#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.


★★★★

#BookReview THE PANDA, THE CAT AND THE DREADFUL TEDDY: A PARODY by PAUL MAGRS


ABOUT THE BOOK

The surely soon-to-be million-copy bestselling sort-of inspirational parody…

Enter the world of me, Panda, plus my sometime-friends Cat and Teddy. You will find us living our best lives, trying (and occasionally succeeding) to be kind to each other. The cat is quite nice but can be a little bit selfish. Teddy can come across as very nice, with his squeaky voice and looking so tiny and helpless. But I must warn you, Teddy can be a vicious little backstabber, actually.

This is a book of nice illustrations and some words from which you will likely gain some sort of inspiration. Like:

‘Just because you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re failing… But it might do.’
‘Nothing beats kindness,’ said the cat. ‘Gin does’, said Panda.
‘If you don’t stop saying inspirational things to me, I’m going to punch you up the hooter.’
‘You OK, hun?’ asked Panda, but he was just taking the piss.
‘We’re just so, so lucky to have each other as friends, and it’s going to make a marvellous book.’


PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS


PUBLICATION DATE –  30TH SEPTEMBER 2021



PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

If you like your books very sweary (I do!), hilariously funny (I do!) and snarky to the nth degree (yep!) then look no further!! This book has it all!

A parody of the extremely successful The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse ( which I adored!), this is the sarcastic version!! If you ever get sick of the sometimes patronising ‘do your best’, ‘be kind’ way of the world, then this is the book that gives you it straight! Sometimes you don’t want to be nice! Or kind!! Just foul mouthed and left alone!! And this book does that brilliantly with the wonderful characters that inhabit the world of the author! I have a sweary teddy at home too!!

It’s brilliantly illustrated, a quote on every page that had me in stitches and crying with laughter and I would love to have some of these ‘inspirational’ quotes on posters around the house! Or on T-shirts!! Bring on the merch!! Loved it!! Funniest book of 2021!!

★★★★★

My thanks to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BlogTour FIREBORN by AISLING FOWLER #BookReview #Fireborn #UltimateBlogTour @The_WriteReads @HarperCollinsCh @fowler_aisling



Delighted to be with you today as part of the wonderful Blog Tour for the fabulous FIREBORN by AISLING FOWLER.  My thanks to the author, publisher and The Write Reads for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.

Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other–and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.

Ember is full of monsters.

Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them–so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny–and the very fate of her world.


published by HarperCollins

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aisling was born in 1985 and wishes that she had grown up in a magical, mountainous kingdom, but was actually raised in Surrey on a diet of books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her early ‘adventure’ stories involved surprisingly little action and her first novel (3 pages long) was politely declined by publishers at age 11.

After earning a BSc in Biology and working as a support worker and then a nurse, the idea for her debut novel, Fireborn, came to her as she moved back and forth between London and the US. Now based in Hackney, when she is not reading or writing, Aisling loves cooking and plotting adventures (for herself as well as her fictional characters). Fireborn will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.

MY REVIEW


If a book is inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then I want to read it!! And it’s been a total blast of a reading experience and I’m eagerly awaiting more of the series if they’re all going to be like this!


At the heart of the story is Twelve, an inspiring female character who is full of rage and anger, but uses that to fight monsters and to right the wrongs of the world she finds herself living in.  She’s a bit of an outsider, seen as a weirdo by some of her classmates, but she just doesn’t care! With her pet squirrel, Widge, by her side, she soon finds herself setting off to save a friend.  I really got the Lyra (His Dark Materials) vibes about her as a character – she’s determined, loyal and very stubborn!


This story has a good mix of the dark and light, it does sometimes get a bit bleak but that really gets you on side with Twelve and understands why she is doing what she’s doing. Her journey is mixed with flashbacks to happier times with her family, and you wonder what messages she is meant to take from these dreams she keeps getting.


It’s a story of magic and monsters, adventure and adversity, battles and betrayals and I loved it!  Bring on the next installment!! 


★★★★

#BlogTour THE BIRD IN THE BAMBOO CAGE by HAZEL GAYNOR #BookReview #TheBirdintheBambooCage @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction @RandomTTours

An absolute delight to be here with you today for the Blog Tour for THE BIRD IN THE BAMBOO CAGE by HAZEL GAYNOR. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours  for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all

ABOUT THE BOOK

 ‘Beautiful … warm, loveable characters who had me rooting for them all the way’ Tracy Rees

 ‘An absolute treat’ Liz Nugent

 China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.

 Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead. 

Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

 ‘Moving and authentic’ Dinah Jefferies 

‘Vivid, heart-rending and so, so beautiful’ Jenny Ashcroft

PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Hive.co.uk

Blackwell’s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with her family, though originally from Yorkshire.

