#BookReview : The Garden In Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin @timberpress #NetGalley

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I am delighted to be sharing “The Garden in Every Sense and Season” by Tovah Martin, the photography is by Kindra Clineff.  This is due to be published on 4th April 2018 by Timber Press.  I recieved an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

So much of gardening is focused on the monthly checklists, seasonal to-do lists, and daily upkeep—weed this area, plant these seeds, prune this tree, rake these leaves, dig this hole—frantically done all year long. But what about taking the time to truly enjoy the garden in every sense? In The Garden in Every Sense and Season does just that. Beginning the heady blooms of spring and closing with putting the garden to bed in winter, Tovah Martin mindfully explores her garden through sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. She sees the bright yellow daffodils of spring, smells summer’s pungent roses, hears the crows in autumn, and tastes winter’s juicy citrus. In 100 evocative essays, Martin shares sage garden advice and intimate reflections on her own garden. The Garden in Every Sense and Season, from one of the greatest garden writers of our time, urges gardeners to inhale, savor, and become more attuned with their gardens.

My Thoughts:

Tovah reminds you that flowers, your garden and the wildlife are not just for looking at, rushing past, quickly weeding, instead she focuses on the five senses touch, sight, sound, smell and taste and explores each one of these for each of the seasons.  It all about relaxing, appreciating, enjoying and exploring what we have in out gardens.

She has a very natural way of explaining colour companions and foliage with structure.  Building a garden no matter what size takes planning and preparation, but there is no check list and must do in this book, taking the pressure of planting and setting at set times.  Instead, Stop, Slow Down, Relax and Enjoy.  It is a more relaxed approach and Tovah’s approach to life seems to come through in her approach to gardening and plants.

This is a refreshing look at gardening today.  It should be a pastime or a hobby not a job.  I found that even though I am a UK gardener, mainly of vegetables, there were lots of things that were relevant and useful.  It is good to see another persons thoughts and perspectives.

This is a beautifully laid out book with stunning photographs.  I have read this on a PC, but I know if I had the physical book in my hands I would be dipping in and out of it often.  The writing is set out more as a story of a journey through the year of a garden, rather than a book about a garden.

This is a book I would definitely recommend.  I really loved it.  The photographs and words compliment each other beautifully.

About the Author & Photographer:

Tovah Martin is a fanatical and passionate organic gardener and the author of The Indestructible Houseplant, The Unexpected Houseplant, The New Terrarium, and Tasha Tudor’s Garden, as well as many other gardening books. Visit her at tovahmartin.com

Kindra Clineff specializes in location photography and regularly produces feature assignments for national magazines; her images have appeared in numerous books, including several with Tovah Martin. She lives in Essex County, Massachusetts.

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

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks for reading my post 🙂 xx

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

Follow Will on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Website

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

#BookReview : Niki Jabbour’s Garden Remix @NikiJabbour : @StoreyPub @NetGalley

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My Thoughts:

Has this book given me so many ideas or what. I am a gardener in Cornwall UK and I think this book would be a very useful addition to my already large gardening reference collection. It is well laid out with some beautiful pictures, great advice and tips. There is a vast array of vegetables on the market but there are none that taste better than homegrown ones. This book will be invaluable to people who want to try something a little bit different, I know after reading this book, I will be one of them. I also really like the way Niki has included her own tips, from germinating, pollinating, growing and caring for this vast array of plants. Knowledge is something that is learnt or passed, so in sharing her own experiences it will help save time, extra hard work and disappointment.

I would recommend this book to people who like Gardening and want to try something different, this is a beautiful book.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and to Storey Publishers for my copy of this book. My views and opinions are my own, they are honest and unbiased.

Synopsis:

Best-selling author Niki Jabbour invites you to shake up your vegetable garden with an intriguing array of 238 plants from around the world. With her lively “Like this? Then try this!” approach, Jabbour encourages you to start with what you know and expand your repertoire to try related plants, many of which are delicacies in other cultures. Jabbour presents detailed growing information for each plant, along with fun facts and plant history. Be prepared to have your mind expanded and catch Jabbour’s contagious enthusiasm for experimentation and fun in the garden.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing LLC (6 Feb. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612126707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612126708

About the Author:

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Niki Jabbour is the author of the best-selling & award winning book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener (2012 American Horticultural Society Book Award). Her latest book is Groundbreaking Food Gardens, released by Storey Publishing in March 2014. Niki writes for magazines and newspapers across North America, including Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Making, Gardens East and The Heirloom Gardener. She speaks widely at garden shows and events. Niki is also the host of The Weekend Gardener on News 95.7 FM (www.news957.com) that airs every Sunday from 10 to noon Atlantic time.

Author Links | Website |Twitter

To Buy : Amazon UK |

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share. Or grab a copy of your own 😊 xx

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number – 34902 – Gita born 1925 died 2003

Number – 32407 – Lala born 1916 died 2006

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally a few books from my TBR Pile.

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

#BookReview : Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser @SoulyRested

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“Sweet Maple” by Michelle Visser is available via her Website.

