I am delighted to share my review today for Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian. When I received and email from Alison at Elliot & Thompson and it was entitled “A funny nature book” I knew this was for me. I would also like to wish Lev a very Happy Publication Day.
Let me show you what it’s about…
Into the Tangled Bank – In which our author ventures outdoors to consider the British in nature Lev ParikianPublication: 9 July 2020
Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
This is a thought-provoking , humorous examination of how we experience the natural world -described by Melissa Harrison as “Funny, accessible and full of wonders – a genuine breath of fresh air” .
Lev is a conductor, writer and birdwatcher. In Into the Tangled Bank, he attempts to get to grips with what it means to be a nature lover. The book travels from his doorstep to garden plot, local patch, wildlife reserve and as far as the Isle of Skye. Everywhere, he comes up against nature lovers of all varieties: from ramblers and dog-walkers, to passionate enthusiasts or just people out for a stroll in the sun.
Lev is the instigator of the #twitterbirdsong project and hosts a new youtube channel Bird Brains devoted to all things avian.
AND… the cover is gorgeous in real life!
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.
Lev Parikian is a writer, birdwatcher and conductor. His book Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? was published by Unbound in 2018. He lives in West London with his family, who are getting used to his increasing enthusiasm for nature. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am absolutely delighted to share my review for the second book Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert. Yes they are still living the dream! My huge thanks to Rachel for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.
Let me show you what it is all about…
Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 – Still living the dream in rural Ireland
Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story. Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong? Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?
Having read and throughly enjoyed the first book I was eager to see how Nick and Lesley were getting on and how the renovations and repairs to their house in Ireland were going. Due to stress Nick was advised to find a slower pace of life and so he and Lesley moved to a property in need of repair. This was a mish-mash of a house that had been added on over the years and in need of a lot of TLC. It is also in the middle of nowhere on a mountain.
Well I cant think of anything more stressful than renovating your own home when you only have a DIY manual for guidance. But from a readers point of view it does make very entertaining reading and Nick has a fabulous way of injecting a sense of humour into the various mishaps that have happened along the way.
Not only are they dealing with the different way of life, the remoteness and the task ahead of them they are also battling the weather. This brings many challenges and again humour. Building work at the best of times is weather dependant but when you are up a mountain the challenges are made more difficult.
As well as the increase in their animal family, which adds some hilarious moments, Lesley has back problems requiring hospital trips. A very scary time is also included as she is admitted to hospital.
It is such an enjoyable read as I get a glimpse into this couples life. It is a book that has its ups and downs and there are so many moments when I found myself chuckling. The dog antics and the various anecdotes are just brilliant reading and I take my hat off to the pair for the challenges they are facing to build their dream home.
A brilliant read of a couple starting over in a new country and the various things that happen along the way. It is a book I would definitely recommend.
Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs. In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.
I have a non-fiction book review to share with you today, this is for Our House Is On Fire and is written by Malena Ernman, Greta Thunberg, Beata Thunberg, Svante Thunberg It is a family collaboration, but it is told from the persepctive of Malena, who is Greta Thunberg’s mother.
Let me show you what it is about…
This is the story of a happy family whose life suddenly fell apart, never to be the same again. Of two devoted parents plunged into a waking nightmare as their eleven-year-old daughter Greta stopped speaking and eating, and her younger sister struggled to cope.
They desperately searched for answers, and began to see how their children’s suffering reached far beyond medical diagnoses. This crisis was not theirs alone: they were burned-out people on a burned-out planet. And so they decided to act.
Our House is on Fire shows how, amid forces that tried to silence them, one family found ways to strengthen, heal, and gain courage from the love they had for each other – and for the living world. It is a parable of hope and determination in an emergency that affects us all.
Malena shares her ideology, her thoughts and beliefs both as a person, wife and mother. This is about the world, climate change, helping refugees, schooling children with neurological conditions and various other topics of interest to her.
Yes she has a famous daughter, but Malena herself has travelled the world and is successful in her own right as an opera singer.
