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Anne Bonny Q&A with @karinamelvin #ArtfulEating The psychology of lasting weight loss #EatingDisorders #Recovery @bwpublishing

artful-eating
Artful Eating by Karina Melvin
Book description:

This book can change your life forever!
Rediscover the magic of eating for pleasure and enjoy a life of balance with the freedom to eat the foods you want without dieting.

Artful Eating will take you on a journey filled with stories, life lessons, practical tools and strategies all rooted in the most up to date scientific and psychological research. Learn how to reprogram your mind to lose weight and achieve the body you desire, by changing your thoughts, behaviours and approach to pleasure.

Successful weight loss is not about what you eat, it’s about why and how you eat. We are missing the most vital ingredient in the weight loss battle: the mind. It is our mind that fuels every decision we make about food and by focusing solely on the symptom, the excess weight, we have lost sight of the cause.

There is no strenuous exercise regime, no food elimination, no strict meal plan, just powerful psychological tools and strategies which will create lasting change. You will be amazed at how easy it is to achieve the body you desire and truly deserve.

Q&A:

Q) Who is your perfect reader?

A) I wrote my book for anyone who is tired of ‘trying’ to lose weight. What I mean by this is anyone who has spent years feeling dissatisfied with their body and uncomfortable around food. My hope is to emancipate people from restrictive eating and the oscillation between being ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when it comes to dieting. What my readers consistently tell me is that they feel such freedom after reading this book, so I guess the perfect reader is someone who feels trapped in their relationship with food and their body. There is another way- and its all about enjoyment!

Q) What books are on your bedside table?

A) Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VIII On Transference, which is full of post-it notes and coloured tabs as I’m lecturing on it in UCD. Lacan is a psychoanalyst and his writings are notoriously challenging to read, but so worthwhile. I’m also dipping in and out of Audrey at Home: Memoirs of my Mothers Kitchen, which is written by Audrey Hepburn’s son, Luca Dotti. Its a gorgeous book, filled with anecdotes, beautiful home pictures and delicious recipes. Finally I just finish the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels and I am so saddened, I cant bring myself to take them off my nightstand! I cannot recommend them highly enough, her writing is sublime and I was completely immersed.

Q) Do you have a writing routine?

A) I used to, before my daughter was born and when she was newborn and breastfeeding, writing was a doddle! Now my routine consists of grabbing time whenever its quiet, I do need it to be quiet to write. I’ve taken recently to waking up at 5am as its very bright and peaceful and I can get so much written before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

Q) Where do you write best?

A) In my old place it used to be at this big old bankers desk I bought in a warehouse sale for 80 euro, the thing is a beast! So solid, huge and welcoming. But since we’ve moved I now enjoy sitting at the table in our front room facing the window. We’re currently in an apartment in a very grand, old Georgian house so the rooms are huge, with very high ceilings and large sash windows, so its light, bright and airy. The Irish writer Patrick Kavanagh used to live here, so I feel in very good company when I’m writing.

Q) Where did your inspiration for Artful Eating come from?

A) There were a lot of little “bread crumbs” which amassed over time to come together in the form of Artful Eating. I think the penny really dropped for me though in Barcelona. We were there for a long weekend and I was really struck by the mini versions of everything. Their cortados, which are sort of micro lattes or the una caña which is a very small beer – and of course their tapas. We ate like kings over the weekend, not denying ourselves anything, but also never over indulging. I’d been to Spain before; in fact I spent a wonderful summer in Madrid when I was 16, so I was familiar with their approach to food, but the inspiration to create Artful Eating happened while I was away that weekend. It was actually my 33rd birthday, now that I think of it! Around that time I had been noticing how so many of my clients, regardless of their size, were struggling with their relationship with food and their body and the idea hit me like a lightning bolt in Barcelona that I had to do something about it. After a lot of research and trials I created an online program and it was through the course that I got approached to write a book!

Q) What would your top ten store-cupboard ingredients be?

A) Oooh… This is a good question! And one which probably changes depending on my mood…
Butter- everything tastes better with butter!
All- purpose Flour
Chickpeas- great for anything- curries, hummus, salads…
Seeds and nuts
maple syrup
dried mushrooms
bullion
cuscus
Mustard
tinned tomatoes

This is too hard! I always think it’s incredibly helpful to have a well stocked pantry and I love collecting different jars of preserves and chutney’s, herbs and spices, sauces and alcohol when I’m travelling- way better than a fridge magnet or a postcard!

Q) What are you working on next?

A) I’m working on another book, which is a slight departure from Artful Eating. It’s all about enjoying life and I cannot wait to share it with you.

