Monday, 21 November 2016

TLC BOOK TOUR Review: Forever Painless by Miranda Esmonde-White

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Forever Painless: End Chronic Pain and Reclaim Your Life in 30 Minutes a Day
by Miranda Esmonde-White

Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Harper Wave (15, November 2016)
Source: Publisher/TLC Book Tours
Pages: 320

Rating:
Synopsis:
Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Twenty percent of American adults accept back spasms, throbbing joints, arthritis aches, and other physical pain as an inevitable consequence of aging, illness, or injury. But the human body is not meant to endure chronic pain. Miranda Esmonde-White has spent decades helping professional athletes, ballet dancers, and Olympians overcome potentially career-ending injuries and guiding MS patients and cancer survivors toward pain-free mobility. Now, in Forever Painless, she shows everyone how to heal their aching bodies and live pain free.
The root of nearly all pain is movement—or lack thereof. We need to move our bodies to refresh, nourish, and revitalize our cells. Without physical activity, our cells become stagnant and decay, accelerating the aging process and causing pain. People who suffer chronic pain often become sedentary, afraid that movement and activity will make things worse, when just the opposite is true: movement is essential to healing. In Forever Painless, Miranda provides detailed instructions for gentle exercise designed to ease discomfort in the feet and ankles, knees, hips, back, and neck—allowing anyone to live happier, healthier, and pain-free no matter their age.
My Thoughts:
In my 20's my exercise regime would consist of an hour aerobics class (usually high impact-this was the 80's !), followed by 30 minutes weights then a final 30 minutes swimming...five times a week!

I kept this going for 13 years but I always felt something wasn't quite right, but couldn't put my finger on it...I felt tired most of the time, always has a cold and felt pain in my back. Eventually I was diagnosed with systemic lupus. During my first pregnancy everything fell apart I could no longer exercise due to severe exhaustion, sickness and pain.  Ever since It's been a constant battle to lose weight as I'd alternate between, strenuous spinning sessions that would inevitably lead to inflammation of the joints causing excruciating pain, and regular rest periods to recover. I'd then start the cycle all over again.

In part one of Forever Painless, Esmonde-White explains in an informative and most interesting way, the mechanics of chronic pain and although what she says is pretty much common sense, some of us still need to be reminded of what we should or shouldn't be doing in order to help ourselves overcome the pain, frustration and many other symptoms that accompany being in constant pain.

In part two of the book exercise programs are covered in separate chapters as follows:
The Basic Warm-up
The Foot and Ankle Workout
The Knee Workout
The Hip Workout
The Back Workout
The Upper Back and Shoulder Workout
The Connective Tissue Workout
The Immune System Workout
The Arthritis Workout
The Stress Workout

As a sufferer of an autoimmune disease I found the Immune System and Arthritis workouts of particular interest and felt confident in performing the exercises recommended. There is to be a video to compliment the book at a future date.  (See link for details. www.essentrics.com)

Forever Painless is in my honest opinion an invaluable resource for sufferers of persistent pain like me, and anyone going through the ageing process....so then, everyone is going to find this book helpful at some time or other to maybe become pain-free again.

What I personally took from the book is that I am no longer able, nor should I expect my body to perform in the same way it used to. I will leave behind the punishing exercise regimes of my youth as causing more pain from soreness, and inflammation irritating the arthritis is detrimental to my health and wellbeing.

I will still do 'spinning' but at a much gentler pace and continue with the exercises Edmond-White has given me in this book.

A 'self help' book I would have no hesitation to recommend for customers to read.

Disclaimer: I am extremely grateful to have been given an opportunity to receive an advanced digital copy of Forever Painless to review as part of the TLC Book Tours.

See what other reviewers have to say on the TLC Book Tour
by clicking on the button below!
tlc tour host

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

HF Virtual Book Tours (October/November 2016): The Popish Midwife by Annelisa Christensen

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The Popish Midwife, Elizabeth Cellier
by Annelisa Christensen

Publisher: The Conrad Press (July 14, 2016)
Source: Author/HF Virtual Book Tours (digital)
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating:
Synopsis:
In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.
Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.
‘Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’ With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.
This is the incredible true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.

