, Cathy Rentzenbrink’s A Manual For Heartache.

‘A stellar cast of writers and thinkers’ Nathan Filer

An explorer spends a decade preparing for an expedition to the South Pole; what happens when you live for a goal, but once it’s been accomplished, you discover it’s not enough? A successful broadcast journalist ends up broke, drunk and sleeping rough; what makes alcohol so hard to resist despite its ruinous consequences? A teenage girl tries to disappear by starving herself; what is this force that compels so many women to reduce their size so drastically?

In this essay collection, writers share the struggles that have shaped their lives – loss, depression, addiction, anxiety, trauma, identity and others. But as they take you on a journey to the darkest recesses of their mind, the authors grapple with challenges that haunt us all.
4E493AC1-1394-43D5-8F36-D40D2C0C2ABD

MY REVIEW 

What Doesn’t Kill You is a collection of 15 essays written by a wide range of people who share the struggles with mental health they have had, and still do have as part of their lives. Edited by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska.

There are stories of depression, anxiety and panic, of ADHD, anorexia, OCD, alcoholism and more. Tales of people at their lowest ebb, at times desperate and how the authors have accepted these conditions as part of their everyday lives. These are not light reads, but full of honesty and emotion and bring a realisation that we never know what is going on with people behind their smiles!!

I found each of these essays to be incredibly moving, to read people’s inner thoughts and how they find different ways of coping and accepting their condition, it made me think of my own health issues and how I deal with it internally….Truly inspiring and thought provoking. 

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

 

You can buy a copy here : https://amzn.to/3dJaiz5 

 

AUTHOR DETAILS

76B8A702-9AE6-478D-886A-FEB7846D505F

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska went from stock investing in Washington DC to a technology incubator in south-east Asia, then joined the rat race in London and promptly burned out while building a tax software business. To avoid actually getting therapy, she spent the next two years interviewing therapists, 

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.”

254F46F5-4874-4102-A6CE-E2C912D33523

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.

 

Audiobook, Book reviews, Non fiction

Animal Societies By Ashley Ward – Audiobook Review

 

4043CF41-6852-4EB7-8808-F0649035B619

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.

22C563C2-F9BA-4020-811A-4DF88D0020B2

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, Non fiction, Poetry

The Princess Of Felling by Elaine Cusack – Book Review

17DE5244-81A4-45AC-AE90-B692B3F444B2
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

B0CF5A4C-1C22-4FD5-A70B-E5235EEA1F8D

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.

32C87B50-33AA-4801-87D9-CDBA5EA830A9

Www.dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com

Book reviews, Non fiction

Act 3. The Art Of Growing Older by Judy Reith & Adrian Reith – Book Review

CEE7DD3D-D255-4825-8C16-03D4D51A9FB8
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

At last, the life you want . . . post 50.

We’re living longer, in better health, with higher expectations than any generation in human history. With an extra adult chapter to look forward to, what will you do? Who else could you be? How will you evolve the best plan for your life between 50 and 80?

Judy and Adrian Reith have decades of experience in helping people see hidden possibilities, clarify their goals and achieve life-changing results. In Act 3 they suggest practical steps to make your life more fulfilling as you age. From the ground up this book will help you identify and strengthen the four roots you’ll need for a happy and successful third act. It illustrates how your attitude, purpose, relationships and values are keystones to a life without regret.

Act 3 gives tools and tips to help you focus on what matters, with chapters on Work, Home, Money, Health, Play, the World and Friends. You’ll be inspired by original stories of those who have changed their lives after 50 and be able to re-imagine your future, and so get the life you want . . . at last.

05749C0D-6D28-40A8-95BB-9100ADBC86D0

MY REVIEW 

Act 3 is a breath of fresh air, it’s packed full of positivity. It’s honest, has lots of very useful information and ideas on how to enjoy the aging process, to accept this as a part of life and something to be celebrated. Getting older is not something to dread but to relish.

There are lots of quotes and real life anecdotes from various people and circumstances that helps create such a positive attitude and a joie de vivre.

I found this to be a book to dip into depending on my mood or particular thought and the final chapters are so useful, for me personally it really struck a chord. It’s definitely a book I will refer to again and again.

A thought provoking and empowering read. 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/3c6QV1T

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

3225D9D9-7D22-43D4-A09F-177A5B9167C5

Judy Raith has been a coach and parenting expert for 20 years. She draws on her professional training in child development, counselling and parent education to help thousands of parents, some of whom are entering Act 3. She is the author of 7 Secrets Of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know, Be A Great Mum and Transform Living With Teenagers.

 

Aged 50 in 2006, Adrian Raith ditched a successful career as a writer and director in advertising to help people unscramble their mental spaghetti. Having re-trained as a coach he works with executives and leaders to help them make the most of life and work. He and Judy live together in Cambridge. 

 

Book reviews, Non fiction

18 Tiny Deaths by Bruce Goldfarb – Book Review

440CCB88-3E2B-4364-B340-D1D51018A30E
PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

‘For most of human history, sudden and unexpected deaths of a suspicious nature, when they were investigated at all, were examined by lay persons without any formal training. People often got away with murder. Modern forensic investigation originates with Frances Glessner Lee – a pivotal figure in police science.’

