#BlogTour High Heels and Beetle Crushers by Jackie Skingley

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady by Jackie Skingley.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

About the Author

For Jackie Skingley, adventure has been her quest since childhood. Life with the British army allowed Jackie to live all over the world and gain huge appreciation for different cultures and customs. Since 1999, Jackie and her husband have lived in the Charente region of South West France where Reiki, jewellery making, painting and mosaics, as well as writing keep her fully occupied. Member of the Charente Creative Writing Group, mother and grandmother.

Follow @skingleyj on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, on Facebook, Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers

About the book

A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.


As the daughter of military parents who served during the Cold War, a lot of the places and scenes coincide with what my parents told me and where we lived during our time abroad and in the UK.

One thing that is always evident is the lack of equality when it comes to the treatment of women and men in the military. Where certain behaviour would mean the end of a career for a woman and yet just a reprimand for a man.

What I found interesting is how Skingley links her sexuality and sexual experience with nearly ever moment in her past. Of course that unfortunately also means having to go through harassment, sexual assault and in general a maligning of reputation. And perhaps the assumption by society that women aren’t complete until they become part of a couple. An almost compulsory next step, because to do otherwise would suggest something more nefarious.

That’s also something the author includes in her memoir – the treatment of homosexuals in the military, during a time in history when it was still a criminal offence to have a same-sex sexual relationship.

It’s a post-war memoir that depicts the rather limited options of women in this era. I am sure there are plenty of moments that speak to the hardship of what she had to endure as a woman in the military in post-war Britain. The Cold War service often gets forgotten in the general mention of history, unless it is a spy driven story.

Forgotten are the men and women, who were expecting another conflict after the violent events of WW2, which then melded into other just as serious threats to the country and the world. It’s important not to forget those nameless people.

Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Chronos Books; pub date 14 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK & USA entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour Life’s a Banquet by Robin Bennett

Today it’s my turn and also one of the last stops on the BlogTour Life’s a Banquet by Robin Bennett. It’s a journey through the life of Robin Bennett, who doesn’t mind sharing his deepest thoughts, closest relationships and most vulnerable moments along the way.

About the Author

Robin Bennett lives in Henley on Thames, Oxon. He is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children and books on the swashbuckling world of business. His documentary, Fantastic Britain, about the British obsession with magic and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.

Robin says, “When the world seems to be precarious and cruel, remember that the game is to never give up – there’s everything to play for, and it will all be OK.”

About the book

If life gives you lemons, add gin.

Life’s a Banquet is the unofficial but essential ‘guide book’ to negotiating your way through life – through education, family life and business, to relationships, marriage, failure and rejection.

Aged 21, Robin Bennett was set to become a cavalry officer and aged 21 and a half, he found himself working as an assistant grave digger in South London – wondering where it had all gone wrong.

Determined to succeed, he went on and founded The Bennett Group, aged 23, and since then has gone on to start and run over a dozen successful businesses in a variety of areas from dog-sitting to cigars, translation to home tuition. In 2003, Robin was recognised in Who’s Who as one of the UK’s most successful business initiators. Catapulting readers through his colourful life and career, Robin Bennett’s memoir is an inspiring tale.


There were quite a few parallels between my childhood and his. Some of those come from being similar ages in certain decades or being old enough to remember certain events that left an imprint on the nation and the people. I lived not far from Reading, in Finchampstead near Wokingham, for a few years early/mid seventies till the end of 78, and was also the child of a military family. A lot of his childhood stories resonated with me.

For me this was less of a memoir and more of let’s chat about life in general over a nice glass of wine. That’s exactly the way Bennett has written it, so the reader feels like a confidante throughout the read. I actually enjoyed that approach, along with the humour and ability he has to laugh at himself and see the positive in the negative. It gives the whole book a good vibe, regardless of the topic.

The other thing that stood out for me was the fact that although he has achieved many extraordinary things in life and business, he more or less had an ordinary life. What he leaves readers with is the thought that you can almost always make something even if it’s barely out of nothing, and that the way we perceive our lives and situations is often in direct relation to what we achieve in life.

It’s a journey through the life of Robin Bennett, who doesn’t mind sharing his deepest thoughts, closest relationships and most vulnerable moments along the way.

Buy Life’s a Banquet at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd; pub date 28 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness. It’s part memoir, part mental health coping strategy, but most of all it is one man sharing in the hope he will help others with his words and his bird therapy.

