Article on Rodham – Featuring “Awfully Opinionated For A Girl” Totebag @csittenfeld @penguinrandom #Rodham #RandomThingsTours #Photographs #Totebag #Fiction #NewRelease

“Awfully Opinionated For A Girl”

Article of a Totebag and Review of Rodham

After reviewing the briliant new book – Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, published by Penguin Random House, they decided to gift an absolutely fabulous tote bag, which I thank very, very much. It is such a wonderful and generous gift. I am incredibly pleased with the tote bag and have already used it. I absolutely Love it! It’s a sturdy canvas bag, that is also a very practical, decent size. The quote “Awfully Opinionated For A Girl”, printed on the bag is fabulous.
Thanks to my friend, Vikki Deacon, who was willing to take photos of me. modelling the bag, after my idea, that it would be fun to do a photoshoot and a good way of showing off this wonderful bag.
Once I worked out poses and we discussed locations, the fun was on…
We have a few pics and a small slideshow at the bottom too. A link to the review I published on the book  – Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld can be found below the mosaic of pics. I absolutely recommend this wonderfully fascinating, all captivating book.
We had fun and we hope that you do too.

 Rodham Crouching

What I love most about the bag is the quote:

“Awfully
Opinionated
For A Girl”.

Put it this way,
I shown my mother and she smiled and said “oh yes, that’s made for you.” My friend who socially distanced took the photos, happened to agree. The thing is, those who know me, know I have opinions on most things. Lots of opnions. I keep telling my mother it’s the way she brought my brother and I up, to be able to form opinions and to just be generally independent.

Off we went, socially distanced, to a cycle path, that used to be a railway, since I have strong opinons on transport and also walk along this path.

Rodham at bridge

Since I have opinons on trees and have a love of them, we  rambled onto nearby woodland.

Rodham Looking At Sky

Check out the pics and discover the review link below.

Rodham Cover

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld is Available Now!

Click the link to my Review

Thanks again for having me on the blog tour and for the totebag. It all made my day!

rodham Curtis Sittenfeld Author Pic

#Review of Rodham by @csittenfeld @penguinrandom @RandomTTours #BlogTour #Rodham

Rodham
By Curtis Sittenfeld
Rated:  4 star****

This book and the angle it was taking had grabbed my attention, I think the themes throughout it will grab many other people’s attention too. I’d like to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me and to Izzie at Penguin Random House for supplying me with an e-copy of the book. The hardback is available from 9th July.

About the Author:

In addition to Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller rodham Curtis Sittenfeld Author PicAmerican Wife, in which she painted a picture of an ordinary American girl – a thinly disguised Laura Bush – who found herself married to a President. It was longlisted for the Orange Prize, as was her debut novel Prep. Her other books are Man of My Dreams, Sisterland (a Richard & Judy Book Club pick), Eligible, and the acclaimed short story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It.
Her books are translated into 30 languages.
She lives with her family in the American Mid-West.

Blurb

‘Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb. Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that’s the general consensus.Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader— and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm ‘No’.
The rest, as they say, isn’t history. How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?
With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterise the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men. Uncannily astute and witty in the telling, RODHAM is a brilliant reimagining – an unmissable literary landmark and truly a novel of ourtimes.

“This book is a bombshell… Sittenfeld writes women better than anybody else” Bryan Appleyard, SUNDAY TIMES
“This addictive novel is the Sliding Doors of American politics. Gripping” STYLIST
“A wonderful, sad dream of what might have happened” Anne Enright, GUARDIAN
“Hugely enjoyable… a delight” OBSERVER, Book of the Week

Rodham Cover

Review

What might have happened if life events for Hillary Rodham, nee Clinton were different? It’s a thought and one that Curtis Sittenfeld has had and wrote about her vision. One thing that went through my mind was what Hillary and Bill thought of it…

Set in the 1970’s at Yale Law School, Hillary Rodham is trying to decide how she should style herself, what hair-do to have etc and she has some feistyness about her. It’s where she meets Bill Clinton. This is a book that tells a story about the Clintons in their younger years. It’s a re-imagining of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The novel reads very well. It’s not at all as heavy going as you might expect. This is most definitely a plus point. Is it odd reading a re-imagining of someone’s life? To be truthful, a bit, but all the same, this is better than what I thought it was going to be. I had gotten somewhat intrigued by it when I was invited on the blog tour and intrigue soon turned into a kind of enjoyment.