18 Tiny Deaths is the remarkable story of how one woman changed the face of murder investigation forever.

Born in 1878, Frances Glessner Lee’s world was set to be confined to the domestic sphere. She was never expected to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity. Yet she was to become known as ‘the mother of forensic science’.

This is her story.

Frances Glessner Lee’s mission was simple: she wanted to train detectives to ‘convict the guilty, clear the innocent and find the truth in a nutshell’. This was a time of widespread corruption, amateur sleuthing and bungled cases. With the help of her friend, the pioneering medical examiner George Magrath, Frances set out to revolutionise police investigation.

Her relentless pursuit of justice led her to create ‘The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death’, a series of dollhouse-sized crime scene dioramas depicting actual cases in exquisitely minute detail that Lee used to teach homicide investigators.

They were first used in homicide seminars at Harvard Medical School in the 1930s, and then became part of the longest running and still the highest regarded police training seminar in America.

Celebrated the world over by scientists, artists and miniaturists, these macabre scenes helped to establish her legendary reputation as ‘the mother of modern forensics’, influencing people the world over, including Scotland Yard.

Frances wanted justice for all. She became instrumental in elevating murder investigation to a scientific discipline.

 

THE UNTOLD STORY OF FRANCES GLESSNER LEE & THE INVENTION OF MODERN FORENSICS

BRUCE GOLDFARB

ENDEAVOUR

£16.99 HARDBACK,

INCLUDING 16 PAGES OF COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OUT 2 APRIL

8CC0EDC2-3320-4B25-ADB6-1AB481CE5374

MY REVIEW 

18 Tiny Deaths is the story of Frances Glassner Lee, Captain Lee as she preferred.

Born to a wealthy family in 1878, she showed an interest in medicine from an early age. She also had an interest in dolls houses, which would come in useful later in life.

She was an amazing, strong and determined woman and certainly not content with the usual domestic life of women at that time. 

Captain Lee became pivotal in forensic science and used her dioramas of crime scenes to teach others. These dioramas were exact replicas of actual crime scenes, from wallpaper, carpets, plates and even blood spatter. They were used extensively as training aids and are still exhibited today. They have also influenced TV shows such as CSI, in the Miniature Killer episodes, which uses crime scene dioramas very similar to Captain Lee’s.

I found this to be a well written and totally fascinating insight into a relatively unknown exponent of forensic science. An incredible and compelling 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 

Bruce_Goldfarb
Bruce_Goldfarb

Bruce Goldfarb is the executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland, US, where the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are housed. He gives conducted tours of the facility and is also a trained forensic investigator. He began his career as a paramedic before working as a journalist, reporting on medicine, science and health.

He collaborated with Susan Marks – the documentary filmmaker who produced the 2012 film about Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshells titled Of Dolls and Murder.

 

 

Book reviews, Mental Health, Non fiction

Everything Is Going To Be K.O by Kaiya Stone – Book Review

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In Everything is Going to be K.O. Kaiya Stone writes about her own experiences of living with specific learning difficulties: from struggling at school to being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia while at university, to performing her own one-woman stand up show inspired by her journey.

Always funny and unfailingly honest, Kaiya outlines the frustrations of having SPLDS but also the ways in which they have fuelled her creativity. She calls for neurodiversity to be celebrated and stresses that instead of questioning how we are ‘supposed’ to think we should take pride in our cognitive differences.

Everything is Going to be K.O. is an uplifting book for anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to live with learning difficulties today.

8910243D-619E-4AC1-A154-CF5203FD21E1

MY REVIEW 

This is Kaiya Stone’s memoir, telling of her slightly unconventional upbringing with her marvellously ‘hippy’ parents, to her life with Specific Learning Difficulties.

She writes with such humour and honesty it makes this a delight to read, but at the same time it deals with the seriousness of living with SLDs. I learned a lot and now have a greater understanding of the difficulties many people have to deal with on a daily basis.

It’s honest, open and illustrated with charming drawings, all of which make this a thoughtful and uplifting read. Brilliant.

Thank you to Martina at Midas PR for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Book reviews, Non fiction

Tales Of Mystery Unexplained by Steph Young – Book Review

5CAEA3E8-4644-4F13-AEC5-F782B75E2DE3
PUBLISHERS BLURB 
 

Tales of Mystery Unexplained….What happened to Elisa Lam, found dead in a water tower atop a hotel roof? Who were the two men who came to see her & what was in the mystery box they gave her? Why did the location of her gravestone match the zip code of a Bookstore, miles away?

Why was a man found in the same spot he disappeared, but 4 years later, with a hole in his head that no surgeons could explain? And what did this have to do with a séance, doppelgangers & the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Why did a man write the Fibonacci sequence as a clue & tell a stranger he was “Looking for the Beast,” before he disappeared in the barren plains of a desert? Plus many more Tales of Mystery Unexplained.

Steph Young has appeared on national radio shows & podcasts including the UK’s The Unexplained, and Coast to Coast Am, talking about many of these mysteries.

You can also hear some of these Unexplained Mysteries on her podcast on iTunes ‘Tales of Mystery Unexplained.’

7009F4E4-9879-474C-8E5C-EB46C024C45D

MY REVIEW 

This is such a creepy read, all the more so as this is a collection of true stories.

