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The Songaminute Man

‘The nostalgic memoir of a young man, eldest of fourteen, growing up in 40s Wednesbury. The heartbreaking true account of his son struggling to come to terms with his father’s dementia. A tribute to the unbreakable bond between father and son.’ – Joanne Owen

The Songaminute Man by Simon McDermott is his father’s story. Simon has managed to piece together his father’s story for us with the help of friends and family, beginning in the heart of the Black Country before the outbreak of WWII. Summarised as ‘a story of two halves: a celebration of the man Ted was and a powerful and moving account of caring for a loved one’.

Ted and Simon McDermott first came into the spotlight when their own carpool karaoke clip went viral. As Alzheimer’s made Ted retreat in to his own world, his family tried everything to bring him back. While driving, Simon hit play on Ted’s favourite song, Quando Quando Quando, and they were two friends driving around and singing as loud as they could. The rollercoaster that followed was something that they couldn’t have expected, in the best way. The family gained a record deal, a Top 10 single and Pride of Britain Awards. More importantly the McDermotts raised £130,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society.

What Our Readers Thought

This loving tribute by Simon McDermott to his father, best friend and childhood storyteller has touched the hearts of  many. Our Editorial Expert Joanne Owen is one of the many that have fallen in love with this ‘touching tribute’. This book has also been read by our Consumer Reader Review Panel, this is what they thought:

Nicola Edwards – ‘The story of Ted McDermott told by his son Simon is an amazing read – a memoir of family, love, and hope that will stay with you for a long time […] It was an honest, heartbreaking account of what Simon and his family have gone through in the lead up to Ted’s diagnosis and since. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it very highly. ‘

Julie Bertschin – ‘Alzheimer’s and dementia affects the lives of so many families today. The story of Ted McDermott’s life is superbly written by his son Simon; it is an emotional and extremely touching read […] A beautiful tribute from Simon McDermott to his father, Ted, whose love of singing provides a release from the shackles of dementia.’

Christine Woolfenden – ‘A compelling story told from the heart. It stays with you long afterwards, especially knowing so many are going through the same ordeal with loved ones […] Simon Mcdermott has painstakingly pieced together the story of his father’s childhood and young adulthood from talking with friends and family. It’s an amazing piece of work.’

The Songaminute Man is an amazing memoir and tribute to a life and family that has been devastated by Alzheimer’s. Hopefully Ted’s story will enlighten and inspire others.

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House of Beauty – A New Take on a Crime Novel

 

Melba Escobar is a writer for the Colombian newspapers El Espectador and El Pais. Her latest novel, House of Beauty is an exceptional Crime Mystery novel and was chosen as one of the best books of 2016 by the Colombian National Novel Prize. This brutal social novel centred around the murder of a young girl and corrupt power system that seems reluctant to punish the culprit.

A Bit About House of Beauty

Melba Escobar’s thought provoking novel, House of Beauty is set in Bogotá, Colombia. The Crime and Mystery novel focuses on an astoundingly beautiful beautician, Karen and how her life is closely intertwined with the death of one of her teenage clients. Karen works in an affluent area, as one of the best beauticians, giving beauty therapies to the rich and well-known of the area. During her appointments Karen hears everything about her client’s lives: their weekends away, breast implants, divorces and affairs. But Karen lives outside their world, desperately trying to save enough money to build a stable life for her and her son, and now even more trouble is on the way.

One of Karen’s teenage clients attends her appointment, but soon after is found dead. It is thought that Karen is the last person to see her before she was horrifically murdered. With the Police doing nothing, seemingly aware of the culprit and reluctant to do anything, the girl’s parents are desperate for more information, and urgently want to speak to Karen.

What the Readers thought of House of Beauty

Joanne Owen, one of our Editorial Experts, had this to say:

Set in the author’s home city of Bogotá, Colombia, this absorbing, pacey women-centered novel has a brutal murder at its core, and offers sharply observed insights into corruption and double standards around class, gender and race, as seen through the eyes of two unforgettable female protagonists. Gripping, brutal, honest, insightful, this is smart crime fiction with social conscience.

