blog tours, non-fiction, Q&A

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Q&A Oi by David Jackson @OYFtheBook #Oi #RandomThingsTours

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Oi, a powerful book that I really wanted to support even if I wasn’t able to read it myself. David Jackson, author of Oi has joined us to tell you a bit more about himself and his book.

Q&A

1) Tell us of your journey as a writer.

It all began when I attended the inaugural Your Life, Your Story event organised by Amanda Knowles (MBE) and Rosie Canning.  I had tinkered with the idea of writing previously, but never got round to it because, I like to procrastinate.  After the event, it all seemed like a case of the right time, and the right place, and so I simply started writing, then couldn’t stop.

2) What made you choose to write about care experience?

It was something that just seemed appropriate at the time.  I had turned the story over in my head a millions times, and so it was an easy hit in that sense for a first stab at writing. The key for me was to enjoy the writing.  I didn’t want it to become onerous, and once I had started, the last thing I wanted was an unfinished manuscript on my hands.

3) Do you have any personal experience with the care system, fostering, children’s homes etc? 

Yes, I spent the first sixteen and a half years of my life in one form of home or another.  It was a brutal indoctrination into a careless world as it was at the time, but it taught me plenty, and made me the man I am today.

3) How did you go about the writing process?

My starting point was to develop my timeline.  As the story was a reflection of my life at that moment in time, there was a clear chronology. I plotted the start date, the end date, the midpoint, and then I began to populate events that occurred between all points on the time line.  Within the hour, I was looking at a timeline with nearly one hundred events listed against it.

I then began to trim that down, using on those events that had a significant link between them, and which also at face value, appeared to support that narrative that I had in mind.  This proved a more difficult task, as items came, went and then returned. But eventually it led to a strong timeline, from which I could begin the actual writing process.

My first draft comprised approximately 70,000 words, which was essentially a brain dump of everything that I had rolling around in my head.  It was completely without structure, but the point was to get it onto the screen in order that I could work on it later.  The second draft rose to around 100,000 as I added more and more detail, fleshed out the storyline and improved the overall readability.  I think the final draft peaked out at around 130,000 words.

4) What is the meaning of the title?

In essence it is just a reflection of the feelings that I and many others probably felt as life was brutally unfolding in front of us.  It is the one word that I seem to recall hearing frequently throughout my childhood.  It was as if people simple chose not to use your name, and that ‘Oi’ would do..

5) What are you currently working on? What can we look forward to reading? 

I am currently sketching out a thriller, and have a few other ideas rolling around in my head.  I will follow the same process as before when I start writing, and hopefully you will all see me on a best-sellers list sometime soon.

6) What diverse characters do you think are missing from literature?

It would be nice if a care experienced person was portrayed somewhere in literature that didn’t involve a prison, drugs, homelessness, etc.  The change has to start somewhere, and so I am writing in one or two care experienced characters into my thriller, and they will feature prominently.

7) Who is your favourite literary character from childhood and why?….

I sadly don’t have one.  My childhood reading was mainly confined to comics and football stickers/albums.  There was no parental influence, and very few books at my disposal as a child, and so you could say I not only missed out, but have cultivated the non-reading habit into adult life.  Maybe that’s my next big challenge.  A book a month for a year, and see how I go.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oi-You-cker-Snowball-People/dp/1912183730

Blurb:

This is a harrowing personal voyage into the 1960-80s childcare system as experienced first-hand by the author and many like him. It was a brutally horrific system, that made countless victims of the very children it was designed to protect. These brutally horrific regimes, founded upon extraordinary levels of inhumanity, cruelty, violence, fear, and intimidation, brought children to their knees, brutalised, cowed and often in fear for their very existence.It was a stark, depressive, and oppressively dysfunctional system, that imposed perpetual physical suffering and mental hardship, upon its most vulnerable charges. It was a pernicious cycle of ritualised systematic abuse, inflicted on some of the most vulnerable children society could offer up.This was the environment that the ‘Unfortunates’ found themselves embedded in during the 1960s. It was a system that lacked care, thought, and all things humane. A system where the imposition of brutal physical and sexual abuse had become normalised, legitimised, embraced and ultimately, forcefully accepted. This was life in a local authority home. These were the homes of ‘the Damned’, where a catalogue of daily horrors were inflicted for the personal pleasure of those charged with the care of this hidden, and often forgotten, sub-culture of children who, through no fault of their own, were forced to embrace these traumas, and endure a fight for their very survival.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

The author, David Lee Jackson (1964 – Present) was born in Withington, Manchester in England, into an impoverished black family.  Within months of being born, he found himself on the wrong end of abusive parenting, being hospitalised and close to death.  

