#BookReview FEMLANDIA by CHRISTINA DALCHER #Audiobook

ABOUT THE BOOK


A chilling look into an alternate near future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony, only to find that the safe haven they were hoping for is the most dangerous place they could be.

Miranda Reynolds always thought she would rather die than live in Femlandia. But that was before the country sank into total economic collapse and her husband walked out in the harshest, most permanent way, leaving her and her sixteen-year-old daughter with nothing. The streets are full of looting, robbing, and killing, and Miranda and Emma no longer have much choice—either starve and risk getting murdered, or find safety. And so they set off to Femlandia, the women-only colony Miranda’s mother, Win Somers, established decades ago.

Although Win is no longer in the spotlight, her protégé Jen Jones has taken Femlandia to new heights: The off-grid colonies are secluded, self-sufficient, and thriving—and Emma is instantly enchanted by this idea of a safe haven. But something is not right. There are no men allowed in the colony, but babies are being born—and they’re all girls. Miranda discovers just how the all-women community is capable of enduring, and it leads her to question how far her mother went to create this perfect, thriving, horrifying society.


PUBLISHED BY   HQ

PURCHASE LINK
Amazon

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book – extremely well read by the narrator!

 The author is back with more dystopian fiction, and it’s even more scary than ever! The world has gone through many changes and what is left is bleak, especially for women. It’s every man for himself and woe betide any woman who gets in the way. That leads to some upsetting and harrowing scenes at times, so beware if you are easily triggered. Miranda and her daughter Emma have to look out for themselves and desperate times lead to desperate measures, and Miranda makes the decision for them both to head to Femlandia – an all female ‘utopia’ set up by her mother – in the hope for some safety and relief.
You follow them on the journey to Femlandia, but the main action takes place when they arrive and Miranda is soon left to face the facts that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s a very scary look at human behaviour and shows that both male and females are all flawed, especially when power is involved.

They face a shocking truth when it comes to pregnancies in the camp, along with all mentions of male history being removed from the past which leads to young girls growing up with no knowledge of life on the ‘outside’.

This was a shocking read at times, although it did run out of puff a little towards the end and it just left me feeling hatred towards men and women in equal measures!! No matter the best intentions of some, there’s always those who are more interested in power and control over others with no thought to the consequences. A bleak but gripping read!


★★★★

#BookReview RAMBLE BOOK by ADAM BUXTON #Audiobook


ABOUT THE BOOK


Ramble
/ˈramb(ə)l/

Verb1. walk for pleasure in the countryside.‘Dr Buckles and Rosie the dog love rambling in the countryside.’
2. talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way.‘Adam rambles on about lots of consequential, compelling and personal matters in his tender, insightful, hilarious and totally unconfused memoir, Ramble Book.’

Ramble Book is about parenthood, boarding-school trauma, arguing with your partner, bad parties, confrontations on trains, friendship, wanting to fit in, growing up in the ’80s, dead dads, teenage sexual anxiety, failed artistic endeavours, being a David Bowie fan and how everything you read, watch and listen to as a child forms a part of the adult you become.


PUBLISHED BY MUDLARK

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW


I listened to the audio version of this book – and I recommend you do the same!!

Just wonderful!! It made me laugh and cry in equal measures and was just a walk down memory lane of the 70’s and 80’s in terms of music, films, and life memories that really struck a chord with me being a very similar age as Adam! He recalls his childhood, schooldays, family life into adulthood and he’s just so honest and endearing you can’t help but love every minute of his ramblings! It is just like listening to an old friend and feels very much like a long podcast episode! He even makes his own jingles to use throughout and then there’s a lovely bonus podcast episode at the end featuring Joe!

And alongside the funny stuff, there’s the emotional tale of his father who moved in with Adam and his family as he became ill, and it’s so touching and made my eyes leak a lot as he shares the reality of seeing a parent pass away.

An utterly brilliant book! Go listen to it… NOW!!


★★★★★

#Audiobookreview THE END OF MEN by CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD #BookReview



ABOUT THE BOOK


Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would life truly look like without men?

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.

PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS


PURCHASE LINK

THE END OF MEN by CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book – brilliantly read!


This is one of those timely reads, made even more relevant and relatable after our recent experiences! The amount of times you felt so connected to the story and the fear portrayed by the characters because of what we’ve all been through with this pandemic!


