Category Archives: Reviews

Life of Pi by Yann Martel – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This was the winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize back in 2002.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Here is the book blurb.

One boy, one boat, one tiger . . .

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan — and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

This book starts like most with an author’s note, which initially made me assume that the story was based on a true tale, but as I read, I revised my original opinion. How could such a scene possibly have really happened.

The first few chapters dart from theme to theme as the scene is set, which I did find slightly confusing. But this is to introduce us to Piscine Molitor Patel, known as Pi. Yann also weaves himself in as the writer interviewing characters. In part 1, we follow Pi through childhood in the 1970’s upto age 16, when he and his family are about to emigrate from India to Canada. I particularly liked how Pi was a practising Hindu, Christian and Muslim.

Pi’s father had been the Pondicherry zoo director, but he is now closing the zoo and most of the animals are being bought by US zoos. So the family and the zoo animals are about to set sail aboard the Japanese cargo ship Tsimtsum for pastures new.

It is only as we move into part 2 of the story, that the blurb comes into play. Four days out of Manila, the ship is in trouble. Three of the crew throw Pi overboard into a lifeboat before the ship sinks. But who does he have for company on this lifeboat, but some of the animals who had escaped from their cages. A hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger, with sharks circling around. You just know that things are going to prove interesting.

And what a tale it is. There is even a part 3, which is different again. I highly recommend Life of Pi. A great read which I thoroughly enjoyed, suitable for both adults and older children from about age 11 upwards.

This bestselling book has also been made into a film which i would love to see too.

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Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers by Christy Breedlove – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers by Christy J Breedlove to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers by Christy J Breedlove

Here is the book blurb.

Seventeen year-old Jory Pike knows a thing or two about Indian lore from her half-blood Chippewa ancestry. She can trap, hunt and fish with the best of them. She has a team of three other teens friends called The Badlands Paranormal Society. Instead of bagging groceries or playing on I-pods, they think they can excel at banishing evil spirits. They hope to cleanse houses and earn fat paychecks for their services.

Dream catchers aren’t just the chic hoops tourists buy at novelty shops–they work. And sometimes they clog up with nightmares until they collapse under their own evil weight, imploding and sending the dreamer into an alternate world. Jory uses her worst nightmare to enter the dream catcher world. She’s pulled her teammates in deliberately. Everything goes right on schedule but they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Now Jory and her friends are there, trapped between the people who have confessed their sins to the Great Spirit and are seeking a way out, and the monsters and evil spirits, which are happy to keep them trapped in the web world forever.

They were once considered Seekers in the dream world. Now they’ve become vigilantes and call themselves Pathfinders. Is it spiritual enlightenment they after? Or have they now become fatally reckless?

This is book 2 in the Screamcatcher series, aimed at YA readers. I haven’t read book 1, but found this worked perfectly as a stand-alone read. It is fantasy, a genre I don’t usually read, but I was hooked from almost the beginning.

It starts off with a team of 4 main Pathfinder characters, Jory, Choice, Lander and Darcy, all aged 16-18, who have been commissioned to sort out a huge evil dream catcher which is giving its current owners nightmares. They make the jump into an alternate nightmare world, starting on the bad outer rim of the dream catcher, where the neighbourhood seems to have been burnt to the ground. All is in ruins, nothing useful can be found and they need to head west, searching for the good Seekers, moving from sector to sector, heading to the centre where good can pass through.

But everything seems stacked against them, challenges, monsters, difficult terrain, extreme weather and huge walls between sectors.

So can they find and rescue some Seekers? And can they reach the centre?

Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. A great read. Highly recommended.

I’ve never actually seen a dream catcher, but I’ve even been eying up my wind chimes suspiciously since reading this book.

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The Lane Betrayal by John A Heldt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Regular readers of my blog may recall that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed quite a number of time travel fiction titles by author John A Heldt including all of his last series The Carson Chronicles. Well he is back with a brand new Time Box saga and I have had the pleasure of reading the first title in the series, The Lane Betrayal.

And to find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Lane Betrayal by John A Heldt

Here is the book blurb.

From the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage, American Journey, and Carson Chronicles series comes the first book in the Time Box saga.

Virginia physicist Mark Lane has a problem. Weeks after privately creating two time machines, he learns his corporate partner wants to use the portable devices for nefarious purposes. Rather than give him the chance to do so, Mark takes the time boxes and escapes to the relative safety of 1865.

For Mark, wife Mary, and their children, the adventure is a chance to grow. Mary runs a business. Jeremy, 19, and Ashley, 12, befriend escaped slaves. Laura, 22, finds her place as a nurse. Jordan, 25, falls for a beautiful widow. All hope to find peace in the past.