This is her story, about how she struggled to balance work and being there for both her daughters who have their own neurological conditions, while she herself suffers from ADHD.
Before I started this book I had been aware of Greta, I think everyone has heard of her since her famous sit in. I had always wondered about his girl, here was someone that I thought looked quiet, lonely and almost standoffish. It wasn’t until I started reading this book and discovered she had Asperger Syndrome that I began to understand, how I saw her TV made sense. Knowing this and looking back I have even more respect for her and the stand she made.
This is a mother’s open and honest account of her life, the difficulties she has faced. It is not a sugar coated account but an honest warts and all account. The embarrassing moments sit along the heartbreaking ones. She tells of her own breakdown and challenges as well as changes in her life. This is what makes this such a good read.
This is a biography about the mother of a renowned activist and it has been done as a family collaboration. It was first written before Greta made her sit in and the whole family agreed to release it just after.
The first half of the book focuses more on the family while the second half goes more into the climate crisis and how Greta makes her stand. This latter half does have more figures and information. they are laid out in a digestible way. The information is laid out for the reader in a way that it makes you question things about how you live your rather than telling you how you should live.
I really enjoyed reading this, it wasn’t too preachy or too full of facts, figures or confusing information. It is a easy to read book with very quick chapters one that I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
So for the past 3 days I have listed the books from various different genres that I have loved this year.
It has been such an amazing literary year and it has made it very, very difficult to keep my list short… hell, let’s be honest it is far from short, hence the past 3 daily posts… and I could still have added more. So many books that really did deserve a mention.
I have finally added all the books I have read this year to my Goodreads tally, well apart from two manuscripts that I beta read. I am just starting 232nd book of the year. (The Book of Dust Vol 2 The Secret of the Commonwealth by Phillip Pullman, in case you are wondering)
If you want to check out my previous posts then follow the links below
From all of the books listed I have chosen My Top 10 Absolute Favourite Books of 2019.
So without further ado, here we go…
My Absolute Favourite Books of the Year from those listed in my previous 3 posts are listed below, in no particular order 🙂
Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen. This was the first book that I added to my rough draft list when I read it in January, and it has stayed with me right the way through the year. It is such a stunningly beautiful and also heartbreaking book that is a murder, mystery and then some. This book will stay with me for a long time!
Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson. I didn’t think I was going to get on with this one when I first started it. I was planning on only reading the first chapter before going to bed… yeah I read the whole book! It is told in a series of messages, emails and letters about friends Aggie and Rosie, this book was so addictive and so emotional.
Amazing Grace by Kim Nash. Oh my goodness, this book was an absolute pleasure to read. Yet another one sitting read that had me laughing one moment and sobbing the next. This is a stunning read with some amazing characters and a brilliant story line and those sections in italics… Wow!. I also loved her next book Escape to Giddywell Grange.
The Death of Justice by Tony J Forder. I am a big fan of Tony’s books and I am always so impatient for the next one. The Death of Justice is Book 5 in the DI Bliss series and it is by far my favourite book to date. I felt the author took a real step up with this book. It felt more emotional and there was something extra special about this latest instalment, so special that he reduced me to tears. Fabulous series and a fabulous book.
Dark Deception by Amanda James. This is another author I will automatically read and a favourite of mine. This is another author who I thought also stepped things up this year with this book. The title is so perfect for the devious and deceptive nature of the story within. She completely reeled me in, building more and more intrigue with each chapter. An absolute belter of a read.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher. This is the story of Griz, never played a game of football, because, well… there just aren’t enough people, and he has never known that many people. This is an emotional, atmospheric and fantastic book that just felt so right when I read it. A book that I savoured and adored, an absolutely cracking read.
Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb. I just fell in love with this story from the first pages and it kept me hooked right through until the very end. It is set in the height of Hollywood Film Royalty and Grace Kelly steps into Sophie’s perfumer shop, following Grace is a reporter and the story that follows is stunning. The story had the style, luxury and class of the time as the story follows not only Sophie but also Grace. I loved the feel and style of this book, a stunning read.
