blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Rock n The Roll n That… – Steven J. Gill*

“Rock ‘n’ roll is a nuclear blast of reality in a mundane world where no-one is allowed to be magnificent.” The former manager of The Runaways said that. The mad bastard. And Johnny Harrison swore by it. He had to. Almost forty, fully paid up member of the rat race and bored sh*tless. He had to believe in something. Then something happened. Something magnificent. A once in a lifetime band dropped out of the sky and right into his lap. A band unaware of just how great they could be. A band that had no idea what was about to hit them. A band that needed someone to light the fuse. That someone was Johnny Harrison and the truth was he needed them so much more. They were his ticket out. That’s how it is with THE ROCK ‘N’ THE ROLL. ‘N’ THAT. Buy your ticket and take the ride.

Goodreads

Amazon

Steven J. Gill is from Manchester, living just south of the city centre.

This is his first book. Previously, his writing work was limited to music and football fanzines.

He has had quite the varied career, ranging from finance, delivering enterprise days to schools, undertaker and. driver.

A self-confessed cats, coats and Beatles obsessive.

Very much in right time and right place in the early 80’s and 90’s and duly devoured all that the Manchester music scene had to offer. Talked a lot of nonsense and managed a couple of bands that never unite made it big. Sings like a donkey braying into a bucket but a very good musical ear would be a fitting epitaph…

Having had somewhat of a literary epiphany at the inaugural Festival No.6 in North Wales, Steven decided it was time to set to and get writing. ‘The Rock ‘n’ The Roll. ‘ N” That…’ is the fruit of these labours.”

As some Scouse pop genius once opined, “it took me years to write, so won’t you take a look…”

Website

Twitter

Instagram

If I’m being brutally honest, this wasn’t my cup of tea, but it is a helter skelter of a book, the plot zips along and it’s very readable. I just struggled to get into it, I guess I didn’t relate to the characters much.

The music industry has changed hugely in the last twenty years, social media and YouTube has made the way musicians reach their fans and become famous so beyond the way the pre-internet industry worked.

Even though it’s set in modern Manchester, it definitely has that vintage music scene feel. When you could find a band in a bar and make them the next big thing if you have the connections and determination.

*This post contains items gifted to me in exchange for an honest review but all opinions remain my own.

instagram, life, mental health

#10YearChallenge or Not

You may have seen all the 2009 vs 2019 photos on social media, you may have even posted your own photo comparison, and for the most part they’re great fun, seeing the changes 10 years have wrought. However there is a darker side to this trend.

Dr Melissa Fabello,who writes abour such interesting things as the intersection of sexuality and eating disorders, posted on her stories why she wouldn’t be sharing her 2009 photos. In 2009 she was struggling with an eating disorder herself and in a dark place. Comparing her self was not a funny topic, but a painful one.

I understand that all too well. In 2009 I was struggling with my own demons. A year before I had graduated from university with a solid 2:1 into a financial collapse. Suddenly all the great graduate jobs were gone, companies were not hiring and the industries I was interested in had closed their doors (some would not survive this).

I was pretty miserable, the depression I have struggled with pretty much all my life was reading its ugly head and I was at a loose end. I still worked intermittently for the local council’s Children & Young People’s team; but that too would end as budgets were cut.

My mum, who may actually know me better than I know myself, seeing how lost I was told me to apply for a course. I studied to become a TEFL teacher – something I’ve not exactly made use of. It was an incredibly tough, emotionally draining course. But it had me using my brain, had me reading and writing essays. I really enjoyed it.

I have an analytical mind that also has an anxiety disorder. This is not a good mix – I know this now. 2009 was a year I had to get through. 2010 was better. I got a job I would have for the next 5 years, met one of my best friends and the man who is now my husband.

I won’t be sharing my 2009 vs 2019 photos (mostly because there aren’t any) because who I was then and who I am now aren’t hugely different but they’re different enough that the comparison isn’t worth making.

books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #13 Clever Ruse

This month’s Illumicrate has arrived! Yay and it’s a really cool one too.

There are 2 exclusive editions inside along with a host of bookish goodies.

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean. This gorgeous hardback edition has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges and a signed bookplate.

Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce. An exclusive edition of one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors.

Circus Top Banner designed by @Illumicrate – inspired by The Night Circus and Caravel. I’m going to transfer all my book related pins to this.

