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…

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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.

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The Silk Roads: The Extraordinary History that created your World – Children’s Edition by Peter Frankopan #audiobook #20booksofsummer @NetGalley @BloomsburyUK #audioreview

I am delighted to share an audio book review today for The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. I have this book in hardback and have been meaning t read it for so long. When I saw there was an audio version available via NetGalley I immediately requested a copy. My thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for granting my request to listen and review.

This is a children’s version aimed at those around 11 years and up. A quick listen at just over two and a half hours long.

Set your sails east with this stunningly original new history of the world. Peter Frankopan explores the connections made by people, trade, disease, war, religion, adventure, science and technology in this extraordinary book about how the east married the west with a remarkable voyage at its heart – the journey along the Silk Roads.


From ancient world laws laid down by King Hammurabi and the mighty Persian empire, to terrifying Huns, the rise of Europe, two world wars and politics today, The Silk Roads moves through time and history sewing together the threads from different peoples, empires and continents into a phenomenal history of the globe.


With stories from each and every corner of society, Frankopan’s magnificent retelling of his literary triumph The Silk Roads, sumptuously illustrated by Neil Packer, is a must-have world history.

My Review…

I have a hardback version of this book but as yet have not read it. When I saw there was an audio version I thought this might be the ideal time to listen instead. I was aware that this is a version that is abridged and aimed at a teen audience and so shorter in length than the actual book.

This narration is excellent to listen to, my only issue was that it finished far too quickly! I was really enjoying the book and I could have listened for a lot longer.

This is the story of the Silk Road, from the first recognition and use of this route to modern-day use. Not only does the author deal with important events on the Silk Road, but he also uses these events to mention other events in the world. This works really well as there are various reference points so you are aware of what else was going on at the time.

So while this is primarily about the Silk Road it is also a world history book. Cross-referencing like this means you get glimpses of social events, cultures, histories. The author explores how political decisions, trade decisions are all part of how we see different countries and their rulers in the world. How money and politics are more important than the people.

Condensing world history down into this version is excellent. It makes this a fascinating listen for those who like history but want a more manageable version. After listening to this I do think I will be picking up my physical copy of the book and also the follow-on book.

A fabulous listen and one I would definitely recommend. 

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

The Best, Most Awful Job: Twenty Writers Talk Honestly About Motherhood edited by Katherine May @_katherine_may_ @eandtbooks @alisonmenziespr #nonfic #motherhood #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Best, Most Awful Job edited by Katherine May. A book that features 20 women writers who have each wrote about motherhood, the good, the bad and the heart breaking.

My huge thanks to Alison for arranging my copy from Eliot & Thompson Publishers.

Motherhood is life-changing. Joyful. Disorientating. Overwhelming. Intense on every level. It’s the best, most awful job.

The Best, Most Awful Job brings together twenty bold and brilliant women to speak about motherhood in all its raw, heart-wrenching, gloriously impossible forms.

Overturning assumptions, breaking down myths and shattering stereotypes, these writers challenge our perceptions of what it means to be a mother – and ask you to listen.

Contributors include:

Michelle Adams – Javaria Akbar – Charlene Allcott – MiMi Aye – Jodi Bartle – Sharmila Chauhan – Josie George – Leah Hazard – Joanne Limburg – Katherine May – Susana Moreira Marques – Dani McClain – Hollie McNish – Saima Mir – Carolina Alvarado Molk – Emily Morris – Jenny Parrott – Huma Qureshi – Peggy Riley – Michelle Tea – Tiphanie Yanique

You can purchase a copy HERE

My Review…


This is a book of experiences from 20 writers, their experiences of motherhood. Being a mum myself I was intrigued by this title. The Best, Most Awful Job. Yes, being a mum is one of the best things but why is it also the most awful? This book is an open and honest selection of accounts from women who are mothers and from however their path to motherhood was.

The book explored things that are not spoken about after the birth of your child, you know, things down below, will they ever be the same again or how on earth will I ever be able to walk normally! Obviously, things do return and you do walk normally, but often these are not spoken about.

Some of the stories are very poignant and how while pregnant you tend to lose your identity and are often asked “How’s Mum doing?” then after the birth, you are then ignored as people asked about “baby”. I remember knowing loads of mums at school but often didn’t know their names. I was one of the many who became so and so’s Mum.

