Reading to Unwind.  Book Review.  La La Love. 

A review of La La Love at Reading to Unwind :

“The author does a great job capturing true feelings of love and achieving in my mind real love that isn’t a fairytale.

I would suggest this as a cute read when you just have a few minutes to sit down and ponder about love and a relationship.”

And you can buy a copy for 99c / 99p at Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk 
https://www.amazon.com/Love-Katie-Lewington-ebook/dp/B06W5CJV5S/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Katie-Lewington-ebook/dp/B06W5CJV5S/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496910973&sr=1-7&keywords=Katie+Lewington
You can read a sample poem at Foxglove Journal 

a great place to read new poetry

https://foxglovejournal.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/picture-this-katie-lewington/

Book Review. The Body Image Blueprint – Your go to guide for Radical Self – Reverence. Jenny Eden Berk. MSEd. 

The Body Image Blueprint is an honest, refreshing, and oftentimes, witty approach to finding body love and acceptance in a society that preaches otherwise. The Body Image Blueprint recounts Jenny Eden Berk’s struggle to find clarity in a culture obsessed with dieting. Through her own experience and with her proven techniques, Jenny helps readers navigate their own body image blueprint.

In this book you will find:

– Interviews from more than 50 men and women between the ages of 22-70 talking about their own body image perceptions.

– Conversations about the rawness and commonalities between so many of us who struggle with body image

– Techniques and effective strategies for building your own personal body image blueprint.

Never before has a book combined the beautiful vignettes of a classic memoir combined with the healing how-to’s of a self-help book in this way. The body image stories and journey’s of the men and women featured through Jenny’s interviews complete this debut book in a stunning, poignant and powerful way.

Everyone deserves to learn to love and accept themselves. Whether you’ve been struggling or just need a little self-love boost, buy this book and start your journey today!

“Jenny wraps up the experiences of becoming, growing into, and loving our bodies in a way that captivates the soul and encourages true compassion toward ourselves. I found myself smiling, cheering in agreement, and saying yes to her action steps. Jenny’s artful way of storytelling along with her mindful eating expertise bring this book together in a way that encourages every woman to celebrate who they are in profound ways well beyond the body and into the mind and soul. Every woman should own this book and share it relentlessly!” – Sarah Steckler, self-care strategist

Genre Health, Family, and Lifestyle

My Rating 👍👍👍👍

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk

Free on KU

There is a giveaway on Goodreads.com for a signed copy of this book. 

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Easy to follow, split into three parts – Jenny tells her story, then uses the experiences of others to tell their story, and finally a blue print for our own use: recipes, and yoga recommendations,  and replacing our negative thoughts with positive ones. 

I love the humour Jenny uses. It is funny how we rarely use that humour when we view our own bodies negatively, until much later when the damage has been done. 

I learnt a lot from the book. There are passages that gave me a lot to think about. With as babies we aren’t ashamed of our bodies, we don’t feel the need to diet, or compare ourselves. So what happens along the way, is it the attitude of our parents to diets, and food, or the media?

The good food/bad food idea, that is probably embedded into most of our heads, actually made me think hold on a second…

This book is relevant to me at the moment because I am twenty one, and I don’t have the metabolism that I had when I was sixteen, and my poor eating habits are catching up with me! But after a few years of trying to fit clothes that are too small, and not my style, dieting, and not liking my body, I am well on my way to not giving a stuff, and this book helped me. It points out a reasonable question, why will being skinny make you happy? Will finally achieving that certain weight make you happy?

Hm, perhaps not. 

The pregnancy parts as well were interesting, because you know, giving birth is an incredible feat, and trying to immediately get your body back to the size you were isn’t going to be easy, and I have seen celebrities ribsfive, or so, months after they have given birth, and it makes headlines. I just don’t know why you would be worrying about that when you should be enjoying your new baby. How is that attainable?

The second section of the book asks other people questions, men as well as women. It can sometimes feel like pulling teeth when asking men to tell you how they feel! Two of the questions, What is one part of your body that you love? stumped me, whereas What is one part of your body that you dislike or are uncomfortable with? was much easier to answer.

I think, as Jenny says, this madness has to stop. Body image, and the way we perceive ourselves, and others, is clearly a huge problem, and we should be looking into it, and start to love ourselves, whatever our size, and get into a healthy habit, that makes us happy. 

Book Review. The Little Black Book of Verse. Deleonora Abel. 

Genre Poetry

My Rating 👌👌👌👌

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Visceral, and mildly erotic, collection of poetry that is experimental, particularly in poem Offering, and has some dialogue. Alongside the poetry is longer pieces of writing, and photographs. Certainly a book for the senses, with tender feelings, and fruits. The opening poem Mango 

Parting the exquisite flesh

as juices moisten her fingers

If you hadn’t read the title of that poem first, you might have done a double take. 

Diaspora is a great poem about a moment in time. 

Book Review. Beyond Fate. Susan.V.Vaughn.  

