blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Betsy Roberts – N.G. Neville

This incredible story is based on true events concerning young Betsy Roberts – how she was kidnapped, abused but survived America’s first serial killers – the evil Harpe brothers – how she outlived and ultimately profited using her wits and sheer determination.

Betsy Roberts, a young woman from Kentucky is brutally kidnapped by notorious outlaws Micajah and Wiley Harpe who abuse then exploit her. The novel describes how Betsy uses her wits and courage to survive, and then ultimately prosper despite the most appalling conditions and treatment she suffers, in the wilderness of late eighteenth century America. She gradually becomes tainted by the evil, murderous activities of the Harpe brothers who, amongst other things, use her as bait to lure travelers to their deaths. She does this under duress initially but later becomes indifferent, even to the extent of being a willing accomplice.

Part 2 of the novel describes her long, gruelling journey of escape to New York in the early eighteen hundreds. It covers how she became a key figure there, developing businesses, illicit and legal, and the family dynasty she establishes.

The story is an extraordinary and gripping tale of horrific violence, a kaleidoscope of extraordinary characters, settings and and yet also incredible willpower, survival instincts. Betsy ultimately becomes a strong, determined woman but also uses almost any means to achieve her ends.

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N.G. Neville is the pseudonym or pen name of Geoff Burke and Nick Fisher, co-authors of ‘BETSY ROBERTS’ their first major novel. It was preceded by a shorter novel entitled ‘DEGENERATION The Story of Betsy Roberts’ which forms the first part of the full novel ‘BETSY ROBERTS’.

A sequel or more accurately prequel, a collection of short or not so short in some cases, stories will be published in 2021. It has a working title ‘DEATH and SALVATION’. Many of the amazing characters in ‘BETSY ROBERTS’ are present before they appear in the full novel. How they got to where they were in the novel forms a fascinating collection of truly extraordinary stories.

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My thoughts: inspired by the real life Betsy Roberts, this novelised biography is packed full of details of her nefarious dealings and the trail of corpses left in her wake. From rural Kentucky to the high society of New York City, Betsy proves to be a ruthless and determined woman, whether surviving being kidnapped by two outlaws, to escaping justice, travelling cross country with her young son, and engineering her way to wealth and success, she doesn’t let anyone or anything get in her way. Including husbands.

I felt sorry for Betsy at first, with her murdered parents and having been kidnapped and treated brutally by the Harpe brothers. But instead of escaping them, she breaks them out of jail and goes on the run with them again. She’s so cold hearted and utterly without remorse, even murdering her own husbands to get her own way. While I can’t quite say I admire her, she is after all a murderer and criminal, she sounds like a force to be reckoned with, and her rags to riches tale should be encouraging – as long as you don’t go with the body count too.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa

‘When we first met, I was a child, and she had been dead for centuries’
In the 1700s an Irish noblewoman, on discovering that her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem. Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill’s Caoineadh
Airt Uí Laoghaire was famously referred to by Peter Levi, then Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, as the ‘greatest poem written in these islands in the whole eighteenth century.’
In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with its echoes in her own life and sets out to track down the rest of the poet’s
story.
Culminating in Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s own translation of the poem, A Ghost in the Throat is a devastating and timeless tale about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past to hear
another’s.

DOIREANN NÍ GHRÍOFA is a bilingual writer whose books explore birth, death, desire, and domesticity. Doireann’s awards include a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Seamus Heaney Fellowship, the Ostana Prize and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. She is a member of Aosdána. A Ghost in the Throat is her prose debut.

My thoughts: this was a really interesting book, part essay, part memoir, part poetry. The author explores the poem and the life of Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill, an 18th century woman whose husband is murdered. As well as exploring the extraordinary text, she puts it into context with the life and times of its creator, all while raising her own children and moving house over and over.

