Many democratic societies are experiencing a crisis of faith. Citizens are making clear their frustration with their supposedly representative governments, which instead seem driven by the interests of big business, powerful individuals and wealthy lobby groups.
What can we do about it? How do we fix democracy and get our voices heard?
The answer, argues Alberto Alemanno, is to become change-makers – citizen lobbyists. By using our skills and talents and mobilizing others, we can bring about social and political change. Whoever you are, you’ve got power, and this book will show you how to unleash it.
From successfully challenging Facebook’s use of private data to abolishing EU mobile phone roaming charges, Alberto highlights the stories of those who have lobbied for change, and shows how you can follow in their footsteps, whether you want to influence immigration policy, put pressure on big business or protect your local community.
Alberto Alemanno is a public interest lawyer, legal scholar and Civic entrepreneur. He's a Professor at both HEC Paris and New York University School of Law, founder and CEO of eLabEurope, and co-founder of The Good Lobby. In short, a man who knows his stuff.
The fact that we live in troubling times is, I imagine, fairly obvious to everyone. As someone who places himself fairly left on the political spectrum, events of recent years have felt a little like a waking nightmare, the constant enabling of the far right shifting the political spectrum to a place I'm wholly uncomfortable with. I've always been politically active, but have I ever thought that I could make a noticeable change myself? No. I'm a small cog in a big machine, but I never thought anyone would notice if I went in an opposite direction for a while. Instead, as Alemanno shows here, small cogs can make a huge difference.
Citizen Lobbying is, as Alemanno explains, a way to influence and make change as an individual - and his fantastic book gives readers the tools, knowledge and power to do so. Combining his fast experience and inspiring way of thinking with hard facts and real case stories of genuine, successful citizen lobbying, Alemanno shows the way forward for those who want to make change.
This isn't a light guide either - it's clear that a huge amount of preparation has gone into creating this work, and dividing the book into three sections allows the reader an introduction to the issues at hand, provides solutions for them, and then usefully provides the reader with a vast toolbox full of information to send them out into the world a newly energised lobbyist.
Inspiring, informative and filled with a spirit of hope and forward thinking, Alemanno's work is exactly what we need in this age - and I'm hopeful that those who read it will be filled with the urge to go out and Lobby for Change
Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. Moving with him to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of an obedient wife, bullying her and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she attempts to push back - a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.
Meena Kandasamy is a poet, fiction writer, translator and activist who lives in Chennai and London. She's published two volumes of poetry, as well as another novel - "The Gypsy Goddess". An outspoken campaigner and a gifted poet, she's channeled her own experiences into a novel that burns, rages and grips the reader deep in their very soul.
Domestic Violence is rife in India. Reported figures vary, but it's no secret - and the consequences are horrific, with things like "Dowry Death" a very real possibility for millions of women. Here, the author uses her own experiences to tell a chilling tale of control, oppression and survival.
A tale like this is not an easy one to tell - in a lesser authors hands, it's entirely possible that a tale this dark could be almost unreadable in its bleakness. However, Meena Kandasamy is a skilled poet, and she uses her mastery of language to pull the reader by the hand and drag them through these horrific moments in a blaze of rage and fire. Every moment intended to break the narrator down seems, in a sense, to increase her strength, and this turns what could be incredibly dark segments of abuse into ones that, whilst still hard to read, aren't without an incredible sense of catharsis.
This isn't just a novel about the writer - it sheds a light on a side of Indian culture that, whilst discussed occasionally in the media over here, isn't often explored in works such as this -and as such is both enlightening and horrifying in turn. Moments containing the narrator's parents chilled me to the core - both due to their attitudes towards domestic abuse, but also due to the fact that these attitudes only exist due to long standing societal norms in the culture in which they live - leaving no-one blameless, but allowing the reader a certain amount of understanding into the situation that the parents are in, and also making the feel of hopelessness that the narrator finds herself in surge darkly around the reader.
Trapped inside both her house and her self, the narrator explores her life through letters to past lovers - allowing glimpses of warmth, humour and modernity to slip through the stormy clouds that make up the majority of this book. The contrast between the past life of the narrator and that with her husband is staggering - and these stark moments of contrast encourage the reader to root for the fiery, fun, modern, headstrong woman who is there, subdued by violence and fear but raging and ready to burn through the lies and pain that make up her marriage.
