Ed BookFest Day 2

Hey guys, so here I am to talk about my second day of attendance to Edinburgh Book Festival.

Yesterday I got to hear AL Kennedy speak, the author of The Little Snake. Which I reviewed here.

It’s a call/response to The Little Prince and an amazing read that packs so much power in so few pages.

I’m also partially in love with AL Kennedy now haha, I mean, talk about WHAT a speaker!

Kennedy starts off with the readings and picked some great ones as they were some of my favorite scenes, and the quality of the readings really hit home of the impact and message of her novel. This is about a snake who is the personification of death, it’s about a little girl, and it’s about what they can learn from each other as well as what we can learn from them and their friendship.

And, I mean, it’s a snake that’s a harbinger of death and gets to end a politician’s life, so I mean, that was just an extra awesome moment lol.

Kennedy speaks of how Lanmo our dear snakey snake has some days off now as people are efficient at killing each other at this point in time [in the story and well to be fair in my opinion in real life as well].

This is more than talking about The Little Snake though and I loved where Kennedy was coming from with the discussion in general.

Kennedy also goes into depth about how today there are people/companies out there whose sole objective is to keep humans from being kind to one another but that, in the end, they will always fail and man do I think that is SUCH an important message to promote because there are times we can lose sight of that, that hopefully more often than not when someone is in need, others provide.

Of course in a more digital age, it can be way too easy to ignore what others might need or to lend a helping hand, and yet we still manage to have gofundme and petitions, so, Kennedy provides this glimmer of hope that I think we all need right now;

The Proper purpose of being human is to help.”

Also, a good point is brought up, the sliding scale of annoyance is drastically cut down now, it’s more like ‘I’m annoyed, I wish you were dead’ instead of like ‘Eh, I’m annoyed, but I don’t want you dead.’

And, well, I was SUPER awkward, yet again, I can’t help it, there’s something about authors that bring out the most awkward of turtles in me, BUT I was happy because this was the first time I got the courage to ask a question during the question time of the panel.

I asked Kennedy why she chose the snake versus other aspects of The Little Prince to adapt, and well, it’s a love of reptiles and feeling that maybe there was more of a connection to the animals than people when reading the story. Kennedy also bears a hatred to the rose that I really could identify with, inner child me and me now both detested the rose, and I think that the imagery Kennedy provided with the rose being eaten by a million sheep and then found in the remanents of their waste is pretty much the best ending for the rose.

Then I got to talk to some great people in the queue and Kennedy signed my copy that Canongate Books gifted me, and it was like such an awesome end to my first week at the book festival and I can’t wait for my last event on Tuesday which is with Samantha Shannon and Holly Black.

Okay, this turned more into a gushing fan rant and discussion of the panel rather than a little summary but I have no regrets.

And I mean….Look how close I was! [This picture is before the panel started as they don’t allow photos during, whoops, didn’t know that until then!]

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Oooh AND AND Here are some pictures of my signed books if you all want a glance!

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The one in the middle is my notebook for the Fesitval lol I just wanted it in the picture too

 

In Truth, Madness – Blog Tour

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In Truth, Madness is the fictional story of a correspondent driven to despair by the Middle East and South Asia. A reporter strives to find the truth. The more truth they find, the more maddening the world becomes.
Meet Malek Khalil. In his mid-40s, Malek is a brilliant reporter with decades of experience in the field. If there has been a war, natural disaster or political crisis, Malek has been there and will be there. But the years of conflict reporting have taken their toll and Malek is slowly unravelling. His colleagues, Neeka and Justin, have noticed a change in him. Neeka should know, she has been his producer for decades and knows him better than he knows himself. Justin the cameraman has shot his material for just as long. Together they make a formidable team. But they are only as strong as each other – and Malek is fast going down the rabbit hole. 
Born a Muslim but an atheist to his core, Malek undertakes a voyage that takes him around the world and back in time to ancient Babylon as he finds himself arguing with a God in whom he doesn’t believe. 
The novel takes place throughout Middle East, South Asia and London where the backdrop of war, religion, political skullduggery and love play out to take the reader on a journey through some of the most dangerous parts of modern culture and the ancient world. 