It’s a thoughtful and fascinating work, I enjoyed learning all these things – Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire is not a work I was familiar with, probably because being a Gaelic poem, it never made it onto any syllabus here in the UK. Which is a shame, it’s an incredible and powerful piece, full of grief and rage and intense love. The translation at the end of the book, with the English alongside the original Irish is gripping and haunting, despite its age, the words still move the reader. A really impressive book.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Reacher Guy – Heather Martin

The Reacher Guy is a life of bestselling superstar Lee Child, a portrait of the artist as a young man, refracted through the life of his fictional avatar, Jack Reacher. It tells the story of how the boy from Birmingham reinvented himself to become the strongest brand in publishing, selling over one hundred million books in more than forty different languages across the globe.
Heather Martin interviews friends, teachers, colleagues and neighbours, including agents and editors. Based
primarily on her conversations with the author over a period of years, together with readings of his books and research in his literary archive, this authorised biography reveals the man behind the myth, tracing his origins back through the generations to Northern Ireland and County Durham, and following the trajectory of his extraordinary career via New York and Hollywood until the climactic moment when, in 2020, having written a continuous series of twenty-four books, he finally floats free of his fictional creation.
Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”

Heather Martin was born in West Australia. She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York.
Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. The Reacher Guy is her first biography.

My thoughts: I haven’t read many Reacher books, I think maybe 2 of them, but my dad and Grandad are fans and I’m always interested in how and why a writer started writing. A very slow start, honestly I would skip the first few chapters, that then got really interesting as Jim Grant became Lee Child and started writing his incredibly successful books. He seems very matter of fact about why he started writing and how he goes about creating each of them. I’m very interested to see how his younger brother handles taking over the mantle of Jack Reacher writer in chief.

There were some very funny moments, especially when talking about publishing and funny things that happen when a famous but not necessarily recognisable writer starts travelling around the world and meeting fans. I liked the story about when Lee was at an airport and said to someone reading a Reacher book “I’ve heard the rest are really good too”, if that person recognises themselves, they’re going to be very puzzled, I know I would be.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Queendom Within – Heidi Hauer

It would be wonderful – revolutionary! – to live in a world where all women naturally and easily felt empowered to be who they truly are, without fear of rejection, embarrassment or failure; where women felt free to express themselves openly and embrace their diverse talents in a joyful, peaceful way.

Heidi Hauer guides women to realise that they have choices available to them to fulfil their own dreams. In her book, Heidi shows us that true happiness is not the result of a picture-perfect life but instead an experience that starts from within – from nurturing our very own Queendom.

Heidi writes: ‘At some point I realised that, prince aside, my life was massively off track from my dreams. The Kingdom had fallen apart while I was waiting to be kissed awake. I needed a Plan B. I had to take matters into my own hands. It was time to become my own prince, wake myself up and create the solo edition of the Kingdom I had dreamed of building together with him. In short, I had to build my own Queendom.’

We all have moments in life that feel like a crossroads. You may have that sinking feeling that you’re in the wrong life – whether you feel trapped in a bad relationship, friendship or in a dead-end job – and secretly you hope for Mr Right to come along and sort everything out for you. This book will help you find your way back to yourself, and it will give you the confidence you need to make your own happiness, whether Mr Right is there or not.

Through a set of 28 exercises complemented by beautiful illustrations, Heidi guides the reader into building a strong foundation for their own inner peace and happiness. The stories and activities are designed to help readers become crystal clear on their hopes and dreams.

Practical, reassuring and truly inspiring, Heidi’s book encourages readers to invest their time and energy back into themselves, and relax into the journey of life.


Heidi Hauer is a holistic health & life coach for women who want to bring wellbeing and happiness on the journey to professional and personal success. Qualifications in nutrition and coaching complement her background in corporate leadership positions. Heidi guides her clients to step into their power, find that highly sought-after work/life balance and reach deeper levels of fulfilment -in and outside of work. The Queendom Within is her first book.