The 20 authors are from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities. Different countries and cultures. Yet some things are the same no matter where you are from. There are stereotypes and stigmas in all aspects of society and there are some that are very much worse than others.

I can remember with my first child, being in hospital and being treated well as I was a married young mum. The unmarried young mum, who was similar in age discharged herself after two nights as she was not given the same level of support. This was in 1989, and I still remember feeling so sorry for her, but afraid to say anything as the midwife at the hospital tended to be older and if I am honestly quite scary. I will say that by the time I had my final child things had improved, younger more patient-centred midwives were around and they had no prejudice at all.

This book looks at motherhood from the perspective of each authors viewpoint. Whether it is a step mum, mum with a disability, mixed-race mum, and many others. I will not mention them all as I want to leave plenty for other readers to discuss.

After reading this book I understand the title much more. Yes, being a mum can have some awful moments, but there are also many, many of the best moments ever.

This is a book that anyone can read, it will be eye-openeing for some, it will make others nod knowingly but most of all it brings the doubts, worries and stereotypes out in the open. We discuss many things and this is another thing we must talk about more, be more open about and not keep the horrible bits hidden. Being open and discussing things makes life so much easier.

A fabulous collection of experiences and it was a pleasure to read. Some are very sad, others warm and hopeful and others make a stand. It is a book that I would definitely recommend.

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

Unofficial Britain by Gareth E Rees #UnofficialBritain @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nonfiction #britain #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a wonderful book that explores the hidden, the obscure, the random and the often missed areas in Britain. Unofficial Britain by Gareth E Rees. The paperback is due for publication on Thursday (8th July) the hardback is already out.

My huge thanks to Alison Menzies for organising my paperback copy from the publisher Elliott & Thompson.

LONGLISTED FOR RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE 2021

‘Terrific… Britain’s urban landscape is just as freighted with myth and mystery as its castles and ancient monuments and [Rees] proves it by unearthing a treasure trove of riveting stories.’ – Sunday Times, Best Books of the Year, 2020
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There is a Britain that exists outside of the official histories and guidebooks – places that lie on the margins, left behind. A Britain in the cracks of the urban facade where unexpected life can flourish. Welcome to UNOFFICIAL BRITAIN.

This is a land of industrial estates, factories and electricity pylons, of motorways and ring roads, of hospitals and housing estates, of roundabouts and flyovers.

Places where modern life speeds past but where people and stories nevertheless collect. Places where human dramas play out: stories of love, violence, fear, boredom and artistic expression. Places of ghost sightings, first kisses, experiments with drugs, refuges for the homeless, hangouts for the outcasts.

Struck by the power of these stories and experiences, Gareth E. Rees set out to explore these spaces and the essential part they have played in the history and geography of our isles. Though mundane and neglected, they can be as powerfully influential in our lives, and imaginations, as any picture postcard tourist destination.

Purchase from Amazon Bookshop.orgWaterstonesHive Amazon

My Review…

The plan was that I was going to read this book over several days. That plan has failed as I read this over two days. I found a book that was informative, brought back memories, made me chuckle and made me see things from a different perspective.

The synopsis for this book is great, it was what really drew me to the book. Places on the margins, places we pass by in our cars, places we see without noticing and how about the things that we are not even aware of even existing as we pass by?

The author has been walking and collecting stories of places that many of us pass by. These areas may be known to a small select few, such as locals or those that regularly use pathways, cycle routes or they are areas that we were aware of when we were younger and have now changed over the years.

landscapes change as do urban settings, where a factory once stood may now be just a shell or it could be a housing estate, school or part of new development. The area of these new builds is built upon the ground that has been used before. they have a history and for some, they are part of their own personal lives. Memories and stories can be built up, sometimes to keep youngsters away from an area because it is dangerous and sometimes with a genuine belief that there is something altogether different going on.

However these stories come about they have gradually worked their way into urban myths. Every area has these myths or there is a mysterious story or tale. The author uses these and other observations to create a book full of whispers, tales, ghostly anecdotes and histories.

He also adds so many things about areas that many of us do not even know about. For example, did you know the infamous Spaghetti Junction has a river below it? I didn’t I just assumed it was a large grey mass of roads and flyovers, if you look on google it is quite surprising how much green there is around this area.