Eventually recovering and well enough to be treated as an out-patient, he was placed into foster care, where he was loved and he began to thrive.  Unforeseen circumstances forced him from this loving home, and he found himself at the brutal and often criminal mercies of an abusive and violent childcare system.  

The 1960s and 1970s British Childcare System cared little for the children under its control.  It was a brutal, degrading, violent and occasionally deadly environment, into which children were not only thrown like lambs to the slaughter, but were then expected to emerge as competent, capable, contributing members of the society that had so shamelessly failed them at every juncture. 

He survived by navigating his course through one violent and abusive encounter after another.  Living on his wits, and his fists where necessary, and longing for the day he would finally be freed from this physical and psychological turmoil.

David survived, educated himself, obtaining an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in International Business.  He has been an elected public official, served on a number of charity boards and forums, and is an active campaigner on social justice and equality issues.  David has worked in the criminal justice system, working with drug-addicted offenders, many with shared or similar backgrounds to his own, and he is a well-travelled and widely respected project management consultant.  

In 2018, David (under the name Snowball) published the widely praised and much talked about book, ‘Oi’ through the  Amazon network,  in which he detailed in all its brutally cold and horrifically  ignoble glory, the horrifying levels of abuse, brutality and criminality that he encountered, while being raised in the British Childcare System throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The book itself is a testament to the enduring resilience of all children living through adversity and both physical and psychological hardship, and an indictment of the casually brutal and often criminal systems, that inflict relentless brutality upon children it has been charged with caring for.

Reviews included:

…..Harrowing, Brutal and Truthful!  Buckle up and read Snowballs heart wrenching account of a life that no child should ever experience- prepare to be shocked to the core, be ready to feel every emotion…..(Brenda Lee)

……one of the most emotional journeys you will ever take with a child who survives unbelievable childhood adversity. At times it is almost too painful to witness, it truly is a tribute to the child and the man who wrote it……Amanda Knowles (MBE)

…..this book is as epic, as it is painful read at times and extremely sad!  It illustrates a time when Victorian child care was still in evidence even in the 60s, 70s & 80s and children were definitely to be seen and not heard………this book will educate……Anon

David is currently resident in the United Kingdom, where amongst other professional endeavours, he has embarked on a blossoming career as a Keynote Speaker and Motivational Presenter.  He has an adult son and enjoys the comfort of a vast extended family, that is spread across the entirety of the United kingdom.  

To quote David in words he would choose himself:  

………….Life has been a tough ride at times. It would have been easy, and acceptable to simply give up, to shrink, to fade away as expected.  However, there is an irrepressible force inside all of us called, the Human Spirit, and it constantly screams at me, ‘David, you may not be responsible for being down, but you are responsible for getting back up again’…………………and so I get up.

Twitter @OYFtheBook

5*, book review, non-fiction, true crime

#BookReview Manhunt: How I Bought Serial Killer Levi Bellfield To Justice by Colin Sutton. #TrueCrime #Manhunt @colinsutton @bonnierbooks_uk @jblakebooks

Manhunt by Colin Sutton.

If you like true crime then you will love this book, Manhunt by Colin Sutton is probably the best true crime book I have read. It sucked me right in and shocked me and upset me and made me feel almost every emotion out there. A very impressive book.

My Review:

I had wanted to read Manhunt by Colin Sutton for a good while before I finally got round to reading it. Like many I watched the television programme with the same name, staring Martin Clunes as Sutton. It was an excellent dramatisation but as someone who is fairly familiar with the crimes of Levi Bellfield I knew that a fair amount of dramatic licence had been used so it was time to read the book and hear the story from the man who led the police team who finally bought Bellfield to justice.

I’ve seen Sutton on various television programmes and I’ve always felt that he speaks well and knows he stuff. I was worried that the book would be full of how wonderful he is and how he almost single handedly caught Bellfield. But thankfully Sutton comes across as a team player, who appreciated his team and how hard they worked to catch the killer.

It is a shame that the blurb focuses on Milly Dowler, because this book is about so much more than her, and the other cases deserve to be as well known and talked about as Dowler.