There’s already ambition in Bill to become President from near the start. It’s a bit of a love story with that first look of young lust and youthfulness. It is all rather fun and reads with a certain ease in the air. The romance throughout this part is intense and well-written.

There’s an interesting thing that happens on a bus, which demonstrates different races living in different areas and not really living like a few whites and a few Mexicans etc in the same area as each other (not that I’m getting into politics, it’s just a part that really stood out for me).

There’s some light humour in the first part of the book. I like the tone how it shows a lighter side to life and also a deeper side, such as when Hillary is looking into cases, that are a definite contrast to the rich and wealthy at Yale to those who are scraping by and those with medical conditions and more…

Readers are later taken to 1991. Politics is tense, Bush is around and Bill Clinton wants to take Professor Rodham (Hillary) with him to campaign for presidency. Bill and Hillary’s earlier romance had broken off as Bill went off with another woman. There’s some emotion, I don’t mean sad emotion there, more matter-of-fact in a way. It’s written well, it isn’t harsh or anything like that, it’s saying how it is.

Time moves forward further and there is an interesting list of president and vice-presidents. There is also a taste of the atmosphere around rallies and also some of the bigger issues being questioned that were on-topic at the time, such as Aids. Although this is a re-imagining, there is some reality throughout it, about what was going on and what people were caring about most at the time. The author has also show some of Hillary’s connections with charities and, as with the majority of the book, it demonstrates this human connection. The author is certainly trying to paint Hillary Clinton as she became in as positive light as possible. As time moves onwards to the millenium years, there’s tension that mounts and can be felt in the writing. The writer also goes into Hillary dropping out of the rallies early (Barack Obama then succeeded and went all the way to being President). The relationship with Bill and how she now views Bill (remember this is a reimagining) is an interesting way of looking at things. The book goes right up to practically the present and Donald Trump and what he says about Hillary Rodham.

The conclusion is strong and is actually quite profound. If you enjoy some romance, a reimagining of a life-story and a bit of interest in American politics, or even romance (there’s plenty of it), then this, I recommend for you. It is well-told and got strong writing.

Rodham BT Poster

 

Georgina by David Munro – set in Crete around world war two #Georgina #DavidMunro #Greece #SecondWorldWar #Fiction #Review

 

Georgina
By David Munro
Rated:4 stars ****

It is with thanks to David Munro for getting in touch with me via my blog to enquire about reviewing his book.

Portrait DMDavid Munro was born in Edinburgh and lived there until the age of 27.  He was employed by a major brewery within the capital and relocated to Aberdeen, then Glasgow.  David attended university and college to attain Chartered Marketer status. As an arts professional and with experience of different cultures, this lends itself to creative literature.

David’s love of history allows him the opportunity to delve into past cultures and pinnacle events. His latest novel, Georgina, has a Second World War theme, telling a story of heartache, romance and espionage.

As a writer, David’s ambition is to give his readers enjoyment through interesting stories with compelling characters. Georgina has one male and two female characters that readers will embrace. To achieve recognition in the form of a best-seller is a goal.

Blurb

Hollywood, 1930. Georgina, a personable fun-loving woman, sits alone with another large glass of wine for company. She has discovered that her actor partner has gambled away their mansion and is dating a young actress. To compound matters, Georgina is under suspicion for her husband’s murder a year earlier.

Georgina leaves America for the sanctuary of far-away Crete. With a new identity, she finds work as a teacher of music. Soon, she shares a property with Elena, a beautiful raven-haired socialite who has powerful, but dubious companions.

When invaded by the Germans, Crete is thrown into turmoil. Their soldiers begin a brutal occupation of the island and hardship ensues. By chance, Georgina meets a German officer and an unlikely romance blossoms. Because of her association with Erich Hoeness, she is suspected of being a spy.

Erich is a loyal soldier, but also has a conscience. He starts to siphon German food supplies to ease some islander’s starvation. However, given German atrocities on Crete, will this compassion save him and Georgina from savage retribution?

