David Bowie by Robert Dimery #DavidBowie #Bookreview by Lou #LawrenceKingPublishing #NetGalley #NonFiction #Biography #Music

David Bowie
By Robert Dimery
Rated:
5 stars *****

Whether you are a seasoned fan of David Bowie or wanting an introduction to who he was, then this compelling book would make a great starting point or addition to anyone’s music collection.
Thanks to Lawrence King Publishing for accepting my request to review.
Read further to discover the blurb and the review in full.

David Bowie

Blurb

David Bowie was a restless innovator, scoring chart hits that broke radical new ground. His image changed with almost every album, influencing high streets and catwalks alike. He became an acclaimed actor, while his androgynous aura and ambiguous sexuality proved liberating to those uncertain about their own. This book charts his evolution in the sixties, his euphoric reinvention in 1972 as Ziggy Stardust and the excessive lifestyle that nearly cost him his sanity. It revisits his artistic rebirth in Berlin, the global stardom he achieved with Let’s Dance in 1983 and his triumphant farewell, Blackstar.

David Bowie is part of the Lives the Musicians series: highly readable short biographies of the most-popular musicians.

Review

A biography of David Bowie, I felt would be an ambitious book for anyone to pull off, there is after all, so much to say about him, but one that Robert Dimery has managed expertly to do, to make it an excellent introduction or addition to anyone’s musician book collection.

The contents page is enough to intrigue and scoop David Barlow fans up:

Becoming Bowie ♦ Of Mods and Mime ♦ Lift-off ♦ Rock ‘n’ Roll Alien ♦ Ziggy Goes To America ♦
Diamond Dogs and the Thin White Duke ♦ Berlin Calling ♦ Scary Monsters (and Superstardom) ♦
Losing the Muse ♦ Art-house Rules

This book is mature in writing. Let’s face it, writing about someone as elusive and yet as popular as David Bowie must have been an exciting opportunity, but very nicely it doesn’t feel like the author has hyped him up. He hasn’t shied away from, what must have been challenging times in David Bowie’s life of not being instantly loved and having to face some criticism. There are also the times, which must have been terrific, when things were going well. It feels very authentic and rounded.

The book, after a foreward, begins to tell you who David Bowie was as a man, the street he was on and a bit about his close family life and extended relatives and the atmosphere certain developments created. It captivates and gives a bit more understanding of David Bowie, away from the professional, famous persona he had. There are also other popstars of the time mentioned, which gives depth and all relates to David Bowie one way or another and bands he was part of. It is interesting reading about the eclectic music involved and performing on music shows such as Ready Steady Go, in his early career. There is also a look at the actual development of how he became a solo artist. There’s a nuanced exploration into sexuality that pops up every so often, like just reminding people how this influenced people and how people related to David Bowie. It is evident that a lot of David Bowie’s life has been researched and also the wider sphere of it, which creates fascination and in a way, perhaps readers will see something of themselves reflected back at them or remember the quotes from some famous fans, from the likes of NME.
It says about the uneasy start of Space Oddity, which these days, it’s hard to believe, but this is what the book shows, that the pop business isn’t as easy as it makes out to be. It has a truth about it, that even the most well-known had very challenging times. The book  rolls into Bowie’s alter-ego – Ziggy Stardust and what influenced certain music, such as his stage entrances. There are nuggets throughout the book, which is like a glimpse of behind the scenes and into the music business, as well as his own individuality, creating such a fascinating book. Going stateside is quite the eye-opener in terms of music, but even more so in the affect it had on himself and Angie. Later it talks of Iman and takes readers right up to Blackstar, where it is all quite emotional due to his death, and yet stay in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book, which is factual and has a professional, rather than over-excited fan, feel to it and that’s what helps keep it interesting, at times intriguing and most certainly compelling. It feels like this is okay to read because it seems to document how things are and there are some well-placed quotes, which brings David Bowie’s voice into the writing. It feels respectful. In the middle of the book, there are also some fabulous photos of David Bowie, documenting through his years of being a star, pictorially.
At the back, readers are treated to discography and further reading of live albums.

The Midas Cat 3 – A Midas Cat in New York by Tommy Ellis @TommyEllis14 #BookreviewbyLou #Fiction #CrimeFiction #Cats

The Midas Cat 3
A Midas Cat in New York
By Tommy Ellis
Rated: 4 stars ****

A Midas Cat in a very human world, snow and a touch of Christmas in New York is the treat in store, there is also some heavy crime with the mafia, which also awaits, through the dark with rays of brightness within it.

