Sunday, 15 July 2018

REVIEW - 84K BY CLAIRE NORTH

Title: 84k
Author: Claire North
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Literary Fiction 
Publisher: Orbit, Little Brown Book Group UK
Release Date: 24th May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo's ex-lover Dani is killed, it's different. This is one death he can't let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don't add up.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I really loved the sound of this book when I read the blurb. It's dystopian society/futuristic theme described in the blurb had me really intrigued. I mean what would life be like if those people with enough money to pay a fine could quite literally get away with murder?! 

The book description made me think of All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis and the Cell 7 series by Kerry Drewery where there are elements of the book that could quite easily happen in our own world in the not too distant future.
I find the cover very eye catching, its stark black background and the simplistic yet intriguing title 84K. I also love the vibrant blue butterfly, maybe to signify hope or a sense of freedom perhaps.

The book description mentions that Theo works at the Criminal Audit Office and I get the impression that he may be a little blase and unconcerned about the crimes he has to put a monetary value on. That is until someone he is close to is actually the victim of the crime as then it all feels more personal and closer to home. 

I began reading the book and without revealing points in what I read that may spoil the book for others, its rather difficult to explain. I felt confused by the character Theo, though I did feel awful for him having to attend the works trip for "team building". The whole divide between the different levels of staff. The management staying in the luxury of a hotel and their day not starting til mid morning. The "normal" "lowly" have to stay in dormitories and have to take part in the 5am team building run. I could definitely empathise with Theo's reluctance to join in and his resentment that the higher level staff were staying in more superior environment and were only expected to join in with certain exercises.

Then the book seemed to become slow paced and a little muddled for me. I was becoming irritated reading the book, I was wanting it to move and get on with the plot. I did have a couple of days break from reading the book and then picked it up and tried again but just couldn't seem to be drawn into the plot enough to want to continue reading. 

I feel that I do want to give the book another try sometime in the future, so this review may be added to at a later date. 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

REVIEW - MY MAD DAD BY ROBYN HOLLINGWORTH

Title: My Mad Dad
Byline: The Diary of an Unravelling Mind
Author: Robyn Hollingworth
Genre: Non-fiction, Biographies & Memoirs
Publisher: Trapeze, Orion Publishing
Release Date: 19th April 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Inadvertent cross-dressing
Attempted murder
Jail break
A waltz at a funeral
A hernia the size of Guernsey

Heartbreaking and darkly comic, these are the moments that litter the messy road from cared-for to carer, a journey that Robyn Hollingworth finds herself on when she's only twenty-five years old.

Leaving London to return home to rural South Wales, Robyn finds that it's her old life - same teddy bears resting on her pillow, their bodies tucked under the duvet; same view of the garages behind which she'd had her first cigarette and first kiss - but so much has changed.

Her dad, the proud, charmingly intelligent, self-made man who made people laugh, is in the grip of early onset Alzheimer's. His brilliant mind, which saw him building power stations and literally bringing light into the lives of others, has succumbed to darkness.

As Robyn settles back in the rhythms of life in the rain-soaked vast Welsh valleys, she keeps a diary charting her journey as the dad she knew disappears before her eyes. Lyrical, poignant and with flashes of brilliant humour, My Mad Dad explores how in helping others we can heal ourselves. 

'At some point the cared for become the carers...this isn't a shame and it isn't a tragedy and it isn't a chore. It is an honour. To be able to return the gift of love that someone bestows upon you is a gift in itself. This is a story of caring...'


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
The topic of this book is one very close to my own heart and is one I have shed many tears over. Dementia is an awful disease that literally takes away your loved one and leaves you with an empty shell that looks like your loved one and sounds like your loved one but yet at the same time changes them beyond recognition. 

The cover is basically like a page in a diary/notebook and it fits the book quite well. It also shows a figure in a purple coat/jacket which will make much more sense to you and will probably have you giggling when you come to a scene described in the book! I also love the ball of wool unraveling to go with the byline/sub-title of "The Diary Of An Unravelling Mind!"

The genre's listed for this book are Biographies, and Memoir which I totally agree with. After reading this book I would also add the genre "self help" I'll explain later in my review.

So this book is about the Coles' a family of four, mum, Marjorie a proud Scottish woman, her husband David who has dementia, and they live in rural Wales. David and Marjorie's now grown up son Gareth, and grown up daughter Robyn have 
long since left home with both of them having good careers and full social lives too. The book obviously reveals more about Robyn as she is the writer of it, but also features her brother Gareth. Though I would be interested to learn what her brother thinks of the book and how much, if any, input or restrictions he made/requested within the book.

