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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview HOW TO SURVIVE IN ANCIENT ROME by L. J. Trafford (@traffordlj) (@penswordbooks) An enjoyable way to learn about Ancient Rome #history #AncientRome

Hi all:

I bring you a non-fiction book for those of you who’ve always dreamed of travelling back in time and visiting Imperial Rome.

How to Survive in Ancient Rome by L J Trafford

How to Survive in Ancient Rome by L J Trafford  

Imagine you were transported back in time to Ancient Rome and you had to start a new life there. How would you fit in? Where would you live? What would you eat? Where would you go to have your hair done? Who would you go to if you got ill, or if you were mugged in the street? All these questions, and many more, will be answered in this new how-to guide for time travellers. Part self-help guide, part survival guide, this lively and engaging book will help the reader deal with the many problems and new experiences that they will face, and also help them to thrive in this strange new environment.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Survive-Ancient-Rome-Trafford/dp/1526757869/

https://www.amazon.com/How-Survive-Ancient-Rome-Trafford/dp/1526757869/

https://www.amazon.es/How-Survive-Ancient-Rome-Trafford/dp/1526757869/

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/How-to-Survive-in-Ancient-Rome-Paperback/p/18524

Author L. J. Trafford

About the author:

After gaining a BA Hons in Ancient History LJ Trafford toured the amphitheatres of western europe before a collision with a moped in Rome left her unable to cross the road.
Which was a shame because there was some really cool stuff on the other side.
Returning to the UK somewhat battered and certainly very bruised she spent several years working as a tour guide. A perfect introduction to writing, involving as it did, the need for entertainment and a hefty amount of invention (it’s how she got tips).
She now works in London doing something whizzy with computers.

Palatine is the first in the Four Emperors series. Book Two is Galba’s Men, and is followed by Otho’s Regret and Vitellius’ Feast
See also two short stories featuring the same characters: ‘The Wine Boy’ and ‘The Wedding’ (in the Rubicon collection)

Follow me on Twitter, if you dare! @traffordlj

https://www.amazon.co.uk/L-J-Trafford/e/B009K3ZQLQ/

 My review:

I thank Rosie Croft, from Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback ARC of this book, which I freely chose to review.

I am not an expert on Ancient Rome, but you don’t need to be to enjoy this title. In fact, I think this is a great entry-level book for those who want to learn a few things about Rome but don’t have much time or/and don’t fancy having to trudge through huge History books, but would rather a light read that gives them an overview of what life was like at the time.

This book is pretty similar to many modern guide books; it offers the basic information somebody who is completely new to a place needs to survive there and not get into any trouble. It contains black and white pictures, charts, and illustrations summarising important timelines, providing examples of civil clothing and uniforms, sketches and maps, and also boxes highlighting important and curious facts under the title ‘Did you know?’ There are also an index and a bibliography for those who might want to carry on reading about the topic after this introduction.

The actual book is set in 95 CE, and I particularly enjoyed the author’s decision to introduce two narrators or guides. They can provide us with first-hand insights into the social mores and everyday life in the era: one, Hortensia, is a lady of noble birth, and she tells us how it is to be female in Ancient Rome (not fun, let me tell you, even if you are well-off), and the other one, Titus Flavius Ajax, a freedman, was formerly an imperial slave and is now secretary to the emperor. This provides us with pretty informal but eminently practical information, giving it a personal touch that is otherwise missing from most standard guides or history books.

The entire book is written in a colloquial and easy-to-read manner, full of funny and amusing touches. That does not mean it is lightweight, as the depth of knowledge of the author is clearly in evidence, and there is plenty of factual historical information included as well. But it is seamlessly incorporated into the various chapters, and it does not feel heavy or dry.

