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/

Book reviews, Non fiction, War fiction

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

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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.

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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

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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.
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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 

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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

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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.  

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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:

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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