My Thoughts:
We first encounter Elizabeth as she takes over from, who can only be described as a butcher midwife attending to an unfortunate woman in labour.  This startling scene is a shocking and horrifying lead into the brutal, frightening times of 17th Century England.  Being a midwife wasn't the respectable vocation it is today. The only qualification required was to have been present at other births, and then, not all midwives had the best interests of their charges at heart.  They often had poor regard for hygiene standards and were more intent on receiving payment for their services in order to purchase their next drink. A trusted experienced midwife could make a decent living from midwifery with the written, or 'word of mouth', testimonials from women who had been birthed by them. These midwives would be given access to places many other women would not, as with Elizabeth Cellier and her prison visits to give alms to the suffering, or gain entrance to gentle women's residences to assist in their birthing hours.  All midwives were however, open to abuse from misogynistic men, and to accusations of being whores and witches.

Elizabeth Cellier is a woman with an unwavering confidence and belief in herself to do what she believes is right and will defend those who have been unjustly accused. She is also a midwife, a Catholic, and married to a Frenchman, all of which mark her out as a target for ill wishers seeking potential benefit from her downfall in such superstitious, and political conspiratorial, religious times of upheaval. Highly intelligent and articulate, after witnessing a prejudiced courtroom hearing, she uses the experience of the proceedings to her advantage when she is herself charged with treason.

Told in first person narrative with authentic dialogue, Christensen has written a fascinating, brutally honest, above all entertaining debut novel.  With characters so vividly drawn, and scenes rich in atmospheric historical detail, I could almost imagine being there smelling the fear, and decaying bodies of the poor sufferers, I wanted so much to reach out to the unfortunates from within Elizabeth's imagined body.  Christensen came upon the 'real life' Elizabeth Cellier’s story by accident when she won some pages recording Elizabeth's trial in an auction. She felt that her story should be told and 'The Popish Midwife' is her story, and one which I highly recommend.  She is currently working on an historical novel about Marie Desormeaux, another 17th Century midwife, who murdered her husband, cut him up and distributed the body parts around London.  Definitely looking forward to another entertaining and gruesome, oh and educational tale from this author.

Disclaimer: I am extremely grateful to have been given an opportunity to receive an advanced digital copy of 'The Popish Midwife' by the author to review as part of HF Virtual Book Tours.

About the Author:
03_Annelisa Christensen
Annelisa Christensen was born in Sussex, took a psychology degree at the University of Stirling in Scotland, then returned to the south to partner in a fashion design company with her childhood friend, Julia. They had fun selling to shops and in street markets all over London, but dissolved the business when children came along, both believing in putting their families first. Delighted to be offered the job of laboratory technician in the local secondary school, in which she had herself been Head Girl twenty years earlier, Annelisa simultaneously wrote a magical realism series (as yet unpublished). She wrote The Popish Midwife after falling in love with Elizabeth Cellier in some 300-year-old loose pages of a trial she bought on the internet. The more she discovered about Elizabeth Cellier, the more Annelisa wanted to share this amazing woman’s story. The Popish Midwife is the result of years of research and writing.

For more information, please visit Annelisa Christensen's website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. Sign up for her Newsletter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, October 19
Spotlight at The Book Connection
Spotlight at Blogarama

Friday, October 22

Monday, October 24

Tuesday, October 25
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Friday, October 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, October 27
Guest Post at Books, Dreams, Life

Friday, October 28
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 1
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, November 2
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, November 4
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Monday, November 7

Wednesday, November 9
Interview at The Book Connection
Guest Post and Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, November 11

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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

WATERSTONES HALLOWEEN BOOK GROUP

WATERSTONES Pompey
Halloween Book Group

Monday October 31st, 530-7pm

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Join us... to discuss, 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' and the classic horror story, 'The Turn Of the Screw'.

Yummy cakes and drinks will be available from CafeW to fuel the spooky discussions.

You don't have to have read both books, but it would definitely help if you've read one of them for discussing at the meeting.

For further information please see our Facebook page or visit us on Twitter @pompeybooks

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

They Were Like Family To Me by Helen Maryles Shankman

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The stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking novel 'In the Land of Armadillos' by Helen Maryles Shankman has been republished under the new title 'They Were Like Family To Me'

One of my 'absolute favourites' this year you can read my original review here: http://sj2bhouseofbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/in-land-of-armadillos-by-helen-maryles.html

Unfortunately not yet published in the U.K.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

TLC Book Tours Review of Beulah's House of Prayer by Cynthia A Graham

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Beulah's House of Prayer by Cynthia A Graham
Pages: 224 pages
Publisher: Brick Mantel Books (July 12, 2016)
Source: Publisher/TLC Book Tours

Rating:

Disclaimer: A complimentary digital copy of 'Beulah's House Of Prayer' was provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest unbiased review.

