#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.


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 The Storm Is Upon Us by Mike Rothschild

‘This is the real story of QAnon – what it is, what it means, and where it goes. And be warned – none of it is pretty.’

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything by Mike Rothschild. A must read for the 21st century!

About the Author

Mike Rothschild is a journalist, author, and the foremost expert in this ever-changing QAnon conspiracy theory. He is a contributing writer for the Daily Dot, where he explores the intersections between internet culture and politics through the lens of conspiracy theories. As a subject matter expert in the field of fringe beliefs, Mike has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and Yahoo – among many others. 

He is also a frequent speaker, and podcast and radio guest on the topic of conspiracy theories, including NPR’s weekly show “On the Media” and a Vice documentary. Rothschild has been  studying the QAnon phenomenon since early 2018, and was one of the first journalists not only to reveal its connections to past conspiracy theories and scams, but also to openly address its danger to the American public—and beyond. Follow @rothschildmd on Twitter

About the book

On 5th October 2017, President Trump made a cryptic off-the-cuff remark in the State Dining Room. He called this gathering of top-ranking military officials ‘the calm before the storm’ and refused to elaborate as journalist and politicos inquired further. But on the online message boards of 4chan, elaboration began all on its own. In the days that followed, an anonymous poster spun a yarn inspired by Trump’s remarks satisfied the deepest desires of MAGA-America. Did any of it come to pass? No. Did that stop people from clinging to every word they were reading, expanding its mythology and promoting the theory for years? No.

The first in-depth book on the QAnon phenomenon, The Storm is Upon Us is a guided tour through the conspiracies and cults that first fed the flowering of Q; its embrace by right-wing media and a complex of grifters, gurus, and eventually, former President Donald Trump; the rending of families whose loved ones became swept away by Q’s increasingly violent rhetoric; and ultimately, the storming of the Capitol on January 6, which revealed the full power of the venomous movement for all to see as it unfolded live on national television.


QAnon and their movement are the new extremists. It is a radicalisation of thought and thought process resulting in the willingness to ignore all logic and commit crimes in the name of hive thinking. This is the bane of the 21st century and has been exacerbated in the last year and a half by the pandemic.

In combination with the movement of Q is the rise in the number of conspiracy theorists. Research studies have shown that people who believe in conspiracy theories make connections where non-believers don’t. They see patterns, which then validates the theory, at least in their minds.

The rise of Trump, his ilk and their use of fake news, fake data and misinformation is similar to the way Brexit came to pass, through manipulation and false facts. It has created even more people who believe in the oddest of theories and also those theories that are based on a kernel of truth. When you throw the world into a situation of extreme stress, worry and panic it automatically increases the number of people seeking a solution and to ease their distress. It has created hoards of people willing to flock to the dark side – and it is the dark side.

It is a cult of thought. An extremist movement with the same type of hold as a terror organisation – when they act upon their theories they become domestic terrorists. The problem is they mistake their radicalisation for a revelation.

This should be standard reading material for everyone, trying to open eyes and minds one by one. It is hard when the world around us has become so scary that any safe haven is welcomed, even if it’s a dangerous one. Kudos to Rothschild for saying it like it is.

Buy The Storm Upon Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Monoray pub date 22nd June 2021 | Paperback | 14.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at octopusbooks.co.uk

#BlogTour Tapestries of Life by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Tapestries of Life: Uncovering the Lifesaving Secrets of the Natural World by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson.

About the Author

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects. A professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, she is also a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity. Follow @annesver on Twitter

About the book

The second book by the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects – Trees clean air and water; hoverflies and bees pollinate our crops; the kingfisher inspired the construction of high-speed trains. In Tapestries of Life, bestselling author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson explains how closely we are all connected with the natural world, highlighting our indelible link with nature’s finely knit system and our everyday lives.

In the heart of natural world is a life-support system like no other, a collective term that describes all the goods and services we receive – food, fresh water, medicine, pollination, pollution control, carbon sequestration, erosion prevention, recreation, spiritual health and so much more. In this utterly captivating book, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson sets out to explore these wonderful, supportive elements – taking the reader on a journey through the surprising characteristics of the natural world.


I think it would be fair to say the human species is inherently a self-obsessed and selfish one. They are now absolutely complacent when it comes to their survival. They embrace their status as the most intelligent and evolved species living on planet earth, but they do so without considering the timer they have set on the planet. Said timer is the slow destruction and decay caused by the evolution of humans.