Visit her website or Instagram

The Heidi Hauer Podcast

In The Heidi Hauer Podcast Heidi shows listeners how to use intuitive tools and access life-changing mindset shifts that support in leading an abundant, meaningful and successful life. Listeners learn from female entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and creative powerhouses how to live on purpose, nurture personal wellbeing and have a positive impact on the world.

My thoughts: I’m always a bit dubious about self-help books that pledge to help you fix your life, but a lot of what Heidi has to say is common sense – and based on her own experience. She realised at the end of a relationship that she needed to make some changes to make herself happier and more confident. To write her own story instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

A lot of the exercises in the book are straightforward and don’t require lots of money or time, things like putting together a playlist of songs that boost your mood or getting out into nature to refresh your mind. Simple things that make a difference to how you think and feel, she’s not suggesting expensive nonsense, which is refreshing and means you can actually do these exercises. She’s also very honest that this takes time – it’s not a change your whole life in 30 days situation, it’s a work in progress that helps you refocus on what you really want from life. I found some of it really interesting, and while I’m happily married, and not looking for love, a lot of it could be applied to my life – we all need a boost every now and then.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Blog Tour: Blind Pony – Samantha Hart

BlindPony copy

Welcome to the blog tour for Blind Pony, a memoir by Samantha Hart! Read on for details and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

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Blind Pony

Publication Date: March 15th, 2021

Genre: Memoir/ Biography
When your mother names you after your father’s affair, you might wish you were living someone else’s life.

For Samantha Hart, growing up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania had been no childhood idyll but rather a violent, surreal nightmare. A twisted vision of pastoral life part Faulkner part Dante. At fourteen years old, she ran away in search of her father, a character she only knew as Wild Bill. Discovering he wasn’t the hero she dreamt he’d be, she was on her own.

Arriving in Los Angeles at the peak of LA’s decadence where money, drugs, and good times flowed, she floated through a strange new world of champagne-soaked parties, high-stakes backgammon tournaments, and a whirlwind of international escapades flogging nude photographs. When a wealthy playboy mistakes her Pittsburgh accent for being British, it begins a spiral of white lies leading Sam to question everything she thought she knew about herself and who she could be.

Blind Pony is a story of healing and hope, a coming of age narrative intersecting themes of recovery, redemption, forgiveness, and the struggle it takes to define life on your terms.

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Excerpt

”A FAREWELL TO THE FARM”

I opened the door to the barn with a bit of trepidation. The smells that once pervaded my senses—new-mown hay, leather, and living animals—had turned to a dank, musty odor. I held Vignette’s hand as we stepped carefully past the empty stalls, ready for something sinister to jump out at any moment. We ventured toward a stable in the back, and above us was the plaque I carved with a wood burner, the name “Misty.” Misty was born when I was eight years old and was the offspring of my beloved pony, Princess.

“Follow me.” I darted up the narrow wooden stairs. Vignette stayed close on my heels as we headed to my grandfather’s abandoned workshop to rummage around for something to pry off the sign. The remnants of a moonshine distillery sat cloaked in dust in an open cabinet, and as I breathed in the musky air, I could feel my grandfather’s presence and hear the nasty whistling sound he made when he was coming for me.

“Mommy, are you crying?”

“No, honey, got some dust in my eyes. Let’s get out of here.”

I grabbed the crowbar, intent on rescuing Misty’s sign. It was a relic from my childhood, and I was unwilling to leave it to the wrecking ball.

“So, Misty was your pony, Mommy?”

“No, but she was my pony Princess’ baby, just like you are my baby. That’s why I got to name her and made this sign for her. Look, I have a scar on my finger where I burned myself making that sign.”

“That must have hurt. I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you, too.” Equal measures of joy and sorrow overwhelmed me, conjured by a place I thought I would never see again. We traipsed outside so I could stow the plaque inside the car, and Vignette spotted an old tractor.

“Look at this cool tractor, Mommy! Can I climb on it?”