The book is divided up into chapters, each one covering one of the basic topics. There is an introduction of two chapters offering a summary of the basic history of Rome up to that point, and another one offering more detailed information about the situation in 95 CE. The other chapters discuss subjects such as social structure, family, clothing, accommodation, shopping, food and diet, entertainment, health and medicine, work, warfare, religion and beliefs, law and order, and politics. The end matter of the book includes the bibliography and index already mentions, as well as a section of acknowledgements and one of notes corresponding to each chapter. I’ve already said I’m not an expert, although I’ve read a few books set in Ancient Rome, and, like most people, watched a few movies and series, but I have to admit I learned many details I had no idea about, and I got a much clearer sense of what life was like on a day to day basis for all the people living in Rome, and not only the kings and emperors.

People who prefer to make sure they like the style of writing before going ahead with a purchase can check a sample online. Just in case, I´m sharing a few snippets here, that I found amusing/intriguing.

 ‘Most of Rome is propped up with planks to stop it falling down’ comments the poet, Juvenal, drily. Even Cicero, who presumably could afford a decent block, complained that two of his invested rental properties had collapsed.

 Demolishing this palace was a gesture by Emperor Vespasian that he was going to give back to the people, rather than taking from them. The Jewish Wars having just been settled meant that Vespasian, rather handily, had a lot of booty and a lot of slaves to build his grand edifice.

 Did you know? The Roman punishment for patricide is most bizarre. The culprit was sewn up in a leather sack with a dog, a monkey, a snake and a cockerel, then rolled into the river.

 This is an informative and entertaining book, offering quite a novel way to learn about Ancient Rome to those who aren’t fond of standard history books or prefer an informal and bite-sized approach. I recommend it to those interested in the topic and looking for a starter text, and also to people looking for a gift that combines educational value and amusement. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Rosie and the author for this book, thanks fo all of you for reading, and remember to keep safe, keep laughing, and if you’ve enjoyed it, you know what to do. ♥

 

Categories
Christmas presents

#MerryChristmas and gift!

Dear readers:

It’s that time of the year again. I thought I’d point it out in case you had not noticed.

I considered doing something spectacular this year, but well, I’ve been a bit busy and I know you will be busy too, so here goes:

And I thought I’d give you a Christmas present. A little book I published last year, with advice and pictures, bilingual, that you might enjoy.

You can download it in MOBI format here:

MOBI

And here in Epub format:

EPUB

And if you know anybody else who might fancy it, please direct them to this page.

Enjoy the holiday season! And keep smiling!

Categories
Book launch New books Novedades literarias

#Newbook #Nuevolibro #Spanish-English/inglés-español 20 Things I’ve Learned from My Patients

Hi all:

Those of you who follow my blog will know that this has been a bit of weird year, with new things (becoming an instructor at the University of the People), other things ending (volunteering at Penistone FM), pet sitting, weddings, and plans to move back to Spain. I’ve also been translating and proofreading translations of books and I’ve written a book that I’m not sure will see the light (at least not in its current form).

After writing that book I felt at a bit of an impasse and I’ve worked on other projects but I’m not sure which one I want to work on next (perhaps there are too many things going on). In the meantime, I’ve also been looking at some of the things I had written but not published. And after rereading a short file with some common sense advice, I wondered if it might make a tiny little book, with some quotes and pictures. And then, thinking about how many people I know who want to practice their Spanish (or their English), I thought I would try a bilingual edition. (Teaching English composition at the University of the People has made me think about language proficiency).

So here is my little book…

20 Things I’ve Learned from My Patients.A Psychiatrist’s Pearls of Wisdom to Help You Thrive
By Dr. Olga Núñez Miret

20 Things I’ve Learned from My Patients. A Psychiatrist’s Pearls of Wisdom to Help You Thrive

By Dr. Olga Núñez Miret

The description is, of course, bilingual as well:

Over the years that I have worked as a psychiatrist, writer, and blogger, I’ve collected common-sense advice and thoughts that I have passed on and shared with many (patients, friends, and readers). As people don’t have much time to read and enjoy images and quotes, I decided to publish twenty of the things I have learned over the years, illustrating each one of them with a picture and a quote. And as I know many people who want to improve their Spanish but don’t dare to take on a long book, I decided to publish it as a bilingual edition, English-Spanish. I don’t claim to have found the meaning of life, but I hope you enjoy this little book.