The majority of us don’t think twice about the implications of climate change, the mountains of rubbish that won’t degrade in our lifetime or the impact the conglomerates and their reckless treatment of humans, wildlife and the planet will have on all of us. Comprehending that we are driving multiple species into extinction every day and that our grandchildren and future generations will never experience the planet the same way humans did before the 21st century.

For me bees have been a big factor in realising the connect the dots in regards to conservation and natural food-chain aspect of their existence. The way they are being poisoned and eradicated from said chain. They are much more visible and therefore relatable than an elephant stood in the front garden, which doesn’t mean the more exotic species aren’t equally important.

The author has created a scientific work of art – it is full of beauty and passion. It brings life to the world around us especially to the non-scientist and non-academic the world. It’s a bit like walking barefoot through a jungle and experiencing sight and sound for the first time. She also takes us through the more difficult and destructive times humans have created and the natural fallout from said destruction.

I really enjoyed the fact this is a book I can recommend without having to think twice about whether the reader will comprehend the complexity of or struggle with the dryness of a non-fiction read. It’s a riveting homage to mother nature and one I shall enjoy sharing. It’s book of beauty.

Buy Tapestries of Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Mudlark pub date 10 Jun. 2021. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen by Julia Parry

‘A rare blend of literary biography and family memoir centred around a secret love affair between Elizabeth Bowen and the author’s grandfather.’

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen by Julia Parry.

About the Author

Julia Parry was brought up in West Africa and educated at St Andrews and Oxford. She teaches English literature and has worked as a writer and photographer for a variety of publications and charities. She lives in London and Madrid. This is her first book.

About the book

A sudden death in the family delivers Julia a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated twentieth-century Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather. So begins an intriguing quest to discover and understand this affair, one with profound repercussions for Julia’s family, not least for her grandmother, Madeline. This is a book about how stories are told in real life, in fiction and in families.

Inspired by Bowen’s own obsession with place and memory, Julia travels to all the locations in the letters – from Kolkata to Cambridge and from Ireland to Texas. The reader is taken from the rarefied air of Oxford in the 1930s, to the Anglo-Irish Big House, to the last days of Empire in India and on into the Second World War.

The fascinating unpublished correspondence, a wealth of family photographs, and a celebrated supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf add further richness to this unique work. 


This is a semi-biographical homage to Elizabeth Bowen, the Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer. A woman who had a long-term affair with Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather. The book is a way of examining the past, the love triangle that emerged over the years and putting the truth out there to combat the misconceptions. Her journey begins when an uncle shows her love letters between House and Bowen. What I would call a legacy of correspondence.

I could quote parts of this book over and over again, both the words of the author and those of Elizabeth Bowen. The author has a particularly acute insight into the role of each individual and their perceptions of each other and how they and the situation was perceived by others.

One of the moments that resonated with me the most was the way Madeline managed to eradicate and diminish her own voice by destroying her correspondence, thereby making herself a character in history as defined, described and as perceived by Bowen and House. It silences her in history and she becomes, like many other women in history, a footnote to the experiences of those who are written into history or leave evidence of themselves behind for future generations.

I was of two minds after reading this, whether the adulation the author has for Bowen’s talent supersedes the role of her grandmother in the story. Indeed what would Madeline have said about this book after doing her utmost to change or steer the narrative of the love triangle in the book by Glendinning.

I’m already thinking about who I can buy a copy of this book for. I was absolutely mesmerised by the way Parry made this non-fictional read into a smorgasbord of literary delight. The way the words of Bowen, the letters of family and friends become intertwined with those of the author to create a masterpiece in its own right. A delight to read.

The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publication date: 25 February 2021 – £16.99 Hardback. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#BlogTour Audiobook – No Ceremony for the Dead: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Book 3 in the Audiobook series Stories From the Margins – No Ceremony for the Dead by Shane Dunphy.

About the Author

Shane Dunphy was born in Brighton in 1973. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the bestselling author of 16 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His series of crime novels (written under the name SA Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of True Crime books written for Audible, is critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller.

Follow @shanedunphy1 on Twitteron Facebookshanedunphyauthor.comBuy No Ceremony for the Dead: Stories from the Margins 

About the book

‘I know I has special needs. So does Stanley and Francis and Billy and Josh. People don’t listen to us, ’cause they thinks we’re thick in our heads.’

Charlie works at St Patrick’s residential home, where the walls are so thick no one can hear you cry. He’s asking child protection expert Shane Dunphy for help, before someone gets murdered. Charlie tells him of mistreatment, brutality and random cruelty, and now Maisie, his girlfriend, a resident at the home, has gone missing. When Shane finds out what has happened to Maisie, he knows he’s uncovered a world of trouble.

Shane works his connections and, together with the ingenuity of the care home residents, attempts to subvert and infiltrate the system and bring the guilty to justice.


In this third book of the Stories from the Margins series, which is part memoir and true crime, the author turns his attention on a story about St Patrick’s residential home. A place that purports to protect the vulnerable special needs adults it is supposed to be caring for. Instead it has become the hunting ground for an habitual abuser, a person who enjoys the power, pain and humiliation of his charges.

After being approached by a vulnerable young man who has come looking for assistance from the man who helps those who are unable to help themselves. Shane believes Charlie’s tale is enough to warrant a closer look into the accusations of abuse, what follows is the kind of truth that needs to be made public and the voiceless deserve to be heard loud and clear.

What I really enjoy about the way Dunphy approaches this series is the way he breaks up the listen with music and folklore, both of which give context and flavour to the story. The history on the way imperfect children were treated historically, which explains misconceptions and attitudes towards them. The chapter on the Changelings was especially interesting, albeit it very tragic.

Now this may seem to be an odd angle to work when it comes to true crime, however it turns the listen into a learning experience and an enjoyable one too. It also serves the purpose of being able to listen to the hard stuff by inserting breathers – music, folktales, historic crimes – intermittently throughout the audiobook.

The result is an invigorating encounter for the senses, a talent and style specific to this author, as he guides the listener with his dulcet tones and Irish lilt. Always an exceptionally enjoyable experience.

Buy No Ceremony for the Dead at Audible UkAmazon Uk, Published by Audible Studios – pub date 14 Jan 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length – 8 hours and 19 minutes, Author – Shane Dunphy, Narrator – Shane Dunphy,  Audible.co.uk  Release Date – 14 January 2021, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

Read my review of the Audiobook – The Bad Place: Stories From the Margins by Shane Dunphy.

#BlogTour One Chance: Surviving London’s Gangs by Terroll Lewis

“It’d be easy for me to go back to my old life, but I know where that old life leads you. You’re either behind prison bars or six feet underground.” 

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour One Chance: Surviving London’s Gangs by Terroll Lewis

About the Author

Terroll Lewis is the founder of the Brixton Street Gym, a charity-based community gym that has gained a huge cult following in the short time that it has been around. He also founded the Block WorkOut Foundation — the charitable base that supports this amazing gym, making it accessible to everyone regardless of income — and The ManTalk, an online platform that promotes male positivity.

Terroll had been embroiled in some of the most serious street gang warfare even seen in London, leading a band of armed and dangerous young men through the streets of the city, a wild time that ended in him being accused of murder. He was eventually acquitted of the crime and proven innocent, but is thankful for his time in prison, as it enabled him to re-evaluate his life and come out a better man, the man he is today.

Terroll Lewis has been named an Evening Standard Next Generation Trailblazer as well as Men’s Health most inspirational black men of 2020.

Follow @TerrollLewis on Twitteron GoodreadsBuy One Chance: Surviving London’s Gangs

About the book

Born and raised on Brixton’s notorious Myatt’s Field and Angell Town estates, Terroll Lewis has lived a crazy life. Surrounded by gang culture from an early age, like so many other young inner-city people, he found it hard to resist the lifestyle.

By the time he was 15, he had already joined a gang, been stabbed, shot at, and was selling drugs. A chance to play professional football at Stevenage offered him a way out, but the short-term allure of a glamorous street life — the promise of girls, money, and cars — compared to the £50 a week he was being paid to play football, led Terroll back to South London and the notorious OC, or Organised Crime, gang. 

Violence and drug dealing were the norm in OC, and in 2009, aged 20, Terroll was accused of being involved in an extremely serious crime. After spending 11 months inside Thamesmead’s Belmarsh prison, he was acquitted of all charges and released back into mainstream society, which signalled the start of a new life.

Having used fitness, and callisthenic exercises in particular, as a coping mechanism while in prison, Terroll soon realised that there were other people like him who couldn’t pay for a gym membership, but still wanted to keep fit. Determined to spread the word further, he created a YouTube video demonstrating his workout regime. The views and messages quickly began rolling in, which encouraged Terroll to start conducting classes in local parks. As his client base grew, so did his ambition and self-belief. Leveraging his rapidly growing social media fame to reinforce his case, Terroll was granted a spot – a converted depot on Somerleyton Road in Brixton – to turn the newly titled Block Workout into a fully-fledged street gym.

Through Block Workout and Brixton Street Gym, Terroll is now able to give something back to the community he was raised in, offering young people an opportunity to follow a different road to the one he took during his adolescence — helping them to develop their minds as well as their bodies — and the chance to live a better life.

Not only is One Chance a truly authentic guide for the urban youth, steering them through the world we live in today – from education and relationships, to jail, social media and mental health issues – it also has the power to educate wider society on the experiences that this frequently demonised demographic face. Whichever form it takes, the aim of the book is to increase understanding on both sides, leading to a more harmonious, progressive, and positive society.


I think it’s one thing knowing something and another to experience it, which is what flows through from the author to the reader in the strongest way possible in this read. It’s unfathomable for the majority of us to accept there are certain areas in our first world country that resemble a war zone. A war zone where street law reigns supreme over any other laws.

For many being born into these areas is the first choice when it comes to roads taken and for the majority it is the beginning of a life full of minimal choices and prospects. That is the stark and brutal reality of certain demographics.

Terroll is one of those children, who experiences the violence before he is even born, and unfortunately goes on to live a life full of said violence. His walk through life is a thin tightrope leading past go and straight to prison. He credits his time in prison and the fight to prove his innocence with the epiphany of needing to try and find another path to walk upon.

Part of that choice was coupled with the determination to help others and give them the opportunities that he and others lacked. With Block Workout, Brixton Street Gym, and his courage to step outside of the box and stereotypes determined by society, he has managed to create a living legacy.

It’s remarkable how he fights against the stereotypes, the systemic racism, the pressure to belong, and above all has the strength to take the hard road after being on the one society expects him resign himself to. It’s a brutally honest and often shocking piece of work, which will remain with me for a long time. Kudos to Lewis.

Buy One Chance at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ad Lib Publishers Ltd, pub date 21 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#BlogTour Ripples from the Edge of Life by Roland Chesters

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Ripples from the Edge of Life by Roland Chesters.

About the Author

Roland was born in the north of England to an English father and French mother and has lived most of his life in London after a somewhat rocky start in Paris. He graduated from the Royal Holloway College with a degree in Modern Languages way back in the last century, and after a variety of jobs in senior management in the private sector he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a language-testing specialist. 

Following a life-changing diagnosis of HIV and AIDS in 2006, he became a campaigner for disability rights. He subsequently enjoyed a number of different roles within the FCO as Diversity & Equality Officer and later Learning & Development Adviser, where he gained his L&D qualifications. There he was also elected Chair of the Disabled Staff Network and worked with the Civil Service Disability Network. He is now a self-employed Disability Development Consultant and has his own company, Luminate (www.luminate.uk.com).

Roland is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and of the Chartered Institute of Management as well as the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning. He is a qualified Mediator and currently sits on the Standards for Disability Mediation Working Group of the College of Mediators.  He is also a Motivational Speaker and a member of the Professional Speaking Association.

As a Consultant he says he “works with the person in the wheelchair to enable them to climb their highest mountain”. He collaborates with individuals who have become disabled later in life, organisations that employ them or want to employ them and agencies that support them. As a speaker he focuses on his own personal experiences to enable his audiences to reflect on how to overcome the challenges that we all face in our lives to make the most of the short time that we have. His motto is ‘Inspire, Educate, Challenge’.

Roland lives with his partner, Richard, in London and enjoys opera, classical music, theatre and fashion (his favourite item of clothing being a bright red corduroy suit). He fights boredom and normality with gusto, and says he is at his best when he’s made a positive impact on someone else’s life. 

He is the author of the ‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’, which he says will be his one and only publication. The book was published by SilverWood Books in May 2018 and GScene said of it “None of us know how many heartbeats we have left; facing mortality is a culturally difficult thing. Ripples gives us clear clarion voice after voice which shows us, gently but insistently, there are many ways of successfully navigating horrific times, and surviving.”

