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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

#BookReview OLD AND UGLY by C L MOIR



ABOUT THE BOOK


In the 1973, teenagers Ange and Elizabeth are persuaded to enter the Miss Sladport-on-Sea Beauty Pageant by local entrepreneur, Spencer. When Ange is crowned the most beautiful woman in Sladport, Spencer promises her a life of fame and fortune – which he delivers. Within months, Ange is crowned The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.


Forty years later, Ange is unexpectedly invited to a reunion of old friends: Elizabeth - now married to Spencer - and the three school friends who stormed the pageant, throwing flour bombs and insults in protest at its objectification of women.

Old and Ugly is the story of that re-union - and the story of Ange’s life.

​Hilarious and laughable, conceited and fearful,  feisty  and (some might say) a fool for the admiration of men, Ange must finally confront the truth about her fantastical life of glamour and good fortune to be freed from its secrets – and freed from the man who made her, then broke her. 

Irreverent and moving, disturbing and joyful, you've probably never read anything quite like it... 

PUBLISHED BY BEHIND THE HAT PRESS

PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

This was an unexpected pleasure to read! I knew very little of the book or author before picking this up but was intrigued by the title and striking simplicity of the cover!  There is nothing simple about the characters in this book!!  

This is a 40 year reunion with a difference. You can sense a pretty dark undercurrent from the off, especially with Ange who isn't keen on going to the reunion when she is contacted by Elizabeth. But Elizabeth is very good at getting her own way and the stage is set for a reunion at the home of Elizabeth and Spencer.

What follows is a mix of looking back at how life has changed for these women - from the carefree days of their youth when Ange wins a beauty pageant, to the darker, more traumatic times that follow.  The reunion allows them all a chance to confront the past - the shocking goings on that have shaped the women they became.  They can settle scores, seek revenge - but will it make them feel any better?

What I appreciated most about these women was their honesty with one another, in a roundabout kind of way! While they were quick to make judgements and comments on appearances and lifestyle choices, they often found it more difficult to be more honest about the reality of life.  The traumatic events that they kept hidden, mostly from themselves, none more so than in the case of Ange who was eating her feelings and living in a kind of bubble world where everything turned out perfectly for her. ..... it didn't!

She finds confidence though in an unexpected ally - Henry, the son of Elizabeth and Spencer - and in him, she allows herself to speak a little more openly about past experiences and make sense of it all.

The more time the women spend together, the more they find they have in common than they think - all hiding parts of themselves so they can keep up appearances.  It's touching, dark, traumatic, funny - a real emotional rollercoaster of a read! You become quite attached to these women so find yourself willing them to bury those ghosts that have haunted them for way too long...

★★★★★




My thanks to Behind The Hat Press for sending me a copy to read in return for an honest review.

#BookReview ESCAPE TO THE ART CAFE by SUE MCDONAGH #publicationday #EscapeToTheArtCafe


ABOUT THE BOOK

Heartbreak and cake at the Art Café …

It was meant to be the perfect romantic holiday. But then Flora Bexton’s boyfriend does the unthinkable, and she responds in the only logical way: she steals his motorbike and escapes for a holiday by herself on the Welsh coast.

Far from the lonely trip she imagined, Flora soon finds comfort at the friendly local Art Café where the legendary hot chocolate and cake help to ease her troubled mind. And when Aussie-Welsh lifeguard Jake Foley steps in just when Flora needs help the most, she realises that her ‘holiday’ feels more like home with every passing day ...




PURCHASE LINKS







MY REVIEW

Book 3 in the Art Cafe series introduces us to 2 totally new characters and wow!! What an introduction!! I love this series, and it delivers once more with a wonderful setting, and fabulous storylines to escape into - and a new swoonsome hunk to drool over in the shape of Jake!! Where do I get to meet blokes like these?! I need to move myself to Wales I think!

This book centres around Flora who finds herself in Wales at her parents holiday home and she's got plenty to escape from after the ultimate betrayal. But she's not so sweet and innocent herself as she's stolen her boyfriends' motorbike to escape on - that'll teach him!! But it's not the 30th birthday to remember as she finds herself alone and in trouble in the water - Jake to the rescue! He's recently returned from Australia where he was a lifeguard and is staying with his grandparents in their hotel, which is in need of a bit of TLC.

The moment they meet there are sparks - who can blame Flora! - but she's very wary, and you get the impression Jake is hiding some sadness too. A pair well matched with unresolved issues from their past plaguing their present!