Read in August 2016
Synopsis:
Some storms bring destruction. Others bring salvation.
In 1934 the tiny town of Barmy, Oklahoma, is in desperate need of a miracle. The cows are hungry, the rain won’t fall, most of Main Street is boarded up. Young aspiring trapeze artist Sugar Watson is dumped unceremoniously into this bleak setting with little money and only one thing on her mind—escape. Beulah Clinton, a Holy Ghost preacher, has dedicated herself to helping the distressed in this ragged little wasteland, and Sugar soon finds herself thrown in with Marigold Lawford, the simple-minded widow of the richest man in town, and Homer Guppy, a boy trouble follows like dust after a wind.
Despite Sugar’s immediate distaste of Barmy, Beulah’s patience, Marigold’s kindness, and Homer’s unconditional love make her reconsider the meaning of home.
On Black Sunday, the worst dust storm in history brings with it a choice: Sugar must decide whether or not to return home, leaving the hospitality—and love—of Barmy’s inhabitants. A stunning Depression-era literary novel with a touch of magical realism, Beulah’s House of Prayer captivates until the very end.

My Thoughts:
I read ''Beneath Still Waters' by Cynthia A Graham back in March of this year and was very impressed with her debut historical crime novel so when 'Beulah's House of Prayer' popped up for review with the 'TLC Book Tours', I jumped at the chance to be a tour host.

Beulah Clinton, a kindly but fierce lay preacher, surprisingly isn't the main character of this story however she is the pivital character that the townsfolk's lives revolve around in this desolate dusty town.  She arrives in Barmy with just her wagon drawn by two mules and sets up a boarding house where anyone in need of sustenance or comfort is always welcome.

Sugar Watson, the narrator's mother finds herself stranded in town with little more than her fathers trunk and a coffin with his body inside. Self centred, with a tendency towards spitefulness when things do not go her way, Sugar is not a likeable young girl.  With nowhere to go she reluctantly accepts Beulah's offer to stay for as long as she needs at the boarding house with her and another homeless boarder, Marigold Lawford a sweet natured, put upon young widow.

Several of the chapters begin with an event reminiscent in the narrators mind which gently blend into the narration of the past to continue the storyline.

Barmy is a 'godforsaken' place frequented by huge, violent dust storms which bring bad health and life threatening ailments in its wake. It tirelessly seeps in through every tiny crack or crevice and into homes to be inhaled and ingested by everyone. Dust tirelessly coats household surfaces no matter how many times it is cleaned away. There is no escape even from within the safety of their homes. The storms appear to foretell the arrival of bad news, upheavals, and crisis points for the townsfolk, with one almighty storm towards the end of the book bringing with it devastation and revelation in biblical proportions.

At times it is an immensely touching tale with scenes so tender and heartbreaking that I was moved to tears. One such scene is of Homer Guppy, the towns 'bad boy' who doesn't want to leave the side of the dying Sugar because she would be afraid to be alone in the dark. (It's okay, no spoilers given.) The characters were utterly believable and I felt fully invested in them, I watched them grow, learn about love, sacrifice, and to care for, and be cared about, it genuinely hurt to feel their pain.

Moments of humour are also evident as shown in a scene where Homer and Sugar are busy digging hole after hole in the yard, trying to find Beulah's buried mason jars full of money, unaware that they are being watched by an amused Beulah through the kitchen window.

Beulah's House of Prayer is set during the depression era of the 1930's in the 'Dust Bowl' days of the Oklahoma Panhandle and is written with such depth of character, a light touch of southern gothic, and accompanied by a twist of magical realism. It was an absolute delight to read.

Ultimately it is a tale of coming to terms with what you have and who you are, taking a long hard look at yourself and making amends. It is also about patience, friendship, hope, healing, redemption and forgiveness, and above all the power of love.

I highly recommend this quick, heartwarming tale.

About Cynthia A. Graham
Cynthia A. Graham is the winner of several writing awards, including a Gold IPPY and a Midwest Book Award for Beneath Still Waters, and her short stories have appeared in both university and national literary publications. She attained a B.A. in English from the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Cynthia is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the St. Louis Writers’ Guild, the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and Sisters in Crime. She is the author of two works of historical mystery: Beneath Still Waters and Behind Every Door. Beulah’s House of Prayer is her first foray in the land of magical realism.

