Posted in Cover Reveal

A Typical Family Christmas by Liz Davies @lizdaviesauthor @rararesources #coverreveal #atypicalfamilychristmas

Happy happy weekend!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 103 days until the big guy comes with his sack full of gifts!🎅🏻🤶

A Typical Family Christmas

For once, Kate Peters would like a happy, family Christmas; the kind of Christmas seen in the movies. She wants harmony and happiness, smiling, glowing faces, tables groaning with food, carol singing around the tree. She wants love, kindness, and goodwill to all men, especially in
her own house.

What she doesn’t want is drama. Absolutely no drama, whatsoever.

But what she gets is three stroppy children, two equally stroppy grandmothers, a husband who can’t manage to change a lightbulb, and Pepe the poodle.

It’s no wonder she feels unappreciated, overworked, and ignored. At the end of her tinsel-coated tether, and with the only Christmas spirit being in the form of a bottle of raspberry gin, Kate decides to leave them to it, and see how they manage without her.

A quiet little hotel somewhere near the sea, where she can pretend Christmas doesn’t exist, is just the thing she needs. Isn’t it?

Pre-order Links:

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XC7FJHK

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XC7FJHK

Author Bio –

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LizDaviesAuthor1/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Posted in Blog Tour

His Secret Family by Ali Mercer @bookouture #bookreview #hissecretfamily

Happy Thursday everybody!

Excited to share with you today in my review for this family drama that definitely kept it real! Life is messy and these characters definitely knew that!

My Thoughts

Ali Mercer has written an honest and emotional story. This book is based on truth and will make you feel uncomfortable at times because it might hit a little too close to home. Life is messy, it is imperfect, and no one‘s intentions are always pure. This is the tale of two mothers, three daughters, and the lies and deceptions that bind them together.

The story is told from four different perspectives Paula, Jenny, Ava, and Ellie. Jenny is a single mother to Ava and Ellie. Paula is also a mother to Daisy who is on the autism spectrum. The book starts out with a bang and you know these two storylines are somehow connected, but you are not sure how. The layers are peeled, the lies are revealed, and the truth is laid bare. None of these characters were especially likable and the story involves a lot of ugly: infidelity, abandonment, addiction, and denial. But the story is also about family, healing, hope, and forgiveness. I really liked Ali Mercer’s storytelling it was smooth and addictive. My only tiny complaint with the book is it jumps forward 10 years and I really would have liked to know what all had been going on during that timespan, with one character in particular. An interesting family drama that kept it real.

This book in three emojis: 👩‍👧‍👧 🏡 🤰🏻

*** Big thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

It’s a beautiful day for a wedding. White roses scent the air and the summer sunlight streams in. A spoon chimes against a champagne flute and the room falls silent. And there he is – my husband – getting to his feet to propose a toast. He’s still handsome. His new wife is next to him, gazing upwards, oblivious. 

I’m not supposed to be here. All these years in the same town and I had no idea until I saw his name on the seating plan. He lived with me, once. Loved me. Small-town memories are long, but the people in this room don’t want to remember.

They say the healing is in letting go, but after what he did, he needs to know we haven’t gone away just because he’s shut his eyes.

So I take Daisy by the hand and step forward from the shadows. He notices us and his eyes widen. The champagne glass falls from his hand and smashes. Then he sags forward, making a terrible sound – a sort of strangled scream…

A powerfully emotional novel with a dark secret at its heart. This family drama will keep you hooked until the very last page. Perfect for fans of The Silent Wife, Kate Hewitt and Jodi Picoult. 

About the Author

Ali decided she wanted to be a writer early on and wrote her first novel when she was at primary school. She did an English degree and spent her early twenties working in various jobs in journalism, including as a reporter for the showbusiness newspaper The Stage. She started writing fiction in earnest after getting married, moving out of London to the Oxfordshire market town of Abingdon and starting a family. She has two children, a daughter and a son who is autistic and was diagnosed when he was four years old. 
Ali is fascinated by families, their myths and secrets, and the forces that hold them together, split them up and (sometimes) bring them back together again. She always travels with tissues and a book and has been known to cry over a good story but is also a big fan of the hopeful ending. 

