Posted in Animal Welfare, Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, New Books, Non-Fiction

Through a Vet’s Eyes – How We Can All Choose A Better Life For Animals Dr Sean Wensley 5*#Review @SeanWensley @Octopus_Books #memoir #AnimalWelfare #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #ThroughAVetsEyes #DrSeanWensley

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning vet and lifelong naturalist who has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects all over the world. His debut book is
about how we can choose a better life for animals, from the chickens we eat to the pets we keep.

As our societies become more urbanised, we are further removed from the reality of where and how our food is produced. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the humanisation of our pets is a risk to their welfare; with 60% of UK dogs being overweight or obese, we are effectively killing them with kindness. Through a Vet’s Eyes seeks to redress this imbalance so that we see all animals as thinking, feeling beings not dissimilar to ourselves.

There is high public and political interest in animal welfare, with current attention focused on high-profile topics such as animal sentience, humane and sustainable global agriculture and breeding pets, such as flat-faced dogs, for looks over health. To fully consider and improve the lives of animals, evidence-based information is needed to help us all understand these issues, what they mean from the animals’
perspectives and what we can all do to help.

A polemic with elements of memoir and nature writing, the book takes us through the years in which Sean trained to become a vet and shares his first-hand experience of how animals are treated and used for our benefit. It interrogates the different levels of welfare afforded to them and reveals how we, as consumers and informed citizens, can reduce our animal welfare footprint through the choices we make every
single day.

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Compassionate and compelling, the author shares his life experiences as a Veterinary Surgeon and shows how everyone can make a difference to the animals we share our lives with. The book is an intriguing mix of factual accounts of what happens in our interactions with animals, personal experiences of nature and scientific study. The observations of animals in their natural habitat are intimate and lyrically written and are a welcome contrast to some of the more disturbing facts about the lives of farm animals and other animals we as humans use to enrich our lives.

The positive take from this book is that everyone can help achieve better animal welfare, a life-affirming goal in itself, but for those less altruistic, there are positive gains for humanity in terms of better health and contributing towards saving the planet.

My interest in animal welfare drew me to this book, and I learned so much by reading it. Most people will be disturbed and saddened by some of the stories, but it’s worth the discomfort to see how we can help. Whilst this book is an excellent memoir, it is also a practical guide on how individuals can help foster animal welfare, something that everyone should read.

Dr Sean Wensley

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning UK veterinarian and recent President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA). He chairs the Animal Welfare Working Group of
the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), which represents veterinary organisations from 40 European countries.

Sean has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects around the world and in 2017 received the inaugural World Veterinary Association (WVA) Global Animal WelfareAward for Europe. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of
Veterinary Surgeons and is Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education at the national UK veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). His media appearances include BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC
Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine and The Big Questions.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction

Women Like Us Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #memoir #preorder #motivational #nonfiction @igbooktours #LoveBooksTours #Virtualbooktour @lovebookstours  #WomenLikeUs #BlogTour #BookReview #WLU #MondayBlogs

‘Women Like Us’ is my life story so far! It’s raw, but I hope, inspiring account of my life lived as someone who always felt as if I was the odd one out. I had so many ideas but felt hemmed in by class, lack of opportunity and my own low self-esteem. I didn’t ever see how I could get on in life.

Growing up as a proper home bird and spending nights on the sofa with my wonderful, eccentric family, I felt as if the world was having a party to which I wasn’t invited, and it felt awful. The thought of writing a book felt like a dream, just out of reach, until at age forty-two, I took the leap, and the rest is history.

Now, ten years later and with over thirty books published, I decided it was time to tackle my greatest challenge –  how I felt about myself, my overweight body and my ageing face. Having lived for years feeling that I wasn’t quite good enough, or that I didn’t quite fit, I finally learned the secrets of living a happy life and am sharing them with you now.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

Reading this emotional and honest memoir, the reader can see why this author writes such heartfelt fictional stories. It’s recollections of a life so far from an ordinary woman who never lost sight of her dream despite the physical and emotional setbacks. It’s full of love and pain with underlying insecurity about fitting in and being good enough that so many of us can relate to.

Whilst the first part is poignant, the second half of the memoir is intimate and heartbreaking to read at times, but you keep turning the pages hoping that the author will find a way through her pain. The last part of the book is moving and motivational, and it resonates.

I enjoyed the honesty and the positivity of this memoir.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an international bestselling author of twenty-eight novels published in dozens of languages. Her chart-topping titles; ‘What Have I Done?’ ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Coordinates of Loss’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’ and ‘The Things I Know’ have sold millions of copies around the world. Other novels by Amanda Prowse include ‘A Mother’s Story ‘, which won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year Award. ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

She has been described by the Daily Mail as ‘the queen of family drama’. Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today. Her titles consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show, as well as featuring on numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on national and independent radio stations, including LBC and talkRADIO, where she is well known for her insightful observations and infectious humour.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning off the bedside lamp at night, that ensure you walk every step with her great characters and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, New Books

Soulcat: A feline memoir Amy Vaughan-Spencer 4*#Review #Soulcat #FelineMemoir #SoulcatMemoir @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #Cats

Amy wrote a love letter… a note to the love of her life.

Only Molly never read it. Even if she’d been alive when it was written, failing eyesight would’ve prevented her from making out the words.

Besides which, she was a cat. And cats can’t read.

No ordinary feline, Molly lived a life full of challenge and adventure, determined not to let gradual blindness hold her back.

This is that letter and – against all the odds – Molly’s long-lost memoirs….

Soulcat is a delightful furrytail of a unique friendship, filled with amusing anecdotes and touching moments. The first half is Molly’s story told from the author’s perspective, including a glimpse into the life of a touring theatrical stage manager. Each chapter is punctuated with a photo of Molly and an apt cat quote.

Part 2 is life through Molly’s fading eyes, told in her own words (translated into English). Beautifully illustrated by Ellypop Illustration.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author.

My Thoughts…

An emotional memoir of the author’s life with Molly the cat, readers who share their lives with animal friends and particularly cats, will find much to enjoy in this. The book is in two halves, the first a memoir and the second an imagined memoir from Molly the cat’s viewpoint. Photographs and cat quotes accompany the memoir and lovely illustrations, Molly’s feline memoir.

I enjoyed both parts of the book, but I like the originality of Molly’s version. It’s easy and emotional reading and a lovely present for anyone who has loved and lost an animal companion.

Amy Vaughan-Spencer

Amy Vaughan-Spencer Author Bio

I have been writing for most of my life, in various forms, although Soulcat is the first completed project that has made it to publication (with the exception of 2 poems printed in anthologies half a lifetime ago). Although I always loved the idea of writing a book, I only became brave enough to share my work in recent years, discovering it might just be good enough to let loose on the general public. My love for Molly, and my determination to keep her memory alive, motivated me to get her memoir written and shared, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the world from her perspective, blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction

The Spirit of the Horse Pam Billinge 5*#Review @pam_billinge @Blackbird_Bks #BlogTour #BookReview #memoir #Motivational #nonfiction #Horses #Love #Life

Sequel to The Spell of the Horse.

The Spirit of the Horse is about following dreams, finding your truth and how much stronger joy can be when we learn to interconnect with all that is.

‘Masterful, uplifting and insightful, this book has left an indelible stamp on my heart.’ Justin Featherstone MC

When Pam follows her dream to a farmhouse with five acres in northern France, she is able to live alongside her horses for the first time. Here, in the heart of nature, deeper insights are revealed into the healing connection between horse and human and the incredible power of presence to transform. Might it be that learning to honour and communicate with another species helps us to reframe the way we perceive each other, as well as how we might see ourselves?

Paperback (£9.99) available to order from Waterstones

and all good bookshops and the usual online platforms.

Ebook (£3.99) Amazon UK iBooks

 [US]Kobo

I received a copy of this book from Blackbird in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I haven’t read The Spell of the Horse, the book this is a sequel to, but this book reads well without having done so, although it did make me keen to read the book that came first. This book hard to define but is very readable, with messages that everyone can take away and think about.

As a memoir, it is engaging and honest. It has depth, Pam’s experience working with her ‘herd’ to help her clients to work out their anxieties, future choices and problems, is emotional, fascinating and thought-provoking.

It’s compelling to explore the spiritual connection between humans and horses through case studies and Pam’s insights. This is a poignant and powerful book.

Pan Billinge – Photo Credit Sabine Coe Photography

Pam Billinge is a therapist, coach and author who specialises in embodied horse-led learning.

This unique approach relies entirely on the emergent relational process between horse and human. At her bases in the UK and in France, Pam supports people of all nationalities, ages and walks of life with their personal and professional development.

Through her workshops and her writing Pam wishes to share the healing wisdom of horses whilst advancing the cause of this
sometimes much-misunderstood species. She hopes also
through her work to reconnect us with the natural world from which we are too often separated.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Memoir

Squadron Airborne EllestonTrevor 5*#Review @I_W_M #EllestonTrevor @RandomTTours #WW2 #BattleofBritain80 #RAF #1940 #Summer #Britain #BlogTour #BookReview #SquadronAirborne @angelamarymar #wartimeclassics #WartimeBritain

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Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from The Imperial War Museums in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Like other books in the wartime classics series, It’s a fictional story based on the author’s first-hand experiences. Originally published in 1955, it focuses on a week during the Summer of 1940, the Battle of Britain. The book is prefaced, by an introduction describing the historical background to the Battle of Britain.

The story focuses on everyone on the airbase, pilots, ground crew and ancillary staff. Everyone played an essential role in this iconic victory in WW2. The camaraderie is evident, as is the commitment and courage from young individuals. With little life experience, their bravery and skill thwarted an enemy and possible invasion.

The book captures the claustrophobic, intense atmosphere at the airbase. The frenetic periods of the missions contrasting with long periods of waiting. Both defining life on the airbase during the Summer of 1940.

Authentic relatable characters endear themselves to the reader, you fear for their safety, and admire them. The perfect read if you are looking to explore the people behind the headlines. The wartime ethos is well described and gives the reader an omnipotent view of this WW2 event.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Memoir

Green Hands Barbara Whitton 5*#Review @I_W_M #BarbaraWhitton @RandomTTours #WW2 #WomensLandArmy #LandGirls #1940s #Britain #BlogTour #BookReview #GreenHands @angelamarymar #wartimeclassics #WartimeBritain

I received a copy of this book from The Imperial War Museums in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is an authentic representation of what life in the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was like for many. The land girls worked on the land and maintain the food supply chain for Britain at War. They endured relentless work and ridicule until their vital contribution to the war effort was recognised.

This story prefaced by an introduction from the Imperial War museum which provides salient historical, and social details. Historical details of farming in the war years provides the backdrop for a lovely story of acceptance, friendship, romance, and humour.

Told from Bee’s point of view, the story shows how three young girls coped or didn’t with life in the land army. The author employs sensual imagery allowing the reader to imagine the characters, events and setting.

There are some important social differences in this book, compared to contemporary society. Women were doing men’s work and seen as filling in. After the war, many women didn’t remain in the workforce especially in the farming industry.

The book highlights the importance of working as a community and the hardships faced by the land girls and the country as a whole from rationing. It shows another often overlooked contribution to women in the workforce in the 1940s. It provides a dramatic representation of historical facts through relatable characters and events.

MARGARET HAZEL WATSON (writing under the pseudonym Barbara Whitton) was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1921. She was educated at the Church High Girls School in Newcastle, and later sent to St Leonards School in St Andrews. Due to study Art in Paris, her training was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Having volunteered for the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in 1939, she worked as a Land Girl for around a year before moving to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and later joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) as a driver, where she remained for the duration of the war. Her novel Green Hands is a fictionalised account of her time spent as a Land Girl, detailing the back-breaking hard work and intensity of her experience with good humour and an enchanting lightness of touch. During her time with the ATS she met her husband Pat Chitty and they were married in 1941. After the war, she wrote a number of accounts of her wartime experience and retained an interest in art, literature and horticulture throughout her life. She died in 2016.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Other Girls Like Me Stephanie Davies #Spotlight @Stephanie5Davie @BedazzledInk @midaspr #NonFiction #OtherGirlsLikeMe #ComingofAge #Memoir

Till now, Stephanie has done her best to play by the rules—which seem to be stacked against girls like her. It doesn’t help that she wants to play football, dress like a boy, and fight apartheid in South Africa—despite living in rural middle England—as she struggles to find her voice in a world where everything is different for girls.

Then she hears them on the radio. Greenham women—an irreverent group of lesbians, punk rockers, mothers, and activists who have set up camp outside a US military base to protest nuclear war—are calling for backups in the face of imminent eviction from their muddy tents. She heads there immediately, where a series of adventures—from a break-in to a nuclear research centre to a doomed love affair with a punk rock singer in a girl band—changes the course of her life forever. But the sense of community she has found is challenged when she faces tragedy at home.

Amazon UK


“I read the first 200 pages of Other Girls Like Me in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down. It’s my story and yet it’s not. It speaks to all of us radicals, feminists, and lesbians who grew up in the 70s and 80s. Stephanie’s warmth and compassion shine through these pages. What a life!” —                        NERI TANNENBAUM, PRODUCER, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

“Other Girls Like Me is funny and sad, powerful and inspirational, especially in these times that are calling for all of us to become activists. And Stephanie Davies can write. Her prose is lyrical, even at times mesmerizing.”Beverly Donofrio, Riding in Cars with Boys

“Other Girls Like Me is about women being concerned about the horrors in our world and being willing to protest and take nonviolent direct action – which is a very good thing. I do hope that lots of people read it and are inspired to take action themselves!” Angie Zelter, Founder, Extinction Rebellion Peace

“Other Girls Like Me is a lyrical, fluent and elegant read—it is also funny and poignant in equal measure. In the pre Greta Thunberg era, this personal account of one young woman’s journey into activism is captivating and compelling—and a salient reminder of how the power and solidarity of communities of people with shared values can shape and change our lives—for good!”Ann Limb, Chair of the Scouts, #1 2019 OUTstanding List of LGBT+ Public Sector Executives

Stephanie Davies Image credit Nyra Lang

Stephanie Davies is a communications consultant who worked for many years as the Director of Public Education for Doctors Without Borders. A UK native, Stephanie moved to New York in 1991, where she taught English Composition at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus and led research trips to Cuba. Before moving to New York, she co-edited a grassroots LGBT magazine in Brighton called A Queer Tribe. Stephanie earned a teaching degree from Aberystwyth University in Wales, and a BA in European Studies from Bath University, England. She grew up in a small rural village in Hampshire, where much of her first book, Other Girls Like Me, takes place.

Image Credit Ming de Nasty.

Bedazzled Ink is dedicated to publishing literary fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books that celebrate the unique and under-represented voices of women.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction

Leaves of Love Lucy Aykroyd 5*#Review @AykroydLucy @unbounders @RandomTTours @unbound_digital #Paperback #Guide #nonfiction #caring #carers #ageing #experiences #BookReview #BlogTour #motivational #LeavesofLove

 

Are you a carer or companion to someone who is ageing? Are you looking to enhance every moment of their lives to the end yet feel full of trepidation at the prospect? Leaves of Love is a simple yet essential guide for both layman and expert to keep by your side as you learn the beautiful and ancient art of accompanying another over these final transitions.

Leaves of Love is laced with inspiring real-life stories that depict the rich gleanings to be found within ageing and the unexpected opportunities that can reveal themselves when we embrace the reality of our dying. These stories bring with them a tool bag of ideas and practical tips to empower the carer within all of us to value our own unique gifts and love as we have never loved before.