Praise for Beulah's House of Prayer:
“Cynthia A. Graham’s novel, Beulah’s House of Prayer, is chock-full of what Flannery O’Connor called ‘large and startling figures.’ But these are not caricatures; they are people with whom you will fall in love and think you know in real life. You will care about their travails and want to turn to that last page to see what becomes of them—but with Dust Bowl descriptions reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, a break-neck speed conclusion, and a fascinating love story in the mix, you’ll be conflicted about how fast you want to get there.” —David Armand, author, The Gorge, Harlow, and The Pugilist s Wife

“Beulah’s House of Prayer blends the stark reality of Steinbeck and the grace and imagery of Willa Cather into a beautifully-rendered story of struggle and faith in Depression and Dust Bowl era Oklahoma a place where ‘communion is the wheat I grow and the blood I sweat.’  Steeped in metaphor, this moving novel is at once compelling and poetic. It is the kind of story that often finds its way onto the big screen. One heck of a good read!” —Dixon Hearne, author, From Tickfaw to Shongaloo and Delta Flats: Stories in the Key of Blues and Hope.

Cynthia A. Graham’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, September 6th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, September 7th: SJ2B House of Books
Friday, September 9th: Buried Under Books
Monday, September 12th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Thursday, September 15th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, September 19th: FictionZeal
Wednesday, September 21st: Write Read Life

Friday, 26 August 2016

HF Virtual Book Tours Review & Giveaway: The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

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The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War
By Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Publisher: Whole Sky Books (November 2015)
Source: Author/Historical Fiction Virtual Tour Books
Pages: 356

Rating:

Disclaimer: I would like to thank Phyllis Edgerly Ring for gifting me a copy of her book and HF Virtual Book Tours for allowing me to take part in this book tour.

"Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna's journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war."

My Thoughts:
The Munich Girl is primarily a story of self discovery and the importance of being true to ourselves told through the narratives of three women from present day and 1940's timelines.

In part, it tells the story of Anna Dahlberg, and her journey of uncovering the story behind her mother's portrait of an enigmatic pretty young woman.

It is through her diaries that Peggy, (Anna's mother) tells of how she comes into possession of the painting and becomes the unlikely friend of Ava, (Eva Braun).  It gives us a fascinating imagined glimpse of the world of Hitler's secret mistress.

I loved the writing style, the pace was perfectly timed with scenes flowing effortlessly through each timeframe. Yes, it's beautifully written with meticulously drawn characters, I truly believed in them, and that's where my problem with it lies. It bothered me that the lines between fact and fiction were so exquisitely blurred that I believed in the premise that Eva was an innocent in her naivety and worship of her abuser. I was confused and didn't feel comfortable with it.

Eva Braun was the 'highly kept secret' mistress of Adolf Hitler and yes she was a woman in her own right who under different circumstances may have been all the book portrays of her. She is not to be blamed for the evil acts this man was responsible for, however she did love him and chose to stay with him with the full knowledge of his monstrous beliefs and actions.  No, we shouldn't demonise her, but nor too can I accept a romanticised fairytale version of her. I tried but I failed. Had this been a work of pure fiction I would not fault it.

This isn't a negative review but I do have an opinion that could be perceived as such so I hope it won't dissuade anyone from reading it as Phyllis Edgerly Ring has written an exemplary piece of historical fiction which I truly enjoyed reading. It was just the portrayal of the little known about, factual character I found hard to come to terms with.

Perfect for fans of historical fiction that address history in some form and book groups as I think it could generate some lively debate.

Praise
“I was drawn in by Phyllis Ring’s economical and expressive language. Then the story took over! Protagonist Anna Dahlberg must face the emotional fallout from a traumatic plane crash, while simultaneously uncovering the first clues in a shocking generational mystery involving key players in the Third Reich. Everything’s complicated by a new romance that may help her overcome the past and find her true inner strength. But is it real? Love can manifest itself in enigmatic–and unexpected–ways.” -Elizabeth Sims, author and contributing editor at Writer’s Digest magazine
“… fresh perspective of German women at opposing ends of the warring spectrum … a beautiful story of enduring friendship and the lengths people will go to for love.” -The Stellar Review
“So persuasive is this novel that, before I could believe it was in fact a piece of fiction, I contacted the author and asked where she did her research and where she came up with the idea.” -Leslie Handler, The Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author
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Author Phyllis Edgerly Ring writes fiction and non-fiction. She left a part of her heart in her childhood home of Germany, which she visits as often as she can.
Her newest release, The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War, follows the lives of three women there before, during, and after the Second World War. The novel’s protagonist begins a journey that links past and present when she discovers that her mother shared a secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun.
The New Hampshire author loves writing, travel, and the noblest possibilities in the human heart and is always curious to discover how history, culture, relationship, spirituality, and the natural world influence us and guide the human family on its shared journey.