The-Gloss-Magazine-Writers-Block-Karina-Melvin-c-Sean-Cahill
Karina Melvin
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne #Historical #CrimeFiction @maclehosepress ‘The depth and the detail regarding the era and British/US social and political climate is what makes it such a fascinating read’

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Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne
Translated by Sam Taylor
Review Copy
Synopsis:

“We owe you our lives, Sergeant, but you are our worst nightmare . . .”

Burma, 1852. Sergeant Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled – his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survival”.
But for all that, only a handful escape with their lives.

Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survival” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.
From the Burmese jungle to the slums of London to the conquest of the Wild West, Antonin Varenne takes us on a thrilling journey full of sound and unabated fury, reviving the lapsed tradition of the great writers of boundless adventure. Sergeant Bowman belongs to that breed of heroes who inhabit the imaginations of Conrad, Kipling, Stevenson . . . Lost soldiers who have plunged into the heart of darkness and will cross the globe in search of vengeance and redemption.

Translated from the French by Sam Taylor

My Review:

Firstly, let me say this paperback has a beautiful cover and perfectly sets the scene for the novel. It is brilliantly eye-catching!
The novel is historical crime fiction and very literary in parts. We follow protagonist Sgt Arthur Bowman in his quest for justice.
A quest that will see him travel through various countries on his way.

The novel opens in 1852 Burma, when Lord Dalhousie governor-general of India declared war on the king of Burma. Major Cavendish summons Bowman and informs him he is to take on a secret mission under Cpt Wright. He must intercept the ambassador. The mission is foiled and many men are captured as POW’s. Only ten men are ever liberated.

Edmund Peavish
Peter Clements
Edward Morgan
Christian Bufford
Erik Penders
Fredrick Collins
John Briggs
Horace Grennshaw
Norton Young &
Sgt Arthur Bowman
Are the liberated men.

The novel then jumps to London 1858, with Officer O’Reilly and Superintendent Andrews at the scene of a brutal murder. Bowman is tied to the case, due to his previous run-ins with men down at the docks. When he sees the body, he is in for an almighty shock. . .

‘The corpse in the sewer. I’ve seen that before. In Burma. In the forest’ – Bowman

Andrews becomes convinced Bowman is losing it, fearing he is headed for a nervous breakdown. Something we the reader learn, Bowman fears himself. As Bowman is under suspicion, he is placed under house arrest, until the case is solved. But Bowman is unlikely to just accept being a suspect in a gruesome murder on London’s streets.

‘London really was turning into hell’

Bowman acquires a list of the liberated men but is hindered further when the India company denies their existence and that such a mission took place.
Is there a cover-up at the heart of this murder?

Bowman tracks down each man individually. What her uncovers shows the true nature of the psychological/physical impact of mental and violent torture. There are no graphic details of the POW’s plight, but the readers comes to understand the depths of the soldiers despair. The trail of POW’s lead all the way across the oceans to t America, Where Bowman is reunited with old comrades. . .

‘You don’t even know if you’re seeking an honourable death or an honourable life, Mr Bowman. You’ll have to choose in the end, but until you do. You will not belong here, or anywhere else on this earth’

The murders appear to be continuing on American soil. Where black men and native American’s can be wrongly accused, leading to fatal consequences. Bowman becomes determined to correct this injustice and find the real killer.

‘They say it’s Indians. Because whites aren’t that cruel’ –
Dr Vladislav Brezisky
Bowman meets an array of characters on his travels and they truly enhance the storytelling. The display of the 1860s American landscape is remarkable.
I can see this novel drawing both British and American fans.

There is a brilliant ending, with a twist in the tale. The depth and the detail regarding the era and British/US social and political climate is what makes it such a fascinating read. 4.5*

***Don’t miss the other fantastic bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Yesterday by @FeliciaMYap #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @Wildfirebks ‘With themes of politics, mental health, obsession and memory, this novel is a brave debut.’

coverYesterday by Felicia Yap
Review copy
Synopsis:

Today, the police are at your door.

They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

You can’t recall what he did that day, because you only remember yesterday.

You rely on your diary to tell you where you’ve been, who you love and what you’ve done.

So, can you trust the police?
Can you trust your husband?
Can you trust yourself?

My Review:

This is a cracking novel with a unique edge, which is not revealed in the synopsis. The world of mono/duo’s is revealed much later in the novel. However, as a psychological thriller this novel definitely delivers. It has various themes within and I think the author was very brave to tackle such a multitude of themes in a debut novel. What I would personally refer to as ‘the author came out swinging’. The book market and in-particular the psychological/thriller genre is massively competitive. I can read this genre for an entire month of new releases alone and they will all be fantastic. But I suppose what you need as a debut author in this genre, is a niche that makes your book stand out against the rest.
Yesterday, has that niche.