There are tales of missing people, unexplained deaths, fairies, witches, UFO’s and even hairy hands.

For me the most well known of these was the case of Elisa Lam, seen acting strangely in a lift, only to then disappear. Her body was later found in the hotel water tank, it has never been explained how she got in there, whether by her own deeds or someone else’s.

Well written in a way that asks questions and not just sensationalism but a real query into real events, even if there are no definitive answers this is a very entertaining read. It makes you wonder just what is out there. 

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:

B8A09DE7-1E11-4AE0-9A9F-9F42CB87DAD3

Steph Young has been a guest on National Radio shows including ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ as well as many more…

Steph’s Podcast on itunes; “Tales of Mystery Unexplained” discussing Creepy Mysteries of the Unexplained

 

website: Stephyoungauthor.com

Twitter @StephYoungAuth

Instagram @authorstephyoung

 

Book reviews, Non fiction

Hidden Wyndham by Amy Binns – Book Review

44ED33CC-866A-4BA4-ACA2-CD9FBDC7B0DF
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The first biography of the life of science fiction author John Wyndham is now available. It includes the first publication of a collection of love letters to his long-term partner and later wife, Grace Wilson.

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, by Dr Amy Binns, author and senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), explores Wyndham’s wealthy but traumatic childhood. This was transformed by a spell at the first mixed-sex public school Bedales from 1915 to 1918, the source of the strange but fervent feminism of Consider Her Ways and Trouble with Lichen.

The biography covers his formative years as a pulp fiction writer, his experiences as a censor during the Blitz and his part in the Normandy landings. He described his struggles with his conscience in a moving series of letters to Grace, the teacher with whom he had a 36 year love affair.

After the war, he transformed the searing experiences of wartime London, France and Germany into a series of bestselling novels: The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Kraken Wakes. But he remained intensely private, shunning fame and finally retiring to live anonymously with Grace in the countryside he loved. 

Hidden Wyndham is distributed by Gardners Books and is now available on the Waterstones and Amazon websites, in Kindle and in paperback edition.

 

215F195F-E14A-40E4-B24A-C425E7A011FE

 

MY REVIEW 

This is a biography of John Wyndham, author of The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids and more famously The Day Of The Triffids.

It tells of his difficult and rather traumatic childhood with a distant mother who he felt didn’t do enough to protect him and his brother, and a controlling father who even forced him to drink a glass of sherry as a child. He had been sent to various schools and found them difficult, it wasn’t until he was sent to the co-Ed school, Bedales that he felt some happiness, as did his brother, Viv.

As he grew he continued to write his stories, determined to make a living as a writer. Struggling until finally finding success but he stayed living in modest rooms and happiest when in the countryside.

He was also sent to France during the war and saw many traumatic things during this horrific conflict. Told using many of Wyndham’s letters to his beloved Grace, during their 36 year love story and is very moving.

A beautifully written insight into the life of the quiet, private man that was John Wyndham and how that life is reflected in his books.

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 

323F7FE3-100D-4A4C-8652-713E8D52DEA3

With a decade of experience in news reporting, Dr Amy Binns is now a writer, researcher and journalism lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire.

Her PhD was on solutions to difficult behaviour on social media and other online communities, and she has contributed to a report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the intimidation of parliamentary candidates. She regularly speaks on Radio Five Live on social media issues.

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, is Dr Binns’ second book. She has also written about local history in the book “Valley of a Hundred Chapels”, also available on Amazon. She has also published papers and chapters on interwar feminism and social history. Dr Binns lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two children.

 

5CBF9A08-F219-4323-B592-C841EAF9776B

Book reviews, Non fiction

The Dark Side Of The Mind by Kerry Daynes – Book Review

90E4863C-F785-463C-A22F-7AD4643FE3FC
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Welcome to the world of the forensic psychologist, where the people you meet are wildly unpredictable and often frightening.

The job: to delve into the psyche of convicted men and women to try to understand what lies behind their often brutal actions.

Follow in the footsteps of Kerry Daynes, one of the most sought-after forensic psychologists in the business and consultant on major police investigations.

Kerry’s job has taken her to the cells of maximum-security prisons, police interview rooms, the wards of secure hospitals and the witness box of the court room.

Her work has helped solve a cold case, convict the guilty and prevent a vicious attack.

Spending every moment of your life staring into the darker side of life comes with a price. Kerry’s frank memoir gives an unforgettable insight into the personal and professional dangers in store for a female psychologist working with some of the most disturbing men and women.

 

A5FC19A4-8E55-4958-B2FA-ACBFF684257D

MY REVIEW 

This is both absolutely fascinating and totally terrifying in the same measure. Not only because of the terrible crimes that have been committed but also the way people are treated by the prison system too.

Kerry Daynes gives an honest account of her career as a forensic psychologist, her experiences with some of the most dangerous people, regrettably some of those worked for the prison service.

There are some individual case studies, some general observations and background information on what it is to be a forensic psychologist.

She also tells of her personal life, a relationship with a controlling partner, a harrowing experience of being stalked and the day to day misogyny she had to deal with, all the while being professional and showing real empathy for her clients. An incredible insight into the world of incarceration and mental health. 

