Friday, 26 July 2013

The Migraine Miracle by Josh Turknett MD

Title:The Migraine Miracle: A Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Diet to Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Your Headaches for Good
Author: Josh Turknett MD
Pages: 224
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Published Date: Dec 1, 2013
ISBN: 9781608828753
Price: $16.95 USD
Source: (E-copy) Publisher via NetGalley

Rating: 4 out of 5
(If it works , 5 out of 5)

Book Description:
"If you suffer from migraines, you know from experience that prescription medication can only do so much to help relieve your suffering. You also know that your next headache could still strike at any time, and as a result, you may lead a life of fear and trepidation, never knowing when the responsibilities of work and family will once again fall victim to your throbbing skull. Unfortunately, despite the many advances in medicine, there is still no real cure for the migraine headache.

In The Migraine Miracle, a neurologist with a personal history of migraines offers readers the revolutionary dietary cure that has worked for him and continues to work for his patients: a diet low in wheat, sugar, and processed foods, and high in organic, protein-rich animal products. The book also explores the link between inflammation, diet, and migraines, and contains a 21-day meal plan to help readers change the way they eat. By following this easy meal plan, millions of sufferers will discover a life free from symptoms—once and for all.

The book includes comprehensive, research-based information that explains what the brain goes through during a migraine headache, the phases of the migraine, and how a diagnosis is made. It also explores the risks and benefits of migraine medication, natural remedies for migraines, dietary migraine triggers, and detailed, specific instructions for a migraine-free eating plan.

If you have tried migraine medicine but have not found real relief, it’s time to try something new. By changing the way you eat, and understanding what foods can trigger your migraine, you can start feeling better longer, without the threat of a migraine always looming over everything you do."

*** ***
My Thoughts:
I eagerly opened up the e-reader for this review copy to find out if there really is a miracle diet that will fend off the dreaded migraines that have plagued me since childhood. At the best I would have a migraine once every 6 months and at worst 2 to 3 a month. 

Dr Josh Turknett, a neurologist and fellow sufferer, gives an in-depth physiology of a migraine attack detailing the various stages, and the main possible triggers.  He also claims that migraines stem from our diet as well as other trigger factors such as stress, hormones, and exhaustive exercise.  With extensive research and case studies to back up his theories, Dr. Turknett suggests an “ancestral diet” as a cure.  A diet resembling the way humans ate before the agricultural revolution.  In are: whole, unprocessed, additive-free foods.  Out are: Cereal grains (wheat) and sugar. To help keep the beast away there are 30 plus recipes featured, with a 21-day meal plan to get you started.  Extra recipe e-books are available on an accompanying website to download free, and is detailed in the book.

I was relieved to read that  my symptoms were well recorded and quite usual amongst sufferers. I wish I'd had a book like this years ago as I was terrified when I had my first flashing lights aura which rendered me unable to see for 30 minutes. So therefore, I definitely would recommend this book to any migraine, or severe headache sufferer.

The recipes are well set out and give easy to follow instructions. However, the diet is so far  from  my established food regime, which includes 3 other family members.  I know that they will balk at the change in diet initially but with an inclusion of carbohydrates for them, I'm sure it may be an achievable solution. If not,  I may have to go it alone on this one. If it cures me of this debilitating illness it will be worth it.

Thank you to  New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this title.

25 Perfect Days by Mark Tullius

Title: 25 Perfect Days
Author: Mark Tullius
Pages: 322
Price: Paperback $13.99 US Dollars

Release Date:  30th June 2013
Publisher: Vincere Press
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia
Source: (e-copy)Publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781938475030

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Book Synopsis:
"A totalitarian state doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a slow, dangerous slide. 25 Perfect Days chronicles the path into a hellish future of food shortages, contaminated water, sweeping incarceration, an ultra-radical religion, state sponsored measures to reduce the population to name but a few.   Are these policies designed for the greater good or disguised to benefit a chosen few at the expense of the masses? Is this brave new world the best we could do or part of a sinister grand plan?

Through twenty-five interlinked stories, each written from a different character’s point of view, 25 Perfect Days captures the sacrifice, courage, and love needed to survive and eventually overcome this dystopian nightmare."

