Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig - Blog Tour Review

When I received an email asking if I'd be interested in taking part in the blog tour for Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, I'm pretty sure I responded before the email even finished downloading! I couldn't have been more excited to get involved in one of my most anticipated books of the year.


A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world's last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unravelling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

My Review

Ahh apocalyptic fiction, where have you been? It's been quite a while since my last apocalyptic novel and I honestly hadn't thought that I had missed the genre, I was wrong. I forgot just how much I enjoy being creeped out by end of the world scenarios and imagining myself in the situation and trying to plan what I would do to survive.

Chuck Wendig has taken the genre to the next level and completely modernised it. Everything felt much more intense and real because the occurrences could happen in real life at any given minute. That to me is far more scary than any fantastical or infinitesimally small chance occurrence. Some of the topics are incredibly on point in the current climate and it takes very little imagination to envision it playing out as it does in Wanderers.

When reading I usually have to identify with at least one character to fully immerse myself in the story, but in Wanderers I didn't find that. I didn't personally identify with any individual character, but I did recognise traits in each person that I could understand and that really worked for me. Everyone was flawed and that made them both human and again real.

The story itself is over a whopping 800 pages long, but I can honestly say it felt like a book half the size it read so quickly. Obviously there is a lot of lead up to what happens, with introductions to the characters, but every chapter kept me wanting to read more, just one more.

I love the darkness, I love the relevance, I love how everything is woven together. Wanderers is incredible and is a masterpiece of modern apocalyptic writing. I gave it five stars and have already been recommending it to my friends.

About The Author

Chuck Wendig is an American author, comic book writer, screenwriter, and blogger. He is best known for his popular online blog Terribleminds, and for his 2015 Star Wars novel Aftermath, which debuted at #4 on The New York Times Best Seller list and #4 on USA Today's best seller list. As of early 2016, Wendig writes Hyperion for Marvel and The Shield for Dark Circle Comics.
He was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2013.

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Monday, 17 June 2019

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers - Blog Tour Review

Life Of A Nerdish Mum is honoured today to be kicking off the blog tour for The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers.

The Sea Refuses No River

The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it's like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life 

In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck', and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, 'The words are purposes. The words are maps.'

My Review

I seem to be really drawn to poetry at the minute, so when the opportunity to read The Sea Refuses No River, a collection of poems about grief I jumped at the chance.

I don't mention covers as often as I probably should, but the cool simplicity of this book cover really matches the feel and tone of the poems and I think is quite beautiful. The picture doesn't quite do it the justice it deserves, it's even more striking in real life.

I dove in and out of The Sea Refuses No River, I feel the topic and the poems are heavy and so lend themselves to being read in instalments rather than reading all in one sitting. Each time I picked the book up, I read the next poem, though sometimes I admit to being pulled into the mood of the words and reading more than the one that I had planned to read.

I was trying to chose just one favourite out of the collection, but as it's my review and I can do what I want, I'm choosing two. The first is - Tea And Buttered Toast is really well constructed, it caught my attention from the title alone and kept me right to the end. The second is - Seven Full Stops, it really made me think about the different way people I know both read and speak and I really enjoyed the rhythm.

A special mention has to be made of Every Garden Is A Gift as it is beautiful and haunting and I completely felt the emotion behind it.

Overall a solid and compelling collection of poems. I will definitely be looking out for more of Bethany Rivers work.

I gave The Sea Refuses No River four stars.

About The Author

Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.

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Friday, 3 May 2019

Bad Mommy Stay Mommy by Elisabeth Horan - Blog Tour Review

Here at Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I've been looking forward to taking part in the review of Bad Mommy Stay Mommy by Elisabeth Horan.

Bad Mommy Stay Mommy 

Elisabeth Horan was in the grip of postpartum depression after the birth of her second son, 'red and writhing a salamander underfoot'. In this collection, Elisabeth finds the courage to survive. Uplifting, guttural: Horan leaves her reader roaring for more.

My Review

Bad Mommy Stay Mommy has been one of my most anticipated reads so far this year. A collection of poems about motherhood and mental health, is definitely my cup of tea.