At the very beginning of the book Robyn was successfully working as a fashion buyer/merchandise in London with some famous names and luxury brands. She was living in a flat in London and some would probably say living "the" life. Going out with friends at the weekend on a Friday evening and not sober up until at work on the Monday. 

When Robyn and Gareth's father David's Alzheimer's becomes more apparent and is at a point their mother cannot cope alone, she has to tell her children. Robyn is also at a turning point in her life, having just had a relationship break up. Robyn leaves her flat, packs up her few belongings and heads "home" to rural South Wales. That is a big enough change in her lifestyle going from the hustling bustling London with lots of friends and social engagements to the much quieter, less busy, no job so less money and the shock you go through when you finally have to accept a loved one has a form of dementia. The available support which Robyn and her family access depends upon what is available in their area. With them living in a smaller community they do have some support from their community. 

The book is written and  presented in the style of a diary. It is from the personal diary that Robyn kept throughout the time she cared for her father David. . . I do love the conversational style of this book. there are no "airs and graces". Robyn tells it like it really is. This isn't someone preaching about how you should and shouldn't do things, Robyn is living the life with a loved one with dementia. Robyn comes across as someone who would be easy to talk to and have a laugh with. Sure some of the humour could possibly be called "gallows humour" but if you are caring for someone with dementia you will most likely understand it.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that it has been
an emotionally difficult read for me, but have had tears of sadness, tears of laughter. This book has given me the feeling that I am not alone. It kind of gives you permission to be angry at dementia and suggests how to avoid correcting your loved one. The book also shows that it's alright to smile and nod and let your loved one stay in their fantasy world if that's where they are happiest.

This book has helped me feel not so alone with this medical condition. I don't want to rattle along about my connections with Alzheimer's but I found this book made me smile. In fact it may seem a funny thing to say but it gave me permission to laugh at somethings those with dementia do and say as well as kind of grieve for what you have already lost, by your loved one being changed due to dementia.


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

REVIEW - BORN WILD - WOLF HOLLOW SHIFTERS BY NIKKI JEFFORD

Title: Born Wild
Series: Wolf Hollow Shifters
Author: Nikki Jefford
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi,
                Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 27th June 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
FOR THREE YEARS, HUMANS FORCED THE PUREBLOODED WOLF SHIFTER TO FIGHT HIS OWN KIND

After escaping his human captors, Wolfrik returns to Wolf Hollow covered in scars and hostility. He wants nothing to do with pack politics and refuses to play nice. 

AN INJURY ISOLATED THE SHE-WOLF AND LEFT HER VULNERABLE

Ever since Kallie’s foot was permanently maimed in a vulhena attack, she’s been relocated to the den where Palmer—the pack’s elder and council member—is after her to become his third mate.

A heated encounter with Wolfrik gives Kallie an idea. If she can convince the wild wolf to be her bedmate, Palmer will finally leave her alone.

But when an unexpected bond forms between the pair, Kallie may have bitten off more than she can chew. Is the aggressive pureblood too damaged to settle down with a mate?

REDEMPTION MAY COME TOO LATE

Forced to face his inner demons, or lose the woman he loves, Wolfrik must confront the past he’s tried so hard to forget. But the past is about to catch up to him and old enemies could doom the entire hollow.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
After reading Wolf Hollow and then Mating Games I couldn't wait for Born wild especially when I read that the central characters were to be Wolfrik and Kallie. I already loved Kallie from the previous books and was desperate for her to have some happiness after been so cruelly injured by the vulhena when out on patrol. So there was no question of if I wanted to read this book, I had to read this book.

This cover is in a purple hue, which I love. The first thing you notice on the cover is the shirtless male figure of Wolfrik, with his head down as though worried about something. I think the male figure is a great match for the character of the imposing, serious, brooding Wolfrik. There is the moon featured in the background which we know is tied to the wolves representing the times of their claiming, mating and fertility ceremonies. There's the lone wolf howling to the left hand side of the cover and the back drop of the trees and woodland that surround Wolf Hollow. This cover would definitely have me reaching for it from a book store shelf to read the blurb, so I'd say it does its job very well. The cover also fits well with the covers of Wolf Hollow bk1 and Mating Games bk2, I bet these books look fantastic on a bookshelf together.

Once again like the previous books in this series the genres I have found for the book are Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic, which are both suitable to describe the genre but are the less prominent within the book. The world that the shifters and humans are living in is a post apocalyptic one where humans are a rarity, and food, clothes etc are in short supply. The genres that I'd say the book clearly fall into are Paranormal, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Shifters which is where the majority of the book plot lies.

