Rag And Bone by Lisa Woollett 

The Blurb On The Back:

From relics of Georgian empire-building and slave-trading, through Victorian London’s barged-out refuse to 1980s fly-tipping and the pervasiveness of present-day plastics, Rag and Bone traces the story of our rubbish, and, through it, our history of consumption.

In a series of beachcombing and mudlarking walks – beginning in the Thames in central London, then out to the Kentish estuary and eventually the sea around Cornwall – Lisa Woollett also tells the story of her family, a number of whom made their living from London’s waste, and who made a similar journey downriver from the centre of the city to the sea.

A beautifully written but urgent mixture of social history, family memoir and nature writing, Rag and Bone is a book about what we can learn from what we’ve thrown away – and a call to think more about what we leave behind. 

You can order RAG AND BONE: A FAMILY HISTORY OF WHAT WE’VE THROWN AWAY by Lisa Woollett from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

The Blurb On The Back:

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient.  For Chopra has one last case to solve …

But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from the richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs.

So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.

You can order The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

2021 In Books And Onwards To 2022

So another year has come and gone and although 2021 was not the long endless night that 2020 became, for me it was a year of big changes as I ended up moving house, who took a lot of time and a lot of stress and ate into my reading time.  On top of that the combination of lockdown courtesy of the virus that shall not be named and RL work ramping up meant it was harder to find time to read and review.  As a result, my reviews got a bit out of control and I’ve been later in updating than I wanted and it was only today that I finished my 2021 tally.

That said, 2021 did mark the 15th anniversary of my starting the blog and I did reach the 100 books that I’d targeted for the year.  In terms of my other targets:

  • I was aiming for a 50/50 gender split and almost achieved that with a 49/51 female/male split.
  • I wanted 20% of the book to be by writers of colour and ended up exceeding that with 26%.
  • 40% of the books were to be non-fiction and I exceeded that with 47%.

Stats wise, I remain very surprised at how well this blog is doing on WordPress.  The hit count has continued to grow and I’ve picked up some more subscribers, which is not bad going for a blog that solely does reviews.  My thanks to everyone who stops by and takes the time to like or comment.

I set up some Affiliate links to Amazon UKAmazon USABookshop.org UK or Waterstone’s, which all did a lot better than I expected so I’m going to keep them up in 2022.  Even so, I’m not turning this into a side hustle because I just don’t need the pressure. This is going to remain a personal review blog that reflects purely what I want to read at any given time and as a result, I will continue my tradition of not scheduling regular blog updates while aiming to try and post twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays.

My most popular review in 2021 was This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher, which I posted in May 2020 but seems to have gained in traction.  Of the reviews I wrote in 2021 the most popular was Slough House by Mick Herron, which wasn’t much of a surprise given that the SLOUGH HOUSE SERIES has become a bit of a phenomenon and with the TV adaptations starring Gary Oldman due to drop in 2022 there’s a lot more interest in it.

I’ve set out below my favourite reads of the year in no particular order.

ADULT NON-FICTION:

TEACHERS VS TECH? THE CASE FOR AN ED TECH REVOLUTION by Daisy Christodoulou is a well researched book, clearly written, fascinating and informative book that looks at the psychology of learning and teaching and how that ties in with the technology available to teachers (including initiatives from tech companies) to explain why tech hasn’t been as transformative for education as you’d expect it to be.

ESSAYING THE PAST: HOW TO READ, WRITE AND THINK ABOUT HISTORY by Jim Cullen is aimed at history students but is an excellent book that clearly sets out broad essay writing techniques, which can be used by students of any humanity or anyone in work who needs to write for their job.  It’s clearly written and easy to follow plus it contains lots of examples to illustrate its points.

MODERN LANGUAGES: WHY IT MATTERS by Katrin Kohl is a very readable book that makes a convincing case for why it is important to study modern languages, how they offer a deeper means of connecting with people and thinking about culture and ideas and makes interesting points about the benefits and limits of AI translation programmes.  As universities and schools increasingly cut language programmes, this is an important counterweight.