About the Author

Joe Harkness has been writing a Bird Therapy blog for the last thress years. In 2017, he had articles published in The Culew and Bidwatch magazine as well as recording three tweets of the day for BBC Radio 4. He is employed as a Special Educational needs teacher and has worked in the youth sector for nine years. He lives in Norfolk.

Follow @BirdTherapy on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit birdtherapy.blogBuy Bird Therapy

About the book

‘I can’t remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will’ Chris Packham

When Jow Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.

The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.

In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.


In a day and age where people struggle to cope with the pressure of life, work and relationships, and mental health illnesses are on the rise, a book like this is a necessity.

The keyword in regards to this book is coping strategy. If you have found a strategy that helps you work through mental health issues, as long as it doesn’t harm yourself or others, then that’s a good thing. If you feel others can benefit from being introduced to a new strategy, then share away.

The most interesting element about this book was the way Harkness opened up completely and examined every single thought and action in connection with the bird therapy and his surroundings. This is especially apparent in the last chapters of the book, where he identifies what is ‘off” or not quite right about the new bird watching environment he has moved to. It’s incredibly introspective and he offers up his vulnerability in an attempt to help himself and others at the same time.

There is the man, a member of one of my local FB groups, he takes nature photographs the majority of which are of wildlife and birds. They are so beautiful, so detailed and fascinating. It’s a stark reminder of what passes us by in life and of the beauty we don’t take time to appreciate. Looking at those pictures of birds, wildlife and nature it isn’t hard to understand what a soothing effect it can have on a person, especially when you experience them in real time.

The illustrations by Jo Brown are an added bonus to the written content. They give the read an air of serenity and peacefulness, and hint at the beauty of the avian world. They also give a indication of what the author is talking about.

It’s part memoir, part mental health coping strategy, but most of all it is one man sharing in the hope he will help others with his words and his bird therapy.

Buy Bird Therapy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound; pub date 13 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Unbound.

#BlogTour The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe. It’s a mixture of memoir, literary fiction and storytelling using time,space and movement as a premise.About the Author

Sophie Ratcliffe is an academic, writer, and literary critic.

She teaches English at the University of Oxford, where she is an Associate Professor and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall.

She is the author of On Sympathy (Oxford University Press), and edited the authorised edition of P. G. Wodehouse’s letters. In her academic work, she is interested in ideas of emotion and the history of how we feel.

She reviews regularly for the national press, and has served as a judge of a number of literary prizes, including the Baillie Gifford and Wellcome Book Prize.

Follow @soratcli on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,

Buy The Lost Properties of Love

About the book

What if you could tell the truth about who you are, without risking losing the one you love? This is a book about love affairs and why we choose to have them; a book for anyone who has ever loved and wondered what it is all about.

This is a book about the things we hide from other people. Love affairs, grief, domestic strife and the mess at the bottom of your handbag. Part memoir, part imagined history, in The Lost Properties of Love, Sophie Ratcliffe combines her own experience of childhood bereavement, a past lover, the reality about motherhood and marriage, with undiscovered stories about Tolstoy and trains, handbags and honeymoons to muse on the messiness of everyday life.

An extended train journey frames the action – and the author turns not to self-help manuals but to the fictions that have shaped our emotional and romantic landscape. Readers will find themselves propelled into Anna Karenina’s world of steam, commuting down the Northern Line, and checking out a New York El-train with Anthony Trollope’s forgotten muse, Kate Field.

As scenes in her own life collide with the stories of real and imaginary heroines, The Lost Properties of Love asks how we might find new ways of thinking about love and intimacy in the twenty-first century. Frank and painfully funny, this contemporary take on Brief Encounter – told to a backing track of classic 80s songs- is a compelling look at the workings of the human heart.


There is an interesting correlation between the piece of literature by Tolstoy, Ratcliffe chooses to focus on, and her own life. There are even parallels to be drawn between the train journeys, which lean towards memoir, and the role they play in work by Tolstoy.

Back to the correlations between Anna Karenina and Ratcliffe. What they have in common is the experience of a love and lust relationship that takes precedence over everything and everyone. A relationship which becomes more romanticised and nostalgic as time passes. The author even draws a similarity of finality in the death of Anna and the regret she feels deep inside.

One of my favourite parts of the book is the red handbag, more specifically the contents of Anna’s red handbag. The imagery painted by her bag being separated from her and simultaneously her life being severed at the same time is a strong one.