As always, the community surrounding the Art Cafe are welcoming to the newbies amongst them and Flora finds herself settling in really well and even thinking of starting up her own hair dressing business. But disaster is never far away and once again the power of community is brought to the fore after a devastating storm and it helps cement certain feelings and brings unknown truths out which could scupper progress made.

What I love about this series is just how relatable the characters are. How they have to face up to dilemmas in their lives and really get to know themselves when their backs are up against the wall. This can easily be read as a stand alone but you'll be wanting to go back to visit the others in the series once you read this! Wonderful!!

★★★★★




Monday, 29 June 2020

#MusicMonday Where is the Love by Black Eyes Peas


Hello! Happy Monday!  This is a weekly tag hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek and gives you the weekly chance to share a favourite song or video.

And this is a very apt song at the moment, and it was released in 2003! Where is The Love by Black Eyed Peas......



People killin' people dyin'
Children hurtin', I hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preachin'?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin' on
Can't we all just get along?
Father, father, father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me
Questioning
(Where's the love)
Yo what's going on with the world, momma
(Where's the love)
Yo people living like they ain't got no mommas
(Where's the love)
I think they all distracted by the drama and
Attracted to the trauma, mamma
(Where's the love)
I think they don't understand the concept or
The meaning of karma
(Where's the love)
Overseas, yeah they trying to stop terrorism
(Where's the love)
Over here on the streets the police shoot
The people put the bullets in 'em
(Where's the love)
But if you only got love for your own race
(Where's the love)
Then you're gonna leave space for others to discriminate
(Where's the love)
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how hate works and operates
Man, we gotta set it straight
Take control of your mind and just meditate
And let your soul just gravitate
To the love, so the whole world celebrate it
People killin' people dyin'
Children hurtin', I hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preachin'?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin' on
Can't we all just get along?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where's the love)
It just ain't the same, always in change
(Where's the love)
New days are strange, is the world insane?
(Where's the love)
Nation droppin' bombs killing our little ones
(Where's the love)
Ongoing suffering as the youth die young
(Where's the love)
Where's the love when a child gets murdered
Or a cop gets knocked down
Black lives not now
Everybody matter to me
All races, y'all don't like what I'm sayin'? Haterade, tall cases
Everybody hate somebody
Guess we all racist
Black Eyed Peas do a song about love and y'all hate this
All these protests with different colored faces
We was all born with a heart
Why we gotta chase it?
And every time I look around
Every time I look up, every time I look down
No one's on a common ground
(Where's the love)
And if you never speak truth then you never know how love sounds
(Where's the love)
And if you never know love then you never know God, wow
(Where's the love)
Where's the love y'all? I don't, I don't know
Where's the truth y'all? I don't know
People killin' people dyin'
Children hurtin', I hear them cryin'
Could you practice what you preach?
Would you turn the other cheek?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where's the love)
(Where's the love)
Love is the key
(Where's the love)
Love is the answer
(Where's the love)
Love is the solution
(Where's the love)
(Where's the love)
They don't want us to love
(Where's the love)
Love is powerful
(Where's the love)
(Where's the love)
My mama asked me why I never vote never vote
'Cause police men want me dead and gone (Dead and gone)
That election looking like a joke (Such a joke)
And the weed man still sellin' dope
Somebody gotta give these niggas hope (Please hope)
All he ever wanted was a smoke (My gosh)
Said he can't breathe with his hands in the air
Layin' on the ground died from a choke
(Where's the love)
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders
As I'm gettin' older y'all people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinemas
What happened to the love and the values of humanity?
(Where's the love)
What happened to the love and the fairness and equality?
(Where's the love)
Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity
(Where's the love)
Lack of understanding leading us away from unity
(Where's the love)
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Allan Pineda / Giorgio Hesdey Tuinfort / Jaime Gomez / Jayceon Taylor / Justin Timberlake / Khaled Khaled / Rakim Mayers / Will Adams
Where Is the Love? lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Saturday, 27 June 2020

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 27th June 2020


Hello! Happy Saturday!! I'm just hoping it's not as hot today as I've been wilting these past few days in the heat! I know I shouldn't complain, but I'm English and I will haha!!

On the reading front this past week it's been a quiet affair! Only 2 books finished, just 1 received in the post, and 0 from Netgalley!  This will change next week I'm sure!!

Here's my (quick!) look back!


BOOKS FINISHED






BOOKPOST

A STRANGE COUNTRY by MURIEL BARBERY
copy received from Gallic Press
publication date - 16th July 2020


Alejandro de Yepes and Jesús Rocamora, young officers in the Spanish regular army, are stationed alone at Castillo when a friendly redhead named Petrus appears out of nowhere. There is something magnetic and deeply mysterious about him. Alejandro and Jesús are bewitched, and, in the middle of the sixth year of the longest war humankind has ever endured, they abandon their post to follow him across a bridge that only he can see.