*** ***
My Thoughts:
Too far fetched? A touch paranoiac ? Think North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Syria, Hitler, and you will see a semblance of these practices for a regime to control the masses. Any word said against the State, religeous order, government, or attempt to rebel is met with violence, imprisonment, torture and even death.

25 perfect days is twenty five chapters of interlinked stories about the characters related or known to each other in some form or other over a 40 year period.   It opens with '5 Minutes Alone' where Olsen has raped and murdered Jenny a 13 year old.  Her family, The Adams, have all been granted 5 minutes alone with Olsen in his cell.  Prior to the visit, Olsen's family have pleaded and begged on several occasions to forgive him.  Their pleas go unread and destroyed.

The Adams' choice will set in motion the slow but constant downslide into chaos of the nation.  A choice that will affect everyone's freedom of choice, speech, individuality, rights and thoughts.  Religion will merge with the government to evolving into 'The Way' and 'The Controllers'.  Inch by inch lives will be ever more controlled.  The population  is controlled by either voluntary or forced sterilisation; children forcibly removed and adopted into 'The Way'.

You are asked what you might do in similar circumstances  if you were the family of the victim.  What you do could  have a catastrophic effect for the future of your country and the morality of its people.

Each of the character's actions have a cause and effect which generally result in severe consequences for everyone as 'The Way' tighten its grip on all aspects of human life.

Loss of freedom, human rights,  every aspect of life is controlled and manipulated by 'The Way'.   People are divided into 2 groups, 'them or us' with the chosen living in 'The City of Light' with clear blue skies and the others in 'The Districts'  with an atmosphere of choking grey ash and crumbling destruction all around.  Where uncontaminated food is hard to find and where a priest might be imprisoned for supplying food to the starving.   No one will escape,  all  live in fear of 'The Way' and 'The Controllers'.   A wrong word, action or thought will eventually  be reported and invoke punishment by death.

All in all I really enjoyed reading this one, however, I did  became disoriented with the multitude of characters.  There is a glossary at the end of the book which I tried to ignore due to some plot spoilers and instead made notes on each chapter of the characters noting their relationship to each other.   Although this didn't detract my enjoyment of the novel I did miss getting to know more about certain characters of interest and building a relationship with them. The result was flat card board characters on many occasions and  I  would have liked the author to concentrate on a smaller group of characters developing and fleshing them out more.  It was a pretty fast read even with the complexities of the characters relationships.  My notes definitely helped and reading the glossary at the end was immensely useful to fill in some of the gaps.

Mark Tullius has created a disturbing dystopian nightmare. This is an intelligent and fun read with a cautionary tale about the dangers of just going with the flow and not questioning what secret covert agendas are in practice behind the promises we are made by those who may one day wield immense power over us.

Thank you to Vincere Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Postman This Week

Books courtesy of:
BBC Radio 2 Drive Time with Simon Mayo &
Transworld Publishers,
A Random House Group Company

I was so excited to see what the Postman had brought me today. I was not disappointed.

I received a telephone call on Tuesday from the BBC Radio 2 programme 'Drive Time' with Simon Mayo, to ask me if I  would like to review their book of the month for August. I jumped at the chance and eagerly waited for the post to come. Today, Thursday, the book came and it was one of my choices to read next.  I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
Needless to say that I am thrilled.

The book will be reviewed on air with the author, Terry Hayes, on Monday 5th August. Therefore, I'd better get on reading it.

***   ***

Also in the post, I received a fantastic opportunity to review Sandakan A Harrowing True Story of the Borneo Death Marches 1945-5 by Paul Hamm.

Thank you so much September. I know that I'll have to fight off my husband to read this one.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Giveaway 2. Angel City by Jon Steele

£12.20 Paperback
496 Pages

This Giveaway is for my advanced reader's copy of Angel City by Jon Steele which I gave a 4 star review.

This Giveaway is open to

You may see my review here:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fabulous Food

There are some fabulous food publications due for release this year and here is a selection of my favourites that I am really looking forward to.

I'll report back in due course !

Steal of the Day by Mark Tullius

This is my current fiction read and I'm only 40% done and its great!

