#Bookreview by Lou of #WorldWar2 #Fiction – An Angel’s Work by Kate Eastham @eastham_kate @bookouture @sarahhardy681

An Angel’s Work
By Kate Eastham
Rated: 5 stars *****

Set in the midst of the Second World War, this book shows resilience, duty and friendship within a fast-paced story that has a slight grittyness.
I am pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for An Angel’s Work by Kate Eastham.
Thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me to this blog tour for Kate Eastham and the publishing company – Bookouture.
Please follow down to the blurb and full review.

About the Author

KATEA change in circumstance meant Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to being a carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ and inspired by an in-depth study of the origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.   
 
 

An Angel's Work cover

Blurb

Jo forced herself to look into the cot, but at first all she could see was grey dust from the explosion. Then, a tiny hand poked out through a layer of grit. In seconds she had the child scooped up and she could feel its little body warm against her own. She felt an almost painful surge of emotion welling up from the pit of her stomach. With tears pouring down her cheeks, she stood rocking and soothing the baby, knowing there was very little chance the child’s mother had survived.

England, 1941. After three nights of relentless bombing from German aircraft, trained nurse Jo Brooks is told to report to the basement theatre of Mill Road Hospital. She goes with a heavy heart, not wanting to leave behind her best friend Moira, who is desperately soothing new mothers on the maternity ward. As Jo arrives safely underground, the ward takes a direct hit.

Pulling herself from the rubble, Jo’s first priority must be her patients… but she can’t stop herself frantically searching for Moira. When Jo eventually finds her, buried beneath a foot of bricks and stone, Moira is barely clinging to life. Jo makes a solemn vow: she will do whatever it takes to help the allies win the war, even if it means sacrificing her own safety.

The opportunity to make good on her promise comes sooner than she expects – nurses are badly needed to evacuate wounded allies across enemy lines. It will be dangerous, heartbreaking work and her life will be at risk every moment, but Jo knows that the moment has come to prove herself at last…

A powerfully emotional wartime novel about friendship and love in the most terrible of circumstances. Perfect for fans of Diney Costeloe, Jean Grainger and Soraya M. Lane.

An Angel's Work cover

Review

The opening propels readers right at the heart of World War 2 in amongst the explosive action with Jo, a medic who is on her way to Normandy to nurse the troops back to health. It makes you sit up and pay attention to what becomes a compelling story along the front lines as it moves at a fast-pace with a real mix of danger, hope and sadness.

The balance between the injured troops and action draws readers in, but with nothing too graphic and gory as times gone-by are built giving snapshots of scenes as the story goes along, but at the same time, steers away from being too cosy and comfortable, in a very good way. Focus also changes to the maternity wards where also nothing is “sugar-coated” and it just adds another interesting element to the story being told and the challenges of giving birth during the war times and the height of the blitz. There is all sorts of emotions and the feeling of sheer busyness and getting on with the job and doing what is needed, throughout the book and an element of resilience that comes across to deal with all the patience in troubled circumstances. For a historical novel, this is quite a surprising page-turner and shows friendship and love, compassion and resilience through the severest adversity, which are pretty big topics to use and yet tell a story very adeptly and with slight grit here and there.

Take time to read the extraordinary “Letter From Kate” at the end of the story for an enhanced insight.

An Angels Work - Blog Tour Poster

Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse – What You Urgently Need To Know @NinaDSchick @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #DeepFakes

Deep Fakes is quite some read, but I wanted to take it on in the blog tour that I was invited to by Anne Cater from Random Things Tours because it seems to me to be one of the most important books within this technological age to help innocent people from being caught up in the deep fakes that people do, as cons and also to create fake news and much more. It is a great book that seems to me to forewarn and forearm against this type of, lets face it, despicable activity. I also thank Octopus Books publishing company for giving me a physical book to review from.
Please find the synopsis and my full review below.

“In writing this book, it is my modest aim to help you understand how dangerous
and untrustworthy our information ecosystem has become, and how its harms
extend far beyond politics – even into our private and intimate life. It is my hope
that this understanding can help us come together to bolster our defences and
start fighting back. As a society, we need to be better at building resilience to the
Infocalypse. Understanding what is happening is the first step.”

