Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A – Gill Sims @HarperCollinsUK @HarperNonFic @whymummydrinks #Parenting #Family #Relationships – 5* #Review

Family begins with a capital eff.

I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the backchat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks were apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
 
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.

Amazon UK

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I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Non Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There are so many of this type of book around at the present time, but this series remains dominant. As soon as you start reading, it grabs you and you’re laughing out loud, or digging into the depths of family memories when a similar incident happened to you, or someone you know.

This time Ellen’s marriage is beyond help, and she faces life as a single mum. There are compensations, getting to buy the ‘house of your dreams’, well very nearly, but Peter and Jane are teenagers now and dealing with their attitude, eating habits and apathy alone, on a daily basis, means that if Ellen had a swear box it would be overflowing with cash.

The honesty, and talent for encapsulating the humour of parenting teenagers, an ex-husband, and learning how to date again, make this a lovely book to escape with. You can read a chapter or two, and then come back, and it’s easy to get into, but it is addictive reading, and why not laughter is good for you.

The relationships are so believable, the conversations with ‘Mother’, hilarious and oddly poignant, the best friend who so supportive but facing challenges she never thought she would, and the ex-husband who undermines at every opportunity and wonders why things have turned out the way they have???

There is so much to enjoy in this, humour, often satirical and self-deprecating, poignant moments of guilt, that every mother experiences, as they struggle to find themselves in their ‘mummy’ role and a keen observant exploration of parenting that most will relate to.

Posted in Book Review

The Cows 5*Review – ‘Don’t Follow the Herd’ Dawn O’Porter

Posted in Book Review, Writing Journey

Can Authors Be Book Reviewers Too?

Book Reviewer I’m a regular reader of Kristen Lamb’s Blog , her posts are full of useful information about writing and social media and her anecdotes are amusing.  Last week I read her post entitled ‘Three NEVERS of Social Media for Writers’ , it’s an interesting post  and one I recommend you read. The three ‘nevers’ appeared commonsense to me but a point she made in the ‘Never Write Bad Book Reviews’ ‘Our BRAND is AUTHOR, not “book reviewer”.’,was thought-provoking and got me thinking.

DSCN1097In her post, she refers us to an earlier blog post; ‘Is it FAIR for Authors to Review other Authors? Do we ruin the Magic?’ so I read this too.

Briefly, it examines the differences between critique and review. Paraphrased,  it asks the question,  do writers know too much about the logistics of story writing and risk unmasking the illusion that all story tellers weave, if they review books?

I personally don’t read reviews before I read a novel or watch a TV programme. I didn’t even before I wrote. I like to make my own mind up. Reviews for every product and service are popular now with the growth of e-commerce and many people like to read reviews before they read the book.

WellnessBadgebadge_80In a saturated market ,reviews seem key to a book’s success. It’s the quantity not the quality of the reviews that appears to sell books and that’s a shame but not something that’s likely to change.

If a writer reviews a book without allowing themselves to be immersed in the fiction,seeing only the mechanics of story’s creation. Any negative comments on point of view, grammar or flow they make, are likely to shatter the creative illusion for other readers.

My Review -1All reviews, like everything else in the publishing world, are subjective, an opinion. Useful reviews shouldn’t contain many if any ‘spoilers’ and should highlight the story’s positives.

DSCN1091I don’t offer a critique or review as a writer. I’m new to writing but I’m a reader of almost 50 years 🙂 I read  fiction and I reviewed over 130 books in 2014. I review the story and how it effects me. The feedback on my reviews from other readers and authors is usually positive. They find them useful and surely that’s a good thing?

Mystery Thriller My ReviewSo to answer my original question ‘Can Authors be Book Reviewers too?’One of the points Kristen makes is that there is a  conflict of interest. Authors that are book reviewers risk alienating their peers if they give critical reviews. Or their reviews are full of platitudes, so’s not to offend.

It’s a fine line to walk certainly, but I rarely find a book that I can’t say something positive about. You don’t have to be unkind. If you can only find a few positives, the review is short.The inference is, the book wasn’t for you but you are offering an opinion in positive terms, whilst still being honest. If  I find a book I don’t like, I don’t finish it and don’t review it.

Most authors that are also book reviewers, do it because they enjoy it. If that makes me less cutting edge, as an author that’s fine  I write because I love it and book reviews are writing too.DSCN1366DSCN1380

What do you think?