#Review of Tales From The Hamlet By Cassandra Campbell-Kemp #LoveBooksTours #Memoir #MemoriesOfItaly

Tales From The Hamlet
Memories Of Italy

By Cassandra Campbell-Kemp

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thanks to Love Books Tours for inviting me to review an insightful non-fiction book set in Italy.

At the age of 61, Cassandra, a single and peripatetic Brit, was asked to pack up her house and move to Italy to take up the offer of a much-needed job. 15 months later she was made redundant, leaving her unnerved, broke and unable to return home. Her dream of a new life was rapidly turning into a nightmare and, saddled with all her belongings, her antique furniture, over 800 books and her aged Siamese cat she had nowhere to go.

A kind friend offered them sanctuary in a tiny converted former barn in his family’s ‘Borgo’, a cluster of rustic properties grouped around a late-Medieval manor House in the mountains; the beautiful and mysterious Emilian Appenines of northern Italy. There she was befriended and watched over by the owner; an eccentric octogenarian, his household ghosts and 14 semi feral cats.

Review

It’s a very descriptive book that takes time to read, but worth investing in as there is some beautiful writing in there. There is also some lovely descriptions of architecture to draw the reader into Northern Italy.

The eccentric octogenarian adds some interest and appeal as she became befriended by an owner of the properties Cassandra was at. It brought a bit of heart to the adventures of this part of her life.

There’s essentially a story of fighting against adversity being told as she wants to come home, but discovers she cannot, so has to find ways of making more money and hoping she is lucky enough to do this so she can return to the UK. I found myself wondering what the future would hold for Cassandra as it seemed like some bleak circumstances had been hit and wanted to know if it got better.

It was a pleasant read, if not at times, perhaps overly descriptive, but there are fascinating insights into how not all is lovely and perfect when you move, even with all the lovely food and landscape she encountered. It’s like a big dose of reality hits. There are also some historical insights that are interesting in the region of Italy Cassandra was in.

About The Author

Cassandra is a somewhat eccentric, unconventional and fiercely independent woman of pensionable age. Formerly an international real estate executive she travelled widely, living and working in various European countries – including Italy, Greece and Spain. During her time in Europe she fell in love with the countries, their cultures, the people and the food! She learnt several languages and spent all her spare time exploring.

Now happily retired, she lives alone with her rescue cat, Felix, in a quintessential 17th century English cottage where she writes about her 30 years of adventures. Her first book, ‘Cauliflowers through the Catflap and other tales from a solitary lockdown’ is a humorous and very tongue-in-cheek look at her experiences of shielding alone through the Covid pandemic. Her second book, ‘Tales from the Hamlet’, is a heartwarming tale of what happened when, living in Italy, she was unexpectedly made redundant and saddled with all her antique furniture, over 800 books and an elderly Siamese cat, she had no money to return home and nowhere to go.

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#Review by Lou of. COCO Rules By Katherine Omerod and Caroline Melis @OmaraBooks @LoveBooksTours @#VirtualBlogTour #BlogTour #NonFiction #Fashion #CoCoChanel

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

COCO Rules
By Katherine Omerod
Illustrated By Carolina Melis.

Today I pleased to be closing the blog tour for COCO Rules, take a look below to find out more about the book that re-imagaines the iconic quotes of CoCo Chanel. Thanks first to O’Mara Books and Love Books Tours for inviting me to review and for a copy of the book.

Coco Rules takes 30 quotes from the inimitable Coco Chanel and translates them into modern, practical style rules to live by.

With her trademark acerbic wit and no-nonsense attitude, Coco Chanel has always been a wonderfully entertaining source on matters of life and style. Coco Rules gathers her words of wisdom on both fashion and empowerment and uses them to provide solutions to many of the style-based conundrums you might encounter, as well as inspiration on how to be the very best version of yourself – strong, fearless and confident – no matter what you wear.

 

Written by acclaimed fashion journalist Katherine Ormerod, each rule is accompanied by a bold and stylish illustration from Carolina Melis.