AUGMENTED REALITY by Mark Pesce is a slim but engrossing and deeply terrifying book that charts the origins and development of augmented reality (AR) technology before looking at how AR devices could use the information they gather about the world and its users and how the same could be utilised by Facebook, Google etc and the ethical issues that could result to privacy and property.

TWICE AS HARD by Opeyemi Sofoluke and Raphael Sofoluke is essential for Black people looking for navigating the corporate world or developing their own entrepreneurial brand and also vital for white people who want to be better, constructive allies to Black colleagues and entrepreneurs.

ADULT FICTION:

FORGED by Benedict Jacka is an adrenalin-fuelled action-fest that’s the 11th (and penultimate) book in this fantasy series, which concludes a few of the series’ plot strands (some in a very surprising manner) while setting up what promises to be a gripping conclusion.  Particularly good is the way Alex embraces his Dark Mage origins here – it’s chilling, logical and really makes you wonder how this will end and I am on tenterhooks for the last book so I can find out.

SLOUGH HOUSE by Mick Herron is the 7th book in the best selling SLOUGH HOUSE SERIES and another fast-paced, action packed spy thriller that adds biting satire to the temperature of the nation.  There is a sense of pieces being moved ready for further developments, most notably in the change in dynamic between Judd and Lady Di, and it’s not clear what the return of Sid will mean long term but the devastating ending and the question it leaves means I am very keen to read the next book.

THE LIAR OF RED VALLEY by Walter Goodwater is a slickly plotted, vividly imagined contemporary fantasy novel about power, authority and belonging and has a well realised main character who I rooted for.  The world building works very well and I loved the way he incorporates his fantasy elements but the ending was, for me, slightly anti climactical given the events building up to it.  Still there is scope here for a sequel, which I would definitely read.

THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE by Richard Osman is the thoroughly entertaining second novel in the THURSDAY MURDER CLUB SERIES that draws on Elizabeth’s espionage past but has something to say about finding love in middle age and the fears that come with old age.  The plot slightly strains to unite its various strands at the end but Osman pulls it off with aplomb while providing some laugh out loud moments such that I’m already very keen to get book number 3.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION:

THE CROSSING by Manjeet Mann pitches the plight of refugees against increasing anti-refugee sentiment within the UK.  It’s told in verse and very well written with Mann effortlessly switching between Sammy and Nat to emphasise their common experiences and emotions.  Sammy’s experiences make it a difficult read at times while Mann shows why people are attracted to racism without excusing it.  This will be on the 2021 awards lists and it deserves to be.

CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION:

YOU WILL BE OKAY by Julie Stokes and Laurène Boglio is a deeply compassionate, well written and timely book that’s sensitively illustrated by Laurène Boglio and offers practical guidance to children aged 9+ on how to handle a bereavement, including how to process and talk about their emotions.

Looking forward to 2022, my To Be Read Pile stands at a truly horrific 860.  At the start of 2021 it was a very slightly less horrific 793.  I had resolved last year not to take every book and ARC that was offered to me and to not go mad in the bookshops once they re-opened and basically I failed spectacularly.  However, having had to shift that mammoth To Be Read Pile when moving house, I am determined to get on top of it.  I am going to be a lot more selective in one I acquire in 2022 and I will not be buying so many books.  With that in mind my reading aspirations for 2022 are as follows:

  • a total reading target of 90.
  • a 50/50 gender split.
  • 25% of the books read to be by or co-written by writers of colour.
  • 40% of the books read to be non-fiction.

Once again, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who stops by this Blog – I very much appreciate your time and hope you find it useful.  I wish you all the very best for the coming year and very happy reading.

THE 2022 TO BE READ PILE OF DOOM!  ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO STARE AT IT AND REACT WITH HORROR TO THE DATES OF ACQUISITION, WHICH TESTIFY TO MY DESPAIR!

