The Choice by Edith Eger #BookReview @PenguinRHUK

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Today I am delighted to be sharing The Choice by Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor and now an acclaimed psychologist. I would like to thank Bishneen Gurwara at Penguin Random House for inviting me to read a copy of this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at good bookshops or at AMAZON UK where it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

‘Little dancer’, Mengele says, ‘dance for me’

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

My Thoughts:

Edith Eger was 16 when she made the journey with her mother and one of her sisters, to join a queue to enter her first concentration camp. This would be the last time she saw her mother. This is Edith’s story. The story of her life. The story of her survival. The story of how she was liberated and then learnt to live.

This is a book of two halves as Edith recounts her experiences of her life. A girl who wanted to dance, her parents, her sisters and first love. Then the how she survived the war in the concentration camps, sharing many thoughts and feelings not from herself but of her sister. Then how to live her life after leaving Europe to live in America.

Sometimes you can move away, but at some point you really do have to deal with the horror of your past.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz are words that evoke so many emotions. Edith Eger tells her story in four parts. The first being about her life, including the camps, up to her liberation, then her liberation, dealing with her freedom and finally how she started to heal herself.

As you would expect I found her time as a prisoner very hard to read. It is something that still brings shock, horror and disgust that any person could be treated in such a horrific and abhorrant way. I did however find that it was the story of her freedom and her healing that caught me by surprise. She then started to piece her life together and learn how to live. This is where the inspiration of this lady really Shines through, even more so than it had previously. To me this sounds slightly wrong but, she trained as a psychologist to help people from various backgrounds. They had many different problems that they struggled to deal with. In meeting and trying to help these people she found that she could also use their experiences to help herself, using her own advice if you like. This took her many years to reach a place where she felt some sort of freedom from her past, but to do that took a huge amount of courage to escape from her own fears and trauma.

This is a stunningly beautiful and candid account from a truly inspirational lady. It is moving and emotional, inspiring and hopeful. The more psychological aspect in the latter half of the book was something that I found very insightful and gave me a different way of looking at things.

This is a moving and important story that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

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Chasing Black Gold by Robert Stone @rstonecbg @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

Chasing Black Gold: The Incredible True Story of a Fuel Smuggler in Africa by [Stone, Robert]

Today I am delighted to be sharing Chasing Black Gold By Robert Stone as part of the blog blitz by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Robert for my copy of the book and Rachel for the invite to join the tour xx

Where to buy a copy: The History PressAmazon UKWaterstonesBarnes and Noble

Amazon.ComeBooks.Com

Synopsis:

ROBERT STONE was a serial entrepreneur – an enterprising individual, mostly on the wrong side of the law, who spent twenty-five years operating all over the world, before being arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Over the course of his career, Stone earned and lost several lifetimes’ worth of fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, saw men die, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, trading fuel with generals, rebels and businessman, was both his career high and, ultimately, what brought him down.

My Thoughts:

Well this was a really interesting read and the author is very candid in his account of his life as a smuggler. I’m also having to remind myself that it is the book I am reviewing and not the lifestyle the author chose to live. I am someone who works hard for my weekly wage and I live within my means, so this book was a real eye opener for me. To see how the shadier side of smuggling and making the next million can consume someone to the point of risking their life.

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This photo shows the coastal shipping base in Warri, Nigeria.

The author definitely ‘aint no saint, but I did get the impression that he was well thought of as an employer. He has had a dangerous life and most definitely lived it on the edge more often than not. While I can admire the inventiveness required to solve logistical problems I do not admire the fact that his life was a lie and gotten by illegal means, but I am not judging, each to their own.

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This shows Robert and his wife Linda with some of the employees off Africa.

I found that this book was really easy to get into and did capture my attention as I was taken into the authors real life world. It has danger, chases, being on the run, being in prison, being a millionaire with ships around the world to being broke and living in hiding. I must also mention he has a wife and family and on several occasions my heart went out to them as the author was essentially a husband and father who worked away a lot of the time, well most of the time.

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The Family re-united in 1996

If you want a book that is a real eye-opener then this is one for you. It could just as easily be a script for a Hollywood Blockbuster film rather than a biography, it really is that action packed, dangerous, jaw dropping and thrilling, that will take you around the world. From beautiful beaches to regime ruled countries it has it all. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of biographies and true crime.