 

Durante mis años como psiquiatra, escritora y bloguera, he acumulado consejos y reflexiones de sentido común que he compartido con mucha gente, incluyendo pacientes, amigos y lectores. Como sé que la gente no tiene mucho tiempo para leer hoy en día, y les gusta compartir imágenes y citas, decidí publicar veinte de las cosas que he aprendido durante mi carrera, ilustrando cada una de ellas con una imagen y una cita. Conozco a muchas personas que quieren mejorar su inglés pero no se atreven a enfrentarse a un libro largo, así que decidí publicarlo en versión bilingüe, en inglés y español. No pretendo haber descubierto el sentido de la vida, pero espero que disfrutéis de este librito.

Here my dedication, so you understand what the subtitle refers to.

To my friend Iman, who is great at delivering accurate insights in a few words, and to Rose Upton, Sister at the A&E Department at Eastbourne DGH when I started training in Psychiatry. Her disparaging comments about her nurses’ pearls of wisdom, which Iman feedback to me at the time, have remained with me to this day. I suspect mine wouldn’t deserve a kinder opinion from her either.

And a couple of the images I’ve used (all royalty free from Unsplash, including the one I’ve used for the cover):

It is really short and, well, if you’ve read the description you know everything you need to know.

If you fancy a copy, let me know. They looked OK when I checked but images can be tricky (I’ll talk about that at some point).

It will become available in many other places, but so far you can find it here:

Amazon      KOBO    APPLE 

Thanks so much to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click and REVIEW!

[amazon_link asins=’B077P665RN,B01BDG102Q,B00YIHTW96,B00YHZ21O2,B00YHZHUYS,B0170IGWV0,B06W9M3356,149223723X’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’wwwauthortran-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’de7afaeb-d21f-11e7-9500-11a12b05f0de’]

Categories
Guest author post

#TuesdayBookBlog Celebrate your new book release by running a #Giveaway. PARALLEL LIES by Georgia Rose (@GeorgiaRoseBook)

Dear all:

I’ve been trying not to post too many things recently, but today I had to make an exception, as I have a very special guest post to share with you that I thought both readers and writers would enjoy. The fabulous Georgia Rose tells us about her experience running giveaways, and of course, I asked her to also tell us a bit about her most recent book, Parallel Lies. I leave you in her very capable hands!

Celebrate your new book release by running a #Giveaway – Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose

To celebrate the launch of my latest novel, Parallel Lies, I decided to have a little fun and run a Giveaway via Rafflecopter. I chose Rafflecopter because that was the Giveaway widget thing I’d seen on blogs all over and I’m not sure if there even is anyone else who provides a similar service.

I had been thinking about this Giveaway for some considerable time and had collected items for it for a while. As an example I wasn’t planning on publishing until September but in February, because that is when they are around, I was buying heart shaped chocolates – in fact I could have sworn I also had some heart shaped marshmallows from that time but they don’t seem to have made it into the final prize photo… ahem… moving on…

I continued to look out for suitable additions and bought them as I went along. Notepads decorated with hearts and some really cute thank you cards (avec hearts!) joined the pile. I bought these extras because although I already knew I was going to offer all of my paperbacks I wanted to make the prize as appealing as possible.

Even with all my planning there was a small misjudgement as come photo taking day the paperbacks for Parallel Lies had not arrived but I made do with the kindle version and made it very clear on the entry form that the kindle was NOT included!

Giveaways a go go!

You can run Giveaways for free via Rafflecopter, but your choices on what you want the entrant to do are limited and I wanted to get specific things out of the Giveaway, so there are also various levels of upgrade. After checking with them that a) I could do what I wanted to do when I upgraded, and b) I only needed to upgrade for a month (and finding Rafflecopter incredibly helpful in the process) I went ahead.

By upgrading to the Grow option it meant I could customise the entry requirements because I wanted two things:

  1. To have one of the options to be the purchase of Parallel Lies,
  2. To have one of the options to be for the entrant to sign up to my newsletter.

Other than that I chose the usual, visiting me on Facebook, following me on Twitter and sharing on Twitter options.