Read More »

Master List of Books Read in 2021

  1. Give Great Presentations by Lucinda Becker.
  2. Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.
  3. Avoid Plagiarism by Thomas Lancaster.
  4. The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji.
  5. Choose Your Own Adventure: Mountain Survival by Edward Packard.
  6. Manage Your Stress by Clare Wilson.
  7. Forged by Benedict Jacka.
  8. Think Critically by Tom Chatfield.
  9. Slough House by Mick Herron.
  10. Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield.
  11. Small Dreams Of A Scorpion by Spike Milligan.
  12. A Book Of Milliganimals by Spike Milligan.
  13. The Case For A Four Day Week by Anna Coote, Aidan Harper and Alfie Stirling.
  14. Agatha Oddly – Murder At The Museum by Lena Jones.
  15. Teachers vs Tech? The Case For An Ed Tech Revolution by Daisy Christodoulou.
  16. Silly Verse For Kids by Spike Milligan.
  17. Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley.
  18. What Is At Stake Now: My Appeal For Peace And Freedom by Mikhail Gorbachev.
  19. Game Changer by Neal Shusterman.
  20. Silence Is Not An Option: You Can Impact The World For Change by Stuart Lawrence.
  21. This Careless Life by Rachel McIntyre.
  22. The Enduring Kiss: Seven Short Lessons On Love by Massimo Recalcati.
  23. The Daughter Of Time by Josephine Tey.
  24. Genesis: On The Deep Origin Of Societies by Edward O Wilson.
  25. The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud.
  26. Trampled By Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem And How To Fix It by Maëlle Gavet.
  27. The Maker Of Monsters by Lorraine Gregory.
  28. The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Person by Frederick Joseph.
  29. Look Out, Leonard! by Jessie James and Tamara Anegon.
  30. My Daddies by Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons.
  31. Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt.
  32. High-Impact Tools For Team by Stefano Mastrogiacomo, Alex Osterwalder, Alan Smith and Trish Papadakos.
  33. The Barbizon: The New York Hotel That Set Women Free by Paulina Bren.
  34. Poison In Jest by John Dickson Carr.
  35. Murder On The Home Front by Molly Lefebure.
  36. Carter by Ted Lewis.
  37. Essaying The Past: How To Read, Write And Think About History by Jim Cullen.
  38. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson.
  39. Up In The Air: Butterflies, Birds And Everything Up Above by Zoë Armstrong and Sara Ugolotti.
  40. The Renegades: Defenders Of The Planet Flames Of Amazonia (Vol 2) by Jeremy Brown, Katy Jakeway, Ellenor Mererid, Libby Reed and David Selby.
  41. Diary Of A Brilliant Kid: Top Secret Guide To Awesomness by Andy Cope, Gavin Oattes and Will Hussey.
  42. Making Wolf by Tade Thompson.
  43. Serving Face: Lessons On Poise And (Dis)grace From The World Of Drag by Felix Le Freak.
  44. Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo.
  45. Above The Law by Adrian Bleese.
  46. Jaz Santos Vs. The World by Priscilla Mante.
  47. The Little Book Of Results: A Quick Guide To Achieving Big Goals by Jamie Smart.
  48. Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein.
  49. Modern Languages: Why It Matters by Katrin Kohl.
  50. The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons.