Georgina

Review

The cover is smart and evocative and is interesting with its light and shadowing.

 I like the way Eddie and Georgina are instantly introduced, there’s instant imagery and a feel for them. Georgina sits miserable, after the first 6 months with the very handsome Eddie being so happy. The year is 1931, LA and she fears her past could be reoccurring, just with a different set of people. She seems to have it all, a mansion, the guy, but all isn’t well at all as Eddie could be cheating on her with an actress. 1931 and things are changing in Hollywood, technology has come in that means talkies are on the way in and silent film is on its way out.

The way Marco Bellini is first introduced just over the phone and the shiftyness around his name adds curiosity about this now seemingly sinister character as well as the money troubles and Americans are still feeling the effects of the Wall Street Crash. It’s an interesting novel and the excitement of the newspapers announcing gambling being legalised and the Empire State Building going to open up comes across well in the writing.

Eddie is found to be not well after being involved in a crash and everything changes after his death. She finds herself in a police station being questioned and accused of killing him, either herself or contracted someone to do it for her. It adds to the intrigue.

Georgina is from Scotland, but moved to America and then starts over again in Heraklion, Crete. The words flow well as she travels by boat and there’s more to be learnt about Georgina. That time for the travelling and the getting to know characters is creatively used.

The positioning in politics and changing culture for Crete is fascinating and also told well. This isn’t a heavy read, which is good. It gently informs within conversations with Elena as the story moves along. I like this way of doing it a lot.

Georgina is introduced to Stelios Balaskas, who teaches at a school and is in a relationship with Georgina. This could perhaps have been written a bit more to allow development for the lead-up. What happens after is stronger writing.

The outbreak of war and the opinions that the characters are given is very readable and I get the feeling that good, solid research has been done and what impresses, is the natural flow of conversations from the characters. It’s interesting reading about the war from the point of view of people living within a different country to that of the UK and there’s a great sense of looking into a different country ie the UK from an outsider – Crete and what is seen as well as what is happening within Crete. It’s like a very grown-up, matter-of-fact conversation that just flows easily from page to page. The connections between what was happening between Greece, Turkey and Italy is fascinating.
The weaving of fact and fiction during the times in Crete is exceptional! It could have been heavy and sluggish, but instead it has a natural flow and is interesting and moves onwards at a decent pace and is intelligently written.

Georgina then meets Captain Hoeness and things get ever more serious and tight as the forces, deployed in Stalingrad are surrounded by the Red Army and then there’s the issue of what Italy may do. It’s all rather gripping as it goes on and there’s also an abduction plan… you’ll need to read on to discover if fears of removing someone from power leaves a vacuum or not.

With there being a prisoner of war trying to escape, concentration camps, the Red Army; the author has clearly put in a lot of work to research what was happening within many countries. There’s great detail of what happened to prisoners when Germany and their allies started to lose their grip and in what started to happen after the end of the war and it emerges even more that not everyone is who they once appeared to be. There is also what happened next when civil war broke out and the fear of both Germany on the far right and Russia on the far left and what they may do with Greece and Crete. There is intrigue as to if Erich has committed war crimes or not. The interest continues to the end in what is a fascinating book.
I recommend Georgina and I would think people who enjoy espionage and war stories or books set around Greece would enjoy this one.
If you enjoy Victoria Hislop’s books then give Georgina a try.

#Review of the lovely summery book – Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones @janeyjones23 @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BlogTour #SummerRead

Perfume Paradiso
By Janey Jones
Rated: 5 stars *****

Italy, glasses of Frizzante, beautiful scenery,  the scent of perfume and decisions to be made…. that’s what is encountered in this charming summer book. Find out about the author and the book, plus review below. Thanks to Black and White publishing for sending me an e-book copy and for LoveBooksTours and Janey for inviting me to review.

Perfume Paradiso Janey Jones

About the Author

Janey Jones butterflies

JANEY JONES is a full-time writer with a love for food, fashion and all things French and Italian. She is the author of the fantastically successful Princess Poppy series, with sales of over 4 million copies. Before Princess Poppy took over her life, Janey had always intended to write contemporary fiction, and Perfume Paradiso is her second novel after the very popular Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake (writing as Pippa James).