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:

5A7B8DD1-D559-4A83-A9BF-5B3318DF4157

Kerry Daynes is a Consultant and Forensic Psychologist, speaker and media commentator. For over twenty years her average week has involved working with everything from stressed-out parents to serial killers and she is a sought-after court-appointed expert witness. Kerry regularly appears on international television networks and in the media; she was ‘The Profiler’ over three series of Discovery’s top-rated ‘Faking It’ documentaries. Kerry is Patron of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Talking2Minds. She is an advocate for better conversations about mental distress and alternatives to the culture of psychological ‘disorder’. Kerry lives in Cheshire with two huge dogs and yes, she is a proud natural ginger.

 

http://www.kerrydaynes.online/

 

Twitter @KerryDaynes

 

.

 

Paperback: 304 pages

  • Publisher: Endeavour; 01 edition (20 Feb. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1788402170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788402170

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Side-Mind-Forensic-Psychologist/dp/1788402170

 

Book reviews, Cancer, Non fiction

What Doesn’t Kill You by Rachel Haynes – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

What lies beneath survival is the realization that the end of treatment is not the end of the story.

Rachel Haynes survived cancer not once, but twice.

This is her story about facing treatment, the joy of remission, followed by the heartbreak of relapse and finally, unexpectedly, a cure. Rachel reflects on the messy psychological legacy of survival in all its raw highs and lows, and of her overwhelming urge to finally make sense of a life she never thought she would see. With taboo-breaking humour and honesty, she vividly describes her experience of cancer and the impact it has had on her loved ones alongside a tender description of how life has brought her full circle back to love.

It is a rallying call to wake up to what’s important in life and never give up hope. A quest to uncover what to do when you have a second chance at life.

All profits from the book will be donated to Bowel Cancer UK.

3FE0783E-4608-4475-B976-38017479D0DD


MY REVIEW 

This is a book about hope, family, love and cancer.

Rachel was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and went through surgery…..lots of surgery, chemo both IV and in tablet form, and this is her story of her traumatic journey.

It’s honest and heartfelt and so very accurate. As a stage 4 cancer host myself I know the constant fear and anxiety of the hospital appointments, treatment, scans and horror of horrors, results days. It really helps to know that others undergoing these ‘regimes’ feel exactly the same.

I loved Rachel’s humour, her family and the odd glass of wine! 

If anyone is about to start any cancer treatment, is currently undergoing or has finished treatment, this really is a must read. It shows there is hope and love in this world and doctors and surgeons really are doing their very best to keep you on this planet as long as they can.  

I would also recommend this for anyone who knows someone with cancer, as it gives an insight into how it feels and what’s behind the ‘I’m fine’ statement…..An emotional, honest and down to earth brilliant read.

Thank you to Ailsa at Watkins Media for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here (All profits go to Bowel Cancer UK):  

 

https://amzn.to/2UAFsCj

 

Book reviews, Non fiction

Two Blankets, Three Sheets by Rodaan Al Galidi – Book Review

531B830C-1CD2-4152-8D2E-03A3EE219153
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

‘This book is fiction for the reader who cannot believe it. But for anyone open to it, it is nonfiction …’

Drawing on the author’s own experiences as an asylum seeker in the Netherlands – a darkly funny insight into the mind and soul of a refugee.

‘You have to take care, Mr Karim,’ she said, ‘this is your future.’ With the word ‘this’ she picked up the report from the first hearing. I was amused at the idea that my future would be determined by a few sheets of paper, and not by my health, my happiness or my dreams. Or a never-ending barbeque on the beach, or travelling the world on a legitimate passport.

Amsterdam Airport, 1998. Samir Karim steps off a plane from Vietnam, flushes his fake passport down the toilet, and requests asylum. Fleeing Iraq to avoid conscription into Saddam Hussein’s army, he has spent seven years anonymously wandering through Asia. Now, safely in the heart of Europe, he is sent to an asylum centre and assigned a bed in a shared dorm—where he will spend the next nine years. 

Taking its title from the ‘two blankets, three sheets, a towel, a pillow, and a pillow-case’ that constitute the items Samir is given on his arrival at the Asylum Centre, and are the only things he owns during his nine years there, this book is the story of how Samir navigates his way around the absurdities of Dutch bureaucracy while trying his best to get along with his 500 new housemates. 

Told with compassion and a unique sense of humour, this is an inspiring tale of survival, a close-up view of the hidden world of refugees and human smugglers, and a sobering reflection of our times.

F15726A0-BF5A-4CDF-B3B8-4E55301A63CC

MY REVIEW 

This is the story of Samir Karim, a refugee from Iraq, escaping the regime of Saddam Hussein. It’s part autobiographical and all true.

Samir travels from Iraq via many countries including Thailand and eventually arrives in the Netherlands. He destroys his false passport and claims asylum. It’s here the tale really begins, with flashbacks to his past, the fearful journey he has made and the 9 years he spent in an asylum centre.

“Don’t let the sheep know you’re afraid “

It tells of the mindless bureaucracy, the lack of basic empathy by the ‘authorities’, who seem to just follow the rules like a call centre script.