  51. Augmented Reality by Mark Pesce.
  52. The Crossing by Manjeet Mann.
  53. When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke.
  54. Nature Needs You! by Liz Gogerly and Sr. Sanchez.
  55. Kitty And The Kidnap Trap by Paula Harrison and Jenny Løvlie.
  56. A Girl Called Justice: The Ghost In The Garden by Elly Griffiths.
  57. The Place For Me: Stories About The Windrush Generation by Black Cultural Archives.
  58. No More Babies! by Madeleine Cook and Erika Meza.
  59. Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin.
  60. The Liar Of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater.
  61. Slow Rise: A Bread-Making Adventure by Robert Penn.
  62. Kitticorn by Matilda Rose and Tim Budgen.
  63. News 2.0: Journalists, Audiences, And News On Social Media by Ahmed Al-Rawi.
  64. Tiger Warrior: Attack Of The Dragon King by M. Chan.
  65. Back On Track by Matthew Burton.
  66. An Emotion Of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi.
  67. The Worries: Jaz And The New Baby by Jion Sheibani.
  68. The Class Ceiling: Why It Pays To Be Privileged by Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison.
  69. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
  70. Seven Lives From Mass Observation by James Hinton.
  71. Now You See by Max Manning.
  72. Novacene: The Coming Age Of Hyperintelligence by James Lovelock and Bryan Appleyard.
  73. Kitty And The Starlight Song by Paula Harrison and Jenny Løvlie.
  74. You Will Be Okay by Julie Stokes and Laurène Boglio.
  75. Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Ashley Woodfolk, Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.
  76. Twice As Hard by Opeyemi Sofoluke and Raphael Sofoluke.
  77. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.
  78. What Is African American Literature? by Margo N. Crawford.
  79. Splinters Of Sunshine by Patrice Lawrence.
  80. Kill The Black One First by Michael Fuller.
  81. The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin.
  82. A Little Devil In America: In Praise Of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib.
  83. Straight Outta Crongton by Alex Wheatle.
  84. The Hunt For Mount Everest by Craig Storti.
  85. Sequins And Secrets by Lucy Ivison.
  86. Climate Change And The Nation State by Anatol Lieven.
  87. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.
  88. The Responsible Globalist: What Citizens Of The World Can Learn From Nationalism by Hassan Damluji.
  89. Zen And The Art Of Murder by Oliver Bottini.
  90. Be Period Positive: Reframe Your Thinking And Reshape The Future Of Menstruation by Chella Quint.
  91. Isadora Moon And The Shooting Star by Harriet Muncaster.
  92. Pandemic! 2: Chronicles Of A Time Lost by Slavoj Žižek.
  93. Risen by Benedict Jacka.
  94. Inbound PR: The PR Agency’s Manual To Transforming Your Business With Inbound by Iliyana Stareva.
  95. The Accidental Diary of B.U.G: Basically Famous by Jen Carney.
  96. The Expertise Economy by Kelly Palmer and David Blake.
  97. Beano Dennis & Gnasher: The Battle For Bash Street School by Craig Graham and Mike Sterling.
  98. How Can I Help? Roly The Hedgehog by Frances Rodgers and Ben Grisdale.
  99. A Super Weird! Mystery: Danger At Donut Diner by Jim Smith.
  100. Everything World War II by National Geographic Kids.

