Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Memoir 10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra-marathon runner by Laura Bird

10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra marathon runner10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra marathon runner by Laura Bird

4 stars

10 10 10: My 10 year journey from suicide attempt to ultra-marathon runner is the inspiring memoir of Laura Bird.

Aged eighteen, Laura attempted suicide after a culmination of events from a challenging childhood. While recovering in hospital, Laura took her psychological well-being into her own hands and decided that as she was offered another chance in life, she would take it.

Laura’s recovery wasn’t without its hardships and pain, but through it all Laura began building her own mental strengths. She went on to push both the barriers of her physical and psychological abilities while taking on some amazing tasks: marathons, triathlons, ironman, SAS: Who Dares Wins reality TV show and a mammoth ten marathons in ten days.

Throughout the book Laura speaks candidly about her own journey through mental health and talks about how she now deals with everyday life issues. I was very interested in her ten year turn around and how she is driven to keep on trying while accepting that we all need to fail at things so that we can learn valuable lessons.

A very interesting and moving story to read, and one that I would happily recommend to a wide reading audience.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Fighting for her life after a suicide attempt, Laura ‘Birdy’ Bird ended her turbulent adolescence physically and psychologically broken.

Fast forward 10 years and she has run 10 marathons in 10 days to raise money for the people who saved her life.

Join Birdy on her moving and motivational 10-year journey from learning how to walk again, through the challenges of training for an Ironman, to taking on the brutal Directing Staff as a recruit on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins. Culminating in taking on the biggest

ultra-marathon running challenge she has ever faced.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of #Memoir BIPOLAR COMEDIAN by Harriet Dyer

Bipolar ComedianBipolar Comedian by Harriet Dyer

3.5 stars

Bipolar Comedian is the memoir of Harriet Dyer. Written in short, easy to read chapters, Dyer talks about her upbringing in a very frank and honest overview.

With a homelife mixed with good memories and shocking events, Dyer’s undiagnosed mental health was further affected by broken friendships, sexual abuse, drinking and drugs. It’s a wonder that Dyer found the strength and perseverance to carry on; in fact more than once she considered ending it all. Comedy was the one theme which gave Dyer hope; I see-sawed between wanting to cry for her or laugh with her as I read this.

While I was humbled by Dyer’s experiences, I think that with the help of a good editor and a thorough proofread this book could be lifted to the level it deserves. At the moment it reflects the memories as they tumble from Dyer’s mind, but the delivery style could be tidied up so that this important book could reach a wider critical audience. 

However, there is a lot to commend about this book. Now a multi-award winning comedian, Dyer uses her mental health experiences to support others who are going through their own challenges. She focuses much of her stage work on mental health, and hopes to be an inspiration to others with her candid approach. Good Job!

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

From dying twice to wanting to be a boy, her Dad leaving her Mum for a man and once doing so many drugs she thought she was Kat Slater from Eastenders… It’s been eventful.

Of course there was the abuse too.

A funnier than it should be, honest tale of a bipolar, working class girl from Cornwall who overcame an awful lot of trauma to become an award winning comedian and mental health advocate.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Memoir Viking Voyager by @Sverrir_Sigurds

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Viking Voyager by Sverrir Sigurdsson

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From a childhood in wartime Iceland to retirement in Chesapeake Bay, Sverrir Sigurdsson followed the life of a modern-day Viking. Working and travelling widely in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa through turbulent times he has given us a life story full of fascinating encounters and observations. The development of Iceland from its simple, traditional lifestyle to the modern successful country of today is shown in the lives of Sverrir’s family and friends and you can’t help but admire his personal adaptability and skills. The range of languages he has acquired have enabled him, as a trained architect and later project manager of educational developments all over the world, to gain satisfaction in his achievements. There have been problems along the way in his personal life, but he has two successful children and happiness with his second wife Veronica Li who co-wrote this biography.

I learnt a great deal about world history in the second half of the twentieth century from this informative book and the extraordinary escapades Sverrir experienced driving his family through remote parts of Asia and southern Africa are amazing to read. The inclusion of maps and photographs enhance the content.  I would certainly enjoy sitting next to this energetic Viking at a dinner party, as I suspect he has many more tales to tell.

Book description

This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favourable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world. Join him on his roaring adventures!

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Memoir Pointe Patrol: How nine people saved their neighborhood by @EarikB

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Pointe Patrol by Earik Beann

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This is an inspiring book and a fascinating account of what happened to a group of people who were fortunate enough (with a fair amount of human help as well) to have their houses survive a terrible fire that killed forty-four people, burned over 245000 acres and cost at least $9.5 billion in insured damages (and around $85 billion to the US economy). As the author notes, these group of people were not all house owners (he and his wife, Laura, were renting, and so were a number of the people who formed the #Pointe Patrol), but they somehow took it upon themselves to keep the neighbourhood safe.

