Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Review - The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner

The Daughter of Victory LightsThe Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher for Review
Paperback362 pages
Published January 20th 2020 by HQ Fiction



1945: After the thrill and danger of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners from German bombers overhead, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back to her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risqu� and lively performance, she grabs the opportunity to join the misfit crew and escape her dreary future.

At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger and bigger, so too do the risks the performers are driven to take, as well as the growing emotional complications among the crew. Until one desperate night ...

1963: Lucy, an unloved and unwanted little girl, is rescued by a mysterious stranger who says he knows her mother. On the Isle of Wight, Lucy is welcomed into an eclectic family of ex-performers. She is showered with kindness and love, but gradually it becomes clear that there are secrets they refuse to share. Who is Evelyn Bell?'

My Thoughts:
Overall I found this a unique story that contained interesting characters that draws you in and keep you turning the pages to see what will happen to them next.

I loved the main character Evelyn's strong mind and determination to lead the type of life that she wanted rather than just settling down to get married and have kids as was expected of women back in those days.

The description of the events on the Victory and the imagery created around the boat was the best part of the book in my opinion. I really enjoyed reading about the events on the boat and seeing behind the scenes of what it would be like to be a part of a show like that. I'd actually really like to see something like this in real life if it ever existed.

When the story turned to young Lucy I felt very sorry for this poor little girl and can't imagine how these people who were supposed to be her family could be so hateful and cruel. It was interesting to see her character develop as she learns more about her real mother and father after coming into an environment where she is actually cared for and treated like a person who matters.

To be completely honest, I did find this book moved a little slow at times which has to be my only criticism, because other than that it was an enjoyable read.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Review - The Punk Rock of Business by Jeremy Dale

The Punk Rock of Business: Applying a Punk Rock Attitude in the Modern Business EraThe Punk Rock of Business: Applying a Punk Rock Attitude in the Modern Business Era by Jeremy Dale
Source: Netgalley
Kindle Edition397 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Greenleaf Book Group Press
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Author Jeremy Dale believes that too many businesses create an environment that encourages mediocrity and corporate norms that deliver lukewarm results at best. In The Punk Rock of Business, Dale offers a road map away from average and towards innovation through a mindset rooted in punk rock principles. In this fast-paced, actionable guidebook, readers will find:

-Eight punk rock principles to help you redefine your place in the corporate world–for the better

-A set of characteristics to strive for that will liberate you and accelerate your success

-Countless examples—drawing on both the classic stories from the music genre's industry-changing legacy and Dale's years of business success—to illustrate these principles and characteristics in action

-Straightforward lessons and actions to start taking today—right now—to break through corporate norms and build something greater

Punk rockers had a cause. They aimed for authenticity and refused to conform. In doing so, they created a dramatic change that shook society to its core. It was a much needed wake-up call for the conservative part of the music industry. Jeremy Dale wants you to do the same in the business world, and in The Punk Rock of Business, he gives you the tools you need to accomplish that goal.'

My Thoughts:
When I first saw this book the title is what grabbed me straight away as it seemed like a very interesting concept. I am a small business owner myself so I was very curious to know more about how a punk rock attitude could help with that.

There were some really interesting stories and case studies presented throughout this book which clearly shows the author's extensive experience. But, it did get a little bit repetitive in some sections which started to put me off and meant I ended up skimming through certain parts.

I loved all the punk rock references and they made this book a bit more fun than your average non-fiction, business books normally are.

I really would have liked a bit more actual advice given in the book rather than just stories, but the short action points at the end of each chapter were good as they give the reader some guidance on how to move forward and implement some of the concepts that were discussed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Review - The Playful Entrepreneur: How to Adapt and Thrive in Uncertain Times by Mark Dodgson

The Playful Entrepreneur: How to Adapt and Thrive in Uncertain TimesThe Playful Entrepreneur: How to Adapt and Thrive in Uncertain Times by Mark Dodgson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Kindle Edition280 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Yale University Press
Source: Netgalley

'A compelling account of how incorporating play into work can help us overcome the uncertainty and turbulence that surrounds work

How can we learn to deal with uncertainty at work? The answer, as Dodgson and Gann eloquently portray in this pathfinding book, is to learn from the adaptive behaviors of entrepreneurs. Play, the authors show, is a crucial component of this. It encourages exploration, experimentation, and curiosity while it also challenges established practices and orthodoxies. It facilitates change in people and organizations.
Drawing on in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and innovators, this book explains why we should incorporate play into work, what play looks like, and how to encourage playfulness in individuals and organizations. Dodgson and Gann identify four key behaviors that endorse, encourage, and guide play: grace, craft, fortitude, and ambition, and provide a blueprint for an alternative way of working that fosters resilience and encourages innovation and growth in difficult times.'