Perfume Paradiso_RGB cover

Blurb

One week in Italy. One week to make her dreams come true . . .

Romance is the last thing on Charlotte Alexander’s mind. Her perfume business is flourishing. And a glamorous new life in New York awaits. Just one more thing is needed: a supply of artisan lavender for her trademark scent.

But when Charlotte stumbles across the infuriating and infuriatingly handsome Alessio Rossini, her plans begin to fall apart. With New York finally in reach . . . should she follow her dreams or her heart?

A captivating, feelgood summer romance set in the beautiful Italian countryside.

Perfume Paradiso Graphic

Review

Creating a new perfume is harder than you think! Get yourself of Frizzante, the wine of choice within this book, (or whatever your tipple may be) and meet Charlotte and Bryony – this is a chance to follow 2 women who have dreams of expanding their perfume range. Charlotte, with dreams of Provence, France, but then explores Montecastello, Italy. It is fun travelling with her to see where she ends up, if it’s France or Italy or New York and what sort of perfume, if any is created in this original summer romance, that does have some humour within it.

An unfortunate incident with a passing tractor ends up with a messy splattering over Charlotte, which in turn leads to an otherwise rude “farmer”, then finding some kindness in helping her out, where she meets the more delightful and courteous Umberto Rossini, from a valuable family who owns a huge vineyard.

This is a relaxed read for a summer’s day, with a lovely sounding hotel, complete with pool and characters – Umberto and Alessio, who create some friction and a countess who owns Lavandula, the very place where Charlotte and Bryony would like for their perfume business, with all its “green” credentials as they produce perfume using only natural ingredients.

Alessio and Umberto become Charlotte’s interest for romance, but in a deep, profound coversation in the idyllic countryside with Cosimo and a stolen kiss, finds Alessio showing his jelousy, who saw them from afar. Things hot up and get even more interesting when there is talk of a model and how Charlotte’s newly formed acquaintences all link to each other. Things, in quite an unexpected twist, take a darker turn…

The book has the possibilities of romance, the scents of perfume wafting through the air, lovely scenery and delicious food, all with added substance and profoundness. It is worth finding out if Charlotte can live her dream of creating the fragrant lavander and basil scented perfume, the way she wants to or not. It all makes a very good summer read to relax into with that Frizzante (or drink of choice).

Buy Link   https://amzn.to/3eMN8bm

bwpublishing_1337685925_600               FINAL Colours BT Poster       Follow the rest of the tour

#Review of The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #TheBoyWhoDreamedOfDragons #childrensbook #middlegrade #kidslit #parents #edutwitter

The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Rated5 stars *****

Thank you to my surpise post of The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons, sent to me by Andy Shepherd, spanning from a quick chat some time ago. So, today, I am delighted to present my review on this great story that is just 263 pages and also has some terrific illustrations throughout, within its vibrant cover. It also, when the book is fully closed, has a special look as the subtle lines going down the pages look rather smart.The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons cover

Blurb

We dream of dragons. Soaring, roaring, fire-flickering dragons. While we’re tucked up in bed, they light up in our sleep. Sparking, glittering, aglow.

But dreams are only the beginning of an even greater story.

Because the truth is, our dragons don’t just visit us in our dreams…

Review

At some point, lots of children (including me when I was a child) have dreamt about flying on a dragon’s back, swooping and soaring through the sky.

Dragon races, friendships, sock puppets, a wormhole in a fridge, a jungle family, humour, warmth, a super hero squad, illustrations, this book has it all in only 263 pages that is  amazingly adventurous, fast-paced and sparky.
This book captures imaginations perfectly. Every page has something to make you smile.

Did you know dragons grow on trees? No? Enter this enchanting tale to find out about them and meet the beautifully coloured dragons called Flicker and Sunny. There’s a race with a difference – it’s a dragon race. It’s also used as a clever way of introducing the characters, such as Thomas and his Lolli, who have the most terrific fun with their games. There’s also great friendships within the characters.

Not everyone knows about dragons, but endearing and very fun grandad does. Grandad hasn’t been too well and had a hospital stay, but back on his feet, he’s as positive as ever with his grandchildren helping out with his vegetable patch and just having fun. I like the positivity around this part of the story.