In this book, set in 2025, there’s a virus that comes out of nowhere and only seems to affect men. And they drop like flies pretty quickly. While in the early stages, the seriousness is trying to be flagged up, there are those who dismiss the concerns… we all know how that works out in reality! But this is a story cleverly told from the point of view of a variety of women looking on with different hats on, so to speak! Those working in the medical industry, those reporting on it, those looking for a cure/vaccine – and those seeing their loved ones becoming poorly and wanting to do all they can to not lose those closest to them.


The author really captures the uncertainty and the panic with each character and it did feel like a race against time thriller at times with the urgency needed to do what needed to protect people. And how women were stepping up to fill the positions normally inhabited by the men and how that impacted on day to day life. And the emotional aspects of becoming pregnant, and then being told your baby was a boy was really stark and bought home the harsh reality of it all.


A gripping read.


★★★★

#AudioBookReview ON THE MARSH by SIMON BARNES #BookReview



ABOUT THE BOOK


How the rewilding of eight acres of Norfolk marshland inspired a family and brought nature even closer to home.

When writer Simon Barnes heard a Cetti’s warbler sing out as he turned up to look at a house for sale, he knew immediately that he had found his new home. The fact that his garden backed onto an area of marshy land only increased the possibilities, but there was always the fear that it might end up in the wrong hands and be lost to development or intensive farming. His wife saw through the delicate negotiations for the purchase. Once they’d bought it, they began to manage it as a conservation area, working with the Wildlife Trust to ensure it became as appealing as possible to all species. For their son Eddie, who has Down’s syndrome, it became a place of calm and inspiration.

In Wildness and Wet, we see how nature can always bring surprises, and share in the triumphs as new animals – Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs – arrive, and watch as the number of species of bird tops 100 and keeps on growing. As the seasons go by, there are moments of triumph when not one but two marsh harrier families use the marsh as a hunting ground, but also disappointments as chemical run-off from neighbouring farmland creates a nettles monoculture in newly turned earth.

For anyone who enjoyed books such as Meadowland, or the writing of Stephen Moss, Roger Deakin or Adam Nicolson, this is a vivid and beautifully written account of the wonders that can sometimes be found on our doorsteps, and how nature can transform us all.


PUBLISHED BY  SIMON & SCHUSTER

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.

This was such a lovely listen. One of those books that transports you away and helps you look at the wonders of nature through the eyes of someone with a deep passion for wildlife and the conservation of his local area.

The author lives by a marsh, so when a larger plot of marsh was available to buy he jumped at the chance and this book is an ode to the natural world, and how he and his family have worked to keep this area as wild as possible for the benefit of the local wildlife, and their own enjoyment.

Their son has down’s syndrome so he also shares his experiences of how that changes his outlook and how his son thrives with the connection of the birds and animals surrounding them and it was really touching to see his compassion for the surrounding wildlife.

The author explores the local sights and sounds that he and his family are lucky to see and hear, along with comments on how many humans are seemingly hellbent on the destruction of these natural areas and the devastating consequences that these have on the wildlife.

It’s such a gentle and pleasant book, that helps to share the pleasure in spotting the little things that go on around you and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole relaxing and immersive experience of their story shared.

★★★★

#BookReview BE MINDFUL by KATE JAMES #AudioBook

ABOUT THE BOOK

Life is full of setbacks, big and small. We don’t have control over life’s challenges, but we can control how we deal with them.


This collection from Kate James – successful coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer – is full of easy to digest insights and exercises that will help you bounce back from unexpected challenges and changes, and will help you discover more about yourself and what will make you happy. It will boost your self-belief, get you motivated and help connect you with a more creative and inspired version of yourself. This collection includes the following from the Kate James series:


Change How You Think and Be Happier Now

Build Resilience and Free Yourself From Fear

Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love

Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life


The perfect companion in stressful times, Be Mindful with Kate James provides the essential tools that will help you savour the good times and roll with the punches when things don’t go to plan. 

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book.

This is a collection of 4 books, all under one banner, which makes it very easy to access. Full of lots of tips, hints and analysis, it explores our behaviour during difficult times and helps to find ways to quieten our minds and be more at peace on a daily basis!

It looks at defining happiness, understanding depression and exploring self care – time to be your own best friend and take care of yourself on those days when it all seems a little too daunting and overwhelming

It’s a practical and helpful listen, full of simple ways to help try and change your mindset. I liked the smaller, achievable goals that are set throughout. It did feel a little repetitive at times with the same points being made over the course of 4 books, but maybe that will help it stick in my mind a little easier!

★★★

#BookReview KAIZEN by SARAH HARVEY #Audiobookreview

ABOUT THE BOOK


THE MAGIC OF KAIZEN – THE JAPANESE METHOD OF TAKING SMALL STEPS TO ACCOMPLISH HUGE GOALS – IS NOW HERE FOR EVERYONE. . .