If you fancy buying any of these books based on my reviews, then you can do so through Amazon UKAmazon USABookshop.org UK or Waterstone’s.  Please note that I earn commission on any purchases made via these links.

 

Everything World War II by National Geographic Kids

The Blurb On The Back:

Brave soldiers, important battles, life on the Home Front!  It’s time to learn everything about World War II.

Packed with facts, pictures and maps it’s ideal for homework, topic work, KS2 school projects and anyone who is simply curious about history. 

EVERYTHING WORLD WAR II was released in the United Kingdom on 22nd July 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order Everything World War II: Facts And Photos From The Front Line To The Home Front by National Geographic Kids from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

A Super Weird! Mystery: Danger At Donut Diner by Jim Smith

The Blurb On The Back:

Melvin and Rhubarb love a good mystery.

Unfortunately, nothing ever happens in their boring old town.

Until the Donut Hole Monsters turn up … 

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order Danger At Donut Diner by Jim Smith from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

How Can I Help? Roly The Hedgehog by Frances Rodgers and Ben Grisdale

The Blurb On The Back:

Everything you need to know about helping your favourite garden guests!

Roly is a curious, prickly hedgehog who loves to explore gardens, including yours.  But gardens can be dangerous, from deep ponds to smelly rubbish, so Roly must be careful.  He can’t face these challenges alone – he needs your help!

Part of a beautiful series, Roly The Hedgehog provides its little readers with all the tips and tricks they need to help keep these adorable spiny creatures safe in the garden. 

HOW CAN I HELP?  ROLY THE HEDGEHOG was released in the United Kingdom on 28th October 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order How Can I Help? Roly The Hedgehog by Frances Rodgers and Ben Grisdale from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Beano Dennis & Gnasher: The Battle For Bash Street School by Craig Graham and Mike Sterling

The Blurb On The Back:

This is the ultimate story, told with funny pictures!

Can ten-year old kids really outwit the most cunning teachers in the universe and, after millions of years, finally make school cool?

It’s an SOS: Save Our School!

When mysterious new teachers arrive to lay down the law at notoriously naughty Bash Street School, Dennis, Gnasher and friends finally face a test they simply can’t afford to fail.

BEANO DENNIS & GNASHER: THE BATTLE FOR BASH STREET SCHOOL was released in the United Kingdom on 8th July 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order Beano Dennis & Gnasher: The Battle For Bash Street School by Craig Graham, Mike Stirling and Nigel Parkinson from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The Expertise Economy by Kelly Palmer and David Blake

The Blurb On The Back:

Keeping people’s skills in sync with fast-changing markets is the biggest challenge of our time.

For companies and their employees to succeed, they need to focus on building skills for the future.  The Expertise Economy shows how the most forward-thinking companies, big and small, are transforming their employees into experts and ultimately, creating their biggest competitive advantage.

Kelly Palmer, Silicon Valley thought leader from LinkedIn, Degreed, and Yahoo!, and David Blake, co-founder of Ed-tech pioneer Degreed, share their experiences and provide insights from innovative companies and industry thought leaders like:

– Google

– Airbnb

– Unilever

– NASA

– MasterCard

– Whitney Johnson

– Daniel Pink

– Sal Khan

– Todd Rose

– Clayton Christensen

The Expertise Economy dares you to let go of outdated and traditional ways of closing the skills gap, and challenges CEOs and business leaders to embrace the urgency of reselling and upskilling the workforce. 

You can order The Expertise Economy by Kelly Palmer and David Blake from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The Accidental Diary of B.U.G: Basically Famous by Jen Carney

The Blurb On The Back:

Five things that happen in this book that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS:

1. I appear on ACTUAL TV.

2. My teacher LITERALLY tells us to P.E.E. in class.

3. I locate dead people’s lost jewellery in exchange for luxury BISCUITS.

4. I discover where you can get FREE HOT CHOCOLATE.

5. I find out about a HUGE secret my mums have been keeping from me.

WARNING: Janey has been extra painy recently (one thing that might put you off). 

THE ACCIDENTAL DIARY OF B.U.G: BASICALLY FAMOUS was released in the United Kingdom on 19th August 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order The Accidental Diary of B.U.G: Basically Famous by Jen Carney from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Inbound PR: The PR Agency’s Manual To Transforming Your Business With Inbound by Iliyana Stareva

The Blurb On The Back:

Once upon a time, public relations departments and agencies had no way to effectively tell their clients’ stories other than through the mainstream media.  Journalists, editors, and analysts were ultimately the mouthpieces for every PR campaign.  Then came the age of digital disruption and now PR professionals can tae full control over their messages, deliver the directly to the intended audiences, and accurately quantify the return on investment.  Inbound PR tells the story of how inbound marketing can refresh, expand, and optimise PR for today’s connected world.

Written by a global thought teacher at HubSpot, the pioneering software company behind inbound marketing, Illiyana Starve applies her expertise for growing businesses with inbound marketing to PR in an innovative methodology that both grows your PR business and your network of engaged media contacts.  This step-by-step road map to amplifying your PR influence to standout levels gives you practical guidance on using the attention-grabbing content you already produce to raise awareness, generate leads, and delight them into followers.

