Audiobook, blog tour, Non fiction

The Bad Place by Shane Dunphy – Audiobook Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Bad Place sees Shane Dunphy contacted by an old friend seeking advice about children who went missing in the 1980s. The call forces him to revisit a dark time in his early career as a child protection officer, when a young girl described children in care being taken to a residence known as the Bad Place. As a conspiracy emerges that goes to the top of the Irish police and Government, Dunphy recognises the MO of the alleged killer as The Dark Man, a terrifying figure he encountered over thirty years ago, who nearly ended his career before it had even begun.

Determined to confront his past, Dunphy decides to investigate, uncovering a vast international child trafficking ring involving cases of historical child disappearances, unsolved abductions, collusion with the Catholic church and its culture of secrets, lies and cover up and more.

MY REVIEW 

The Bad Place is the harrowing tale of missing children in Ireland.

When Shane is approached by a journalist friend for some background information in regards to a missing child, he mentions the dark man. This immediately scares Shane, as he had met the dark man once when he was a young man just starting his career in child protection. The nightmares still haunt him.

But, he feels he owes to those children to put aside his fears and investigate what really went on in the Bad Place.

This audiobook is read by Shane Dunphy himself and this really brings alive the terrible atmosphere, it has a real sense of time and place and the fear Shane felt about the dark man is palpable. Just think of the fear those children felt !

This is not an easy listen as it deals with child abuse, child trafficking and the dark history of Ireland in relation to children. An interesting, gripping read that’s heartbreaking and anger inducing at the same time. 

Thank you to Ben at Midas PR for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and a copy of the audiobook, The Bad Place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Shane Dunphy is the million-selling author of non-fiction titles relating the years he spent as a child protection worker. He is an accomplished musician and has composed soundtracks for television and radio. Dunphy is an award-winning documentary maker and he writes regularly for Independent newspapers. He also writes a series of crime novels under the pseudonym S.A. Dunphy.

blog tour, Book reviews, Non fiction

In Sat Nav We Trust by Jack Barrow – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The book takes the form of a journey through one English county a day. Rather than having a plan, other than a rough anticlockwise direction of travel, the trip was largely spontaneous. This unplanned nature is what drives the narrative, similar to the way a MacGuffin drives a story, and opens the possibility of stumbling across unintended experiences.

The journey is taken in a fifteen-year-old 4×4 referred to throughout as The Truck, along with a sat nav referred to as Kathy (actually the voice of Kathy Clugston from Radio 4). Rather than paying for hotels this was a camping trip to keep the costs down. The logistics of finding somewhere to camp each night provided further challenges. All of these inconveniences, and the unexpected solutions that followed, provided useful metaphors for concepts that arose in the philosophical exploration.

The result of this unplanned approach is that the story only covers the areas of the counties passed through. There are no descriptions of the obvious locations in each county because the journey simply didn’t pass that way. However, this means that there were unplanned encounters with places such as a village falling into the sea, the wonderfully mad Tees Transporter Bridge, or accidentally driving a speedboat with two drunk blokes without any consideration about how to get ashore.

MY REVIEW 

In Sat Nat We Trust Is the story of one man’s journey around the historic counties of the UK. He has the truck, his tent and his thoughts. 

On the Journey there are many stories, anecdotes and random facts, with a few rants too. This is a little philosophical, about the differences in need and want, the rational and irrational, but really is just shows there are adventures to be had right on your doorstep,

A fun, interesting and thought provoking read.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of In Sat Nav We Trust. This is my honest and unbiased review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Jack Barrow is a writer of books and blogs about ideas based on popular philosophy in modern life. He is a critical thinker but not a pedant. He has an interest in spiritual perspectives having been brought up as both a Mormon and a Jehovah’s Witness. He’s not sure, but he believes this particular  ecclesifringical upbringing makes him a member of a pretty exclusive club. He is also fascinated by science. At the same age as his parents were taking him to church services, he was also watching Horizon documentaries and Tomorrow’s World, becoming fascinated about science and technology. Perhaps around the time of the moon landings, when he was six or seven, he came to the conclusion that, sooner or later, people would realise that the sky was full of planets and stars, science explained the universe, and that there was no God looking down. He really thought that religion’s days were numbered. Declining congregations seemed to back that up, but since then there has been a growth in grass roots movements that seem to indicate people are looking for something to fill the void left by organised religion. He now has a particular interest in the way people are creating their own spiritual perspectives (whatever spiritual means) from the bottom up using ideas sourced from history, folkloric sources and imagination. Rather ironically it was members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who first introduced him to the landscape of Wiltshire, with its stone circles and ancient monuments, which later kindled his interest in spiritual beliefs taken from more ancient perspectives.