I loved the opening chapter of this book as the author deals with pylons. Yeah, those large metal structures that line the landscape providing electricity. I did chuckle as he mentions how they reminded him of triffids and aliens. I remember for me it was the alien crafts from H.G Wells War of the Worlds that they reminded me of as I grew up, and don’t get me started on how the Daleks used to scare me!!!.

Talking of growing up, the author is a similar age to me and I think this helped me to relate as he mentions films, TV programs and things from the ’70s that I grew up with. This sparked memories and things I had forgotten about over the years.

This is a book that really resonated with me. It is a book that is packed with randomness and also a whole lot of good stuff (apologies for the lack of finesse there!) It is a book of obscure tales, of snippets of history and of things hidden from many in our fast-paced lives.

Stories of our present are as important as those of our pasts. It is our experiences today that are the future history and I think this sort of book is great. It allows you to return and check things out, it prompts you to look things up and it encourages curiosity to go out and discover more. I have made a few notes from this book as to things I want to look at and explore more, it will probably be done from my computer and who knows where it will lead me next.

The author also has a fabulous website called Unofficial Britain, this is jam-packed with amazing stories, pictures, articles and it is well worth a look at.

This is a really good book to read and ponder over, to discover and learn more about the places on the edge, on the margins, where we pass and what we miss. It is one I would very definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Gareth E. Rees is founder of the popular Unofficial Britain website and author of three books, Marshland (2013), The Stone Tide (2018) and Car Park Life, which was published to rave reviews in 2019. Born in Germany, brought up in Scotland the the north of England, he lived in London for many years before moving to Hastings. The modern myths and folklore of place have always driven his writing, which includes horror and weird fiction tales for numerous anthologies, including The Best of British Fantasy 2019.

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Paperback Publication Day for: Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian @LevParikian @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nature #bookreview

I am delighted to re-share my review today for a book that I read and loved last year. Into the Tangled Bank: In Which Our Author Ventures Outdoors to Consider the British in Nature by Lev Parikian.

I did read the hardback copy of this book supplied by Alison Menzies from Elliot & Thompson publishers and today see’s the publication of the paperback version.

Let me share more about this fabulous book…

Lev Parikian is on a journey to discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how the British experience nature. He sets out to explore the many, and particular, ways that he, and we, experience the natural world – beginning face down on the pavement outside his home then moving outwards to garden, local patch, wildlife reserve, craggy coastline and as far afield as the dark hills of Skye. He visits the haunts of famous nature lovers – reaching back to the likes of Charles Darwin, Etta Lemon, Gavin Maxwell, John Clare and Emma Turner – to examine their insatiable curiosity and follow in their footsteps.

And everywhere he meets not only nature, but nature lovers of all varieties. The author reveals how our collective relationship with nature has changed over the centuries, what our actions mean for nature and what being a nature lover in Britain might mean today. 

My Review…

I really enjoyed reading this book as I followed Lev’s observations on how people and nature interact. Lev has such an easy style to his writing and as well as various facts there is also a nice level of humour. The book is littered with various interesting facts from history, nature and life.

Lev looks at various aspects of nature including our own gardens, parks and open green areas. He notices various things about human nature and how people with certain interest can chat about things for quite a while. As a gardener I found myself sniggering about they way gardeners can talk about “their patch” what they grow, the pests and bugs.

Lev’s observations of people in nature draw together different walks of life. From the dog-walkers, to the gardeners, the photographers to the birdwatchers. These observations make a really enjoyable read and many times I found myself nodding my head in agreement or as I read sections thought “this is me!”.

A book that is ideal for dipping in and out of, in fact I read most of this book sat in the garden have a break from the weeding, trimming and filling bird feeders and it was the perfect spot.

A refreshing read that I think various people would really enjoy, and I am sure any nature lover, or those who spend time outdoors and then reads this book will find themselves in it at some point. A good book about the observations of an author and one I would happily recommend, its a fabulous read.

Purchase from – AMAZON UK

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Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard #memoir #nature #ecosystem #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard. This is a wonderful book that looks at the relationship of trees and also a mix of the author’s memories growing up.

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From the world’s leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest–a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery.

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths–that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complex, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes–in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways–how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies–and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them–embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey–of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

My Review…

I have been reading this book over the past week or so and it was such an interesting and eye-opening book.