Billionaire Robert Devereaux has other ideas. Shortly after Mark’s betrayal, he sends an assassin to 1865 to retrieve his property and set matters straight.

Filled with romance, suspense, and history, THE LANE BETRAYAL follows a modern American family as it tries to find security and contentment in the final weeks of the Civil War.

The story starts in August 2021 when Mark Lane is forced to bring forward his plans to wreak havoc on the company’s servers before escaping with the time travel machines by 6 hours. If he fails, his corrupt business partner Robert plans to use them to change and manipulate history for his own purposes. The plan to time-travel from their own backyard has to be axed. A high speed police chase ensues before he reunites with his family at their back-up rendezvous and they vanish into thin air, travelling back in time to 1865, towards the end of the American Civil War.

But with no transport of their own, this means they need to now make their way back to Fredericksburg and this is the start of where things begin to unravel. One of them is arrested, property is seized, something is lost.

Meanwhile Robert is hot on their heels in attempting to reverse the damage Mark has inflicted in the modern day and in following the cookie crumb trail to pinpoint the time they travelled to. He will stop at nothing to get the machines back and hires an assassin to send back in time.

With money no object, the assassin kills on a whim. Can the Lane family sort themselves out and evade this assassin?

This book is a real page turner with so many twists and turns. And once again the author has put lots of effort into researching the historical period.

The Lane Betrayal is available on Amazon, in Kindle format and paperback. I highly recommend this book and am very much looking forward to reading book two, The Fair which was published this summer.

And you may be interested to see my reviews of some of John Heldt’s other titles.
Firstly The Carson Chronicles series.
River Rising
The Memory Tree
Indian Paintbrush
Caitlin’s Song
Camp Lake

Plus some of his earlier titles.
The Mine
Indiana Belle
Hannah’s Moon

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Lark by Anthony McGowan – book review

I chose to read Lark as it is the winner of the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal. This is probably the most renowned children’s book award here in the UK. It is judged annually by children’s librarians and awarded to an outstanding book for children and young people. However thousands of children and young people also get to participate in a shadowing scheme, reading the books on the shortlist via reading clubs in schools and public libraries. Each year young people who take part in the scheme are invited to vote for their favourite books to win the Shadowers’ Choice Awards. These are usually announced alongside the Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal winners, however due to lockdown, shadowing has been extended until the Autumn. So this year the Shadowers’ Choice Award winners will be announced during National Libraries Week on the 9th October.

Lark by Anthony McGowan

Here is the book blurb.

Things are tense at home for Nicky and Kenny. Their mum’s coming to visit and it will be the first time they’ve seen her in years. A lot has changed since they were little and Nicky’s not so sure he’s ready to see her again. When they head for a trek across the moors to take their minds off everything, a series of unforeseen circumstances leaves the brothers in a vulnerable and very dangerous position. There might even be a chance that this time not everyone will make it home alive.

Lark is the fourth title in The Truth of Things series but works fine as a stand-alone read. It has been published by Barrington Stoke whose books all have a dyslexia-friendly layout, typeface and paperstock.

Nicky is the younger brother, but he is very much in charge of their day out during the Easter holiday, as Kenny, his elder brother has a learning disability and attends a special school. They have planned a walk on the moors with their dog Tina to ease Kenny’s boredom and to clear Nicky’s head about everything else going on in his life currently. It will take three buses to reach the moors, but they have printed out a map for the 2 mile walk to the next village.

Simple. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot actually but you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Lark has a reading age of 9, but should be of interest to teens. I really enjoyed this book which at 120 pages, didn’t take me long to read, although the epilogue caught me by surprise. It was full of humour, suspense and emotion. I did try to encourage my elder son who has become a reluctant reader, to give it a try, but sadly he declined.

This is the first book I’ve read by Anthony McGowan, but I shall certainly be adding more of his titles to my TBR list. Perhaps I should have read Brock, Pike and Rook first.

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Have you heard of Tŷ Môr saving the planet one wipe at a time?

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product that I helped to crowdfund.  All opinions are my own.

You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.

I am passionate about the environment and sustainability, so whenever I see a Crowdfunder for a small business in this area, I do my best to support them. Tŷ Môr was one that caught my eye last year. They are a natural fibre toilet paper which is 100% environmentally friendly made by ShearWater Eco™. (The website is currently being updated, but should be available within a couple of weeks).