The bag becomes synonymous with both the secrets we keep hidden from others and the chaos or order in our lives. What does the content of your bag say about you? Is it chaotic or orderly, are you a Mary Poppins or a Marie Kondo? What would a complete stranger be able to read from it about you?

I think this may be a bit of a marmite read. It will appeal to some and a little less to others. I can imagine it may be perceived as pretentiously academic or too evolved in a literary sense. On the other side of the coin are the readers who appreciate new attempts to meld words, worlds, genres and styles.

It’s a mixture of memoir, literary fiction and storytelling using time,space and movement as a premise.

Buy The Lost Properties of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: William Collins; pub date 7 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Still Standing by Natalie Queiroz

Today it is a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Still Standing by Natalie Queiroz. It’s a heart-wrenching and brutally honest memoir. About the Author

Natalie Queiroz is the survivor of one of the most appallingly brutal attacks imaginable. After being stabbed two dozen times by her partner when she was eight months pregnant, she has rebuilt her life and inspired people the length and breadth of the country with her courage and refusal to be bowed by her trauma. Alongside a successful full-time career, she has since become a motivational speaker and, through various feats of endurance and daring, raised thousands of pounds for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity she owes her life to.

Follow @natqleigh on Twitter, Buy Still Standing

About the book

Natalie Queiroz was eight months pregnant when she was stabbed by her partner in the most vicious attack imaginable.

In the space of nine minutes, and in broad daylight, Natalie was stabbed twenty-four times with a carving knife. She suffered horrific wounds to her lungs, liver, stomach and uterus, whilst the knife missed her baby by a margin of two millimeters, before the arteries in her wrists were methodically severed by the hooded attacker she finally realised was her partner and the father of her unborn child.

After heroic intervention by passers-by and police, the attack was brought to an end, but her ordeal was not over. An air ambulance rescue was launched, and against all medical odds, Natalie and her baby survived – but not without life-changing physical and emotional damage.

Still Standing is the story of one life-shattering event – what came before that fateful day, what happened on it, and how one woman and her baby survived to rebuild and heal together after it. At once a shocking story of evil, manipulation and violence, and a truly moving reminder that a life can be pieced back together, no matter how bad the damage, this book will empower and inspire anyone who has ever faced true adversity to rise up and stand tall.


This is an incredibly difficult read at times, because it’s about real people, real lives and a heinous crime that actually happened. Queiroz shows tremendous endurance and courage throughout, despite the obstacles she has to overcome, but perhaps more so because of the honesty of her emotions.

She never turns away from the truth or from the harsh reality of her situation. At all times she endeavours to do what is right and healthy for herself, her daughters and her family. It takes a strong woman to overcome the anger, confusion, heartbreak and fear she must have felt and indeed probably always will feel. Life has dealt her harsh blows, and yet she carries on with admirable strength.

There is nothing to warn her of the attack upon herself and her child. No abuse building up to a violent crescendo. No warning or little voice in her ear. In a way it’s almost worst than the perpetrator having, in his opinion, some valid reason. Let me just be clear there is no such thing. There absolutely is no excuse or reason to commit such an incredibly vicious crime, regardless of whether it is against the woman you love and the child you craved or a complete stranger.

Another thing I would like to say, even if for posterity only, he knew what he was doing. This wasn’t some moment of passion or loss of insanity. He targeted her with precision, as he did his child. He cannot ever be trusted again, in any capacity – ever.

The fact Queiroz was attacked by the man who purported to love her just makes the crime and indeed these types of crime even more despicable. Her description of the events, well they certainly aren’t easy to read.

It’s a heart-wrenching and brutally honest memoir. I am not kidding when I say brutal either. The account of the attack is absolutely harrowing. There aren’t many people who experience an attack of this magnitude and live to tell the tale. It’s a miracle both Natalie and her baby survived. Kudos to her for sharing her story with the world.

Buy Still Standing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: John Blake; pub date 13 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Wildest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer. It’s an enchanting and wonderfully amusing memoir.

About the Author

LARA PRIOR-PALMER was born in London in 1994. Her aunt is Lucinda Green, a legendary rider and one of the UK’s best-ever equestrians. Lara studied conceptual history and Persian at Stanford University. In 2013, she competed in the 1000-kilometer Mongol Derby in Mongolia, sometimes described as the world’s toughest and longest horse race. Rough Magic is her first book.