He has also written a novel; The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is a story of a group of magicians who discover a plot to build casinos in Blackpool and so turn the resort into a seedy, tacky, and depraved town. During this hard-drinking occult adventure, with gambling and frivolous trousers, Nigel, Wayne and Clint travel north on Friday night but they need to save the world by Sunday evening because they have to be back at work on Monday morning.

Jack lives in Hertfordshire, England, where he earns a living writing about things in engineering; this usually means photocopiers and bits of aeroplanes. He shares his home with R2D2 and C3PO, occasionally mentioned in his blog posts. People used to say he should get out more. At the time of writing he is currently shielding from the apocalypse, having been of a sickly disposition as a child, and wondering if he will be able to go to a live music pub ever again.

Book reviews, Extract, Non fiction

Son Of Escobar: First Born by Roberto Sendaya Escobar – *EXTRACT*


Welcome to the Bookwormery and an extract from Son Of Escobar. But first a little about the book…..

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUE STORY

Rescued as a baby from a fatal shoot out at which his mother dies and his father escapes, adopted by an MI6 agent working out of Colombia, kept in the dark about his true identity until the age of 24, sent to boarding school in the UK to avoid escalating kidnapping attempts, and finally given the location of Escobar’s hidden millions, this is the unbelievable true story of Pablo Escobar’s first born son, Roberto Sendoya Escobar.

In 1965, a secret mission by Colombian Special Forces, led by an MI6 agent to recover a cash hoard from a safe house used by a young Pablo Escobar, culminates in a shoot-out leaving many dead.  Escobar and several of his men escape. Only a baby survives the bloody shoot out, Roberto Sendoya Escobar. In a bizarre twist of fate, the MI6 agent takes pity on the child, brings him home and adopts him.

Over the years, Pablo Escobar tries, repeatedly, to kidnap his first born son. Flanked by his trusty bodyguards, the child, unaware of his true identity, is allowed regular meetings with Escobar and it becomes apparent that Roberto’s adopted father and the British government are working covertly with the Escobar in an attempt to control the money laundering and drug trades. 

Many years later in England, as Roberto’s adoptive father lies dying in hospital, he hands his son a coded piece of paper which, he says, reveals the secret hiding place of Escobar’s ‘missing millions’. The code is published in this book for the first time.

The most notorious drug lord the world has ever seen, and now the subject of the hugely popular Netflix series Narcos, Pablo Escobar was one of the ten richest men on the planet and controlled 80 per cent of the global cocaine trade before he was shot dead in 1993. Each copy of the book offers readers a chance to crack the code and find Escobar’s hidden millions

And now the

EXTRACT FROM Son Of Escobar…

PROLOGUE

I had two fathers. The one I called Dad – and loved dearly – was my adoptive father, Patrick Witcomb. I knew him as an English businessman who had made a successful life for his family in Colombia. That was only half the story. It wasn’t until years later that I found out he was also an MI6 agent working undercover for British intelligence. But hearing that still wasn’t my biggest shock.

I learned that my biological father was Pablo Escobar, the most notorious gangster in the history of the world. I had met him only fleetingly, unaware of our connection – or that there were times he was prepared to kill to win me back.

This is the story of how the lives of my two fathers became inextricably intertwined. Good and evil. Light and darkness. This story has it all.

When I was a child I knew nothing of all this. I just thought Patrick – Pat to everyone who

knew him – was a regular dad. There were an awful lot of guns and strangeness going on around our beautiful mansion in Colombia but my dad worked for a firm that printed bank notes for governments and ran an armoured car business and as an employee he was subject to attack from criminal gangs. It was just part of our life, although sometimes it felt like violence followed us around and I was grateful for my round-the-clock armed protection.

There were also a few occasions on which my father took me to a place called Medellín where I met a younger man who took a keen interest in me – this was Escobar. And there was the day I saw huge bags of money being loaded on to a plane. Little did I know of the murky dealings that linked these two powerful figures in Colombia’s turbulent history – and the millions of dollars that passed between them.

Only when I was twenty-four did my father – Pat – sit me down to tell me the true story of my extraordinary life. It was 1989 and by then I had left home and was living in Sotogrande on the Costa Del Sol of Spain, near Gibraltar. Until that day I had always been Phillip Witcomb, although I did know that I was adopted. It hadn’t worried me. I always looked upon Pat and his wife, Joan, as my dad and mum. They had told me I had been born in Colombia, which explained my darker hair and features, but until this point both had said that nothing was known about my real parents and I had always accepted it. Now Pat prepared to turn my world upside down.

