Book Review – Vanished by Mark Bierman #RRBC

Well what do you know! It’s only time for another book review… so here it is.

My latest read was Vanished by Mark Bierman

vanishedBlurb:  Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.
Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

 

Rating:  5/5

My thoughts:  After a shared loss Tyler and John decide to get away for a while and go to Haiti to help the construction of an orphanage. What they didn’t expect while they were there was for a small child to be abducted, they certainly didn’t expect for no one, not even the authorities, to have any intention of doing anything about it.

Unable to accept the situation Tyler and John decide to do all they can to track the girl down and bring her home. They had no idea what they were getting into as they came face to face with violence, danger and threats of death.

This is a great read with plenty of twists as we discover the world of human trafficking, from the view of Tyler and John, those who have been taken, and also a glimpse into the darkness of the mind of the traffickers.

A well written and enjoyable read, I would recommend it.

 

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How Not to be a Boy – Robert Webb

So my life has taken an unexpected turn and, as such, I found myself at home reading on a Monday afternoon – not altogether an unpleasant way to pass the time it has to be said. The book I finished reading was the autobiography “How Not to be a Boy” by Robert Webb

I’ve always been a sort of casual fan of Robert Webb – I would enjoy anything he happened to be in, thought the sketch show with David Mitchell was lots of fun and adored the crazy, screwed up character he played in Peep Show. But it was his unexpected performance in a charity dance show that, for some unknown reason, really blew me away… you don’t know what I’m talking about? Then stop reading this right now and watch….

So anyway… on with the book review

boyBlurb: RULES FOR BEING A MAN
Don’t Cry; Love Sport; Play Rough; Drink Beer; Don’t Talk About Feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

Rating: 5/5

My thoughts:  The blurb describes this book as “hilarious and heartbreaking” and I have to agree. There are moment of pure joy and moments of utter heartbreak, causing both laughter and tears in equal measure. The thing that really struck me about this book was the honesty. I’m sure we could all tell a story about our lives and gloss over the parts where we behaved like complete morons but in this book we see Robert Webb shine a light on every moment where he knows he behaved like an arse and own up to the fact that he was in the wrong. As such there are times when you want to shake the young Webb and tell him to stop being such an idiot, and there are times when you just want to hug him close and tell him that things will work out… eventually.

All in all a very emotional read that lets you know there is a lot more to that funny guy on the screen than you might know! Give it a read, you’ll be glad you did 🙂

Journey to the Rainbow’s End – Book Review #RRBC

Where does all the time go? It doesn’t feel like we should be nearing the end of January already – and yet here we are. And here I am with my latest book review.

Today I am sharing with you my thoughts on Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey by Forrest Stepnowski

 

rainbowBlurb:  Forrest Robert Stepnowski captures the essence of “coming out” and coming of age as a gay male today, and over the past three decades. “Journey to the Rainbow’s End” captures the joys of love, the pain of heartbreak, surviving the darkness of suicide, and the self-discovery of finding one’s voice and place in society. Forrest Robert Stepnowski is a community advocate, a writer, a social worker, and a female impersonator, known as Victoria Eyesli, in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for many years, and focuses on empowering others who have dealt with similar pathways of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing, in the hopes they can find they are not alone, that they are not deviants, nor are they against “human nature.” We all have voices, and the world should hear them all.

Rating: 5/5

My thoughts:  This book feels, from the outset, incredibly personal. We are given a glimpse into so many, often devastating, painful moments in the life of a young gay man. Split between a collection of poems and a short story you really share in the anguish of finding yourself in a world that seems to be telling you that you’re somehow wrong. The thing I especially loved about this book is the lasting feeling of hope. Yes, the journey was long and painful but ultimately, as the saying goes, “it gets better”.

This is one of those books that lingers with you long after you turn the final page and I found myself thinking over what I had read for some time. I can imagine any young gay men (or women) finding comfort and hope in this writing. Well done 🙂

Book Review – Saint John Lennon

Every August bank holiday I venture (with hundreds of others) to the fair city of Liverpool to celebrate the music of the wonderful Beatles at International Beatleweek. This year we met the charming and charismatic author Daniel Hartwell promoting his fictional book “Saint John Lennon”

Such was the charm of this author that we couldn’t resist purchasing a copy of his book and… a few months later… I finally got around to reading it. So what did I think? Read on and find out…

SJLBlurb: John Lennon is ALIVE in this controversial time-travel epic. Imagine THAT! A twist in time returns 40-year-old John to us on December 8, 2020 in front of the Dakota in New York City. He is fascinated by the world he finds, and shocked by the religious, environmental and political turmoil. Imagine the legendary John Lennon adjusting to astounding futuristic technology; organizing a Beatles reunion; witnessing the (possible) apocalypse; traveling into space with Branson’s Virgin Galactic; writing music with Paul again and finally appearing with him on Saturday Night Live; reacting to the destruction of the Twin Towers; and meeting with Trump! Our action-adventure melds history, fact, and fantasy to remind us that love is all we need. The issues John deals with are hot topics right now: political discord, climate change, nuclear threats, terrorism, violence, and poverty. John’s reappearance is fantastical, but Yoko and his grown sons recognize him immediately as the real deal. Follow him on his poignant, humorous and world-altering escapades as he continues his quest for peace. Saint John Lennon is a “can’t-put-it-down” page-turner and always thought-provoking.