The secret to this game-changing approach is measuring results.  Forget about advertising value equivalents that only measure cost, and start calculating the meaningful bottom-line returns your work generates in the four major types of media with a turnkey framework.  Specifically written for everyone in the day-to-day mechanisms of PR and especially agency owners, this custom-fit guidebook enables you to embrace metrics and put analytics at the centre of your campaigns and organisation so that you can make highly informed, data-based decisions that give state-of-the-art leaders a competitive advantage.

This go-to resource makes transforming your business into an inbound PR agency simply and profitable by giving you:

– A proven, seven-step process for writing the best positioning strategy for your agency and practical advice on defining and packaging Inbound PR services into a twelve-month retainer

– Detailed systems for taking an inbound approach to media relations, including creating a robust online newsroom specifically for journalists, bloggers, producers, etc

– Actionable guidance for working every step of the inbound process, from attracting leads into your sales funnel, nurturing them, and finally retaining a new client.

Stop pushing your message and chasing clients by attracting them all to your brand with Inbound PR.

You can order Inbound PR: The PR Agency’s Manual To Transforming Your Business by Iliyana Stareva from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Risen by Benedict Jacka

The Blurb On The Back:

The probability mage Alex Verus has gone from a Camden shopkeeper to one of the most powerful magic users in Britain.  Now his last and most dangerous battle lies before him.

Alex’s girlfriend, the life mage Anne, has fallen fully under the control of the deadly djinn she made a bargain with, and it is preparing to create an army of mages subject to its every whim.  Can Alex figure out a way to free her from possession and stop her before time runs out for the people he loves?

You can order Risen by Benedict Jacka from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Pandemic! 2: Chronicles Of A Time Lost by Slavoj Žižek

The Blurb On The Back:

In this exhilarating sequel to his acclaimed Pandemic!: COVID-19 Shakes The World, Slavoj Žižek delves into the surprising dimensions of lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing – as well as the increasingly unruly opposition to them by a “response-fatigued” public around the world.

Žižek examines the ripple effects on the food supply of harvest failures caused by labour shortages, and the hyper-exploitation of the global class of care workers, without whose labour daily life would be impossible.  Through such examples he pinpoints the inability of contemporary capitalism to safeguard effectively the public in times of crisis.

Writing with characteristic daring and zeal, Žižek ranges across critical theory, pop culture, and psychoanalysis to reveal the troubling dynamics of knowledge and power emerging in these viral times. 

You can order Pandemic 2!: Chronicles Of A Time Lost by Slavoj Žižek from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Isadora Moon And The Shooting Star by Harriet Muncaster

The Blurb On The Back:

Isadora Moon is special because she is different.

Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she is a bit of both.

Isadora is learning all about space at school.  Then one night she follows a shooting star that falls from the sky and discovers a new twinkling friend.  Her name is Nova, and she wasn’t supposed to fall to Earth.  What’s worse, her moon kitten Pluto is lost!

Can Isadora help Nova find the lost kitten before she has to fly back home?

ISADORA MOON AND THE SHOOTING STAR was released in the United Kingdom on 7th October 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order ISADORA MOON AND THE SHOOTING STAR by Harriet Muncaster from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Be Period Positive: Reframe Your Thinking And Reshape The Future Of Menstruation by Chella Quint

The Blurb On The Back:

Period positivity starts with asking questions.

This informative, irreverent, and absorbing book covers all your period-related questions – why they’re taboo (and needn’t be) and how to navigate the whole bleeding thing, from first periods to fertility, euphemisms to uteruses, menstrual products to menopause.

Period Positive movement founder and menstrual researcher Chella Quint’s answers are frank, fun, and fascinating.

Let’s get period positive.

It’s about bloody time.