Thanks to Tommy Ellis for being in contact to review and for sending me over a PDF copy.

The Midas Cat In New York Cover

Blurb

It’s December, and Ralph Williams is in New York for some retail therapy having been deeclared both sane and innocent of murder. A case of mistaken identity, however soon ruins his festive mood and puts him on the mafia’s hit list… and the triads’. Just when he thought things were as bad as they could get. the midas cat shows up and messes not only with his sadity but organised crime… with unexpected results.

Review

Christmas in New York sounds wonderful and that’s where Ralph is spending it, whilst his cousin is locked away in a cell and his wife, Lauren is elsewhere. So, it’s The Big Apple all alone for Ralph, but he has won an amazing prize, but something unexpected, even for the U.S. happens.

Cat (The Midas Cat) is also in NYC and adores the city. The book continues from the previous books and still has that quality of creating a cat to be one of the main characters and almost human-like and still likes Adam Ant and still has a bit of a humanistic quality, which makes it quirky but fun. It is also fast paced and captures imagination well.

There is a mix of the brightness of Christmas cheer, (there could have been a bit more) and the darker culture that is within the U.S, but there are glimpses of some humour within it, which mostly comes from the cat and reactions towards it. The book, however, feels a bit darker than the books previous to this one, with a bit more of the Mafia and characters such as Don Vincenzo.

The book takes readers right up to and includes Christmas Eve with a surprising ending, that is worth waiting for.

The Boy Who Sang With Dragons by Andy Shepherd @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #BookReview by Lou #ChildrensBook #Middlegrade

The Boy Who Sang With Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Rated: 5 stars *****

Hilarious fun with some dragons and a touch of real life drama, makes this a great addition to The Boy Who Grew Dragons series, which is perfect for 7-9 year olds.
Thank you to Andy Shepherd for surprising me with a copy to review.
Discover more in the blurb and review below.

The Boy Who Sang With Dragons

Blurb

Here in Grandad’s garden I am the dragon whisperer, the dragon protector …

Tomas is a fully-fledged expert dragon grower and protector of the dragonfruit tree. He has eyes in the back of his head for watching over those sneaky dragons, awesomely fast reflexes for putting out sparks and dodging the diving antics of whirling newly hatched dragons. He’s got it all down pat – and managing his little lightning bolt dragon Zing, too. But he’s not quite prepared for the adventure that awaits him when a huge secret is revealed about his new friend, Aura. A thrilling secret that will take Tomas and Aura on a journey of discovery that will finally unlock the last mysteries of the dragonfruit tree. A journey of discovery that all the dragons will be in on – and just what will happen when lightning bolt dragon Zing and storm dragon Flicker get together? Get ready for the ride of your life in this fizzing, sparkling final story in THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS series.
The Boy Who Sang With Dragons 2

Review

It was with surprise and delight that The Boy Who Sang With Dragons came flying through my letterbox. It’s the latest in the series that is delighting many children from the age of 7 years old in their homes and schools. The books are part of a series, but can also be read as stand-alone pretty well.

The cover is so much fun and is textured, which adds a certain je’ne’sais’quoi. It’s always special for children to find books designed like this. Look out for the evidence that dragon’s may have been at the books. It’s illustrated in such a fun way inside.

Imagine dragon’s at the bottom of your grandad’s garden, well, this is where they live!

Ted and Liam are back and a lot of slime is involved, in the most unexpected gross ways that has a lot of kid appeal and then proceeds in a step-by-step guide of how to grow a dragon.

There’s also Aura and Lolli who are into capes and tutus and chocolate. Children will read where chocolate comes from. They are fun as well amongst riotous animals causing havoc.

Readers are reacquainted with the dragons, such as  Zing and Flicker to go on a terrific adventure with and also be acquainted with nature and what dragon’s can do for it. There’s a concern that one of the characters may stop seeing the dragons. There are real emotions that are easy for readers to grasp of and empathise with and see why a character is so sad and dreams and nightmares, which are relatable for children.
There are music references and the positivity that singing can bring and some more humour and nature as the author carefully brings the book back to a lighter mood.

Amongst the fun, there are serious themes within families and older relatives, but all done in context of the story and within a middle grade reader’s grasp of understanding as it’s nothing too heavy. Tha balance is good and is more on the side of humour, adventure, imagination and fun, which makes it a great addition to the series as well as perfect for reading for pleasure and has enough if school’s wish to open up a conversation too.