Book Information: 
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
BINDING: Demy PB
SIZE: 216 × 135 mm
CATEGORY BIC: FA
ISBN: 978-1-911586-90-6
FORMAT: Paperback
ALTERNATIVE EDITION 978-1-911586-91-3
PRICE: £10.99 

PRAISE 

“Life on the road was never this much fun! All reporters should time travel!” – Adrian Finighan. Senior anchor, Al Jazeera English 

“A darkly comic tale artfully blending mysticism and current affairs’ – Arwa Damon Senior International Correspondent”

My Review

 

It’s always great when someone uses their knowledge to enhance a story and Khan used his experience and knowledge to such a great advantage to bring us this book. In Truth, Madness reads a lot like speculative/contemporary fiction but it keeps throwing curveballs with the inclusion of the book and the fantasy undertones. There’s this question put to Malek now in his 40s whether there’s a god, he’s staunch in his lack of belief. But what happens to his lack of faith when he’s suddenly and seemingly given the power to determine a person’s fate, or at least weigh in.

And is this really such a heavenly gift?

Up to a certain point, it all flows together in supreme cohesion but eventually Khan guides and Malek toward the deeper depths of his novel and it’s at that point where it almost felt like I was reading another book. Still, it was so enjoyable and the whole time you are as much in the dark as Malek, you may have hints or inklings but there’s no sure way of knowing the truth. What’s real and what’s fake? Is this a mental breakdown from seeing the many horrid truths there are in the world or is this something greater than Malek?

He has a huge spiritual journey and not just in the faith of possible religion but in his own personal growth and it’s interesting to see how his life evolves, including his relationships with those he works with.

I really enjoyed this read and found myself being put through a read that I both appreciated for its honesty of the world and its problems and the heart it had in its faith, which rested quite a bit on humanity.

Thank you to Unbounders and Anne Cater for a copy of this to review honestly as part of the blog tour.

About the Author

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Having kickstarted his career in the heady world of 1990s independent magazine publishing with work on Dazed and Confused, and launching seminal style title 2nd Generation, Imran Khan jumped into the mainstream with BBC London – hosting radio shows on popular culture, arts and news as the millennium approached. Despite having a face for radio, in 2001 he produced a series of short documentaries for BBC Newsnight, Britain’s leading current affairs programme. His work was noticed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and Channel 4 commissioned the award-winning film “The Hidden Jihad”, which he wrote and presented. Imran subsequently moved full-time into TV news, working as a BBC producer and correspondent reporting from Lebanon, London and Qatar, with freelance stints in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
He became a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in 2005 and is known for his extensive reporting from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Libya, as well covering the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria. He continues to work as a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, dividing his time between the Middle East, South Asia and London.

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

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The Wild Book – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
The Wild Book is the YA debut of one of Mexico’s foremost authors: a wondrous adventure story of a boy who goes to live with his kooky, book-obsessed uncle in a library where books have supernatural powers.
Thirteen-year-old Juan’s summer is off to a terrible start. First, his parents separate. Then, almost as bad, Juan is sent away to his strange Uncle Tito’s house for the entire holiday! Who wants to live with an oddball recluse who has zigzag eyebrows, drinks fifteen cups of smoky tea a day, and lives inside a huge, mysterious library? As Juan adjusts to his new life among dusty shelves, he notices something odd: the books move on their own! He rushes to tell Uncle Tito, who lets his nephew in on a secret: Juan is a Princeps Reader, which means books respond magically to him, and he’s the only one who can find the elusive, never-before-read Wild Book.
But will Juan and his new friend Catalina get to The Wild Book before the wicked, story-stealing Pirate Book does? An unforgettable adventure story about books, libraries, and the power of reading. Shy and uncertain, Juan learns from his uncle what makes him special, and how to embrace his uniqueness.
Featuring both a child of marital separation and a blind character, The Wild Book offers an opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the important issues of divorce and disability. Braille books are a major plot point, and there is no line drawn between the disabled and abled: we are all just lovers of stories.

The Wild Book is a YA debut by one of Mexico’s best-known authors.

It has sold over 1.3 million copies in Spanish.