With a foreword by Ian Green, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV charity, ’Ripples’ chronicles how he and thirteen others have managed their diagnosis of HIV and, in some cases AIDS, the impact this has had on their lives and the lives of those around them.  The year of diagnosis ranges from 1984 to 2015 and it becomes clear through that timeline that although HIV may no longer be a death sentence, the impact of the diagnosis can still be completely devastating.  The stories come from both men and women, aged between mid-twenties to late-seventies and are testaments to the courage and resilience required to cope with the condition. HIV has not gone away. With over 100,000 people living with the condition in the UK, and that number continuing to grow, it remains one of the most stigmatised disabilities in the world.

The appeal of the book lies not so much in the fact that it is HIV/AIDS that has impacted each of our lives, but that the lessons learned can be applied to anybody who is facing a life-changing diagnosis, or anybody who cares for someone in that position.

Follow Roland Chesters on Amazonon GoodreadsBuy Ripples from the Edge of Life

About the book

If, out of the blue, you were given just two weeks to live, how would you feel? What would you do? How would you prepare for the end? This was the terrible position Roland Chesters found himself in when he was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.

Ripples is Roland’s account of a life-changing diagnosis and its impact on him and those closest to him. More than a memoir, Roland’s story is not unique; ripples spread outwards, and this empowering collection gives voice to thirteen others who have survived similar traumatic diagnoses. This book contains wisdom, hope, humour and inspiration in equal measure. It is an essential read for anyone living with a life-changing condition, and those who support them.


I recently read a YA with an HIV positive teen as the main character. Aside from the excellent story the author delved deeply into the issues of transmission and disclosure. The detailed descriptions of antiretrovirals and undetectable viral loads in said genre will do a lot to inform an educate younger generations. In general there just aren’t enough books on the subject or characters who reflect the men, women and children in our society who live with HIV/AIDS.

Those of us who lived through the peak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic during the mid 80s, prior to the use of effective antiretroviral therapy, and were old enough to understand the stigma, fear and loss caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus – we know how misinformation formed the basis for the majority of attitudes.

It was and is still very much a misunderstood diagnosis. To an outsider the attitudes appear to be more informed and less likely to discriminate, however as an insider the actual truth of the matter is different, which is why books like this are so important. Real people telling their stories, something which is perhaps more likely to resonate than purely science and medical facts. Saying that, I believe a combination of both will help to educate and allay unnecessary fears.

This collection of stories, which includes the authors own story, is the right way to bring understanding to a long misunderstood topic. It’s an impassioned and yet simultaneously an extremely clear and factual read, and one I highly recommend.

Buy Ripples from the Edge of Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Silverwood Books; pub date 27 April 2018. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive.  At Bookshop.orgAt Silverwood Books.

#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.

Follow @NinaDSchick on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit ninaschick.orgBuy Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse

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.


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.

#PublicationDayPush Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord

Today it’s the Publication Day Push for The Secret Diary of a Landlord by The Secret Landlord.

About the  Author

The Secret Landlord has been renting, refurbishing and selling properties across the UK for almost two decades. An award winning landlord, as judged by the National Landlords Association, The Secret Landlord has provided accommodation for hundreds of tenants from all walks of life. 

Follow @landlord_secret on Twitteron Amazonon Goodreads, Visit thesecretlandlord.comBuy Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord

About the book

Get ready to learn what really happens behind closed doors. 

Landlords have become one of the most hated groups in society. Parasites, they’re often called. And there’s a lot of them. The Treasury estimates there are almost 2.6 million landlords in the UK with around 5.45 million rental properties.

But the real life of a professional landlord is very different to what most people think. From burglaries and break-ins to drug raids, police warrants, crazy tenant antics, bailiffs, squatters, lawsuits, wrecked properties, interfering council officers, game-playing freeholders to moments of heartfelt joy and happiness, the life of a landlord is never dull. Especially when the government keeps moving the goalposts.

This explosive front line exposé blows the lid off what it’s really like to be a landlord and the shocking reality of renting out a property. Hovering close to a nervous breakdown and likely suffering PTSD, The Secret Landlord exposes truths rarely shared. Stories that will grip you, move you and smack you in the face. 

This is the truth, the other side of the door. 


I can see this book being a bit of a controversial read. Possibly because those dabbling in the realms of being landlords, especially with multiple properties, are in the minority. The majority of people are renters, somewhere in the middle will be outright buyers. Saying that, it’s becoming harder nowadays to pick up properties because there are so many landlords willing to add yet another place to their portfolio.