Follow @LaraPriorPalmer on Twitter, on Amazon, Visit larapriorpalmer.me

Buy Rough Magic

About the book

The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.

In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of

horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.

Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic’s the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.


Here’s the thing, there are horse people, people who appreciate they exist and the non-horse people. Whilst the author says she belongs in the middle category methinks she is probably deluding herself and is a horse person. Just ask the chestnut at the end. Vroom Vroom.

The author decides on a whim to take part in an extremely difficult horse race. Not just on one animal, but whichever animal is there and feels right at that point in the race, which makes the read all the funnier. By the way, who goes all the way to Mongolia to participate in something so gruelling without a change of clothes or underwear?

It is well-written, clearly Prior-Palmer is unaware of how good she is at expressing herself through the medium of words. Perhaps she is unaware of how unintentionally funny she is too. Leaving aside the fact the race through Mongolia must have been extremely difficult both physically and psychologically, Lara takes it in her stride and there is not much sign of it in this contemplative memoir.

Of course the author had the power of youth, a zest for adventure and an unmistakable need for something other than the norm, the status quo or just everyday life. Her naiveté and completely unprepared state when she takes part in the wildest horse race in the world, is what makes this story so charming.

Let me be clear I am in the non-horse group, despite raising avid equestrians. I thought this might be a book about a girl and her horse, it is everything but that. It’s all about a young woman who craves the unknown, the thrill and the challenge.

It’s an enchanting and wonderfully amusing memoir. Kudos to the author for the last sentence by the way. It’s the perfect way to end a fantastic story and it describes the essence of this story really well.

Buy Rough Magic at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ebury Press; pub date 6 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz Chickens Eat Pasta – Escape to Umbria by Clare Pedrick

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Chickens Eat Pasta – Escape to Umbria by Clare Pedrick. It’s a memoir, which seems so perfect that one could assume it’s fiction.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win an audiobook copy of Chickens Eat Pasta (Open Internationally) (Winner gets to pick between audible and ibooks audio code)

About the Author

Clare Pedrick is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.

About the book

Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all… love.

Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy.

“Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.”

Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does.

Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.Review

I really need to stop reading books that make me want to move to New Zealand, search for pearls on Pearl Island or in this case uproot my entire life to move to a ruin of a building in Umbria.

Pedrick certainly makes the experience sound a lot more entertaining than it probably was. I can imagine it was nerve-racking and frustrating, but thrilling and fulfilling at the same time.

Imagine just throwing all caution aside and leaving family, career and friends behind based on a whim. An impulsive nostalgic moment of suggested freedom is the beginning and culminates in the purchase of a possible money pit.

It ends with a life, something completely different than she had perhaps imagined, but it ends with a chosen path. It makes one wonder whether there is such a thing as fate. Was it meant to be? Or is it all about being brave enough to listen to our gut instincts and reach out for something other than what society and family expects of us?

I think what makes this read such an entertaining one is the way the author captures the eccentricity of the small Italian or Umbrian community. They are so funny without even trying to be. At times it even seems as if they are living in a strange little time bubble.

It’s a memoir, which seems so perfect that one could assume it’s fiction. The fact it reads like a fictional story is also what will draw readers in, because memoirs can often be dry and a little on the boring side. This is many things, but boring isn’t one of them.

Buy Chickens Eat Pasta – Escape to Umbria at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Matador; pub date 23 July 2015. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy the Audiobook at Amazon Uk and Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win an audiobook copy of Chickens Eat Pasta (Open Internationally) (Winner gets to pick between audible and ibooks audio code)

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour 21st Century Yokel by Tom Cox

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour 21st Century Yokel by Tom Cox. It’s comedy, it’s a memoir and it’s also about the way Cox experiences the world around him.

About the Author

Tom Cox lives in Devon. A one-time music journalist is the author of the Sunday Times bestsselling The Good, the Bad and the Furry and the William Hill Sports Book longlisted Bring Me The Head of Sergio Garcia. Help the Witch, a collection of folk ghost stories, will be published in October 2019.

Follow @cox_tom @unbound_digital on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit tom-cox.com

Buy 21st Century Yokel

About the book

21st-Century Yokel is not quite nature writing, not quite a family memoir,  not quite a book about walking,  not quite a collection of humorous essays, but a bit of all five.