In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick warns us urgently of the impending
information overload (known as the ‘Infocalypse’) and explains the dangerous political
consequences of this Infocalypse, both in terms of national security and what it means for
public trust in politics. Deep Fakes have been around for less than three years, to silence
and for revenge and fraud. Government, business and society are completely unprepared.
Schick also unveils what it means for us as individuals, how Deep Fakes will be used to
intimidate and to silence, for revenge and fraud, and how unprepared governments and
tech companies are.
The malicious use of Deep Fakes is not only a real threat for democracy but they take
the manipulation of voters to new levels. With the impending US election, and with vast
amounts of money being spent of social media, it is expected that Deep Fakes will become
a huge story later this year – – AI generated fake content is here for good, and we will have to
figure how to navigate a world where seeing is no longer believing.

Review

Technology is moving at a great rate and the probability of most people coming across deep fakes is high, as this book suggests that with every new bit of technology. It feels a deeply uncomfortable read, but one that is sadly necessary to be better informed and armed to spot deep fakes. It is a very important book for our times. One that I wish didn’t need to even be considered having to be written, but glad that it has been and it really hits hard the way that segments of society is so menacing that innocent people get hurt, as get reported on our news and consumer programmes at times and global issues get knocked askew.

It is very informative and even if you are unsure of what a deep fake is, Nina Schick has carefully taken time to explain in plain language what one is before really delving into the misuse of technology and how it has been used to skew politics and other normal things we partake in our lives on everyday platforms like You Tube and more. It also doesn’t miss out deep-fake porn either. It’s enough to make anyone with a conscience to think about the real and dangerous, harmful consequences of deep-fakes. As uncomfortable and real this is, the author has managed to not go down any scare-mongering route tactics.

She goes into what has been happening within Russia and the US in part and brings it right up to 2020 and what has been put out about Covid 19 from people who are supposed to be trusted and hold the most power, not just in their respective countries, but in the world to what is being put out about shootings in the States. The book shows across the world there are internal and global threats that there is a huge impact on everyone’s lives when social media is filled with fakes and misinformation and also goes further still in showing how much damage has been caused to people’s lives who have been victims of fraud.

After, responsibly alerting people to how dangerous the Infocalypse has become it ends on a slightly more positive note saying where to check your facts, such as BBC Fact Checker. Basically safe places where you can get up to the minute facts on what you’ve seen around the web, including social media, so that you can get the truth and figure out if what you’ve seen has been a fake or not and gives practical ways to up your defense in the onslaught of cyber-crime and fakes.

The book is there to help build some resilience and knowledge to protect yourself a bit more against the people who get their kicks out of conning innocent people. There are nuggets of how AI can be good as well, but it is more of a focus to educate people, so they can be better prepared for the parts where technology itself will not protect and it does it in a thought-provoking and considered manner.

#Bookreview by Lou of A Deeper Song by Rebecca Bradley @RebeccaJBradley #CrimeFiction

A Deeper Song
By Rebecca Bradley
Rated: 4 stars ****

Mysterious characters and a very good paced plot makes for an intriguing plot for A Deeper Song by Rebecca Bradley, the latest DI Hannah Robbins Novel (6th in the series, but can be read as part of the series or as a standalone).
Thanks to Rebecca Bradley, for giving me a copy of A Deeper Song to review.
Follow onto the blurb and full review of this crime fiction procedural book.

Blurb

How do you fight someone you can’t see?

Detective Inspector Hannah Robbins finds herself on the most perilous case of her career when a young man darts in front of her car. He’s covered in someone else’s blood and has no memory of how he got there.

Digging up the man’s past puts Hannah on a collision course with a dangerous stranger who wants history to remain hidden and who will stop at nothing to keep his secret.

Hannah finds herself in the biggest fight of her life.

Is this finally a case too far?

Review

DI Hannah Robbins is the author Rebecca Bradley’s detective and there is added mystery for them to solve as there is a young man who was knocked over and has been left with no memory. He has been rendered with no real sense of place or sense of identity. Curiously, however, there are links that appear to his past and a historic missing person’s case as there is more to the case than meets the eye as things get deeper and more mysterious. DI Hannah Robbins finds herself right at the heart of trying to solve the case. There are intriguing characters and compelling plot that all builds with suspense and becomes increasingly gripping as the case moves along and builds into a deeper song of life.

The detail within the writing adds to the story and to the evidence and clues, without over-complicating things, making it easy to follow and absorbing. There is however more than just the case of the mysterious young man, there is DI Hannah Robbins estranged sister which all needs dealing with too. It’s often good to see family dynamics at play when there is a family, within crime fiction. What is also shown is the team dynamics and the pressures and strains they are under with the case that brings them so close to a breaking point. The thread between the different components runs smoothly at a very good pace.