BE PERIOD POSITIVE was released in the United Kingdom on 8th July 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order BE PERIOD POSITIVE by Chella Quint from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Zen And The Art Of Murder by Oliver Bottini

The Blurb On The Back:

Louise Boní, maverick chief inspector with the Black Forest crime squad, is struggling with her demons.  Divorced at forty-two, she is haunted by the ghosts of her past.

Dreading yet another dreary winter weekend alone, she receives a call from the departmental chief which signals the strangest assignment of her career – to trail a Japanese monk as he wanders through the snowy landscape to the east of Freiburg dressed only in sandals and a cowl.  She sets off reluctantly, and when she catches up with him, she finds that he is injured, fleeing some unknown evil – an evil so insidious that Louise Boní may never be free of its shadow. 

You can order ZEN AND THE ART OF MURDER by Oliver Bottini from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The Responsible Globalist: What Citizens Of The World Can Learn From Nationalism by Hassan Damluji

The Blurb On The Back:

Today, globalism has a bad reputation.  ‘Citizens of the world’ are depicted as recklessly uninterested in how international economic forces can affect local communities.  Meanwhile, nationalists are often derided as racists and bigots.

But what if the two were not so far apart?  What could globalists learn from the powerful sense of belonging that nationalism has created?  Faced with the injustices of the world’s economic and political system, what should a responsible globalist do?

British-Iraqi development expert Hassan Damluji proposes six principles – from changing how we think about mobility to shutting down tax havens – which can help build consensus for a stronger globalist identity.  He demonstrates that globalism is not limited to ‘Davos man’ but is a truly mass phenomenon that is growing fastest in emerging countries.  Rather than a ‘nowhere’ identity, it is a new group solidarity that sits alongside other allegiances.

With a wealth of examples from the United States to India, China and the Middle East, The Responsible Globalist offers a boldly optimistic and pragmatic blueprint for building an inclusive, global nation.  

You can order THE RESPONSIBLE GLOBALIST: WHAT CITIZENS OF THE WORLD CAN LEARN FROM NATIONALISM by Hassan Damluji from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Blurb On The Back:

I am a Belle.  I control beauty.

In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle’s powers can make them beautiful. 

Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle – the one chosen by the queen to live in the royal palace and be recognised as the most talented Belle in the land.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be.  Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater – and far darker – than she ever imagined.

When the queen asks Camellia to save the ailing princess by using her powers in unintended ways, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever … 

You can order THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Climate Change And The Nation State by Anatol Lieven

The Blurb On The Back:

A major new book on why the most urgent issue confronting us all needs national solutions.

In the past two centuries we have experienced wave after wave of overwhelming change.  Entire continents have been resettled; there are billions more of us; the jobs done by countless people would be unrecognisable to their predecessors; scientific change has transformed us all in confusing, terrible and miraculous ways.

Anatol Lieven’s major new book provides the frame that has long been needed to understand how we should react to climate change.  This is a vast challenge, but we have often in the past had to deal with such challenges; the industrial revolution, major wars and mass migration have seen mobilisations of human energy on the greatest scale. Just as previous generations had to face the unwanted and unpalatable, so do we.

In a series of incisive, compelling interventions, Lieven shows how in this emergency our crucial building block is the nation state.  The drastic action required both to change our habits and protect ourselves can be carried out not through some vague globalism but through maintaining social cohesion and through our current governmental, fiscal and military structures.

This is a book which will provoke innumerable discussions.  

You can order CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE NATION STATE: THE REALIST CASE by Anatol Lieven from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Sequins And Secrets by Lucy Ivison

The Blurb On The Back:

Welcome to The House of Serendipity, where friendships are fashioned and destinies designed!

Meet Sylvia Cartwright, the 1920s’ Eloise Bridgerton, determined to break societal conventions.  And Myrtle Mathers, a maid with more ambition than Downton’s Daisy.  They know that the perfect outfit can make dreams come true, and their dazzling designs are the talk of 1920s London …

So when Agapantha Portland-Prince wants to escape her glamorous debutante ball for a life of adventure, it’s their magical talents she needs.  But can the girls make their secret dreams a reality, or will this be the most stylish scandal of the century?  