Petrus brings them to a world of lingering fog, strange beings, poetry, music, natural wonders, harmony and extraordinary beauty. This is where the fate of the world and all its living creatures is decided. Yet this world too is under threat. A long battle against the forces of disenchantment is drawing to a climactic close. Will poetry and beauty prevail over darkness and death? And what role will Alejandro and Jesús play?

Muriel Barbery’s richly imagined new novel, the sequel to The Life of Elves, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination.


CURRENTLY READING

OLD & UGLY by C.L. MOIR

In the 1973, teenagers Ange and Elizabeth are persuaded to enter the Miss Sladport-on-Sea Beauty Pageant by local entrepreneur, Spencer. When Ange is crowned the most beautiful woman in Sladport, Spencer promises her a life of fame and fortune – which he delivers. Within months, Ange is crowned The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

Forty years later, Ange is unexpectedly invited to a reunion of old friends: Elizabeth - now married to Spencer - and the three school friends who stormed the pageant, throwing flour bombs and insults in protest at its objectification of women.

Old and Ugly is the story of that re-union - and the story of Ange’s life.
Hilarious and laughable, conceited and fearful,  feisty  and (some might say) a fool for the admiration of men, Ange must finally confront the truth about her fantastical life of glamour and good fortune to be freed from its secrets – and freed from the man who made her, then broke her.

Irreverent and moving, disturbing and joyful, you've probably never read anything quite like it...

HAPPY READING!!

Friday, 26 June 2020

#BookReview THE LITTLE TEASHOP IN TOKYO by JULIE CAPLIN


ABOUT THE BOOK


Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…

Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently.


PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER


PURCHASE LINK




MY REVIEW


The gorgeous cover drew me in and I'm so glad it did! I loved the story, the characters, the setting and am very glad to have discovered a new author to me! Time now to devour her other books!!

Fiona is the centre of this story as she wins a trip to Tokyo to learn from a top photographer, ahead of her exhibition in London. She's is totally out of her comfort zone so this is a big step for her, but she knows how important this could be for her photography so she sets off and stays with a lovely family who run a teashop in Tokyo, which gives her the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture and indulge her love of tea!!

There is a switch in her mentor though, and it's someone from her past so that brings new pressures to her trip. Will he remember her? Luckily for her, Gabe seems a little pre-occupied with his own personal issues - not so good for her being mentored to the best of his ability though!

What I loved about Fiona and Gabe, is how they work so well off one another, especially when they're out and about taking photos. They seem to inspire one another to look at things from a different perspective! This starts to rub off into their own lives as well and allows them to change old routines and take control of their own lives, instead of being dictated to by others. There's also a little edge to their 'banter'

This is a book that teaches you about 'being you' and the setting of Tokyo was just perfect to help explore the ways of the Japanese and how they find beauty in the simplest of things. It is the perfect escapism read and I loved it!

★★★★★

#BookReview WALLY FUNK'S RACE FOR SPACE by SUE NELSON #20BooksOfSummer20 #nonfiction


ABOUT THE BOOK


In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the Woman in Space programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, with one of her scores beating all the male Mercury 7 astronauts’, including John Glenn’s, the first American in orbit.

But just one week before the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become America’s first female aviation safety inspector, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed.

In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space buff Sue Nelson joins Wally, now approaching her eightieth birthday, as she races to make her own giant leap, before it’s too late. Covering their travels across the United States and Europe – taking in NASA’s mission control in Houston, the European Space Agency’s HQ in Paris and Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Wally’s ride into space awaits – this is a uniquely intimate and entertaining portrait of a true aviation trailblazer.

PUBLISHED BY THE WESTBOURNE PRESS


MY REVIEW

This was book 6 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

What a blooming amazing woman Wally Funk is!! Even at the age of 80 she's fighting hard to achieve her dream of going into Space. And in this book we get to hear all about her amazing career and the astonishingly poor treatment that women were receiving in the 1960's, especially in the world of the US space race when a group of 13 female pilots were put through the rigorous, and brutal, testing process as part of Mercury 13 only to have the funding cut just before the mission. No reason was ever given, and this was such a huge blow to Wally and the other women.

What also comes across throughout this book is the touching friendship between the author, Sue Nelson, and Wally as they travel together visiting a variety of places connecting to the world of Space. They often drive each other nuts, but for the most part they are inspired and enthused by one another and share such a lovely bond as they discover new aspects to the history and the future of Space travel.