It's strange I have to say, as I started to read through the poems, I felt less alone and that feeling only strengthened the further I got through the collection. Being a parent can be a very lonely state, even if you have a partner and a support system in place, you have thoughts and feelings and struggles and you think that you are the only person who has felt that particular way. You feel guilty for thinking certain things and unsure about if you are ever doing the right thing. No one really ever talks about this because you don't want to be judged. Elisabeth Horan has enough bravery for all of us though and shows us that it's ok to feel the way you feel and that no, you are not alone!

Having had post natal depression after having mini Nerdling, there were certain poems in the collection that really spoke to me and I found myself crying more than once. Not through sadness, but through acceptance and realisation that the way I felt was valid.

Horan's writing is eloquent, honest and sometimes brutal and I enjoyed every single page. I will definitely be dipping in and out of this book again and again in the future.

I feel the poem "Therapy" almost at the end of the collection, is one of my favourites. It portrays a journey and has a feeling of celebration that she has worked hard to get to where she is and deserves to be there. I also love the Shawshank Redemption reference.

I gave this book 5 stars.

About The Author

Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain - especially those ostracised by disability and mental illness. Elisabeth is honoured to serve as Poetry Editor at Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and is Co-Owner of Animal Heart Press. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique, and a 2018 Pushcart Prize Nomination from Cease Cows.
Elisabeth lives in rural Vermont with her husband and two young sons. When not being poet, she works as a secretary and loves riding horses & dancing the salsa---
Follow her on Twitter @ehoranpoet  &  ehoranpoet.com

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Thursday, 18 April 2019

The New Achilles by Christian Cameron - Blog Tour Review

Today Life Of A Nerdish Mum is happy to take part in the blog tour celebrating the release of The New Achilles by seasoned historical fiction author, Christian Cameron.

The New Achilles

Alexanor is a man who has seen too much blood. He has left the sword behind him to become a healer in the greatest sanctuary in Greece: he has turned his back on war.
But war has followed him to his refuge at Epidauros, and now a battle to end the freedom of Greece is all around him. The Mediterranean superpowers of Rome, Egypt and Macedon are waging their proxy wars on Hellenic soil, turning Greek farmers into slaves and mercenaries.

Greece needs a champion.

When a wounded soldier is carried into his temple, Alexanor believes the man's wounds are mortal. But he is not destined to die. But Alexanor must face his own daemons before he can help the hero face his.
Because this is the new Achilles. His name is Philopoemen.

This is Greece's champion. The last hero. He is the new Achilles.

My Review

I only discovered my love of historical fiction a couple of years ago, but I sadly don't find time to read the genre very often. When the opportunity to read The New Achilles came up though, I jumped at it as I absolutely love Greek history in part due to my Greek heritage. Also the story sounded fascinating.

The action is right there from chapter one and continues right the way through the story. There are many extremely well written battles, both exciting and detailed. I'm not always the biggest fan of battle scenes in books (in War and Peace, I far preferred the "peace" sections to the war scenes), but in The New Achilles, I was kept engaged and wanted to know the outcome, instead of zoning out or skim reading.

Alexanor is an interesting character as he is someone who has moved from a life of fighting to a life of peace, before becoming embroiled again in the world of war. He is a far more stable character than you'd imagine and I really enjoyed his presence and his character development.

You can tell the author is a historian, this is not a detrimental thing, as the language and terminology used is obviously correct of the time period. I enjoy learning when I read, so having to use the glossary (and good old Google) on occasion was really helpful. The author's knowledge also helps with the feeling of authenticity of the places and people of the time period. This all really helped immerse me fully into the story. 

Overall a really excellent and intense read, not one to be sped through, but one to be savoured.

I gave this book 4 stars.

About The Author

Aka Miles Cameron. Also publishes as Gordon Kent with his father Kenneth M. Cameron.

Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The Secret Life Of Moles by Liz Burgess - Blog Tour Review

Thank you to Clink Street Publishing for having Life Of A Nerdish Mum on the blog tour for The Secret Life Of Moles (And Their Friends) by Liz Burgess.