About the Author:

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This picture shows Robert getting ready to bury Kruggerands and money.

Author Robert Stone first came to Aberdeen Scotland in 1973 as a pioneer saturation diver in the early dangerous days of the North Sea. Retiring from diving in the mid 80’s he became a serial entrepreneur –mostly on the wrong side of the law. He spent the next decade operating businesses all over the world from his Aberdeenshire home.

Stone earned and lost several fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, was only one of his many exploits.

His Scottish wife and young children knew nothing of the dark side of his life until the day they were all arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rstonecbg

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Giveaway – Win 10 x signed copies of Chasing Black Gold (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN , GOOD LUCK XX

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The World Is Never Enough by Sarah Donohue @sarah_donohue : @fayerogersuk @Authoright : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on “The World Is Never Enough” by Sarah Donohue as part of the blog tour for Authoright. This book is available in paperback or eBook format from Amazon UK My thanks to Authoright, Sarah and Deringer Publishing for my copy of this fabulous book and my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

This is the action packed story of a female racing driver and stuntwoman who lives life on the edge and enjoys every extreme moment of it… A thrill-seeker by day and glamorous showgirl by night, Sarah Donohue believes in living out her dreams and living life to the full bringing colour and laughter to the lives of everyone around her.

Even after a high-speed powerboat crash putting her on a life-support machine, Sarah didn’t let dying for four minutes or a face held together by titanium plates dampen her spirits. The crash was documented as one of the worst crashes seen in powerboat racings history yet Sarah returned back to racing with BBC’s ‘999’ and ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ hiring her as the stuntwoman to re-enact her own near fatal experience. Soon after she became the European powerboat champion. Her journey of triumph over adversity is both inspiring and extreme.

This story of life will take the reader through a roller coaster of emotions as Sarah experiences the highest of highs on podium tops to the lowest of lows as she suffers jealous cyber abusers. The funny stories recalled as a forces pinup and staunch supporter of the military through to the not so funny story of Sarah enduring Donald Trump, the now president of the United States of America and his legal team for almost four years.

This feisty girl from Yorkshire loves life and puts as much into it as she can whilst taking anything it throws back at her remaining positive and up beat. This shows that even the impossible can be made possible with the right attitude no matter who you are or where you come from. A motivational, funny and inspirational book showing one woman’s journey on taking on any challenge head to head and her world-renowned success in the male dominated sport of offshore powerboat racing. Even death becomes her.

My Thoughts:

Sarah story is a pretty amazing one and I was soon to discover that she is also a very down to earth person from what I read in her book. She tells you her life from her roots in Yorkshire and her very supportive family to a career that has taken her around the world.

I am quite amazed after reading this book, and in a good way I might add, as I followed her journey. Hard work, determination and a stubborn bloody mindedness to succeed in a sport that is very male dominated field. She is not the little lady by any means and you soon realise she is one of the boys and not just a token female representative to make good viewing on television. Her resume is quite impressive and has covered various aspects of TV, film, Powerboat racing and modelling. She has pushed her body to the limit and at one point almost paid the ultimate price.

She is very open about her story and discusses it warts and all. The highs, the lows, the winning and the bullying. She comes across as a very likeable and her story is very easy to read and very hard to put down, I didn’t put it down until I had finished reading it in one sitting. It is written in a very casual style that made me feel that she was having a conversation with me, and an extremely interesting one at that.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like not only sport but also life stories, and would, in my opinion, appeal to a great many readers. It is engaging with shocking and painful moments as well as quite humorous and funny ones. this is a book I would definitely recommend to fellow readers.

Follow the tour to see what other Book Bloggers think

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

 

#BlogTour : Finding What Was Never Lost by Martin J Worthy @Authoright @gilbster1000 #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on What Was Never Lost (and then just giving it away) by Martin J Worthy. Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my spot on the tour and a copy of the book.  PURCHASE LINK Available in paperback or eBook.

