On the Scent: Unlocking the Mysteries of Smell – and How Its Loss Can Change Your World by Paolo Totaro and Robert Wainwright @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nonfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for On the Scent by Paola Totaro and Robert Wainwright. When I received an email from Alison Menzies PR at Elliott & Thompson Publishers about this book I was definitely intrigued. Having had Covid and losing my sense of smell and taste wasn’t nice. I wish I had this book while I had these symptoms, and it has made me realise how important your fifth sense is! A case of – you don’t know what you have until it is gone…

I admit that I hadn’t given the sense of smell much of a thought until I had Covid, if you are one of those lucky enough not to have lost it, then you should consider picking up this book as well. You don’t realise how it can impact your everyday life.

A fascinating exploration of how losing our sense of smell can shape our world, and how the global pandemic transformed our understanding of this mysterious sense.

Paola is on a journey to get her sense of smell back.  Before the pandemic, loss of smell was estimated to affect about 5% of adults in the UK but about 40% of Covid sufferers experience anosmia in some form, catapulting this least understood sense into the spotlight. 

Paola lost her sense of smell just days after London went into the first lockdown, 2 months before anosmia was an officially recognised symptom here. Reporting from the UK on the pandemic for the Australian press, she began to investigate whether this strange and awful symptom might be related to Covid.  

On the Scent weaves together Paola’s own story of scent loss and partial recovery, with the latest chemo-sensory research and fascinating facts about the sense we know least about, as well as practical solutions for those experiencing scent loss.  It is set against the context of how the British government delayed their acceptance of anosmia as a symptom of C-19; and how the scientific community came together in an unprecedented way to research it.  

From Scent Training as a recovery aid to why some anosmics experience radical distortions in how things smell, On the Scent, explains why we ignore the Cinderella of the Senses at our cost: it is a risk factor in depression and significant in the early detection of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

MY REVIEW

This is one of those books that I wish I had when I had Covid. I was one of the many who lost the sense of taste and smell. It’s one of those things that you don’t realise how important it is to your mental well-being as well as being one of the physical senses.

This book made me realise how important the sense of smell is. Without it, things just were not the same. I never appreciated how much of my everyday life revolves around smell until it wasn’t there. I am one of the very lucky ones who only had to deal with this abandonment on a temporary basis, around two weeks before I could start to pick up aromas, perfumes and other strong smells.

The authors of this book have laid everything out in such an easy-to-understand way. Yes, obviously there are science bits, but all done in a way that this non-science-brained reader could get. The authors take the reader through the various terms, the history, and also most recently Covid. In some ways, Covid provided answers for many people who have anosmia – a loss of smell, or parosmia – a distortion of smell. From having only a few volunteers pre-pandemic, researchers had a whole world of people who were suddenly discovering that they had lost their fifth sense.

The authors bring accounts, quotes, and articles from various people around the world. Those who have never had a sense of smell, to those who have a sense of smell but one that is wrong. AS I was reading this book I realised that there is a lot more to having a sense of smell than you first realise. Have you ever smelt a flower, or a perfume and been reminded of a favourite relative or an occasion? Have you ever smelt something starting to burn, or smelt a whiffy nappy? How about your own body smell? Can you smell the rain coming so can go and get your washing in off the line?

Not having this sense for me was a shock. Food became, boring and bland. Cooking a meal felt at times pointless as I knew I would not enjoy it. This book goes through all of these moments and so many more. It makes it such an enlightening read and one that, as I have mentioned, I wish I had before I got Covid.

The treatments, diagnosis, attitudes, advice and realisation have changed since Covid. This means that it will hopefully be given greater importance. If you lost your sight you would be classed as blind, if you couldn’t hear you would be classed as deaf. In both of these cases, you would have access to aids. Now, what about the smell!

This is an educational book that comes across in a very informal way. I was surprised by how much I could identify with, and also how much I really had no idea about. I know I am very lucky to have my sense of smell back because without that my sense of taste is also gone. An interesting read and very accessible. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe: And Our Place Within It by Andrew Newsam @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #science #nonfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe: And Our Place Within It by Andrew Newsam. This is a very accessible and interesting read for those with a basic curiosity about the Universe.

