Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books, New Books, Poetry

The Fantastic World of Crackonola Mike Mogg 4*#Review #picturebook #poetry #ChildrensBook #kidlit #TheFantasticWorldofCrackonola #BookReview @CrumpsBarn #MikeMogg

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Crumps Barn Studio in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This fun book has colourful comic illustrations that complement the verse. Intended as a children’s book of poetry, it will also appeal to an older generation as it has a classic style. The poems are of various lengths and make you smile. The picture book is beautifully presented and would make a lovely gift.

Posted in Book Review, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction, Poetry

The How  Yrsa Daley-Ward 4*#Review @PenguinUKBooks #YrsaDaleyWard #TheHow #BookReview #Instagram @yrsadaleyward #MondayBlogs

A treasure trove of inspiration and an invitation for personal renewal from the acclaimed author of bone and The Terrible

We still dream though, don’t we? We are gifted with a way into ourselves, night after night after night.

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s words have resonated with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world: through her books of poetry and memoir bone and The Terrible, through her powerful writing for Beyoncé on Black Is King and through her always-illuminating Instagram posts.

In The How, Yrsa gently takes readers by the hand, encouraging them to join her as she explores how we can remove our filters, and see and feel more of who we really are behind the preconceived notions of propriety and manners we’ve accumulated with age. With a mix of short, lyrical musings, immersive poetry and intriguing meditations, The How can be used to start conversations, to prompt writing, to delve deeper – whether you’re on your own or with friends, on your feet or writing from the solace of home.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Original personal thoughts give the reader a chance to share the author’s ideas for a healthy self. Written in a mix of exercises, ideas, and personal experiences, the book explores life’s challenges and how to attain your best self. There is an underlying honesty that is refreshing. The author doesn’t profess to have the solutions but suggests they are within each of us if we take the time to look.

There is an absorbing balance of lyrical musings and notes that keep the reader engaged. I particularly like the idea that dreams are important for happiness, and imagining what you want to be in as many details as possible brings it closer to fruition.

This book can be enjoyed on many levels and has a wide reader appeal.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Novella, Poetry

I Left the Room Burning by Beth O’Brien 4*#Review #poetry @bethoblogs @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Novella #Family #Sisters #MentalHealth #ILefttheRoomBurning #BookReview #BookTour


A woman who never wanted children finds herself reluctantly bringing up her sister’s daughter. The aunt is in an abusive relationship. The niece is a strange child who wishes to disappear. The narrative threaded through these eighty short poems confuses and obfuscates, whilst at the same time completely drawing the reader into the extent that by the end, one is left with the feeling of having watched a deeply immersive film or read an engrossing novella.

Beth O’Brien weaves magic with her lyrical and evocative language, and with the tangibility of her characters’ unreliable voices, she reveals herself as a master storyteller.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Poetry, because of its imagery and lyrical qualities, evokes an emotional response in its reader. This may be confusion, happiness, humour, sadness, or a combination of these. This collection of poems left me feeling confused and sad as it tells the story of a family torn apart by abuse, disinterest and poor mental health.

The imagery is powerful and pushes the story forward towards its conclusion. It has a uniqueness that is refreshing and doesn’t reveal everything about its subject. This needs more than one reading to appreciate the content. The lyrical quality and structure are enjoyable from the first pages.

Contemporary and thought-provoking this collection of poems resonates with the reader.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Novella, Poetry

I Left the Room Burning by Beth O’Brien #poetry #CoverReveal @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Novella


A woman who never wanted children finds herself reluctantly bringing up her sister’s daughter. The aunt is in an abusive relationship. The niece is a strange child who wishes to disappear. The narrative threaded through these eighty short poems confuses and obfuscates, whilst at the same time completely drawing the reader into the extent that by the end, one is left with the feeling of having watched a deeply immersive film or read an engrossing novella.

Beth O’Brien weaves magic with her lyrical and evocative language, and with the tangibility of her characters’ unreliable voices, she reveals herself as a master storyteller.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Poetry

The Coconut Girl by Sunita Thind 4*#Review @sunitathind @wildpressed #poetry @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #TheCoconutGirl #BookTour #BlogTour #BookReview

The Coconut Girl is a collection of poems containing material that is from the Indian, female point of view with an insight into Punjabi culture. We also follow the author through the hallucinogenic state of the brain following cancer treatment and in her experience of life in multicultural Britain.The protagonist in the poems is at the same time deeply vulnerable and strongly independent. Overall her strength of character shines throughThe Coconut Girl features poetry of deep imagery, not least in some of the poems exploring the experience of the female body post-operatively, such as in My Womb Is A Park Of Carnage.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts….