Synopsis:

An epic of the modern era, the author takes us on a voyage from postwar London, through his coming of age in the days of LSD and flower power, culminating some decades later in that most treasured condition – a sublime, calm and joyous state of inner and outer equilibrium. Triggered by an excruciating medical trauma in Mexico, he takes us upon a thirty-year journey none could have predicted. Farming in the Punjab, married life in Denmark and twenty years in Southern India practicing Raja Yoga and much more besides. His learning is transferable, practicable and universal.

Vivid, deeply personal and refreshingly honest, ‘’Finding what was never Lost…and then just giving it away’’ offers a fascinating combination of memoir, spirituality and self-help, as well as a snapshot of the hedonistic lifestyle of the 70’s and 80’s, with some travel and, unsurprisingly, a whole lot of laughter too.

This is not a vanity venture, it is the sharing of a lifetime of experiences and insights that have every chance of making a difference to the way the reader looks upon life, and the possibilities that lie ahead. His main precept is that the quality of one’s life is of paramount importance. And, that current cultural aspirations of wealth, importance sensual pleasures and distraction are of a lesser worth when set against the peace and joy that is attainable through this inner journey. The inner journey, aided by meditation perhaps, can offer conditions felt to be far higher. Does he want you to copy him? No. He simply hopes that his story may act as a catalyst or inspiration for the reader to aspire for such growth, and to set out on the journey, on their inner journey too.

My Thoughts:

An intriguing title, Finding What Was Never Lost is the authors journey through his life so far.  From his childhood, through his teens and into the world beyond as an adult.

Martin quite candidly shares experiences, thoughts and also feelings from various points in his life.  He has walked, hitched, flown, sailed and travelled to and through quite a few countries.  He has taken a variety of jobs, some were the transient jobs of harvesters that follow the seasons, crofting with friends or holding a “normal” job to provide money for further travels.  His goal through his journey was to find a spiritual guide or guru, someone who could teach and help him find his own place within himself and the world.

This is quite a different read for me, I do read a few memoirs and tend to like the ones that are about an individual rather than a celebrity.  Martin’s book fits into this style, it is a personal account.  It is recounted in a very calm way, his spiritual nature is something that is felt as I read this book.  If a book could have a quiet and calm voice, then this is one that has that.  It was an interesting read in the respect that it is very different to how I live my life.  In my opinion it is good to take a step in someone else’s shoes for a moment and see how they view the world.

The layout of the book is set in out in very quick chapters, this makes it perfect for dipping in and out of.  There are quite a lot of footnotes, many for things that I feel didn’t need an explanation, and a very handy glossary and index at the back of the book.  I am going to make the presumption that some of Martin’s readers will know English as a second language and this is maybe the reason for the amount of footnotes.

This is a book that would appeal to those who like a more spiritual, self discovery style of memoir.  One mans journey and experience of life told in a calm and quiet way.

Many thanks for reading my post 🙂 xx

#BookReview : The Old Man and The Sand Eel by Will Millard @MillardWill @PenguinUKBooks @NetGalley

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I am delighted to be sharing a book that is a little bit different to my usual reads.  “The Old Man and The Sand Eel” by Will Millard is available for purchase from 1st March 2018 in various formats.  Published by Penguin UK.

Synopsis:

Growing up on the Cambridgeshire Fens, Will Millard never felt more at home than when he was out with his granddad on the riverbank, whiling away the day catching fish. As he grew older his competitive urge to catch more and bigger fish led him away from that natural connection between him, his grandfather and the rivers of his home. That is, until the fateful day he let a record-breaking sand eel slip through his fingers and he knew that he had lost the magic of those days down by the river, and that something had to change.

The Old Man and the Sand Eel is at its heart the story of three generations of men trying to figure out what it is to be a man, a father and a fisherman. It plots Will’s scaly stepping stones back to his childhood innocence, when anything was possible and the wild was everywhere.

My Thoughts:

The cover of this book caught my eye, then the synopsis did it’s job. I decided this was a title I definitely wanted to read. I know a little of the Fens and with the odd fishing trip with my dad, made me think this is a book that I would enjoy.