This book begins with a flashback to when Wolfrick was imprisoned by the humans and made to fight in a pit for the humans amusement but that isn't the worst of it, he was also forced to degrade himself further by procreating with the unwilling female shifters the same disgusting humans had captured and held against their will. We learn that it was Hawk, the head humans sister, Sparrow that finally helped Wolfrik escape in an act of both defiance and revenge on her brother when he dumped her dead shifter lover, Eric, in her bed.

Back to the present date setting of the book where Wolfrik is back in Wolf Hollow but scarred mentally & physically. Wolfrik is also devasted further by the fact Sasha has moved on and found herself a new mate. Another thing that further irritates Wolfrick is that the mate Sasha has chosen is a half breed shifter/wizard and so considered to be much more lowly than the purebred Wolfrick. Wolfrik insists on keeping himself to himself and initially turns down a position on the council as well as steering clear of the females of Wolf Hollow considering them to be a hassle he can do without. Then he notices a certain female. . . and his mind begins to slowly change, maybe a female could be fun, then a little later he thinks perhaps he would like a mate, maybe even children in the far future. However each time he takes advance step he makes towards integrating into Wolf Hollow pack, something happens to shake his belief and he ends up even more distance than he was to begin with.

In the Wolf Hollow council there are changes happening, with new members who wish to make a stance against the more archaic rules of the pack and pushing forward changes that they believe should be made in order for their pack to continue on for further generations. The changes begin to happen in this book but not before some of those more set in their ways members of the pack protest and have their say at the council meetings. Prospective changes are put to the vote on more than one occasion and it seems some members of the council are going to be pushed into a new way of doing things.

When a human female wanders into Wolf Hollow territory, she brings danger to the whole pack. It is quickly decided the human should be kept prisoner away from den and main area of Wolf Hollow. This female arriving promises inevitable danger to those in Wolf Hollow from her brother Hawk and his human friends and the destruction and possible deaths they will bring. The Wolf Hollow families are sent to a safer place to hide until the inescapable battle is fought. In the end there are two battles fought between the humans and shifters.

I loved Kallie from the moment she was mentioned in this series. In this book she is still pining after Raider and being pestered by one of the elders of the council to become his third mate despite politely, then firmly refusing. Kallie needs to come up with a stronger, more permanent way of saying no once and for all. Kallie looks around for potential bed partners that are of high enough standing in the pack that the elder will not be able to bully them into allowing him to pursue Kallie their new bed mate. 

I adored the relationship that grew between Kallie and Elsie. Kalllie is like a big sister figure to Elsie, she likes the honest and cheeriness of her. Though Elsie soon confides in Kallie about the curse placed on her father and her years ago. Elsie explains what she intends to do and as Elsie has swears Kallie to secrecy. Kallie agrees she will stay silent but suggests perhaps if Elsie approached her brother Tabor, maybe he could help his younger sister and the problem of the curse.
I truly adore the character of Elsie, shes so upbeat and see's the good in every one even those who have slighted her family in the past. She is full of fun and seems to be able to lighten the mood of any shifter she comes into contact with. Elsie is still quite naive and young in her ways, though when it comes to her curse she knows exactly how she intends to handle it and I for one hopes she succeeds!

I also grew to love Sparrow though really wasn't keen on her at first due to her association with Hawk and his other human men. It soon becomes apparent that Sparrow actually feels a lot of empathy for the shifters and doesn't agree with how her brother holds them against their will and forces them to both fight and procreate against their will. Sparrow actually identifies with being somewhere she doesn't want to be. Sparrow can move around the human settlement but is not allowed past a certain boundary and is almost always under the watchful eye of her brothers henchmen. In one way she is better off than most because no one dare touch her because of who her brother is. Having said that her brother can and does turn against his own sister at times and in the past has ordered his human men to beat up Sparrow to teach her a lesson when she does something to displease him. It also seems that Sparrow is judge by who her brother is so never truly sure who is a friend because of Hawk and who is genuine. Poor Sparrow loses the one person she confided in, but it is this last blow from her brother Hawk. Initially Sparrow considers killing herself in various ways but then she remembers a conversation she had with one of the caged shifters described, wishing to get back there one day. Something clicks in Sparrow that gives her the courage, or maybe more the attitude to simply walk away from her life with her brother in search of a better place.