My huge thanks to Alison at Elliot and Thompson for getting in touch about this book and for sending me a copy from the publisher Eliot & Thompson.

60131469. sy475

Everything you ever wanted to know about the universe – and our place within it – in one mind-expanding and highly accessible book.
___

What happens inside black holes? Is dark matter real? Could we do anything to prevent being wiped out by an approaching asteroid? Will our explorations of our neighbouring planets reveal life or a new place to settle? What can observations of stars reveal about our origins – and our future?

Professor Andrew Newsam draws on his vast expertise to show us what’s going on beyond the limits of our planet, from our solar system to distant galaxies – and what this tells us about our own place in this vast expanse called ‘the Universe’.

From glowing nebulae to the sweeping majesty of the Milky Way, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe will spark your curiosity and help you make sense of the amazing discoveries and fascinating mysteries of the cosmos.

MY REVIEW

I am not a scientifically minded person, I struggle with large numbers and most of the stuff goes over my head. What I am though, is curious. It is curiosity that is the start for many/most of the advances in everything we know, build, connect and learn from. So, there is hope for me yet! Maybe 😉

This is a relatively short book and one that I found to be really informative, but most importantly for me, it was also understandable. When I say understandable, I mean that as I read it made sense as the author laid everything out in a basic way. He also made comparisons to things we know.

Anything to do with space or the universe involves some seriously mega numbers. Million is a tiny amount! Millions of millions are a bit larger, but when numbers have 10 or 20 or more zeros in them then it is mind-blowing for this mere mortal. The author put these numbers into a perspective that gave me some idea of the size, this gave the figures a meaning that before I would just go, “yeah that’s beyond me to imagine anything that large”. I think this is what makes this book so interesting and informative, the author breaks things down into manageable and understandable numbers and also terms. Whether he is referring to the difference between fusion or fission, the difference between dark matter or mass, he gives his explanations in basic terms.

This is a book that deals with the Universe from its earliest and continues over billions of years. How guesswork and theories have changed, challenged or proven as advances in observational equipment and computers. Studying the universe is something that will always throw up new questions and quests. There is also a really interesting part about the future of the Universe.

I have to say that this is a book that I found really enjoyable to read. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as such, I expected it to be informative and hopefully, I would learn something as I read. The author has an almost conversational style to his writing, it felt as if he was interacting with me personally as he led me through the mysteries, phenomena, science, discoveries and challenges.

If you are curious about where the universe started and like me have no science background then this book is a wonderful place to start. It has definitely made me more curious. Very accessible to read, understandable with explained jargon and terms, An excellent book to read and one that I would definitely recommend. 

60131469. sy475

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

Put a Wet Paper Towel on it by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkison #NetyGalley #nonfiction #education @HarperCollinsUK #humour #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Put a Wet Paper Towel on it by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkinson. I admit it was the title of this book that definitely caught my eye. I remember that a wet paper towel was used in school for so many things.

A heart-warming and hilarious look at life in the classroom from the teachers who host the most popular UK education podcast, Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast).

Have you ever wondered what really happens during the day when your precious little angels are at school?

In this book, The Two Mr Ps will take you on a side-splittingly funny journey through the weird and wonderful world of primary schools. It will also explore the pressures of modern-day teaching, revealing exactly what it takes to wrangle a chaotic classroom (or seven) on a weekly basis. From the absolute characters found in the staffroom to school-trip mishaps and everything else in between, Put A Wet Paper Towel on It is a must-read for teachers and parents alike.

So sit up straight, four legs on your chair, fingers on lips and get ready to take a trip down memory lane. And remember – when in doubt, just put a wet paper towel on it. 

MY REVIEW

This is quite an entertaining book about working in a Primary School in the UK. The title immediately caught my eye as I can remember wet paper towels being used for nose bleeds, cut fingers, grazed knees and many other things.

