Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Lara Prior-Palmer · Non-Fiction · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review: Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer (@LaraPriorPalmer) ~ @EburyPublishing ~ @annecater

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour and sharing my review for Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Ebury Publishing for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Scroll on for a taster of the book and to read my review.

Publisher's Description

The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. An outrageous feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the army of Genghis Khan, the Derby sees competitors ride 25 horses across 1000km, and it’s rare that more than half of the riders make it to the finish line.

In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, wildly underprepared and in search of the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Finding on the wild Mongolian steppe, strength and self-knowledge she didn’t know she possessed, even whilst caught in biblical storms and lost in the mountains, Lara tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. She didn’t just complete the race: in one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she won, becoming the youngest-ever competitor to conquer the course.

A tale of endurance, adventure and man’s struggle to tame the wild, Rough Magic is the extraordinary story of one woman’s quest to find herself in one of the most remote and challenging landscapes on earth. 

My thoughts

As regular visitors to this blog know, most of my reviews are of fictional stories. So when the opportunity came up to read and review a memoir, I was intrigued to see how my thoughts about the book would differ. This certainly was a curious read!

At 19 years old, Lara Prior-Palmer decides on a whim to enter The Mongol Derby, the world’s wildest and toughest horse race. With no training and a care-free attitude, she embarks on a journey that ends with her becoming the race’s youngest, and first-ever female winner.

Rough Magic is the musings of Lara’s experiences through the race. She wrote most of it whilst on the race, so it felt like I was living inside Laura’s head. At times, her thoughts become the ramblings of a wandering mind, a result of the solitary hours of being free and journeying on horseback through a wild environment.

At the beginning when Lara’s tells us that she’s going to enter the race, I felt myself wanting to jump into the pages and tell her how crazy she was. However, as the journey progresses, I did wonder if it was Lara’s unprepared nature that helped her to win. The other riders had prepared and trained for up to a year prior to the race and secured sponsorship from companies in or related to the equine industry. They had a lot riding on this race.

I have ridden several times for only short periods and within 10 minutes my legs are aching so I can appreciate what endurance you need for such an undertaken. I’ve also only ever ridden one particular horse because I trusted her and got used to her nature and her ways. In this race, competitors change horses at each stop . Horse riding is very much about the relationship between horse and rider so to ride 25 horses over 1,000km in 10 days is no mean feat.

The wild and untamed landscape also throws up some serious weather. Lara’s sheer determination keeps her going through it. I remember at one point during the book, Lara does not make it in time to the next stop so she ties the horse to herself with a bungee type rope and sleeps like that in the open air. Fair play to her, she has guts and my admiration!

Where to find Rough Magic

Rough Magic was published by Ebury Publishing on 6 June 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

About Lara Prior-Palmer

LARA PRIOR-PALMER was born in London in 1994. Her aunt is Lucinda Green, a legendary rider and one of the UK’s best-ever equestrians. Lara studied conceptual history and Persian at Stanford University. In 2013, she competed in the 1000-kilometer Mongol Derby in Mongolia, sometimes described as the world’s toughest and longest horse race. Rough Magic is her first book.

You can find Lara on Twitter at @LaraPriorPalmer.

Follow the blog tour

Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!

Rough Magic Blog Tour poster
Books · bookstagram · Thora Karitas Arnadottir

Bookstagram Tour: And the Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir (@ThoraKaritas) @Wildpressed @LoveBooksGroup

I’m excited to be taking part in another Love Books Group bookstagram tour over on Instagram. Thank you to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group for inviting me to take part and to Wild Pressed Books for sending me a copy of the book.

For each day of the tour, a creative photo featuring a physical copy of the book is posted by a bookstagrammer on Instagram and a copy of the book blurb is included in the post’s description. 

Today’s post is for a non-fiction book called And the Swans Began to Sing by Icelandic author Thora Karitas Arnadottir.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

The swans on the lake began to sing. It was singing so loud they were almost screaming as if they were encouraging me to release what I had been keeping inside for so long.

Gudbjorg Thorisdottir has been hiding from the ghost of an ugly secret for most of her life. When she finally faces the truth of what happened in her childhood, the ghost floats away. Painting an evocative picture of life in Iceland, this is the story of a little girl who didn’t know how unnatural it was to experience both heaven and hell in the same house.