 

 

Author Social Media Links: 

For updates and pictures, follow Ali on Twitter (@AlisonLMercer) or Instagram (@alimercerwriter), or on her Facebook page (AliMercerwriter)

 

Let’s Connect

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

The Third Daughter by Talia Carner @wmmorrowbooks @tlcbooktours #bookreview #thethirddaughter

Happy Wednesday all!

Excited to share my review with you today for this book that showcased a part of history I was not familiar with. That is the thing I enjoy most about historical fiction learning important things about the past.🌎

My Thoughts

Talia Carner has written a raw, heartbreaking, disturbing, and important story. One of the things I like most about historical fiction is it is an engaging and entertaining way to learn about our past. This book spotlights a part of history I was not previously aware of. Thousands of eastern European women at the turn of the 20th century being tricked into moving to South America where they will work as prostitutes anti-Semitism was prevalent in Eastern Europe and these young girls and their families were hopeful for a better life in the Americas. There is no way to paint this desolate situation in a good light, but this book handled it with a loving and gentle hand. This book was not always easy to read, but I believe it is so necessary because human trafficking is still going on. And these girl’s deserve to have their stories told.

Batya and her family are living a life of poverty in Russia. When a stranger approaches offering Batya a Life of riches filled with big mansions and society events The family feels as though this could be their way out. The only thing is that young Batya will move to Argentina on her own and in a couple years at the age of 16 she will marry this man. When Batya arrives in Argentina she realizes all the promises were falls and she finds herself in a life full of beatings, rape, and prostitution. Batya was such a sympathetic character my heart could not help but break for her. She was so strong, so determined, and so angry. I loved the bond she found with the other girls in the house and I admired how she never lost her desire to reunite with her family. She was also extremely resourceful eventually finding love and even becoming a well-known tango dancer. This was such an important story about a determined girl and her relentless fight for a better life.

This book in three emojis: 🌎 💃🏼 💪🏻

About The Third Daughter

• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 3, 2019)

“In The Third Daughter, Talia Carner ably illuminates a little-known piece of history: the sex trafficking of young women from Russia to South America in the late 19th century. Thoroughly researched and vividly rendered, this is an important and unforgettable story of exploitation and empowerment that will leave you both shaken and inspired.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

The turn of the 20th century finds fourteen-year-old Batya in the Russian countryside, fleeing with her family endless pogroms. Desperate, her father leaps at the opportunity to marry Batya to a worldly, wealthy stranger who can guarantee his daughter an easy life and passage to America.

Feeling like a princess in a fairytale, Batya leaves her old life behind as she is whisked away to a new world. But soon she discovers that she’s entered a waking nightmare. Her new “husband” does indeed bring her to America: Buenos Aires, a vibrant, growing city in which prostitution is not only legal but deeply embedded in the culture. And now Batya is one of thousands of women tricked and sold into a brothel.

As the years pass, Batya forms deep bonds with her “sisters” in the house as well as some men who are both kind and cruel. Through it all, she holds onto one dream: to bring her family to America, where they will be safe from the anti-Semitism that plagues Russia. Just as Batya is becoming a known tango dancer,  she gets an unexpected but dangerous opportunity—to help bring down the criminal network that has enslaved so many young women and has been instrumental in developing Buenos Aires into   a major metropolis.

A powerful story of finding courage in the face of danger, and hope in the face of despair, The Third Daughter brings to life a dark period of Jewish history and gives a voice to victims whose truth deserves to finally be told.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Robbie Michaels

About Talia Carner

Talia Carner is the former publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women’s economic forums. This is her fifth novel.

Find out more about Talia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Book Birthday, Book Review

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis @berkleypub #bookreview #bookstabuddieread #thevanishedbride

Happy Tuesday all!

So excited to share with you today my review for this compelling historical mystery featuring the Brontë sisters. This was also part of a great buddy read that I participated in with a bunch of my friends on Bookstagram! Reading is so much fun when you discuss itwith others!🕵🏻‍♀️

My Thoughts

Bella Ellis has crafted a clever and atmospheric tale that will transport you to 1845 Victorian England. This was a captivating historical Mystery featuring the Brontë sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. The story takes place before the Brontës wrote their classic masterpieces and Inc. there curious, clever, and dynamic personalities. There was also much foreshadowing of their future famous works. It was so impressive how creative Miss Ellis was with her approach to the story. So well written and researched it completely captured the essence of this time and place as well as these characters. And it was a brilliant mystery to boot.