I notice that the kindle version on :
Amazon is only £0.77p (UK) & $0.99 (US)
Review to follow very soon.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Children of the Jakaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani

Title: The Children of the Jakaranda Tree
Author: Sahar Delijani
Pages: 468
Price: Hardcover £7.92 Amazon UK

Release Date:  Hardcover - 18th June 2013
Publisher: Atria
Genre: Human Rights/Fiction/Middle East
Source: (e-copy)Publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781476709093

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Children of The Jakaranda Tree is set in post revolutionary Iran between 1983 and 2011 and is the author's debut novel.  Sahar Delijani was born in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran and the anguish conveyed with harrowing vividness in the opening chapter is heart felt.  It is a novel about suffering and loss; self sacrifice and abject fear, of how the future generations are affected, and in light of the recent Arab Spring, of how nothing has really changed.

This faction novel opens with a harrowing scene in which we find Azar in the hospital of Evin Prison in the painful throws of childbirth.  Before she is finally allowed to give birth without kindness or dignity she must first undergo interrogation.  Without the love of a family member or father-to be to give her support she only feels fear, pain, anguish and the guilt of bringing her child into the world in such a way.  The anguish is made even more palpable by the sinister presence  of the 'Sister' who she fears will make her wait even longer before being allowed to see and hold her newborn.

The contrast of emotion following the birth is overwhelming with the excitement of the new arrival shared by the other women in the prison. They forget their misery and hateful grievances and give all they can to help her and the baby.  Everyone's life is made just that more bearable with the presence of new life and promise of the future the innocent one brings.

In another  powerful  scene Maryam, the wife of an executed prisoner, is told to collect her husband's belongings from Elvin prison.  Once home she finds that the belongings are not of her husband but those of another executed prisoner.  There is no body to bury or mourn.  There is no recourse, she cannot complain and must live with the pain of never knowing what actually happened to her husband.

I did feel that the book lost its way somewhat, it became too distracting and where I had initially wanted to know more about the prisoners and their families I ended up feeling removed and more of a voyeur.  I became confused and found it difficult to know who was who, or where they fitted in to the story.   A glossary would have been of enormous help to keep up with the multitude of characters introduced.   The numerous children, family members, cousins and friends, some of which play a minor part, in combination with numerous time period shift were so disorientating that I lost focus.

I really wanted to read the book  and it is a beautifully written and a poetic piece.  It carries an important message that should be heard.  Would I recommend this one? Most definitely as even with a 3 star rating which was a disappointment with the first half being so powerful and a potential 5 star it remains a powerful account of modern history. I would definitely look forward to reading more from Delijani.

 I strongly advise the inclusion of a glossary for future publications of this complexity.

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Postman This Week

So glad to have won a copy of 'The Almond Tree' via The GoodReads Giveaway site, and received it yesterday. Really looking forward to reading this one.

Author: Michelle Cohen Corasanti

GOODREADS BLURB:  Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his Palestinian friends and family.
Ruled by the Israeli military government, the entire village operates in fear of losing homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes a reality. With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to the dangers of war, Ichmad begins the endless struggle to use his intellect to save his poor and dying family and reclaim a love for others that was lost when the bombs first hit.
"The Almond Tree" capitalizes on the reader's desire to be picked up and dropped off in another part of the world. It tackles issues that many Americans only hear about on World News or read about at The Huffington Post, such as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the scholasticide that is being imposed upon the Palestinians in Gaza and the current Gaza blockade. But even more, it offers hope.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J.M. Hirsch

Beating The Lunch Box Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go! by J M Hirsch
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: 3rd September 2013
208 Pages

Rating: 4 out of 5

The basic concept behind the book is to cook one main meal of the day 'Dinner', and then create '2 lunch ideas' for the next days lunch box. Great for leftovers without feeling as if that's what you're eating. The book includes delicious recipes for the main meal and options for 2 lunches to be made for the next day from the leftovers. 

Chapters include sections on, 'Fast and Easy', 'Catch of the Day', Poultry, Fish, 'Breakfasts for Lunch', 'Little Bites', Sandwiches, Sausages, Noodles, Salads, Beefy, Soups, and a small section on vegetarian lunches which I would have liked more of.

