Till It Stops Beating – Hannah R Goodman 

Till It Stops Beating is due to commence on a book blog tour in October and my stop and full review will be on 21 October 2018. However, I wanted to give you a brief overview of this novel. 

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab). 

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book About The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever-mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear. 

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.  

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How Not To Be A Doctor – John Launer 

How Not To Be A Doctor is a series of essays about being a Doctor and the bits we do not see as patients. John will pick you up and place you directly into the mind of a Doctor and you will see everything. You will experience what a Doctor thinks about during consultations, and whether they are really listening to what you say. You will hear views and opinions of Doctors about the system and their colleagues it is a real eye opener. 

What this book made me really think about was although, I am fully aware is that Doctors are humans, they will have off days when they do not want to attend consultations and may not be listening fully and Doctors will make mistakes. But, it also made me reflect about how amazing the National Health Service and this is perhaps a book that should be read by the Secretary of State for Health and the Health Ministers so they get an understanding of what actually happens on the ground. 

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“Time and again, Doctors have to re-learn that what patients seem to value in us is not usually technical expertise and certainly not charm. It may be the thing that we try our hardest to avoid; being ourselves.”

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“Over the years, I have spent quite a lot of time thinking, teaching and writing about supervision in medicine. Like most people who have been drawn towards the subject, I have become fascinated by the way that supervision lies at the intersection of factual knowlege and self-awareness and by the opportunities it offers for both technical and ethical development.”

I love these type of books where you learn the “nitty gritty” of the health service. John is brutally honest about the profession, but in a respectful way not just being critical it is a balanced view. This is a book that you all need to read and I believe once you have, you may think differently towards the Doctors and the Health Service. 

About the Book 

Doctor and medical columnist John has written on the practice and teaching of medicine for many years. Originating from popular columns John has written for medical journals, the essays range from the title essay How Not To Be A Doctor, an ironic piece illustrating how being authentic as a Doctor may mean behaving in ways you were never taught in medical school; to a story of the imagined conversation between two prehistoric medical men on the primitive diet; to the author’s poignant account of being a patient himself as he received treatment for a life-threatening illness.

This book is published by Duckworth Overlook 

Fishnets – Kirstin Innes 

Fishnets is Kirstin’s debut novel and what a novel it is. We follow the story of Fiona trying to track down her missing sister, Rona after she walked away from Fiona’s flat six years previous leaving her child in the care of her sister. 

Fiona clearly has the weight of the world on her shoulders as she is unhappy in her job, her life and the realities of looking after a child. Fiona embarks on her own investigation and what unravels is a sister that Fiona does not recognise. She finds out her sister is involved in the sex industry. You get the feeling Fiona has more questions than answers and confusion over who her sister actually is. 

You walk in Fiona’s shoes as she initially came across as being judgemental during her investigation into the sex industry however, you slowly see this judgement crumble and realises that the people involved are not necessarily who you would expect to be and the reasons as to why people do resort to this action. You almost feel the empathy rising from within Fiona and unexpected friendships starting to form. 

Fishnets is an interesting read and certainly was an eye-opener. I could feel the passion Kirstin had in being the story teller and getting Rona’s story out there, you could feel her blood, sweat and tears in reaching the conclusion of the novel. Kirstin’s love for both Rona and Fiona just spilled out of the book  and fully embraced me as the reader. 

Fishnets has left me wanting to read more works by Kirstin and I hope she continues to write more novels. 

About the Book 

Rona Leonard walks out of her sister Fiona’s flat and disappears. 

Six years on, worn down by work, child care and the aching absence in her life, Fiona’s existence is blown apart by the revelation that, before she disappeared, Rona had been working as a prostitute. 

About the Author 

Kirstin is an award-winning writer, journalist and arts worker. Fishnets was first published in 2015 to great acclaim. She founded the Glasgow literary cabaret night Words Per Minute and often performs at spoken word events and festivals. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and commissioned by BBC Radio 4. 

Kirstin lives with her family in a village by a loch in the west of Scotland. 

This book is published by Black and White Publishing 

Bookshop Girl – Chloe Coles 

I am a massive fan of books about books and Bookshop Girl was a perfect read. We follow the story of Paige who works part-time in a bookshop which has been threatened with closure. This is the only bookshop within the town and Paige and her colleagues set out on a mission to try and save the shop. Paige very much takes the lead and you can feel her passion oozing from the pages to save the shop. Despite her age, she has some mature moments as she comes to the realisation that the book shop is just as important to some of the local residents as it is to her. 

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“It’s been a week since the shop closure was announced and some of the shelves are already looking bare. The books I’m carrying have been picked up and dumped into piles around the carpet. I’m trying to tidy what’s left and make it look pretty, unloading this stack of misplaced books back onto displays.”

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“The way Tony goes on to talk about this book shows a completely different side to him. He’s almost like the rest of us who work here. Excited and enthusiastic about his favourite writer. No this normal stressy, stink-eye-shooting self.”