Becoming by Michelle Obama. Audible version. I loved having Michelle sat with me in the car as I drove 7 hours up to visit my parents and then back again! Well that is what it felt like, it felt as if she was actually talking to me. She spoke of her life growing up, meeting Barack, working, elections, being the First Lady as well as a wife and a mother. She has such a wonderful voice to listen to and an amazing story to tell. I loved listening to this a huge amount.
Black Summer by M.W Craven. Up until last week The Puppet Show, the first book in the series was on my Top 10 list, then I read this 2nd book in the Washington Poe series! I had been told by other Book Bloggers I would love it, and they were so right. I love the characters of Poe and Tilly, they are two opposites in personality and character and they are a readers dream, I love the dynamics between them both. And then there it the story line , dark, deep, twisted and so addictive. Awesome read and a single sitting book as well.
Right if I can count I think that makes 9 out of 10 books to make my Absolute Favourite Books of 2019. I was going to do a drum roll thing but then I thought just get on with it…
So my #1 Book of the year absolutely blew me away. It was a book that sounded so intriguing from the synopsis and then took me on one hell of a journey. It had so many things that made it compelling reading…
Here is what it is all about…
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
I would just like to thank all of you amazing folk out there who have commented, liked, shared my posts throughout the year. You are all absolutely amazing. To Book Bloggers, Authors, Publishers and Blog Tour Organisers thank you for a fantastic literary year and for making sure I never run out of books to read.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and I will see you all in the New Year.
I am delighted to share my thoughts on Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser. I had the pleasure of reading this book last year and I can finally say a huge “Congratulations Michelle on the Publication of Sweet Maple” I am so happy you have finally got this fabulous book published. I am resharing my review for this book to coincide with the publication.
Let me show you what Sweet Maple is all about…
Sweet Maple is an instructional book on backyard sugarmaking that’s also the story of one family’s connection to the past on a small New England sugar farm. Throughout its pages, Michelle (the “sugarmaker’s wife”) gives advice on:
the 22 different kinds of trees that can be tapped.
the process of making syrup, to help you decide what level is right for you.
how to make alternative treats, such lilac syrup.
the health benefits of maple products, which contain more than 40 antioxidants.
substituting processed sugar with all-natural maple syrup in any recipe.
the 3 steps to making maple sugar.
how to make irresistible maple cream and how to enjoy it.
While learning the art of sugarmaking alongside her husband, Michelle guides readers through every step of all-natural syrup production, with directions for tapping one tree or dozens, while detailing the life-changing benefits of using maple syrup in the kitchen. Interspersed with sugaring techniques, tips, sidebars, and storytelling, Michelle shares more than 30 of her family’s tried-and-true maple recipes—from scones to salads.
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 flash 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
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.
I am delighted to share my thoughts today on The Secret Life of Books – why they mean more than words by Tom Mole. My huge thanks to Alison Menzies for the invite to join the Blog Tour and also for arranging for my gorgeous copy of the book from Elliott & Thompson.
This is a book that is not about books but about the role books play in our lives and it is a fascinating read. Let me show you what the Synopsis says about it…
‘Probably the most compulsive text ever penned about what it means to handle and possess a book’ – Christopher de Hamel, author of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts
‘A real treasure trove for book lovers’ – Alexander McCall Smith
We love books. We take them to bed with us. They weigh down our suitcases when we go on holiday. We display them on our bookshelves or store them in our attics. We give them as gifts. We write our names in them. We take them for granted. And all the time, our books are leading a double life.
The Secret Life of Books is about everything that isn’t just the words. It’s about how books transform us as individuals. It’s about how books – and readers – have evolved over time. And it’s about why, even with the arrival of other media, books still have the power to change our lives.
In this illuminating account, Tom Mole looks at everything from binding innovations to binding errors, to books defaced by lovers, to those imprisoning professors in their offices, to books in art, to burned books, to the books that create nations, to those we’ll leave behind.
It will change how you think about books.