My Thoughts:
Initially, I really liked and was intrigued by the concept of this book but unfortunately I just didn't feel the same way while I was actually reading it.

I found some of the case studies way too detailed so they lost my interest along the way. I must admit I ended up skimming over quite a lot of what I thought were unnecessary details to try and get to the eventual point of each chapter.

I think if the delivery of the concepts in this book were more to the point with a lot of the fluff taken out, the messages it was trying to portray would have been so much clearer and interesting.

I have run my own business for almost 10 years now so am always after interesting ideas to take up and use to improve our culture and how our workplace feels, but this book just ended up being a little too overwhelming to me.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Review - The Postmistress by Alison Stuart

The PostmistressThe Postmistress by Alison Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Paperback395 pages
Published June 17th 2019 by HarperCollins
Source: Publisher for Review

'A stunning historical tale of loss, desire and courage that is full of the terror and the beauty of the Australian bush, for readers of The Thorn BirdsThe Naturalist's Daughter and The Widow of Ballarat.
To forge a new life she must first deal with her past...
1871. Adelaide Greaves and her young son have found sanctuary in the Australian town of Maiden's Creek, where she works as a postmistress. The rough Victorian goldmining settlement is a hard place for a woman - especially as the other women in town don't know what to make of her - but through force of will and sheer necessity, Adelaide carves out a role.
But her past is coming to find her, and the embittered and scarred Confederate soldier Caleb Hunt, in town in search of gold and not without a dark past of his own, might be the only one who can help. Can Adelaide trust him? Can she trust anyone?
When death and danger threaten - some from her past, some borne of the Australian bush - she must swallow her pride and turn to Caleb to join her in the fight, a fight she is determined to win...'
My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and although it is not a genre I typically pick up often I am glad I decided to give it a go.

This isn't your typical, air-headed, sickly romance which is what I enjoyed about it the most. There was a lot more to the story and what I appreciated the most was all of the historical references and the picture that was painted in my head of the old mining town of Maiden's Creek. The author has definitely done her research and it really shows in how she describes everything in such great detail to really make you feel like you are there.

The main character Adelaide was a very believable, strong-minded woman. I liked the fact she was portrayed in this manner rather than your typical air-headed, weak female that is commonly written about in books of this era. She was determined and could think for herself and didn't need anyone else to rely on to make a life for her and her son.

I thought Caleb was a very likeable character as well as he was realistic and had faults which gave him depth and made you want to see everything work out for him in the end.

I appreciated the fact that the romance angle was more of a slow burn rather than a 'fall head over heels in an instant' kind of thing and it made me really want to keep reading to see how it was all going to develop. The romance between Adelaide and Caleb was definitely a big part of the storyline but there was still enough going on in other areas to make the book interesting and keep me invested in reading.

This is the first book I have read by author Alison Stuart and has made me think to try out some of her other books in the future.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review: David Attenborough: Life on Air by David Attenborough

David Attenborough: Life on AirDavid Attenborough: Life on Air by David Attenborough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Paperback2nd416 pages
Published 2010 by BBC Books (first published 2002)
Source: Own copy