The authors are brothers, both working in primary Education, one a teacher the other a teaching assistant. The authors provide a background that tells their journey into the classroom, and also rather humorously some of the events that have occurred over the years.

They list various types of personalities that you can find amongst teachers, students and also parents. There are various observations from both about the way the education system keeps evolving and how there seems to be more paperwork than ever before.

Both of the authors have a similar attitude but they also have a very strong ethos when it comes down to teaching and helping those in their care.

While this is a humorous book there are also some very important things discussed and it does highlight the plight of education, schools, politicians and the ever-changing goalposts. This is a nicely balanced book and one that I did enjoy reading. It is one I would happily recommend. 

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

Twinkl – Educational Resources @twinklresources #Promotion #education #bookreview #LucyMakesAWish

I am delighted to share a promotional post today for Twinkl. This is an educational resources site for Early Years through to 18 years old. They are an unlimited downloads and resources site that provides support to Parents, Home Educators, Child Minders and have a huge range to discover.

One of my reviews is featured along with some wonderful Book Bloggers reviews, check out the other Warm Wintery Reads HERE

ABOUT TWINKLE

We’re here to ‘help those who teach’. It’s what brings us to work every day.

We’re proud to create educational resources that can be used at each step of a child’s learning journey.

Our teacher-created resources provide entire schemes of work, lesson planning and assessments right through to online educational games, augmented reality and so much more.

We have over 525,000 resources and new content gets added every day. You’ll find we’ve normally got what you need before you even know you want it.

We’re all inspired to support teachers and learners, around the world.

Everything we do supports the global teaching community and we’re committed to transforming people’s lives through education.

We support and work with educators across the world, including primary and secondary teachers, childminders, nursery workers, home educators and parents.

All Twinkl resources are teacher-made and can be used by anyone, anywhere – making learning accessible to all.

We also tailor resources to a number of curriculums, including the UK National Curriculums. You can find a full list of those we cover right here.

Laura Millington, Contents Executive contacted me to see if I would like to have one of my reviews to be featured in their Christmas Campaign.

The book Laura wanted to include was one I had reviewed and posted on my Blog, Lucy Makes a Wish by Anne Booth, a fabulous book for children aged 6+

This review was featured on Twinkl as part of their Christmas campaign

If you would like to read my full review CLICK HERE

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

The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nonfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden. This is a non-fiction and is quite accessible and readable for the non-science minded among us 😉

My huge thanks to Alison at Eliot & Thompson Books for my advanced copy.

Before I get into my review I thought it would be a good idea to share a few facts.

Mars is the 4th planet from the sun, with Earth being the 3rd.

The diameter of Mars is approx. 4,222, Earths is approx. 7,926

Olympus Mons is one of the tallest volcanos found. It is 13.6miles high, Mount Everest is 5.5miles.

Earths largest volcano is Mauna Kea in Hawaii, it is 6.33miles high, although most of it is below sea level.

I did find this image of Mountains in the Solar System.

https://www.bing.com/images/

What makes Olympus Mons even more impressive is when you see a comparison between the size of Mars next to Earth…

See the source image
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mars,_Earth_size_comparison.jpg

And something that hadn’t even occurred to me until I was reading the book was that we have earthquakes, Mars, well it has marsquakes!

Now to the book…

58322170. sy475

The history of Mars is drawn not just on its surface, but also down into its broken bedrock and up into its frigid air. Most of all, it stretches back into deep time, where the trackways of the past have been obliterated by later events, and there is no discernible trace of where they started from or how they travelled, only where they ended up.

As NASA lays it plans for a return to the moon and, from there, a manned mission to Mars, there has never been a better time to acquaint ourselves with the dramatic history and astonishing present of the red planet. Planetary geologist, geophysicist and acclaimed SF author Dr Simon Morden takes us on a vivid guided tour of Mars.

From its formation four and half billion years ago, through an era of cataclysmic meteor strikes and the millions of years during which a vast ocean spanned its entire upper hemisphere, to the long, frozen ages that saw its atmosphere steadily thinning and leaking away into space, Morden presents a tantalising vision of the next planet we will visit.

