Friday 22 March 2019


This is the very first of my 
Promotional Posts - Books Coming Soon
And what better book to start it with than 
Meat Market by Juno Dawson!
Having read and loved Clean by Juno Dawson 
link to my review 
When I heard this book was coming out it was immediately put on my RWTRL ("Really Want To Read List"). I think the cover is very striking and the title fits perfectly with the blurb. If this book is as good as Clean was it will be another amazing book by Juno Dawson.

Title: Meat Market
Author: Juno Dawson
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Quercus Children's Books
Release Date: 30th May 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
The heroine of the novel, Jana Novak, is a girl from a south London estate. Despite being uncomfortable with her looks she is unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to fashion super-stardom. The industry is, however, as grimy as it is glamorous and there are unexpected predators at every turn.

Goodreads link


Amazon US
Amazon UK

Juno Dawson Goodreads Link

Friday 15 March 2019


Title: Beauty & the Beast (live action)
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios
Age Rating: PG
Genre: Children's, Family, Fairytale
DVD Release Date: 17th July 2017
DVD Run Time: 129 minutes

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Audra McDonald as Madame De Garderobe, the wardrobe; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.


So this is another remake. This time the classic Beauty & the Beast in a live action form as opposed to the animated version. To be totally honest I am super, super critical when it comes to Disney remakes or Disney animations turned into Disney live action. In that I love some I hate some, kind of like “marmite”.

Basically, it is exactly the same story with real life actors mixed with the excellent Animations/CGI we have come to expect from Walt Disney Studios. This version of Beauty & the Beast has lots of big musical scenes. I’m probably going to show my age here but the big songs made me think of the likes of Carousel and Oklahoma.

A character that performed flawlessly in my opinion was actor Luke Evans as Gaston, the arrogant hunter who desperately wants Belle to be his wife. Speaking of Belle, the honour of being her went to well known actress Emma Watson (probably best known for being Hermione Grainger in the fantastic Harry Potter Series). I honestly had my doubts as to whether I would truly like her as Belle but I was pleasantly surprised and ended up adoring her portrayal of Belle.
For me not everyone was cast 100% right so what I thought to the other actors/actresses . . .Though I did love Mrs Potts, both in animated form and in life/human form, I felt Emma Thompson portrayed her satisfactorily. However in my opinion, and you can call me an old softie but no one, no one at all could ever beat Angela Lansbury as Mrs Potts. To me Angela Lansbury is the perfect Mrs Potts! Of course, Mrs Potts is only half of the great endearing yet comical duo, with Chip being the other half. In this DVD Chip is played very well by Nathan Mack. Other animated favourites that underwent the transformation fairly well were Cogsworth, voiced and acted by Ian McKellan. Madame de Garderobe  was actress, Audra McDonald. Of course, there are lots of animated favourites to be transferred into this live action version of the film. Continuing with Lumiere, the candelabra, which was really well performed by Ewan McGregor. One quite sizeable difference in the animated version of Beauty & the Beast and the live action one was the “maid” as I remember her from books and the older animations. In this modern live action, the character is referred to as Plumette, the feather duster and is played by actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Maybe it’s just my memory that has mixed things up but I really thought she was dressed as a maid?!

So now what I personally thought to the DVD and this newer version of what I would describe as being a popular Disney movie. I felt there was not enough emphasis on Belle and the fact that she adores books. (Yeah, I do admit I identify with Belle & her books 100%). I felt some of the actors & actresses were trying to put on too much of a “silver teaspoon in your mouth” British voice. Some of the casting just didn’t feel the right “fit”. For me, there was a few too many big song productions, though they are done well. It felt like it was trying to compete with the big classics such as Oklahoma, Carousel and childhood favourites such as Bedknobs & Broomsticks. It just felt a bit too much. I wanted less songs and more backstory on my favourites such as Mrs Potts and Chip, Lumiére and Plumette and Cogsworth. I guess it comes down to personal taste.