“Yes, but be careful,” I said. My mind drifted. I could almost hear the chatter between my sisters and me as we saddled up at the corral to take our horses out for trail rides.

Princess was blind in one eye, so she kept a slower pace than the other horses as we galloped up past the oil rig with its rhythmic chugging and stench of old black oil. The sound of thundering hoofs would ring in my ears, and by the time we reached the top of Gobbler’s Knob, the view would be invisible through the thick cloud of dust, and I’d be as blind as Princess.

The past was so vivid, I almost forgot I wanted to capture this moment with Vignette. As I went back to the car to retrieve my camera, the familiar sound of the gravel crunching beneath my feet unspooled memories of a story my mother had repeated to me throughout my childhood.

Late one night, Bill Butter pulled into the gravel driveway well past midnight. Dean Martin’s just-released record “Volare” blared over the car radio. Bill continued his drunken crooning after turning off the ignition,

though, in his stupor, he left the headlights on. My mother, Clara, peered out the upstairs window to see her husband silhouetted by the car’s lights, stumbling up the stone path, cigarette dangling from his mouth, and a bottle of whiskey clutched in his hand. Annoyed and embarrassed by his returning from these late-night trysts with other women, which had become too frequent, she climbed back into bed, pretending to be asleep, and got tangled up in her oversized flannel nightgown.

A gust of frosty Pennsylvania wind followed Bill up the stairs to the bedroom. He pulled his pants down just far enough to expose his stiffened penis, then threw himself on top of his wife while endeavoring, with frustration, to unravel the nightgown.

Clara realized her best option for keeping their small children from waking was to make way for the inevitable drunken thrust between her naked thighs. When he found his way to an orgasm, he hollered out the name of his current mistress, Pammy Sue, and unceremoniously deposited the seed that would grow into a girl destined to be nothing but trouble. The first sign of said trouble began the very next morning with a dead car battery.

Nine months later, my mother gave birth to her fourth child on the first day of fall. Dad thought I would be a boy, and he named me Sam. Maybe he hoped I would be a boy so he could stop hearing about Pammy Sue. As luck would have it, he pulled four aces. I was his fourth daughter.

My mother’s frozen heart determined to immortalize her husband’s infidelity and spelled it out on the birth certificate. But for as long as I knew my dad, he never called me by any other name but Sam. I always thought the name suited me. My mother prodded me so often with the reason my name was Pammy that my official name repulsed me.

Vignette tugged on my sleeve and snapped me back to reality. “Mommy, mommy, can we go now? I’m hungry,” she moaned. “Me too,” I said, and we went back into the car. I threw my camera on the back seat along with the “Misty” sign, figuring I had enough memories of the place. Nothing could change what happened here.

As my daughter and I drove down Clever Road, I glanced back at the old farmhouse in the rearview mirror one last time. It would soon disappear forever, along with the lilac and forsythia bushes and delicate lilies of the valley that poked through the spring thaw each year. The springhouse and the old maple tree where I hugged my grandmother for the last time would be gone.

But they would live on in my memories, along with many things I wished I could forget

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Samantha Hart’s career has spanned music, film, and advertising, earning her a reputation as an award-winning Creative Director. Her creative marketing campaigns brought prominence and Academy Awards to films such as Fargo, Dead Man Walking, and Boys Don’t Cry while earning cult status for independent features, Dazed and Confused, Four Weddings and A Funeral, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

With her partner, Sam built a successful company in the advertising industry, Foundation, with over forty employees and offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. Foundation earned distinction as an early disrupter of the traditional production and post-production models combining the two under one roof.

In 2017, Sam launched Wild Bill Creative which is a creative ideation company working with brand clients, non-profits, and start-ups.