With a storyteller’s flair, piecing together the latest research and data from the Mars probes, the most up-to-date theories of planetary geology, and informed speculation as to whether there has been life on Mars, The Red Planet is as close as we can get to an eye-witness account of this incredible place. 

Purchase from Amazon UK or other independent Bookshops from Sept 2nd 2021

MY REVIEW…

What I know about the planet Mars, isn’t much and so I was quite interested when I got the chance to read an advanced copy of The Red Planet.

I do have an interest in life, the universe and planets. Natural history is something that belongs far beyond our planet. I have no science background so what I understand has to be, well, basic. When I saw this book I did a bit of a double-take when I read about the author. He is a sci-fi author who also happens to have degrees in geography and planetary geophysics, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s on about.

I liked the way this book is laid out, a brief intro from the author and then a trip to the planet Mars. From then the author goes into how Mars was formed, what changes it went through and is still going through. The climate, geography, geology, atmosphere.

For a planet smaller than Earth, this red blob in the night sky seems to have been through it all. A planet that has had impacts leaving massive craters, with a dry dusty atmosphere, frozen areas and one of the largest volcanoes known, it makes earth’s largest volcano in Hawaii more like a peak in comparison.

Throughout this book I was aware that this was on the whole quite understandable, at least while I was reading it, it was. I understood enough to grasp what the author was explaining and for me that is a good thing. There were the odd bits that I just couldn’t grasp but part of me was expecting that as I went into this book. Unless you have more of a science background I think this is quite an approachable book. But even the scientists who have studied this planet for decades still cannot agree on some things. There are various theories surrounding how Mars came to be, what forces sculpted the planet we see, and where, how and when there was water.

If you have an interest in planets, and nature beyond our planet then this is a book that will really appeal to you. I found it fascinating and I really enjoyed reading it. I also found myself internet hopping as I read this book, looking up various items, viewing images and also looking at the most recent news. It is a book that I would happily recommend.

About the Author…

Dr. Simon Morden, B.Sc. (Hons., Sheffield) Ph.D (Newcastle) is a bona fide rocket scientist, having degrees in geology and planetary geophysics. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn’t exactly prepare a person for the big wide world of work: he’s been a school caretaker, admin assistant, and PA to a financial advisor. He’s now employed as a part-time teaching assistant at a Gateshead primary school, which he combines with his duties as a house-husband, attempting to keep a crumbling pile of Edwardian masonry upright, wrangling his two children and providing warm places to sleep for the family cats.

His not-so-secret identity as journeyman writer started when he sold the short story Bell, Book and Candle to an anthology, and a chaotic mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror followed. Heart came out to critical acclaim, and Another War was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award, but with The Lost Art, things suddenly got serious. Contracts. Agents. Deadlines. Responsibility. Scary stuff. The Lost Art was subsequently a finalist for the Catalyst Award for best teen fiction.

As well as a writer, he’s been the editor of the British Science Fiction Association’s writers’ magazine Focus, a judge for the Arthur C Clarke awards, and is a regular speaker at the Greenbelt Arts Festival on matters of faith and fiction. In 2009, he was in the winning team for the Rolls Royce Science Prize.

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

Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Dr Edmund Richardson #nonfiction #NetGalley @BloomsburyBooks #history #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Dr Edmund Richardson. There is something about ancient and lost cities that does interest me so when I saw this book on NetGalley I did request it.

For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, deserter, traveller, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist, spy, and eventually one of the most respected scholars in Asia, and the greatest of nineteenth-century travellers.

On the way into one of history’s most extraordinary stories, he would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. He would spy for the East India Company and be suspected of spying for Russia at the same time, for this was the era of the Great Game, when imperial powers confronted each other in these staggeringly beautiful lands. Masson discovered tens of thousands of pieces of Afghan history, including the 2,000 year old Bimaran golden casket, which has upon it the earliest known face of the Buddha. He would be offered his own kingdom; he would change the world, and the world would destroy him.