Thick with owls and badgers, oak trees and wood piles, scarecrows and ghosts, and Tom Cox’s loud and excitable dad, this book is full of the folklore of several  counties – the ancient kind and the everyday variety – as well as wild places, mystical spots and curious objects. Emerging from this focus on the detail are themes that are broader and bigger and more important than ever.

Tom’s writing treads a new path, one that has a lot in common with a rambling country walk; it’s bewitched by fresh air and big skies, intrepid in minor ways, haunted by weather and old stories and the spooky edges of the outdoors, restless and prone to a few detours,but it always reaches its destination in the end.Review

What is a Yokel? An uneducated and unsophisticated person from the countryside. A country bumpkin, a peasant or an oaf. It’s probably an oxymoron given the fact said yokel is from the 21st century. Is there such a thing given our level of technology, industrial development and advances in general?

You know, well some of you may know what I mean, when you are sat taking in your surroundings and the beauty of nature, design, architecture. Perhaps while you are sat breathing in the peace and tranquility of wildlife, plants, the sunset, the sea or anything that catches your attention.

Think of all the thoughts that go through your mind. The dialogue in your head, then again you could be one of those people who say things out load into the universe. Now imagine those thoughts in writing combined with stories from your life or those of your family members, then top it off with opinion pieces, then you nearly have the 21st Century Yokel.

To complete it you need to add humour, a large side order of irony and the keen perception and understanding of self, then you have what this story or book is.

It doesn’t fit in one category, it fits in many, which is probably what will draw readers to it. It’s a smorgasbord of thoughts, experiences, imprints and emotions. It probably sounds like a lot to try and collect under one roof, however the charm of this unique and quirky piece of wok is not to be underestimated.

Cox has a way of describing his surroundings, in particular nature, in a way that transports the reader to the vivid imagery, scents and sounds he is experiencing as we are reading. Then he will jump into a memory or a story about himself or a family member, and approach it in a humorous and entertaining way. He would have made an excellent medieval minstrel methinks.

‘Wonders if he wanders with friends and family and keeps them entertained along the way?’

It’s comedy, it’s a memoir and it’s also about the way Cox experiences the world around him. It’s a word-smith duelling with thoughts, images and experiences, in an attempt to convey them to world around him. I believe he does so quite successfully.

Buy 21st Century Yokel at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:Unbound; pub date 16 Nov. 2017. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Are You The F**king Doctor by Liam Farrell

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Are You the F**cking Doctor by Liam Farrell. It’s quite hard to fit this into any genre at all. It is part biographical and it is also full of anecdotes and witty reflections.

About the Author

Dr Liam Farrell is from Rostrevor, Co Down, Ireland. He was a family doctor in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, for 20 years, and is an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He is married to Brid, and has three children Jack, Katie, and Grace. 

He was a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading newspaper for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for the Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on ‘Sex’ for The Oxford Companion to the Body.  

On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly tweetchat on all things medical, which has a global following. He also co-curates #WritersWise, a regular tweetchat for writers, with novelist Sharon Thompson. 

He was the medical columnist for the BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra 1996-98; presented the series Health-Check for Ulster TV in 2002, and was medical consultant for both series of Country Practice in 2000 and 2002 for BBC Northern Ireland. 

His awards include Columnist of the Year at Irish Medical Media Awards 2003, Periodical Publishers Association of Great Britain 2006 and Medical Journalist’s Society, London 2011, and Advancing Health through Media at the Zenith Global Healthcare Awards 2018.He was shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Competition in 2008. 

Follow @drlfarrell on Twitter, Visit drliamfarrell.wordpress.com

Buy Are You The F**king Doctor 

About the book

‘General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond. Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition, imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is intangible. Anything can walk through our door…’

Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and recovering morphine addict, Liam became a columnist for the BMJ in 1994. He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious awards; in 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the Periodical Publishers Association awards.

The book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns, blogs and short stories.Brilliantly funny, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical reflections, rather a compelling chronicle of the daily struggles – and personal costs – of a doctor at the coalface.


It’s quite hard to fit this into any genre at all. It is part biographical and it is also full of anecdotes and witty reflections. It’s often brutally honest and reflective in a way only a person who has truly faced their demons can be.

This becomes clear in the first chapter when the author describes his own struggle with addiction. In fact the descriptions are very visceral. Shocking at first when you remember that we aren’t talking about someone sat in a crack den shooting up a potent drug. This is a medical professional giving himself a hit of morphine. It’s a dark and sincere part of the book.