We've all had that feeling of the 'lunch box blues' with the jam or chocolate spread sandwich, packet of crisps, chocolate cake bar, juice carton drink and bruised banana or carrot thrown in as the healthy piece of fruit & veg option.  Preparing and thinking of alternatives and eating them become a real chore and we end up throwing in all manner of processed rubbish. Not only do we and our children get a nutritionally unbalanced, plastic tasting lunch time meal, we become disheartened and eating becomes just a mechanical necessity. Our kids just throw it away!  This book has great ideas and alternatives with recipes included for a main meal and then the 2 lunch box options with photographs and easy to follow instructions, helping to make lunchtime something to look forward to.
There are many ideas to choose from and it certainly inspires you to try your own food combinations, and including your child's suggestions in the process, to create their healthy lunches.  With the use of a thermos a curry or hot soup during the winter season would be a welcome change from a cold lunch when you need warming up.

I would definitely recommend 'Beating The Lunch Box Blues' for regular packed lunch eaters, and parents with school aged children.  A fantastic little book to inspire ideas for cost effective hot and cold dishes for work or school or even for picnic lunches on days out.

Hirsch writes a food blog about his son's lunches with lots of photographs to further inspire you. Parker is a very lucky boy. I can't promise to be as committed on a regular basis to my children but I will endeavour, with Hirsch's help, to do my best. 


I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Postman This Week

The postman knocked twice this week and the rest of my books were either Amazon purchases or library borrows, and just a few books from my backlog in 2 large containers which are awaiting me in the loft. 

I was so thrilled to receive an advanced review copy of Angel City, courtesy of September at Transworld Publishers, and I devoured it within the week.
I will be putting this one up very soon as a Giveaway. It is due for release in September 2013. 

The New Books Magazine mailed me, the Trader of Saigon by Lucy Cruickshanks,  which I'm thoroughly looking forward to reading and again will offer up as a giveaway in the future.

Today I just had to get, Alif The Unseen by G Willow Wilson, Running The Rift by Naomi Benaron, and Kalifah by John Elray

These are just a few of my backlog. Not sure when I'll get round to reading them as I keep being mailed review copies I just can't refuse.

Library borrows are,  Pure by Andrew Miller, an historical novel set in Paris in the 18th Century; Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, a classic in my opinion of religious excess and human obsession; and Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick a YA novel based on a boys life in the Khmer Rouge.

Just thought I'd share ...

I just wanted to share this.

I received an email from September Withers, Digital Publicity Executive at Transworld  Publications, to thank me for my review on, 'The Watchers' by Jon Steele. 
As a thank you September popped a copy of the sequel, 'Angel City' into the post for me. I read it and loved it just as much, and can't wait for the final in the series of which there is no publication date as yet.

This was totally unexpected but so appreciated to be recognised for the time and effort that goes into writing up a review and then posting it out there on the web.  I love reading and reviewing and so glad there is an outlet for my passion.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Angel City by Jon Steele

Title: Angel City (Book 2 of The Angelus Trilogy)
Author: Jon Steele
Pages: 496
Price: £18.99

Release Date: 12th September 2013
Publisher: Bantam Press
Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy
Source: The Publishers/NetGalley
ISBN: 9780593068663

Rating: 4 out of 5

Prologue: The 13th Century, a Holy War between the Cathars and Crusaders in Montsegur, French Pyrenees is being fought. Or ... the followers of another religious faith including women, children and infants are being slaughtered in most horrific and torturous ways. 

We are then launched  into current times, 3 years on from the cataclysmic events in Lausanne, with a terrorist attack in Paris. Harper becomes involved and an extremely profound and evocative scene is played out with a child clinging to her mortally wounded father,  and Harper's internal struggle to comply with orders or to help comfort a dying soul.  Does he do the right thing?...  What is the right thing ?

Katherine, is unknowingly being medicated with tea potions to control her memories as an overload of remembering would render her insane.  She is living in Oregon, a 'safe town' with her 2 year old son Max, and Officer Anne Jannsen her designated personal Swiss guard. Oh and nearly forgot, Monsieur Booty !