'David Attenborough hardly needs any introduction; his voice has accompanied so many of the best natural history programs that have graced our televisions over several decades. Life On Air, his autobiography, tells the story of how he has managed to professionalise his schoolboy interests in such a remarkably successful way.
Attenborough's Life On Air began in 1950, having taken a degree in Natural Sciences in the University of Cambridge, done National Service in the Navy, got married, done a year as an editor with an educational publisher, had a son and then answered a BBC recruiting ad in the Times. Turned down for BBC Radio, he was offered a traineeship in BBC TV which was pioneering the medium in Britain and he has never looked back. The rest is TV history and you can read Sir David's personal view of it all in his engaging and highly entertaining book.
This is no boring story of the rise and rise of a media mogul in the smoke-filled rooms of Ally Pally and Lime Grove. Having served his apprenticeship producing programmes like Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? and Song Hunter with the famous American folk singer and song collector Alan Lomax, he managed to escape from the confines of overlit studios into the natural world. Zoo Quest began in 1954 with an animal collecting trip to Sierra Leone and David Attenborough had found his metier. Since then he has managed to bring the wonders of the natural world into millions of living rooms around the world and to reach general audiences without patronising them, without any spurious antics, silly voices or dumbing down. His animal and plant subjects are the stars, Attenborough is the master of ceremonies who introduces the acts for our wonder and amazement. But his scope extends way beyond the birds and the bees.
In the 1960s, it was suggested that he took up an administrative post--"after all, you won't want to be gallivanting around the world when you are 50". Fortunately, he did not abandon gallivanting for admin but went freelance, studied anthropology and helped extend our view of native peoples and sympathies for their life styles. He went on to become responsible for coming up with famous BBC TV series such as Kenneth Clark's incredibly successful Civilisation series, followed by Bronowski's The Ascent of Man. Inevitably, he did become one of the BBC suits but one that wore a camouflage jacket.
What is remarkable is that Attenborough has managed to do it for so long without really changing his own style too much. He has not had to because the technology has changed and so he has constantly been able to give new views and insights into the details of life on Earth. Writing pretty much as he speaks, it is easy to hear his voice, dry sense of humour and generosity coming through all the time. Do not expect to read personal details, navel-gazing or malicious gossip--that is not his style. The only personal note comes at the end with the death of his wife in 1997. Over 100 photos associated with the huge range of programmes he has been intimately involved with decorate Life On Air, a fascinating personal story of our times. He says that he knows of "no pleasure deeper than that which comes from contemplating the natural world and trying to understand it"; he certainly manages to convey that in Life On Air. --Douglas Palmer'
My Thoughts:
I am surprised at how much I really did enjoy this book. I've always been such a major fan of David Attenborough and have watched his documentaries since as long as I can remember.

I was always so grateful that my parents introduced me to these types of programs which developed my interest in natural history and the world around us and I have tried so hard to do the same with my children. I am pleased to say that my 8 year old son has a huge love for David Attenborough and his fascinating way of presenting things just as much as I have and we enjoy nothing more than sitting down and watching anything of his that comes on the television.

I am amazed at the fascinating and interesting life that David has led and cannot fathom how much he has seen and experienced in all his travels. He is a born story teller and I found that I read this entire book as if it was his voice in my head which made it all the more enjoyable.

I'm not usually much of a big reader of biographies or auto-biographies/memoir types books unless it is someone that I really have an interest in and I am so glad that I decided to give this one a chance. I struggled to put it down in some parts because I was so fascinated by what he was doing or where he was at the time and loved how he even described the differences in camera and filming techniques over the years to really give perspective on how things have changed.

If you're a fan of David Attenborough at all I strongly suggest you read this book.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Monster Of All Time

by J.T. Hunter

on Tour July 1-31, 2019


A Monster Of All Time by J.T. Hunter

The True Story of Danny Rolling, The Gainesville Ripper

Ambitious, attractive, and full of potential, five young college students prepared for the new semester. They dreamed of beginning careers and starting families. They had a lifetime of experiences in front of them. But death came without warning in the dark of the night.

Brutally ending five promising lives, leaving behind three gruesome crime scenes, the Gainesville Ripper terrorized the University of Florida, casting an ominous shadow across a frightened college town.

What evil lurked inside him?

What demons drove him to kill?

What made him A Monster of All Time?

Book Details:

Genre: True Crime
Published by: RJ Parker Publishing
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1987902521 (ISBN13: 9781987902525)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