~ About Thora Karitas Arnadottir ~

Thora Karitas Arnadottir studied drama in the UK and has worked as an actress for most of her life, appearing on stage, in films and on television. And the Swans Began to Sing is the English translation of her creative nonfiction Mörk – saga mömmu, which was nominated for the Icelandic Woman’s Literary prize in 2016. Thora is currently working on her first novel, which will be released in Iceland in 2019

~ The Cover ~

I adore this cover which is so subtle but yet I already feel that it describes the book perfectly! Do head on over to Instagram using the button below to check it out fully. Even if you do not have an Instagram account, you should still be able to view the photo.

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Claire Cock-Starkey · Extracts · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review, Extract: The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms by Claire Cock-Starkey (@NonFictioness) @BodPublishing

I am delighted to welcome back Claire Cock-Starkey to Sarah’s Vignettes with her latest book The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms and sneak peek at one of the eponyms featured in the book. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Claire for inviting me to be part of the tour and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Scroll on to read my thoughts about the book and to discover the origins of the eponym ‘Wisteria’.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

The English language is rich with eponyms – words that are named after an individual – some better known than others. This book features 150 of the most interesting and enlightening specimens, delving into the origins of the words and describing the fascinating people after whom they were named.

Eponyms are derived from numerous sources. Some are named in honour of a style icon, inventor or explorer, such as pompadour, Kalashnikov and Cadillac. Others have their roots in Greek or Roman mythology, such as panic and tantalise. A number of eponyms, however, are far from celebratory and were created to indicate a rather less positive association – into this category can be filed boycott, Molotov cocktail and sadist.

Encompassing eponyms from medicine, botany, invention, science, fashion, food and literature this book uncovers the intriguing tales of discovery, mythology, innovation and infamy behind the eponyms we use every day. The Real McCoy is the perfect addition to any wordsmith’s bookshelf.

~ My thoughts ~

I was really pleased when Claire Cock-Starkey invited me to take part in this blog tour. I had previously enjoyed both The Book Lovers’ Miscellany and A Library Miscellany (read my review here) and was intrigued to see what The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms had to offer.

As the title suggests, the book is full of fascinating facts about the origins of 150 eponyms in the English Language (an eponym is a person after whom a discovery, invention, place, etc. is named or thought to be named). Arranged alphabetically, it can be read in order or dipped in and out of. It is perfect for enriching general knowledge, in particular for crosswords and quizzes. There is a handy index arranged by topic, e.g. botanical/zoological, fashionable/artistic, gastronomic, etc. and one for names, should the reader want to find something specific.

One thing I have been amazed at through all 3 books of Claire’s I have read is how rich the detail is. It is clear that they are all extensively researched and I wonder how Claire manages to condense it all into only 131 pages!

Like the Miscellany books, The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms is a pocket-sized gem of a book and would be a great Christmas gift.

~ An Extract from The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms ~

Wisteria extract

~ Where to find The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms ~

The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms was published in October 2018 by Bodleian Library Publishing and can be found at the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Claire Cock-Starkey ~

claire-cock-starkey

Claire Cock-Starkey is a writer and editor based in Cambridge. is Claire’s eleventh book. Her other titles include A Library Miscellany (2018), The Book Lovers’ Miscellany (2017), The Golden Age of the Garden (2017) and Penguins, Pineapples and Pangolins (2016), which was named one of  Q. I.’s ten most interesting books of 2016.

~ Where to find Claire Cock-Starkey ~

Twitter    Website

~ Follow the Tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!!

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Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Claire Cock-Starkey · Non-Fiction

Blog Tour, Review & Extract: A Library Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey (@nonfictioness) @BodPublishing

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for A Library Miscellany. Thank you to Claire Cock-Starkey for asking me to be part of it and for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I have an interesting extract to share with you about Book Thefts followed by my review. First, to whet your appetite, here’s what the book is about: Continue reading “Blog Tour, Review & Extract: A Library Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey (@nonfictioness) @BodPublishing”

Blog Tours · Books · Non-Fiction · Paul Anthony Jones

#blogtour: The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones (@HaggardHawks) @eandtbooks

Today, I am delighted to be featuring an extract from The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A Yearbook of Forgotten Words by Paul Anthony Jones as part of the blog tour.

The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities is a fun book which you can dip in and out of and discover a forgotten word for each day of the year accompanied by a fascinating story significant to that date.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alison Menzies and Elliott & Thompson for asking me to take part in the tour and for sending me a copy of this delightful book.

Scroll down to find out more about The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities and to discover the rather interesting forgotten word for today, 30 October. Continue reading “#blogtour: The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones (@HaggardHawks) @eandtbooks”