My immediate thoughts upon this finishing this book were, Oh wow! Amazing! Brilliant! The series that gets even better with each book!! Totally adored Kallie! and Sparrow too. Looking forward to the next book in the Wolf Hollow Shifters series.

So what more can I say about this great book? When can I have more? Is it going to Elsie's story will she get the shifter she has taken a liking too? What will her brother have to say when he finds out about her curse and her preference for a mate who resides in, and is part the Wolf Hollow shifters? The book has you asking so many questions and there are so many variable ways the series can go from here. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

REVIEW - MATING GAMES - WOLF HOLLOW SHIFTERS BY NIKKI JEFFORD

Title: Mating Games
Series: Wolf Hollow Shifters
Author: Nikki Jefford
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 13th  February 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
A FEMALE GUARDING HER HEART . . .

Hot-tempered, agile, and jaded, Jordan spurns the match her father is pushing between her and the swaggering mammoth, Raider. She'd happily let one of her fawning sisters have him, but her packmates are taking bets on who Raider will ultimately claim. Jordan wants nothing to do with the insufferable beast . . . until he saves her life.

A MALE CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF HIS PACK . . .

All brawn and no brains, that's what most male shifters think when they see Raider. The females treat him as a strong, attractive prize they want to sink their claws into. Only one female avoids him, which is fine with him until they are paired up for patrol. The hot-blooded she-wolf doesn't have to like him, but she'll have to find a way to perform her duties.

ENTANGLED IN A WEB OF DECEIT . . . AND DESIRE

When Jordan’s life is threatened, along with several packmates, the mating games take a dangerous turn.

Something sinister is happening in Wolf Hollow and outside forces threaten the impassioned bond forming between two shifters fated to be together.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I was looking forward to returning to Wolf Hollow to hopefully catch up with Sasha and her half breed mate Tabor. There was also Tabor's sister who is visiting to learn more about her shifter side. The blurb had me interested to learn more about Raider whom we had already briefly met in book one. I was ready to get back into this uncertain world once again, and see how the occupants of Wolf Hollow were adapting and living in this harsh environment with its hazards of humans and dangers of vulhena.

The cover has the dominating male figure of Raider on it, "all brawn no brain" I'm sure we will discover more about him in this book. The female on the cover seems uninterested in the hunky male at the side of her, will that change through the course of the book?

The Genres listed for this book have increased in number and I do agree that this book does touch on many genres, meaning it should appeal to a wide range of readers. Though due to the steamy parts I'd say 18+ readers.

The main theme of this book is that Raider is ready to take a mate. The Wolf Hollow Pack need to pair off and produce offspring to secure the future of the pack. Garrick who played a large part in the last book is also quite instrumental in this book, he is determined that Raider will be matched with one of his elder friend Palmer's three daughters that are old enough to be paired with him. So that has Emerson, Camillia and Jordan, favourites in the betting that Hudson and the younger wolves are running. There's also Raider's old patrol partner Kallie thrown into the mix, but sadly disregarded by a lot of the betting wolves as she is now disabled after being attacked by Vulhena whilst out on patrol with Raider. Raider feels nothing but guilt when he looks at Kallie, he feels it is his fault she was attacked and that if only he had been faster getting rid of the vulhena he had been fighting she wouldn't have been hurt.
Things become a little sinister when Jordan is pushed into the river whilst she is drunk, and then Emerson is poisoned! At first both girls think it could be Taryn, Janelle and Gina that are behind these unprovoked attacks on them.
Sadly it turns out to be someone much closer to them whom they would never have thought could possibly be the guilty party. Jordan, Camillia and Emerson are genuinely upset when they find out who the real culprit is.

I don't want to go into much more detail as it would in my opinion reveal to much. In this book we see a different side of Garrick, whom even his own son is disgusted with from his actions in book one. Garrick does have quite a tender moment with Raider when he more or less tells him to follow his heart and not let anyone or anything get in the way of him and his mate. 

I thought it a shame that at one point in the book Kallie was a possible suspect for poisoning Emerson when she had done nothing to warrant the suspicion. I hope Kallie gets her own story soon and there's an improvement in her social standing within the pack. Everyone seems to be as embarrassed about her disability as she is. I hope she doesn't get stuck with the elder who has his sights set on her. Kallie is used to being a strong contributor to the pack, doing her share on patrol. Since her being attacked she has been moved to the den with the families that have pups to look after. This move was done as a kindness but to Kallie it feels like a punishment seeing the happy families with pups, something she feels she will never have now she is "damaged goods". She no longer feels whole. I really want her to have some happiness.