Tŷ Môr natural toilet paper

I had to wait a while to receive the 48 rolls that I crowdfunded, due to technical issues that needed resolving in their supply chain, but they did supply smaller quantities in the interim. However I now have a cupboard full of environmentally friendly toilet paper. This many rolls are going to last a while. And no plastic in sight, just like how I remember we used to be able to purchase loo roll.

The Tŷ Môr toilet paper is tree less, plastic free, 30m per roll, is a natural colour with no bleaching agents, no dyes, no harmful chemicals and no BPA. It is 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and carbon positive. And it is made from sustainably sourced, fast-growing plant fibre materials such as rattan, bamboo, hemp and sisal. No trees at all. In fact, planting bamboo has been proven to be great for rejuvenating poor soil.

ShearWater Eco™ have recently received a grant from the Development Bank of Wales to invest in their dream of growing and manufacturing their toilet paper in the UK. Currently it is shipped from overseas.

Unless you’ve gone the whole hog to use washable cloths instead, toilet paper is an essential that we all need to buy regularly. So it makes perfect sense to choose the most environmentally friendly type possible. Do you really need white or coloured toilet paper? Stop and think about this, it doesn’t grow white or coloured. Bleach or dye must have been used. Even some of the other supposedly eco brands are not quite as eco as they claim.

Plus it is priced very competitively, especially as they are not charging VAT at present, so currently £24.99 for 48 rolls. And for those of you, who don’t have room to store 48 loo rolls, it also comes in packs of 4, 9 or 16. They are expanding their stockists but you can buy it directly from their online store. It would be fabulous to see these products in my local zero waste store, so I’ve let Tŷ Môr know the contact details. Plus they even sell gift cards. What a good gift idea for the person who has everything!

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your order at Tŷ Môr with discount code: W935IZYJOFMY.

Ty Mor natural toilet paper

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of ShearWater Eco™ to giveaway a pack of 4 toilet rolls each to 2 lucky winners.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top tips for an eco swap.

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Baron of Bad by Tammy Andresen – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Baron of Bad by Tammy Andresen to review.

Baron of Bad by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

He’s bad to the bone… and she looks oh so good.

The Baron of Baderness is too dark, too dangerous for any clear minded lady to consider. And Lady Grace has her choice of men. So why can’t she stop thinking about the one man she shouldn’t want?

Lady Grace isn’t his type of woman at all. She’s too beautiful and far too perfect to ever be with a man such as himself. All she knows is drawing rooms and pretty gowns, while he has fought his way from the dregs of society. He shouldn’t want her and yet every time she passes by, he can’t look away.

This is the fifth title in the Regency Romance Lords of Scandal series, but works well as a stand-alone read. However, having read all the previous titles, I had to read this one straight after book 4, Viscount of Vice as that ended on a cliffhanger. Each book focusses on one of the five Chase sisters / cousins along with one of the lords who all own a share in a secret gaming den that the ladies had discovered. Initially each lord was keeping an eye on a Chase lady to ensure she was trustworthy, but as the stories progress, the watch is now to ensure the ladies are safe from the Countess of Abernath.

Now it is the turn of Bad, the Baron of Baderness and Lady Grace Chase to take centre-stage.

It is too difficult to review this book properly without giving spoilers to the previous title Viscount of Vice, as some of the story runs in parallel, but Bad is certainly trying hard to keep tabs on Grace. And what is Grace’s opinion on Bad, who doesn’t think he is good enough for her? That’s about all I can say. This is one you’ll just have to read to find out more, but best to read the Viscount of Vice first.

Baron of Bad is available on Amazon in both Kindle format or paperback. Another nice light short romantic story from Tammy.

About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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15 Minute Parenting by Joanna Fortune – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

It has been a very long time since I have reviewed a book through NetGalley, mainly because I get so many authors approaching me directly, that I don’t have time to select books via NetGalley. However a new non-fiction publishing imprint Thread, has recently been set up who contacted me with details of their first titles, which were all free to review through NetGalley. And as a mum, I was very keen to read 15 Minute Parenting.

15 Minute Parenting by Joanna Fortune

Here is the book blurb.

A mindful and practical parenting roadmap for busy, time-poor parents. Based on a simple and effective formula, it will transform family life in just fifteen minutes of daily play, resulting in less tears and more laughter.

Middle childhood, the period for those aged 8–12 years old, is often the most overlooked phase of a child’s development but it’s the age where play continue to serve an important role in their emotional growth. It’s also an age where we are most likely to stop playing with our children.

With over twenty years of clinical expertise and neuroscientific research, psychotherapist and parenting expert Joanna Fortune shares her proven techniques that will enable you to better understand your relationship with your children as they grow and ensure that your parenting is developing with them.