For a small book, this contains impactful material written in a lyrical, personal style. There’s a story running through the book, a young girl and then woman’s perspective of her culture, family and lifestyle. The cultural references make this intrinsically interesting to readers. The poetry is honest and raw and sometimes disturbing, written using vivid sensory imagery and vulnerability.

The intensely individual observations of Cancer, treatment and the aftermath are haunting and poignant. The disparity in the poet’s culture between arranged marriage and western lifestyle is starkly portrayed and powerful, written by someone within it.

This book is an insightful, intense exploration of cultural expectations, family, illness and what it’s like to be a woman between two cultures, it’s fascinating, heartbreaking and thought-provoking.

Sunita Thind

SUNITA THIND is a Bedford born Derby-based published female, Asian British BAME poet and writer. Her debut collection of multicultural poetry (Black Pear Press, 2020) focused on living between two cultures, British and Punjabi. Sunita is a workshop facilitator, speaker and performance poet. She has had poetry and short stories published in various literary magazines, e-zines and journals.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Poetry

The Coconut Girl by Sunita Thind #CoverReveal @sunitathind @wildpressed #poetry @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #TheCoconutGirl

The Coconut Girl is a collection of poems containing material that is from the Indian, female point of view with an insight into Punjabi culture. We also follow the author through the hallucinogenic state of the brain following cancer treatment and in her experience of life in multicultural Britain.The protagonist in the poems is at the same time deeply vulnerable and strongly independent. Overall her strength of character shines throughThe Coconut Girl features poetry of deep imagery, not least in some of the poems exploring the experience of the female body post-operatively, such as in My Womb Is A Park Of Carnage.

Amazon UK

Sunita Thind

SUNITA THIND is a Bedford born Derby-based published female, Asian British BAME poet and writer. Her debut collection of multicultural poetry (Black Pear Press, 2020) focused on living between two cultures, British and Punjabi. Sunita is a workshop facilitator, speaker and performance poet. She has had poetry and short stories published in various literary magazines, e-zines and journals.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Poetry

The Princess of Felling Elaine Cusack 5*#Review #poetry #Felling #Memories #GrowingUp #ThePrincessofFelling #Tyneside #1970s #1980s #memoir #BlogTour #BookReview #RandomThingsTours @annecater

The Princess of Felling was published in April 2019 by Northumbrian publisher Limelight Classics. The book describes my childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The book features a Foreword by TV, radio and book author Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Bulgarian photographer Rossena Petcova and unique maps inspired by my memories by poet and artist Steve Lancaster. 

It also features appearances from David Almond, the Rev Richard Coles, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, Bloodaxe Books, Nick Heyward and Gyles Brandreth.

The Princess of Felling resonates with readers of all ages in the North East and beyond. 

As actor and Felling lass Jill Halfpenny says in the book, “Reading Elaine’s stories and poetry takes me back to my childhood in Felling and all of the smells, sounds and tastes of that time. Her words allow me to remember things that I didn’t know I’d forgotten.”

Buy Links

Buy your copy in person from selected outlets including Hexham’s Cogito Books, Felling Volunteer Library, Newcastle Central Library, Happy Planet Studio and Gallery in Whitley Bay.

Purchase online from Elaine’s publisher www.limelightclassics.com.

Find out more about Elaine’s writing and forthcoming gigs by visiting http://www.dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com, http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cusackmansions and by liking her Elaine Cusack writer page on Facebook.

Website

My Thoughts…

The author says “The Felling I describe belongs to me” and that personal connection dominates the writing and makes it immersive. The introduction describes how The Princess of Felling got its name and the years of memories, scrapbook items, notes written from conversations with her family and old poems and writing that the author kept for several years before this book’s creation.

The writing uses the dialect and words used by those who lived in The Felling, for those who are unfamiliar with it, there is a helpful glossary at the back of commonly used colloquial words. How she learnt to say familiar words like street names is the subject of an early chapter, and it makes me think back to my childhood, and what it was like in the 1970s, when I was growing up.

The Princess of Felling is a beautifully produced bright and glossy book that contains engaging writing and lovely photographs.

Elaine Cusack

The book has been promoted by differing events every month including a gig in a pie and mash shop in Tynemouth and  a London book launch in a Bloomsbury pub. 

The Princess has ruled my life since 2017 when my Mam died after living with dementia for almost four years.  The 2,000 word essay I was working on morphed into  a 22,000 word manuscript.  

The Princess project includes  a  prequel, The  Princess  and the Goose  plus a “mini musical” called  The  Princess and the Piano. I’ve written with musician Mike Waller. The vibe is Gilbert and Sullivan meets Rogers and Hammerstein. We’ve performed it about five times this year and at the weekend we recorded the songs. I will be releasing them on digital platforms and possibly as a limited edition CD in the spring.

Facebook Website

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Readers’Comments

READERS’ COMMENTS

“It’s perfect! I picture it like the Hundred Acre Wood…only in Felling. Just as magic, though.”

“Was so tempted to gobble this down in one sitting but forced myself to savour small delightful morsels. Just beautiful. And I’d forgotten all about skinshees!”

“In parts it’s educational, nostalgic, humorous, sometimes evoking sad memories for me and lovely memories too. The story telling is seamless and impressive; I summed it up as being a delight!”

“It isn’t long enough! You get to the end and you want more! I love that it’s full of nostalgia and gentle pathos, but shot through with such a delightful, whimsical humour. It’s made me do what I never imagined I’d do: roam around the streets of Felling on Google Earth, looking for the places where these magic events occurred.”

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Horror Fiction, Noir, Paranormal, Short stories, Suspense

Tales Of The What The F*ck D.A.Watson 5*#Review @DaveWatsonBooks @WildWolfPublish @rararesources #flashfiction #HorrorFiction #ShortStories #GhostStories #Crimefiction #Poetry #Satire #Originality #BookReview #BlogTour #Noir

Billionaire terminal cancer patient John Longmire’s going to die today, and he’s going out in style in the classiest euthanasia clinic in the world. But the strange nurse with the clipboard and the look of a goddess is spoiling the mood, with all her irksome questions about how he’s lived his life.

Recent retiree Gerald loves his wife Barbara and he loves his garden, but Barbara hates the garden. Because the garden’s taking Gerald over, and Barbara says he has to stop before he has another ‘incident’.

Bullied, ridiculed and unloved, moustachioed schoolgirl “Hairy” Mhairi Barry has never had any friends but the ones she finds on the shelves of the library where she’s spent most of her lonely childhood. But tonight, she’s going to a party with all the cool kids, to show them what she’s learned in all those books.

A suspicious smelling smorgasbord of lovelorn psychopaths, vengeful mugging victims, pawnshop philosophers and rhyming Glaswegian alien abduction, Tales of the What the F*ck is a dark, touching, horrific and hilarious collection of short stories, flash fiction and epic poetry from People’s Book Prize-nominated author D.A. Watson. Things are about to get weird.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoy reading well-written flash fiction, short stories and verse and this is an addictive medley of all three.

The overriding theme is darkness, within individuals, within society and within the other worlds, we can only imagine. Despite the noir ethos of the majority of stories, there are many satirical inferences, which make you smile. The author manages to capture the poignancy of life experiences and engenders empathy in characters, some of which may not deserve it.

The mix of genres is eclectic. Crime, horror and paranormal are predominant. The writer’s originality draws the reader into forbidden worlds, which are disturbing and horrific. As a reader, you don’t want to be there, but you do want to know what next, so you keep turning the pages and read on.

The commentary on the current state of the world and its inhabitants is astute. It showcases the darker side of human nature, probably present in all of us somewhere.

All the stories and verse reveal their secrets in an engaging way, each one reads like a longer story with a beginning, middle and ending that may shock, but does satisfy a reader’s need for completion.

Full of vivid imagery, it’s easy to visualise what is happening. I enjoyed the variety and the balance of prose and verse, it is a riveting book, kept me reading until the end.