‘What we told you wasn’t the whole story,’ Dad said. ‘It’s time you knew the whole truth.’

He revealed I had started life as Roberto Sendoya Escobar. They had adopted me from a Catholic orphanage. My mother was dead and they believed my father had given up any claim for me. It was then that he explained how he had come to cross paths with Pablo Escobar.

Dad had been tasked with setting up the Colombian arm of the banknote printing company De La Rue and, as part of his work, he needed to infiltrate the criminal gangs then gaining a foothold in the country’s fledgling economy and pass back intelligence. Some of this information made its way back to UK secret services, but the main beneficiaries for the elaborate, sophisticated and devastatingly effective operation were their US counterparts in the CIA.

Dad explained that the armoured car division often came under attack and their consignments of newly printed Colombian banknotes would be stolen. After one such robbery, Dad received intelligence to the whereabouts of the missing money. With the backing of his bosses in London and his employers in UK intelligence he mounted a daring and heavily armoured mission to recover the cash.

It was in the course of this most bloody of expeditions that I was discovered as a helpless baby in the gang’s hideout and the link with my biological father, Escobar, was established. At the time Pablo Escobar was a teenager and nothing more than a low-level criminal, but as he rose through the criminal ranks he would go on to be a useful asset for the intelligence services who sought to influence the growing gang networks in Colombia.

It was the 1960s and the cocaine trade was in its infancy. There was no way of predicting the way that its cultivation and supply would become one of the biggest industries in the world – or of

knowing that the secret services would play a key role in allowing the gangs to flourish, creating the cocaine cartels that brought so much misery to so many people.

At the time Pat’s goal was simply to safeguard his company interests and provide intelligence for the services back home. Enter one more figure who would much later become notorious on the world stage. An ambitious Panamanian, then just an officer, named Manuel Noriega, did not only assist Dad on the fateful mission that led him to Escobar but would also go on to help him in his dealings with the criminal gangs. Noriega and Escobar were quite the pair, between them overseeing the rise of narcotic trafficking to a global level.

What had begun as a low-level operation in aid of securely transporting government-issued banknotes exploded into a dangerous game: trying in vain to control drug gangs that nobody could have known would become so big that their resources started to outstrip those of many entire nations. Yet for years, US intelligence’s attitude to the amount of cocaine flooding the USA verged on the relaxed. It was only when the amount of dollars for drugs pouring out of the USA – then the largest economy in the world – reached dangerously high levels, that action was at last taken.

The once primitive criminal gangs had by then morphed into huge drug cartels that made more money than they knew how to spend. By the time that I began to find out the truth of my life, Escobar was fearing his grip on power was slipping and had hidden millions of dollars in secret locations. When Dad told me all of this, and hinted that he knew where some of the money was, it was at first too much to take in.

It was only slowly that this incredible story began to make sense to me.

For years I had been plagued by vague dreams of what I thought were explosions and a woman’s screams. Were these somehow related to real events, to that armed mission that Dad had mounted and that had led to my rescue?

I remembered our trips to Medellín. Suddenly, conversations I’d had with a mysterious man with a magnetic presence took on a new significance. Was this Escobar? My biological father?

Over the course of a number of conversations, I listened intently as Dad slowly revealed hidden details about my life. One part of the story was particularly hard for him to recount – the aspect I was most desperate to hear.

How had he known my biological mother was dead?

In explaining my birth mother’s death, Dad shook me to my core, forcing me to question everything I’d ever thought I knew about myself, my legal guardians and the people who brought me into this world.

That wasn’t all.

Many years later, as he lay dying, my father imparted perhaps his most sensational secret – clues to the location of Escobar’s legendary missing millions.

What follows is based on the information given by my adoptive father, Pat, and blended with my own extensive research. This is at last the true story of my life. All the events are factual, although I have inevitably had to dramatise scenes and conversations as I believe they would have happened.

The story begins on the day that I was discovered by Pat. It was an accidental rescue that set the fates of Patrick Witcomb and Pablo Escobar on a collision course, bonding us together for ever.

blog tour, Book reviews, Non fiction

The Twins Of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Eva Mozes Kor has written a very moving and vivid account of an extraordinary and horrific experience. It is an important document showing the strength of the human spirit and the capacity to forgive. She should be commended for having the courage to write about her traumatic childhood, leading to the forgiveness that freed her from hatred and brought her peace. May it inspire others to emulate her.’ – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

In the summer of 1944, Eva Mozes Kor and her family arrived at Auschwitz.