His heart pounded as he made up the distance between them. He’d fought the urge to hold her in his arms all week. He no longer could.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Her question was lost as he pulled her against him, and covered her lips with his own. She sank desperately into his embrace for a moment, before pushing him back. “Russ, stop.”
“Why?” He grabbed one of her hands, and kissed the soft skin of her palm. She smiled, her face flushing red, her eyes flashing hazel.
“Because we are supposed to be friends, and we’re at work.” She glanced nervously around the deserted hallway.
“Nah, work’s over,” he said lightly, refusing to address the friendship statement. “It’s time for us.” He secured her hand in his, and led them toward the parking lot with single focus. “I’m taking you to dinner.”
“Wait! I have to grab my things from the music room.”
“No time for that.” He quickened his pace through the parking lot, determined to take her to dinner, not caring who witnessed his desperation. He’d waited all week for this opportunity.
“I guess you’re not giving me a choice then?” She sounded amused, not annoyed, a good sign.
“Now you get it.” He winked back at her. “I am your boss, after all.”
She sighed loudly in exasperation, and then began to giggle. It made him grin like a man who had never been happier in his life.

Genre Contemporary Romance 

Publisher Inkspell Publishing 

Blurb

Years of separation mean nothing when love is in the air…
Julia Diaz never wanted to fall for her friend’s older brother, especially at a college frat party. But, for some reason, her heart was stolen by Russell that night. Eight years after, she never forgot him. Now destiny has brought them together. Only this time Russell is no longer a boy. He’s a man who knows what he wants and will not be denied.
Russell Webb used to be optimistic, and fun loving until a family tragedy turned his world on its side. Putting all his focus on work, he picked himself back up, and managed to turn his grief into something resembling a life. When a woman from his past reappears, and gives him a glimpse of true happiness, he’ll do anything to secure her heart. Even face the darkness he has avoided for so long.  
My Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

                                                     Available at 

                          Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com Kobo BN ITunes

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About the Author 

Romance Author, Susan V. Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk. Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings. When she wasn’t working on the next soul-crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.
It didn’t take long for this hairdresser by trade to turn her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories. Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios.   
Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.

                                          Website Facebook Twitter 

The story of Beyond Fate, and what follows the event at the beginning of the book, hinges on a plot twist. Russ and Julia have a misunderstanding, and so ten years later, when they reunite, tensions are high, but their desire for each other is still there.

I was surprised how quickly the book became compelling, reading about Russ and Julia’s will they won’t they relationship. I liked Julia, but thought Russ was an idiot. 

My one fly in the ointment would be the repeated mention of Julia’s curves. I found her dancing skills more of an interest. The end of the school year show case was poorly executed as well. It was an important part of the book, but, as much of the book is, was dominated by Russ and Julia’s relationship. 

Ultimately I wanted to read Beyond Fate as it promised to be a romance story, and I wasn’t disappointed. 

Beyond Fate is a solid, and, at times, passionate, book. 

Book Review. A Derry Tale. John Doyle. 

​This begins in a macabre way and then extends into a more family type drama, with signs that this is set in the past, rather than the present or future.

The first chapter alone is a well written story and, as it details the tale of John, his siblings and parents, could stand alone. I like it tells us of the present moment and also of the moment when his mother dies. I feel this might have been unnecessary, as it gives the reader no incentive to carry on reading. The narrative jumping back and forth is something that often takes place and can be confusing.

This is a story of Catholics, Protestants, poverty, sexual abuse and even, briefly, a transgender person. I feel like I have read similar books to this. I am not sure if this is an autographical novel or not. I find it strange that the front cover is so at odds with the content. It’s misleading.

It feels more like a collection of short stories, some more entertaining than others and can be shocking, even distressing.

If you’re interested in history or Irish history, I would recommend you read this.

Available on Amazon.co.uk 

Book Review. The Bonding. Imogen Keeper. 

He must choose – her life – or his freedom.

Tam is brutal. Hard. Uncompromising. Resigned to a lifetime alone. Until he finds a woman frozen in space, suffering from a deadly disease. There’s only one way to save her – to Bond her to him for life with his mind, his body, and his serum.

She must choose – her people – or his love.

When her planet is invaded by alien slavers, Nissa launches into space in a cryo-pod in a desperate search for help. Tam may be her savior, but their future is not meant to be.

In a universe at war, Nissa and Tam battle their dangerous addiction and their own stubborn hearts. Their strange part-chemical, part-mystical Bonding brought them together – and just might be what tears them apart.

READER ADVISORY: Graphic sexual content and language. No fade to black here! Including one attempted attack on the heroine.

Genre : Sci Fi / Erotic / Romance 

Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Free on KU 

Goodreads 

Author Website 

Tam meets the dying Nissa and, in order to save her, must give her a serum (i.e. his semen, hence the title The Bonding) The consequence of this bonding is that the two must not ever part, or the worst kind of physical pain will be inflicted on the pair. 