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF ‘KAIZEN’ – THE JAPANESE WAY TO CREATE LASTING CHANGE. . .

Lifestyle changes can be overwhelming: It’s hard to take on major goals without falling prey to self-doubt. But with ‘KAIZEN’, big goals become small, approachable steps. This Japanese method first made waves in the business world by launching Toyota to success; it also adds magic to Marie Kondo’s life-changing method of tidying up. As Kondo puts it: “You can take the first small step toward your dream today, and keep taking small steps to grow your passions”.

Now, Sarah Harvey unlocks ‘KAIZEN’S’ amazing potential to enhance our everyday lives. Even the boldest intention (I should run a marathon someday) begins with the simplest step (Today, I’ll research local running groups). ‘KAIZEN’ is the key to improving our health, work, finances, relationships, habits, and – yes – homes!


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.


This was my first introduction to Kaizen and I found it to be really informative and intriguing! It’s not a ‘go cold turkey’ kind of approach to life, but a more measured ‘slowly,slowly’ way to change habits and your outlook on life – overall, a more manageable way of changing set behaviour which often leads to more success!

The books that make you want to change everything about yourself overnight are enough to make you go running in the other direction, but I found this approach was so much more inviting! Just changing 1 thing about your routine a week – such as 5 minute mediation every morning, or once a week – is much easier to achieve and that repetition helps you reset your brain to accept that as part of your new routine!

The fact that you’re just thinking more about the choices you are making, really make you analyze that repeat behaviour that you wanted to change. Kaizen is used all over Japan in business and personal life, and the positive results there helped to inspire the author to follow suit and share her experiences and tips on helping you achieve the same.

There’s lots about sleep patterns, phone addiction, stress, morning habits, spending money, decluttering etc – and there’s some great little tips along the way that just make you eager to try them out as they appear to require little effort at all! Fascinating and I’m looking forward to keeping many of the changes I’ve already made in my new routines and seeing how else Kaizen can help me!

★★★★

#AudioBookReview CREATE CALM By KATE JAMES

ABOUT THE BOOK

With the pace of modern life it can often be difficult to pause, reflect and find composure. We all need a quiet, still space we can go to recalibrate and regain calm.

This beautiful audiobook from bestselling lifestyle author Kate James is that quiet, still space.

Practical, warm and soothingly accessible, Create Calm provides all the tools you need to cultivate a more peaceful and positive inner world.


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

If you’re looking for an audiobook to soothe you, then look no further!! Not only does the narrator/author have an amazingly calming voice, this is also full of amazing little tips and tricks to help you cope with all that modern life throws your way!

I listened to the audioversion of this book from my local library and it was a really informative and helpful listen. How we are all feeling more connected thanks to the internet, but feeling more isolated than ever before and how we deal with that to improve our mental wellbeing and see us through those darker days when we all think the world is against us.

There are tips on sleep, breathing exercises and techniques to try and just finding out what works for you. I liked that the advice was ‘sensible’ and could easily be tried by everyone and it just made me feel calmer knowing that we’re all going through the same things and how the internet especially distorts our view of the world Time to focus inwards rather than out!!

★★★★

#AudiobookReview HINTON HOLLOW DEATH TRIP by WILL CARVER

ABOUT THE BOOK


It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

PUBLISHED BY ORENDA BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

My first Will Carver book – definitely not my last!! This was bloody brilliant!!! It was dark, twisted, thought provoking, absorbing….. it’s fair to say I loved it! And I thought the narration on the audiobook was top drawer!

This is a book narrated by Evil!! Yep, you read that right! And Evil has a lot to comment on as he watches over the goings on Hinton Hollow as darkness hits the inhabitants which sets off a chain reaction of more twisted goings on that affect everyone and leaves them all reeling, and leaves you wondering just what darkness will happen next!

Evil explains how people are! He often doesn’t need to manipulate them much, just a little gentle nudge and their own freewill surfaces and shows their true colours. And in the world we live in right now, this book hits home in more ways than one! I never thought I’d be so in agreement with Evil and his perceptions on humanity! Not sure what that says about me!!

The sequence of events are terrifying as they unfold. Someone is picking their victims carefully and it seems nobody is safe. And the perpetrator is seemingly untouchable with little clue as to their motives or identity. There are little hints and flashbacks, but the action mainly takes place over just 5 days. The darkness and the horror seems unstoppable and with Evil narrating, this just adds to the tension and the utter unpredictability of it all.