#DaveWatson

D.A. Watson was halfway through a music and media degree at the University of Glasgow and planning on being a teacher when he discovered he was actually a better writer than musician. He unleashed his debut novel In the Devil’s Name on an unsuspecting public in the summer of 2012, and plans of a stable career in education left firmly in the dust, later gained his masters in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling.

He has since published two more novels; The Wolves of Langabhat and Cuttin’ Heads, a collection of short fiction and poetry, Tales of the What the F*ck, and several acclaimed articles, poems and stories, including Durty Diana, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US in 2016, and the Burns parody Tam O’ Shatner, prizewinner at the Falkirk Storytelling Festival and Dunedin Burns Poetry Competition, and nominated for the People’s Book Prize in 2018.

Watson’s writing has appeared in several anthologies and collections including 404 Ink, Dark Eclipse, Speculative Books, Haunted Voices and The Flexible Persona, and he is also a regular spoken word performer, with past gigs at Bloody Scotland, Tamfest, Sonnet Youth, Express Yourself, Clusterf*ck Circus, and the Burnsfest festival in 2018, where he appeared on the main stage as the warm-up act for the one and only Chesney Hawkes, a personal milestone and career highlight.

His fourth novel Adonias Low will be released by Stirling Publishing in 2021. He lives with his family in a witch infested village on the west coast of Scotland and continues to write some seriously weird sh*t.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Poetry

I Can See The Lights Russ Litten 5* #Review @RussLitten @Wildpressed @LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #ProsePoetry #Urban #Emotion#Music #City #Life #Sea #ICanSeeTheLights

The prose poems in I Can See The Lights are earthy and raw, but also incredibly sensitive. It’s pretty much guaranteed that more than one of them will bring you to tears. Characters are vividly brought to life, and stark but warm environments evoked in a down to earth, yet almost painterly manner by Russ Litten’s uncompromising voice.

Tales of home, of un-belonging, of strife at sea – of a northern city’s beating heart. Told in a mesmeric, stripped-down tone, this collection is a work of genius.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Edgy, eloquent and emotional, the poetry in ‘I Can See The Lights, shows the darker side of life, the things people prefer to forget or turn away from. It showcases the human fear of being alone and vulnerable. The forgotten groups in society who are becoming too numerous to ignore.

It’s a collection of feelings and thoughts. Showcasing the world’s cruelty, the way we fool ourselves, the inherent human need to search for the light and something good to hold onto.

The writing is emotional, honest and poignant. It makes you think and saddens you. It’s not all darkness, as you read you can see the good, the happiness and the light, and it’s worth looking for.

This is a collection of poetry and stories you can read again, and see something different. When it ends you wonder what happens next, or what if.

If you enjoy poetry that reflects today’s world, this is for you.

Russ Litten

Russ Litten is the author of the novels Scream If You Want To Go FasterSwear DownKingdom and the short story collection We Know What We Are.

As one half of the electronic storytelling duo Cobby and Litten, he has released three spoken word/electronica albums My People Come From The SeaBoothferry and Pound Shop Communism.

He has written for TV, radio and film and has worked as a writer in residence at various prisons and youth offender units. I Can See The Lights is his first poetry collection.

Twitter

Posted in Cover Reveal, Poetry

Cover Reveal I Can See The Lights Russ Litten @RussLitten @Wildpressed #CoverReveal @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #ProsePoetry #Urban #Emotion

The prose poems in I Can See The Lights are earthy and raw, but also incredibly sensitive. It’s pretty much guaranteed that more than one of them will bring you to tears. Characters are vividly brought to life, and stark but warm environments evoked in a down to earth, yet almost painterly manner by Russ Litten’s uncompromising voice.

Tales of home, of un-belonging, of strife at sea – of a northern city’s beating heart. Told in a mesmeric, stripped-down tone, this collection is a work of genius.

#RussLitten

Russ Litten is the author of the novels Scream If You Want To Go FasterSwear DownKingdom and the short story collection We Know What We Are.

As one half of the electronic storytelling duo Cobby and Litten, he has released three spoken word/electronica albums My People Come From The SeaBoothferry and Pound Shop Communism.

He has written for TV, radio and film and has worked as a writer in residence at various prisons and youth offender units. I Can See The Lights is his first poetry collection.

#ICanSeeLights