Whilst you follow the shop saving story, you also follow Paige’s lovelife and some of the issues she has at home. 

I love Chloes writing, I adore her and follow her on Instagram which is just amazing. Chloe clearly has a passion for books, and wants to spread the word that reading is a passion that should be shared and not to be ashamed of. Chloe continues to work for Foyles and she is also not only an amazing writer but her drawings are pretty impressive. 

I am very excited about Chloe’s next book and this book is one I would recommend to all. 

About the Book 

Meet sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. 

Part-time bookseller. 

Full-time glitter-glue enthusiast. 

Paige and her best friend Holly have four weeks to master the art of drawing dangly bits and persuade the people of Greysworth to save their one and only bookshop. Oh and then there’s Blane Henderson. Art-school anarchist heart throb. Could his wild ways make or break Paige’s campaign. 

About the Author 

Originally from Northampton, Chloe studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art before moving to London. Now in her twenties, she has worked in bookselling since the age of sixteen, squeezing it around school and university and other jobs. She’s previously worked at Waterstones, Blackwells and Heffers and now works as a Children’s Specialist and Assistant Buyer at Foyles Charing Cross. All of her hair is her own. People ask her about that. A lot. Chloe sings (shouts) in a band with her best friend. 

If you would like to purhcase Bookshop Girl or to find out more about Hot Key Books, please click here.

Signs In The Rearview Mirror – Kelly Smith 

Signs In The Rearview Mirror is a toe curling account of what it is like to be in a toxic relationship. At times I found myself hiding behind my own hands at how brutal both physically and mentally Kelly’s relationship became. 

What I loved (which is probably the wrong word to use) was the honesty throughout the book, Kelly did not seem to hide anything even though at times, I could feel almost her embarassment and her dignity dying. She answered a lot of questions as to why people stay in such destructive relationship and many many more questions. With Kelly’s writing I felt I was almost an audience member watching her relationship crumble and her confidence destroyed and willed her throughout the book to move away from the relationship for her own mental wellbeing. I felt there were times when Kelly was just worn down by the continued mind games and fighting, I felt exhaused by it and again willed her to just stop and walk away, which I get is easy for me to say this as I am not involved. 

What I felt most about this book was Kelly’s  sense of loneliness throughout, she reflected that if she left the relationship she was scared, however, if she remained within the relationship she would have probably felt the same too and actually more lonely despite having a partner there and a sense of no-way out. 

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“A few times I thought about ending it with Gabe, but then, I would panic. I would be alone and that scared me. I thought it would be better to suffer than to be alone. Suffering seemed to be my hobby at this point. The only thing I knew how to do and I did it well.”

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“Looking back on it, this was my out. This was the point where I should have walked away. I should have scooped up my dignity, dragged it home, licked my wounds and started to get over him. But I didn’t.”

Signs In The Rearview Mirror, I think would be an excellent education book to take into secondary schools for the older young people to consider. I believe that domestic violence needs to be spoken about more and for people to be more honest and open minded to discussion. Kelly certainly has opened my mind and I want to thank her for telling me her story, it has really touched and stayed with me. 

About the Book 

What kind of person ends up in a toxic relationship?

Any why does she stay?

Coming out of a failing marriage, Kelly turns to Gabe out of fear of being alone. Her gradual slide into danger is at once terrifying and inevitable, and the steps she takes to get out of it will both inspire and offer hope. 

About the Author 

Kelly was born and raised in Boston and now has made her home in Austin with her three children and her dog. Kelly haas written for the Huffington Post, blogs at Thoughts Becoming Words, and hosts a Podcast Let’s Get Wicked Deep. 

Signs In The Rearview Mirror is published by Sunny Day Publishing

Thank you to Rachels Random Resources for arranging blog tour. 

 

 

The Benevolent Dictator – Tom Trott 

Firstly, I would like to apologise to Tom for not blogging about his amazing book, I didn’t put the date in my diary and I can only apologise to Tom and to Rachel who organised the blog tour. But, I wanted to do a spot light feature on my blog. 

About the Book 

Politics is false. Power is real. 

Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder. 

Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the King’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart. 

Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family and his life. 

About The Author 

Born in Brighton, Tom had many jobs and has never lived anywhere else. Tom started to write at school, where he and his group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for assemblies, must to the amusement of his fellow pupils.

As an adult, Tom has written a short comedy play and was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014, as part of the Brighton Festival; Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel; and won the Empire Award in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. 

Tom published his first novel, You Can’t Make Old Friends, in 2016 his second, Choose Your Parents Wisely in 2017 and The Benevolent Dictator is his third novel. 

If you would like to purchase The Benevolent Dictator or to find out more about Tom, please click here.

 

This blog tour was arranged by Rachels Random Resources  

 

Gross Anatomy – Mara Altman 

(my curious relationship with the female body)

Gross Anatomy is a book that I needed during my teenage years and I think should be read by all. Mara has a way of talking about the issues, that we just don’t want to talk about and making it ok to discuss these hot topics. I laughed a lot during this book, but found myself nodding along too. 
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“In any case, I’m not saying that I’ve got it together more than any other woman; it is precisely my own volatile and apprehensive relationship with my own body parts, such as my bowels, bunions, belly button, and copious sweat glands, that has compelled me to go forth in search of answers from everyone from the goddess worshippers of Bainbridge Island to the top lice experts in Denmark.”