The story is fascinating, the way in which Sutton and his team gradually pieced it all together, worked out that the killings and attempted murders were the work on the same person, the many hours of CCTV they trawled through and then eventually, the way they arrested Bellfield and then gathered further evidence as people finally felt safe to be able to talk about the things they had seen him do.

That bit was shocking and fascinating. So many people know just how awful a person Levi Bellfield is but were too scared to come forward while he was a free man. It was also really interesting to read how resources were thrown at Sutton and his team when they realised what a dangerous man Bellfield was, they were determined that Bellfield would not be able hurt anyone else while they compiled the evidence against him.

I really enjoyed reading this book, sure it is horrible to think that this really happened and Bellfield was able to hurt so many people over the years and how he managed to manipulate almost everyone to get what he wanted, but it was so interesting and a story that kept me hooked and desperate to keep reading.

Sutton surprised me as an author who was able to describe what had happened clearly and with impressive recall. I was surprised to read the criticism that he gave other police forces, especially the one responsible for investigating the disappearance of Milly Dowler.

If you are interested in true crime then this is a great book to read, if you have watched Manhunt and want to know more, then read this book. If you want to learn more about how the police go about solving major crimes, then this book is for you. So many people will get something out of this book, I got loads and it is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. Thank goodness Bellfield is in prison and will never be released to hurt and manipulate people again.

Blurb:

NOW A MAJOR TV DRAMA STARRING MARTIN CLUNES

What does it take to catch one of Britain’s most feared killers?

Levi Bellfield is one of the most notorious British serial killers of the last fifty years – his name alone evokes horror and revulsion, after his string of brutal murders in the early 2000s.

At 3:07pm on 21st March, 2002, Milly Dowler left her school in Surrey for the last time. Less than an hour later, she was to be abducted and murdered in the cruellest fashion, sparking a missing person investigation that would span months before her body was found.

In the two years that followed, two more young women – Marsha McDonnell and then Amélie Delagrange – were murdered in unspeakably brutal attacks.

Yet with three murdered women on their hands, and few leads open to them, investigating officers were running out of ideas and options, until SIO Colin Sutton was drafted into the investigation for the murder of Delagrange. Seeing a connection between the three women, and thriving under the pressure of a serial killer hunt, Sutton was finally able to bring their murderer to justice after the case had begun to seem hopeless.

Manhunt tells the story of how he led the charge to find a mystery killer, against the clock and against the odds – day by day and lead by lead. At once a gripping police procedural, and an insight into the life of an evil man, this is the story behind what it takes to track down a shockingly violent murderer before he strikes again.

About The Author:

Colin Sutton was a Senior Investigating Officer in the Metropolitan Police from January 2003 to January 2011, leading more than thirty successful murder investigations, notably the Levi Bellfield case and the successful re-investigation of the seventeen-year reign of terror of the ‘Nightstalker’ Delroy Grant.

Manhunt: How I Brought Serial Killer Levi Bellfield To Justice by Colin Sutton is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, book review, debut author, non-fiction

#BookReivew This is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay. @amateuradam #juniordoctor #NHS #saveournhs @picadorbooks #book

thisisgoingtohurt
This is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

Oh dear, I’m going through my blog and the books that I have read on Goodreads and it seems that with the craziness of this year I have missed some books out and they haven’t been reviewed. This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay is one of them, so here it is.

My Review:

I’d heard a fair bit about This is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay and I was keen to read it. I wanted to know why he had decided to leave the NHS, although I felt that I had a fair idea.

I used to be a midwife but I am no longer. The pressure put on NHS staff is crazy, especially when you consider how little they are paid. I am fully aware that since I left the NHS it has got a lot, lot worse.

This book was a great read, it made me laugh and it reminded me of why I left. And it was interesting that, in the end, we had both left the NHS for the same reason. Something happened that made us think ‘what are we doing and why are we doing this to ourselves?’ There was no good answer to that and so we did the sensible thing and left.

This book was full of funny stories but really it is a very sad book. I am so upset that the NHS has been destroyed and had so many cuts that the people working in the system are under unbearable pressure and I would love for the right people to read this book and take note and actually change what is happening!

Blurb:

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller and Humour Book of the Year
Winner of the Books Are My Bag Book of the Year
Winner of iBooks’ Book of the Year

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurtprovides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

As seen on ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club

About the Author:

adamkay1

Adam Kay is a writer and comedian
He writes extensively for TV and film. His first book “This is Going to Hurt” is out now.