MY REVIEW

Wow!! This is a book that I find myself unable to stop thinking about since finishing it. 

It’s a historical story told from 2 viewpoints – one of a child, one of a teacher – living through extraordinary times in China during the Second World War and the impact that has on their school when it is taken over by the Japanese. Seeing how it impacts  on people of different ages was a fascinating insight on how we all deal with traumatic events differently – how our thought processes work when faced with an extreme situation and how we can often appear to put on a brave face but when we’re alone it’s a different story. And that dilemma is what faces Elspeth, the teacher, as she tries to remain stoic in front of the children she is in charge of, whilst facing her own heartache and despair at the situation unfolding around her.

Elspeth works at a missionary school in China, where Nancy is a pupil.  The girls and teachers become family as they spend so much time together, and the teachers become surrogate parents to the girls who are away from their own families for such a long time. But their calm and secure little school is soon to become a scary place when Japanese soldiers come in and take over, and they all soon find themselves sent off to camp, fearful of what conditions and treatment they are all to face.

What I loved about the different viewpoints was how they had different ways of looking at their experiences – the teachers would be very cynical and see things for how they actually were, whilst the children would block out the worst and come up with nicknames for the soldiers. They would just be kids! But what brought them all together is their shared hope in the smallest things around them – the sight of a sunflower seed growing amidst the chaos would begin to mean so much to them all.

Despite the awful conditions they often found themselves facing, what I admired most was their resilience. The fact that they never gave up hope that things would get better for all of them.  And the fact that life carried on whilst they were there – the teachers would hope to distract the girls with different lessons, whilst also helping them through changing times both in the world and in their own bodies.

The treatment  by the soldiers was often horrific and graphic and just shows what kind of things everyone had to endure and really brought home how brave these prisoners were.  It was the little moments of hope, friendship and determination that made them stronger and united them all in a way that few of us could imagine. They say the worst of times brings out the best in some people and that is so true for these teachers and pupils.

An emotional and stunning story.  Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BookReview MY PEAR-SHAPED LIFE by CARMEL HARRINGTON #MyPearShapedLife

ABOUT THE BOOK

This is a joyful, uplifting book for those of us who sometimes wake up and feel we’re not good enough. Spoiler alert: we are!

Meet Greta.

She’s funny.

She’s flawed.

She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is.

But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being you.

Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right?
Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.

But with her world feeling like it’s falling down around her, Greta is about to discover she’s stronger than she feels. And that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…

PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS

PURCHASE LINKS – e-book format – out now

Amazon

hive.co.uk

paperback – out 16th April 2020

MY REVIEW

I adore Greta!! She is me! She is you! That woman who is smiley on the outside, pretending life is sweet and making fun of herself, but full of crippling doubts on the inside and wishing the pain would just go away. And what the author has done brilliantly in this book is use that connection to us always beating ourselves up that we’re not good enough, and we get what we deserve… when that’s not the case. We are worthy and we need to be true to ourselves to find that happy place we all deserve to live in.

Greta comes from a ‘thin’ family – that’s how she sees it as a woman of a fuller figure, and she seems to react well to the digs and ‘banter’ but beneath the smiles she’s hurting and she’s playing a dangerous game with her health. It’s only when things go too far that her family find out the severity of the situation and she’s forced to face up to how her life is spiralling out of control.

The saving grace in her life is her namesake, Dr Greta Gayle, a hugely successful American lifestyle guru, who she is obsessed with due to them sharing the same name. It’s the only thing they have in common, but she always seems to find inspiration from the Dr and her Instagram posts when she needs guidance.

While in rehab she is stripped away from her crutches in life, and that makes things begin to fall into place for her. Why has she been so afraid to be herself? What is she hiding from? It’s often at our lowest points that life becomes a little clearer and she is forced to make changes in her way of thinking thanks to a therapist and the others she meets while in there. She sees she’s not alone in feeling a failure, or useless, or out of place and that makes her feel a little more connected.

What follows is a trip to America with her beloved Uncle, and both of them find out a lot about themselves while over there and facing up to their pasts. He has lived his life with regrets too so thinks this is the perfect opportunity for both of them to live a little, and I loved their bond and how much they meant to one another. And I loved the nods to The Wizard of Oz throughout!! Read the book and you’ll find out more!

It’s so much easier to say ‘be yourself’ than actually go through with it, and this book perfectly demonstrates that struggle we all go through of trying to fit in, losing sight of who we are and the reliance of outside influences to get us through the day. In Greta, there’s a character who is funny, pretty, smart but yet she can only see her size, and following her on her often painful journey was uplifting, emotional and a delight to be part of! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★