SEQUINS AND SECRETS was released in the United Kingdom on 10th June 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order SEQUINS AND SECRETS by Lucy Ivison from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The Hunt For Mount Everest by Craig Storti

The Blurb On The Back:

The height of Mount Everest was first measured in 1850, but the closest any westerner got to Everest during the next 71 years, until 1921, was 40 miles.  The Hunt For Mount Everest tells the story of the 71-year quest to find the world’s highest mountain.  It’s a tale of high drama, of larger-than-life-characters – George Everest, Francis Younghusband, George Mallory, Lord Curzon, Edward Whymper – and a first quiet heroes – Alexander Kelly’s, the 13th Dalia Lama, and Charles Bell.

A story that traverses the Alps, the Himalayas, Nepal and Tibet, the British Empire (especially British India and the Raj), the Anglo-Russian rivalry known as The Great Game, the disastrous First Afghan War, and the phenomenal Survey of India – it is far bigger than simply the tallest mountain in the world.  Encountering spies, war, political intrigues, and hundreds of mules, camels, bullocks, yaks, and two zebrules, Craig Storti uncovers the fascinating and still largely overlooked saga of all that led up to that moment in late June of 1921 when two English climbers, George Mallory and Guy Bullock, became the first westerners – and almost certainly the first human beings – to set foot on Mount Everest and thereby claimed the last remaining major prize in the history of exploration.

With 2021 bringing the 100th anniversary of that year, most Everest chronicles have dealt with the climbing history of the mountain, with all that happened after 1921.  The Hunt For Mount Everest is the seldom-told story of all that happened before. 

You can order THE HUNT FOR MOUNT EVEREST by Craig Storti from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Straight Outta Crongton by Alex Wheatle

The Blurb On The Back:

Round these ends, it’s hard to hold on to your dreams.

Life’s a constant hustle for Mo.  Her mum’s boyfriend Lloyd is just another man who likes to beat down women; the South Crong streets are fraught with hazards and nasty G’s; and when it comes to matters of the heart … she’s still hung up on Sam.  No wonder she’s vexed so much of the time.

Thank God her sisters, Elaine and Naomi, are on her side.

But when badness goes down and a life is let handing in the balance, Mo has to face her hot urge for revenge … and she might end up losing more than she wins.

You can order STRAIGHT OUTTA CRONGTON by Alex Wheatle from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

A Little Devil In America: In Praise Of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib

The Blurb On The Back:

A kaleidoscopic history of Black performance, from Josephine Baker to the Midwest punk scene, through sport, sit-coms, stand-up and more.

In A Little Devil In America, music critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib weaves a unique and intimate history of Black performance, in which culture, politics and lived experience collide.  Taking readers from mid-century Paris to the moon, via dive bars, Broadway, and a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio, Abdurraqib illuminates the poignancy and power of Black performance, whether the stage is vast – as in Beyoncé’s Super Bowl show – or small, as for a schoolyard fistfight.  Each of these moments, Abdurraqib reveals, has layers of resonance in Black and white culture, the politics of American empire, and his own personal history of grief and love.

Filled with sharp insight, humour and heart, and infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians the author loves, A Little Devil In America is a celebration of Black performance as it has unfolded and endured to shape individual lives and entire cultures. 

You can order A LITTLE DEVIL IN AMERICA: IN PRAISE OF BLACK PERFORMANCE by Hanif Abdurraqib from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

The Blurb On The Back:

Dazzling with imagination, brimming with passion and crackling with wit, The City We Became is a modern masterpiece of culture, identity, magic and myth in contemporary New York City.

Every great city has a soul.  Some are ancient as myths; others are as new and destructive as children.  New York?  She’s got six – and all six will be called to arms in the greatest battle the city has ever fought.

You can order THE CITY WE BECAME by N. K. Jemisin from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »