#Blogtour Life and Death Decisions by Dr Lachlan McIver

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour – Life and Death Decisions: Fighting to save lives from disaster, disease and destruction by Dr Lachlan McIver. ‘An action-packed tale of medicine in the most remote, poverty-torn areas of the globe from a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor.’

About the Author

Dr Lachlan McIver is a rural medicine and public health specialist with a PhD in the health impacts of climate change. He currently works as the Tropical Diseases and Planetary Health Advisor at the headquarters of Médecins Sans Frontières in Geneva. Lachlan is an Associate Professor at James Cook University and is the founder and past Chair of Rocketship Pacific Ltd – an international non-profit organisation dedicated to improving health in Pacific Island countries. 

Lachlan’s work has taken him to thirty different countries, and he has published over fifty scientific articles and textbook chapters. He regularly speaks at international conferences on health. For more information, visit drlachlanmciver.com or follow @lachlan_mciver on Twitter

About the book

Lachlan was sixteen when he found his father dead on the side of a dirt road in North Queensland, Australia. He had suffered a sudden heart attack and died alone. It was this tragedy that motivated Lachlan to train as a doctor specialising in providing medical care for people living in remote, resource-deprived locations.

Lachlan’s work with the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières has taken him to some of the world’s most extreme environments from the sinking islands of the Pacific to epidemics and war zones in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

In this no-holds-barred memoir, Lachlan recounts his experiences treating patients ravaged by tropical diseases, managing war wounds with drug-resistant infections, delivering babies by the light of a head torch, dealing with the devastating effects of climate change and narrowly avoiding being kidnapped by militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tackling such impossible problems day in and day out inevitably takes a personal toll. Lachlan is ultimately forced to face his own battles with depression, alcohol abuse and bankruptcy.

Life and Death Decisions is a deeply human look at the personal cost of our broken global health system and a vital call to action.

Review

Lachlan presents the good, the bad and the uncomfortable in this frank memoir. It’s not just a facts, experiences and accomplishments. It’s a stripping bare of emotions, of choices, and an examination of consequence of actions.

I found the most interesting aspect of this read was the way the author relates to his achievements. It’s as if it is a never-ending race to save and help as many people as possible, and yet never feeling a true sense of accomplishment, perhaps because the underlying trauma of a death he had no way of changing always sits on his shoulders as a constant companion.

There appears to be a lack of acknowledgement of his impact on the world and the people he endeavours to help and has helped throughout the years. The drive, the selflessness and often reckless regard for his own life and his close relationships. Even the last pages are a testament to how he wants to live life by example to change the path we have created, which is at odds with saving lives at this moment in time. 

It’s a remarkable read, perhaps more so because he makes the hard work and dangerous situations look like second nature. It is food for thought – small steps for some of us, which will lead to bigger ones.

Buy Life and Death Decisions at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Endeavour pub date 1 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Real Prime Suspect by Jackie Malton with Hélène Mulholland

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Real Prime Suspect: From the Beat to the Screen. My Life as a Female Detective by Jackie Malton with Hélène Mulholland.

About the Author

Jackie Malton was a police officer for twenty-eight years. During her career she worked in the drugs squad, CID, the flying squad (famously known as The Sweeney), fraud squad and as a hostage negotiator. She rose to become one of only three female detective chief inspectors in the Metropolitan Police. 

Jackie has acted as an adviser on some of the most successful British crime dramas, including Prime Suspect, The Bill, Cracker, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Trial and Retribution and Murder Investigation Team. In 2019 she presented the documentary series, The Real Prime Suspect in which she revisited some of the most notorious murder cases. Most recently, she was interviewed for BBC 2’s documentary Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty; she appeared in Steve McQueen’s BAFTA-award-winning documentary Uprising about the New Cross Fire; and made a guest appearance on the new BBC Sounds podcast, Lady Killers with Lucy Worsley. Jackie regularly gives talks on policing and currently volunteers in a male prison supporting offenders recovering from addiction. Follow @thursley on Twitter

Hélène Mulholland has been a journalist for over twenty years and previously worked at the Guardian as a political reporter. Hélène now works on a freelance basis. The Real Prime Suspect is her first book. Follow @Inmulholland on Twitter

About the book

The Real Prime Suspect is a jaw-dropping, gritty memoir from Jackie Malton, former DCI and the inspiration for legendary TV detective Jane Tennison in Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect.

Jackie Malton was a no-nonsense girl from Leicestershire who joined the police force in the 1970s. It was a time of sex segregation in the police force. Male recruits were given a truncheon; female recruits received a handbag and were assigned social work duties. But Jackie desperately wanted to become a detective. 

Feisty and determined, Jackie made her way into some of the most male-dominated departments of the police force. She 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 an openly gay woman in the Metropolitan Police, where sexism and homophobia were rife.

Utterly compelling, the book is rich with fascinating cases and intriguing characters from Jackie’s time on the force. 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 Malton is a true trailblazer. She forged a path in a male-dominated world and through it all she remained true to herself. Jackie has spent her life working in crime. Now she’s ready to share her story.

Review

This was absolutely fascinating and it gives readers a completely different perspective on both the character we know and love, and the life of the woman behind the character of TV detective Jane Tennison – the inspiration.

Malton gives a rare insight into the world of policing many decades ago when women were little more than glorified makers of cups of tea for the real police – the men of course. A time when being openly same-sex attracted would have had consequences, so a successful career also meant living a life half lived.

Leaving aside the difficulties of working in a male dominated career, which has a curious relationship with the law when it comes to the lawlessness and infractions of its own people and the way they turn on the police officers upholding the law against their own. One of the pivotal elements of the story is what the constant stress of interacting with the dregs of society does to police officers – the inhumanity and horrors they are faced with. How do you deal with all of that without something breaking inside, without experiencing PTSD and trauma, and being able to cope with the aforementioned?

I think it’s easy for everyone to forget that aspect of policing. Luckily for us the author has come out the other side and has been able to leave a lasting legacy of her experiences and through the character of Tennison. It was a really interesting read.

Buy The Real Prime Suspect at Amazon Uk. Published by Endeavour on 25th August 2022 / £20. Buy at Amazon com. Buy here.

#BlogTour A Gypsy in Auschwitz by Otto Rosenberg

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Gypsy in Auschwitz by Otto Rosenberg, as told to Ulrich Enzensberger and translated by Maisie Musgrave.

About the Author

Otto Rosenberg was born in East Prussia in 1927 and grew up in Berlin. He was 9 when he was sent to the Roma and Sinti camp in Marzahn, ahead of the 1936 Olympic Games, and 15 when he was sent to Auschwitz. He was then detained in Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps before being freed in 1945. 

In later years, Rosenberg was the chairman of the Regional Association of German Sinti and Romanies Berlin-Brandenburg and fathered seven children. He passed away in 2001.

Otto’s daughter, Petra Rosenberg, is the current Director of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma Berlin-Brandenburg.

About the book

Otto Rosenberg is 9 and living in Berlin, poor but happy, when his family are first detained. All around them, Sinti and Roma families are being torn from their homes by Nazis , leaving behind schools, jobs, friends, and businesses to live in forced encampments outside the city. One by one, families are broken up, adults and children disappear or are ‘sent East’.

Otto arrives in Auschwitz aged 15 and is later transferred to Buechenwald and Bergen-Belsen. He works, scrounges food whenever he can, witnesses and suffers horrific violence and is driven close to death by illness more than once. Unbelievably, he also joins an armed revolt of prisoners who, facing the SS and certain death, refuse to back down. Somehow, through luck, sheer human will to live, or both, he survives.

The stories of Sinti and Roma suffering in Nazi Germany are all too often lost or untold. In this haunting account, Otto shares his story with a remarkable simplicity. Deeply moving, A Gypsy in Auschwitz is the incredible story of how a young Sinti boy miraculously survived the unimaginable darkness of the Holocaust.

Review

Otto is a mere nine years of age when he and his family are ripped from the comfort of their community and forced to fight to survive in the Marzahn camp. A labour camp with no housing or facilities that was filled with Sinti and Roma. They were targeted with a similar frenzy as the Jews were, because of their alleged racial impurity.