The Art of Creativity by Susie Pearl #BookReview by Lou @susie_pearl @orionspring @RandomTTours #NonFiction

The Art of Creativity
By Susie Pearl
Rated: 5 stars ****

About the Author

The Art of Creativity Susi_Pearl_press_shots-19-1024x684Susie Pearl is a writer, podcaster and a host of workshops on creative writing, visioning and meditation. She is a mentor and holistic coach for companies such as MTV, Huffington Post, Google and Sony. She is the author of Instructions for Happiness and Success (2012) and has been involved in writing and collaborating on international bestselling titles including The Art of Eating Well with Hemsley & Hemsley and contributed to research for Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Rich. She is the founder of a celebrity PR agency in London, and lives between London and Ibiza. She hosts the Conversations with Susie Pearl podcast and is a cancer survivor.
You can follow Susie at:
Twitter: @susiepearl 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/susiepearlwriter                                             
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/susiepearlx     
Website: susiepearl.com

 

The Art of Creativity Front Cover          The Art of Creativity Back Cover

Blurb

Discover the daily habits of highly creative people.
What do most highly creative people have in common? What are the habits they cultivate? What is
‘the flow’ and how do you get into it? THE ART OF CREATIVITY is a practical guide to help you unlock
your creative potential and find fulfilment and happiness in the process.
After 20 years working with some of the most creative people on the planet, writer and business
coach Susie Pearl has unearthed the habits of highly creative people and takes you on a journey to
unlock your own inner stream of creativity.
Over the course of this easy-to-follow guide, you will learn to take risks with your inner artist, ignore
critics, release blocks and get into daily creative habits in order to build better projects, ideas and
artistic collaborations, and unearth creative solutions and innovations.
Containing practical tools and exercises, and a step-by-step to help you along the way, THE ART OF
CREATIVITY will reveal a more fulfilled, passionate and creative you.

The Art of Creativity Front Cover

Review

This erudite book is well set out into 7 steps, or habits as she likes to call them, which have some of the hallmarks within them of perhaps being inspired by Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler, in that she is channeling creativity and showing how you can create the headspace to expand your creativeness in ways you may not realise. In saying that, it is also very much her own work. It is a reassuring book and reassuring that she clearly has learnt from the masters of this.

She cleverly and thoughtfully sets out what creativity is and also a bit about herself, so people can relate to her and the book from the beginning. It’s almost a gentle way of introducing herself and setting out the goals of the book.

It’s not just about the reading of the book, this is about getting yourself involved as there are easy to follow instructions, so you can interact and be on a path to a positive change in whatever that means to you. It’s a bit more involved than a simple positive thought. It is something that is thought-provoking and really gets you thinking about that postive change you want to make.

The explanations of each habit, such as overthinking etc, are short but useful. It’s clearly a book where the emphasis is on the doing, as it then takes readers by the hand to the exercise and a step-by-step guide of what to do and each is surprisingly acheivable. It feels like she really does want readers to have success in either small or large things and whatever your goal is, it’s important.

She talks through some common blocks to creativity and includes some real life examples, that may get readers looking into their own blocks and then she starts to break them down.

I find the book is matter of fact and she is very knowlegeable. The book feels safe and there is nothing complex about it. You can do it at your own pace and gradually inspiration may well come to readers. It has a good feeling about it. You don’t need to be super-rich either, just the cost of the book and paper or a journal and a pen or pencil is all the equipment you need.

She talks about the purpose and outcomes from the science of techniques such as meditation and the benefits in easy to follow language. It’s a good technique, so people can have a greater understanding of the reason why she is suggesting something, such as meditiation, before going into the guide as to how to do it effectively. There’s nothing scary about it, even when it comes to mind-mapping, which is possible some people could be a bit more unfamiliar with because it’s all explained in a way that treats readers like intelligent adults and yet almost holding their hands to guide them through.

The book nicely builds in self-care as well as looking forwards to the future. It appears to give readers validation and encouragement.

The Art of Creativity BT Poster

The Angel of Whitehall by Lewis Hastings @istheauthor @HobeckBooks #Thriller #Bookreview by Lou

The Angel of Whitehall
By Lewis Hastings
Rated: 4 stars ****

Lewis Hastings, an author I had not heard of before until he started following me on Twitter and then Hobeck Books, wonderfully asked me for feedback on his book for them and the Lewis. I must say, he is an author to watch out for. He has books out already and The Angel of WhiteHall is his latest.
Take a look further for the blurb and the review to whet your appetite for Jack Cade. Buy links are included below.