My immediate thoughts after watching the DVD were that I still preferred the 1992 fully animated version. Emma Watson made a beautiful, believable Belle. Luke Evan’s the actor portraying Gaston was well cast. But I did not like the actor who played Beast when he is transformed into the human Prince, he just didn’t fit my vision of what the Prince should look like.
As soon as I finished watching the film, I did a list of how well I thought the actors and actresses were cast and portrayed. It's not a full cast list, just the stand out characters in the fairy-tale itself.
(I have scored a selection of them out of ten.)

Beast as Beast 10/10  
Beast as Human Prince 2/10 (sorry I just didn’t like him)
Belle 10/10
Gaston 9/10
Cogsworth 7/10
Lumiere 6/10
Plumette 5/10
Mrs Potts 3/10 (sorry it needed to be Angela Lansbury)
Chip 7/10
Wardrobe 7/10
Coat Stand 8/10
Piano 6/10
Footstool 8/10

So, have you watched both versions of Beauty & the Beast? Which do you prefer? Are there any actors or actresses you didn’t like or thought could be portrayed better by someone different?


Title: Holiday SOS
Byline: Sun, Sea and Surgery
Author: Ben Macfarlane
Genre: Biography, Autobiography, Medical
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 1st July 2009

BLURB from Goodreads
Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday?Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SOS is his story -- a year in the life of a very British flying doctor.Follow Ben as he grabs his medical bag and flies to glamorous locations -- helping to pick up the pieces after another holiday emergency. Dramatic, hilarious or wildly unexpected, for flying doctors, emergency medicine doesn't just take place in intensive care wards -- it can happen just across the aisle on your next flight.


I have previously read this type of biography/autobiography and thoroughly enjoyed it. So far I have read a few teacher ones, including a Gervase Phinn titles. One of the first books of this genre I read and totally adored was the Diary of a Checkout Girl by Tazeen Ahmad. I hadn't really given much thought to how people that have accidents or are taken ill abroad are brought home safely. 

The cover depicts an image of the central character/person in the book who is also the author, Ben MacFarlane. The title Holiday SOS fits the book perfectly and in a few of the cases that Ben attends to there is certainly a "Save Our Souls" element to them! Then there's the "Sun, Sea and Surgery" byline which certainly attracts your eye to it. Thee guy representing Ben is wearing a white Doctors, along with a bright pair of shorts! and has a large holdall trolley of medical supplies. There is also a kind of introductory pre-title description on the front cover which says: The Life Saving Adventures Of A Travelling Doctor.

This book is full of amusing quotes and amazing stories of what situations people find themselves whilst abroad. Ben started doing repatriations as a way of earning a little money but some became addicted to the lifestyle and the travel element of the job. Ben loves seeing different places. Its not all work and sometimes whilst he is abroad on a job he gets to do some sight seeing and experience the local areas for a few hours. This book reminded me of a couple of air hostess diary/books that I have read too. The camaraderie, the "gallows humour", and the blunt honesty of the books. 

One of the first jobs Ben shares with us is the story of Toby Martin Harris who is from London. Toby is a usually fit and well young man. His medical history is good, in that he is not on any regular medication, has no known allergies, and no blood problems. His family history is clear too with no history of heart disease, cancer, strokes or epilepsy. Toby is at the moment stranded in a Turkish Hospital after being "scooped up" off a Turkish roadside. It is Ben's job to check Toby over, and decide whether he is fit to leave hospital and well enough to board a flight home with Ben at his side to monitor him on the homeward flight.

The book also contains the banter between the Doctors, Nurses and office workers. The boss in charge who does both the repatriations and the office work is Jackie. Jackie and Ben have a friendship that becomes stronger throughout the book. Jackie suspects she could be seriously ill but want to bury her head in the sand. Then it comes to the point that Jackie cannot hide her illness and she confides in Ben who tries his best to be there when she needs to talk and be sympathetic though he also administers some tough love telling her she needs to go to a Doctor instead of self diagnosing to find out exactly what it is that she is fighting against.