This crime mystery novel with a twist looks deeper that a crime fiction novel and in to the heart of the society that is happy to overlook the brutal rape and murder of an innocent teenage girl because of the identity of the culprit and those involved in the cover up. In a world where silence can be bought, House of Beauty shows how innocent people and families are left to suffer injustice or worse, used as scapegoat. Our Reader Review Panel were impressed at the depth of this compact crime novel. Here are some of the snippets of the great reviews on the House of Beauty Book Page:

Christine Woolfenden – ‘A slow burning but very absorbing tale of innocence in a corrupt city. A welcome change from the usual crime fiction, definitely worth a read.’

Britteny Sutcliffe – ‘I literally could not put this book down. The ending definitely brings a twist that I did not expect. I would advise to read this book, It only took me two days to read!’

Gillian Wilmott – ‘A crime novel with a difference, set in the lawless corrupt city of Bogotá. Told from the viewpoint of two heroines it takes some concentration to read, but it’s compelling and I would recommend it.’

Dee Jessup – ‘House of Beauty was not what I was expecting, but isn’t that what you want from a good book?’

House of Beauty was released on the 8th March and is an incredibly intriguing read for those looking a crime mystery novel with social commentary, twists turns and intrigue.

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Looking for Something Thrilling?

Dirk Kurbjuweit's Fear

A new thriller is on it’s way and is set to be the most original of 2018. Dirk Kurbjuweit is a German writer that is making his American debut with this exciting new novel Fear that has received a lot of attention already. Due to be released on the 25th January, everyone who has previewed this book has been #GrippedByFear.

For those who can’t wait to get their thrills, you can read an extract of the book here. The book follows Randolph Tiefenthaler, as he claims that he had a normal childhood, despite the armoury kept in the house. While the story covers the cruel and unusual events that led to his father’s incarceration. This twisted tale has been hailed by reviewers as a great success and a psychologically complex crime story. However, the plot line still manages to maintaining a moral and ethical core. A moral dilemma that questions just how far you would go in order to protect your family.

Others that have been #GrippedByFear

With the teaser for the book posing the question ‘You’d die for your family, but would you kill for them?’  and ‘Your neighbour is threatening you Family. Nobody will help. Not even the Police. There’s nothing you can do. Is there? This highly anticipated thriller could be your favourite read of the entire year. Fiona Barton, the bestselling author of The Widow feels that Fear is ‘Brilliantly done to play on every parent’s deepest fears – including mine’.

Fiona Barton of Fear

Reviewers have compared the novel  to We Need To Talk About Kevin, and the Guardian has said that the thriller is ‘Something we’ve not seen before in contemporary crime fiction’, with the Independant saying the book is ‘Addictive’

Head over to the LoveReading page for this book in order to read more of the fantastic comments made about this spectacular book. Our page also has the free pre-publication extract, so you can be gripped by fear too.

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Help the CLPE Build a Literacy Library

The CLPE Fundraising for Literacy Library

Childhood brings back memories of fairy tales, bedtime stories and the beginning of a lifetime love of the written word. The books that we read as children shape our opinion of reading for an entire lifetime. Here at LoveReading, we are passionate about all books, as are The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). The CLPE promotes raising the literacy achievement of children, ensuring quality children’s literature is at the heart of learning.

However, the CLPE are in need of help. The registered charity is working to guarantee a home for their enormous, permanent collection of books. The team behind the charity currently occupy a beautiful library space which is located in Waterloo. This  building is in need of refurbishment, so the charity is working to build a brand new Literacy Library to house their 23,000 children’s books and continue to encourage more school children to get excited about literacy.

The CLPE’s plan would create more space for teachers, with 2,000 already working with the organisation each year. This new space will also make the organisation’s resources more available to other literacy charities and literature organisations. This will be beneficial for those who unfortunately don’t have access to an event, library or training space. The project will create a resource that will benefit the work of literacy charities in England and the learning of millions of children.

The Story So Far

So far, the CLPE has completed the first phase of the work, which has cost £150,000. The charity has also raised £50,000 towards the second phase of the project. To find out more and donate, head over to their crowdfunding page.