Packed with 15-minute games and activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, Joanna also explores the neurological, physical and emotional development of 8-12 year olds and offers parents hands-on advice on how to deal with:

Friendships and bullying

Sibling relationships

Difficult conversations (the ones that catch you off guard!)

Risk-taking behaviour

Building independence, self-esteem and emotional resilience


15-Minute Parenting 8-12 years will show you how to keep play alive with your child, foster great communication and help to secure strong foundations for adolescence.

There are two books in The Language of Play series. The first is targeted at parents of children age 0-7 and the second for those with children age 8-12. I chose to review the latter, as both my boys are older than seven. Joanna is currently writing a third title on parenting of teenagers.

This book is full of suggestions of what to do in 15 minutes, devoting that time to mindfully present play with your child or children. There are plenty of ideas, some of which may be things you already do, but hopefully lots of new material for everyone.

And there are chapters specifically focussing on sibling relationships, friendships, homework, independence, self-esteem, risk, special needs and preparing for the next stage. Also a chapter on ‘How do I get my child to …’ with topics like Engage in Physical Activity or What If questions. These range through What if my child will not do any chores, is being bullied, is the bully, steals.

However some of the props required for certain play activities were items I would rather not see promoted in a book like this. The two in particular for me were cotton wool balls, a single-use product and balloons which can be so dangerous to wildlife.

But I was especially pleased to see stories mentioned. My younger son has a set of Dr Who story cubes, which we enjoy using together for mindful play, even though my Dr Who knowledge is very basic compared to his level.

15 Minute Parenting is available on Amazon in Kindle format, paperback and audiobook. A very good useful resource book.

You may find out more about the author Joanna Fortune and her books on her website.

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Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart to review. You may find out more about Charlotte on her website.

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart

Here is the book blurb.

In ancient Greece, the chimera was a bad omen. In WHY ME? it’s a motive for murder.

Seattle consultant, Bryn Baczek, is vacationing in Scotland, hiking alone in a downpour, surrounded by midges, when she sees a body at the bottom of a ravine. Before she can return to the scene with the mountain rescue team, the body of the scientist disappears, along with the laptop containing his cutting-edge research.

Rumors that Bryn has the scientist’s laptop make her a target of both legal and illegal businesses that want to make fistfuls of money by growing customized human organs in animal chimeras.

Well the title and the cover of this book certainly drew me in, even though I had no idea what a chimera was before reading it.

The story starts with Bryn on holiday alone in Scotland, due to best friend Sophie cancelling at the last minute. She is following Sophie’s planned remote hike in torrential rain, plagued by midges, when she spots a body way below her at the bottom of a ravine. She scrambles down but the man is dead. From his wallet, she discovers his name Jared Blaine and coincidentally that he is also from Seattle, like her. But a noise spooks her and she leaves the scene, before returning with mountain rescue. However the body has disappeared and the mountain rescue team aren’t convinced whether to believe her or not, although she makes friends with Fiona, one of the team.

But Bryn knows what she saw and is determined to investigate the mystery herself, firstly in Scotland, where things just don’t add up,  and then back home in Seattle, where she ropes in neighbour Logan. They discover that Jared was a biomedical scientist. Coincidences abound, faces keep cropping up, and before long, she finds herself a target. Someone thinks she has Jared’s laptop. What length will they go to?

This is a great story, a light-hearted mystery with some thriller elements and plenty of red herrings to throw you off track. Plus it is fun too, with Bryn living on a boat with her mad cat.

And finally, chimera is a genetic term which rather than attempt to explain, I shall point you in the direction of the Wikipedia definition. And the Greek reference in the blurb is because in Greek mythology, a chimera is a hybrid creature, part lion, part goat and part snake. Chimera research is highly controversial, as it has the potential to save lives though biomedical treatments but raises serious bioethical questions.

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish is available on Amazon in both kindle format and paperback. A good mystery, with some great twists.

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KIND2 you, KIND2 the planet – review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Saving the planet doesn’t have to mean bad hair! I recently discovered the natural plastic-free haircare brand KIND2 via the Ethical Influencers network. KIND2 is a small, independent, ethical haircare company founded by Sue Campbell, because she wanted to make a difference for the planet.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

I received a KIND2 shampoo bar and a conditioner bar free to review. There are two shampoo bars in the range and I chose to test out the sensitive one as my scalp is very prone to dandruff. Their other shampoo bar is a hydrating one, so targeted at dry, curly and coloured hair.