Book Information:
Written by: Juan Villoro
Translated by: Lawrence Schimel
Published by: HopeRoad Publishing
Genre: MG Fantasy – Translated Fiction [Age Range 10 – 14]
Publication Date: September 21, 2019
Price: £8.99
Format: Paperback Original, Ebook available

My Review

This was such a lovely read, I was so happy to get a chance to read this, it was a wave of nostalgia for me. I had not read this before but for me, it was reminiscent of The Magician’s Nephew; in the way that it was a boy discovering more than he thought possible and for the simple fact that it felt like I was discovering magic all over again as I had as a child while reading.

MG fiction can be a great way for authors to give children messages about the real world while enchanting them and Villoro does a great job with this. Juan’s world is changing as he knows it, and though he is at first upset to be separated from his mother, he is thrown into a world that is both magical and filled with the small little lessons/steps to accepting change.

Villoro and Schimel bring such a whimsical tale to the table, the style as I mentioned earlier was enchanting for me.

By far my favorite character was Juan’s Uncle Tito. I also LOVED that in the end, it was probably him and Juan both that learned the greatest lessons. The library filled with books full of promise and adventure and Juan dealt with problems that many children face and the ending was perfect for this book.

Uncle Tito learns that there is more than the wonder of books, that people can be just as wonderful to have in your life and Juan on the flip side learns the wonder of books and that they can be wonderful and transport you to people.

I highly recommend this book for children who love magic no matter their age number of 10 or 100. Five cups of coffee from me!

Thank you to Anne Cater and HopeRoad Publishing for a copy of the book and being part of the tour in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

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Juan Villoro is Mexico’s most prolific, prize-winning author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. His books have been translated into multiple languages. Several of his books have appeared in English, including his celebrated 2016 essay collection on soccer, God Is Round (Restless Books). Villoro lives in Mexico City and is a visiting lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities.

 

About the Translator

Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and translator of books. He lives in Madrid and New York City.

 

About the Publisher

HopeRoad, set up in 2012, specialises in writers and writing from and about Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Their aim is to give a voice to writers and stories that might otherwise be missed by the mainstream book trade.

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

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Spin the Dawn

I had to really take a moment after reading this, because I was so angry I have to wait for the next one, and I just died over the descriptions of pretty clothing. It’s my downfall and Lim delivered.

I also waited until today because I was late on reviewing my eARC and decided to wait to post here until it hit the one month anniversary of its release. [I also read and reviewed my own preorder so no disclosure needed this go]

So congrats to Spin the Dawn on having hit the shelves a month ago!

Let’s get this party started!!

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GoodReads:
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

 

My Review

With a beautiful start, this had my heart from the prologue. And I can’t help but want to completely and utterly root for Maia and contain so much faith for her! I enjoyed the story in its entirety but I really loved the scenes between Maia and Edan.

By the way, Edan is the cinnamon-est of cinnamon rolls, and I’ll fight anyone who argues this. [Not really, I suck at fights. I’d rather not but you all get the point]

The book is divided into parts and the first part deals with the ‘Project Runway meets Mulan’ vibe, and then it branches out after that and becomes a quest that is a perilous journey to try and deliver the ‘unobtainable’ to make the intended of the Emperor satisfied. [I have sympathy for her but I still dislike her lol]

The magical aspect was fun and really weaved in there, get it, weaved? Anyway, I thought it was all threaded together flawlessly. Okay, okay, I’m done with the puns. For now.

Being a sucker for pretty clothes, I loved the parts with the clothing best and those dresses though, if you haven’t read it, I won’t spoil it but man, I want to see those in real life!

Maia clearly loves her family and her ultimate goal for them and more importantly for herself has always been to become the greatest tailor in the land. When the opportunity arises, she only hesitates briefly before taking it in both hands and running with it.

So, what happens you no longer what your life long dream?

The struggle for Maia is genuine and I loved how Edan was so supportive, and I could go on and on about the two of them, but, I’ll try to contain myself.

Another thing I thought Lim just totally mastered were the landscape descriptions, I just wanted to close my eyes at times and imagine all the beautiful lands, she painted them out for you and I was completely engrossed in this world while reading.

If you’re looking for a magical fantasy with amazing landscapes, fun world-building, pretty clothes, determined tailors, and cinnamon rolls, well this book is for you.

Four cups of coffee from me!