The story starts off with the Brontë sisters finding themselves all under the same roof for the first time in a long time. Then two things happen their friend Matilda’s mistress has disappeared leaving behind a pool of blood, and there is an article in the newspaper about male detectives. Always willing to live outside the norm the sisters decide to head to the scene of the crime and do some detecting of their own. The mystery was interesting, intriguing, and well plotted. I read this book as part of a buddy read and none of us had it all figured out. Always great to have a surprise ending, but even better when it is not out of left field. There were definitely clues and hints leading up to the ending I just didn’t clue into them. This was an extremely well executed historical mystery and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

This book in three emojis: 🕵🏻‍♀️ 💍 🔥

*** Big thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…. 
Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters – the Brontë sisters – learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance. 
These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines – it’s seeing what is not there.” 
As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

Let’s Connect

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Cover Reveal

Coming Home to Merrimont Bay by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources #coverreveal #cominghomemerrimontbay

Happy Tuesday all!

Super excited to share the cover for a new series from one of my favorite authors! Cannot wait to read this!

Coming Home to Merriment Bay

A heartwarming four-part serial about family, friendship, and finding the strength to put the past behind you and step into a bright, new future filled with love and laughter.

After eighteen years apart, reclusive Cat Devon still recognises her mum’s handwriting. Plucking up the courage to open the letter, its contents send Cat and her teenage daughter, Kyra racing to Merriment Bay, the seaside village where Cat grew up.

But Cat is shocked to find the situation is worse than expected. Despite everything, Cat considers herself to be an optimist at heart and Kyra takes after her. Looking on the bright side may not improve things, but it definitely can’t make them worse.

Clearing out the house that, even now, Cat fondly thinks of as home, she stumbles upon more than just memories in the battered leather trunk in Granny Viola’s bedroom. She discovers a faded photo of an RAF pilot, a pile of unopened letters, and a mystery waiting to be solved.

Who is the man in the – clearly treasured – photo? Cat and Kyra are intent on finding out. But that’s not all Cat’s determined to do. It’s time she came to terms with her past and made peace with her mum and her gran. All the while avoiding bumping into the one man she never quite got over … and keeping a few secrets of her own.

This is Part One of a new, four-part serial. The other three parts are:
Coming Home to Merriment Bay – Part Two: Sparks Fly
Coming Home to Merriment Bay – Part Three: Christmas
Coming Home to Merriment Bay – Part Four: Starry Skies
This is the start of Emily Harvale’s Merriment Bay series which is interconnected to her Wyntersleap series. Each series can be read alone, but several characters appear in both series. 
Pre-order Links:
Follow Emily Harvale on Amazon to hear when this book is available to pre-order

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emily-Harvale/e/B007BKQ1SW?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1567730313&sr=1-2

Or sign up to the Emily Harvale Reader’s Club to hear more Coming Home to Merriment Bay series including when it’s available to purchase

https://www.emilyharvale.com/newsletter

Author Bio

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at http://www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA and the RWA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

Posted in Blog Tour

Ringed Fence by Zach Abrams @authorway @rararesources #bookpromo #ringedfence #guestpost

Ring Fenced

Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin wants it all.

He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician.

His life, in a word, is perfect. But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the façade.

When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.

Purchase Links

http://geni.us/ringfenced

https://www.creativia.org/ring-fenced.html

Ring Fenced is on an Amazon Countdown Promotion – selling at 99c /99p from 11-15 Sept 2019

Author Bio –

Having the background of a successful career in commerce and finance, Zach Abrams has spent many years writing reports, letters and presentations and it’s only fairly recently he started writing novels. “It’s a more honourable type of fiction,” he declares.

Writer of the Alex Warren Murder Mystery series, set in Scotland, Zach has also written the psychological thriller ‘Ring Fenced’ and the financial thriller ‘Source’, as well as collaborating with Elly Grant on a book of short stories.

Zach is currently producing a non-fiction series to help small businesses -using the collective title ‘Mind Your Own Business’. The first, ‘So, You Think You Want to be a Landlord’ is already available.

Social Media Links –

Website : http://zachabrams.wix.com/zach-abrams

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zach-Abrams-author-463346010364540/

Twitter: @authorway

Guest Post

Zach Abrams

guest post – Audio Killed the Bookmark

Although I’ve had cause to write reports and presentations throughout my working life, it’s only fairly recently that I’ve started writing fiction (if you don’t count some of the creative embellishments in my reports).