This is the story of a young boy who managed to survive the most vicious and deadly of concentration camps. A child who lost his family and friends, and yet despite his age was brave enough to try and stand up for himself and others by joining a revolt against his captors.

It’s not unusual for someone who has suffered extreme trauma to disassociate themselves from the events, which is why autobiographies and first-hand accounts can sometimes appear a little to be told or written with a lack of emotion. It’s a coping mechanism, keeping the memories and distress at bay, whilst making sure loved ones and victims are never forgotten.

What’s equally important is the intergenerational trauma – epigenetic trauma is fascinating and tragic. Imagine being so traumatised that it seeps into the very fabric of your being, your chemistry even. Post-war Holocaust generations are aware of this and the impact, despite often never being privy to the real details and finer details of said trauma.

It remains vital that the stories of Holocaust survivors are told and heard, regardless of whether they are alive or not. Documentation, eyewitness accounts and first-hand stories are pivotal, as the years pass and the younger generations are introduced to either a whitewashed version, alternative facts such as ludicrous denials or simply no information at all. 

I have read a lot of Holocaust accounts, and am simultaneously disappointed and disturbed that there are still so many facts and stories hidden in the folds of history. The Roma and Sinti persecution tends to stand in the shadow of the other persecuted groups. I think what really rattled my cage about Otto’s account was recognising the bureaucracy of the German nation, which is still a foundation of their structure today. The bureaucracy that stops the nomad community from receiving their financial dues, ergo still oppressing them with the efficiency of the Nazi party. 

The way they meticulously transcribed everything, and as we can see in this book those records and the use of that data, become relevant and remaining so for many years afterwards. Also that the way these war criminals, and they are criminals, just slid into important roles in every industry in the post-war era. No punishment or accountability, instead the victims were victimised further by having to watch the guilty live without the burden of trauma, and what’s worse they have to live with the murderers among them.

It’s an important read – one that should be taught in school and one we should be telling and retelling, so Otto and his experience never fall foul of the system that forgets and history that swallows up the voices of so many innocents. I won’t forget Otto, his family or his community.

Buy A Gypsy in Auschwitz at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Island House by Mary Considine

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Island House by Mary Considine. ‘An unforgettable new memoir that will transport readers to the wilds of Cornwall and a remote island life.’

About the Author

Growing up in the flat landscape of Bedfordshire, Mary fell in love with Cornwall and the sea on her first visit as a small child. Distracted by the garlands of London, she spent the 90s writing and directing plays in the London and Edinburgh Fringe, and scriptwriting. 

Work included Angels, Time Out Critics Choice, The Other Half, commissioned by The Carlton Tv screenwriting initiative; and a short film The Hand Job, shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank/Channel 4 short film competition. 

The noughties were spent teaching drama in secondary schools in the hills of North Yorkshire and, in pursuit of her now husband, back in London, before realising her impossible dream of moving to St George ‘s Island in 2010.

About the book

Mary and Patrick’s dream was to live in London, have 2.4 children, the nice house, the successful jobs. But life had other plans, and one traumatic year that all came crashing down.

bruised and battered, Mary finds herself pulled towards Cornwall and dreams of St George’s Island, where she spent halcyon childhood summers. So, when an opportunity arises to become tenants of they renovate the old Island House, they grab it with both hands.

life in the island is hard, especially in winter, the sea and weather, unforgiving. But the rugged natural beauty, the friendly ghosts of previous inhabitants, and the beautiful isolation of island life being hope and purpose, as they discover a resilience they never knew they had.

Review

I think the sentence that resonated most with me was – he knows the island is calling. I think at the core of decisions to sever oneself from the societal norm and rat race, which may or may not go hand-in-hand with trauma, stress, burn-out or other great upheavals there can be an element of gut instinct. The instinct that tells us we need to readjust, re-evaluate and seek change.

The isolation seems to adhere to those lines, although in this case it can bring both peace and hardship. Imagine cutting yourself off from the extended world, where you often rely on nothing else but your own strength and stamina. Survival instinct kicks in, but perhaps also a resonance of forgotten ancestral genetic instincts.

I found the story, the memoir, quite fascinating. There must be plenty of people who think of going slightly off-grid and retreating in a way – I know I certainly have. However I am more realistic about being able to cope with the extreme situations, and reverting to more basic comforts. It’s tough, albeit that fact is obscured by the scenery and the fantastical notion one has stepped back in time and staking a claim and place in the unknown. This imaginary fantastical notion of a fantasy life doesn’t do justice to the people who actually do make these choices and live in isolated areas.

Buy The Island House at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray; pub date 9th June 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Octopus Books.

#BlogTour Through a Vet’s Eyes by Dr Sean Wensley

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Through a Vet’s Eyes: How We Can Choose a Better Life for Animals by Dr Sean Wensley. With foreword by Miranda Krestovnikoff, RSPB President.

About the Author

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning UK veterinarian and recent President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA). He chairs the Animal Welfare Working Group of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), which represents veterinary organisations from 40 European countries.

Sean has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects around the world and in 2017 received the inaugural World Veterinary Association (WVA) Global Animal Welfare Award for Europe. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education at the national UK veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). 

His media appearances include BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine and The Big Questions. Follow @SeanWensley on Twitter

About the book

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning vet and lifelong naturalist who has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects all over the world. His debut book is about how we can choose a better life for animals, from the chickens we eat to the pets we keep.

As our societies become more urbanised, we are further removed from the reality of where and how our food is produced. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the humanisation of our pets is a risk to their welfare; with 60% of UK dogs being overweight or obese, we are effectively killing them with kindness. Through a Vet’s Eyes seeks to redress this imbalance so that we see all animals as thinking, feeling beings not dissimilar to ourselves. 

There is high public and political interest in animal welfare, with current attention focused on high-profile topics such as animal sentience, humane and sustainable global agriculture and breeding pets, such as flat-faced dogs, for looks over health. To fully consider and improve the lives of animals, evidence-based information is needed to help us all understand these issues, what they mean from the animals’ perspectives and what we can all do to help.

A polemic with elements of memoir and nature writing, the book takes us through the years in which Sean trained to become a vet and shares his first-hand experience of how animals are treated and used for our benefit. It interrogates the different levels of welfare afforded to them and reveals how we, as consumers and informed citizens, can reduce our animal welfare footprint through the choices we make every single day.

Review

– Reported surveys have suggested that 1 in 4 UK adults don’t know that bacon comes from pigs. – Pretty mindboggling. Have we become so distanced from the concept of animals as a food source that we no longer wish to acknowledge the meat we consume are in fact carcasses of animals. Is that why it is so easy to push the mass production, the inhumane transportation and slaughtering to the back of our minds.

It is possible to put pressure on governments and they in turn on the corporate world to demand accountability in regard to animal welfare, production systems that minimise suffering instead of putting maximisation and profit at the forefront to compete with national and international markets.

This book is so much more than our moral conscience in regard to the world of wildlife and animals, indeed the world we inhabit. It is also a love song to the beauty we are surrounded by, especially the variety of species and life we tend to only acknowledge on the periphery or during a short moment of admiration. 

I think that’s what I loved about it the most, the passion and the way the author embraces every single aspect of movement, sights and interactions. Taking more than just a Kodak moment of the space we are in, more than just a second to remember the joy is often in the small gestures and experiences.

In a way it’s a book that reminds us of the importance of remembering living beings deserve to be treated with compassion, but without doing it in a preachy flag waving manner, and simultaneously being a love letter to all creatures great and small.

Buy Through a Vet’s Eyes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Gaia pub date 28th April 2022 | £20.00. Buy at Amazon comAt Octopus books.

#BlogTour Trouble: A memoir by Marise Gaughan

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Trouble by Marise Gaughan – a stunning literary memoir from an exceptional Irish writer and comedian.

About the Author

Marise Gaughan was born in Dublin in 1991, and began doing stand-up in the open mic nights of Los Angeles in 2016. Now living in London, she continues to perform in all the major UK and Irish clubs and festivals. 

Her award-winning debut show ‘Drowning’ premiered at the Dublin Fringe festival in 2018 and was awarded the Women’s Irish Network Arts Bursary. Se presented a weekly radio segment on Ireland’s lyric.fm during lockdown that the Irish Times called ‘edgy, honest and funny’. This is her first book. Visit marisegaughan.com

About the book

Marise was nine when she first realised there was trouble, 14 when her Dad tried to end it all, and 23 when he finally succeeded.

In a turmoil of conflicting emotions Marise, the child who is left behind, runs – from Dublin to Amsterdam to Los Angeles, leaving a trail of sex and self-destruction in her wake. Until finally, she finds herself facing what she’s become in a California psych ward, a girl imploding through trying to make sense of her father’s suicide.

In this brave and powerful memoir Marise retells her unravelling, from child to adult, she strips back her identity and her relationship with her father, layer by layer, until she starts to understand how to live with him, years after he has gone.

Written beautifully, with wit and unflinching honesty, Marise has produced one of the most profound coming-of-age memoirs of recent years, a stunning new voice in Irish writing.

Review

If you read a lot of memoirs and biographies, then you will know the difference between a memoir written with boundaries and one without. Boundaries can mean holding back for friends, family or even yourself, and there can even be a certain level of dissociation. Then there are memoirs like this one that are so open, brusque and frank, that the reader can feel all ranges of the emotions acutely.

The author reveals her journey from childhood to young adult, and the impact her relationship with her father and his subsequent suicide has on her. Coming to terms with her anger, disappointment and lack of control over the his actions, takes its toll on her and the relationships she cultivates. It’s sometimes a hard journey to comprehend that your parent may have trauma, mental health issues that lead to destructive coping mechanisms.

I had to remind myself that there is such a thing as cultural divide when it comes to the interactions between parent and child in this book – Irish banter is very much a thing unto itself. It makes snark look like high-profile sniping. In the context of this family it is also what the family feels comfortable with, where perhaps others wouldn’t.

The author has no filter, which means it can often be crude, explicit and viscerally challenging. In the same breathe it is also extremely honest, which could mean the difference between someone taking something away from this or nothing at all. I thought it was exceptional – a deep dive that will hopefully lead to some peace and healing.

Buy Trouble at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray, pub date 7th April 2022 | Hardback | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Very Bad People by Patrick Alley

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Very Bad People: The Inside Story of the Fight Against the World’s Network of Corruption by Patrick Alley, with a foreword by George Soros. ‘Thrilling corruption exposé by co-founder of Global Witness.’

About the Author

Patrick Alley co-founded Global Witness in 1995 with Charmian Gooch and Simon Taylor. Since then Global Witness has become a global leader in its field. Patrick has taken part in over fifty field investigations in South East Asia, Africa and Europe and in subsequent advocacy activities.

Patrick conceived several of Global Witness’ campaigns and focuses on corruption, conflict resources, forests and land, and environmental defenders. He is a board director of Global Witness and is involved in the organisation’s strategic leadership. Alongside his two co-founders, Patrick received the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Follow @paddy_alley on Twitter, Visit globalwitness.org

About the book

Three friends, Patrick, Charmian and Simon came together in 1993 with a joint obsession with the Cambodian civil war plus a big vision, a collective naivety, a shared anarchy, anger at injustice and a love of a good time. 

Setting up a tiny office above a junk shop in old Clerkenwell, and finding their first laptop in a filing cabinet they salvaged from a skip, they came up with an improbable scheme by which they planned to help bring down the Khmer Rouge by cutting off their funding from the illegal Thai logging trade and thus help bring the war to an end. Going undercover on the Cambodian border, with basic spy equipment, and risking their lives, against all the odds they pulled it off. Global Witness was born.

Global Witness is one of the world’s leading investigative organisations dedicated to rooting out corruption and environmental abuse around the world. Patrick Alley is co-founder of Global Witness and in his book Very Bad People: The Inside Story of the Fight Against the World’s Network of Corruption, Patrick exposes how warlords, kleptocrats, banks and governments work together to maintain a corrupt status quo, with global implications. Part memoir, part exposé, it shows us how the world really works.