Media Link

Website: http://www.Rebeccabradleycrime.com

#Bookreview by Lou of #ChildrensBook – The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale By Ben Miller @ActualBenMiller @simonschusterUK

The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale
By Ben Miller
Rated: 5 stars *****

Enchanting, mystical within a lot of fun mixed in with meaningful, relatable relationships between siblings that need a boost. There is also trepidation within several fairytales and the real world and all together it makes The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale so compelling for children.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for accepting my request to review.
Please read on to discover more about the author, the blurb and full review of The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale and a little about The Night I Met Father Christmas.

About the Author

Ben Miller is an actor, director, and comedian, best known for writing and starring in The Armstrong and Miller Show and his role as Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick, Bough, in Johnny English Strikes Back.  Other recent big screen roles include What We Did On Our Holiday with Billy Connolly, and the much-loved Paddington 2 with, well, Paddington. On television, he is best known for the crime comedy drama Death In Paradise which has been a big hit worldwide.

The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale

Blurb

Following the breakout successes of The Night I Met Father Christmas and The Boy Who Made the World Disappear, get ready for the brilliant NEW novel from actor, comedian and bestselling author Ben Miller. Featuring beautiful illustrations from Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

Lana loves stories. Especially the ones she and her brother, Harrison, share in their make-believe games. But when Harrison decides he’s too grown-up to play with Lana she finds herself feeling lonely. Until something magical happens…
 
Hidden in the strange new supermarket in town, Lana discovers a portal to a fairytale world! But these aren’t the happy-ever-after fairytales that Lana knows, they are darker and more dangerous, and the characters need Lana’s help to defeat an evil witch. But she can’t do it alone. Can she convince Harrison to believe in stories again and journey to the world with her. . .  before it’s too late?

This is a story about stories, but it’s also about a brother and a sister finding their way back to each other through the power of imagination. 

The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale

Review

The Day I Fell into a Fairytale plunges you right into that world. What an incredibly good start it has with a possible molehill. I say possible because it isn’t just an ordinary molehill. There’s an energy within the words chosen and how they are written that builds faster and faster as the molehill grows and grows until you fall into a fantastic, enchanting fairytale land with Lana.

Lana lives in Little Hilcot and has a brother – Harrison, whom she views as a bit too serious since being in senior school and hitting the books to study oxbow lakes, Archimedes and more, when all she wants to do is go on adventures. Later she needs to go to Grimms, a supermarket, with her family and buys a book of fairytales, which become a bedtime story. The fact that this becomes a peculiar version of fairytales where art is almost imitating life, like a character seeming to be a person she has seen before, makes this even more curious. It turns out that Lana hasn’t ever heard of the fairy tales, some of which you can read about within the book itself.

It is magical and mystical and a lot of fun as readers land into fairytales with banquets of the most delicious food and a tuneful robin, where the adventure really begins. It’s so easy to get lost in this book, as I put on my childhood brain. If you’ve been brought up on fairytales, they are all so recognisable within this story. It shows real thought and cleverness to bring them all together in a way that doesn’t rip them off or seem disingenuous. It’s impressive! You’ll meet the likes of Rumplestiltskin, Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and more of the Grimm’s fairy tales all spun together in a compelling tale that sweeps between that land and also the reality of the real world.

Look out for all the lovely illustrations of climbing roses and all that you could ever want in a pick ‘n’ mix and more… It just all adds to the fun of this beautiful, curious book that is so well written and hits the spot! There are twists and danger and mild trepidation as some characters are put into danger as good and evil exists.
There are expressed emotions and brotherly and sisterly care that is shown with warmth that children will also be able to relate to. It also demonstrates through story-telling that books, especially fairytales can ignite imaginations and a lot of new fun and adventures can be explored, even from the most normal, everyday places as the story goes between home, supermarket and the realm of imagination, created from a book of Grimm fairytales.

The Night I Met Father Christmas

I had an extract of The Night I Met Father Christmas too. It takes place in the North Pole with entrepreneurial elf – Grimm Grimmsson in his shoe factory and goes onto tell the story of the main character – Torvil Christmas. He is not a kind elf, but something magical happens through various events, again drawing on timeless classics and fairytales, things change.

As well as written word books, they can be purchased as audiobooks too.