Dr Suzanne Simard has learnt her trade over years of observations, discoveries and research. Born and raised in the rainforests of British Columbia, she has natural respect and a relationship with the trees. this comes across in this book as she recounts her childhood with memories, stories and also how she gradually worked to become the leader in the field she is today.

What started as a childhood curiosity bloomed into something more. Through experiments, research, and a certain amount of bloody-mindedness she brought her findings to all who would listen. The book documents how she found the symbiotic relationship between the soil, enzymes and naturally occurring biology and the trees. While there is a certain amount of science, it is been given in layman’s terms making this a very accessible and easy to understand the book.

I like how this book is laid out. Chapters are a mix of memories, experiences and also the findings of her research. This makes it more manageable and keeps the book flowing rather than getting hung up in great swathes of science.

This is such an interesting book and as I was reading I could feel the excitement as discoveries were made, and also the heartbreak and upset as things failed or that sometimes trees had to be destroyed to be able to see the impacts of pesticides.

A wonderful read and one that has led me onto further reading on the internet. Looking at interviews and talks about the relationship of trees to the world around us.

This is a book for anyone who has an interest in the natural world, in relationships between nature and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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

A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture – Love At First Bite by Violet Fenn #NetGalley #NonFiction #penswordpub #bookreview

I am delighted to share a review for something a little different today, A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture – Love At First Bite by Violet Fenn. Many thanks to Pen & Sword Publishing for granting my request to read and review this title via NetGalley.

Our enduring love of vampires – the bad boys (and girls) of paranormal fantasy – has persisted for centuries. Despite being bloodthirsty, heartless killers, vampire stories commonly carry erotic overtones that are missing from other paranormal or horror stories.

Even when monstrous teeth are sinking into pale, helpless throats – especially then – vampires are sexy. But why? In A History Of The Vampire In Popular Culture, author Violet Fenn takes the reader through the history of vampires in ‘fact’ and fiction, their origins in mythology and literature and their enduring appeal on tv and film. We’ll delve into the sexuality – and sexism – of vampire lore, as well as how modern audiences still hunger for a pair of sharp fangs in the middle of the night.

My Review…

Over the years vampires and other supernatural creatures have become more popular both in books and also films. As someone who does watch and also read books that contain vampires, I was interested to see what the authors’ view was.

The author steps into a world that has its origins in myth, legend and folklore. She references some earlier literature as well as more modern both as a view to the points she makes and also to give various examples.

Referencing early works and how they were portrayed by writers and also how they were adapted to film. How they were received by censors, readers and viewers. She uses history to good effect as changing attitudes have given over to a wider acceptance of all things fanged.

More modern film and TV have glamorised the vampire, they are sharp-dressed, well educated and not all are the blood-sucking, bodice-ripping fiends. She delves into how they have become the “good guy” in some respects rather than a creature that should be cowered from.

This was a really entertaining read with many, many references to films and books across the years. It does give an insightful look at how perceptions have changed and how they have become more socially acceptable and almost have morals that mirror some of our own, humanised if you like.

This is a book that I found interesting and also thought-provoking giving an insight into the authors’ thoughts on the legend of the vampire. It is one I would recommend. 

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

Editing Your Novel’s Structure by Bethany A Tucker @rararesources #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Editing Your Novel’s StructureTips, Tricks and Checklists to get you from Start to Finish by Bethany A Tucker. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Blitz today and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Here is more about it…

Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish

Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?

If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask?  Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books. 

In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place. 

Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:

– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Plot.
– Backstory.
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers. 

Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My review…

As someone who still hopes to one day publish a full length novel, I found this a really interesting book to read. Essentially this is a guide that takes a new author through some of the basics of sorting you work into a better and more readable story.

While the basics of a story having a start, a middle and an end is till relevant, there is more that can be done. Whether it is fleshing or developing your characters or creating back stories, this book gives you tips and advice that is definitely helpful.

The author doesn’t go in-depth but gives pointers. She uses her own experiences from her starting to publish as well as from reading others work. These examples do help to make a point. While some of the information is obvious, there is also a lot more that I hadn’t thought about, but does make perfect sense.

This a book that the author suggests is for those either writing their first book or those that have a couple of books under their belt. It is definitely a handy guide and it’s laid out in a very accessible way. It isn’t a heavy rule book of do’s and dont’s but just a book of no-pressure advice.