January 1987
Parchman, Mississippi

The prisoner raged in his lonely cell.
"When they let me out of here," the prisoner swore to himself, "I’ll make them all pay."
Years of condemnation and contempt had taken its toll, breaking him down, eroding his spirit, destroying all sense of hope. Now only the anger remained.
Cast into the bowels of Parchman Prison, the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary, the prisoner had suffered daily torments during his confinement, each day falling deeper and deeper into despair. Raw sewage regularly seeped into his cell through the floor and flowed from a broken drain down the hall, flooding the cramped 8 x 10 feet concrete space with a revolting grey-brown liquid and an unrelenting stench.
Kept in this torturous isolation, his besieged brain had betrayed him, replaying the grievous moments of his life, all of the humiliations and feelings of helplessness, every piercing word, and every raw, painful memory. It was a constant reminder that the world had always been a hurtful place of violence, animosity, and aversion, never one of empathy or understanding.
Desperate to escape the unrelenting torment, he retreated ever deeper into the labyrinth of his own mind, creeping ever closer to madness. It was in that maze of insanity that he found himself. Or rather, something found him.
In the bleak, all-encompassing darkness, something whispered his name.
Faceless and formless, the voice seemed to emanate both from the impenetrable blackness surrounding him and from the shadowy depths of his own consciousness. The voice soothed and seduced him, its language both alien and familiar. It promised the strength to survive whatever nightmares awaited the remainder of his confinement. It offered the tools of revenge for his present condition, for all of the wrongs committed against him in the past, and for the scorn and mistreatment yet to come. Most of all, it promised the power to make others feel the suffering he had so long endured.
Then a name imprinted itself into his brain, uttered from an unseen shape in the darkness, or muttered from the murky depths of memory.
"Gemini," an eerie voice proclaimed. "I am Gemini."
At that moment, an infernal compact was crafted, a devil’s contract offering redemption for the damned, a demonic covenant accepted regardless of the terms. Caring nothing for the consequences, the prisoner embraced the assurance of vengeance, pledging revenge for the countless injuries inflicted upon him. Just as a cold, uncaring world had robbed him of his humanity and stolen years of his life, he would take the lives of others in an equal and equitable proportion. A new sense of purpose washed over him, bringing with it a rebirth, a recognition of what he needed to do.
And now he waited, marking the days with hidden malice, the bitter darkness of his cell matched only by the malevolence of his twisted, tainted soul.
Excerpt from A Monster Of All Time by J.T. Hunter. Copyright 2018 by J.T. Hunter. Reproduced with permission from J.T. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

J.T. Hunter
J.T. Hunter is an attorney with over fourteen years of experience practicing law, including criminal law and appeals, and he has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He is also a college professor in Florida where his teaching interests focus on the intersection of criminal psychology, law, and literature.
JT's bestselling true crime books include:

  • Devil in The Darkness: True Story of Serial Killer ISRAEL KEYES
  • The Country Boy Killer: The True Story of Serial Killer Cody Legebokoff
  • In Colder Blood: True Story of the Walker Family Murder as depicted in Truman Capote’s, In Cold Blood
  • Deadly Deception: True Story of Tampa Serial Killer, Bobby Joe Long
  • Death Row Romeo: The True Story of Serial Killer Oscar Ray Bolin
  • The Vampire Next Door: True Story of the Vampire Rapist and Serial Killer

  • Catch Up With J.T. Hunter On:
    jthunter.org, Goodreads, BookBub, & Facebook!

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

    Enter Giveaway!:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2019 and runs through August 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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    Sunday, June 30, 2019

    Review - The Last Savanna by Mike Bond

    The Last SavannaThe Last Savanna by Mike Bond
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars
    Source: Netgalley

    'With Africa's last elephants dying under the poachers' guns, Kenya rancher and former SAS officer Ian MacAdam leads a commando squad against them. Pursuing the poachers through jungled mountains and searing deserts he battles thirst, solitude, terror and lethal animals, only to find that the poachers have kidnapped a young archaeologist, Rebecca Hecht, whom he once loved and bitterly lost. 

    McAdam embarks upon a desperate trek to save not only Rebecca but his own soul in an Africa torn apart by wars, overpopulation, and the slaughter of its last wildlife. Based on the author's experiences pursuing elephant poachers in the wilds of East Africa.'

    My Thoughts:
    I found The Last Savanna a very descriptive book that makes you really feel and see what's going on while you read it. There are a couple of parts where you are reading the thoughts of a poor lion and elephant when they are being killed and I literally felt sick due to how awful it all was.

    Several times while reading this book I really had to stop and wonder how sad it is that there are humans on earth that can the things described because they are just so desperate to live and have no other choice.

    You constantly feel sorry for all of the characters and there really is no positive things I can mention, but I guess this dark and desperate mood is exactly what the author was going for to really open up the eyes of the reader.

    I did struggle to finish reading this book and really had to force myself to push through to the end. The ending did surprise me and made me feel even more disappointed because it definitely wasn't what I was expecting to happen. After reading The Last Savanna I felt extremely glad that I don't live in those conditions or have to deal with the issues raised on a daily basis.

    In all honesty I just found this book really sad. I know that the author is trying to get a very important message across about what happens in this part of the world so I guess they've done a good job.

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