Review

I’m not sure how anyone else will feel about this book after reading it, but I went away feeling disappointed at the level of destruction, depravity and greed that cements our world. In equal measures I am incredibly glad there are people like Patrick and his associates who are willing to do their bit to expose, change and throw a spanner in the machinery of these criminals – and make no mistake they are are criminals.

Simultaneously the book also puts quite a few political and historical events into perspective. The manipulations and the true core of certain skirmishes, genocides, conglomerates and heads of country and state, and their offspring – well it is an eye-opener. And if there was any doubt that Global Witness are making a mark – you only have to read the testimonials at the beginning of the book. If you’re declared an enemy of the state by certain ruthless criminal political figures, then you know you’re doing your job.

I think books like these should be part of political science, geography, history and the economic curriculum. Give new generations a true look behind the scenes. I’m sure the majority of people have no idea how few big companies run the world or that behind every conflict of a military nature there are always string-pullers with a hidden agenda. Money, profit, control, power – greed. It’s a fascinating and important read – I highly recommend it.

Buy Very Bad People at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Monoray pub date 17 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? by Simon Brew

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? An Official Midsomer Murders Interactive Novel by Simon Brew.

About Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders is a TV national treasure. For over 21 years, residents of this quintessentially English county have hosted a series of homicides, which have been at the centre of over 100 episodes. With a huge international fanbase, Midsomer Murders has sold in over 220 territories. A top export of the UK detective genre, the show is hugely popular in Germany, France and all over Scandinavia, as well as having major fanbases in North America and Canada, Australia – and Japan!

About the Author

Simon Brew is the former editor and founder of Den of Geek – the popular culture news and reviews website. He is the author of three books including Movie Geek, TV Geek and The Secret Life of the Movies. Simon is also the founder of the magazine and podcast Film Stories. Follow @simonbrew on Twitter

About the book

Can You Avoid a Bizarre Death in England’s Most Dangerous County? – All is not well in the beautiful county of Midsomer. On the eve of its first Villages In Bloom competition, a man lies slain, smelling of damson jam. Who could have done it?

Well, that’s where you come in. Step into the shoes of Midsomer CID’s newest recruit, choose your own path and decide which way the story goes. Could You Survive Midsomer? sets off on an engaging pick-your-own adventure format to challenge the reader to solve a crime or succumb to the county’s suspiciously high death rate. 

Set in television’s most celebrated and murderous county, the book allows readers to see if they can get to the bottom of the mystery and bring the perpetrator to justice, avoiding an untimely, and possibly bizarre death, along the way. Your task is to make the right choices, solve the case and – most tricky of all – stay alive!

Review

Welcome to the county that has a disproportionate amount of murders per geographical space. This time you get to try and solve the crime yourself or add to the growing statistics. A choose your own story and adventure type of read.

Although this is an interactive novel and obviously it works really well on a digital platform. I have the hardcover, but I also tested it via the Kindle version. The digital allows for an instant jump as you make your choices, the back and forth is less evident or how interspersed each chapter or paragraph is within the book. With a physical copy this is more evident, because you have to look for the relevant pages or numbers within the book.

Rather than seeing the path/s you don’t choose as a missed opportunity I them as an opportunity for a variety of ways to enjoy this book. More than one story to enjoy. What’s not to like?

I do enjoy a Midsomer Murder episode and I love myself a mystery, so this book appeals to my inner Sherlock. I think it’s a fantastic idea, and the fact each read will be not only subjective, as they always are of course, but also individual to each reader as they make choices and take different paths along the way – it’s genius. It’s also a brilliant read. I can’t wait to share this with the world – or just everyone I know who loves a good mystery.

Buy Could You Survive Midsomer Murder at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Casell; pub date 30 September 2021 | 12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Clothes… and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Clothes…and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

About the Author

Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. 

She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016. Follow @AShulman2 on Twitter, 

About the book 

In Clothes… and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world – the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity.

By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the ex-Editor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.

Review

Not sure how many other bookworms do this, but I often think about who I am going to recommend a book to, both during and after the read. For the majority of books it’s not hard, and I love it when I can introduce someone to a genre or author they might not have ever considered reading. I think this book is more than just a lifetime of experiences or a history of fashion viewed through a leader and influencer in the world of clothes and fashion.