A truly unique story and I cannot wait to go back and read more of this series – and see what else Will Carver has lined up for us with his future books!! Loved Loved Loved it!!!

★★★★★

#Audiobookreview DAISY JONES AND THE SIX by TAYLOR JENKINS REID

ABOUT THE BOOK


audio length – 9 hours, 3 minutes

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

Cast List: Daisy Jones, read by Jennifer Beals; Billy Dunne, read by Pablo Schreiber; Graham Dunne, read by Benjamin Bratt; Eddie Loving, read by Fred Berman; Warren Rhodes, read by Ari Fliakos; Karen Karen, read by Judy Greer; Camila Dunne, read by January LaVoy; Simone Jackson, read by Robinne Lee; Narrator/Author, read by Julia Whelan; Jim Blades, read by Jonathan Davis; Rod Reyes, read by Henry Leyva; Artie Snyder, read by Oliver Wyman; Elaine Chang, read by Nancy Wu; Freddie Mendoza, read by P.J. Ochlan; Nick Harris, read by Arthur Bishop; Jonah Berg, read by Holter Graham; Greg McGuinness, read by Brendan Wayne; Pete Loving, read by Pete Larkin; Wyatt Stone, read by Alex Jenkins Reid; Hank Allen, read by Robert Petkoff; Opal Cunningham, read by Sara Arrington 

MY REVIEW

Did I love this book when I read it back in 2019? YES YES YES!!

my review back then…..

I don’t know how the author has done it but she convinced me within a few pages that we were looking back at real people and the experiences during the 1970’s and the music business… and I adored every blooming minute of it and just want to read more, and buy merchandise!!! Where are the CD’s? The t-shirts?! I want them all!!

It’s a very simple story – sex and drugs and rock’n’roll! The fame, the glamour and all the good and bad that follows! Daisy Jones is a young girl who has forever chased affection, seeing as she never got any from her self absorbed parents. She drifts from one thing to another and starts to build up a profile – she’s stunning too so that always helps her get away with more than she should!

And when her path crosses with the band The Six, super-stardom is soon on their doorstep and while it may seem a dream to many of us, it often turns into a bit of a nightmare and we get to look back on the highs and lows of their careers in a cleverly told story that reads like a magazine interview, with various viewpoints chipping in with their recollections of different times during the years and it’s a great way to tell the story.

Daisy is such a different character to the others in the band, so it’s fascinating to see their stories alongside her. While many are happy just to be in the background, the main man of The Six is dealing with his own addictions and issues and he and Daisy make for the main focus of the story and all the headlines the band receive with their clashing personalities and outlooks on how the band should go forward.

I really couldn’t put this down once I had started it and I’m already eager to pick it up again and enjoy it all over again!! READ THIS BOOK!!

Do I love it even more now I’ve listened to the audioversion?! HELL YES!!

There concludes my review….. haha!! 

This was brilliantly brought to life by all the narrators and just felt like you were listening to a rockumentary on the radio as the evolution of Daisy Jones and The Six is brought to life in all its’ glory!  The spirit of each character comes across wonderfully well in audio version and makes them feel even more real! Are you sure they weren’t a real band?!

If you haven’t read this book yet, then I highly recommend giving the audiobook a listen! The cast capture it perfectly!!

★★★★★

#AudiobookReview The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Living Mountain is a lyrical testament in praise of the Cairngorms. It is a work deeply rooted in Nan Shepherd’s knowledge of the natural world, and a poetic and philosophical meditation on our longing for high and holy places. Drawing on different perspectives of the mountain environment, Shepherd makes the familiar strange and the strange awe-inspiring. Her sensitivity and powers of observation put her into the front rank of nature writing.

PUBLISHED BY CANONGATE BOOKS

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book.

Written in the 1940’s and hidden in a drawer until the 1970’s, this is a stunningly beautiful and enchanting ‘ode to the Cairngorms’. The wonderful language used throughout is brought to life exquisitely by Tilda Swinton, and even has bird song in the background which just adds to the feeling of calm and serenity that I had when listening.

Nan Shepherd was a woman who lived in Scotland her whole life and devoted her time to being amongst nature and walking the hills and mountains, taking note of all she saw around her and that lesson comes across loud and proud with her attention to detail. A very relevant lesson to us all, especially in these times, to take note of the little things you see, hear and smell around you.

She explores the wildlife living in the mountains, the danger to life and the changing and perilous weather experienced throughout the year. She shares her own recollections of climbs and walks, and what each journey taught her about herself. Just time with herself in nature made her feel so much and gave her life and energy.

Beautifully written and beautifully read!

★★★★