The experiences of these men, women and children that have made them make such perilous journeys just to be safe is heartbreaking. Those of us who live in a safe and secure world really should take a long hard look at ourselves for our prejudices and how some people treat others who just want the same for themselves and their families.

While this is a difficult emotive subject, Rodaan tells it with such grace and humour. It’s honest, heartfelt and definitely eye opening. Compelling and certainly thought provoking. 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.

 

You can buy a copy here:  https://amzn.to/2T2WAzI

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

12706E71-08AD-48BC-BD53-26B7368E8248

RODAAN AL GALIDI is a poet and writer. Born in Iraq and trained as a civil engineer, he has lived in the Netherlands since 1998. As an undocumented asylum seeker he did not have the right to attend language classes, so he taught himself to read and write Dutch. His novel De autist en de postduif (‘The Autist and the Carrier Pigeon’) won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2011—the same year he failed his Dutch citizenship course. Two Blankets, Three Sheets, already a bestseller in the Netherlands, is his most successful novel to date.

 

Jonathan Reeder, a native of New York and longtime resident of Amsterdam, enjoys a dual career as a literary translator and performing musician.

 

Critical acclaim for Rodaan Al Galidi

‘Al Galidi holds up a mirror to us all. A mirror that we should look into.’  

―ADRIAAN VAN DIS

 

‘Two Blankets, Three Sheets is a valuable and rich novel about fear, uncertainty, arbitrariness, and hopelessness, written by someone who was, thankfully, able to use his new language as a lifebuoy.’ ―Tzum

‘For all its heavy themes―the tragedy of miscommunication, loss of identity and meaning of life, humiliation, and the incapacity to truly connect―it is also a very light and humorous book.’ ―Literair Nederland 

Book reviews, Non fiction

First In The Fight by Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock – Book Review

8D70541F-AB18-4081-B041-D0D27470D6AA
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter’s Square, but she stands for so many more…

First in the Fight tells the compelling stories of the twenty women featured on the Our Emmeline statue long-list. Author Helen Antrobus brings to life the achievements of these radical Manchester women alongside beautiful illustrations by the Women in Print collective.

Be part of the legacy of the 20 Manchester women who changed the world.

 

DESCRIPTION

The women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. The unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square, strove to represent the contributions that Manchester women had made not only to the city, but also to the rest of the world.

Sitting alongside stunning illustrations from the ‘Women in Print’ collective, First in the Fight brings to life the stories of a range of inspiring women, from suffragettes, to botanists and mathematicians. The efforts of these pioneering women have shaped the world we live in and have helped pave the way for the voices of the next generation of women to be heard.

B0DF4B22-F1A0-4CEF-B883-62967D232B60

MY REVIEW 

“Rise Up Women For The Fight Is Hard”

Well what an astonishing book. It tells a little of 20 incredible women, Manchester and the fight for women’s rights.

Each of the chapters has so much information and insights into the incredible, determined and strong women that includes Cristabel Pankhurst, Marie Stopes, Louise Da-Cocodia. We have a lot to thank these women for as our lives would be very different if not for their determination and bravery.

The illustrations throughout vary from brightly coloured to naive and stylish but all striking and done by clearly very talented artists.

Perfect reading for anyone and everyone with an interest in the history of women’s rights in all its forms.

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

 

Purchase links

 

https://inostalgia.co.uk/product/first-in-the-fight-pre-order-save-5/

 

https://amzn.to/2PLJIL7
4908195F-9971-43B3-A32E-6D18A96AF235

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

 

Helen Antrobus

Helen Antrobus is a social history curator and historian from Salford, specialising in the lives of 20th century political women. As a public historian, she has appeared on TV programmes such as BBC One’s The One Show and Who Do You Think You Are?, Channel 5’s Edwardian Britain in Colour and BBC4’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces as well as BBC Radio 4’s Ramblins and Great Lives.

 

Andrew Simcock

Andrew Simcock has been the Labour Councillor for Didsbury East on Manchester City Council since 2011. In 2014 he launched the Womanchester campaigns to erect a statue of a woman of significance to Manchester, which resulted in the installation of sculptor Hazel Reeves’ Emmeline Pankhurst statue in St Peters Square in Manchester City Centre. The unveiling coincided with the 100th anniversary of some women voting for the first time in a British General Election. 

Book reviews, Non fiction

You Can Change The World by Margaret Rooke – Book Review

64034B1E-717A-421F-BA09-59E7E446C35D
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

**Joint Gold Winner of the Moonbeam Multicultural Non-Fiction Award 2019**

This inspirational book tells the stories of more than 50 of today’s teenagers who’ve dared to change the world they live in. It’s been written to show other teens they can do the same. Bestselling author Margaret Rooke asks teens about their experiences of being volunteers, social entrepreneurs and campaigners, online and beyond. They explain how they have survived in a world often obsessed by celebrity, social media and appearance, by refusing to conform to other’s expectations.

If you want to achieve against the odds and create genuine impact, this book may be the encouragement you need. The interviews cover race, sexuality, violence, grief, neurodiversity, bullying and other issues central to life today.

Read about teens from around the world including:

– Trisha, 18, who has invented a way of preventing bullying online

– Dillon, 18, who takes damaged and donated clothing and upcycles it for the homeless

– Guro, 13, who persuaded a pop band to portray women differently in its video

– ‘Happy D’, 19, who learned to read at 14 and found ways to build his confidence

– Heraa, 19, who fights Islamophobia online.