The book is set in space, Tam and Nissa are from two different planets and so, of course, mating is treated differently from us. There is a fair amount of sex between Tam and Nissa, but tenderness too. 

There were interesting parts to the book. Tam’s jealousy of Nissa’s father, that handing down of one’s ‘Little princess’ (Quite literally, as Nissa is a princess) And the nature of which Tam had to save Nissa, which was Stockholm Syndrome – ish. 

The pace of the book, on reflection, is slow, and the end dried out, but it was wrapped up neatly, and we leave Tam, and Nissa, in what is a happy ending. 

If you’re a Doctor Who fan, think of The Bonding as an x rated Doctor Who episode (And if you were watching the show when David Tennant was the Doctor, then you have already probably had some x rated thoughts…No? OK, just me then…)

This book made me fall in love with the Sci Fi genre all over again. 

Book Review. Misfortunes of T-Funk – Book one. Barnaby Hazen.

MISFORTUNES OF T-FUNK A FUNNY, HONEST LOOK INTO THE LIFE OF MUSICIANS
Author Barnaby Hazen highlights contemporary fiction with musical tracks embedded directly into the pages of his novel.
TAOS, N.M. — April 2017 — Misfortunes of T-Funk (Apr. 1, 2017) follows two musicians who refuse to quit. The contemporary fiction release from Barnaby Hazen also embeds his own musical tracks directly into the chapters of the novel to further immerse readers into the story.
Trying desperately to find an audience for their hard-edged “grunge” music, Theo and Judah are childhood friends who enroll in an unusual college called The University of Jazz and Music Technology. Attracted at first by the means within the school to professionally record their own original music, the two friends eagerly embark on what could be a lifelong journey – but the endeavor has an alternate effect.
It’s something the author knows all too well, as Hazen pulls directly from his personal experience in music. “I must admit,” said Hazen, “I’m having a lot more fun putting fictional characters through such hardship than I had on my own.”
The author’s decision to incorporate his original music into the chapters of Misfortunes of T-Funk is an excellent compliment to the story. Each of the four recordings are placed at significant moments in Theo and Judah’s story sometimes in direct relation, other times as an ironic side trail, but always intentionally to enhance the reader’s journey through the book.
Hazen’s storytelling style is influenced by Henry Miller, as well as Russian authors Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov – in particular, Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading. “It’s fearlessly, unapologetically ‘outside’ as we say in jazz,” said Hazen. “But the alienation, absurdism and disassociation rang a chord when I read it that triggered something in me – a realization about there being no rules when you have a voice and something to say.”


Hazen is an author, editor and musician, and regularly contributes to the education-based journal The Bud Hawthorne Revue  In 2015, he debuted a full-length collection of nine-strange tales on convenience store fiction in Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories.

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                                          Meet Barnaby Hazen

Barnaby Hazen is an author, editor and musician. Driven strongly by collaboration, it seems natural his first venture into writing began with a friend. Seven Eleven Stories periodical took shape in 2014 and just one year later, Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories  debuted with a full-length collection featuring nine strange tales on convenience store fiction.
In 2017, Misfortunes of T-Funk, the first in a series, pulls directly from Hazen’s own life in music. Having been a lifelong, dedicated listener, teacher and performer, his latest novel incorporates his self-recorded and produced musical tracks directly into the chapters of his new novel. Hazen’s music illuminates his main characters and further elaborates on the story, creating a unique and personal soundtrack for readers of the book.
Having spent years as an educator, Barnaby’s time as an elementary school music teacher particularly inspired him to become involved with The Bud Hawthorne Revue.  He writes and edits the publication, along with Mr. Hawthorne himself, and is eager to continue offering contributions to literary culture given his unique perspective on writing.
Hazen lives in Taos, New Mexico with his wife Sarah and their adorably troublesome pets.

Look out for a Q&A with Barnaby Hazen tomorrow.  


The opening of Misfortunes introduces us to two talented music students, Judah, and Theo. As well as these two there is Iris and Chase. The story switches from the different perspectives easily.

On their first day what follows is a night out, and waking in a bed that is unfamiliar. It captures the awkwardness of a one night stand perfectly, from Theo’s perspective. Out of Theo and Judah, Judah is the party animal, and surrounds himself with a group of girls that night. I liked the description of the girls. Barnaby Hazen writes the ordinariness well. I like the friendships that blossom, and as a whole Misfortunes writes relationships well. It reminded me in a way of A Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Theo seems to be the main protagonist. It is later on in the book we really go into Judah’s psyche. I felt the more human side of him. Letter Number Three is an excellent  piece of writing.

The book follows not only their relationships, and studies, but the music that is a large part of the bond between them, and the tracks they cut, and the band they form. I did feel by the final leg of the book I had read something similar to Misfortunes before, as Judah and Theo go on the road, and it gave a look into getting a band on tour, and all the costs involved.

The Misfortunes of T- Funk is a slow burner, but vastly enjoyable.