Sam currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, director James Lipetzky, and their sons, Davis and Denham.
Samantha Hart

Giveaway: Signed Copy of Blind Pony (Canada and US only)
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Blog Tour Schedule

August 16th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@greeneyedgirl0704 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/greeneyedgirl0704/

August 17th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

August 18th

@cindyroesel_readsandwrites (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/cindyroesel_readsandwrites/

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@happily_undignified (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/

August 19th

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

@esmeralda_lagiggles18 (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/esmeralda_lagiggles18/

August 20th

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review) https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com/

Freelance Writer Janny (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

@booknerdkat (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/booknerdkat/

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Blog Tour: Inventing the Future – Albert Cory

InventingtheFuture copy

Welcome to the blog tour for the fascinating new release by Albert Cory, Inventing the Future! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

“Inventing the Future is Based on the True Story of the Xerox Star, the Computer that Changed Everything”

57138737Inventing the Future

Publication Date: August 10th, 2021

Genre: Based on a True Story/ Historical Fiction/ Technologies

Imagine a time before everyone stared at a screen, before fonts, icons, mice, and laser printers, before Apple and Microsoft… But behind the scenes, Xerox engineers were dreaming and inventing the modern personal computer.

Who were these people who changed the world, and why did corporate management just want to sell copiers and printers?

Albert Cory* was one of the engineers, charged with making that dream a reality and unknowingly starting a revolution. Inventing the Future is based on the true story of the Xerox Star, the computer that changed everything.

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Excerpt

It was finally happening. After almost five years of labor by 250-plus people, the Office of the Future was here. Despite the prayers for them, 64K memory chips had not appeared. Michael had gotten corporate approval to increase the manufacturing cost with an extra 64K words of memory. Star now had 256K words, or 512K bytes of main memory. The performance was still poor, but at least it was tolerable now.

Star had been announced and demoed in New York already, and this week was the National Computer Conference in Chicago, starting Monday, May 4, 1981 and lasting until Thursday. Dan had volunteered to man the Xerox booth for all four days. He flew out to Chicago on the Sunday morning before it started, but with the time change, it was past dinner when he finally arrived at McCormick Place.

Dan read the Sunday Chicago Tribune. 

In Business, Compushop was offering an Apple II starter system for $1,595. But then buried deep inside the section, Dan found what he was looking for, a story about the Star. It began:

Xerox terminal has symbols, not codes

Managers and professional workers haven’t been the best customers for automated office equipment like computer terminals.

Maybe it’s because they are more accustomed to pointing and selecting material rather than typing out explicit commands.

Maybe it’s because they can’t type.

The article quoted a Xerox marketing executive, who explained that the Star was aimed at “managers or professionals who produce documents, reports, or charts.” It explained how the mouse worked. The executive went on to explain that the Star system cost $15,595, but “technological advances will allow price reductions in the future.” Star would be demonstrated at the National Computer Conference at McCormick Place this week.

Dan, Janet, Martin, Henry, and the rest of the Xeroids were continuously busy, explaining the Star to curious attendees. Visitors could try a mouse, and lots of them did—almost no one had ever used a mouse before. A technical staffer had brought a box full of spare mice and swapped in a new one every hour since the accumulated dirt and finger oil from all the guests made the rubber balls in the mice sticky.

As each hour approached, people began gathering around the monitors to see the demos. By noon, they were waiting 10 minutes before the hour. Michael stationed himself near the left side monitor, where he kept busy talking to reporters, executives, and random attendees. Michael watched the crowd closely, and he noticed that Steve Jobs, one of the Apple founders, came every hour, surrounded by other guys Michael didn’t know. He knew that Jobs had visited PARC the year before last for a demo of the Alto and Smalltalk, but he hadn’t seen Star before. He had supposedly asked, “Why isn’t Xerox doing anything with this?” Now, he found out they were.