Rating: 3.5/5

My thoughts: John Lennon is alive again – oh don’t we wish! If you are looking for a Beatles biography then this is not the book for you. This story is pure fantasy.  Set in a world where, 40 years after his death, John Lennon is inexplicably returned to the world. When he opens his eyes only moments have passed for John, for the rest of the world it’s been 40 years.

I found a certain degree of sadness in this book. Before his death John Lennon had been speaking out for peace. Forty years later, not only is the need as great as ever, if anything things have become worse.  Viewing the modern world through the eyes of someone who had been absent for so long highlights how far removed we are from any hope of a peaceful world at the moment.

This book carries a good message and does it through the name of John Lennon.

There are parts of the book that don’t quite work for me. The use of song lyrics in some dialogue feels unnecessary and a few attempts at “scouse” falls a little short, the characters aren’t as fleshed out or “real” as they could be, but the story in itself is an enjoyable ride as John finds himself travelling to different points in the future, giving us warnings of where the world could end up if we don’t do something about it now.

Overall I enjoyed reading this book and certainly wanted to keep turning the pages to see where it would go.

 

 

 

Book Review – Tequila Rose Virginity Blues by Wendy Jane (#RRBC)

And as I said in my last post I had two reviews to share with you – here is the second
Tequila Rose Virginity Blues: Contemporary Romance Short Story by Wendy Jane

TequilaRoseBlurb: 1st Place Runner Up in Rave Reviews Book Club’s Alpha-Omega Short Story Writing Contest 2018.
Tequila Rose may have met the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, she wakes up suffering from alcoholic amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about the night before. Tall, dark, and Jack may be the cure her jaded heart desperately needs, but Tequila’s wary as friends warn her that Jack hangs out with the local drug dealer. Thrust together at a Speed Dating event, their chemistry sizzles, but is Jack after a different kind of fix?

My Rating: 4/5

My Thoughts: A great short story which opens with the most agonising hangover imaginable – anyone who has ever over indulged will not be able to help but sympathise. And, as with all good hangovers, Tequila Rose not only has a bad head and churning stomach – she also has a total lack of recall when it comes to the evenings events.
This is a great little tale of love, alcohol and zany relatives. The character of Tequila Rose is very real and relatable – and the people in her life round her out completely. Enough twists in the tale to keep a reader interested to the last page. Some adorable illustrations dotted through the story and what a gorgeous book cover!

Review – Two Shorts and a Snort by Jan Sikes (#RRBC)

It feels like a while since I posted a review (where does the time go to?) but I have a couple to share now – and the first is…

Two Shorts and a Snort by Jan Sikes

ShortSnortBlurb: This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.
Obsessed:
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.
Maggie:
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.
Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

My Rating: 4/5

My Thoughts: A quick and enjoyable read made up of two short stories and a poem.
Obsessed – this story had a real feel of the location/people/era – the dialogue and descriptions perfectly illustrate a mans obsession with the woman he wants to marry, and the incredible lengths to which obsession can drive a person.
Maggie – this is a cute, gentle tale of a found baby and the couple who take her in. A good blend of happy and sad round this tale out perfectly.
Friends Instead of Lovers – this short poem sums up the potential peril of turning a friendship into something more, and losing the thing that made the friendship so special in the first place.

All in all this is well worth a read – short and satisfying.

Book Review – Three Christmases

You know when you’ve read a good book and then have that desire for “a little bit more”  – the need to have a little peak into the future of the characters you’ve grown to love… well once in a while an author kindly pens us this little look and today’s review is one such book.

I reviewed the original book Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander and was thrilled when he released the sequel short Three Christmases at Christmas and I eagerly downloaded it, although I am sorry to say I actually forgot to read it until this weekend!

ThreeBlurb: This is a sequel to Things We Never Said, a feel-good, short-story-length (52 printed pages) glimpse into the future for all those readers who have been begging to know what happens next.

Following the death of Catherine, husband Sean, daughter April, and best friend Maggie start to move on with their lives.
Discover what the next three years hold in store for all the characters you came to love in Things We Never Said.

Rating:  5/5

My thoughts:  This is a satisfying short glimpse into the lives of the characters we loved in the original novel and, as the title suggests, it takes place over three separate Christmases. So what happened next? Did Sean and Maggie finally get together, how has life turned out for April… well, of course, I’m not going to tell you as that would be an ultimate spoiler – all I can say is, read it for yourself – you wont be disappointed!