[TEAM MAIA&EDAN UNITE]

Head Shot – Blog Tour

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Synopsis:

A girl from a Yorkshire mining town is barely thirteen when her father kills himself – her brother finds him dying. At sixteen she’s spotted by a rock star and becomes an international Vogue model. Seven years later her brother kills himself in her New York apartment and her mother dies too. With no family left, her life is now one of extreme choices.
Fifty years later, Victoria confronts her past and takes her readers on an unflinching voyage through her experiences as a model and beyond. Speaking frankly about loss, love, friendship and ambition, Head Shot is a book of inspiration and purpose.
Packed with astonishing images by the photographers Victoria worked with, and the defiant fashions she wore throughout her career, it also bears witness to a time of unparalleled cultural energy and invention; it’s a story in which bags and shoes can, and do, sit right next to life and death.

Book Information:
Publication Date: August 8, 2019
Publisher: Unbound
PRICE: £16.99
ISBN: 978-1-78352-749-6
FORMAT: Hardback 

From the epicentre of Sixties glamour to a double family suicide: how a Vogue model persevered and rebuilt her life in the face of tragedy

 

My Review

If you’re prepared for a book about the glamorous life of modelling, stories of exotic shoots and juicy gossip. Well, aside from a couple of exotic shoots, you’re going to be surprised. Nixon has given us a book that focuses on her actual experiences, and not just as a model and its lifestyle on a photoshoot but what happens afterwards. It’s not all glitz and glamour, it’s making friendships with people you’ll rarely get to see, meeting tons of new people in general, and it’s seeing just how ‘okay’ you are with being alone/just with yourself some days.

I loved how honest and down to earth Victoria Nixon’s style was, she was brave enough to show her own failings in the spotlight and brave enough to share some of her deeper pain, and these things make you connect with her and want to know her story.

Nixon lost her whole family at such a young age, yet she was able to keep moving forward. And, her modelling career is not her whole life, so it was nice to hear about what happened after the photoshoots and let’s just say Nixon is one accomplished human. It’s obvious that no matter what, no matter the time that passes she still misses her family but she doesn’t shy away from that and once again, it really helps you as a reader connect with her on a very personal and emotional level.

Not to mention it’s refreshing hearing of someone so successful making the same mistakes as say myself, choosing the wrong lovers, thinking you can sometimes fix people when that isn’t actually the issue, and sometimes just saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and losing out on an opportunity because of it.

Nixon also isn’t afraid to share her lower points in life, not just in sadness but in her career, even her schooling in London. [Though I daresay Nixon had the last laugh in that case] And the way she talks about her mom is touching, it’s obvious they were close, and that she was close with her brother and father as well.

This isn’t the vapid and materialistic assumption that some are prone to make about models, this is about a real woman who is just telling her story. I loved it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Unbound for a copy of this book and being part of the tour in exchange for my honest review.

 

About the Author

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Victoria Nixon was eighteen when she was discovered by Helmut Newton, who photographed her for Vogue. This launched her international modelling career, which led to her being named the Daily Mail’s ‘Face of 1968’. After modelling, she went on to become an award-winning advertising copywriter, television producer and magazine editor. In the 1990s she opened the first deli in the UK to ban plastic packaging, and in 2002 her first book, Supermodels’ Beauty Secrets, was published, followed by Supermodels’ Diet Secrets in 2004. She is co- founder and managing director of a company which designs and manufactures humanitarian aid products used worldwide.

 

The Rest of the Blog Tour

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The Homeless Heart-Throb Tour

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Blurb:
Alternately hilarious, shocking and sad, Crystal Jeans’ latest novel is set in Cardiff. But perhaps not the Cardiff the urban planners and WAG mavens would use in their shiny advertising campaigns. 
Each chapter is narrated by different characters linked by the street on which most of them live and the appearance in them all (to greater or lesser extent) of the title character the alcoholic vagrant who for one of the neighbours is an unusual subject of desire. Set in various homes, streets and parks, and a nearby care home for the demented elderly the story lines are darkly humorous and occasionally rude and crude – up front portrayals of people on the frontline of urban poverty, disenfranchisement, drug culture and unappreciated but essential work lives. Lit up with authentic characters and appealing voices, and the full gamut of human relationships platonic, romantic and sexual this is an unputdownable journey into the underside of contemporary Wales.