Available on Amazon 

About the Author

*Albert Cory is a pen name for Bob Purvy, a retired software engineer who worked on the Xerox Star. In his career he also worked at Burroughs, 3Com, Oracle, Packeteer, and Google. All characters are fictional and are composites of the scientists, engineers, and executives who lived the story, with the exception of the auto-biographical character, Dan Markunas. The other two main characters, Janet Saunders and Grant Avery, are completely fictional, and are not in any way representative of the real people who had their jobs (note: the author makes clear which events are real and which are composites in the Endnotes).

Albert Cory

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Blog Tour: Clothes… and Other Things That Matter – Alexandra Shulman*

In Clothes… and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world – the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity. By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the exEditor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.

Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016.

My thoughts: I find Alexandra Shulman quite interesting, years ago I used to read her newspaper column and I watched the Vogue documentary series on TV. She doesn’t fit the mould we imagine Vogue editors to fit – think more Anna Wintour (US Vogue’s legendary editor) or Meryl Streep’s version of her in The Devil Wears Prada. Shulman is not as slick and glamorous as them, although still hugely privileged and wearing designer clothes.

I don’t buy Vogue, I never have, I could get half a dozen secondhand paperbacks from the charity shop for one glossy catalogue of adverts, which is after all what a fashion magazine is. I don’t buy into the mythology around it but I remain intrigued by the allure of these things. I contemplated writing about magazines as part of Masters in literature and material culture – they might not seem like the former but they’re definitely the latter.

This collection of short essays on the different types of clothes Shulman catalogues in her wardrobe allow her to explore her personal history, from her grandmother’s millinery as a refugee in Canada, her parents’ careers in the British media (her father was at one point the Evening Standard’s theatre critic and her mother an editor), her relationships, her career in the press and her many famous friends and acquaintances.

It’s an interesting angle for a memoir – something many of us can relate to – we all have those items of clothing that hold meaning and memory within them. The shoes I wore to my wedding or the jumper that signifies comfort, knowing that putting it on is like a hug. While my wardrobe contains no high price labels, it does contain a multitude of moods to slip on, personas to project through my outfits. And it is this that Shulman shares within her book.

The suit she wore when starting out as a young journalist, the perfect dress that works whenever and wherever it’s worn. The reason we wear certain things and what it says about us. She’s very disinterested in worrying about the way she looks, mocking the media fuss over a photo she posted a few years ago on Instagram of herself in a bikini on holiday. She’s aware that the slim models she championed through her time at Vogue and the people behind the scenes, like herself, are very different. Fashion magazines promote a sort of fantasy world of beauty and glamour that the average person probably won’t ever attain.

There is a note of bitterness about the way women are objectified, pointing out that her successor at Vogue, Edward Enninful, won’t have his appearance, dress size and figure commented upon the way she did. That we always circle around a woman’s body looking for flaws, while men mostly sail blithely on.

I enjoyed the way writes about the history of clothing, not just the personal side, but how for example denim jeans, originally workwear, have become so much a part of fashion that pairs sell for upwards of a thousand pounds. Or how hats, once a staple of ladies wear are now worn by only the fortunate few who suit them.

This was a very interesting book, that I think appeals quite broadly to people interested in fashion, history, memoir and Shulman herself (I’m interested in all of those things btw). I just wish the photos had been printed in colour – in a book about clothes being able to actually see what’s described makes a difference.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Blitz: Heal the Hurt – Dr Michael McGee

Check out this upcoming release by Dr. Michael McGee! Heal the Hurt will be available September 28th, 2021!

Michael_McGee-full_cover-v02

Heal the Hurt: 20 Ways to Ease Emotional Suffering

Expected Publication Date: September 28th, 2021

Genre: Self-Help/ Spiritual and Emotional Healing/ Non-Fiction

Heal the Hurt gives guidance for healing from the trauma, hurts and heartbreaks of life. Dr. McGee lays out a simple but profound three-step practice for navigating life’s struggles, along with twenty concise and practical lessons for healing emotional pain and minimizing future heartache. Heal the Hurt will not only ease your pain, it will help you embrace and process your pain in ways that will make you stronger and wiser because of your pain. Incredibly, Heal the Hurt will leave you feeling grateful for the spiritual gifts life’s inevitable hardships provide. The key to a long and happy life is skillful emotional pain management, Heal the Hurt is your roadmap to get there.