This is a wild journey through nineteenth-century India and Afghanistan, with impeccably researched storytelling that shows us a world of espionage and dreamers, ne’er-do-wells and opportunists, extreme violence both personal and military, and boundless hope. At the edge of empire, amid the deserts and the mountains, it is the story of an obsession passed down the centuries.

Pre-order Link – Amazon UK

My Review…

I am rather partial to picking up the odd history book and Alexandria appealed to me when I read the synopsis. That first paragraph referring to a man who, I initially thought was a bit of a rogue, has quite a remarkable life.

Charles Masson decided that he didn’t want to be in the East India Company, years of bad pay, awful work and no chance of raising his position basically up and walks out. Unbeknownst to him, this would be the start of a very remarkable life.

The author has got a wonderful way of approaching the story of Masson and has made it very addictive. The story charts what is known of Masson, the people he met, the politics of the time as well as the East India Company. There are loads of references and these have been listed at the end of the book so it makes it much easier reading.

I have to say that the author changed my opinion of Masson, originally I thought him a bit of a rogue, this then changed to him being a man obsessed with finding Alexandria beneath the mountains. To finally feeling quite sorry for him.

His quest to find one of the cities called Alexandria becomes all-consuming. He travels, talks to people, spends all his money and on occasion risks his life. He is robbed beaten, imprisoned, starved and on the brink of death but still, his pursuit continued.

Yes, this is a non-fiction book, and yet it felt like a really fascinating action and adventure read. This is very much down to the skill of the author as he has created such a readable historical account. I adored reading this and it has also led me on to my own further reading about Masson and Alexander.

One for history fans, such an informative book that was great reading. One I would definitely recommend.

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

Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures by Michael Blencowe #nature #environment #LeapingHarePress @alisonmenziespr #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for by Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures by Michael Blencowe.

This is a stunning and poignant book that I received from Alison Menzies PR for review. My huge thanks to Alison for my gorgeous copy of Gone published by Leaping Hare Press.

50998264

Dynamic naturalist Michael Blencowe has travelled the globe to uncover the fascinating backstories of eleven extinct animals, which he shares with charm and insight in Gone.
 
Inspired by his childhood obsession with extinct species, Blencowe takes us around the globe – from the forests of New Zealand to the ferries of Finland, from the urban sprawl of San Francisco to an inflatable crocodile on Brighton’s Widewater Lagoon. Spanning five centuries, from the last sighting of New Zealand’s Upland Moa to the 2012 death of the Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, Lonesome George, his memoir is peppered with the accounts of the hunters and naturalists of the past as well as revealing conversations with the custodians of these totemic animals today
 
Featuring striking artworks that resurrect these forgotten creatures, each chapter focuses on a different animal, revealing insights into their unique characteristics and habitatsthe history of their discovery and just how and when they came to be lost to us
 
Blencowe inspects the only known remains of a Huia egg at Te Papa, New Zealand; views hundreds of specimens of deceased Galapagos tortoises and Xerces Blue butterflies in the California Academy of Sciences; and pays his respects to the only soft tissue remains of the Dodo in the world. Warm, wry and thought-provoking, Gone shows that while each extinction story is different, all can inform how we live in the future. Discover and learn from the stories of the:
 
·         Great Auk. A majestic flightless seabird of the North Atlantic and the ‘original penguin’.
·         Spectacled Cormorant. The ‘ludicrous bird’ from the remote islands of the Bering Sea. 
·         Steller’s Sea Cow. An incredible ten tonne dugong with skin as furrowed as oak bark. 
·         Upland Moa. The improbable birds and the one-time rulers of New Zealand. 
·         Huia. The unique bird with two beaks and twelve precious tail feathers. 
·         South Island Kōkako. The ‘orange-wattled crow’, New Zealand’s elusive Grey Ghost. 
·         Xerces Blue. The gossamer-winged butterfly of the San Francisco sand dunes. 
·         Pinta Island Tortoise. The slow-moving, long-lived giant of the Galápagos Islands. 
·         Dodo. The superstar of extinction. 
·         Schomburgk’s Deer. A mysterious deer from the wide floodplains of central Thailand. 
·         Ivell’s Sea Anemone. A see-through sea creature known only from southern England. 
 