A handy guide for helping with structural work for budding authors. One I would recommend.

About the Author…

Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com. 

Social Media Links –   theartandscienceofwords.com, mustangrabbit.com

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

The Boy Between – A Mother and Son’s Journey From a World Gone Grey by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley #bookreview

Apologies for the radio silence over the last week or so. Things have been a busy, and I needed to step away from Social Media and instead wrap presents, cook, bake and find room in the freezer! Decorations and tree is up, cards finally written and posted and Blogging can once again resume. I do have a couple of reviews I have to share and I have also got my Top Reads of 2020 sorted! Should be up on Wednesday. Anyway…

I am delighted to share my review today for The Boy Between – A Mother and Son’s Journey From a World Gone Grey by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley. This is a book that is such a heart-breaking, insightful, honest and also wonderful read. It is a book about depression from the side of the sufferer and the parent witnessing it.

**Before I share what the book is about I have something personal to say about my journey this year with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It is perfectly fine to skip past this if you want to.**

I had seen this book around on various Book Bloggers Blogs and while I really wanted to read it, my head was just not in the right place. I could joke and say that it rarely is, because after all I do joke about stuff quite a bit. This is one of my defence mechanisms, the other is going quiet and retreating. With the pandemic this year and lockdown, it has been a real challenge for me. I mean lockdown played right into my anxiety and depression. Keeping myself away from crowds? Yeah no problem! Not meeting with others! Yeah got that one covered as well. Then when the lift of lockdown began I found myself struggling, a lot! People were everywhere, I felt overcrowded if there where more than 2 other people in a room with me. I suffered panic attacks, to the point where I had to take a short time off work and also started on antidepressants again.

I know I am not the only one that is/has suffered, and I know that many still struggle. I am very fortunate in the fact that I do recognise some of my triggers, but some came out of the blue and knocked me for six. The thing is, on the outside I appear fine, I have a laugh, I can be quite loud at times, some of my comments can be a bit rude and I do have a filthy sense of of humour. My point here is, often people see what’s on the outside and not what is going on underneath the mask or wall that is erected as part of my self preservation or defence system, often times it has a mind of its own and does its own thing, that’s fine until little cracks appear.

Luckily for me I am quite open about when I am struggling, I have told various people that “I’m having a moment” and they know to let me be, wait for me to come to them. It’s how I cope and also to make others around me aware that they need to back off and give me space. Space is my thing, it is my bubble, it is My space.

Up until now this has been sharing with people who I see, and not with all you guys out there in the virtual world. I did wonder whether to put this out there or not, I mean it is a personal thing, but also it is something that is not spoken about or shared enough, by not posting this I am adding to the stigma that still shadows mental health.

So this is where I am, now.

I set an alarm in the morning so that I don’t sleep for 12 to 14 hours at a time.

I look at what I can control rather than look ahead at all the what if’s, I mean they haven’t even happened yet!

Each day is another day.

I know I am not the only one and I know I am not alone. You are not alone either.

Yvonne xx

Synopsis…

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Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one…

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.

Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.

In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.

For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.

My Review…

Right from the off I am going to say that if you have any interest in mental health, the effects on the sufferer or those around then you really do need to read this book. It is very insightful and also incredibly helpful.

Mental health has been in the news a lot this year, people are aware more of the effects it can have on everyday life, but still, it is not understood by many. Reading this from the viewpoint of a mother and son felt like a very privileged position to be in. Being allowed into the thoughts and feeling of individuals from different sides of the fence was a very personal view from a readers point of view.

This is not the journey of just one person. While it is Josh who to live with depression it is also the family that have to witness him live depression. What was insightful was how people think they are helping, but actually, they are not. But how can you help if you don’t know what you are doing for the best. It is a vicious circle.

This book is such an honest and open account, from a mother and a son. It is full of emotion, love, anger despair, frustration and all of it from the real lives of real people. Opening up and allowing people to see the journey of a family as well as an individual gives a balance. There is no one side to this book.

This is such a, well I want to say fabulous read, this feels wrong in some ways as the experiences of Mandy and Josh are anything but fabulous! But it is such an engrossing book, honest, with moments of humour and giggles. It is a book I would definitely recommend.

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