 

 

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review, non-fiction

#BookReview Listening To The Animals: Becoming The Supervet. #ListeningToTheAnimals #Supervet @TrapezeBooks @ProfNoelFitz #vet #nonfictionbook #amreading #backablogger

 

becomingsupervet
Listening To The Animals: Becoming the Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick.

I don’t often read autobiographies but when I heard that Noel Fitzpatrick AKA The Supervet had written one I knew that it was one that I was going to read.

My Review:

I have watched Noel Fitzpatrick on television since his days on the BBC as The Bionic Vet. Of course, now he is better known as The Supervet, star of the Channel Four programme that has been shown on prime time tv for years.

From what I have seen about Noel, he really is someone very special, his dedication is clearly evident, as is his genuine love of animals, and the fact that he loves hugs.

I have often wondered about who he is, the man behind the vet. What drives him to work more hours in the day than is healthy? There has never been any mention of relationships or even friends outside the vet practice, but surely there must be some life outside of it? And why does he hug pretty much everyone that he meets?

Listening To The Animals answers all of those questions. Growing up on an Irish farm was clearly tough and taught Noel some valuable lessons about hard work, although I think that most people will agree that the hours that he puts in are not healthy. The bullying that he suffered was heartbreaking to read, how lonely and isolated he felt as a little boy with only a farm dog to talk to about his worries. I loved how he knew from so early on that he wanted to be a vet and my goodness I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of anyone working harder than he did to reach his goal. Serious respect to the man, whatever you may think of him, he is someone that will not be beaten and if one way of reaching his goal doesn’t work then he will find another way. Some of his stories were hilarious and had me chuckling away as I read.

I enjoyed reading about some of his hobbies that he loved and learnt from, although all fell to the wayside as work took over his life. And we also heard about relationships, here he was very honest with us, I’m not sure that I really needed to know how old he was when he lost his virginity, but it was an interesting chapter.

I also had no idea what went into building his practice, both in sweat and tears, but also money and debt. I told someone that I had read the book and the only thing that they said was ‘He must be so rich.’ I may have thought the same, but now I know better. He is not in the job for the money, it really is all about the animals.

He talked a lot about his love of Kiera, a little dog that he shares with a vet nurse because he is aware that his lifestyle is not one that would be fair for a dog. The relationship between man and their dog is a complex one, one that I think is often dismissed by people who have never had a dog and even some who have, but what makes Noel such an amazing vet is that he totally understands this. In fact, I think that he has a better understanding of that love and connection and how important it is than most people. I have a dog and I’ve been lucky enough to have had two other dogs who sadly died from old age, all three were part of my family but I am sure that I could not articulate the depth of the feeling that I have or have had for my dogs as well as Noel has.

At the time of writing the book, it appeared that Noel was single, I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for him, so if you’re reading this Noel and fancy meeting up then do get in touch!

Thank you to Trapeze Books for a copy of Listening To The Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER.

A powerful, heart-warming and inspiring memoir from the UK’s most famous and beloved vet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick – star of the Channel 4 series The Supervet.

Growing up on the family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, Noel’s childhood was spent tending to the cattle and sheep, the hay and silage, the tractors and land, his beloved sheepdog Pirate providing solace from the bullies that plagued him at school. It was this bond with Pirate, and a fateful night spent desperately trying to save a newborn lamb, that inspired Noel to enter the world of veterinary science – and set him on the path to becoming The Supervet.

Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Noel recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.

Noel has listened to the many lessons that the animals in his care have taught him, and especially the times he has shared with his beloved Keira, the scruffy Border Terrier who has been by Noel’s side as he’s dealt with the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of his extraordinary career.

As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Listening to the Animals is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals that makes us the very best we can be.

About The Author:

noelfitzpatrickSPECIALIST SMALL ANIMAL ORTHOPAEDIC-NEURO SURGEON


In 2005 he opened Fitzpatrick Referrals, the UK’s pre-eminent and largest dedicated small animal orthopaedic and neuro-surgical facility in Surrey, employing over 250 veterinary professionals and comprising superlative surgical, diagnostic and rehabilitation facilities.

Noel is the clinical chair and chief surgeon at Fitzpatrick Referrals. He is particularly experienced in minimally invasive arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery, spinal disc disease, limb deformities, joint replacement, regenerative medicine and limb salvage for severe trauma or cancer. He is widely appreciated for his innovative solutions to complex problems, whilst promoting and ensuring efficacy and ethicacy at all times. He has developed more than 30 new techniques including several world-firsts.