Review

Stylish and fun to read and look at, it’s book that readers can come back to time and time again. It’s wise, authentic and quick. Each page totally stands out with graphic and short, snappy text about each heading from “You’re a one off, so quit trying to change yourself to be like someone else” to “It’s not just about the clothes” to “Audacity and adventure are always attractive assets” to “high heels are a good idea – but only if you can walk in the.” to “Wear clothes by living by your own rules” and so much more, each topic lasting a couple of snappy pages of what lies behind the headings from beauty of your inner and outer self, shows, perfume, make up, clothes, accessories. They’re all covered with something wise, inspirational and advice, all based one style icon and pioneer – CoCo Chanel.

With a stylish, striking cover to go with stylish content, this is a great read for fashionistas and those who have their unique style or just curious about fashion and their own inner and outer self.

#Review By Lou of – The Real Prime Suspect By Jackie Malton @Thursley @Inmulholland @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #TheRealPrimeSuspect #Memoir #NonFiction

The Real Prime Suspect
By Jackie Malton

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am excited to reveal my review on the blog tour for The Real Prime Suspect. This is one for those who like the successful TV drama, Prime Suspect and other crime drama series and/or about policing. Check out the blurb and my review below, then a bit more about Jackie Malton.

Jackie Malton was a no-nonsense girl from Leicestershire who joined the police force in the 1970s when women were kept apart from the men. Feisty and determined, Jackie worked in CID and the famous flying squad before rising to become one of only three female detective chief inspectors in the Metropolitan Police. In The Real Prime Suspect, Malton describes the struggles she faced as a gay woman in the Metropolitan Police, where sexism and homophobia were rife.

Jackie dealt with rapists, wife beaters, murderers, blackmailers and armed robbers but it was tackling the corruption in her own station that proved the most challenging. Ostracised and harassed by fellow officers furious that she reported the illegality of some colleagues, Malton used alcohol to curb her anxiety.

A chance meeting with writer Lynda La Plante five years later changed the course of her life. Together they worked on shaping Jane Tennison, one of TV’s most famous police characters, in the ground-breaking series Prime Suspect. Not long after, Malton recovered from alcoholism and now works as an AA volunteer in prison and as a TV consultant.

Jackie has spent her life working in crime. Now she’s ready to share her story.

Review

The Real Prime Suspect gives great insight into policing and what it was like to be a female police officer moving up the ranks, but being one of the very few who did, dealing with changing times and legislation as well as a male dominated work force. She was also a member of The Flying Squad.

Jackie Malton tells her story with candour and dignity as certain things are recognised and shown how times move forwards, things learnt, police doing their best and working hard under tough conditions. It demonstrates how far policing has come and what they have to deal with day to day in human behaviour. It is fascinating how Malton talks of operations she was on, some heartbreaking, some with the hard end of the realities of the job. All are fascinating and told with authenticity in what is a well written memoir with so many points covered.

To read her story is truly fascinating and eye-opener as she takes readers through the decades with much integrity. There’s a feeling of not just determination to succeed, it goes further than that, a real bravery (not a word I ever use lightly), to make a real difference. The book is very open about tough times regarding her health, a test she fails. She shows, she is as human as the rest of us, even with the extraordinary opportunities that opened up new worlds for her. 

Readers will be able to see how and why she is such a successful and reliable police consultant on many favourite TV series, from Cracker to Prime Suspect to Life On Mars, with a lifetime’s knowledge and experience to impart to help the script writers reach a script idea that has plausibility about it.

#Bookreview By Lou of Rememberings By Sinead O’Conner @SineadOConnor @penguinrandom #SandyCovePublisher #Autobiography #Music #NonFiction #Memoir #Rememberings

Rememberings
By Sinead O’Connor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I have a review about the autobiograpghy – Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor. It’s a curiously interesting book about her life and of course her music. Take a look at the blurb and my thoughts in my review below.

Blurb

THE LANDMARK MEMOIR OF A GLOBAL MUSIC ICON

Sinéad O’Connor’s voice and trademark shaved head made her famous by the age of twenty-one. Her recording of Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ made her a global icon. She outraged millions when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on American television.

