#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

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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….

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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.

 

#Book Review : Living in Italy, The Real Deal by Stef Smulders @italie_verhalen

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“Living In Italy : The Real Deal” by Stef Smulders is available in paperback and eBook.

Synopsis:

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.

For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories.
Glossary of Italian words included! Learn the true meaning of Italian phrases and expressions like “non ci sono problemi“, “di fiducia“, “persone serie“, “tutto a norma” and many more. Learn a bit of the foreign language before going to Italy.
My Thoughts:
A while ago Stef asked me if I was interested in reading his book.  I was curious when I read the synopsis, of how Stef and Nico left The Netherlands to live in Italy running a B&B.  I had resisted the temptation to visit the website to see the before and after pictures, though I had seen a glimpse of them.  I wanted to read this book and build up my own image, from the descriptions Stef was going to describe on the pages of his book.
What started in 2007 with looking for a property to the end result of a beautiful home is remarkable, especially as you read all the hoops these two men went through to get to their dream.  All the rules and regulations seem to have been a minefield, with a lot of travelling between departments, authorities, bureaus, then there are the estate agent, owners, contractors and so many others.
2008/09 saw them in the property and as Italian residents, builders with extra unforeseen costs, weather, ground water and they still continued.  How Stef and Nico managed to remain calm and sane is remarkable.  Their patience was pushed to the limit, but they remained focused on their end goal.  They also started to build up a relationship with locals, going to see various attractions in the area.  They wanted to include a lists of places for their guests to visit.
I really liked this book, Stef has created a really great book of his  experiences.  He has the high points and the low points of the venture they embarked upon.  He has included a lot of Italian phrases and a very in-depth glossary, though as you read the phrases he has included meanings, it is very useful doing it this way as it saves flitting between glossary and story.  This is written in a very readable way, it kept me captivated from the beginning.  It is an account that is humorous at times and at others made me feel their anguish as they dealt with all the trials they went through.
So when I had finished the book I then went to look at their website ( you will find a link to this in the “About the Author” section below), and it is a beautiful house.  Did the descriptions I had read in the book match what I saw in the site ? Well yes they did actually, and I lost myself for a while looking and reading through the site.  I admit to being a little bit envious of their house, it is beautiful and in a gorgeous location.
I would recommend this book to readers who like to read about other people’s adventures in life, a non fiction, educational, reference guide to living in a different country.  It is well written, with great content and some weird and wonderful observations from Stef.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Stef for my copy of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.
About the Author:
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 Dutchman who moved to Italy in 2008 to live the good life wih husband and dog, welcoming guests in their Villa I Due Padroni B&B in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese, south of Milan.

Author of the Award winning book “Living in Italy: the Real Deal” with hilarious expat adventures.

Book Details:
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 949.0 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Babelcube Inc. (5 Nov. 2017)
Many thanks for reading my post/  If you liked it, please give it a share. 
Better still, go and buy the book.

#Blogtour : Cancer Free for 20 years by @CurlyMartin @BookPublicistUK #coffeemorning #cancersurvivors

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I am incredibly excited to be part of the blog tour for this very inspirational book and it’s author Curly Martin. I would like to thank Teresa at The Book Publicist for inviting me to be part of this tour. 

Synopsis:

Full of tips, tools, techniques, & the secrets Curly Martin used to overcome cancer. How she now lives a passionate, exciting, healthy, wealthy, happy life. Curly Martin was diagnosed with breast cancer, and an aggressive form of lymphatic cancer in 1992 and she was given nine months to live. At that time she became homeless and was unemployed. This book is all about her fascinating and funny 20 year journey from cancer to coaching. Since the terminal diagnosis, she has become an international bestselling author of, The Coaching Handbook Series of books. She is a highly sought-after international speaker, a pioneer of life coach training and the founder of a very successful training company, Achievement Specialists Limited. She intuitively combines her personal experiences with accepted methodologies and cutting edge innovations, to create exciting, very entertaining and effective approaches to living a healthy, happy and successful life.

My Thoughts:

Curly Martin was given 9 months to live after being diagnosed with cancer, this was in 1992, well they got that bit wrong.  This book tells how Curly has made her journey from when diagnosed to where she is today.  It is a glimpse into her life as she went through treatment and the various therapies, remedies and also the self-help techniques she has used, and still uses today. She has very candidly shared her feelings, experiences and thoughts as she dealt with what life has thrown at her physically, emotionally and mentally.

This is not a sad book at all, instead Curly has managed to inject her positive outlook of life into the pages of this book.  Her personality shines through and so does her sense of humour.  Cancer did not beat her, instead it seems to have momentarily paused her at the age of 39 years old, before she was up and embarking on a new path.  As she recovered from her treatments for cancer, she began to change things in her life, changed her habits and lifestyle also meant a change in her perspective. 