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“It felt good to know that I wasn’t alone, but it also bothered me to know that so many of us lived in such fear that our biological side would show. It was bad enough that we occasionally had to be seen in natural sunlight.”

This book I felt Mara was empowering people just to embrace their bodies “warts and all”. Mara just put it out there, but I loved it and just adored the brutal honesty. I just wished that everyone was a little bit more honest about our bodies and the quirks we have which just make us all individuals. 

I just adored this book, and just loved it and will be reading again and again. 

About the Book 

Gross Anatomy unapologetically explores the beautiful, and sometimes not so beautiful, aspets of our boies, and why they’re worth loving anyway. From hairy chins to braless outlings, lice-infestations to PMS, no body part is left undiscussed as Mara takes you on a wild journey from head to toe, recouting experiences most of us are too polite to share. 

About the Author 

Mara is a stand-up comedian, journalist and author of Thanks for Coming and Bearded Lady. She writes about issues that embarrass her, because she has found that putting shame on the page diffuses the stigma, leaving her with a sense of empowerment and freedom. 

She lives the perpetual Catch-22 of not being able to go to sleep without first drinking a glass of water, but then having to get up to pee at 3am. She reminds herself that things could always be wrose. Then she’s stuck thinking about all the bad things that could happen. And then she can’t get back to sleep. 

Gross Anatomy is published by Harper Collins

A big thank you to Rosie Margesson for sending me this amazing novel.  


If Only They Didn’t Speak English – Jon Sopel 

I adore reading political books, it is one of my guilty pleasures as it gives you a real insight that you do not always see, so I knew I had to pick up If Only They Didn’t Speak English.

As the BBC’s North American Editor, Jon Sopel has experienced the United States from a perspective that most of us could only dream of; he has flown aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama and was famously described as ‘a beauty’ by Donald Trump. 

Jon sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams, but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs. 

A full review of this book will be on my blog shortly. If Only They Didn’t Speak English is published by BBC Books
 

 

How To Be Famous – Caitlin Moran 

I absolutely adore Caitlin Moran, her honesty, her story telling and how she seems to be so empowering – what a great role model. I have read all of Caitlin’s previous novels so getting How To be Famous was a no brainer. 

About the Book 

I’m Johanna Morrigan. 

I’m nineteen. It’s 1995. 

And I live in the epicentre of Britpop. 

I share a laundrette with one of Blur, and have takaway spaghetti bolognese for breakfast, every day- because I can. Parklife!

As ‘The Legendary Dolly Wilde’, I write a column for The Face about being surrounded by people getting fame wrong. Not least my long-term and unrequited love, John Kite. When his album goes to number one, he explodes into a Booze and Drugs Hell, as rockstars do. 

More sinister is hot young comedian Jerry Sharpe. ‘He’s a vampire,’ my friend Suzanne warns. ‘He destroys bright young girls. Also, he’s a total dick.’

But by that point, I’ve already had sex with him. Bad sex. 

And I’m one of the girls he’s trying to destroy. He needs to be stopped. 

But how can one girl stop a powerful, famous man?

About the Author 

Caitlin became a columnist at The Times at eighteen and has gone on to be named Columnist of the Year six times. At one point, she was also Interviewer and Critic of the Year – which is good going for someone who still regularly mistypes ‘the’ as ‘hte’. 

Her multi-award winning bestselling How To Be A Woman has been pubished in 28 countries, and won the British book Awards’ Book of the Year 2011. Her two volumes of collected journalism, Moranthology and Moranifesto were Sunday Times bestsellers. 

Her first novel, How To Build A Girl, debuted at number one, and is currently being adapted as a film. 

How To Be Famous is published by Ebury Press
 

 

The Rules of Seeing – Joe Heap 

I have just started reading this novel and just wanted to briefly give you a description on this book as so far, it is a book I have fallen in love with. 

About the Book 

The Rules of Seeing No 399: Learning to see is often a thankless task. Then, sometimes, the world opens up and you understand nothing will ever look the same again. 

Nova, an interpreter for the Metorpolitan police, has been blind from birth. When she undergoes surgery to restore her sight her journey is just beginning- she now has to face a world in full colour for the first time. Kate, a successful architect and wife to Tony, is in hospital after a blow to the head. There, she meets Nova and what starts as a beautiful friendship soon turns into something more. 

About the Author 

Joe Heap was born in Bradford in 1986, the son of two teachers. In 20004, he won the Foyle Young Poet Award. He studied for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University and a Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. Joe lives in London, with his long-suffering girlfriend, short-suffering baby, and much-aggrieved cat. The Rules of Seeing, is his first novel. 

The Rules of Seeing is published by Harper Collins

A full review of this book will be published on my blog in due course.