There's quite a lot of rivalry and competition around who gets both the best jobs in the best places along with who can do the best sight seeing or best experience abroad whilst on a job. Then on the other hand when all the workers get together there is a bit of a who has bragging rights to the worst stories of the types of people they rescue and the worst accident/incidents they have had.

There is a lot of comedy within this book but don't think its all fluffy and amusing there are some pretty sad and poignant stories especially one elderly lady who cries because she is so alone yet so happy to see Ben arrive to take her home. 

I loved the way those doing the repatriations buy chocolates and gifts for the guys back in the office to attempt to bribe them so they are given preferential treatment in getting access to the best jobs.

We see the whole experience good and bad through Doctor Ben's eyes and then see a little from a newbie nurses perspective. She likes the sound of seeing different parts of the world and has the relevant qualifications she just doesn't have the confidence in herself to think on her feet and improvise should the need arise. Every one tries to reassure her, they even send her of trips with others to increase her confidence. 

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were Interesting read. Kind of like a diary/journal about the life of a Doctor who takes care of those who are taken ill or have an accident abroad. This book was interesting, humorous, and informative! 

I also think whoever reads this book would never ever go abroad again without great holiday insurance.

Thursday 7 March 2019



Title: The Everlasting Rose
Series: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Freeform, Orion Publishing Group
Release Date: 7th March 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia's Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider's Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.


As I finished The Belles, I knew there was no question, I had to read the next book, and then I discovered the title that pulled me in even more, made me wonder if there could ever be an Everlasting Rose in the world The Belles is set in. To say I was impatient to begin reading this book.

I loved the cover of The Belles but wow, the cover of The Everlasting Rose is striking. It hints of what is to come from inside the cover. There’s lots of intrigue, betrayal, sacrifice and loss in this instalment of The Belles story. The genres listed for the book are YA and Fantasy, which whilst I agree with. I would point out I am certainly not in the YA age bracket and I have adored this series so far! Also, I would add that the books could also be added to the dystopian, and possibly futuristic genres.

The book picks up just after we left the characters on the run from Princess Sophia and her followers. It’s been an action packed three days for Camille, at the beginning of everything being at the Palace, being thrown in the dungeons, Princess Charlotte waking up, and then the surprising help of false papers and transport from Arabella.
To begin with it is Camille, Edelweiss, and Ambrosia who escape with the palace guard Remy. They have escaped with very little, just their arcana which reside within them ready to be called and used only on others. Camille also has her teacup dragons, Fantóme, Poivre, Eau, Feuille and finally Or who is very fond of Remy. The fugitives need to evade capture, find, and help Princess Charlotte return to the Palace to usurp Princess Sophia from the throne and take up her rightful place.
This may sound simple, but it really isn’t, with wanted posters all around wherever the Belles and Remy go, all offering large reward for their capture and return to the Palace.
Princess Sophia also has her own ideas on not only how the Palace runs and the laws of the land, she also wants to breed many more Belles, and makes several attempts at doing this with disastrous results producing inferior Belles which are disfigured. When those in the know such as Arabella attempt to explain the process and say she must slow down, she does the opposite even saying the Belles do not need to be attractive, just be able to use their arcana’s to make others beautiful! It seems all Princess Sophia wants to do is make money from Belles and become the Queen to change laws to meet her personal requirements.
We learn one Belle in every generation is stronger and carries something “extra,”  within their blood that helps to make the next generation. Arabella is the one whose blood contains the aether that is needed for the next generation. I am not going to reveal who has the aether in her blood in the latest generation of Belles.
Two of the Belles that are on the run discover their arcana talents can in fact help them travel undetected. The Belles are always on their guard knowing they could be captured at any moment. When Princess Sophia targets the palace guard Rémy’s family, Camille insists he go back and try to help his family. There’s the delightful beginnings of a relationship between Camille and Rémy in this book as well as the differing relationships between the girls. It’s difficult for them to trust anyone, but help does come along in the shape of the mysterious, rebellious Iron Ladies.