A modern must-read for anyone interested in protecting our earth and its incredible wildlife, Gone is an evocative call to conserve what we have before it is lost forever.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

My Review…

I had planned on reading this book over a couple of days, instead, I found myself quite addicted to the author’s journey and search for the remains of extinct creatures. How sad this title is “Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures”!

Michael Blencoe describes his love of natural history from his childhood and how exciting the world seemed. As he grew he had that realisation that there were things that once lived and thrived in the world that had now gone. The only thing that remains of these creatures is to be found in museums, collections, photographs and diaries and accounts during the travels of explorers and scientists over the past few centuries.

As I try to write a review for this book I realise that I am caught up in a bit of a vicious circle. Many Victorian Collectors contributed to the extinction of many species. But, without the collections, we would not be able to see what once lived free!

This book is broken down into an introduction followed by 11 chapters, these chapters look at a different species that is now extinct. The author introduces each animal and gives a brief history of it and also of how it was discovered and then what led to its extinction. He also includes his search for any remains that are to be found in museums and also tried to visit the spot where the animal lived or was last seen. There are further reading and other useful extras in the back of the book.

This is such a sad book to read in the respect that the creatures mentioned will never be seen again, but it also highlights the impact humans have had on the natural world. It is something that is very relevant in today’s society as more and more animals are being brought to the edge of extinction. Several species no longer exist in the 50 years that I have been around.

While it is a sad book as it deals with loss, it is also very addictive reading as I discovered more about the different birds, mammals and sea creatures that have been used in this book. The authors’ obvious love of the living world and his interest is quite infectious as I read, and, as I said I found it impossible to put it down until I had finished it.

It is a lovely presented book with some gorgeous colour plates in it. At just under 200 pages long it is one doesn’t take long to read. This is a book that readers of natural history would enjoy, it also crosses somewhat into history and is the authors account of his own journey. It is a book I would definitely recommend this book if you have an interest in nature.

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

History of World Trade in Maps by Philip Parker @Collins_Books #history #maps #nonfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share a wonderful non-fiction book with you today. History of World Trade in Maps by Philip Parker is a fabulous book for lovers of history, trade, travel, geography and also art. Some of the detailing and artwork in these maps is amazing.

Before I get to carried away let me show you what this is about…

Synopsis

Trade is the lifeblood of nations. It has provided vital goods and wealth to countries and merchants from the ancient Egyptians who went in search of gold and ivory to their 21st-century equivalents trading high-tech electronic equipment from the Far East.

In this beautiful book, more than 70 maps give a visual representation of the history of World Commerce, accompanied by text which tells the extraordinary story of the merchants, adventurers, middle-men and monarchs who bought, sold, explored and fought in search of profit and power.

The maps are all works of art, witnesses to history, and have a fascinating story to tell.

The maps include
• Çatalhöyük Plan, c. 6200BC
• Babylonian Map of the World, c. 600BC
• Stone Map of China, 1136
• Hereford Mappa Mundi, c. 1300
• Buondelmonti Map of Constantinople, c. 1420
• The Waldseemüller Map, 1507
• James Rennell Map of Hindoostan, 1782
• Air Age Map, 1945
• Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Dashboard, 2020

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link) or from your local bookshop.

My Review…

This is such a nice book to sit and flick through, which is what I have been doing over the past week or so. The book is laid out in a logical sequence and covers the major trade routes around the world that have formed over centuries.

I am not a map reader but I do appreciate the artwork that went into earlier maps. Some of which are simply stunning with detailed images, designs and some with gold leaf. Some of the maps are recognisable as being a map by what we know of today, but some look nothing like a map as they are linear and flat.

The maps are explained with easy to follow captions and also more detail is gone into as well. From early routes, C.600BC to modern-day maps you can see a progression in accuracy and also understanding. The book ends with a startling image of pandemic routes and how human movement has increased so has the movement of disease.