I have to say I walked away from this read wondering what the heck any doctor I have ever had, especially the long-term ones, has ever written in my medical notes. ‘Cheryl saves up her ailments for one ten minute GP appointment’ (absolutely true – sorry) ‘Cheryl thinks she’s a doctor and tells me what the diagnosis is and what meds I should prescribe’ (also very guilty of doing this) ‘Oh no it’s her again’ – I think I need to ask for my medical notes.

I think it’s easy to forget that there is a human being behind the profession. A person with their own set of personal and medical issues. Yes, they are being paid and it is their profession, but that doesn’t mean we should completely blank out the fact there is a person behind the stethoscope.

Imagine having to deal with death on a regular basis, giving people devastating news and having to follow their paths of pain. All of those emotions have to go somewhere, especially if the doctor has to maintain an objective stance and yet still show empathy at the same time.

Farrell writes with a quick tongue, a sharp set of teeth and intelligence. What may be drowned out in the noise of the witty repertoire is the years of care and dedication he has clearly given to others. It’s certainly an interesting piece of work.

Buy Are You The F**king Doctor at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads or any other retailer. Publisher: Dalzell Press; pub date 8 Nov. 2018

#BlogTour Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker. It’s a loving and warm-hearted memoir of a family willing to change their entire lives in an attempt to find their best life.

About the Author

Fiona Stocker is the author of travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, published by Unbound in 2018.

Raised in England, Fiona Stocker now lives in Tasmania where she writes freelance for magazines, newspapers and online publications, and runs a niche farm, food and tourism business in partnership with her husband.

She occasionally works as a ghost writer and editor, and was a judge in the Tasmanian Short Story Competition in 2016. Her first book, A Place in the Stockyard, a history of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture featuring its members, was published in 2016.

Read more and subscribe for a quarterly newsletter at http://www.fionastocker.com/ or read Fiona Stocker’s blog at http://www.appleislandwife.com/

Fiona Stocker lives in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, with her husband, two children and around forty-five pigs. Apple Island Wife is her first travel memoir.

Follow @FionaCStocker @Unbound_Digital on Twitter, Visit appleislandwife and fionastocker

Buy Apple Island Wife: Slow Living in Tasmania

About the book

What happens when you leave city life and move to five acres on a hunch, with a husband who s an aspiring alpaca-whisperer, and a feral cockerel for company? Can you eat the cockerel for dinner? Or has it got rigor mortis?

In search of a good life and a slower pace, Fiona Stocker upped-sticks and moved to Tasmania, a land of promise, wilderness, and family homes of uncertain build quality. It was the lifestyle change that many dream of and most are too sensible to attempt.

Wife, mother and now reluctant alpaca owner, Fiona jumped in at the deep end. Gradually Tasmania got under her skin as she learned to stack wood, round up the kids with a retired lady sheepdog, and stand on a scorpion without getting stung.

This charming tale captures the tussles and euphoria of living on the land in a place of untrammelled beauty, raising your family where you want to and seeing your husband in a whole new light. Not just a memoir but an every woman’s story, and a paean to a new, slower age.


The author has a knack for telling a yarn, no pun intended. There are some people, I think we will all know at least one person this applies to, who can make even the most mundane of tasks become an entertaining story. This is what Stocker does with the stories of her family and her anecdotes. In fact she is probably a written advertisement for upping roots and moving to New Zealand.

It’s amusing, albeit probably unintentionally so. In a way the author downplays the difficulty of adjusting to such a different way of life, climate and culture, with her entertaining stories. What is lost in the midst of it all is the strength and endurance it must have cost them to deal with every situation and new challenge.

What does come through quite strongly is the support people in remote areas need from their neighbours and friends. The advice, the many years of experience and of course the oddities that come with being a person of the land.

I can’t decide which part I enjoyed the most, but there were a fair few laughs along the read. The temperamental alpacas, the cockerel named Vlad or the snake pretending to be a long tailed rat. The neighbour with an affinity to sniff out dead trees, the child-herding dog and the subtle art of wood stacking. Just a small taste of the light-hearted tales within the book.

I enjoyed the way Stocker had no problems taking the mickey out of herself, her husband and their friends. It’s done in a playful and respectful manner, but it doesn’t make it any less funny. It’s a loving and warm-hearted memoir of a family willing to change their entire lives in an attempt to find their best life.

Buy Apple Island Wife: Sow Living in Tasmania at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital; pub date 4 Dec. 2018