– Ruben, 18, bullied because of Down’s Syndrome, now a successful actor

– Lucy who, at 14, walked into Tesco head office and persuaded them not to sell eggs from caged hens.

– Cameron, 17, who has cerebral palsy and was side-lined by soccer teams who set up his own team ‘Adversity United’

– Alex, 18, who broke his back on his 15th birthday and says his injury has taught him to care for others

– Amika, 18, who fights ‘Period Poverty’

– Jesse, 15, who’s seven feet tall and embraces his stature

– Billy, 18, who wore full make up every day at high school

A fantastic book that captures the work of young changemakers. Powerful and inspiring, a catalogue of real role models. It will make you want to chase your passion. After all what better cause is there?

Matteo Bergamini, CEO & Founder, Shout Out UK

 

 

MY REVIEW 

This is a book full of truly amazing young people. It has 50 interviews with young people from around the world.   

Each of these people have a passion, a determination to make this world a better, kinder place through helping and supporting each other. 

It covers many subjects, including Cyberbullying, animal rights, environmental issues, 

Period poverty, health, disability and welfare issues, mental health, bereavement and grief and more. How these young people have brought their thoughts, their lives and plans to change things. They are determined, eloquent and a power to be reckoned with, underestimate the commitment of the young at your peril.

It also has a simple toolkit at the end, to give some pointers and ideas to help anyone who has something they feel strongly about and how to develop this into something more. Truly an inspiring read, perfect for any teenager and should be in every school library. 

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/2Yx2iue

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

A2D85413-8A48-4BCD-9847-F73EFB51E886

Margaret is an author and writer with a special interest in listening to people’s memories and getting them down on paper. Her latest book Creative, Successful, Dyslexic includes interviews with Darcey Bussell, David Bailey, Lord Richard Rogers, Zoe Wanamaker and others about their childhoods and beyond. She interviewed countless interesting personalities during her many years of magazine writing and believes everyone has a story to tell. Margaret is especially keen to preserve people’s memories for their children and grandchildren to value and enjoy.

Website : http://www.margaretrooke.com/

Twitter : @MargsRooke

Instagram : @margsrooke

 

Paperback: 320 pages

  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (21 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785925024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785925023

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Can-Change-World-Difference/dp/1785925024

 

Book reviews, Non fiction

The Unlikeliest Backpacker by Kathryn Barnes – Book Review

42F11707-BAF8-4D6B-A2DA-58EB19C17D22
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You reach a certain age. You have a lifestyle many would envy. Still, something doesn’t feel right. Life’s become routine. You sense there’s more out there to experience and explore. There’s an urge gnawing away inside you to do something different. But what?

Before Kathryn Barnes knew it, plans had snowballed – she’d quit her city job and flown to America to begin living life in the wild, walking hundreds of miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Unlikeliest Backpacker chronicles Kathryn and her husband Conrad’s life-changing journey as aspiring long-distance hikers. With Canada eye-wateringly far away, they had to learn to backpack while surviving everything the famous trail threw at them – mosquitoes, mountains, malnutrition, and many, many, miles. How hard could it be?

Very hard, as it turns out! But also deeply rewarding. Kathryn’s entertaining memoir proves that you don’t have to be special, or an experienced adventure junkie to disconnect from the modern world and play out the journey of a lifetime

Layout 1

MY REVIEW 

Kathryn and her husband Conrad are on a beach holiday when Kathryn suggests they should hike the Pacific Crest Trail in the US. But, Kathryn, a Londoner, hates camping and no experience of hiking……so obviously they decide to do it….

This is the honest tale of their adventures and misadventures, how they risk their health, lives and marriage. A tense, exciting adventure meeting some great and not so great characters along the way. Thoroughly entertaining.

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

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aspiring writer, entrepreneur… adult. The one vocation Kathryn has successfully nailed so far is Daydreamer. Her varied ambitions and overall life trajectory has taken a bit of a turn of late. A born-and-bred Londoner, Kathryn is discovering there is more to life than the corporate rat race. It began with a six-month trip through South America whetting her travelling wanderlust, which led to the decision to quit her job as a management consultant. 

More recently she upped the adventure ante, swapping city life for the wilderness,  on an ambitious walk hundreds of miles along America’s Pacific Crest Trail. The plan raised eyebrows from all who knew her – an uncharacteristic leap for a girl who refuses to sleep on the floor. The results were both brutal and awe-inspiring.

Kathryn has never been an ‘outdoorsy’ person. But the simple, reflective, time spent in the natural environment left a deep imprint. She still (reluctantly) resides in London, but the mountains are calling. She may even camp again. Someday.

For the latest information about Kathryn visit:

http://www.ALifeToWander.com

http://www.instagram.com/a_life_to_wander/

Book reviews, Non fiction, War fiction

A Young Gunner’s Story by Mark Spencer – Book Review

372897F3-CD6C-4B19-BDC8-47223B7E1AF2
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

“A humorous memoir depicting the trials and tribulations of a gunner serving in the Royal Army during the Cold War, the voices of which are often hidden . . . this is a real and bold view of Artillery life during the seventies and eighties” 

– Joseph Cartwright, ex-army writer and journalist 

When Mark Spencer began training for a career in the Royal Artillery he had no idea how much a life in the British Army would cost him. Having served several years as a gunner, he has experienced love, laughter, friendship, and loss on the front-line.