Dispatch was quick and the packaging was also plastic free, even down to using paper tape. I hate trying to remove sellotape prior to recycling so thumbs up for that.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

KIND2 products are vegan and free from plastic, soap, sulphates, silicones and parabens. They are made in the UK, supporting local industry and lowering their carbon footprint. Plus you’ll see on their website, that all their bars have won awards.

Now I started using shampoo bars over 18 months ago, but I have to say it has been rather hit and miss as to which ones I like and those I don’t. I particularly hate it when one leaves a residue  in my hair which won’t rinse out and then causes extra tangles when combing.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

However this is my first time using a conditioner bar. Initially I still had open bottles of conditioner left to use up when I first made the swap to shampoo bars. I did donate any unopened bottles to The Hygiene Bank but no point in throwing away what you already have. And since then, I have been making my own homemade zero waste apple cider vinegar from apple scraps as a hair rinse. Something else that I must get round to writing a blog post about.

So putting the KIND2 bars to the test. I made sure my hair was fully wet first, before wetting the shampoo bar and rubbing it into my roots and through my hair. It lathered reasonably well, but note we do have soft water here, so I can’t comment on how it would be in hard water. My hair is thick, but I found it easy to wash through and it rinsed out well too without leaving residue. No need for a second wash.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

I then followed it up with the same procedure using the conditioner bar. This smelt lovely with a subtle aroma, whilst the shampoo bar was fragrance free. I was able to easily comb my hair afterwards with no tangles. And as it was a lovely summer’s day, I went out to the garden and allowed my hair to dry naturally. The result was soft and shiny, so I am very pleased.

I am sold on these products and not just because they are plastic free, including the box. I am putting it down to them also being soap free. Read this interesting article about pH balance on their website.

I found I could easily go well over a week between hair washes, with my hair still looking clean and glossy, which was unheard of before I swapped to shampoo bars. The box indicates that one 80g shampoo bar equates to two 250ml bottles, which should be around 60 washes. So great value for money as well as for the environment at £12.50 for a bar. Similarly the conditioner bar should last for 80 washes. Wow that is just 1g per wash.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

These numbers do depend on you allowing the bars to dry out between washes. When I first swapped to a shampoo bar, I didn’t have a spare soap dish for it, so to keep it dry, I took a Heath Robinson approach. I put elastic bands round the bottom half of a travel soap holder which I already had and balanced the shampoo bar on this. This works fine, but I do love the look of all the sustainable soap dishes that KIND2 also sell. They have ceramic, enamel and wood soap dishes available.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

And just to let the gents know that the box says that the shampoo bar is great as a beard wash too. Also the ingredients in KIND2 shampoo bars and conditioner bars should be gentle enough for children of 5 years and over. So suitable for all the family.

Regular readers of my blog will be aware from my series of posts on reducing waste that I am doing my best to reduce my use of plastic. So KIND2 scores full marks from me on this front and I am more than happy to recommend this brand. If you haven’t tried a shampoo bar yet, then give it a whirl. Plus if you sign up to the KIND2 newsletter, you’ll get a 10% discount off your first order, along with other special offers.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of KIND2 to giveaway a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite product from KIND2 or your suggestions for additions to the range. And how about sharing your top tips for eco-friendly bathroom swaps you have made.

The only thing now for me still to sort out is a post-lockdown hair cut. However I’ve heard several non-eco friendly tales of disposable towels and gowns. So I am torn between wanting a haircut, but not with lots of single use plastic involved. What has anyone else’s experience been?

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Proud compiled by Juno Dawson – book review

I reserved this book from the library back in June, as I wanted to read something to link in with Pride month.

Proud by Juno Dawson

Here is the book blurb.

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

This is a book of mainly short stories on the theme of Pride but also some poetry, featuring LGBTQ+ teenagers and some of the issues they face. It has been complied by Juno Dawson, who earlier this year won the YA Book Prize 2020 for the novel Meat Market. Juno is also a school role model for Stonewall charity. Each story or poem is accompanied by an illustration. All the authors and artists belong to the LGBTQ+ community. Some are established authors and some are new writers.

I’m not a huge poetry fan and the first piece in the anthology was a poem which I have to say I did struggle somewhat to interpret, even on re-reading a few times. However this was followed by a very funny Penguins story at which point I was sold on the book. The content is a mixture of moving, thought provoking, funny and even a modern day lesbian take on Pride and Prejudice. I personally loved almost all of the reads.

At the back of the book, there is a useful resource list of charities that support LGBTQ+ people in the UK. Proud is available on Amazon. A great diverse read.

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