Book Information:
Publication Date: August First
Available for Sale: UK and Ireland
Format: Mass market paperback -fiction-
ISBN: 978-1-912905-01-0
Price: £8.99 

From Wales Book of the Year award winning and Bridport Prize and Polari Prize shortlisted author

Will appeal to those who love the novels and stories of Niall Griffiths and Rachel Tresize

 

My Review

I would have to say this is the epitome of quirky novels and it was nice to read something I may not have normally just checked out from the library. The synopsis intrigued me and really who isn’t curious when a book’s title is The Homeless Heart-Throb? Though there is a homeless man near the stories of the neighbors of this Welsh street, it’s really more about how all the neighbors are all connected by their proximity, it’s all quite intricate. Jeans is unapologetic in showing the gritty and honest side of people, it’s not always nice, but it is truthful and that is more important in a novel like this. There’s quite a lot of quirky vulgarity and a few chuckles thrown in along with just how crappy life can be at times and I appreciated that ‘ugliness’ [though really it was anything but ugly in her writing style].

An interesting and, again, quirky read.

A different sort of read for the different sort of reader 😉

Thanks to Anne Cater and Honno Pub for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Content Warning: Sexual cavorting lol , vulgarity, alcohol abuse, death

 

About the Author

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Crystal Jeans was born and brought up in Cardiff. She lived in Bristol before doing first a Creative Writing BA then an MPhil at the University of Glamorgan. She works in a care home, which inspired a collection of poetry about dementia (Mulfran Press). She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2010), had poetry published by Seren Press, and two short stories published by New Welsh Review.

Author Website @crystaljeans1

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

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Content/Trigger Warnings

This really isn’t a post to rant or to discuss if they’re needed or not.

I’m not here to stir the pot as they say.

I just want to say that I think it’s ludicrous to even argue about it.

Have you ever picked up a movie?

What does a movie typically have on its cover? Rating, right? PG, 15, all that, and what happens when it has those ratings above G?

They tell you why you should consider letting a person younger than the rating watch it, but also, does it not tell you if you’re going to encounter drugs, violence, sexual content? Especially if it’s a 15?

I have a point, I promise.

So we have these movie ratings, and I’m not saying books need to be rated but it’s almost like the ratings are used as warnings. Not for triggers, but, it can help those looking for a trigger warning, and it’s definitely a content warning. ‘Hey, this movie’s gonna have someone doing crack out of a hooker’s butt crack, think about that before letting your ten year old or yourself watch it’ [Wolf of Wall Street, btw, I’m not just making shit up as I go…this time]

And what happens if you really want to see a movie and don’t care? You ignore the rating, right? You ignore the warnings of what the film will contain.

So.

What if we put trigger/content warnings on books and then, if you don’t care about them you just….don’t read them? Wouldn’t that be easier than someone stumbling onto something that can be unfortunate for them? I’m not necessarily saying ‘oh thrillers should come with warnings about violence and possible gore’ [Though there’s absolutely nothing wrong in stating that] I’m talking about books that may appeal to YA audiences and ARE meant for YA but hey, there’s going to drug use, or hey this person encounters abuse, all that jazz.

I don’t put content/trigger warnings on all of my reviews but I at least try to be mindful, because it feels rather silly to only think of myself if I’m writing a review on my blog for readers, it’s a bit different in other circumstances, but that’s my PERSONAL choice on other review things, on my blog I am trying to go back and add content/trigger warnings to things I can remember. Why? Because I don’t want to throw someone through a loop and hurt them.

Also.

I read a book last night, and I was so enraged that it did not have any sort of warning to the last chapter which just seemed to come from left field that I was sitting there and thinking ‘this, this is a really good example of why trigger warnings are needed.’ Needless to say, if I decide to review that one on my blog, I’ll make sure to warn you all, so that you’re not left feeling gross and in shock, like myself.

Content/Trigger warnings, they aren’t there to ruin books, they’re there to help, just like film ratings and warnings.

I’m not here to yank anyone’s chain, this is just my opinion on the matter.

Please feel free to tell me what you think down below in the comments, but, please, be mindful of others! ❤