Those wanting to help protect the literacy achievements of primary school children in can do so by buying a shelf (£100), bookcase (£500), or alcove (£1,000) in the new Literacy Library. Those who support the charity’s work will be permanently remembered, with their name on display in the new library. So far the charity has seen a tremendous amount of support from all corners of the literary world. Anderson Press and Knights Of have bought a bookcase and a shelf respectively, with further interest shown by Bonnier, Simon and Schuster, Usbourne.

The new Literacy Library will be able to support the work of a large number of charities and organisations who work to ensure that quality children’s literature is located at the heart of all learning. Get involved by visiting their crowdfunding page.

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Feel Better this Blue Monday with LoveReading

Blue Monday at LoveReading

“Good Morning, Pooh Bear” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it IS a good morning… Which I doubt”- A.A Milne

We will relate to one of the gloomiest characters ever created today, according to scientists. January 15th 2018 has been named as Blue Monday, calculated to be the most depressing day of the year, with New Year’s Resolutions left in the dust, the January pinch growing ever tighter and the distinct lack of any festive cheer while the weather reminds us it is still winter. Depression is not dictated by the date, and the seriousness of such an illness is not to be overstated. However, the middle of January can leave a lot of us looking for distractions while waiting for temperatures to rise.

While we hunker down and wait for the rain to stop, according to our favourite sad donkey “it always does. Eventually.” we’ve had a look at things that could brighten Blue Monday, the gloomiest day of the year.

Of course LoveReading recommends curling up with a good book, a blanket and a warm drink on this miserable Monday. Why not try one of our weekly staff picks, like the heartfelt ‘Three Things About Elsie’ by Joanna Cannon? For those wanting a peek in to the past, how about Alison Weir’s ‘Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession’? We also have a wide range of non-fiction, encouraging you to have another crack at your New Year’s resolutions. For the health-conscious we have Roger Frampton’s ‘The Flexible Body’, Tom Kerridge’s ‘Lose Weight for Good’ or ‘James Duigan’s Blueprint for Health’.

It is vital that we all remember Depression isn’t reserved for one day each year, despite how much we relate to Blue Monday. For those of you wanting to be more mindful and less anxious; or perhaps wanting to be more of a glass half full kind of person, why not have a read of ‘The Little Book of Happiness: Live. Laugh. Love’ by Kim Quadrille, ‘Calm’ by Fearne Cotton, or James Cowart’s ‘The ABCs of Coping with Anxiety’. Jennie Miller and Victoria Lambert’s self-help book ‘Boundaries’ has transformed a long known genre for today’s world. The book offers a four step programme could help to change your life for the better.

Another great way to feel better is to support those who suffer with mental health issues no matter the date. One option is to perhaps make a donation some fantastic charities such as MINDCALM or the Samaritans.

 

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EMERGING WRITER AWARD 2017

The Emerging Writer Award – Submissions open 23rd January
Deadline: Monday 25th February, 5pm

 
Established in 2015, the Emerging Writer Award (formerly the Bridge Award) is now in its third year, and is run by Moniack Mhor in partnership with The Bridge Awards, a philanthropic venture that has helped to fund theatre and visual arts projects.

 
The award winner receives a tailor-made package worth up to £2,000 including tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring.
You can read about the previous winners HERE.

 
Moniack Mhor and The Bridge Awards are pleased to announce the opening of applications for the 2017 Emerging Writer Award, (previously The Bridge Award). The award is for unpublished prose fiction writers wishing to make a significant breakthrough in developing a full-length piece of work.

 
Tracey Emerson, from The Bridge Awards, says: “We hope that the combination of Moniack Mhor’s beautiful setting, inspiring courses and experienced mentors will enhance the awardee’s creative practice and provide a valuable stepping-stone in his/her writing career.”

 
The successful candidate will receive a tailor-made package worth up to £2,000 including tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring. Click here to find out how to enter

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14 – 18? Love Books? Want to be a judge on a Book Award? Read on for more info…

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2017 are looking for young judge to help discover a new children’s bestseller

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, the biggest children’s writing competition in the UK, is looking for a confident and passionate young judge with a demonstrable love of books to join the prestigious judging panel and help choose the winner.