This book is so illuminating into the derisive attitudes shown towards the women in the 1960's and onwards, and even when Wally outshines her male rivals at some of the tests, there are still doubts as to whether women should even be trying out for a place on the next space shuttle. Through this book we get to hear about the amazing achievements she accomplished through her life and even at 80 she's hungry for more! She's even bought herself a ticket to be a space tourist on the Virgin Galactic Space which is hoping to be the first commercial space flight - if it ever goes ahead!

Wally is a formidable woman with such an inspiring tale to tell and I'm very grateful for Sue Nelson for sharing it with us. She's the kind of woman we should be teaching all young girls to look up to and aspire to be. Her energy and determination to prove people wrong is infectious and I just loved spending time in the company of her thanks to this book! I just hope she gets to achieve her dream!!

★★★★

Thursday, 25 June 2020

#CoverReveal NOT THE DEATHS IMAGINED by ANNE PETTIGREW #NotTheDeathsImagined @pettigrew_anne @RingwoodPublish @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs

EXCITED!!!! Time to be help reveal a fabulous cover!! Thanks to Emma at Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for letting me be part of it all!!

Here's a little more about the book to get you in the mood.......


In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.

Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation - and family – are put at risk.

Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?

From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.



About Anne Pettigrew

Glasgow-born, 31 years a Greenock GP, graduate of University of Glasgow (Medicine 1974) and Oxford (MSc Medical Anthropology 2004). Worked also in psychiatry, women’s health, and  journalism (Herald, Pulse, Doctor, Channel 4). In retirement took Creative Writing tuition at Glasgow University aiming to pen novels about women doctors (rare in literature except as pathologists or in Mills & Boon). Runner-up in SAW Constable Award 2018, chosen as a 2019 Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight Author - ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and a short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pettigrew_anne @pettigrew_anne

Not The Deaths Imagined
Paperback ISBN:                               978-1-901514-77-3
e-book:                                                978-1-901514-78-0
Ringwood Publishing                    
362pp                                                                   
Publication date Aug 1st 2020

Pre-order Links
Ringwood Publishing: https://bit.ly/2B0I0C2


SO HERE IT IS!! SAVING THE BEST TIL LAST!! Ready??!! 


❤❤❤

#BlogTour CALL ME JOE by MARTIN VAN ES & ANDREW CROFTS @RandomTTours @The_JoeProject @RedDoorBooks @AndrewCrofts @LiterallyPR #CallMeJoeBook #TheJoeProject


Delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for CALL ME JOE by MARTIN VAN ES & ANDREW CROFTS. My thanks to the authors, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The world is on the brink of disaster.
The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide...

One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man - call him Joe - claiming to be the son of God.

Can Joe bring the world's most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind?

Can he convince us all to follow him before it's too late?

In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.

PUBLISHED BY RED DOOR PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS






MY REVIEW

Here's an apt book for the times!!  So much of this struck true with me of the world we currently find ourselves living in, that it made it so much easier to connect with and understand! If only we had a Joe.....

This is a book told through the eyes of a few characters, all part of the world but all living very different lives.  Except they all soon share a common experience when the world goes black for 12 minutes... there was no warning, there are no contingency plans in place for such an occurrence  - and how people react around the world is a fascinating insight into humanity!

Sophie is a school teacher when this event happens so has to try and keep her pupils calm while this madness is going on.  When light returns she sees a man walking across the school fields who says he's just arrived.  She finds herself talking to him and feeling that she needs to help - the pupils in her class are even more fascinated by him and I loved the innocence of children and their questions to him.  If only adults had such an open mind!  For Joe he is openly questioning why humans do so much harm to their planet and one another.  It makes no sense to him - he's not the only one who wonders why!!

Meanwhile, Governments all around the world are showing their true colours. Suspecting one another of having a hand in what has happened, trying to work out how to deal with what has happened.  And the more they hear about 'Joe' and the effect he has on people that he meets in person or via videos, the more they soon pull together to try and discredit him as he baffles them. Is he for real?

This book does a brilliant job of showing up the role of 'fake news', the word of the media vs the experiences of people, and how those in favour of the status quo are rattled by this new prescence spouting new ideals and reaching people in a different way to the norm.    It shows up the inequality, the greed, the overpopulation, the climate issues. the intolerance that humanity faces day in, day out and how trying to change people and their ways leads to resistance and underhanded tactics by those not in favour.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, especially with its' relevance to the present time!  The battle between those who don't want change against those who would prefer a kinder, more fair world was fascinating and this book gives you a lot to think about!

★★★★