This is his story.

7FB06E95-F275-454A-8073-36CA480237DE

MY REVIEW 

This starts with young Mark setting off to join The Royal Artillery. 

It tells his tale through basic training, learning how to polish books, make beds, lots of PT and training too, at the hands of the loud Sergeant to NATO exercises.. 

There’s a lot of humour and shocks like peeing on an electric fence!!!!!!!ouch.

There are some photos too which really adds to the story.

This is just the beginning of his life as a young gunner in the Royal Artillery in the 80’s. It’s an interesting inside look at the life of a new recruit and a very engaging read.

Thank you to Caroline Vincent and CazVin Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Mark Spencer served as a gunner in the Royal Artillery for the British Army, before settling down for a civilian life with his family somewhere in the UK.

Mark’s inspiration for A Young Gunner’s Story

I have been asked so many times by so many people, what it was like in the army having joined up at 16 as a junior leader, but more so when a TV programme was aired some years ago. People friends and family were interested in learning about my experiences. Recently that same unnamed programme was aired, and the lives of young recruits were once again put to the forefront of viewers minds. So I decided to put pen to paper and write about my time in the Royal Artillery. I also wanted to lay some myths to rest that are often depicted on TV and in film.

I wrote a close to fact book based on my first day of training until I qualified as a soldier, serving on the front line for a number of years, starting during the cold war. I wanted to give readers an insider’s view of army life; the camaraderie, the fear, the fun. Alongside the constant threat to life, the feeling you were sitting on a coiled spring, always prepared to jump into conflict.

I learned skills that will never leave me and met people I never saw again. Others I’ve remained in contact with, attending reunions and funerals. The regiment set me in good stead, the BOAR made me a man, the memories and skills were lifelong.

 

Amazon Author Page: author.to/MarkSpencer

 

Book info:

Pages: ​​144

Published: ​​Dec 1st (Dunraven Books)

ISBN (paperback):​9781693609008

ASIN (ebook):​​B07XYDPF3T

 

Buying links:

Paperback: ​​https://amzn.to/2qGA2sW

Ebook: ​​https://amzn.to/2sorOWV 

Book reviews, Family drama, Non fiction

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle – Book Review

338C361B-0889-47A6-A8F6-FB99480DE119
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rex Ogle’s story of starting middle school on the free lunch programme is timely, heart-breaking and true.

Free Lunch is the story of Rex Ogle’s first term at High School. Rex and his baby brother often went hungry, wore second-hand clothes and were short of school supplies and Rex was on his school’s free lunch programme. Grounded in the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of having to announce it every day in the school lunch line, Rex’s is a compelling story of a more profound hunger—that of a child for his parents’ love and care. Compulsively readable, beautifully crafted and authentically told with the voice and point of view of an eleven year-old child, Free Lunch is a remarkable debut by a gifted storyteller.
18EC78E9-1839-4133-B71E-049673CAB22F

MY REVIEW 

This is the true story of Rex Ogle’s life as a young boy living in a low income family.

Rex spends a lot of his time caring for his younger brother, Ford, and trying to protect him from the violence in this broken, desperate family.

Starting 6th grade, his mother tells him he’s on the free lunch programme and his first thought is of shame. He tries his best to hide this from his friends at every lunch time.

At home he is often hungry, his mother’s boyfriend beats her, she in turn beats Rex, leaving him with bruises and black eyes. My heart broke for this boy who just wanted a little love.

This memoir is brutal and brutally honest, told from a kids’ view of the world and the shame he felt at the situation he was existing in. 

It’s well written, packed with emotion and really should be on every school reading list. It gives an insight to a world some kids have no choice but to live in.

Heartbreaking and utterly compelling. 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.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2prRG2X

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

230C8CA0-03FA-4020-A66E-CCEE89CDEA5E

REX OGLE is a former children’s book editor. “This is my middle school experience” he says, “but I think it’s an important story to tell, with nearly one in five children in America living in poverty

 

More about the book

 

In FREE LUNCH (Norton Young Readers; on-sale 9/10/19), debut author Rex Ogle vividly conveys the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of revealing it every day in the school lunch line, along with a more profound hunger: that of a child for love and care from his parent. This story rings so true in its portrayal of poverty and the familial strains that can result from living in the economic margins, because it is. This is Rex’s story.

 

But this is not Rex’s story alone; 43.1 million people are living in a state of poverty, 14.5 million of them are under the age of 18. But when he was embarking on his sixth-grade year in Texas, Rex had no idea that there were also other children, let alone millions of others, in such need.

 

“The worst part of living like this is thinking as I did—that I was alone, that I was shameful, and that I had less worth because of the situation into which I was born,” explained Rex. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth. No child should feel alone. Or ashamed. Or worthless. They need to know that their circumstances are not their fault.”