Harper has had various assignments in many human bodies over the millennia and has been mind wiped, once again, for his current assignment.  His actions result in endangering him in his mortal and immortal forms. How much time does he have left to save 'Paradise' from apocalyptic prophesy? How will he deal with the haunted memories surfacing from his body's former soul ?

Is Angel City as good as The Watchers? Definitely ! It has a different style to The Watchers which had a slower pace, haunting, ethereal with a blast of action.  Angel City's plot has more complexity and darkness, and is pretty much more action based with strong horrific scenes of modern day terrorism being played out between the forces of good and evil.  It also brings into play a lot more mythology which maybe a teaser for more of what's to come in the final instalment.

We are introduced to some new characters.  I found the horribly scarred Astruc  addictively mysterious.  Who is he, and what does he want ? The same goes for his companion, an odd looking boy called Goose.

Although The Watchers could be read as a stand alone, Angel City cannot without the reader becoming confused and have no idea what s going on.  Angel City does not end neatly but on a cliff hanger making it essential to read the trilogy in order of sequence.

I eagerly await 'The Way of Sorrows', and am pretty sure Jon Steele will deliver another magical masterpiece.  The only drawback will be in this being the end to this trilogy. 

Jon Steele writes with such causality and depth with the exceptionally compassionate vibe of one who has seen far more than one should and remain mentally intact.  I also believe he has something to say within his novels but I don't want to dwell on that here. You either feel it or you don't.  Either way Angel City is an exciting, suspenseful, fast paced read incorporating mythology,  history and faith.

Whilst 'googling' Jon Steele I found several you tube videos with him introducing both novels and an interview conducted by blogger, 'For winter nights - A bookish blog'.

Link here:–-author-of-the-watchers/

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, with special thanks to September for giving me the opportunity to review this book. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Giveaway : Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O'Connor

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O'Connor
Illustrated by Richard Morris
226 pages

To start off my first Giveaway, I will be offering my review copy of
Paw Tracks in the Moonlight.

This Giveaway is open to UK Residents only.

My Review:
Rating: 5 out of 5

I really loved this delightful tale about Dennis and Toby Jug.
Who would think that a book with very little else happening apart from the relationship between a slightly eccentric character and his cat would be so interesting.  A very gentle paced story that I really looked forward to picking up, and losing myself, to find out what was happening.
It very much reminded me whilst reading of Noodle.  We, as a family, were living in Saudi Arabia for a 4 year posting with my husbands job.  Sneak was a semi ferile female cat living on our compound who had litter after litter and was looking awful, scabby, skinny and very ill. Sneak would parade her kittens along the streets for the residents to see as she knew we would bring out food and water and milk for her and the kittens.  She appeared friendly until you got too close to the kittens and then she'd  attack .  We all knew the rules and stuck by them if we wanted to see them. The PAWS representative on the compound couldn't catch her in time between pregnancies to have her spayed for her own health and benefit so it was decided to catch her when she'd had her latest litter.
She was caught but 2 of the kittens had been moved and could not be found.  We had one of the 3 found.  At the time he was only 4 weeks old and we had to prepare ourselves for the possibility that he wouldn't make it.  I had to sleep with him snuggled into my neck and hair and wake up to feed him evaporated milk from a pen lid.  I can tell you I was exhausted and after 2 days didn't think I could continue for much longer without a good nights sleep and getting up at 5.30am to get the kids to school.  Luckily for all of us he finally got the idea and drank from a saucer.
Noodle went on to become quite a character on the compound. Loved by some and served ASBO's by others as he believed he had rights to all villas and any pet food lying around. He loved to attack adults legs as they walked and loved children so much he would seek them out. He would follow the children to school and walk with us wherever we walked. He would even happily sit on the front seat of the car for a drive.I would get phone calls to say that he was shopping in the supermarket or in the library and then the bus would drop him off back home.
When we finally had to return to the UK we were afraid he wouldn't last long with the traffic as he didn't know about  how the outside world ran. He was used to walking wherever and resting if he felt in the middle of the road.  If a car came by it would drive around him.
It's been 2 months and so far he's still ok. I just hope it stays that way.
But I digress ... Back to my review.   I actually laughed and cried during the course of reading and so glad that Newbooks sent me this one to review.