This is a book about books, not about the stories in the books but the books themselves. Books can be read, looked at, studued, referenced and of course be sat on a shelf unread. They can be bought, passed on, donated, found, lost, discarded and recycled. They can be free and given away as part of a promotion or giveaway or they can go to auction for the collectors to bid on.
I like the way this Author has looked at the role books play in our lives, what impact they can have, how they are part of history and of the future. Throughout the book the author makes observations and I have to say he made me realise how right he is about many of the things he has looked at.
A favourite book can fall open at a favourite page, the reader may have made a doodle or folded the corner or left a note or has a bookmark in it. The book has become personal to that reader and becomes different to other prints of that book.
The author provides a fascinating and yet brief history about how books came about and their transition from scrolls. Historical facts are littered throughout this book and include mentions of authors, painters and, collectors. As books have become easier to access than many years ago. It’s not just books though, its all the accessories that may also be bought, so think about bookmarks, notebooks and pens, reading lights, bookscases, reader lights. As books have become more accessible then the market for accessories has developed.
The author uses a few analogies to show similarities between books and other everyday objects and this really helps to see books from a different perspective. It helps to see them as an object and not something that readers use to learn or escape from or into.
This is such a fascinating read and it makes observations that many readers will be aware of or maybe only subconsciously aware of. The author has explored books and the role in society, how they are seen and used. They have been burned, banned, championed and used as propaganda because of political or religious viewpoint.
My review for this book is just the very tip and there is so much more to discover. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read that I only planned on reading in short bursts, well that didn’t happen. Once I started it and recognised some of my own habits in it and discovered how their presence has evolved and developed. I think the author has pretty much covered every aspect of books and I cannot think of anything he has missed, but then I also discovered things that I had not realised!
This is a small book but my goodness there is a lot packed into its 256 pages, I am still surprised that it is only 256 pages as there is so much in it! Prof Tom Mole definitely knows his book history.
This is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers, yep All readers! It is fascinating and I found it completely addictive. Loved it!
Tom Mole is Professor of English Literature and Book History at the University of Edinburgh, where he runs the Centre for the History of the Book. He has taught at universities in the UK and Canada, and has lectured widely in Europe, Australia and North America. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has written or edited several volumes about books and literature, including What the Victorians Made of Romanticism, which won the 2018 Saltire Prize for Research Book of the Year. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife and young daughter.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my view for a cook book that will definitley tickle your tastebuds. A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj. Mary brings a delicious feast fantastic with her Sri Lankan background and other cultural influences to create an amazing cook book.
My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for accepting my request to join the tour and also to Mary for my e-copy of her book.
Dark roasted curry powder, a fine attention to the balance of salty-sour-sweet, wholesome red rice and toasted curry leaves, plenty of coconut milk and chili heat. These are the flavors of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka was a cross roads in the sea routes of the East. Three waves of colonization—Portuguese, Dutch and British—and the Chinese laborers who came with them, left their culinary imprint on Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan cooking with its many vegetarian dishes gives testimony to the presence of a multi-ethnic and multi -religious population.
Everyday classics like beef smoore and Jaffna crab curry are joined by luxurious feast dishes, such as nargisi kofta and green mango curry, once served to King Kasyapa in his 5th century sky palace of Sigiriya.
Vegetable dishes include cashew curry, jackfruit curry, asparagus poriyal, tempered lentils, broccoli varai and lime-masala mushrooms. There are appetizers of chili-mango cashews, prawn lentil patties, fried mutton rolls, and ribbon tea sandwiches. Deviled chili eggs bring the heat, yet ginger-garlic chicken is mild enough for a small child. Desserts include Sir Lankan favorites: love cake, mango fluff, milk toffee and vattalappam, a richly-spiced coconut custard.
In A Feast of Serendib, Mary Anne Mohanraj introduces her mother’s cooking and her own Americanizations, providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Lankan American cooking, straightforward enough for a beginner, and nuanced enough to capture the flavor of Sri Lankan cooking.
Several words spring to mind as I read this book – mouthwatering, delicious, tasty, do-able, yummy… I think you can see where I am going with this!