Within thirty minutes, they were separated. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man who became known as the Angel of Death: Dr. Josef Mengele. They were 10 years old.

 

THE NAZIS SPARED THEIR LIVES BECAUSE THEY WERE TWINS.

 

While twins at Auschwitz were granted the ‘privileges’ of keeping their own clothes and hair, they were also subjected to Mengele’s sadistic medical experiments. They were forced to fight daily for their own survival, and many died as a result of the experiments, or from the disease and hunger rife in the concentration camp.

Publishing for the first time in the UK in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, The Twins of Auschwitz shares the inspirational story of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.

Also included is an epilogue on Eva’s incredible recovery and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and worked toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.

“This remarkable story is an important entry point in the teaching of Holocaust History and the many issues which emerge from it, not least of all the triumph of the human spirit.” – Richard Freedman, National Director, South African Holocaust Foundation
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MY REVIEW 

Eva was 10 years old when her and her family were taken from their home and sent to the infamous Auschwitz. Her mother, father and two of her sisters did not survive, but Eva and her sister, Miriam did……they were twins and Josef Mengele wanted twins for his experiments…..

The Twins Of Auschwitz is written from Eva’s perspective, the language is simple and uncomplicated and that really makes the events she had to experience all the more horrific and inhuman.

Her experiences are real.

The courage of these young girls is an inspiration and also heartbreaking as no one should have been in this situation at all. What human beings can do to one another…….I have no words for.

This is a tale of survival, to hear the experiences these young girls had to endure is a true horror story, it’s an incredible, inspiring and heart rending tale. 

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.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/33CbL8i

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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EVA MOZES KOR was a resident of Terre Haute, Indiana. Following her survival of Auschwitz, she became a recognised speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics related to the Holocaust and social justice. Eva created the CANDLES organisation in 1985 to locate other Mengele twins and found 122 twins across the world. Ten years later, she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum to educate the public about the historic event she survived. A community leader, champion of human rights, and tireless educator, Eva has been covered in numerous media outlets and is the subject of a documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele. She passed away in 2019. 

Book reviews, Memoir, Non fiction

Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race and Family – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Michaela Foster Marsh and her brother Frankie grew up as “twins” in Glasgow, Scotland in the sixties. Born only weeks apart, Michaela was white and Frankie was black, and they were an unusual sight in their dual pram. Despite the love from his adopted family Frankie’s life was rarely easy, and it ended far too soon when a fire took him when he was only twenty-six. But for a devastated Michaela, Frankie’s effect on her life was only beginning. She embarks on a search to learn what she can about Frankie’s birth family, a journey that takes her to Uganda, to a culture and a family she never knew, through twists and turns and remarkable coincidences – and to a mission and to a connection with her African brethren she never could have imagined.

STARCHILD is a remarkably candid memoir that plays out on both a personal and global scale. It is the story of the intimacies of siblinghood and the complexities of multi-racial adoption. It is the story of the unique connection of extended family and the unique commitment to an adopted homeland. It is the story of long-held secrets revealed and long-maintained barriers broken. And it is ultimately the story of a sibling relationship that transcends borders, time, and life itself.

Starchild is an odyssey; a spiritual voyage of self-discovery. Michaela Foster Marsh, through sheer – obsessive even – dedication, illuminates and highlights a path, no matter how jaggedly rocky, that can help lead towards emotional fulfilment.

 

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MY REVIEW 

Michaela and her brother, Frankie, were very close, but a tragic fire took Frankie before his time. Grief stricken, Michaela decides to trace Frankie’s birth family.

This is a memoir full of love. It’s also an adventure as Michaela travels to Uganda, a country with its issues and problems but also so colourful and lively.

Starchild is beautifully written with real emotion and the love Michaela feels for her adopted brother is clear throughout. It has tragedy, but also hope and love and makes for a truly wonderful and memorable read. 

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.

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Book reviews, Mental Health, Non fiction

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

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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.
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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

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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.”

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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.

 

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, 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

Book reviews, Non fiction

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

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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.

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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 

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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

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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

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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 

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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.

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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

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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.’

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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:

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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

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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.

 

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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 

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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.

 

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Book reviews, Non fiction

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

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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.

 

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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:

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 

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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

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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.

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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

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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 

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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

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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

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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/