Entrants must submit a 1-3 minute video about the book they would most like to persuade others to read. Aspiring judges aged 14-18 have until 28th October to make their short video, upload it to YouTube (or a similar site), and email a link to competitions@chickenhousebooks.com.

The winner will join the judging panel for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition which includes industry experts such as the Times arts editor and children’s books reviewer Alex O’Connell, and Barry Cunningham, the founder of Chicken House and the publisher who discovered J.K. Rowling.

The winner of the young judge competition will have six weeks to read approximately five shortlisted titles before joining the other judges at an exclusive members club in London for a day of judging in spring 2017. The prize also includes: (i) travel and accommodation for the winner and their parent/guardian to the London judging day, (ii) a £50 Waterstones voucher and (iii) five Chicken House titles of their choice.

The prize also includes: 

  • travel and accommodation for the winner and their parent/guardian to the London judging day
  • a £50 Waterstones voucher
  • five Chicken House titles of their choice.


Barry Cunningham says: ‘We’re looking for original, engaging and exciting video entries; the more imaginative, the better. Demonstrate your love of children’s books, your passion for reading and your powers of persuasion and you could have a hand in finding a future bestseller!’

Full details of the young judge competition can be found at bit.ly/youngjudge17

CH-YoungJudgePoster

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Reader Review Panel members thoughts on Holy Spy by Rory Clements

When we passed the Reader Review panel members thoughts on the book Holy Spy by Rory Clements to the publisher Hodder they were so pleased they have used them in their campaign to promote the book. We think they look splendid and wanted to share them with you.

Holy-Spy-quote-cards-all

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Reader Review Panel members thoughts on Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback

When we passed the Reader Review panel members thoughts on the book Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback to the publisher Hodder they were so pleased they have used them in their campaign to promote the book. We think they look splendid and wanted to share them with you.

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LOVEREADING READERS’ CHOICE BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014

THE MEMORY BOOK CROWNED LOVEREADING READERS’ CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014

NEWS COPY

A novel about the devastating effects of dementia has won the Lovereading Readers’ Choice for favourite book of 2014.

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman, which follows the story of a young woman struck down by Alzheimer’s, received the most votes in an annual poll by the recommendation site, Lovereading.co.uk.

Reviewers agreed that the book, published in January by Ebury Press, was “a work of literary excellence”.

In a separate review for the Richard and Judy Book Club, TV chat show host Richard Madeley – whose own mother died of dementia in April – said Rowan Coleman’s book was a “tear-jerker” and a  “metaphor for how love can transform a family tragedy”.

The book, Coleman’s eleventh novel, has now been crowned the Lovereading Readers’ Choice Book of the Year 2014.

It beat The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes, and A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman to the top spot.

Lovereading Readers’ Choice book of 2014?

In November we asked our 600+ Reader Review panel members, a lot of whom are regular book bloggers, to let us have their top 3 books of 2014; the top 10 choices then went to the public vote. 

 

1st

The Memory Book

Rowan Coleman

 

2nd

The Amber Fury

Natalie Haynes

 

3rd

A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman

and the rest of the Top 10 were…

 

The Lovereading4kids Readers’ Choice book of 2014

Awful Auntie, a “screechingly funny” novel by comedian David Walliams, won the Lovereading4Kids Readers’ Choice Book of the Year 2014.

Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan and Sweet Honey by Cathy Cassidy took second and third place in the children’s category respectively.

1st

Awful Auntie

David Walliams
(9+) Best-selling David Walliams is back on top form with Awful Auntie. Stella Saxby is the unfortunate owner of the awful auntie!

2nd

The Blood of Olympus

Rick Riordan
(11+) Another awesome Greek mythology epic in the series from Rick Riordan.

3rd

Chocolate Box Girls: Sweet Honey

Cathy Cassidy
(9+) The girls are growing up and learning to deal with new problems.


and the rest of the Top 10 were…

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