#Bookreview by Lou of The Winter Garden By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK

The Winter Garden By Heidi Swain Rated: 5 stars *****

The Winter Garden is a gorgeous, uplifting book by Heidi Swain that covers amazing ground within a community of people in Nightengale Square. Follow the blurb and review below to find out more. Thank you very much to Simon & Schuster for accepting my request to review.

The Winter Garden cover

Blurb

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!*** Will love bloom this winter?   Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.   There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.   Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling? The Winter Garden is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley and Sarah Morgan.

The Winter Garden cover

Review

Eloise Thurlow-Forbes is an octogenarian estate owner in Broadmeadows, country estate, Suffolk and sad events kick start something new and positive in Freya Fuller’s life. It seems very apt at the moment with all that is going on in the world. Certain things in her life, she decides need to change, such as her job, where she isn’t entirely happy. There is a bit of strength of character shown in the way she works things out and speaks up about how things were. This starts off as a journey of self-discovery as Freya stumbles over local radio stations that guide her to Nightengale Square that has a community garden at Prosperous Place, a place with a history and one that is going to have a future in the fact that people have come together to do renovations. It’s a gentle way of guiding readers to where  the destination is going to be. There is then planning and plotting between Freya and Luke for turning the garden one fit for winter. Both she and Luke have some heartache in their lives and there seems to be a positivity in the book about them turning their lives around and there are elements of mental well-being within what is a gentle, cosy read as the colder months come in.

The book has stories within it of other characters and how they came to be in Nightengale Square that make a community working towards the aim of transforming the garden. It is realistic and not all plain-sailing. There are ups and downs between people and much that I think readers will be able to relate to, as they get to know each other and try to work together to meet the same goal; but tempers fray at times and romance buds amongst them. In the story, it’s as people try to create Winterfest, but the same applies for any group of people coming together trying to do something new and also discover more about themselves and each other. The book doesn’t shy away from mental health conditions and it is shown in bursts as you get to know the characters as their backgrounds are revealed. The book, however, gives a sense of positivity as the “Grow Well” group develops and all feels authentic as the story moves along in its build up to Christmas, feel-good vibe that has a lot of compassion and community throughout.  

#BookReview by Lou of After The War – From Auschwitz to Ambleside by Tom Palmer @tompalmerauthor #ChildrensBook @_Reading_Rocks_ #WorldWar2 #QuickReview

After The War – From Auschwitz to Ambleside by Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer very kindly shared with me, the first chapter of his latest children’s book – After the War to take a look at, please find the blurb and a bit about chapter one and also links to Free Resources below.

After the War by Tom Palmer

About The Author

Tom Palmer was a reluctant reader as a child and credits articles about football with getting him into reading. He went on to become a bookseller and then worked in reader
development. He is now the multi-award-winning author of several books for young readers including the acclaimed reboot of the Roy of the Rovers series and the FCBG Children’s Book  Acquisition.
Award winner Armistice Runner. In 2019 Tom was awarded the National Literacy Trust’s
Ruth Rendell Award in recognition of his significant contribution to literacy work in the UK.
He lives in Halifax.

Blurb

Summer 1945. The Second World War is finally over and Yossi, Leo and Mordecai are among three hundred children who arrive in the English Lake District.

Having survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, they’ve finally reached a place of safety and peace, where they can hopefully begin to recover.

Will life by the beautiful Lake Windermere be enough to bring hope back into all their lives?

(Accelerated Reader Quiz No: 238677, Points 4.00, Book Level 4.80,
Middle Years – Key Stage 2)

After the War by Tom Palmer

Thoughts on Chapter One

Readers immediately meet Yossi on a Stirling Bomber in turbulent skies. He captures action and atmosphere in a way that children can instantly become immersed into and understand.  You get a quick glimpse into his life and why he loves aeroplanes so much and believes in the hope that they will bring. The enormity and excitement of them sits well with the sadness that his hometown in Poland had been bombed during the second world war and knows about the concentration camps.
Yossi then meets Mordecai and Leo, both whom are 15 and it brings about some admiration between them for what skills they possess. It adds the humanity of respect and a bonding of sorts.

They are on their way to England to escape war and have so many hopes of a different future ahead of them. There is a realistic anxiety and questioning that comes from Mordecai.

This is just from the first chapter, so imagine what children would gain from the rest of the book? I would think a lot and there are also classroom friendly resources.

Website/Resources Linkhttps://tompalmer.co.uk/free-stuff/

Twitter: @tompalmerauthor