The story reads like one of those fiction books (or movies) where a bunch of people —who have little in common and are pretty normal— discover their inner heroes and come together achieving great things. Only, this is not a fictional account. Yes, these are pretty normal people, and although some knew each other from before, the author makes the point more than once that due to his job, mostly online, he did not have much contact with the neighbours, and it is his wife who comes up with the idea of creating a chat group for the neighbours that they use to keep everybody informed of what is happening, both the people who have managed to return to the evacuated area, like they have, and also those who are outside and whose houses are still standing. As we read, we learn information about the neighbours, although not necessarily in a lot of detail (some are stubborn, some are control freaks, other have an interesting sense of humour, they are not always truthful…), and we also hear some of their opinions and prejudices (yes, we might not always agree with their politics, with their ideas on certain subjects) and, thankfully, they are not perfect. Earik and his wife are ‘the yoga people’, and other than some regular get-togethers, many of them knew each other only superficially, if at all. There is also a couple who remain in the area and never participate in any of the general efforts, and they sound quite disagreeable. So this is not an idealised version of reality, although it is an inspiring story that illustrates that people can get on when they have a sense of purpose and a mission higher than themselves, and they all work together towards a goal.

Saying that, it is difficult to read the book and not think that it would make a good TV movie. You have the retired fire-fighter, stubborn and determined, who ends up being known as Chief, you have another neighbour who works in the SQUAT team, Wayne, Eddie, who turns his garage into the neighbourhood coffee-shop and bar, two Mikes, the police and the national guard, Oscar —Earik’s Doberman, who loves his new role as proper guard dog—, their two cats, and also the people outside who keep in touch via text and provide as much support as they can with food supplies, medications, and also updates on news and life in general.

I was surprised at times at how vivid a picture the book portrays of the situation, and how, despite the fact that they are pretty much isolated and become, as the author describes it more than once, ‘a tribe’, the bigger society and its trappings interferes every so often, giving everybody reason to pause. There are the looters, always trying to get in and rob whatever they can, there are times when the reactions of the police to different individuals vary a lot depending on who they are (yes, race do matters, even in emergency situations, it seems), and although in this case the emergency seems to get the best out of this group of people, that is not the case with everybody involved.

Is there anything I didn’t enjoy? Well, the story is told from the author’s perspective, and as can happen with memoirs, it is not written as a thriller where action is everything and no extraneous information is offered. The author sometimes goes off on tangents, including information about his and his wife’s personal circumstances (they had moved very often up to that point), stories about their cats and dogs, also about how to handle a big dog, his point of view on firearms (not one I share, and the arguments he uses to try to convince his wife would definitely not convince me), a long dissertation on a particular local beer and its merits, and some pretty personal things, and although I mostly enjoyed those and they made it come more alive for me, I suspect they might be frustrating for some people, and I’ve read some reviews that mention those.

My other worry was the fact that, no matter how well they did and the amazing thing they achieved, their circumstances were very special, and it is not something that everybody should consider if faced with a similar situation. They had a retired fireman living in the neighbourhood, and they were lucky enough to have a sufficient number of neighbours taking part, with necessary materials, water, and enough outside support to manage to pull it off. (I could not help but wonder what would have happened if that was not the case and how different the results might have been in a neighbourhood without resources, financial and otherwise). Basically, keep safe and follow advice. Readers might take issue with other things: there is no gender equality at work here (Laura is the only woman there, she leaves at some point, and the rest of the women are supporting from outside, although there are policewomen and a woman member of the National Guard as well, but not members of the group), and, as I mentioned, some of the personal attitudes and comments might not be to everybody’s taste, but that is understandable when we are reading a true account, rather than a fictional one.

I enjoyed the narration, and felt as if I had shared in some of the sense of community and joint purpose of the group. I also enjoyed the off-track comments (some), learning more about how the emergency services work and are organised, and I loved Oscar and the cats as well. The fact that the profits for the sale of the book will go to support fire victims and to the families of fallen first-responders is another good reason to recommend the book. If you’re looking for an inspiring true-account of people dealing with an emergency situation, and you are fascinated by community spirit, I definitely recommend this.

Book description

On October 9, 2017, California suffered one of the most destructive fires in its history. The Tubbs Fire burned 5,643 structures and killed twenty-two people in Sonoma County. The fire department was completely overwhelmed and was so busy trying to save lives that they had to let many houses burn rather than waste resources in trying to protect them. During this chaos, nine of us snuck back into our neighborhood in the mandatory evacuation zone and formed a vigilante fire force. We called ourselves the Pointe Patrol, and saved our neighborhood, as well as an apartment complex across the street from certain destruction.