 

This moving memoir covers Rex’s journey through his first semester of middle-school as he navigates the inherent physical and emotional growth pains that come with this phase of life, along with the societal pressures he feels showing up at school in worn clothes that don’t fit properly and with the occasional black eye he receives from speaking his mind at home —all in addition to requesting free lunch. Rex is now an adult who traversed middle school and found his way out of poverty, but the struggles of his youth have shaped who is as a man today, and how he views the world around him.

 

“One day, when I was riding on the subway in New York City, I saw a little girl tug on her mom’s sleeve and heard her say, ‘I’m hungry.’ Her mom hugged her, but didn’t say anything,” explained Rex when asked why he decided to write Free Lunch. “I didn’t know their situation, but it struck me that my story needed to be shared. I wanted other kids to know that it’s okay to be hungry. That they are not alone. And there is hope.”

Rex is a former book editor who now lives in Los Angeles with his partner. He enjoys hiking with friends and his dog, devouring books, and cooking.

Free Lunch is unsparing and harshly realistic. It is also frequently funny, and threaded with hope and moments of grace. Free Lunch is a welcome addition to the growing cannon of youth memoirs, and Rex’s powerful, lyrical storytelling shines a light on those living in the shadows.

 

FACTS ABOUT CHILDHOOD HUNGER:

  • 12 million children in the United States live in food “insecure homes”
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States lives with hunger
  • Children who come from food insecure homes often experiences learning disabilities and other cognitive impairments
  • Children who suffer from hunger often face emotional and social road blocks

 

PRAISE FOR FREE LUNCH:

★ “With candor and vivid detail, Ogle captures the experience of chronic poverty in the United States. …Ogle doesn’t shy away from the circumstances (he and his toddler stepbrother are sometimes left alone for days at a time), but there is no shortage of humor, human kindness, and kid hijinks. Though the story is an intense middle grade read, Ogle’s emotional honesty pays off in the form of complex characterization and a bold, compassionate thesis: “Maybe being poor broke her…. and she can’t get well as long as this is her life.” The book ends on a hopeful if precarious note that underscores the importance of dismantling the shame surrounding poverty. In a country where 43% of children live in low-income families, Ogle’s memoir is all too relatable.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

★ “[Ogle’s] painful home life proffers little sanctuary thanks to his mom, who swings from occasional caregiver to violent tyrant at the slightest provocation, and his white stepdad, an abusive racist whose aggression outrivals that of Rex’s mom. Balancing the persistent flashes of brutality, Ogle magnificently includes sprouts of hope, whether it’s the beginnings of a friendship with a “weird” schoolmate, joyful moments with his younger brother, or lessons of perseverance from Abuela. These slivers of relative levity counteract the toxic relationship between young Rex, a boy prone to heated outbursts and suppressed feelings, and his mother, a fully three-dimensional character who’s viciously thrashing against the burden of poverty. It’s a fine balance carried by the author’s outstanding, gracious writing and a clear eye for the penetrating truth. A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred

 

Book reviews, Non fiction

The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook, Vol 1 by Morgen Bailey – Book Review

F1F42504-2377-40B6-B2FB-FB49B536B31E

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Over a thousand sentence starts, three per day, with writing tips at the end of each week to motivate and inspire, providing kick-starts to avoid the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. Useful for any writer at any level, whether they have 10 minutes or 10 hours, to start a new project. Also an ideal tool for writing groups.

With a combination of six first-person, six second-person, six third-person and three non-specific point of view starts per week, there are plenty to choose from. Beginning at ‘Day 1’ this book has been designed to be started at any time of the year, and regardless of whether the sentences are used in order or not. With a choice of three per day a writer can select one, two or all and see where it leads them.  

51296132-1F4F-4207-9143-9F4C8AC04FE0

MY REVIEW 

Another brilliant workbook from Morgen Bailey to kickstart the creative writing process.just a sentence or two to fire the imagination.

Each week is set out with three sentence starters from the following points of view: 

Day 1: ‘first person

Day 2: ‘second person’   

Day 3: ‘third person’

Day 4: more ‘first person’ 

Day 5: more ‘second person’ 

Day 6: more ‘third person’ 

Day 7: ‘any viewpoint’

 

And a tip of the week..

 

There are also various points of view, 1st person etc and tenses, Past/Present…..which really gives an incredible variety to the prompts. No dates, so you could start anywhere or even dip in and out. All the prompts feel unique and from various genre and emotions.

This would be a great aid to creative writing, to really ignite the imagination…brilliant.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Author Bio:

8F654CAB-0992-4DC5-BF17-2B2C1403BE30

Morgen Bailey – Morgen with an E – is a multi-genre author, freelance editor, writing tutor, writing competitions magazine columnist and judge, blogger, and speaker. 

Her website is http://www.morgenbailey.wordpress.com, email is morgen@morgenbailey.com, she is morgenwriteruk on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Her books can be found:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Morgen-Bailey/e/B007SNIBF8

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgen-Bailey/e/B007SNIBF8 

Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/morgenbailey) and wherever books can be ordered.

 

Links used above if needed:

author = https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine

editor = http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/editing-and-critique

tutor = http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/courses

blogger = https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

speaker = https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writer-for-hire/speaking-at-your-event

Twitter = http://twitter.com/morgenwriteruk

Facebook = http://facebook.com/morgenwriteruk

Instagram = http://instagram.com/morgenwriteruk