My wife is the author, Elly Grant and after observing how much enjoyment she received from her writing I was attracted to give it a try. I was pleased with my first attempts writing flash fiction and this gave me the bug.

My first venture into full length storytelling came when I had the idea of a character I wanted to write about. He was influenced by my business experience where I’d often seen (and personally experienced) situations of people having to play multiple roles in their working life requiring them to compartmentalise their different responsibilities and ‘ring fence’ each of them.

The idea I had for my character, Benjamin, was an extreme version of compartmentalisation. He was someone who used his intelligence, wealth and power to consciously ring fence the different aspects of his life, creating a separate personae for each, where he was careful to ensure they didn’t overlap or influence one other. One ‘life’ was time spent with his birth family, another with his wife and children, a third was his work life as director of a commercial bank, a fourth as a writer of pornographic literature and joint owner of the very successful company which published his material, and finally, a separate version of himself for time spent with his mistress.

At the start, I had no idea that the piece would end up as a novel. I devised his five different lives, and I started writing about him and how he functioned. I tried to put myself inside his head to imagine what he was experiencing. As I did, different plot lines developed although I truly didn’t know where it was going. It was as if the story was revealing itself to me as I was writing. [perhaps this was a sixth (hidden) persona Benjamin had, narrating books to authors.] Various adventure aspects developed when Benjamin’s wife confided in him that a former boyfriend of hers was trying to blackmail her, with photos he’d taken when they’d been in a relationship many years earlier. Benjamin uses resources from his other ‘lives’ to take ownership of the problem, seeking to administer his own version of justice. In doing so he creates cracks in the integrity of the ring fenced walls he’d so meticulously constructed. You’ll need to read the book to find out what happened next and how Benjamin and others dealt with the consequences.

After publishing Ring Fenced, I went on to write my Alex Warren series (four murder mystery books set in Glasgow) and my financial crime thriller Source. I’ve also written a non-fiction book– So, You Think You Want to be a Landlord; it’s a reader friendly guide book for people aspiring to be residential property landlords and the first of my planned self-help books in the series, Mind Your Own Business. It’s difficult to motivate myself to write non-fiction when exercising my imagination writing crime and thrillers is so much more fun.

Currently, I’m part way through writing a new book, with the working title, “133 Hours.” It’s a claustrophobic psychological thriller where, for the first time, I’m writing in the first person. I hope it may become available for publication in autumn 2019. After that, who knows?

Posted in Cover Reveal

One Week ‘til Christmas by Belinda Missen @belinda_missen @rararesources #coverreveal #oneweektilchristmas

Happy Monday!

108 days until Christmas! Are you ready for it? I am certainly not, but I am ready for the festive reading season!🎄❄️

One Week ‘til Christmas

Two people. One chance meeting. Seven days to Christmas.

Isobel Bennett is waiting for the number 11 bus when a man quite literally falls into her lap. Snow is falling, Christmas lights are twinkling, and a gorgeous man with dark brown hair has just slipped on ice and is now pressed against Isobel.

Isobel knows she’s not imagining the chemistry between them. But then his ride arrives and, embarrassed, he beats a hasty retreat, murmuring apologies – and Isobel realises only too late that she didn’t manage to catch his name…

When she runs into him again the next morning, she decides it’s fate.

It’s a second chance for Isobel and Tom – but there’s only one week until she’s leaving London for good. Seven days of enjoying all the festive delights the city has to offer: ice-skating at Somerset House, mulled wine on the Southbank, Christmas shopping at Liberty.

There’s magic in the air and mistletoe in the trees – but what will happen when the week is over?

For fans of Josie Silver, Lucy Diamond and Marian Keyes, this is one Christmas romance you don’t want to miss!

Pre-order Links:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/one-week-til-christmas/id1475077464?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Belinda_Missen_One_Week_Til_Christmas?id=W4CmDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/one-week-til-christmas

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-week-til-christmas-belinda-missen/1132755266?ean=9780008296933

Author Bio –

Author and sometimes foodie, Belinda is a ridiculous romantic who met her husband after being set up by a friend two states away.