In 2009 he became the first veterinary surgeon in the world to successfully apply a cutting edge amputation prosthesis (called a PerFiTS) to a cat called Oscar who had lost both front paws in an accident. In 2015 Noel and Oscar each received a Guinness World Record for the achievement.

Noel opened a second state-of-the-art hospital in Surrey dedicated to Oncology and Soft Tissue in 2015, redefining the standard of cancer treatment and care for companion animals.

A further centre is being developed at the Eashing referral practice called Fitzpatrick Institute for the Restoration of Skeletal Tissue (FIRST). The purpose of the new facility is to provide a range of validated evidence based options for the treatment of complex conditions of the neuromusculoskeletal system. This includes marrying new advances in biomaterials with the revolution of regenerative medicine.

 

Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, book review, Guest Reviewer, non-fiction

#BlogTour #BookReview The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists by Michael Mulligan. @MotorCityMick @TrapezeBooks @Simon_Burnton @NOWMusic #Now100 #music #Christmas

Trapeze Xmas 2

Now this really is rather exciting. Trapeze who publishes a wide range of books it showcases just how wide that range is by having a 12 days of Christmas blog tour with each day featuring a different book that they have published this year.

I don’t know about you but I love the idea and think that it is a little bit different and really rather exciting. I quickly looked at the books that would feature on the tour and picked a few that I wanted to read and review. Firstly there was Noel the Supervet, as an avid watcher of his show I wanted to read his book, then there was The Craftman by the Brilliant Sharon Bolton, or perhaps Hangman by Daniel Cole, whose first book, Ragdoll, was blooming brilliant.

So many good books to choose from and so I rushed to get my choice in, keen to get a book that I really wanted. So when the email came back saying that I had a spot on the tour I wasn’t quite expecting it to be the book that it was. Somewhat confused I checked the email that I had sent and sure enough, in my haste, I had put a wrong number down. What was the book I hear you ask? It was Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists.

I do like music, just not that much. But here I was and I’d made a commitment so I was not quite sure what to do, a book like this deserved someone with a passion for music to review it, someone who used to wait eagerly for the release of that years’ Now That’s What I Call Music CD (or cassette!). Luckily, I knew just the person. Step in my brother, a music lover since he was a young boy and the perfect person to read and review the book.

nowmusic

Review:

Anyone who has had any kind of interest in pop music at any stage of their lives is likely to have owned and cherished a Now That’s What You Call Music album. They have chronicled the charts for 35 years, since their first brazen attempt to fleece the Christmas gift market in late 1983, and are still doing it in 2018, with Now 101 currently top of the compilation album charts (the top 20 also includes Now 100, Now That’s What I Call Christmas, Now That’s What I Call Love Songs, Now That’s What I Call Rock ‘n Roll, Now That’s What I Call Easy, Now That’s What I Call Disney, Now That’s What I Call Now (100 Hits from 100 Nows!), and the unrelated but engagingly titled 100 Percent Clubland EDM Bangers), plus board games, card games, interactive DVD games and the occasional book, of which The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists is the latest.

There’s an OK book in here somewhere. Some effort and talent was put into the research and writing of it, whereupon the copy was placed into the hands of the kid on work experience in the layout department, and it went downhill from there.

It’s a shame to be superficial, but it just doesn’t look very good. Each of the 100 artists has a two-page spread, one containing a photo and a brief biography focusing predominately on their compilation appearances and the other containing trivia related to some of the Now albums they featured on. Sometimes the biography is on the left page of the spread and the albums on the right, which makes a great deal of sense, and sometimes it’s the other way round, which is confusing. It is like the designer of a novel putting the words CHAPTER TWO in large letters on the top of the second page of chapter two, and leaving the reader to work out where the first page fits in. This is the most significant quibble, but nothing about the design impresses – not the fonts, not the panels, not the page numbers, literally none of it (though the front cover is quite good).

The trek through the 100 artists is occasionally broken up by random other stuff. There are, for example, two pages which list the titles of songs from Now compilations that have place names in them. It looks like it was written in 10 minutes and laid out in two, which makes it considerably more impressive than the pages dedicated to songs from Now compilations with the word kiss in the title. There is no way that any sentient human could find any of this interesting, and it looks worse than it reads. The book would be big enough without this random padding, and better to boot.