You can feel the awe, emotions and pride Shulman feels when she speaks about certain combinations, outfits, pieces and also accessories, such as bags and jewellery. Then she connects the aforementioned with our sense of self, being, our presence and statement to the world.

It made me think about my own relationship with clothes, which if I am quite honest has been two things – a way to define my individuality and my reluctance to conform to the norm and fashion trends has been a way to cement that over the decades.

At times I thought Shulman never really loosens the reins or lets the public facade slip to reveal the true person behind the incredible lifetime of experiences, which is why it’s a little dry in places and less of a memoir and more of an homage to the beauty of fashion items and accessories. Definitely a memorable read.

Buy Clothes… and Other Things that Matter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Octopus Books – Cassell, pub date 10 June 2021 | £9.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse by Nina Schick

 Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse: What You Urgently Need to Know by Nina Schick.

As a political advisor to select technology firms, Schick is at the forefront of trends emerging from the worlds of data science, machine learning and AI. In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Schick tells us what we need to do to prepare and protect ourselves.

About the Author

Nina Schick is a political commentator, advisor and public speaker, specialising in how technology is reshaping politics in the 21st century. Most recently, her work has seen her focusing on the evolution of disinformation, and the fallout generated by election interference in the US (and around the world) since 2016.

Nina has advised global leaders including Joe Biden and Anders Fogh Rasmussen (the former Secretary General of NATO), through her research on next-generation disinformation and AI-generated deep fakes. She has also worked at the heart of historic campaigns, including on the presidential campaign, the Brexit referendum and with Emmanuel Macron.

Half German and half Nepalese, she speaks seven languages and holds degrees from Cambridge University and University College London. She divides her time between London, Berlin and Kathmandu.

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About the book

In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick warns us urgently of the impending information overload (known as the ‘Infocalypse’) and explains the dangerous political consequences of this Infocalypse, both in terms of national security and what it means for public trust in politics. Deep Fakes have been around for less than three years, to silence and for revenge and fraud. Government, business and society are completely unprepared.

Schick also unveils what it means for us as individuals, how Deep Fakes will be and are used to intimidate and to silence, for revenge and fraud, and how unprepared governments and tech companies are. 

The malicious use of Deep Fakes is not only a real threat for democracy but they take the manipulation of voters to new levels. With the impending US election, and with vast amounts of money being spent of social media, it is expected that Deep Fakes will become a huge story later this year – – AI generated fake content is here for good, and we will have to figure how to navigate a world where seeing is no longer believing.

Review

I think this is a book everyone should read, especially anyone engaging with social media or the media in general. Younger generations should be taught how information is manipulated to an extreme that decides political opinions, elections, actions and the landscape of how we receive and digest information. 

More importantly when you replace the word information with facts, how facts have become a nostalgic concept of the last century and how we are now governed by fakes news, deep fakes and misinformation steered by those who seek to determine their own narratives at the expense of others and the truth.

We now exist in an increasingly dangerous and untrustworthy information ecosystem‘ – absolutely true. So the question is how do we awaken those in denial to this situation and how do we combat it going forward. Even now, despite clear evidence to the contrary, people are unwilling to accept that they have been and are still being deceived by deep fakes to sway their opinions and votes for instance. Sharing memes, gifs, pics and articles, which are constructed for the majority by foreign entities, who choose to intervene in the politics for example for other countries to gain control and manipulate world events.

The example of Estonia vs Russia is used quite successfully by Schick to demonstrate what is going on. What is hard to comprehend is the unwillingness of other, more powerful and well-equipped countries to accept this reality and do something about it.

Perhaps it suits certain people too well, who are pulling their own strings behind the scenes. Cries of you are taking freedoms away, foundations of democracies are being threatened when you silence opposing views are heard, but that is an entirely separate issue. This is about power grabs. This an undercurrent of rebuilding what was lost and using doing so by any means possible.

Buy Deep Fakes on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray; pub date 6 August 2020 | £8.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.