Residing in country Victoria, surrounded by books, cat-fur, and half-eaten cake, Belinda divides her days between writing rom-coms, baking, and indulging her love of comic books.

Social Media Links –

http://www.belindamissen.com

facebook.com/BelindaMissen

twitter.com/belinda_missen

Instagram @belinda_missen

Posted in Book Review

Well Met by Jen DeLuca @berkleypub #bookreview #wellmet

Happy Monday all!

Super excited to share with you today my review for this AMAZING book! I think this is truly the best romcom I’ve read all year!🌹

My Thoughts

Best romcom I’ve read this year!!!

I loved absolutely everything about this book! Jen DeLuca stole my heart with this charming romance. Emily’s life has kind of fallen apart so when her sister April needs her help she sees it as a perfect opportunity to regroup, her intention was never to stay in small town Maryland. It also was not part of her plans to spend her summer volunteering at a Renaissance Fair. But when her 14-year-old niece needs a parent to supervise her volunteering she feels forced. Also volunteering will give her the opportunity to see Mitch the hot gym teacher in a kilt, that is if she doesn’t get fired from her volunteer position by the uptight Simon. After many Saturdays of rehearsal it is finally time for the fair opening and who is that hot pirate in those tight leather pants? Oh no it cannot possibly be Simon! Ah but it is Captain Ian Blackthorn (Simon’s alter ego) and he is quite fond of Emma (Emily’s alter ego) the tavern wench. I’m certain you know where this is going and let me tell you what it was so much fun getting to that delicious HEA!

Emily was such an amazing character, she had such a generous heart and a beautiful spirit. The chemistry between Emily and Simon was undeniable and the banter was divine. The renaissance Fair offered the perfect backdrop to the story. This really actually surprised me I am not a big Renaissance fair person, never been to one, never want to go to one, but I was completely intrigued with the goings-on at the fair. I think it really showcased the sense of community in this small town in Maryland, and added a little extra sparkle to the story. All the secondary characters were delightful! Mitch, stacey, and April in particular. Loved how supportive and kind these characters were. This was just a feel good story that still has me smiling a week later!

This book in three emojis: 🏴‍☠️ 💑 ♟

*** Big thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca. 
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?  
The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?   
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Let’s Connect

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

Life’s a Banquet by Robin Bennett @rararesources #guestpost #lifesabanquet

Life’s A Banquet

If life gives you lemons, add gin

 

Life’s a Banquet is the unofficial but essential ‘guide book’ to negotiating your way through life – through education, family life and business, to relationships, marriage, failure and rejection.

Aged 21, Robin Bennett was set to become a cavalry officer and aged 21 and a half, he found himself working as an assistant grave digger in South London – wondering where it had all gone wrong.

Determined to succeed, he went on and founded The Bennett Group, aged 23, and since then has gone on to start and run over a dozen successful businesses in a variety of areas from dog-sitting to cigars, translation to home tuition. In 2003, Robin was recognised in Who’s Who as one of the UK’s most successful business initiators. Catapulting readers through his colourful life and career, Robin Bennett’s memoir is an inspiring tale.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lifes-Banquet-Robin-Bennett/dp/1912881683

US – https://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Banquet-Robin-Bennett/dp/1912881683

Robin Bennett lives in Henley on Thames, Oxon. He is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children and books on the swashbuckling world of business. His documentary, Fantastic Britain, about the British obsession with magic and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.

Robin says, “When the world seems to be precarious and cruel, remember that the game is to never give up – there’s everything to play for, and it will all be OK.”

Guest Post

Audio Killed the Bookmark

Cognitive language … or Gossip Theory

Along with about 18 million other people, I’m finally getting around to reading Harari’s book on the history of our species, Sapiens. If that sounds highbrow, keep in mind the book I’ve just finished was a Stephen King – Under the Dome, which is low-brow, even for him.

And talking about low brows, according to Sapiens, it turns out that we Europeans all have a bit of Homo Neanderthal in us (not that you’d call him that to his face) or Homo Erectus (even worse). The actual figure of what is non-Sapien in our DNA is between 1 and 4%, which explains why we spend between 1 and 4 % of our time on social networks watching videos of people injuring themselves in amusing ways.

Except it turns out that our dim-looking genetic cousins could not only rip us into small pieces with their bare hands but they were actually smarter than us. The first section of Harari’s excellent tome deals with the question of how Sapiens came to rule the world, allowing for the fact we are stupid and a bit weedy.