The publicity blurb boasts that it is “jam packed with amazing facts and ‘Well I never!’ moments”, which is not entirely hyperbolic. There are lots of interesting details that will raise the eyebrow of pop-nerds, mainly about unnoticed producers, uncredited celebrity backing vocalists and unexpected links with other Now-featured artists. If you think it is interesting that Johan Renck, a member of one-hit wonders Stakka Bo (Here We Go was on Now 26), directed the video for Pet Shop Boys’ She’s Madonna (Now 66), or that the same harmonica player appeared on Will Young’s Switch It On (Now 62) and All Around the World by Oasis (Now 63), and you don’t mind a bit of amateurish layout, then this book is for you.
Now albums have always featured top-notch design and their website is phenomenal, but it’s a shame that the people responsible for that sterling work were on their tea break in the five minutes that this book was put together.

Blurb:

Everyone remembers their first NOW album. Since NOW That’s What I Call Music Volume 1 was released in 1983 on double vinyl and double cassette, NOW has become synonymous with pop music and has featured some of the most iconic artists of the last three decades.

To celebrate the release of the 100th NOW album, The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists looks back at some of the most memorable – and occasionally regrettable – hits of the last 35 years!

Jam packed with amazing facts and ‘Well I never!’ moments about the 4,000+ artists to have graced the NOW track listings – from Phil Collins to Pharrell, Bananarama to Lady Gaga and Peter Andre to Pet Shop Boys – The Story of NOWis a celebration of pop music through the decades. So plug in your earphones and pump up the volume, because this party is just getting started!

About The Author:

michaelmulligan
Michael Mulligan taken from Twitter.

Michael Mulligan was born on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea, in Essex, which is where he purchased his first single, ‘School’s Out’ by Alice Cooper. As a teenager he’d buy as many as five music newspapers each week (when there were such things) and would gauge the growth of his music knowledge by his ability to finish the crossword puzzle.

Shortly before NOW That’s What I Call Music Volume 17 was released he got a job in his local record shop. For the next twenty-five years he worked in all manner of music retailers, and more recently he has been a consultant for record labels, mining their archives for overlooked gems.

Michael once made Kylie Minogue laugh, and has the photographic evidence to prove it. Though it is entirely possible she was just being polite. He lives in north London with two cats, a patient and indulgent wife and a ‘no way too large’ record collection.

The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists by Michael Mulligan is out now and is available from Amazon UK.

3*, blog tours, book review, giveaway, non-fiction

#BlogTour #BookReview A Pawlife Guide Dog Care At Home by Gina Harding. @rararesources @pawlifeau #dog #giveaway

PawLife Guide Dog Care at Home Full Tour Banner

As a confirmed dog lover I was keen to read Dog Care At Home by Gina Harding and be part of the blog tour.

My Review:

I was keen to read The PawLife Guide: Dog Care at Home by Gina Harding. It’s a short guide to all things dog written by an Australian dog blogger who has now decided to put her tips into a book.

The book covers everything from choosing a puppy through to saying goodbye to your older pet, first aid to feeding and training to toileting.

Overall I thought that it is a decent guide for a new dog owner. I’ve had dogs for most of my adult life so the book is clearly not aimed at me, but the book is quite simplistic and has some rather huge omissions.

I was surprised that there was no mention of puppy farms when talking about getting a puppy, no advice about how to avoid them and also nothing about making sure that the parents had been health tested for whatever is applicable for that breed. I would say that including that is very important. I found it interesting too that there was no mention of crate training your puppy, given that crate training is very popular around the world I was surprised that it wasn’t discussed. But I suspect that it wasn’t included because Gina herself hadn’t used one with her dog, the book did seem to be a guide to what Gina does with little discussion about other options which was a shame.

But I still think that this is a great book for a new dog owner, or perhaps for someone considering getting a dog. It is easy to read and will give lots of things to think about, getting a dog is a huge commitment and is not something to be taken on lightly and it is a good thing to do as much research as you can before. Although set in Australia there aren’t that many Australia only references which is good. Gina clearly has a lot of knowledge when it comes to dogs and she’s written a great guide that I’m sure all of us will learn something from, I learnt more about dog CPR than I knew before which is great!