This book is broken down into manageable chapters, with a brief summary of what she has discussed at the end of each, these summaries are handy little pointers.  It is full of various tips that she has learnt along the way, from making notes at hospital appointments to asking questions during treatment.  Some of her pointers and positive advice are things anyone could use in their normal lives. All the way through she is telling of her journey, what did and didn’t work for her.  Also promoting what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for others, as well as the fact that the treatment she received in the 90’s is different compared to today.

This is a very well laid out book that shows how one woman has taken cancer by the horns and used her experiences of it,she has turned it into a positive.  She was never going to let it beat her.  I do not think for one moment that this was an easy, but as i read this book I could feel her positive energy.  

I wish to send my thanks to Curly for sending me a copy of her book.  I would like to wish Curly all the very best in her health, happiness and future.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Achievement Specialists Ltd (3 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995485801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995485808

Purchase from  Amazon UK

Author Bio:

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I want every cancer sufferer to have hope and to know that there can be a future out there if you dare to make the changes and believe. My latest book Achievement: Cancer Free For 20 Years tells of my triumphant journey from diagnosis in 1992 through to becoming the pioneer of life coach training today.
I am also the author of the International seminal best-seller ‘The Life Coaching Handbook’ a World’s first life coaching book written specifically for life coaches on how to build a life coaching business. She established Achievement Specialists Ltd. in 1997, a Life Coach Training company, using her 25+ years experience as a business coach, mentor and trainer. Achievement Specialists Website I am the pioneer of life coach training and thousands of people have trained to become life coaches with me. The life coaching course is a full level 7 diploma accredited by the international institute of coaching and Mentoring. I have also written ‘The Business Coaching Handbook’ and ‘The Personal Success Handbook’ which complete the coaching handbook series. Also written or co-written by me some 30 books and articles on coaching. I am a Fellow of The International Institute of Coaching and Mentoring.

 

Many thanks for reading my post.

#BookReview : Red Famine: Stalin’s War on the Ukraine by @anneapplebaum @PenguinUKBooks

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My thoughts:

This is a well laid out book that covers a very large and important piece of Russian and Ukranian history .  It is very compelling reading and I think would be an invaluable book for those who want to know more regarding this area.

I know very little about the Ukraine and the atrocities that were committed upon it and it’s people.  I have vague memories from very generalised history lessons at school as a teenager. But now, after reading this account of events, I am aware of the depths people have gone to, to achieve power.

For me, this book seems to be a very comprehensive account of the Ukraine between the years of 1917-1934.  It discusses how the rich, fertile soil made for the ideal conditions of growing grain, it then follows through the history to tell how Ukraine wanted to become autonomous of the Imperial Russian Empire, this is something that Russia did not want to happen, due to it’s reliance on Ukraine being a valuable food provider.  It is quite disturbing how the peasants from Ukraine are seen by Russia, they are viewed as worthless , their culture and language to be ignored under the overpowering Russian rule and how they were persecuted beyond belief.  This book goes through the chronology of events that include a huge and and vast amount of bloodshed and atrocities.

As I said this is comprehensive, there is a huge amount of information and it also includes sources.  It discusses the politics, revolts and fighting for the power to rule a country, and what methods were employed to maintain the power for as long as possible during a time of huge unrest.

This is a book I have found quite hard to review due to the vast amount of detail.  There is so much detail I could include, but I have decided to limit myself.  What I really want to say is “Just go and buy this book, you will not be disappointed” 

I would highly recommend this book to Historical and Factual readers, and especially for those with an interest in Europe, Russia and Ukraine.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Penguin UK for allowing me a copy of this book.  My opinion is honest, unbiased and is my own.

Synopsis:

The momentous new book from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain. In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events. The book draws on a mass of archival material and first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly ‘anti-revolutionary’ elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering. The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine’s cultural and political leadership – and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country’s true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. Red Famine, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past.

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 49778 KB
  • Print Length: 470 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385538855

 

About The Author:

Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum is a journalist, a historian and the author of several books about the Soviet Union and central Europe. Her most recent book, “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956” was a finalist for the National book Award and won the Cundill Prize for Historical Literature. “Gulag: A History” won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. Her writing appears regularly in the Washington Post, Slate, the New York Review of Books and the Spectator, as well as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker and many other journals. She first reported from Poland in 1989, and still lives there part of the time with her husband, Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician and writer. She is also the author of a cookbook, “From a Polish Country House Kitchen” and a travelogue, “Between East and West.”

 

Many thanks for reading my post.