We also learn more about the humans that are surviving in the changed world. We have already learnt about the humans who trap shifters and pit them against each other in fights to the death. In this book we meet another smaller group of humans, who are also trying to trap shifters, but not to fight. These humans want something else that in a way is as disgusting and distressing as the humans that have shifters fighting. The way they go about obtaining their end goal is so sinister, they have their minds set that what they want to do is somehow a normal and natural thing.
Just because they are only a small group doesn't make them any less dangerous or barbaric in their treatment of the shifters they manage to catch. 

The next part I want to say is kind of awkward without giving things away. . . it turns out the culprit of the "accidents & misfortunes" that the Palmer girls are on the receiving end of is somehow in league with this small band of humans. I would have liked a little more information on why, and how as well as learning more about the culprits end fate. (though I guess that could be touched on in a later book).

Like Jordan and a few other pack members I initially thought Raider would be all bulk/brawn and no brain or softer side. He is described as being large, bulky and muscular in his human form and in his wolf form has the strength and aura of an Alpha so could probably force any of the female shifter']s in Wolf Hollow. Not that he would need to as many of the females would happily throw themselves at his feet and be happy to be claimed and give birth to multiple pups with him.

Garrick the character I loved to hate in Wolf Hollow, was featured in this book up to his usually conniving ways, trying to make sure that one of his close elder friends Palmer, had one of his daughters become matched with Raider.This would then secure him a way to possibly still have a say in Pack politics and rulings as Raider has a place on the council with the elders and a union linking Garrick and Palmer could only be beneficial to Garrick.  We had met Raider already in book one, Wolf Hollow and he came across as a bit all body and no brains or personality, but we certainly see another deeper, softer side in this book. However when he is needed to be, Raider is a serious, calculating. authoritative male shifter. I liked that Raider was not arrogant, and he could have used his position on the council with the elders to have any female he wanted. Raider didn't want that though, he wanted what Sasha and Tabor had, a real loving relationship. Raider wanted someone to look at him the way Sasha and Tabor looked at each other and not just wanting to be his mate for status. 

Of course thanks to their father Palmer, Jordan, Camillia and Emerson are all being closely watched to see who is going to end up with Raider. Emerson seems to be the obvious choice, where as Jordan is irritated by the whole thing. She isn't ready to settle down and have pups with anyone. Sure she'll have some fun with the male wolves especially when she'd had some of the moonshine when it is available.
So who will Raider end up with? Will it be one of Palmer's daughters as his father Garrick wishes or will it be someone else. Will Raider get the love he sees between Sasha and Tabor for himself?

Just when it seems Raider has made his choice, his future mate disappears. . . Raider knows she must be in some sort of trouble and being prevented from returning to Wolf Hollow and him. He is desperate to find her, knowing what happens to a wolf who loses his mate. He is determined to find her by any means at all, meaning Tabor's sister performs a spell to help. A search party is formed and Raider is resolute that he will come back with his mate and he is unwavering in what punishment will be given out to anyone who has hurt her.

My immediate thoughts on finishing this book was that it was another great installment in the Wolf Hollow Shifters Series!


I slipped back into the world of Wolf Hollow Shifters really easily and fell in love with the characters this book was centered on almost instantly. I loved the way Jordan was fiercely independent and determined not to follow her father's will. The way Emerson was quite happy to openly flirt with Raider in an attempt to become his mate. I also thought the addition of a relationship between two females was slipped into this book too. Maybe we will learn more about this in a later book in the series too. Though there are the parallels and basics of the traditional wolf pack and its politics there is also a more modern feel in the way Nikki Jefford is taking the Wolf Hollow pack. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

REVIEW - SUFFRAGETTE THE BATTLE FOR EQUALITY BY DAVID ROBERTS

Title: Suffragette, The Battle For Equality
Author: David Roberts
Genre: Non-Fiction, Children & Adults
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 12th July 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
2018 marks a century since the first women won the vote in the United Kingdom, and Suffragette tells the story of their fight. This is a tale of astounding bravery, ingenuity, and strength. 

David's conversational style is accessible and his artwork full of rich detail, bringing to life the many vivid characters of the Suffragette movement - from the militant activist Rosa May Billinghurst to the world-famous Emmeline Pankhurst. Covering the whole range of suffragette experiences - from aristocrats to the middle and working classes, as well as a look at the global struggle for universal suffrage, Suffragette is a fantastic introduction to a fascinating topic.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
Both myself and my daughter love reading anything/everything Suffragette so as soon as I saw this book and I instantly wanted to read it.