Excerpt

Are you hurting? If so, you’re not alone. In ways large and small, everyone is having a hard time.

Emotional pain comes in many forms—from the loss of important relationships, physical and emotional trauma, rejection, and humiliation. No doubt you have experienced one or more of these.

If you’re grieving a loss, know that everyone suffers loss. Roughly 5 percent of older adults experience grief at any given time. About 40-50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce.

If you’re lonely, you’re also not alone (no pun intended). Nearly half of Americans suffer from loneliness according to one study.

Has someone you loved betrayed you? This is very common, too. An estimated 15-25 percent of married Americans have betrayed their partners. Even more unmarried people have suffered betrayal and heartbreak.

Do you ever suffer from guilt, remorse, or regret? This is another common source of emotional pain.[v] When we hurt others, we also hurt ourselves.

Trauma is a very common source of emotional pain. Up to 60 percent of children experience significant emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect. Almost all of us experience at least one significant traumatic event in our lifetime, and 5-12 percent of people suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sometime in their lives.

The commonality of all of these experiences in no way diminishes their impact on us. The legacy of trauma and loss is great in the form of depression, anxiety, addiction, loneliness, medical illnesses, and impairment in functioning. While it’s difficult to know the exact prevalence of these issues, many people suffer from low self-esteem or even self-hatred because of their trauma and neglect. The pain of feeling unlovable translates into difficulties in loving ourselves and loving others.

To some degree, all of us suffer from what I call a “Love Wound”—even the most fortunate among us. The only differences between us are the specifics and degree of our individual trauma. This is a wounding of our sense of our goodness, our interconnectedness to others, and our sense of living in a loving Universe that has our back. It’s also a wounding of our capacity to love ourselves and others. This Love Wound is the source of tremendous suffering in the world, and only through healing it can we ease our emotional pain. As I will point out in the pages that follow, love heals our wounds and eases our pain. In many ways, this is a book about love.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

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After graduating from Stanford University with distinction with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Dr. McGee received his M.D. from Stanford University. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, spending his last year serving as Chief Resident of Inpatient Psychiatry at The Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Dr. McGee has directed several treatment programs, conducted government-funded outcomes research, and has published in the areas of spirituality, clinical treatment, performance management, care management and health information technology. Dr. McGee is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine. He has extensive experience in addictions treatment, consultation liaison psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and general adult psychiatry. Dr. McGee has a private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA where he practices a combination of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. His approach is eclectic. He blends science with spirituality to provide truly comprehensive, evidence-based, integrated care. Dr. McGee writes about spirituality, healing, and recovery on his weekly blog at http://www.drmichaelmcgee.com.

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Book Blitz: Call Me a Woman: On Our Way to Equality and Peace – Laurie Levin

CallmeaWoman

I’m thrilled to share Call Me a Woman: On Our Way to Equality and Peace by Laurie Levin. Read on for book details and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card!

41nPrBkiXqSCall Me a Woman: On Our Way To Equality and Peace

Publication Date: April 30th, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Gender Studies

It’s time to raise the bar.

When we give women the same respect and opportunities as men, we give the world its best chance for peace, prosperity, and survival.

Angry about sexism and misogyny and what you personally have endured? Afraid the world won’t get its act together in time to save itself?

Call Me A Woman combines Levin’s personal story, years of research, global studies, and activism.