With nature as our guide we learn how to be present when we visit a care home, what matters most as we sit with someone and how and what to expect when we are accompanying a dying person.

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Dying is one of life’s certainties and also one of its greatest mysteries.

Experienced in helping people with ageing and dying well, the author shares her personal and professional experience in this friendly, short, but informative book. Divided into case studies and reflections, practical considerations and a helpful glossary this book is user-friendly and full of sensitively delivered information.

The book emphasises the positive aspects of this final journey and the importance of respecting the person’s wishes whatever they may be.

Worth reading to add to your knowledge, but invaluable if you are facing this eventuality. I wish I’d had something like this or someone like the author when my mother died.

dav

Lucy Aykroyd, a life-enhancing caregiver and end-of-life doula, raised a large family in Aberdeenshire. She paints, pots and prints, practises yoga and travels about with a massage couch. Passionate about the land and the environment, she lives out her wilderness training, disappears for hours into her garden and springs to life with her dogs on the shoreline near her East Lothian home. Lucy celebrates her own ageing and helps others to make the most of theirs with a lightness of touch, a compassionate heart and a good smattering of humour. 

This is her first independent publication. Her short stories have been included in some anthologies by The Huntly Writers

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 4*#Review @Nickalbertautho #Audiobook #AudiobookReview #BlogTour #RuralLife #Ireland #Memoir #NonFiction #AudibleUK #FreshEggsandDogBeds2 @rararesources

Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?
Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?

KindleAmazon UK Paperback Amazon UK Audible UK

Kindle- Amazon Paperback- Amazon Audible US

I received an audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Living the country dream in Ireland was how we left Nick and Lesley at the end of book 1. Book 2 details what life is like and the ups and downs of renovation. The honesty and humour are the unique selling point of this series. It’s not just the good bits it’s the bad bits too. There are many poignant events in this memoir that make the listener empathise.

For anyone who’s ever renovated their home, you’ll be agreeing with Nick’s observations and chuckling at the mistakes and the near disasters. Add in the peculiarities of an unfamiliar country and its a recipe for misunderstandings and subsequent laughter.

The animals are still front and centre in Nick’s life, and there are many anecdotes some hilarious, some sad in this story. What shines through is the sharing of a dream, the courage and the innate sense of humour of the storyteller and his wife.

I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment. The narration is first-class brings the characters to life.

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Amazon Author Page Facebook Twitter Website 

Instagram Goodreads Blog YouTube

Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Love in the Biltz Eileen Alexander 4*#Review @WmCollinsBooks #EileenAlexander #LoveintheBlitz #Biography #Memoirs #LoveLetters #WW2

When the papers say that people in London are behaving normally, they’re telling the truth. Everyone is pretending as hard as possible that nothing is happening … I don’t think Hitler will destroy London, because London, if its legs are blown away, is prepared to hobble on crutches.

In summer 1939, war was brewing. Eileen Alexander was a bright young graduate just leaving Cambridge and newly smitten with Gershon Ellenbogen, a fellow student who had inadvertently involved her in a car crash. Her first letter to him, written from hospital, sparked a correspondence that would last the length of the war and define the love of their lifetimes.

Love in the Blitz is a remarkable portrait of one woman’s coming-of-age. Her previously undiscovered letters are vivid, intimate, and crackling with intelligence. She is frank about sex and her ambitions, hilariously caustic about colleagues, rationing rules and life on the homefront, and painfully honest about loving a man away at war. The discovery of these magical letters must count as the greatest literary find of the 21st century.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from William Collins Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts….

A chance discovery, these love letters give a young woman’s insights into wartime Britain. The book begins with a history of the letters and a history of the woman and the wartime period. There are many letters, only a few are featured. They are honest and reveal the young woman’s beliefs, feelings and motivations.

This educated and privileged perspective of wartime living is intrinsically valuable. The letters ramble in parts and are full of the writer’s idiosyncrasies. Rather like a good fictional character, these are flawed but more relatable because of this.

This is a book for those who like wartime history, love stories, personal observations and reflections.