As if the fires weren’t enough, we found ourselves in the midst of anarchy, with looters running unchecked through the streets. We chased them out of houses with shovels, confronted them when they showed up in disguise, and patrolled the area with a completely over-the-top Doberman. The other neighbors who had evacuated organized themselves into our support network and supplied us with food and equipment, which they passed through to us across the police lines. My wife and I were part of that nine-person team and experienced all of this firsthand. This is the story of what happened at Viewpointe Circle during those two weeks in October.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Guest Author Randy Mixter

Today our guest is Randy Mixter, he has written several books and I came across Randy when I read and reviewed  “Summer’s Passing” click here for a reminder of the review. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2SQ

Image of Randy Mixter

Let’s find out more about Randy;

1) Where is your home town?
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. I now live outside of Annapolis, Maryland with my wife, Veronica, and our five cats.
2) How long have you been writing?
I began writing as a teenager, poetry and short stories mostly. I went on to write movie reviews and articles for a local newspaper. My first published novel was The Boys Of Northwood, an autobiography in short stories about life as a teenager in Baltimore. Since then I’ve written and published seven additional books, with more on the way.
3) You went to Vietnam as a member of the military police, tell us about your book “Letters from Long Binh”
While I was in Vietnam, I wrote letters to my girlfriend (now my wife) on an almost daily basis. When I returned home, I discovered she had kept every one of them. A couple of years ago I had the idea of incorporating some of those letters home into a book that reflected my daily experiences as a military policeman in a faraway and dangerous land. Letters From Long Binh was the result. I believe the novel accurately represents my year in Vietnam with selected incidents remembered, and forever preserved, in words.
4) You have at least 11 books available for purchase on Amazon in a variety of styles; short stories, memories, novels, which do you enjoy writing most?
I enjoy writing fiction novels and short stories. Each one is an adventure that I undertake with the characters of my stories. Quite honestly, most of my books begin with a simple plot idea and expand from there. I like to create unique characters and send them off to strange places where mystery and intrigue hide behind each shadow. In other words, I let my characters do my work for me. I’ll put them in certain situations and let them work their way out.
5) Tell us about the detective series featuring FBI agent Jack Stanton.
I introduced Jake Stanton to the world in my novel Swan Loch. In that book he was a secondary character, but I liked him so much I decided to give him more to do. I wrote Sorcerer based on his exploits with an eccentric magician and a device that allowed time travel. I also put him on the trail of a serial killer in the short story, Red Moon. Next up for Jake, A Gunman’s Destiny, about a master criminal and his personal vendetta against the FBI agent.
6) “Summer’s Passing” has a mix of two stories, one from the past which twists with the present, have you considered a sequel to tell us more of the character’s stories?
I recently published a sequel of sorts to the story in the novel involving Rachel Cain and the adventurer, Morgan Reid. The novel, Scarlet And Gold, concerns their adventures at land and sea during a time of the pirate wars long ago. The book is the first of a planned trilogy. The second chapter, Coronado’s Treasure, will be released in early 2014.
7) Several of your books relate to the 1960’s, tell us briefly what going up in that time period in America meant to you.
The years of my youth were spent in the community of Northwood which had everything a young man could want; a woods nearby, ball-fields, shopping centers, and alleys to play in. The 1960s were  magical  years of innocence and mystery, where adventure was as close as the summer morning outside the door of your home. I have always believed I could not have grown up in a better time and place.
8) Would you say that you have passed your memories down to the next generations in some of your work? Which of your books in particular relate to this?
I would like to think that the books I write now will be my legacy for many years to come, passed down by family member who many years from now might say, my great great grandfather was a writer and this is one of his books. I think The Boys Of Northwood  will be remembered because the book relates to a specific time and lifestyle that no longer exists. I’d like to think that Letters From Long Binh would also have meaning in the years ahead when, hopefully, war is but a distant memory.
9) Do you self publish your work? What are your experiences with getting your work to an audience? Is it changing rapidly?
Although I have had some of my earlier works published, I felt that self-publishing was the best way to present my books to my readers. I now have complete control over the book’s content, cover art, etc. I enjoy promoting and advertising my stories. I make certain that all my works the best they can be, and are properly proofread and edited before they are published. I owe my readers that much.
10) What are you working on at the moment? Do you have an expected publication date?
At the present time I am working on a novella entitled A Girl Of The Paper Sky. It is about a young girl and her ability to visit a dreamworld where there is much beauty, and possibly a dangerous malevolent evil. I hope to have the story published later this year. Then its on to the sequels of Scarlet And Gold and Sorcerer, with others to follow. No rest for the weary, but I love every second of it.
Summer's Passing
Summer’s Passing; Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
Thank you Randy, it’s been a pleasure meeting you.

Guest Author Hope Charles

Todays guest author is Hope Charles. Thanks for your answers Hope, we look forward to hearing that you found that fictional novel to write aswell as your memoir.

1) Tell me your name
Hope Victoria Walton Charles
2) Where do you live?
Sanford, FL (USA)
3)When did you start writing?
I started writing poetry at the age of 12, songs at the age of 17 and books at the age of 30.
4)What type of books do you like writing the most?
I’ve truly enjoyed writing my memoir, but it feels as if there’s a fictional writing inside of me as well, so I think I may dive into that arena next.
5)Pass on 3 tips about writing or publishing.
My three tips about writing would probably be to write from your heart, say what you mean and mean what you say, and never be a afraid to be vulnerable in your writing.
6)What was the last book that you read? How would you rate it?
The last book I read was my mother’s book, You Are Already Healed. It is an incredible book full of prayers and confessions that she compiled. It has been a huge blessing in my life and strength for me when I felt as if my faith was dwindling. I give it 5 stars and then some.
7)Now choose just one of your books and add a link to it.
 The next guest author will be Gill Jepson on Sunday.