Before I start on the recipes I am going to mention all the other things that are included in this book. Mary has included little snippets from her life, her family and friends. Sri Lankan cookery has taken recipes from other cultures and they have been adapted over the years to fit with the food available. These little asides are included in the introduction to some recipes, as poems or in the fabulous Introduction at the beginning of the book.
Some of the recipes have little alternatives or tweaks that she has thoughtfully included, little adaptions that are handy to know and come from experience. Each recipe has a wonderful photograph, I like to see what an end product is so these are a very welcome addition.
Now then, the recipes…Wow! every course is catered for, starters, mains, vegetarian, fish, dessert and, drinks. I have tried a couple of dishes, only simple things as I am between shopping trips at the moment, and to be fair my little village shop does not carry a lot of the ingredients. Though in the list of main ingredients there are often alternatives, this came in very handy indeed.
The first thing I tried was the Chai Tea, this sounds a little bit random, but I buy Chai Tea so I reasoned that as I have everything I needed why not make my own! Much better than the shop bought one I get, I can see this is a recipe that I will be using quite often.
Next up was the Braised Pepper Chicken, a milder recipe that had ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, onions and tomato. A simple recipe to follow that makes use of my basic store cupboard ingredients. Very tasty and I served it with just simple boiled rice, though I do add a veg stock cube to the water while cooking.
I am looking forward to trying more recipes in this book. On my list for the future is Black Pork Curry, Beef Smoore, Beet Curry, Raita that is different from the one I usually make and, I definitely want to try the mango pickle. There are so many recipes that I would love to make and try though.
If you are looking for a cookbook that has a very good mix of recipes then this would be one that would be a good asset for your shelf. A mix of ingredients that are easy to source though I would have to travel a little further afield for some of them.
The recipes I tried were easy to follow and extremely tasty, it is a book I would definitely look to buy in its physical format. It is not just a cookbook, it has so many interesting extras and this makes it enjoyable to read and peruse through
It gets a Highly Recommended from Me!
Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins),
The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and thirteen other titles.
Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book
Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six
languages. The Stars Change was a finalist for the Lambda,
Rainbow, and Bisexual Book Awards.
Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine, Strange Horizons, and alsofounded Jaggery, a S. Asian & S. Asian diaspora literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and The Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). She serves on the futurist boards of the XPrize and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, withher husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. Recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin’s WildCards series, stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies. 2017-2018 titles include Survivor (a SF/F anthology), Perennial, Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim C. Hines), and Vegan Serendib. http://www.maryannemohanraj.com
I am delighted to be sharing Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook with you all today. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.
Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…
In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.
He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…
Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.
When Tim Clark wanted to know more about his parents’ involvement in Special Operation during WWII, he thought it would be a case of simply asking them. His father was not forthcoming with details and his mother very similar. Neither spoke much of their involvement, only odd comments mentioned. The curiosity was sparked however, but a full conversation would never happen.
After the death of his father, Tim decided to embark on a research journey. It involved travelling, meeting with people and meticulously putting together the story of Monopoli Blues. All the pieces found and placed together like a jigsaw. Now when I say meticulous I really do mean it, dates, places, timelines, photo’s and information is amazing. Given all the information that is included I never once felt overwhelmed. The story that is told is so easy to follow and became very addictive reading.
While the story is one of his parents meeting and their life during the war, it is also one of the unknown, survival and courage. From a solid friendship and realtionship followed. The story gives a glimpse into the lives of two people who met during the war.
There are so many things I enjoyed about the story as well as the one about his parents. The photgraphs, snippets from letters, details of missions and other things that I was unaware of. This is where the background of both Authors helped. Bringing history and journalism together to create a fascinating read.
I found myself on the internet looking at various items that caught my curiosity in the book. I love it when this happens!
This is a fascinating book and it is one that I think lovers of WWII History will enjoy. It was a book I flew through and one I would Definitely Recommend.
Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.
Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly , initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel , was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point , was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.