About Sweet Maple:

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

Author Links:

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

Follow on facebook.

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Check out my maple syrup books and video course here.

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

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

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

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

Synopsis:

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

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

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

#BookReview : Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green : http://bit.ly/YvonneBlog : @TheMirrorBooks @BookMachine : #BonusBlogTourExtra

 

I am delighted to share my thoughts on “Into The Valley” by Chris Clement-Green.  I was not able to read in time for the blog tour dates, but thanks to the generosity of  @laurasummersnow  at Book Machine  I have a bonus slot.  This book is available as a paperback and eBook and is published by Mirror Books.

Synopsis:

Encouraged by the sizeable pay increase and high divorce rate, Chris decided that answering a recruitment ad for the Thames Valley Police was just the thing for a much-needed overhaul of her life. It was 1984, a time before political correctness, at the height of the miner s strike and in the middle of five years of race riots. Perfect timing. Expanding her police knowledge, and her love life, undeterred by sexist remarks and chauvinists she decided to make her mark, kissing goodbye to her previous dull and conventional existence. Chris captures the colourful characters and humour in the situations she found herself in, but the job had its serious side, too. She was at the centre of a riot in Oxford, during which her life was saved by a young black man she had previously stopped and questioned, and was attacked by a man with mental-health problems a consequence of the decision to move care into the community . Consistently coming up against the effects of Margaret Thatcher s politics; from miner s picket-lines, covering (poorly) for striking paramedics during the ambulance dispute to everyday drunken disturbances caused by the haves (Yuppies and Oxford students) and the have-nots (alcoholic homeless and unemployed youth), Chris also tackled sex crimes and abuse. An often humorous, always candid and no-holds-barred reflection of the life of a policewoman in the 80s, this book offers a personal account of a life in uniform, while touching on the Newbury Bypass demos, the effects of Scarman, the Hungerford Massacre, the bombing of Libya, the AIDS epidemic and working under the notorious Ali Dizaei.

My Thoughts:

When the opportunity came through my email in box to read this book.  I was definitely interested in reading this, it was a book that was set during the 80’s.  For me I can remember seeing things on the news at this time, in 1984 I was 13 years old.  In 1984 Chris made the choice to join the Thames Valley Police Force.  This book covers the 16 years she spent in the force, telling of experiences, training and how things have changed over the time, both in a procedural sense as well as from a female police officer and the prejudices that were shown towards her.

Chris has had to deal with many things over the years in the force, but her dogged perseverance has served her well.  She gives a very candid account of things she has witnessed and  experienced, with stories that are a mix of various crimes she has been called to attend. Some are serious in nature, some are humorous.  It has been laid out in a very readable style, and charts her rise and her reasons for some of her decisions.  As she tells this account, she also adds what was happening in other police forces, especially notable things that made national news headlines.  It adds a good timeline perspective and helps to jog memories of where you were at the time, or what you were doing.  The book is set out in various chapters, and reads like short stories as well as continuing Chris’s story.

I really enjoyed this book, I found it quite educational at times, and it was nice to see what changes have been made within the force.  A book that I think will appeal to readers of Biography, True Crime, Politics and Society.

I would like to thank Book Machine Works and Mirror Books for my copy of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

About the Author:

Chris Clement-Green_smChris Clement-Green recently retired from Thames Valley Police after sixteen years as a uniform sergeant followed by five as a civilian investigator on serious and organised crime teams – which included working on several murder incident rooms. Her last job involved the management of sixty registered sex-offenders. She has now moved to rural Wales and set up The Welsh Writing Shed, from where Chris runs tutored and untutored writing retreats – thewelshwritingshed.co.uk

Her serious writing started in 2007 when she was encouraged to enter the National Association of Writer’s Groups annual short story competition. It was Chris’ first ever competition so she was astonished to win with Pebbles. The win encouraged her to undertake the Open University Creative Writing course in 2010 and Advanced Creative Writing in 2011, and she completed both courses with distinction. In 2013 she was accepted onto the prestigious Bath Spa University Creative Writing MA, where she completed a life-writing manuscript Into The Valley: Policing Thatcher’s Britain. Mirror Books has recently signed Chris and her memoir is due for publication in August 2017.

Chris has had several articles and letters published in national UK magazines, most notably Writing Magazine, and in September 2016 she was published in The New Guard Volume V a literary journal based in New York. Chris has also been short listed in the Literature Works First Page Writing Prize and Writing Magazine’s Jane Eyre competition; she was also Highly Commended in the Penro Literary Festival’s memoir competition and most recently her fantasy short story, Layla, was published in Divinity Fantasia Magazine. Chris won the Oriel Davis Prose Competition in 2016 and she was also a finalist in the Women in Comedy Festival 2016 writing competition with her monologue Queenie.

Chris has just completed work on her debut novel The Soft Tread of Vengeance; a procedural crime novel which has at its heart, animal rights versus human welfare, what money can and cannot buy and the nature of terrorism and redemption. Chris is now working on the first in a series of crime novels – Come Join the Murder – which is set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Mirror Books (21 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907324720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907324727
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

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

Better still go and buy the book.