The Secret Life Of Moles (And Their Friends) 

Liz Burgess has always held a keen interest in nature, especially small furry mammals!

Long fascinated by their secret activities at home in her own back garden, and the fields surrounding it, she decided to explore this special underground world, and find out more about moles and their other little friends. Liz Burgess lives in South Yorkshire and The Secret Life of Moles is her first book for children.

My Review

The Secret Life Of Moles follows Ragwort Teasel, a young mole, as he wants to spread his wings and move out of the family tunnels into more space. There's a road being built and there's a farm and tractor near by so he has to go into uncharted territory. Along the way, there are trials and tribulations until finally he is settled nicely in his new home.

As the story progresses, it shows how working together and helping your friends can assist in achieving your goals. There is also give a small insight into how moles live.

The Secret Life Of Moles is aimed at children, I would say it would be better for age seven and up as there is a lot of text and though there are pictures, they are simple (but beautiful) sketches with no colour and they are not very often. As a grown up reading the book, I found the names of things difficult, wingthings, climbing fox etc. But I'd imagine for children this would be a fun way of describing each animal and them guessing as what they were.

Overall an engaging story and I will be interested to see what Liz Burgess produces after The Secret Life Of Moles.

I gave this book 3 stars.

About The Author

Liz Burgess lives in South Yorkshire has enjoyed a varied career, including working for a UK Environmental Charity, the latter 10 years as a Director. She had always had a keen interest in nature especially small mammals, activities in her own back garden and the surrounding fields inspired her to write the Secret Life of Moles. Any reference to a moles natural behaviour in The Secret Life of Moles is correct according to Liz’s small amount of research. All the drawings were been done by Liz in pencil and ink.

At the age of 68, Liz enjoys hiking, bird-watching anything to do with wildlife. She has done quite a bit of foreign travel, including rain forests, jungles and was fortunate to see a 'tiger' in the wild. Liz retired at 60, previous to this she worked for an environmental charity for 28 years. Mainly involved with operational developments but she does have a background in Human Resources and Employment Law.

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Monday, 18 February 2019

Where Have I Been? - An Update Chatty Post

Some of you may have noticed I came back for a little while after "maternity" and then I vanished without a trace! I just thought I'd give a little update on what's been happening and announce the (hopefully) good news, that I am back and raring to go! 

So, the plan was to take a "maternity break" from my blog from just before Baby Nerdling arrived, until September. With this in mind, I took on blog tours and had plans for reviews. All good intentions. I managed quite well to start off with, but then life became overwhelming with a new baby, a five year old, daily life and some other personal stuff and the thought of going back to "work work" looming. Reading and blogging, were no longer a priority. I ended up letting a couple of people down on blog tours and reviews, I just felt like quitting blogging altogether. With that in mind I sent an email to all the publishers and blog tour organisers that I normally work with just to give them a heads up and to ask them to bear with me. They were all absolutely wonderful about it, so it made me feel so much better about the whole situation. 

As time went on, I wasn't sure if I was going to come back to blogging or if I was just going to quietly go on my way and just not update or upload any more. I didn't even read until Nerdish Dad decided enough was enough and started handing me books he had chosen that I had to read! I went through January pretty much thinking that was it for blogging though, I'd gone back to "work work" and genuinely I had zero time to blog even if I wanted to. But then February hit and I started to get the itch to start sharing my reviews and getting back into the bloggersphere! So I've signed up for, just a couple, of blog tours, all of which I'm looking forward to. 

Going forward I will be doing blog tours, but nowhere near the amount I used to, not only just because of the lack of time, but I want to avoid burning out again. I'm also excited to be catching up on the many reviews and blogs that I haven't posted that will start appearing over the next few weeks. I'm also going to be going ahead with blog posts that I've had planned for so long, but have not got around to it. Life Of A Nerdish Mum is going to start looking a little bit different than it used to, but hopefully you'll all join me for the ride and enjoy the experience.