Will’s Granddad taught him a huge amount about fishing on the Fens then as he got older it was his Dad that gave him a chance to learn new skills.  This is not just a book about fishing, though it does feature heavily.  It is a book that looks at the wildlife, flora and fauna around the different watery habitats around the UK.  Over the years Will has used different rigs, baits and lures from the old traditional to the modern all singing dancing set ups.  He also discusses how fishing has changed over the years, along with the expectations of what is required.  From the ditches, drains, hidden ponds and wild runs to the commercial fisheries.  The way people have moved from the may catch a fish to the almost guaranteed catch one.  The commercial fisheries have their place, they are well stocked and well cared for, the fish are bigger well fed and produce the biggest fish for those who like to chase the record breakers.

But this book also takes a more personal look at his life growing up, it is full of amusing at times anecdotes, the old tales, traditions and also fishing folklore that has been handed down.  Sometimes it is not just about the biggest or largest catch, it is more about relaxing,  to stop stressing about things and just enjoy your fishing.

It has important and fascinating facts surrounding the environment, wildlife and nature, sometimes these work well side by side, but other times they can have been to the detriment of other species.  Things over the years have changed and now people are more aware of endangered species measures are being put in place.  We need to protect our natural environment and also to help put right what has been done in the past.

This is a lovely book that is full of wonderfully told memories and stories from Will’s perspective.  It ambled along beautifully, and had me laughing at times with some of his childhood antics, but it also carries some important messages and fascinating facts.  This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of memoirs, fishing, nature and environment.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for my eARC of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

me2.jpg  Will Millard is a writer, BBC presenter, public speaker, and expedition leader.

Born and brought up in the Fens, he presents remote Anthropology and Adventure series for BBC Two, and series on Rivers, Urban Exploration, and History for BBC Wales. In 2016 he won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Presenter and his series have received nominations for Best Series and Best Presenter in the Grierson, Broadcast, Bannf, Kendal, and the Televisual Bulldog Awards. Please visit the ‘Documentaries’ tab for more.

His first book The Old Man and the Sand Eel for Penguin (Viking) follows his wild journey across Britain in pursuit of a fishing record and will be out on March 1st 2018 (but is available for preorder now through Amazon), and his next BBC Two series, charting a year in the life of the extraordinary Korawai tribe in West Papua, will be on your screens this Easter.

Follow Will on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Website

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it give a share or two.  Better still grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx

#GuestPost : Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird & Richard Newman : @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright @gilbster1000

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I am delighted to be sharing a guest post for “Veronica’s Bird”.  Published by Clink Street Publishing and available in paperback and eBook formats.  Available to purchase now at Amazon UK 

When this book was offered to me by Rachel at Authoright I knew immediately that it was one I wanted to read, but also knew that I was already booked up.   There were many questions I would like to pose to the author regarding her time working in a male prison.  So my focus was regarding the changes in prison over the years.  I have a wonderful post that is honest and insightful to share with you.  It has made me more determined than ever to read this book soon.

Guest Post:

Question: How has the prison service changed in the time Veronica was there?

Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman 

It is a commonplace today to criticise the lives of prisoners: ‘too soft’, ‘too cushy’, they say. Choice of menu, carpets in cells, television and radio, ensuite facilities, own door key. What, is going on? So, are these not the good things we all aspired to in a caring society?

Let us make a comparison between a modern prison today with Dartmoor Prison when Veronica entered the Service. Prisoners in those days wore canvas uniforms printed with arrows (even their boots had studs in the shape of an arrow) no television of course, or radio, often deliberately awful food, flogging, no human rights and too far for families to travel and visit, being on the edge of the world, or at least, hidden away in the heavy moor mist. Hard labour was just that: breaking up stone (granite) in a quarry in a chain gang. The men had no rights at all and if a prisoner happened to be mentally ill they were placed under even greater hardship.

No-one, surely wants to see a return to those days, but many of the public still seek an eye for an eye, that the prisoner must feel the lash of the cat ‘o nine -tails albeit if only in a virtual world of his own making. And so, we moved away from chain gangs and, gradually, conditions improved, propped up massively by the European Court of Justice. A balance seemed to have been found. Prison was hard, boring and a huge waste of time – and treasure – but the punishment was fitting the crime in people’s minds. Canvas uniforms with arrows disappeared, there was better food, better on-site hospital care, prison visiting groups could report inconsistencies. We all felt Britain was moving towards being a member of this much espoused, caring society.