The theory is rather brilliant and completely plays to my prejudices, which is the only reason I’m writing about it now. In a nutshell, Sapiens gained the upper hand through team work facilitated by cognitive language. By that, he means we Sapiens took language beyond saying ‘Look, Ugg, danger!’ to ‘Last week, Ugg was eaten by a mammoth by the river. He is stupid.’ The first phrase is merely very basic factual information, no more sophisticated than a dog barking because it’s seen a postman. The second, however, has detailed information – on Ugg: it fixes place, time (in the past), cause of demise and his mental capacity; it also has important information for the well-being of the group, i.e., be careful about going down to the river, there’s hairy elephants about. There’s even a joke at someone else’s expense.

The someone else’s expense is vitally important and explains why Harari supposes we developed cognitive speech in the first place and also why we spend so much time on Facebook – and it is this: Sapiens are very nosey.

But gossiping and taking the piss out of our friends is his point. It is precisely our fascination in what our fellow humans get up to, however trivial, that enabled us to become the massively social creatures who worked as small teams of hunters, then larger groups that turned into villages.

However, beyond that, to be able to form the societies which made up cities, then countries … then empires and all in a hugely short space of time (about 30,000 years, which is a blink of an eye when you think how long it took us to get a decent fire lit), we needed something else.

We needed stories.

Myth and magic became cult, then formalised religion, shared anecdote became culture, then country. Religions have good stories to tell about where they come from and why they deserve our loyalty, countries have them and so do corporations (called brand) – in fact no successful human endeavour can do without them. Stories are what make us work together behind a common cause.

You can harness huge numbers of people you have never met behind a strong idea. Before that the only way to get people to follow you was to be known to them personally and have a really big club, so it was limited in number.

So, where next? Well, I’m only about 50 pages in, so who knows.

However, aside from telling me what I like to hear (that stories are vital) it also got me thinking about machines in general and AI specifically and machine translation, even more specifically. Inadvertently, I think Harari has essentially hit upon the reason why MT and AI will not take over – machines do not have imaginations and without that they lack the ability to grasp the abstract. It also means they cannot gang up on us and take over the world.

Yet.

Posted in Book Review, New Releases, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart @Erin_N_Stewart @Lovereadinguk @simonkids_UK @hashtagreads #BookReview #ScarsLikeWings #ErinStewart #Netgalley

Hello again book friends,

I am so happy to be able to bring you a review for this gorgeous book coming to you in October

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My Thoughts

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My heart just about broke in half reading this book

Scars Like Wings follows 16 yr old Ava Lee a year after she was horrifically burned in a house fire, that took the life of her parents, and her best friend.

She lost everything that day, her home, her family and even her identity, because now she doesn’t even look like herself, as although Ava was pulled out of the fire, she sustained 60% of burns across her whole body.

After many, many operations (19) her aunt and uncle who she now lives with, decide that it would be best for her to go back to school, to put some “normal” back into her life.

But Ava doesn’t look normal, she knows this, and so does everyone else that stares at her and call her names.

After nearly giving up on the whole school situation, Ava meets a girl called Piper who is a fellow survivor, and later a boy called Asad, who is a theatre nerd just like her.

But soon Ava discovers that some scars on the inside are not always so easy to see.

I was sobbing reading this book, there were some truly touching moments, and I read the whole book pretty much like this:

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Please, please grab this book when it comes out, you won’t regret it.

**Many thanks to the Author, Netgalley, and Simon and Schuster UK Children’s for my copy of this book**

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About The Book

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Publish Date: 03 October 2019.
16-year-old Ava Lee is heading back to school one year after a house fire left her severely disfigured. She’s used to the names, the stares, the discomfort, but there’s one name she hates most of all: Survivor. What do you call someone who didn’t mean to survive? Who sometimes wishes she hadn’t?
When she meets a fellow survivor named Piper at therapy, Ava begins to feel like she’s not facing the nightmare alone. Piper helps Ava reclaim the pieces of Ava Before the Fire, a normal girl who kissed boys and sang on stage. But Piper is fighting her own battle, and when Ava almost loses her best friend, she must decide if the new normal she’s chasing has more to do with the girl in the mirror — or the people by her side.