Inside youll discover

  • The most important thing parents can do to change the world
  • Our unconscious habits that perpetuate inequality
  • Inspiring stories to shift resentment to empathy, hope, and action
  • The 7 Habits of Equality to speed our way to gender equality and peace
  • Inner peace and freedom as you become the solution

Personal interviews with: Lynn Povich, first woman senior editor Newsweek magazine; Maxine Clark, founder Build-A-Bear Workshop; Gloria Feldt, former CEO and President Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NY Times Best-Selling Author; Mark Levin, biotech industry leader, founder, and CEO; Zaron Burnett III, investigative journalist and writer.

If you are ready to become part of the solution, it is time to read

Call Me A Woman: On Our Way to Equality and Peace.

Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

Laurie Levin Headshot

Laurie Levin has been a human rights advocate her entire adult life. Early in her 20’s, she headed the reproductive rights efforts for NOW-St. Louis. She was the Missouri Coordinator for a Department of Peace working alongside Marianne Williamson. She was the Missouri co-chair of Room To Read—a global non-profit that focuses on girls’ education and children’s literacy in Asia and Africa. She was co-chair of the Missouri Executive Women for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign.

Laurie refers to herself as a Transformation Coach as she helps others transform and master their own wellbeing. She specializes in optimal nutrition, healthy weight loss, and the leading HeartMath® stress reduction techniques. She has been a featured speaker on each of these topics at corporations, wellness events and retreats, schools and universities, hospitals, ex-convict re-entry programs, and cancer support organizations.

She has an MBA, is a Certified Coach, and HeartMath® Certified Coach, supporting clients globally to achieve their health and well-being goals.

Laurie spent 25 years in corporate America, leaving as a Vice President of one of the largest U.S. national research companies. She went on to start her own business in the health field in 200l.

Call Me a Woman | Twitter | FacebookInstagram

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Blog Tour: Secrets of the Mummy Concierge – Tiffany Norris*

Create a unique baby name that no one has ever used before… tick
Organise a delivery room photoshoot with hair and make-up for mum-to-be… tick
Arrange a surprise ‘I’m pregnant’ gift for a client’s partner – a cast of her vagina before she gives birth… tick

All in a day’s work for the Mummy Concierge…

Tiffany Norris is the one and only concierge for parenthood in the UK today. Acting as a baby’s personal assistant, on-call therapist and social director, Tiffany strives to be the ultimate parent protector, peacekeeper and negotiator when it comes to bringing a new tiny human into the world. Where demands go way beyond late-night food cravings and into the luxurious world of the super-rich, Tiffany is on hand to help with all kinds of seemingly impossible requests.
From opulent nurseries and stylists for new-borns to 3am calls worrying about just not being enough, Tiffany also shares her own rollercoaster journey to motherhood, as well as speaking honestly about her post-natal depression. Secrets of the Mummy Concierge reminds us all that being a new parent is one of the hardest jobs on earth.
And luckily, The Mummy Concierge is here to help.


Tiffany Norris is a no-nonsense mummy concierge, journalist and pregnancy guru who has worked with hundreds of pregnant mothers, and supports every woman who needs her help with tips and guidance – and sometimes just a listening ear. She is a journalist and presenter for Mumsnet, has written for Cosmo and Grazia and is an expert for The Baby Show. Tiffany owns and runs The Mummy Masterclasses parenting workshops for soon-to-be and new parents. She was the winner of the prestigious Jacqueline Gold women in Business award and has won the Theo Pathetis small business award. Tiffany would love to hear from you – do say hi to her or find out more on: INSTAGRAM, TWITTER and on her WEBSITE

My thoughts:

I don’t have kids but a lot of my friends are either already parents or planning to be soon so this was interesting to read. I don’t think any of them would be able to hire Tiffany or need to, unlike her high maintenance clients, who often need help with the strangest things.

Bits of the book were really funny, the bonkers requests, the strange names some people give their children, the incredibly busy lifestyles of toddlers. But other moments are very sad, the client who’s just had a miscarriage, the nursery that won’t get used. I think what a lot of the clients need is a best friend or their own mum but instead turn to Tiffany for the things they need, and sometimes don’t really.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.