Then the pendulum began to swing. Drugs began to rear their ugly head and the snag of importing it into prisons became easier. Now, under organised crime and despite visitors having a rub down and being obliged to open their mouths at the prison gate, the drug flow continues. Drugs can be mixed with children’s paints in a picture brought in ‘for daddy’. It is hidden in kids’ nappies or it can be thrown over prison walls. With thirty-five percent of prisoners already addicted a further two thousand non-drug-takers each year will be addicted before they end their sentence.

And now, with potent drugs such as spice, while we have a prison population living within their ‘rights,’ we are also converting our youth into addicts who will steal and maim in their effort to get their ‘fix’ once they are released. Something is radically wrong here.

Today, staff are better equipped, better trained and unionised. They have to work to strict rules which protect them as well as their charges. They are though, under pressure as budgets are cut, leading to a frightening increase in assaults often triggered by the drug-taking by prisoners who know their rights and use them as a shield. Working in the Prison Service has never been easy but without radical and courageous change, something which successive governments are fain to consider, things will only get worse.

Veronica’s book continues the debate on the vexed subject of how to deal with the varying categories of prisoner. With the death penalty gone and prisoners handed the keys to their cells, we all need to think carefully what is really implied as an eye for an eye.

Veronica’s Bird   –   Copyright © Richard Newman 2018.  Authors Veronica Bird and Richard Newman. Published by Clink Street Publications 23rd January 2017

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Synopsis:

Veronica’s Bird: Thirty-five years inside as a female prison officer 

Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust. This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is led with humour and compassion for those inside.

About the Authors:

After thirty-five years working for the Prison Service, Veronica Bird is now retired and living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She is still an active proponent of the justice system and continues to lecture across the country and is a supporter of Butler Trust, which acknowledges excellence within the prison system. A qualified architect and Swiss-trained hotelier, Richard Newman enjoyed a forty-year career designing and managing hotels worldwide before retiring in 2001. Since

then he has gone on to publish a number of novels: The Crown of Martyrdom, The Horse that Screamed, The Potato Eaters, The Green Hill, Brief Encounters and most recently The Sunday Times bestseller, A Nun’s Story. He is currently working on a new novel about retirement and an autobiography of his time in the Middle East. He lives happily with his wife in Wetherby, West Yorkshire where he enjoys being close to his family.

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I will be reading this book in the near future and will then will add my thoughts also.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Better still go and buy a copy of this book xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Search of Mary Shelley – The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson @NetGalley

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“In Search of Mary Shelley – The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein” by Fiona Sampson is available in Hardback and eBook. Published on 4th Jan by Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books.

Synopsis:

We know the facts of Mary Shelley’s life in some detail—the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, within days of her birth; the upbringing in the house of her father, William Godwin, in a house full of radical thinkers, poets, philosophers, and writers; her elopement, at the age of seventeen, with Percy Shelley; the years of peripatetic travel across Europe that followed. But there has been no literary biography written this century, and previous books have ignored the real person—what she actually thought and felt and why she did what she did—despite the fact that Mary and her group of second-generation Romantics were extremely interested in the psychological aspect of life.

In this probing narrative, Fiona Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, much as Victor Frankenstein tracked his monster across the arctic wastes. Sampson has written a book that finally answers the question of how it was that a nineteen-year-old came to write a novel so dark, mysterious, anguished, and psychologically astute that it continues to resonate two centuries later. No previous biographer has ever truly considered this question, let alone answered it.

My Thoughts:

Fiona Sampson takes a look at the woman who was the force behind one of literature’s classic books, Frankenstein is a title recognised around the world.  It has been dissected and discussed numerous times, but what about its creator.

Mary Shelley wrote this book at the age of 18, two years after her marriage to Percy Shelley, she was at the time considered to be an intellectual thinker.  This is a time when women are seen as an object or a piece of the furniture, not to have opinions or views that are meaningful.

Fiona has, I feel, done her research well using a number of documents, journals and letters to build up a picture of this young woman’s life.  She has created an in-depth narrative that has an easy flow to it and makes for good reading, it is insightful and full of details.

This is a wonderful read that would appeal to readers of biographies and memoirs of literary greats.  It has the air of a well researched book, is well written and presented.  My first time reading any work by this author, I may have to look at reading more.