Thank you to Gina Harding for a copy of The PawLife Guide: Dog Care at Home, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Pawlife - gharding-pawlife-guide-cover-d1The PawLife Guide: Dog Care at Home

DOG CARE AT HOME gives you the information you need to have a happy and healthy dog no matter what your dog’s current stage in life, in just 10 minutes a day. Over 200 hours of research including interviews with veterinarians and fellow dog owners around the world,

Dog Care at Home is the all-in-one book to have at home, with six veterinarians that have contributed to this ultimate guide, rest assured you are in reliable hands.

Inside you will discover:

– Choosing the right breed
– The basic steps of raising a puppy
– What vaccinations are for and why your dog needs them
– Travelling with your dog
– How to perform CPR on your dog
– Health and hygiene including dental care
– Choosing the right veterinarian
– When it’s time to say goodbye
– And much more!

PawLife’s Dog Care at Home is the answer for all your dog parenting needs in one comprehensive guide that ensures your dog lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Purchase from Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Dog-Care-Home-Ultimate-Healthy-ebook/dp/B07HGR9ZNF

Author Bio

pawlife-gina-harley-author-photoGina is an enthusiastic dog lover, so much so that she founded her own dog blog business called PawLife, which has been awarded top 10 Australian Dog Blog. This wouldn’t be possible without her best friend Harley, who is a toy poodle mix. They are continually going on new adventures, testing out new squeaky toys.

Gina recently discovered her writing passion and wanted to create the ultimate guidebook that would support, educate and inspire pet parents and yet to be pet parents around the world. Gina and Harley are originally from Australia, where the weather is always beautiful. This is Gina’s first book and looks forward to writing many more to help fellow pet-parents; with her fur-baby Harley by her side.

Social Media Links – 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pawlifeau/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com.au/PawLifeAU/

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/pawlifeau/

Website- http://pawlife.com.au/

Giveaway – Win a 12 Piece Dog Toy Starter Box from Zenify (Open Internationally)

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If you want to be in with a chance of winning this brilliant prize then click here to enter. Good luck!!!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

4*, book review, Children's books, historical fiction, non-fiction

#BookReview Wojtek war hero bear by Jenny Robertson. @Jenny_Writes #Wojtek @LoveBooksGroup #kidsbooks #war #bear #book

 

Wojtek book cover (1)
Wojtek war hero bear by Jenny Robertson.

My Review:

What a lovely little book this is. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed reading about Wojtek war hero bear. It seemed like such an implausible story yet Wojtek really did stand with Polish soldiers.

What shines through in this book is the great character that Wojtek was and how important he became to the soldiers that he was with and what a huge boost he gave them.

I was disappointed to learn at the end that not all of the characters were real, but given the time that has passed since the events in the book took place that isn’t really surprising that some of the story has been lost.

I’d never heard of Wojtek before, I had no idea that a bear had helped the Polish army in the second world war. It really is a heartwarming story. I liked the way that the story was told, sometimes we heard what Wojtek was thinking but most of the time told as if by an observer. It is simple in language and I think that it could be read by children aged 10 and over, but adults will enjoy the book too.

The illustrations also need a mention, for they match the writing in the simple way that they are presented but they fit very well with the story and I enjoyed seeing them a lot.

If you’re interested in reading about wars then this book will be sure to give you a different and unique story. If you don’t enjoy reading about the war then don’t let that put you off, it is the amazing story of Wojtek that is the story, and it is one that is well worth reading.

Thank you to the publisher Birlinn, for a copy of the book. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The Wojtek MonumentWhen a tiny orphaned bear cub is adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II, little does anyone know that little Wojtek will become one of the bravest fighters of them all. As the soldiers train to take part in some of the fiercest fighting of the war, Wojtek grows up, providing headaches and laughter in equal measure as he learns to drink beer, chase horses and wrestle with his human friends. But at Monte Cassino, as the Allies try and dislodge German troops from their mountain-top eyrie, Wojtek, now a fully signed-up solider with his own rank and number, comes into his own, dodging the bullets to carry ammunition to his comrades as they inch their way to victory. After the war, the Polish solders move to Scotland. Wojtek comes too and soon becomes the centre of attention in a new country. But with hostilities ended, how long can he keep his freedom? Best-selling children’s author Jenny Robertson explores the themes of friendship and trust in this moving and inspirational story.

About the Author:

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Jenny Robertson has written numerous books for children and adults – fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her children’s novels and Bible stories have been widely translated and also read on Yorkshire Television and STV.
 
 

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To buy Wojtek war hero bear by Jenny Robertson click here:  https://goo.gl/c4nRTp