Let’s be frank though, SL, as the Secret Landlord calls herself, very much has a right to her perspective on the situation and the problems which arise from being a landlord and responsible for multiple properties. They might not be pretty observations, and often seem to lack empathy, but then one has to remember that we are talking money and a business venture. When being a landlord is a job, a business then takes precedent over anything else. Money talks, as they say, especially when you are losing it.

Of course there is always another side to the story and each renter has their own story to tell. Having been on both renter and owner side of the story – not as a landlord however – it’s easier to see both sides. Some landlords believe they own you, your lifestyle, your interior decorating style and habits in general, just because you pay them money to stay in their property. Landlords have to deal with the disrespect their properties are treated with, the constant emergencies and the money-pits some of these properties become because of bad tenants.

Either way, it’s an interesting piece of non-fiction, which comes off now and again as harsh, but then reality the world of renting isn’t an easy one to navigate.

Buy Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Alethea; pub date 15 Oct. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson.

About the Author 

Alexandra Wilson is a junior barrister. Aged twentyfive, she is the eldest of four children. Her mother is White British, her father is Black British and her paternal grandparents were born in Jamaica and came to England as part of the Windrush generation.

Alexandra grew up on the border of East London and Essex. She studied at the University of Oxford and was awarded two prestigious scholarships, enabling her to research the impact of police shootings in the US on young people’s attitudes to the police. She went on to study for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and her Master of Laws at BPP University in London.

Alexandra was awarded the first Queen’s scholarship by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, a scholarship awarded to students showing exceptional promise in a career at the Bar.

Follow @EssexBarrister on Twitteron Amazonon GoodreadsBuy In Black and White

About the book

Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo’s death changed Alexandra. His death compelled her to enter the legal profession to search for answers. As a junior criminal and family law barrister she finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which barristers sigh with relief at the retirement of a racist judge: ‘I’ve got a black kid today and he would have had no hope.’

In her debut book In Black and White, Alexandra beautifully re-creates the tense court room scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister’s life.

Alexandra speaks with raw honesty about her experience as a mixed-race woman from a non-traditional background in a profession that is sorely lacking in diverse representation. A justice system in which a disproportionately large number of black and mixed-race people are charged, convicted and sent to prison.

She shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin or someone you suspect is guilty, and the heart-breaking youth justice cases she has worked on. We see what it’s like for the teenagers coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers. Her account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful.

Alexandra’s story is unique in a profession still dominated by a section of society with little first-hand experience of the devastating impact of violent crime.


The author speaks quite quickly about the impostor syndrome she often feels or felt in relation to her clearly impressive academic and career achievements, despite the lack of support from a school system and teachers, who are quick to fill young minorities and black people with a basis of insecurity. We do not expect you to achieve or be accepted, so why try? 

Another strong paragraph Wilson writes about is ‘spot the black person’ in the room. It’s both interesting and disappointing to realise that it is an instinctual reaction to the lack of representation, because minorities are under-represented in many high profile careers, such as being a barrister.

It’s a strong statement about the opposition minority groups and women face when it comes to entering into careers predominantly occupied quite often by affluent and privately educated white people, and in the highest positions the majority of these careers those positions are held by white men.

Wilson also speaks to the statistically proven inequality, because stereotypes thrust upon minorities and blacks by society, police, social and judicial systems, between black people and their white counterparts. This is especially the case for young black men. Also about the the lack of women who reach a certain level of progression in their career and are also discriminated against if they choose both career and family.

Most importantly, for me at least, is the fact that Wilson is an example and representation, which makes it more plausible for young black women to visually see that a patriarchal white society can and must accept change. BAME groups need to see their physical representations reflected back at them in more careers and jobs, especially young children and teens.

It’s an engrossing statement about racism, gender and race discrimination, sexual harassment and the judicial system. Wilson does all of that without becoming preachy, angry (again those stereotypes people like to refer to) or sounding as if the obstacles in her way are insurmountable. I think the clear determined voice will make readers take note of the factual reality and the impressive path and ambition this author and young barrister lays out for her readers. I enjoyed it and highly recommend the read.

Buy In Black and White at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads from any other retailer. Publisher: Endeavour;  pub date 13 Aug. 2020. Buy at Octopus Books.