I thought the Belles was written extremely and that nothing would ever live up to it but, The Everlasting Rose is even better! The scene setting is stunning, you can really visualise it all. I think the quotes and certain phrases in the book are remarkable. So now I have raved about them I guess I should share a couple. “My thoughts are an overfilled teacup, drowning it’s saucer” “Maman never told me what to do when the world falls apart like a dress ripped at it’s seams, the beads scattering into faraway corners, the fabric a storm of shredded pieces left destroyed and unrecognisable”
The way the Iron Ladies say farewell to each other when going on one of their missions is, “May our threads remain strong and our webs serve us well”.

My favourite character is I guess predictably Camille, at the beginning of this book she is still somewhat stinging about how Auguste betrayed her and proposed to Princess Sophia, after professing his love to her! I also love how friendship turns into more with Rémy, her palace guard whilst they are on the run. Camille cared for all her sisters in book one, and continues to do so in this book, despite Edelweiss warning her on more than one occasion that Ambrosia has changed and its not for the better. On many occasions Camille is willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary, including herself for the good of others.

Everything continues to build up to am ultimate climax, with many putting themselves in the firing line of the power hungry, Princess Sophia. Though it is Camille who is at the very centre of a plan that will either go perfectly well or horrendously wrong! I actually had to put this stunning book down at 88% yep with only 22% I had to put the book down as for us older readers life sometimes gets in the way at the most inopportune times! I left the book there and had questions and scenarios of what may happen galore popping in and out of my head. Such as, Can Camille manage to be literally under Princess Sophia, soon to be Queen Sophia's nose, and be able to rescue her sisters, Beauty Minister, Fashion Minister, the love of her life, his family and make sure Sophia doesn't become Queen? Camille a heavy weight on her shoulders! Will Camille & the Iron Ladies plan work? Whose side is Auguste really on?

What more can I say, as I am not willing to go into more detail as I don't want to spoil the reading experience for everyone else. I truly loved reading this book, even more then The Belles, which I didn't think possible. I highly recommend reading this series.

The covers & the content still reminded me of The Perfected series by Kate Jarvik Birch, The Lone City Series by Amy Ewing and The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. So if you haven’t read those and have loved The Belles & The Everlasting Rose I can highly recommend them to you.

Friday 1 March 2019


Title: In Rude Health: 
            The Funniest And Most Explicit Stories From The NHS
Author: Robbie Guillory
Genre: Non Fiction, Comedy, Humour
Publisher: Freight Books
Release Date: 7th October 2013

BLURB from Goodreads
From the man with a device lodged far inside his body whose batteries refuse to run out to a woman with a plunger super-glued to her vagina, In Rude Health recounts real life tales from the coal face of the NHS. From doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychiatrists and dentists come a range of eye-popping, side-splitting acts of misadventure that have had the medical profession weeping into their face masks as they attended to members of the great British public in their hour of need. From the publishers of UK Booksellers Association Top 5 Christmas book, 101 Uses of a Dead Kindle, In Rude Health is a riotous account of the weird, the warped and the whacky ways we end up in the hands of the medical profession.


So, approaching reading this book I was in a bit of a reading block. I just couldn’t decide what to read. Then when I did try to read a book or two I ended up not being able to get into them. I came to the conclusion that I needed to read something different to my usual genres to snap me out of the reading block. So I went on and looked under humour and found this book.

This book contains the weird and wonderful predicaments that people get themselves into and end up having to ask for medical help to get themselves out of. I would imagine there were lots of red faces when some of these incidents happened.

I decided to share just one of the stories in the book that isn’t an 18+ rated!
It is titled as “The Eyes Have It” – A drunken male staggers into a hospital in Manchester, complaining that no matter how he tried he could not get his contact lenses out. Apparently, the contact lenses would come half the way out but then somehow snap back in! A nurse attempted to remove the contact lenses and failed so the Dr was called in, who examined the man’s eyes and found out the man did not have any contact lenses in!!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading the book was that it is a great selection of short stories put together in a book that ended up being a funny fast paced read. I would say the book is definitely 18+ due to certain stories that are involving "private parts" both Male & female.