The novel opens 2yr before the murder of Sophia Alyssa Ayling. With a female patient in a mental health institution talking directly to the reader. She talks of revenge and of past pain, it doesn’t make much sense at the time. Yet the words are incredibly powerful.
All will be revealed much later, as they say…

‘It’s the sum total of remembered grievances that makes hatred potent’ – Sophia

‘The cat of revenge will be easy’ – Sophia

The novel then introduces Claire Evans. Claire is a mono which means her memory is much shorter than the superior duo’s. She has been married to her husband, successful author and wannabe MP Mark for 20yrs. Part of his political campaign is built upon their successful mixed marriage.
Except the marriage is far from perfect, as we read on and discover. . .

‘This is why he think he’s superior’ – Claire

The marriage seems as though it is one of appearances and carefully constructed by the pair to give the illusion that their life together is perfect. They live in a mansion, have exotic holidays and appear to want for nothing. Yet something, just does not add up.

‘My life is idyllic – but only on the surface’ – Claire

In the mono/duo world, everyone keeps a diary. Apple have amassed a small fortune from providing the idiary with fingerprint recognition. However, it is what is locked inside these diaries that is so much more revealing. . .

‘Unlike my husband, I have done very little to be proud of in my lifetime’ – Claire

When the body of a woman is discovered in the river Cam. The police are quick to investigate those listed in the victim’s diary. Leading them straight to the door of Mark Evans. DCI Hans Richardson is the investigating officer, he has secrets of his own, which he must shield from discovery.

There are several chapters from Sophia’s diary, of her brief encounters with various men. I quite liked Sophia, she is feisty and not afraid to use sexual temptation to get what she wants. It becomes clear that what she really seeks is revenge. As revenge themes go, stealing 17yrs of someone’s life is strong enough but then having them incarcerated in a mental hospital, is far more enraging. No wonder Sophia wants revenge! But she has also learnt and adapted due to her experiences in various institutions. Sophia knows to be patient, bide her time and strike only with absolute certainty.

‘They stole seventeen years of my life’ – Sophia

As the police scrutinise Mark and Claire’s life. Mark becomes aware his political career is also at risk. But what links him to the body in the Cam?

‘No one elects a man who can’t keep his own household in order. No one’ – Rowan

Claire doesn’t know who or what to believe. But she is adamant Mark has been unfaithful and for this he must pay. Also driven by revenge, she begins to create a nightmare scenario under the media spotlight. But has Mark been unfaithful? Is Claire, right? Or is the ‘other woman’ merely an attempt to obliterate his political message?
‘Someone out there is trying to bring you down’

The novel also has various articles scattered throughout that explain and expand upon the mono/duo world, better than I ever could. They give you an insight into a world where your memory length, designates your place in the class system.
The diary entries are brilliant, I am rarely hooked on this kind of element and find letters/diaries a distraction from the story. But these are just so well written and key to the plot. I was absolutely gripped. Yet again Sophia, struck gold for me with the diary entries. She had read every person involved perfectly and her character was determined by their actions against her. but why was she so obsessed with Claire, I had no idea?

‘Looking ill in a hospital isn’t a good idea. It’s as bad as looking guilty in a court of law’ – Sophia

With themes of politics, mental health, obsession and memory, this novel is a brave debut. The relationships people hold with one another and a marriage that is not all it seems, which ends with a twist in the tale, impressive and I look forward to the next release by the author. 4*

FY
Felicia Yap
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Sticks And Stones by @JoJakemanWrites #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @HarvillSecker ‘I detest the man, he really is evil personified!’

cover
Sticks And Stones by Jo Jakeman
Review copy
Synopsis:

Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable: she locks her husband in the cellar. Now she’s in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?

My Review:

‘It is a time for lies and cover-ups, not truthful observations’

This novel is a psychologically thriller, which features one of the possibly, most psychologically damaged human beings, I have ever read about all year!

‘I knew the devil lived in his soul’

The novel opens on the day of Phillip Rochester’s funeral. It is clear there was marital abuse and divorce loomed. The opening is a loaded scene, packed with tension and secrets. Phillip Rochester was not just a bad man, he was an evil man.

‘Phillip Rochester got the death he deserved’

The novel then jumps back in time, to the events in the build-up to the demise of Phillip. Imogen is Phillip’s wife, Naomi his new girlfriend, Ruby is his first wife and Little Alistair (6yrs) the son between Phillip and Imogen.
The relationships between the women are fraught and simmering with tension and unease at every turn. But it is not of their making. . .

Phillip has a dominant personality, he is a bully and used to getting his own way. I cannot fully get across my feelings about Phillip because WordPress and Amazon both have community standards. Just know this, I detest the man, he really is evil personified!

The marriage between Phillip and Imogen has been over 18 months. Imogen is slowly over-coming the emotional difficulties, with the help of her quirky best friend Rachel. They have an unusual friendship, but Imogen has support nevertheless. Imogen does start to obsess over Phillip’s new relationship with Naomi. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to this than petty jealousy and emotional envy.