The cover shows women suffragettes with their long hair freely blowing in the wind whilst they are running. The running women would be considered scandalous as women don't run, their hair should be tied back/up and most of all women should be dressed in a certain way to meet societies expectations. 
I really love the book cover it depicts the kind of protests the women were prepared to make in order to get their voices heard. The illustrations of the women are so well done and I would say appeal to both children and adults.

The genres I have seen listed for this book are Non-Fiction, Adults & Children which do it the book well but I would also add history/historical too.

This book begins with a foreward/introduction by Lauren Laverne, radio DJ, she readily admits that her knowledge of the suffragettes was quite limited. The only suffragette she has knowledge of is the fictional character, Mrs Banks (Mary Poppins). Lauren thinks that Mrs Banks came across as a posh lady and she remembers her wearing a sash proclaiming her as a suffragette, and rushing off to meetings etc.
In reality some of the suffragettes were "posh" or perhaps a better way of saying it is that these were women "well to do" or had money. 
The illustrations in this book may appear to be fun little illustrations, but they are not just caricatures. The suffragettes were very real people and I think that the illustrations in this book represent them and their cause at the time very well. As eventually the Suffragettes did win their battle for the right to vote, most people remember the suffragettes as winners, however they did not win the right to vote easily. There were many small battles that failed before they won the war! It was not an immediate, or quick win either. It was a slow, gradual or compromises to gain small wins.
The other thing Lauren, and I admit I remember about Mrs Banks (from Mary Poppins) is her badge. The real suffragettes had badges ad slogans such as "Votes For Women", "Deeds Not Words", "Dare To Be Free" which were also displayed on banners. There was also newspapers such as "The Suffragette", "Votes or Women" and "The Vote" anything to spread the world to the masses and attract them to join and fight the cause too. 

The introduction by the author David Roberts explains how he was inspired to write this book. It was 1984 when David learnt about the Suffragettes. It was his school teacher who had strewn some books on a table ad given the class an end of year exam project to both write about and illustrate. It was a book about suffragettes that caught Davids attention. David was intrigued by the two women wearing prison uniforms on the front cover. David did his project and years later it was that project that he based this book on. David enjoyed creating illustrations from some of the stories he read about.


The book introduces the reader to the big names and the more controversial escapades in the suffragette movement such as, Mary Leigh hurling slates off a rooftop at the Prime Ministers car! Or Miss Spark & Miss Shaw barracading themselves in at the top of the Monument Tower in London in order to unfurl a masssive banner which read, "Death or Victory" and then showered the crowd below with pamphlets declaring "Votes For Women". The Suffragettes didn't always get treated well or welcomed. For example Muriel Matters was pelted with rotten fish when she gave speech.

Some of the laws around that time seem odd in our modern day, such as, when/[ if a woman married she had to promise to obey her husband!

Obviously the names you immediately associate with the suffragettes is "Pankhurst", I think most people will have heard those names and perhaps also 

Mary Smith, from Yorkshire became the first woman to petition the government for the right to vote in 1832. Her argument was that women paid taxes to the government so they should be allowed to vote.

Nowadays the colour's most associated with the WSPU are the Green, White and Violet, some say these colour's are used as a code that means Give Women Votes. However this is said to not be the case. Apparently Green represents for "Hope", White "Purity" and the Purple/Violet represents "Dignity".

It's fair to say I have read other books about the suffragettes so already knew some of the stories, but I also read quite a few new ones too. I found the book captivating, factual, amusing at times and interesting all the way through. This book would be the ideal book for adults and children alike who have a love of history or would like something a little different to read to learn about the suffragettes ad their cause, as well as the different sections and groups of the suffragettes, from the totally peaceful section, to the militants who set fire to post boxes and threw stone through shop windows!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that it was as interesting, informative,and  beautifully illustrated book. 

I feel I should add a small negative which was the copy of the book I read was a little disjointed in that sentences and paragraphs were sometimes placed in the wrong order. I would presume that is because the e-copy that I read was an arc, rather than a final finished e-book. I'd certainly love to see a physical edition of this book purely for the fantastic illustrations!

What more can I say I really enjoyed reading this book and thought the illustrations were brilliant and bought the whole book to life.
Emmeline Pankhurst died on the 14th June 1928 just weeks after the equal franchise act was made law. Meaning all women over the age of 21 were eligible to vote! The irony that Emmeline didn't live to see that day! It makes you wonder what the Pankhursts would have to say about our present world were there's the whole men getting paid more than women for doing exactly the same job. I reckon they would have had those banners back out along with organising more marches and demonstrations.