To sum up I would say this is a great book to read on a short journey or during break-time at work.


Title: Walmart
Byline: Diary Of An Associate
Author: Hugo Meunier
Translated by: Mary Foster
Genre: Non Fiction Adult, Politics
Publisher: Fernwood Publishing
Release Date: 1st March 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
In 2012, journalist Hugo Meunier went undercover as a Walmart employee for three months in St. Leonard, Quebec, just north of Montreal.

In great detail, Meunier charts the daily life of an impoverished Walmart worker, referring to his shifts at the box store giant as "somewhere between the army and Walt Disney." Each shift began with a daily chant before bowing to customer demands and the constant pressure to sell. Meanwhile Meunier and his fellow workers could not afford to shop anywhere else but Walmart, further indenturing them to the multi-billion-dollar corporation.

Beyond his time on the shop floor, Meunier documents the extraordinary efforts that Walmart exerts to block unionization campaigns, including their 2005 decision to close their outlet in Jonquiere, QC, where the United Food and Commercial Workers union had successfully gained certification rights. A decade later he charts the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that exposed the dubious legal ground on which Walmart stood in invoking closure and throwing workers out on the street.

In Walmart: Diary of an Associate, Meunier reveals the truths behind Walmart's low prices; it will make you think twice before shopping there.


I fancied reading something non-fiction for a change and I came across this book. Having worked in retail myself for quite a few (lot of) years I love reading these “tell all” type of books. The front cover depicts a large smiling face/logo as its main focus. I’m not sure if it is a logo linked to Walmart or maybe a logo that’s on a name badge or piece of uniform. (I am from the UK so though we have “Walmart” our stores are called “Asda”)

The book is about a journalist called Hugo Meunier and is written from his sole point of view. Hugo is used to the extremes of journalism such as sneaking into high class parties, to posing as a homeless man. This sort of job is apparently referred to as “immersion journalism” Hugo’s latest journalism job is to apply for and gain employment at Walmart and do a kind of exposé of what it is really like to work there. This book is set in the St Leonard Walmart Store, which is in Quebec just north of Montreal.

So to begin with Hugo goes into store to enquire about a job and is told to go home and apply online. Then there’s a telephone interview and then finally an “in person” interview described as a one to one. For this last part of the Interview, applicants are told it will take 2 hours! A woman called Caroline had been brought from headquarters in Toronto to conduct this part of the Interview. Caroline initially hands them all a name sticker and everyone sits in a circle. Then a list of questions is handed round but you don’t fill in your own answers you find out the details of the person next to you and stand up and introduce them to the rest of the group. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of this part of the Interviewing process that Hugo underwent before being offered a job. The whole group scenario was very familiar as it was so similar to my own group interview at WHSmiths about 19yrs ago it was eery! The purpose of the group is to act out scenarios you may come across within the store. Caroline instructs the group on how you could sell a mobile phone to an older person by saying it would be ideal to take photos of her grandchildren with!

Hugo does go into personal details about those who work with him. Such as the single mum who has to drop her child with a childminder and then rush to get to work on time. The young lads who messed about and got paid as much as the hard working older employees who worked hard every minute whilst at work. 

I don't wish to go into detail or mention more specifics of the diary/book as it would reveal too much and be in my opinion too "spoilery".

One revelation that left me shocked a little was the active discouragement from having or being part of a union. The fact a large store such as Walmart did not like unions and you could actually be in danger of losing your job by talking about a union never mind forming a union!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that though I had enjoyed reading most of the book it hadn't been as enjoyable as the supermarket checkout girl one I had read. Maybe because it was set in a different country, I'm not sure. I expected it to be a brilliantly funny read but it was a more serious book about a journalist going under cover to get the inside "dirt" on what it was like to work for Walmart.

To sum up the book was neither a funny diary, nor undercover diary/expose. I thought that the book ended a little bit abruptly at the end...personally I would have liked reactions or quotes from those workers mentioned/named in the book as to what they thought when Hugo was revealed as an undercover reporter.