O’Connor was unapologetic and impossible to ignore, calling out hypocrisy wherever she saw it.
She has remained that way for three decades.

Now, in Rememberings, O’Connor tells her story – the heartache of growing up in a family falling apart; her early forays into the Dublin music scene; her adventures and misadventures in the world of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll; the fulfilment of being a mother; her ongoing spiritual quest – and through it all, her abiding passion for music.

Rememberings is intimate, replete with candid anecdotes and full of hard-won insights. It is a unique and remarkable chronicle by a unique and remarkable artist.

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Review

Music and the psyche of any creative person is interesting up to a point. I saw an opportunity to review Sinead O’Connor’s autobiography – Rememberings and curiosity caught me. There’s been so much on the news, on social media about her that this, I feel gives her a chance to give people an insight, at least into what she wants you to know. There’s also that song – Nothing Compares 2 U, that was such a hit and such a song with staying power, as the lyrics go round my head as I write, even though I haven’t heard it for awhile, those iconic notes she hits and lyrics she sang are still there.

This book isn’t just about her music though. It starts with an insight into her family structure and their background and it is candid and deep, as is all this book. It shows the complexities of her family life and upbringing and the relationship between her and her siblings, and religion running deep. There’s also a look into her school life.
The book starts to shed more light on how complex Sinead O’Connor’s personality is and how many rough edges there are to it too as well as misadventure taking her life down many less salubrious paths.

There is of course the music, that of which her mother liked and what Sinead O’Connor likes and a look into the world of music that she entered and her experiences and perceptions and perspectives as well as the people she meets as well as her not so obvious reaction to having a number 1 hit.

The book seems totally frank, matter-of-fact at times, with glimpses of emotion; like she has delved deep into her life and troubled soul and mental health, as well as her career and takes readers up to and including 2019 as it says what she has been doing recently.

This is a must for fans of Sinead O’Connor and of people just wanting to know a little bit more about her as a person, beyond the music as well as that part of her life and there is something that is overall humbling about that.

Adventure Caravanning With Dogs – It Never Rains But It Paws By Jacqueline Lambert @JacquelineLambertAuthor @RandomTTours #ItNeverRainsButItPaws #WorldWideWalkies #Dogs #Caravanning #TravelMemoir #Travelogue #NonFiction

Adventure Caravanning With Dogs
It Never Rains But It Paws
By Jacqueline Lambert

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Adventures and human and dog interest abound in Adventure Caravanning With Dogs. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me to review this travelogue. Join these pooches on an adventure like no other… (a pic of cute dogs is included in this review).
Discover more in the synopsis and my review below.

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Synopsis:

Five years after giving up work to travel full time, Jackie and Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain leaves the EU. If Brexit happens, their four precious pups may lose their pet passports, and will be unable to travel. But Brexit isn’t their only obstacle. A few months into their trip, the pandemic leaves them trapped in Europe’s No.1 coronavirus hotspot…

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Review

This, in many ways is a trip of our times and in years to come, will serve as a reminder of how things were during the pandemic. In all of its fun and hilarity it reminds, in someways, that trips, however long or short an adventure people go on, should not be taken for granted because anything can happen…
This is perfect for armchair travelling and perhaps inspiring bucketlists or for giving a picture of some hometruths when worldwide events happen and you have adorable pooches in tow.
The locations that feature are France and Italy.

Jackie Lambert with Fab Four Web Size ColourIt all starts rather well on a journey across to France by ferry, as the memoir turns into quite the interesting travel-logue, with some historic facts here and there, adding extra interest to the places, Jacqueline and her furry, pawed friends go to. Not everything is plain-sailing as she and Mark runs into some issues and the rainy weather doesn’t help matters. 

Mixed in with intrpid travels, are some politics about Brexit, although for a short spell, it gets a little heavy, it nonetheless doesn’t detract from the rest of the book as it then proceeds into the consequences to what had been unlimited travel around the European countries that are (at time of writing), still part of the EU, so for the main part, there is a point to bringing this up, as she navigates this.