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

REVIEW - THE BIG BAD WOLF BY JUS ACCARDO

Title: The Big Bad Wolf
Author: Jus Accardo
Genre: Teens & YA 
Release Date: 5th March 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Kensey Deaton comes from an elite werewolf lineage, but just because her family is royalty, doesn't mean she'll fall in line like some perfect little princess. She has plans and they don't include an arranged marriage!

Slade McAlister has his own family drama. His Alpha father happens to be the most reviled wolf on the eastern seaboard, and it's a stigma he can't escape. So when his neighbor Kensey--the girl of his dreams and his nightmares--proposes a solution to solve *both* of their problems, he sees an opportunity he can’t ignore.

Kensey and Slade aren't only from opposite sides of the tracks, they're from opposite sides of the war. But if they can sell their 'relationship', they might just make it out of this with their freedom.

You know, as long as all that fake PDA doesn't turn into more...


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I have read and adored other titles by Jus Accardo so her name drew me to this title and of course, the fact the book is published by Entangled is another plus point. The fact the genre is paranormal shifter, was the main attraction for me as I enjoy the pack politics and ancient rites and laws so I was hoping this one would be right up my street.

The cover has a couple on the front, a long blonde haired male in a suit and a long darker haired girl with her arm around the male and her head on his shoulder. This is a difficult one for me but I stand by always being honest and the truth is I really do not like this book cover. I guess it could be the two main characters, Slade and Kensey but to be totally honest, neither of the people on the cover are anything like I envision them to be from Jus Accardo's descriptions within the book.

The genres I have seen listed for this book and agree with are Teen, YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, and Romance. I would add that this book also has a contemporary feel to it as well. I think it will be a popular read that will appeal to a wide range of ages. 

The basis of the book is two packs, the elite, wealthy and well respected Deatons and the McAlisters a more lowly or as some call them more low-life family of misfits. The Deatons and McAlisters live in close proximity to each other, in fact they have been next door neighbours for some time. 

The two main characters of this book are Kensey Deaton and Slade McAlister, they used to happily play together in the wood surrounding their properties when they were younger. Then one time whilst they were in Kensey's tree house something happened and they stopped hanging out together.

Now both of them are older which means their families are putting pressure on them to claim a mate. Not all claimings are love matches some, in fact it seems most, are pairings arranged by two packs wanting to better their own pack's social position. So Alpha, Sam Deaton is putting pressure on his daughter saying she should look for a mate as if she doesn't choose someone herself he will choose for her. Kensey certainly doesn't want to think about the possibility of being paired with Carter Pennington the son of a man who has ingratiated himself into Sam Deaton's radar for possible matches for his daughter. Some packs arrange and force pairings against the free will of the female. Within a pack the males are considered to have all the power.

Living next door to Kensey, Slade is subject to a similar pressure to take a mate, though Slade has more of a hook up now and then, relationship with a pack member called Lupe. Lupe seems to be hoping for more of a future with Slade, where as he is happy as he is with the odd hook up. Slade has had a rough life with his father Gavin, who makes him do "jobs" for him and if he deosn't deliver well enough either he beats up Slade or his two enforcers Teegan and Mick beat up Slade on Gavin's orders.

Each pack has a special ability within them, such as the McAlister's have some sort of "mojo switch gift" which when in use makes the person they are working it on attracted to them and also makes it much easier for them to coerce them into doing whatever the McAlisters want! The Deaton's have the gift of fire within them, so to say Kensey is fiesty is an understatement! I would have loved to have known some of the other packs special gifts as well as how they could be used, to their pack's advantage.

Though Kensey comes from a wealthy pack her father and Alpha Sam wishes to arrange suitable males for her to choose from, though when she expresses that she would prefer to choose for herself he is fairly happy for her to choose someone for herself. Until she chooses Slade McAlister. Kensey talks Slade into pretending they are in a relationship together. Which he agrees to thinking he has nothing to loose and in return Kensey agrees to talk to her father about dissolving the trouble making McAlister pack which would set Slade free from his father and enable him to move away and start anew elsewhere. Kensey's father isn't so easily beaten and demands that Slade and Kensey have a formal courting.. . .Can the two former friends pull off this mutually beneficial pairing long enough? 
I really loved the love/hate kind of relationship between Slade and Kensey. They had once been good friends, in fact once there had been a hint of them maybe being even more to each other. Both sides have to compromise with each other spending time with each others family/pack. It's not as easy as they thought it would be to fool everyone.