Rafflecopter have done a superb job of making the setting up of a Giveaway really easy. They say that it is up front, but you know, people say that all the time and it isn’t necessarily true – however I’m delighted to say, this was.

Adding the prize details, the photo and then the entry requirements was a piece of…, well, very simple and straightforward. You get to choose how many entry points to allot to each entry requirement. I made my main two 5 points each and the others all 1. This, I think, was a mistake and in hindsight I’d have made the buying of Parallel Lies a larger number, as a bigger enticement.

Rafflecopter can also automate the entries that sign up to your newsletter, which is a feature I love, and it means that the email addresses of anyone who does enter this bit get put directly onto your newsletter list with Mailchimp (other email providers are available) and you don’t have to do a thing. Bliss!

You set the dates of when you want the Giveaway to run and deal with the terms and conditions and that’s it. You are given an embed code so that you can put it on your website or in any blog posts. You are shown how to insert it into a Facebook page and you are given a link for if you just want to link it here and there.

The positives that came out of running this were:

  • I really enjoyed it!
  • There were a lot of sign-ups to my newsletter, which was tremendous.
  • There was a lot of interaction on Facebook and the real surprise was the increase in the number of ‘likes’ for my Facebook page as that wasn’t a necessity.
  • Entrants also did a lot of sharing of the Giveaway on Facebook, which was lovely of them.

I should also add that there were a few people on Facebook who were confused about whether they had entered correctly and another great feature of Rafflecopter is that you can go and look at the entries to check whether someone’s name is on there or not.

The lessons learnt were:

  • There was a disappointingly low take up of the ‘purchasing my book’ option so it would be interesting to see if increasing the number of points this was worth would improve the numbers willing to take a chance on a new book/new author.
  • I should maybe have run it over a shorter period of time. It was going for over 3 weeks and I’d lost impetuous in that time in promoting it. It appeared on all the blog posts in the blog tour I had running up to the launch and then there was a bit of a lull before the final push for entries.
  • I’m sure there must have been others but they escape me at the moment!

Rafflecopter do the whole dipping their hand into the virtual hat brimming with entries at the end so that keeps it all above board and they even announce the winner on the entry form.

Running a Giveaway is an investment in time, prizes, postage etc but you have control over how big or small you want to make those and can tailor what you do accordingly. I was certainly delighted with the results of the one I ran and would definitely do it again. This one was held to celebrate the publication of my fourth novel, Parallel Lies, which is here.

Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose
Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose

 

My name is Madeleine, Madeleine Ross. It is a name chosen with thought and because it is classy, and that is what is needed here…

Madeleine Ross has life exactly as she planned it.

Cosy cottage, friendly village, satisfying job.

Company… when she wants it.

It’s an enviable existence for an independent young woman, and one she’s keen to protect.

Enter Daniel – strong, dependable and a danger to everything she’s built. He’s not something she was looking for, but hearts can’t be controlled and maybe, just maybe he might be worth letting into hers.

But, all is not what it seems. Because Madeleine is hiding a lifetime of secrets. Deep secrets.

And they never stay buried for ever.

Her darkest secret returns, like the proverbial bad penny. He is her first love, shadowy, dangerous, the baddest of bad boys. No matter how far she runs, or how well she hides, she can never escape him.

Or her past.

Here he is, on her doorstep, with a proposition she is powerless to resist but which could devastate the future she hoped to have.

Can Madeleine satisfy the old love while keeping the new?

You can’t always get what you want but, desperate to preserve the life she has worked so hard for, Madeleine is willing to risk everything to prove that she can.

You can get Parallel Lies, or check out the reviews, here

I’d love to hear of your experiences of Giveaways, either running or entering them?

If you want to get in touch with Georgia Rose, here are some links:

Author of The Grayson Trilogy

www.georgiarosebooks.com

Follow on Twitter: @GeorgiaRoseBook

Georgia Rose on Facebook: Facebook

The Grayson Trilogy page on Facebook: The Grayson Trilogy FB Page

Google + Pinterest Instagram Goodreads

Thanks so much to Georgia Rose for her post, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click and REVIEW!

 

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