It also documents some of the huge diseases the world had encountered, whilst travelling, including the global pandemic, brought by Covid-19, which Jacqueline encounters and ends up in a hotspot of in Italy, on her own, since Mark had to go back home to sort out a different sort of problem, beforehand, meaning they are separated more than what they may have been otherwise.

Even through, what was, at the time, unexpectedly hard times, there are snippets of some humour and some things that this couple have learnt along the way.

It goes to show that travelling, however well planned, isn’t always quite as smooth as it first seems, in this adventrous human story that is interesting and entertaining and emotional on many different levels. So, this is a book I recommend, so hop into this caravan from your armchair and join these pooches on their adventure of a lifetime.

It never rains BT Poster

#BookReview By Lou of #TravelMemoir – Thinking On My Feet – The Joy of Putting One Foot In Front of Another By Kate Humble @katehumble @Octopus_Books #NonFiction #Walks #ThinkingOnMyFeet #TravelWriting #Travelogue #Memoir #KateHumble #Travel

Thinking On My Feet
The Joy of Putting One Foot In front of Another
By Kate Humble

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thinking on My Feet is an inspiring, interesting travel memoir full of places to walk, the people Kate Humble met and their walk of life. Thanks to Octopus Publishing for gifting me this book. Discover more below in the blurb and my review below…

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE**    Thinking on my feet
** SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD
    TRAVEL WRITING AWARD

– TRAVEL MEMOIR OF THE YEAR                                                         

 

Blurb

Thinking on my feetI’ve discovered that going for a daily walk has become as essential to me feeling good for the rest of the day as that first cup of tea. But I would argue that all I am doing is responding to a natural need we all have. Humans have always been migrants, the physiological urge to be nomadic is deep-rooted in all of us and perhaps because of that our brains are stimulated by walking. I solve all sorts of problems, formulate ideas, work things out to that gentle rhythm of self-propelled movement.’ – Kate Humble

Thinking on My Feet tells the story of Kate’s walking year – shining a light on the benefits of this simple activity. Kate’s inspiring narrative not only records her walks (and runs) throughout a single year, but also charts her feelings and impressions throughout – capturing the perspectives that only a journey on foot allows – and shares the outcomes: a problem solved, a mood lifted, an idea or opportunity borne. As she explores the reasons why we walk, whether for creative energy, challenge and pleasure, or therapeutic benefits, Kate’s reflections and insights will encourage, motivate and spur readers into action.

Also featured are Kate’s walks with others who have discovered the magical, soothing effect of putting one foot in front of the other – the artist who walks to find inspiration for his next painting; the man who takes people battling with addiction to climb mountains; the woman who walked every footpath in Wales (3,700 miles) when she discovered she had cancer.

This book will inspire you to change your perspective by applying walking to your daily endeavours

Review

This is a lovely descriptive book where you can follow in the footsteps of Kate Humble on her walks. The subtitle – “The Joy of Putting One Foot Infront of Another” appears to perhaps have two meanings. She seems to enjoy going on various walks, which means putting one foot in front of another to move, but along the way, she meets up with various people who are metaphorically putting one foot in front of each other (or taking one day at a time), as life presents itself and so to just try to lead life to overcome various issues they have with their physical health, addictions and more… and are also using extreme walking to help them overcome these, to improve their lives and outcomes.  There is also, just in general, the joy of not knowing who you might meet whilst out walking and then finding out the path in life and in a geographical sense, they are taking.

The book is written to, even if in a small way, spur people on and to inspire them to walk. I myself enjoy walking, nothing strenuous or as big as a huge hillwalk for the most part, but walking features in my life, and recently walked for MS Society to raise money for them. I also find, as this book talks about, that creativity can be inspired by walking. I mostly do it for pleasure and fun or to go somewhere as walking is a mode of transport if you like.

There are many reflections on walks throughout a year that Kate Humble writes about, sometimes in fascinating places, sometimes meeting people, she perhaps may not have met otherwise and probably not in her daily life, which perhaps added to her own inspiration. Thinking on my Feet has a mix of emotions written through it, from when Kate Humble is feeling lonely 

All in all, it is an interesting book that is great for dipping in and out of and will perhaps spark inspiration in many readers.