Stag Amulet Necklace designed by @fableandblack – this was the first item I picked out of the box – I don’t think it’s something I’d wear but it will look excellent hung up in my book lair.

Diner Drink Cosy art work by @gicatam – this made me squeak out loud. I love To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, both the book and film so this is super cute.

Warcross Woodmark artwork by @chattynora – I read Warcross with my book club earlier this year and found it interesting. I collect bookmarks and this is going to hang out with its new pals.

Mulan inspired scarf artwork by Feifei Ruan @ruan0v0 – this is beautiful. Silky and soft, I can’t wait to gently tuck this in around my neck.

Bonus items: The Poppy War, This Mortal Coil.

I loved this box, a beautiful mix of books and lovely items all lovingly designed and curated. The Illumicrate team are doing a fantastic job putting these boxes together for all of us book loving souls.

books, reviews

Book Review; The Relic Guild Trilogy – Edward Cox

The first Relic Guild book (called The Relic Guild) introduces us to the remaining members of the Guild, 40 years after they last worked together.

Their old enemy Fabian Moor has reappeared in Labrys Town and chaos follows in his wake. The Guild must come together again and find a way to defeat their enemies one last time.

Flipping between the present day and the events of forty years before, this three book fantasy romp heads into the labyrinth surrounding the town and worlds beyond it.

Each volume rachets up the adventure and peril as our heroes race against time to stop an army of demons from destroying everyone in the town and beyond.

To begin with I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this series as I felt the first book was a bit slow getting going (I am an inpatient reader) and it took me a while to get into the plot. However once it did I raced through it and was eager to get into book two (The Cathedral of Dead Things).

books, reviews

Book Review: Empress of all Seasons – Emiko Jean

Set in an alternative feudal era Japan-like country, this story follows Mari, born a yokai or demon, and her attempt to become Empress.

The Emperor has had built 4 rooms, one for each season, that prospective empresses must conquer to win the hand of the reluctant Prince Taro.

Mari has been trained for this her whole life by her mother, an Animal Wife – who seduce wealthy men, marry them and steal their fortunes before retreating to their secretive village in the mountains.

Meanwhile in the capital city yokai are forced to wear iron collars that cause them pain and serve the humans. However a revolution is brewing and Mari’s friend Akira is drawn in.

This is a really interesting book, Japanese mythology is rich with unusual creatures, ghosts and monsters. Emiko Jean has woven just a few into this tale of survival – ancient beings against the humans who would wipe them out or enslave them.

The plot is gripping, with shades of the Hunger Games, drawing on the rich mythology and geography of Japan’s islands. The characters are well rounded and likeable.

The way it ends suggests there could be a sequel but it can also be read as a standalone novel.

It’s refreshing to have a different traditional backdrop in YA, rather than the Western mythos that has been common over the last few years (minus a few books like the excellent Jade City). I’m interested to see where the author goes next.

art, Christmas, gift guide, reviews

Under the Tree: Print Panoramics

Another day, another excellent option for your Christmas shopping.

Print Panoramics are a cool online company that help you create amazing prints from your photos – something that would make a fantastic gift for a loved one.

You pick the size, style and type of print, upload your image and the team will print it for you, ensuring it looks the best.

The team at Print Panoramics have kindly offered my readers a 15% discount, valid until 31/12/2018 (UK only, includes shipping, minimum spend £50). Enter code MADSPP15

You can also follow Print Panoramics on Instagram and see some of their great images.

lifestyle boxes, mental health, mindfulness, reviews

Review: Cancer Care Parcel

Cancer has affected everyone I know in some way or another.

When I was 18 my paternal grandmother died after a long fight against lung cancer that eventually spread through her whole body to her brain.

It was difficult to see her become weaker and more fragile. Cancer treatments were debilitating and had some pretty terrible side effects.

The people behind Cancer Care Parcel want to help alleviate some of the stress and worry patients and their families are dealing with.

Each package has been tailored with practical and fun items that meet specific needs.

I was kindly sent this Deluxe Box for women to share with you and it’s a fantastic assortment of items.

As well as their incredible boxes, which are available for all genders and children too, the website offers social networks, advice and information for cancer patients, family and friends.


I think that if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone dealing with cancer, one of these boxes could be a really good idea. And the parcels are now on sale too.