Wool. sheep. textile, silk, spice, tea, slavery and all manner of routes are portrayed in this book. Details of transactions, old photos and all manner of other items have been included to build up a good and very interesting read.

While this is a book of maps, it also pulls together brief histories and geologies. I really appreciate the detail in some of the maps but at times the scale is very small given the huge detail involved and I would love to have been able to see these more clearly. A magnifying glass does help to a certain extent but a larger page or a fold-out page for the more detailed maps to give a better view would have been amazing. Although overall the size of the majority of maps is very acceptable.

This is a book that lovers of history, cartography, geography and also art would really appreciate. I think it would make a great present and I know I would love to receive it, therefore I would be very happy to recommend it as it does make fascinating reading.

Here are some other images from the book…

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

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Outremer by D.N.Carter : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 #BookReview #Blogtour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Outremer” by D.N.Carter.  This book is available in hardback, paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

My Thoughts:

This is a huge book, not just in length, but also in detail, content, description, plot and research.  The research alone that has gone into this book is in itself vast.  If you want a book that takes you through the history of the Knights Templar and the events of the high middle ages then this is a must read.  Also included is a vast array of things relevant to the time and their connections through history, and includes Christianity, Muslims, Islam, Egyptology, symbolism, paganism, Arthurian Legend, folklore and astrology, this list only just scratches the surface. It is the first in a planned series of four books, and feels to be just the tip of the iceberg.  I am so excited about this upcoming series after reading this first instalment.

All of the above and more have been cleverly wrapped around the love story of Paul from a Christian family and Alisha from a Muslim one.  In theory these two families should be enemies,at the time of crusades when Muslim and Christian are at war.  But this is not the case, the families have been friends for many years, and respected by some of the highest ranking Grand Masters, but why is this information not available to all, and known only by a select few.   Paul and Alisha’s story is one that is destined to be. But one that some would like to wipe out, to stop and erase the bloodline. While we learn this story as it happens, we also meet an old man, he has a story and tells it at the local inn to a mixed background audience.  He tells the story of Paul and Alisha, but it is after it has happened, a few years later in fact.  The audience initially believe he is telling a tall tale, but there are things for some of the audience that ring true, and as he tells his tale he fills in the history.  Not just of the families but of all things from all ages and many countries, he has details of dates, people, places, events, and then religions, legends, myths and facts.  He has detailed documents to prove the information he gives.

I could write so much about this book, there is so much information in it, from various sources and backgrounds.  It is almost like reading a history lesson as it happens.  The descriptions for the settings and the people have been really well done.  I really like the way the two stories complement each other.  One as it happens, the other in the future. There are many characters in this story, the major players quickly become identifiable, and after a few appearances so do the smaller re-occurring players.

The historical content in this is huge, at times I did find myself overwhelmed by it, and at times I got confused by my lack of understanding.  But to be honest, the parts I found confusing didn’t take anything away from the story or my enjoyment of it. There are some very interesting elements in this, some of which have previously been brought up in Dan Brown books, there is a reference to his work in the bibliography, and not all of the theories in Brown’s books I understood either and yet still loved them.

So if you want a serious book about the high middle ages, and are ready for an amazing journey, then this is the book for you.  I would definitely recommend this to readers of Historical Fiction, readers of History and mention that it contains some historical romance.  It is a well researched, well presented and a real epic of a book.  I eagerly await the next instalment.

About the Author:

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.                    Visit the author – Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (9 May 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525257
  • Amazon UK

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

12Days2017_Calendar

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

 

#BookReview : Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser @SoulyRested

23755805_1915084985420510_4920822524421683878_n

I was given the privilege of reading a brand-new book titled Sweet Maple, written by Michelle Visser. Well, that’s not the whole story, really. It was about to be released, self-published I should say, when suddenly Michelle had publishing houses swooning over this book and wanting to publish it themselves. (I can see why. This book is wonderful!) So now the version I got to review has been pulled. And the new (and improved!) book will be on bookshelves fall 2019.