This book is funny, heartwarming and is just perfect for sparking the imaginations of children and for reading for pleasure. It is also perfect for nature-lovers too, or just lovers of humour. On a deeper level, there is plenty about the world around you to have fun with. There’s also themes of having to move on as Thomas’s mum hears of a new job, meaning the family have to move. The emotion of having to leave what was known and loved behind is captured so naturally as it plays out and Flicker, the dragon also leaves. It’s another big theme for children, but handled so well and not completely negatively, which is thoughtful of Andy.

At school, secrets are inadvertently blurted out by Thomas himself to the new girl – Aura who proudly proclaims herself to be a dragon expert, which really throws Thomas into confusion as his emotions really take over and a chain of further events happen.

This book is great for schools, libraries and within homes. Children can have so much fun with it and within schools, there are subjects within the themes that can be discussed or used creatively within activities, as well as generally being good for reading for pleasure.

#Review of wonderful #Fiction – The Colours by Juliet Bates @julietbates0 @FleetReads @#RandomThingsTours #TheColours #BlogTour

The Colours
By Juliet Bates
Rated: 5 stars

About the Author
The Colours Juliet Bates

Juliet Bates studied art and art history in Bristol, Birmingham and Strasbourg, and has since lectured at graduate and post graduate levels.
She moved to France in 2000 to a post as professeur at the Ecole régionale des beaux-arts Caen la mer. She has published a number of short stories in British and Canadian literary journals.

 

Blurb

Ellen sees the world differently from everyone else, but living in a tiny town in the north east of England, in a world on the cusp of war, no one has time for an orphaned girl who seems a little strange. When she is taken in to look after an rich, elderly widow all seems to be going better, despite the musty curtains and her aging employer completely out of
touch with the world. But pregnancy out of wedlock spoils all this, and Ellen is unable to cope. How will Jack, her son, survive – alone in the world as his mother was?
Can they eventually find their way back to each other?
The Colours is a sweeping novel of how we can lose ourselves, and our loved ones, for fans of Kate Atkinson and Virginia Baily.

The Colours Cover

Review

The Colours begins in 1982 before whisking you further back in time to between 1912 and 1916 where Ellen starts to tell her story. The book alternates the protagonists of the story, through the years between Ellen and Jack.

The colours are vibrant and illustrative and you can almost see the salty water of the sea and the blood from her poor dad and the solomn black of a funeral. Colour is used well to portray emotions, that swirl around, capturing readers. It portrays synesthesia vivdly. Writers are often observant and take things in, but this is a whole different point of view of the places this book is set in, to how things like a train sound. You’ll never see a knife or a train or colours in the same way again.

Ellen travels to the Convent of The Sacred Heart – Roman Catholic Home for Orphans and Necessitous Females, where she learns the rules and meets the nuns and Father Scullion and the first world war breaks out and the familiar changes, but for Ellen, she doesn’t receive too much attention as everyone is busy getting prepared. The chat between religion and the feelings against the backdrop of being on the cusp of war is interesting.
Ellen sees colours differently from other people, more vibrantly and sometimes textured, sometimes they are people. She also has a love of a Monkey Puzzle Tree and books.
Ellen also discovers she is pregnant with an illigitamate child. The descriptions of the baby growing inside her are animated.

1931-40 is when Jack takes over and he’s not too fond of school and his mother has been taken to The  Winterfield County Asylum and a glimpse into the place. The Second World War breaks out and there is well-written contrast between what went before the radio announcement by Chamberlain and after, all the while, the philisophical thread of religion, spirituality, life and death weaves skillfully through. Life certainly moves onto the end of the war and it’s realistic with people ageing and their predicaments being different.

People age and die during Ellen’s time too and along with Beadie, there are some really tender, heartfelt moments of care to someone who is deceased.

Jack 1956-61 brings love and some great opportunities about his art are on the horizon.

In 1981, you can see what becomes of Jack and Ellie, now they’ve somewhat aged. It’s a more subdued chapter, in their autumn years and brings the book to a strong end.

I do recommend this very original book, especially if you enjoy Kate Atkinson’s books.

FINAL Colours BT Poster