See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review for the Audiobook version of Becoming by Michelle Obama.
I have had my eye on this for a while and as I had a credit left on Audible I decided that this was a book I would like to listen to, rather than read.
So let’s have a look and see what it’s all about…
Listening Length: 19 hrs 3 min
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Well as you can see from the synopsis this book has a running time of 19hours and I will tell you something, it didn’t feel like that long. Her voice is one of those really pleasant ones, it makes it easy to listen to her and it’s full of emotion.
I had Michelle accompany me on a 7hour drive to my parents house and back again, she was with me as I was weeding the garden and when she had finished telling me her story I genuinly missed her voice.
Becoming is the story of Michelle Obama, she relates her childhood growing up in Chicago, through college and university and to becoming one of the most famous women in our time.
As I listened to Michelle I was surprised to hear that she is not the confident person I thought she was. She shared her worries, fears, nerves, doubts and concerns. She comes across as so strong and yet she is like the rest of us exactly like the rest of us.
I adored listening to the anecdotes and stories from her childhood and these carry on into adulthood. She is super proud of her roots and shares some wonderful memories. I smiled and laughed at many and also had a lump in my throat at others. In fact at one point I had to pause the book because I was driving and I could feel tears welling up, not a good thing when you are on the motorway.
Michelle comes across as such a warm and genuine person. This is evident from the stories and the causes she supports and also from the the sound of her voice. I could here anger and frustration as well as humour, sorrow, and amusement. It felt that she was talking directly to me rather than at me.
I adored the fact that she was very open and honest as she told me about her life. It was refreshing to see the more vulnerable side as well. To be able to see her not as a First Lady, but as a daughter, wife, mum or work collegue.
An absolutely fabulous book to listen to and the most brilliant choice of audiobook to spend my spare credit on!
I absolutely recommend Becoming by Michelle Obama.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fab 🙂 xx
Today I have something a little different to share with you. The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver is a book that I definitely wanted to read as part of the Birthday Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My huge thanks to Rachel for accepting my request to be on the tour and also to Stephanie for the book.
Let’s have a look and see what the book is about…
The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health
In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.
Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.
The Migraine Relief Plan encourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.
As a hereditary sufferer of migraines, I was eager to read this book. My father found that acupuncture worked for him as well as having an allergy test to see what foods were his triggers. I found some of the same foods triggered my migraines, but I also discovered that hormones had a part to play as well. In some respects I am very lucky as I don’t suffer from them often, but when I do…
This book is a lifestyle guide, it has a great introduction about the authors’ experiences. I think that knowing the author had first-hand experiences made me more willing to pay attention. I am a believer that you don’t truly know what someone experiences until you experience it yourself, you can empathise and offer support but it’s never quite the same.
The book is quite intensive and packed full of so many useful advice, tips and ideas. Taking small steps rather than jumping in at the deep end and ditching the stuff in cupboards and fridge seems to me to be a very sensible approach. The focus is on building up a regime that is manageable and more importantly maintainable. Often diets and lifestyle changes fail as there is too much too soon and the novelty wears off.
There are lots of tips throughout this book, and while I did find some that were useful there were some that did not really apply to me. This is not a criticism in any way, as each sufferer is different, therefore there will be things that are more relevant to some.
Now to the recipes, they have an American feel to them as I would expect given the author is herself an American. There is a range of snacks, lunches, desserts, dressings, and sauces, some of these have a budget rating.
The book is a guide, it is about a change to not only your diet but also the lifestyle. It starts as an 8-week plan but encourages a longer period for better results. This is a well laid out book. It is not a cure-all, and it does not report to do that, it is a guide of things that can help people to manage and maintain a lifestyle. It looks at a whole-body approach rather than just pinpointing one specific area, so health, fitness, sleep as well as diet are dealt with.
I think if you are looking for this sort of approach that could help with reducing symptoms and works alongside your already prescribed medications then I think this book will be beneficial. I found it interesting and I did take quite a lot of things from it that I can easily work into my own lifestyle. It is a book I would recommend.
Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.