About Sweet Maple:

Prologue (taken from the book): Ever thought about trying to make your own maple syrup? Maybe you’re just curious about the whole process. Maybe you know you’re diving into it next winter, sink or swim, and you’d rather swim? Or maybe you have a curious child asking all kinds of questions about maple syrup. Like every day. Like 22 times a day. (Not that I can relate to this, mind you.) Maybe your kid’s learning about Native Americans in school. (Guess who first made maple sugar?) Or maybe you’d like a glimpse into our family’s efforts to live life a little more simply by raising a few farm animals and making our own allnatural sugar. For all the reasons above, and if you like the feel-good idea of supporting a hard-working momma who’s writing to help pay the homestead bills, then you’ll be glad you invested in this book.  In your hands you’re holding a book about my family’s failures (lots) and successes (a few) during our first two winters’ attempts to turn tree sap into amazing liquid-gold sweetness. And I’m glad you’re along for the ride. You can read even more, watch some videos, peruse my lists of equipment we use and resources I love, and order my eBooks and eCourses all about backyard maple syrup at SoulyRested.com.

My Thoughts:

Now my curiosity got the better of me when I saw Michelle’s book “Sweet Maple”.  I have a bit of a background in the catering industry and had not put much thought into the process of extracting maple syrup.  As I read this book I was amazed at how intricate, time-consuming this process is and all the factors that come into play, that can help or hinder the process.

As I started reading this book, I was struck by the humble nature of the author.  Here is a lady who quite freely admits to making, and still making mistakes, but how she learns from each one and moves on.  Her failures in making maple syrup has given her a basis for this book, or,  she refers to it as “being the heart of it”.

With her family in a 14 acres wooded homestead in New England, Michelle tells how as a family they live with and within a beautiful area.  She shares the area with her husband and children, as well as a  dog, cows, chickens and other animals.  Having access to suitable trees for tapping and extracting is only part of the process.  When I read this book it became quickly apparent that I know absolutely nothing about the process.  But with Michelle’s wit and humour she has explained all the ins and outs, and also included a list of supplies, suppliers.  It is quite an intensive book, but does not feel like it.  That is only the beginning, she also explains what trees can be tapped, and it’s not just maple trees!

At this point I am loving this book, it is informative, well laid out and has warmth and humour to it.  Then comes the yummy section, the recipes.  Two words here “MAPLE CREAM”, I think I may need this in my life.  It sounds amazing. The are some really good basic recipes, as yet I have not tries them, but I feel they would be a good starting point for using the syrup.  I am definitely going to be having a go at maple scones, as well as a “snickerdoodle” (I love this word, never heard of it before), it looks very similar to a light, airy gingerbread biscuit.  A nice array of recipes for home baking, nothing flask or fancy, that fits in well with what I have learnt from this book.

This to me was a wonderful, delightful read.  There are some beautiful pictures in this book that are interspersed around the writing.  It is informative, but light-hearted, a joy to read. I have also been having a good look around Michelle’s website, and found that also a mine of information, links and also extra recipes, and the opportunity to sign up to her newsletter.

I would like to take this time to express my thanks to Michelle, for allowing me a copy of her book.  My thoughts are honest and my own.  I wish you all the very best Michelle xx

About the Author:

dsc_14831

Michelle Visser is a homesteader in rural New England. She’s a fourth-generation gardener, an author and photographer, mom to four daughters, and the sugarmaker’s wife. In their 200-year-old farmhouse and on their 14 rocky tree-filled acres, her family makes an effort to live life a little more simply by growing some of their own food, raising a few farm animals, and making their own all-natural maple sugar.

Author Links:

SoulyRested.com … because simple joys require hard work….

Follow on facebook.

Follow on youtube.

Follow on twitter.

Follow on instagram.

Follow on pinterest.

Check out my maple syrup books and video course here.

And read about my new book, Sweet Maple, here.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy this book. Get yourself in the kitchen and try some of these amazing recipes out.  I know I am going to be trying some.