I received my copy for my honest and unbiased opinion via NetGalley and the publishers, my thanks to them for this opportunity.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share xx

#BookReview : The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris :pub @BonnierZaffre @NetGalley

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“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris is available to purchase from 11th January and is available in various formats.  Published by Bonnier Zaffre and available from Amazon UK 

Synopsis:

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

My Thoughts:

Where to start with this book, it took me a while to get my thoughts in order before I could write a review.  This is based on the true story of Lala & Gita Sokolov.  They met when Lala tattooed the number on her arm on her arrival at Auschwitz.  They along with tens of thousands of others became a number.  Not a name. Not a person.  They were A Number.

Heather spent three years with Lala and his two dogs as he told his story to her.  He needed to do this so that “it would never happen again”.  Also it was time for him to tell, he knew he didn’t have long before he joined his beloved Gita.  Her death gave him the push he needed.

Lala was part of the German round-up of much-needed workers and he was taken to Auschwitz.  By the use of his charm and a certain amount of luck he managed to get the position of “Tetovierer” the tattooist in the camps of Auschwitz and also nearby Birkenau. This allowed him a little more freedom and also extra food rations, Lala shared all he could with others in the camp.  He managed to barter with civilian workers for food, with the help of Gita and her friends.  All that could be shared out was, help given where possible.  The generosity in a time of great suffering shown by others has a way of repaying itself, and indeed when Lala was in need of help it was there.  He travelled between the two camps and this gave him insights as to what was happening, seeing different things appearing, seeing new people, meeting the new doctor a certain Josef Mengeler.

Through Heather, Lala gave accounts of who he met and his experiences.  Heather has written his story with true emotion, sympathy and understanding.  It is a heart wrenching read, and so it should be, but Lala’s character has come through the pages, showing his grim determination that he would survive, he would marry Gita and they would have a future together.

This is an important period in history, one that should never be forgotten or taken lightly.  Heather has done a wonderful job in relating Lala’s story. It is an emotional journey, and even now I still feel the emotion as I write this review, a few days after reading the book.  I received this book as an eARC via NetGalley, but I will be buying my own physical copy.  I highly recommend this book to all readers.

Lala’s lifetime motto was “If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.”

Number – 34902 – Gita born 1925 died 2003

Number – 32407 – Lala born 1916 died 2006

Many thanks to Bonnier Faffre and NetGalley for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives, as their friendship grew and he embarked on a journey on self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give a little share.  Better still go and buy a copy of this outstanding book xx

November Book Round up. Blog tours, blitz’s & reviews on Me and My Books.

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This month has been a very busy reading month for me.  With a whole range of different genres, authors and publishers. With 25 books read and a guest post as I was unable to read a further book in time, I can say it has been my most busiest month as far as reading goes ever.

So to start with the Blog Tours, I was involved in.

Absolution by P.A.Davies | Scream Blue Murder by Tony. J, Forder | Dark Chapter by Winnie. M Li  |  The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett  | Illusion by Stephanie Elmas  |  Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green  |

There were a number of different Blog Blitz tours as well. 

Wormwood by Larry Enmon  | The Dead Whisper by Emma Clapperton  | Secrets & Fries at The Starlight Dinner by Helen Cox |  Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by Helen. J. Rolfe  | The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali

Books sent to me for my thoughts on them, or that I offered to read.

Dinner At The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers  | The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw   | Living in Italy, The Real Deal by Stef Smulders  | Hit The Road, Jac! by Jacqui Furneaux    |  Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser

NetGalley gave me a chance to start to read books aimed at children, as well as for my usual genres.

Mr Campions Abdication by Mike Ripley  | The Price of Silence by Delores Gordon-Smith  | Three Days a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  | Hortense and the Shadow by O’Hara Sisters  | The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

Finally a few books from my TBR Pile.

Bone by Yrsa Daley Ward   |The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd | Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill
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Finally I received the most amazing Guest Post from Peter Bartram.  Author of “Crampton of The Chronicle” mystery series.  I have rad some of his books in the past, but I just could not squeeze another book into my reading schedule. His post about Ruth Ellis, who was the last woman to be hung in England, has a link into his new book. GuestPost by Peter Bartram.