‘I was too scared of him to disagree; Phillip was my darkness’

The novel also details the past history of Imogen and Phillip’s marriage. We learn it was one of little happiness or support. Phillip declares he wants Imogen out of the property and it is this that is the catalyst for the entire plot. This is when it all gets REAL!

‘I was sick of being Imogen Rochester: the victim’

When Phillip threatens Imogen for sole custody of their son, he has no idea how much he will push Imogen over the edge.
Or if Imogen can ever truly bring herself back from that edge.

The chapters from the individual women’s backgrounds details what makes them vulnerable. Phillip didn’t just target these women, he preyed upon them.
Now he is the prey. . .

This novel is a complex psychological thriller, it deals with some very strong emotional themes. The power of psychological holds, the intensity of victimhood and the bond that can exist between women. It is an absolute corker of a read and I raced through the pages in one afternoon. 4*

JJ
Jo Jakeman
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A Noise Downstairs by @linwood_barclay 5* #CrimeFiction #Mystery #NewRelease @orionbooks @orion_crime ‘The novel is packed with twists and turns, it has an EPIC ending!’

cover
A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay
Review Copy
Synopsis:

EVERY STEP…
Paul Davis forgets things – he gets confused, he has sudden panic attacks. But he wasn’t always like this.

TAKES YOU CLOSER…
Eight months ago, Paul found two dead bodies in the back of a co-worker’s car. He was attacked, left for dead, and has been slowly recovering ever since. His wife tries her best but fears the worst…

TO THE TRUTH…
Therapy helps during the days, but at night he hears things – impossible things – that no one else can. That nobody else believes. Either he’s losing his mind – or someone wants him to think he is.

Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean it’s not happening…

My Review:

A Noise Downstairs, is the new psychological thriller from Linwood Barclay. It is a stand-alone and is insanely gripping! I started reading this alone, late at night by lamp light and it really added to the eerie feeling that is constantly bubbling away under the surface of the novel.

‘There were a lot of sides to Kenneth, and Paul still wasn’t sure he knew all of them’

The novel opens with Paul Davis pulling over to assist work colleague and fellow college professor Kenneth Hoffman, late one night. What Paul isn’t aware of until he steps out of the car, is that there are two bodies in the boot of Kenneth’s car.
Once he discovers the bodies of the two females, Kenneth attacks, leaving Paul for dead. .

‘Then everything went black’

The novel then jumps forward eight months. With Kenneth arrested and in jail. Paul is still making process with his recovery. He begins with therapy with Dr Anna White, we learn he suffers both physical and mental symptoms from the attack. Paul is plagued by headaches and bizarre dreams which cause insomnia. The victim’s Jill Foster and Catherine Lamb; were known to Paul and in some way, he feels responsible.

‘Monsters can be very good at disguising themselves’ –
Dr White

Paul develops an obsession with the crimes Kenneth committed and a deep desire to research and understand the psychology behind his behaviour.
What Paul doesn’t realise at the time, is the dangerous journey this will take him on.

“Was Kenneth evil? Is Kenneth Evil?” – Paul

Through the novel we come to know all the characters personally. Kenneth left behind a devastated wife Gabriella and young son Len. Paul’s girlfriend Charlotte becomes a big part of his journey to getting healthier and taking back control of his life. For their relationship and Paul’s relationship with his young son Josh. Dr Anna White lives with her father, who has dementia and often accidentally interrupts her counselling sessions. She also has a sinister new client named Gavin Hitchins. Gavin enjoys stalking and tormenting his victims, he is in court ordered therapy.
Nothing and no one is what they seem! Everyone feels on edge and I felt on edge as I am introduced to the new characters.

Paul is an English Literature professor, he is on a long-term sick leave from work when he begins his research into Kenneth and his crimes. The media named Kenneth the ‘apology killer’ due to the nature of his crimes. He plead guilty and has been sentenced to life in prison. Yet despite this Paul needs more answers. . .

‘I’m not so sure Kenneth’s head is a place you want to be’ – Charlotte

Charlotte buys Paul a gift, in the form of an old typewriter. Which late at night Paul can hear tap, tap, tap, tapping away!!!!
At first, he assumes he must be hearing things, but then the typewriter begins producing notes. Notes that appear to be from the victims. . .

Is Paul losing his mind? Why would the victims haunt Paul?
What answers do they seek?

I was completely and utterly taken in by this plot. The fear of an inanimate object might sound irrational, in the daytime. But reading alone, late at night I felt scared!
The novel is packed with twists and turns, it has an EPIC ending! Which left me shocked!
Outstanding 5*

*This is the first novel I have read by Linwood Barclay. So, I will be adding his entire back catalogue of novels to my TBR pile.*

LB
Linwood Barclay
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