The Image of Whitehall

Blurb

Jack Cade returns in this explosive thriller by Lewis Hastings, author of The Seventh Wave trilogy.

Twelve women hunted by a deadly enemy

A young African woman’s body is found slumped in a London side street. Her stomach slashed open, a single diamond hiding within.

A shameful secret that must remain hidden

An elderly sailor with just weeks to live harbours a dark secret that he has to share before he dies. The only problem. His memory is failing through dementia.

What’s the connection?

Former British police officer Jack Cade is the only man who can help unravel the mystery. Piecing together the fragments of information that the old man’s fragile memory reveals, Cade unearths a people trafficking conspiracy with links to the heart of the British Establishment.

They want his source silenced. Cade is the only person who can protect him. But who can Cade trust?

The Angel of Whitehall is the fourth brilliant Jack Cade thriller by bestselling author, Lewis Hastings.

Review

From the first few pages, I was hooked. It has a certain rhythm, within the writing of the book, which creates a certain, strong, almost heavy atmosphere. This isn’t to say it is a heavy read, it certainly is far from that, it’s an atmosphere and pace that keeps intrigue and the need to know more, going.

Jack Cade is the main character and is rather enjoyable to read about and the capturing of historical years and modern times is succinct and so easy to follow and seems necessary in this book to tell a complete story. The capturing of the historical years is done so well and eases readers into them, without it sounding textbook like in nature, but gives just enough for a basis of understanding.

There is a definite strength in creating a deep, almost heavy atmosphere. Mixing fact and fiction in a creative, yet informative way throughout was done in such a way that kept me reading as it weaved the plot together to create intrigue. It really captured the historical and the modern times so they flow together very well.

By the end I was left feeling very satisfied and making me realise that Lewis Hastings has a lot to give and is an author to watch out for and indeed you can find his books on Amazon and on the Hobeck Books website in their shop.

Buy Links:           Hobeck                Amazon

The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn #Bookreview by Lou @franquinn @jessbarratt88 @simonschusteruk #HistoricalFiction

The Smallest Man
By Frances Quinn
Rated: 4 stars ****

Enchanting, refreshingly original with an uplifting quality, The Smallest Man is a great historical fiction book that eases readers through an amazing journey.

Thanks to Jess Barratt at Simon & Schuster for gifting me a proof copy for review.

The Smallest Man

Blurb

‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’

A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll FactoryThe Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.

My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story.

The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England.

They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story.

Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together.

The Smallest Man cover

Review

The cover is amazing! It takes you on a journey right there and then, with the inside leading you into the life of Nat Davy – The Smallest Man, which is based on a true story, although this a fictional novel, but there is a strong basis of truth to it.  The first page is just utterly inspired! The narrative of how it tells readers, almost accidentally (although obviously it is cleverly thought out), of a little nugget here and there of Nat’s early life just in where he is not going to start his story, but then it all begins in Oakham.

This isn’t your usual sort of story set in such historical times, this takes readers to the fair and not just any fair – to one featuring freak shows and a decision to be made about whether to sell Nat to it or not has to be made. This makes for some great reading and is so different from other historical fiction novels. There are of course characters to be found like a duke, a queen and a king, lords and more, which adds to the exquisitiveness; but then if that doesn’t capture you, there are also gallows and Catholic martyrs. There are also run-ins with Crofts and his gang of friends.

This isn’t some lavish period piece of a season of dancing, nor is it some romp through the bedcovers, this tells a whole different side to history, and more pertinently, within 1625 and still has a richness to the story and in its textures and scenery. It is through the eyes of The Smallest Man and how his life is and how he is different from other people and seen as a freak. There is a tender emotion within the book as well as a sense of surviving and accomplishing against the odds and also shows that no matter how unlikely a friendship is to be formed, there are possibilities that they can. This book has hope within it and is  which in turn adds  an uplifting quality it.

Going deeper into the royal family and what are essentially death threats changes the tone, but still in keeping with the book and moves this plucky, refreshingly written story onto killer plots and a different layer of intrigue.

The Author’s Note is also fascinating and sheds a bit of light on a man, who perhaps was more on the edges of history, but nonetheless interesting.

Some praise for the book:

I loved this book – a fascinating tale of extraordinary accomplishment, and a story about how anything is possible and how love has always been a beacon of hope’ Phillip Schofield

‘An enchanting tale about a small man with a big heart. Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

The finished copy has some lovely green sprayed edges to it