For more information, please visit Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway - Open Internationally
To enter the giveaway for a paperback copy of 'The Munich Girl', please click here:
Two copies are up for grabs!

Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 1
 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, August 2
 Review at Creating Herstory
Thursday, August 4
 Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, August 5
 Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, August 8
 Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Tuesday, August 9
 Review at First Impression Reviews
Wednesday, August 10
 Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Friday, August 12
 Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 15
 Guest Post & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Wednesday, August 17
 Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, August 18
 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, August 19
 Review at Book Nerd
Monday, August 22
 Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Friday, August 26
 Review at SJ2B House of Books

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

NUDGE NB Newbooks Review: The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock


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The Heavenly Table
Donald Ray Pollock
Pages: 384
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Souce: NUDGE, NB Newbooks
Genre: Historical Western Noir

Rating:

Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of The Heavenly Table
from NUDGE NB Newbooks in exchange for my honest review.

A classically written western with a contemporary noir twist
Read in July 2016
Synopsis:
Cane, Cob and Chimney Jewett are young Georgia sharecroppers held under the thumb of their domineering, God-struck father Pearl. When he dies unexpectedly, they set out on horseback to rob and loot their way to wealth and infamy, inspired by a lurid dime novel that only one of them can read. But little goes as planned and soon they're pursued by both the authorities and by stories that make them out to be the most fearsome trio of bank robbers and murderers around. The truth, though, is far more complex than the legend. And the heaven they've imagined may in fact be worse than the hell they sought to escape. The Heavenly Table is gritty, electrifying and weirdly funny. It cements Donald Ray Pollock's place among America's best contemporary novelists.

My Thoughts:
My first encounter with Donald Ray Pollock was with 'Kockemstiff' and 'The Devil All The Time'. I just love the gritty hillbilly, redneck storylines. I just love his twisted, cruel sense of humour. Peppered throughout with the worst acts of human kind, moral angst and a just a sprinkling of goodness or innocence, Pollock does not write comfortable easy reading material. So then, with 'The Heavenly Table' I knew what I was likely to be getting and was not disappointed.

Set against the backdrop of Alabama and Meade in 1917 and the beginning of America's involvement in WWI, 'The Heavenly Table' is an epic family saga with the Jewett family at the heart of the story, with Pearl a fanatically religious hardworking farmer and his sons, Cane the oldest, wisest and literate, Cob the 'dummy' and Chimney the rebellious youngest and least moral of the three sons.

We also hear about the Fiddler's; Ellsworth who has lost the family's life savings to a travelling con artist, Eula his long suffering, all forgiving wife, and Eddie their good for nothing drunk of a son.

Initial chapters give alternating perspectives of the families with a build up of characters adding their own distinctive points of view along the way. These seemingly unrelated storylines will eventually converge with an exciting explosive climax.

The Heavenly Table's titular phrase comes from a mystical drifter Pearl encounters one day, who tells him to, “welcome all the suffering that comes your way” and preaches that if he does so, one day he will “eat at the heavenly table.”  Well darn it if Pearl and those boys haven't suffered enough already, but Pearl believes they can and must suffer more to do whatever it takes to be worthy of sitting at that table some day.  Fortunately for Pearl his suffering is soon over and the boys decide that they've had enough and want something better while they're still alive.  With the influence of an old dime novel and its violent tales of 'Bloody Bill Bucket', a hero they will aspire to more and more, the boys set off on their adventurous, often disastrous, road to to seek their fortunes.

This is gritty western noir at its best with impeccably placed humour with gruesome graphic scenes, one such as a parasitic worm vacating the dead body of the Jewett boys' mother.

Pollock writes with such fluidity and emotive intensity about his deprived and often depraved characters, about the hardship and savagery in their lives, and of their grit and determination to better themselves.  So fabulously drawn that at times it feels as if the Jewett boys could just ride off the pages in a blaze of dust and played out for me like a Cohen Brother's movie.  Surface to say, it's deliciously dark, mean and cruel with a smattering of good old religious comeuppance and plenty of brutal black humour.

Perfect for fans of Bill Frank, Joe R Lansdale, Patrick de Witt, and because I don't think it has quite the same level of violence as in his previous books, it would make an excellent introduction for newcomers to the world of Mr Pollock who is in my opinion a cracker of a story teller.

Favourite Character/Scene: I loved all the characters and far too many scenes were memorable so I'll go with...the image of a drunken Eddie Fiddler accidentally blasting his mom's cat Pickles to Kingdom Come.

Least liked character: ohh it’s got to be the big 'Bad Bob' psycho killer.