I loved the book and would have to say Jus Accardo is one my favourite authors. Her books flow so well, making them easy to relax with and read. Jus had me caring about what happened to both Kensey and Slade within reading a couple of chapters. I had inklings how things would perhaps end but that didn't spoil my reading and there were still a few surprises in store as the plot unfolded. There are some tender moments between father and daughter, as well as some tense scenes between father and son too. Gavin McAlister really enjoys provoking Slade and when he sees his son with Kensey, a possible mate he knows he has yet another way to get Slade to carry out his orders.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were, that it was a great blend of paranormal shifters with a contemporary romance feel, I loved it. Didn't want to put this one down once I started reading it. It took just two reading sessions! This book could be the start of another potentially brilliant shifter series!

I really hated having to put this book down! Of course after just 26% of the way into the book I was already hoping for a happy ending for Slade & Kensey ..... maybe they could run off and start their own pack?! I had forgotten how addictive Jus Accardo books are!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

REVIEW - THE ADVENTURES AND DISCOVERIES OF A FEMINIST BRIDE BY KATRINA MAJKUT

Title: The Adventures and Discoveries of a Feminist Bride
Author: Katrina Majkut
Genre: Humour, Science
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Release Date: 22/02/18

BLURB from Goodreads
The Adventures and Discoveries of a Feminist Bride invites readers to join author Katrina Majkut on a personal and powerful prenuptial journey. With fearless curiosity and fun feminism, the book asks such questions as: Why do brides need their parents’ permission to marry? Why don’t men wear engagement rings? And why do women change their surname? 

With cheeky insights into the origins of Western wedding traditions (like how the wedding cake is not just dessert but a sexy fertility talisman), Majkut uncovers eye-opening truths about how social traditions impact people’s lives. More than a wedding planning book, readers will learn how to modernize outdated traditions that support the wage gap, street harassment, sex and gender discrimination, and that limit reproductive rights.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
Occasionally I like to read something a bit different, some humour, non-fiction or memoir type book so when I saw this book I fancied giving this one a go.

The cover depicts a rather fed up looking bride. Why is she fed up? Maybe it because its usually the bride that has to plan everything!?

The genres listed for this book are humour and science, I agree with the humour although there is a lot of serious points made in the book too. I'm not sure about the genre label of  "science" unless its behavioural science as peoples' behaviour in regard to weddings is included within the book. I guess you could also add memoir/diary as we are going along on the pre-wedding build up to the big day and what it all entails for Katrina.

The book begins with the engagement ring, which is usually a diamond and every little girl has dreamt about for years. There's a part in the book where Katrina compares her desire for the perfect engagement compares to Gollum in Lord Of The Rings! She puts it all so much funnier than I would so I'll leave the exact statement for you to read in the book, but if you're anything like me I was giggling and picturing Gollum as I read it. Katrina also goes into why the wedding ring is a simple band with no beginning and no end to hopefully represent the marriage too. 

Katrina goes on to give us, the reader the different traditions and rituals of a wedding and her sometimes amusing thoughts on them. 

I have to say I totally agree with the whole "why should the woman change her name to that of her husband/partner". Personally I was self employed when I got married so for my business I still used my maiden name. Though I did bow to convention and take my husbands surname for everything else.

Katrina also suggests alternatives to the brides' parents paying for the whole wedding. In this day and age couples have either lived on their own or perhaps lived with their partner prior to the marriage, so why does the financial burden fall on the brides parents? Why can the financial burden be shared between both sets of parents and the couple themselves too?   

I enjoyed reading the book and varied between laughing along, tutting, shaking my head and dare I say feeling I wanted to wave the feminist banner along with Katrina. There are even more areas within the wedding she could have covered, like families interfering with choices for bridesmaid, maid of honour, best man, ushers and little flower girl/page boys too. There's the "where to get married" arguments as well as the hymns (if marrying in church) or music. . .which guests sit where at the reception, then "sit down meal" vs "buffet" there always seems to be something for family and friends to complain or sulk about.

My immediate thoughts when I finished the book were that the book began really interesting, and I definitely learnt where some wedding traditions came from, and I found the book thought provoking as to why women seem to meekly give in to so called tradition by taking or rather conforming to taking their husbands surname when they marry.

My final thoughts are that the book was a good read. I enjoyed the lighter hearted sections of the book. I have to say the book pace felt like it was slower and dragging a bit in the latter part of the book. I stuck with the book and read it too the end. I just wish the pace and laugh out loud moments had been the whole way through to the end rather than just the first half /two thirds of the book.