 

 

 

 

A big ” Thank You” to everyone who has shared, tweeted and commented over the month.  As well as a huge “Thank You” to the authors, tour organiser and publishers.

If you liked this post, or any of the other links to my posts, please give them a like or a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book 🙂

#BookReview : Hit The Road, Jac! by Jacqui Furneaux @Bulletjac : @Propel_Tech : pub by Shuvvy Press

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I wish to thank Propel Technology for sending me a copy of “Hit The Road Jac” by Jacqui Furneaux.   The story of her journey over seven years to 20 different countries all on the back of a 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet, with no plan.

Synopsis:

“Read this and you’ll want to go on an adventure. Jacqui’s tale is not just obviously inspiring, but her story makes you think about the pleasures of nature and simplicity; about taking the time to just stand and breathe life in, something we all quite wrongly think we don’t have the time for. Her words reminded me of myself as a child, being inventive, imaginative and at times pretty cheeky to get what I wanted. Though clearly tough and dangerous at times, her journey seemed to create joy, a self-made joy. Nothing better. I’m a huge fan of her trip, it’s made me think…… I bet it will make you think too….!” SUZI PERRY

My Thoughts:

Wow!  is an understatement for what Jacqui has been through in her seven years of travelling and has described in this book.  She has pushed her way through things that most people would shy away from.  This lady certainly likes a challenge.  For her 50th birthday she bought her Enfield, in the following 7 years she travelled on it around India, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, South and Central America visiting 20 countries on her journey, with only occasional trips back to the UK to see her family.

As Jacqui leads you through her adventure you also learn of her own life.  She explains why she made the decision to travel and she does it in an honest way.  She is quite candid as she travels to new places and meets new people, as well as her own personal journey as she finds herself.  She shares how she dealt with the ups and downs of life, love, family, relationships and travel, just like the cover of her book.  A game of snakes and ladders, all ups, downs and working your way through to an end goal.

Along the way she became a well seasoned and respected traveller, keeping an account in her diaries.  She has learnt how to repair and maintain her bike that has taken her across mountains, beside volcanoes, deep gorges and passes with the occasional mishap.  She has been in the odd accident, bruises, scraps and broken bones, but has recovered to continue her journey and survived to tell the tale.

This book is written in a very easy to read style, it covers a whole range of things that make up a really interesting travel memoir.  It has a humorous side to it at times, and is also pragmatic.  It has an edge of the seat feel and a great all round read.  She shares her feeling on the places she has seen, the kindness of strangers and that some of the places she visited will never be seen again.  Her travels started in 2000 and since then their has been civil unrest, conflict and war that has changed the landscape as well as damaging or destroying buildings.  I love the fact that the bike is still going!

I would definitely recommend this book to readers of Travel Memoirs, Travel Guide, Educational, Reference, Biography and Non-Fiction books.  I can think of a couple of my own family members that would be interested in reading this book.  I think different people will take different things from it.

About the Author:

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Picking up my brand new Enfield from the showroom in Chennai, India.

In 1998, after bringing up a family and being a nurse and health visitor, I set out on a year’s journey, on my own for the first time ever. I started backpacking in Thailand and explored many South-East Asian countries armed only with wide-open eyes and a guide book. Six months into the trip and feeling quite the adventurous explorer, I went to Pakistan and India before returning to the UK.

But I found I really liked travelling and although at my age I really should have known better, I set off again, this time combining my love of travel with my other passion … motorcycling. I’d owned various Japanese motorbikes over the years since passing my test aged 24 but had never had an Enfield!

Exchanging guide books for road maps, for my 50th birthday I bought a 500cc Enfield Bullet in India and rode it, initially alongside the Dutchman who had suggested the idea. None of it was planned. I would not have dreamed I’d be having this chance of a lifetime when I should have been saving for my retirement. But life’s too short not to take a chance. 

Follow Jacqui on her Website  or Twitter , her website is well worth looking through, there is loads of great content.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Shuvvy Press (2 Sept. 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0956430562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956430564
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

I would like to express my thanks to Propel Technology for sending me a copy of this book.  My views expressed here are unbiased and my own.  The pictures are from Jacqui’s website, a site I recommend visiting.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy the book.