Kandasamy quotes Frida Kahlo at the start of a chapter, and it's Frida who I was most strongly reminded me of when reading this. Kandasamy, like Kahlo, has turned her rage, pain and fury into the most beautiful works of art, and as such "When I Hit You..." is a must read, and I think the best thing I've read in 2017 so far. Simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, it's a work of considerable power from an author whose mastery of prose is able to guide the reader through a dark, dark world and bring them out unscathed, but not unchanged.
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy
The Club for Westchester Men is exclusive-only for the most elite. Employees are hired for their discretion and their contacts. Whether it be drugs or women, the employees should be able to satisfy members. But one member has a more unusual request.
Club-goer Edwyn asks employee Jabari Douglas Jr. to break into another member’s house for him. Brett has become exceedingly wealthy from his father-in-law’s death. There could be millions of dollars hidden away in his house.
While her husband is planning to rob Brett, Edwyn’s wife, Katherine, is going to a club of her own. While it may have some of the same members, this club is much seedier: a ring of high-class call girls. In order to exact revenge on a man who has wronged her, Katherine has gone undercover. Now, as the robbery grows closer and Katherine’s secret life get more and more dangerous, both husband and wife find themselves in over their heads.
Author Cornelius Moore was born and raised in the Bronx. Married to a Southern Italian with one daughter and one cat, writing is his true passion – and this is his first novel.
It’s a fun, no holds barred romp of a ride, with cleverly drawn characters who swiftly grab the readers attention – entertaining with their intriguing plans and lack of morals. Edwyn and Katherine are layered, and cleverly drawn. There’s a fine line to be trod with characters like these, as the actions some take in the book could make them hugely unlikeable to the reader, but Moore imbues them with enough life to keep the reader constantly entertained by their actions, if not always on their side!The action
The action too, is very well described. Fast paced and constantly moving, Moore sucks the reader into an exotic, luxurious and dangerous world, packed full of sex and intrigue, and writes his tale with considerable skill considering this is a debut novel. Whilst some style choices felt a little clunky to me, Moore excels at managing to describe situations with elaborate, carefully considered language, yet all the while manages to keep the plot moving at a frenetic pace. It works well, and as such I’d definitely recommend it – although I’d advise that you take a lot of care (and probably a gun) before you choose to enter “The Club”…
Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identity of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit. It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idyll is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra. A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …
So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?
Rob Sinclair is an author from the West Midlands – previously working for a global accounting firm, after promising his wife that he could pen an unputdownable thriller. It clearly worked, as he’s now a full-time writer!
Carl Logan previously appeared in the “Enemy” series – three action-packed thrillers that combined intense, high-octane plots with strong characters and clever writing. Here, Carl Logan returns, but under a new name and identity, and seeking a new life away from the danger and escapades that he was constantly involved in previously. Of course, for a man of his past and reputation, it’s no long before danger comes to find him…
The “new identity” concept works really well here – it provides enough of a break from the “Enemy” series that new readers will be able to pick this up, but there are enough ties to Carl Logan’s old life that long time readers will be rewarded too – (although if you haven’t read the “Enemy” series, why on earth not?). It also gives the book a real boost – for me this definitely felt like Rob Sinclair’s strongest book yet, and a large part of that was the introduction of the title character – the Red Cobra is a superbly layered character, dangerous, strong, sexy and human, and I’d definitely like to see more of her somehow going forward. Characterisation is one of Sinclair’s strong points, and Logan/Ryker continues to be an immensely compelling lead – no matter how terrifying and tense his adventures get, it’s always a pleasure for the reader to accompany him.
Setting wise, Spain is depicted very well indeed, serving as an excellent backdrop for the new adventures of this weary, compelling hero. I’m not the biggest reader of Thrillers, but Rob Sinclair’s are always a pleasure – managing to write compelling, urgent plots that keep the reader on the edge of their seats, whilst never compromising character or quality of writing, as I find can often happen in thrillers. Well worth your time –
Carl Logan is dead, long live James Ryker…
An ancient religion grotesquely modernized, The Purpose, deifies children for their deformities—a beautiful girl with three arms, a brave boy with one eye… the exceptional list goes on. Painted and costumed, they are worshiped on stage. Shy and exposed, they are ridiculed in the streets, often by the same faces. Glorious or repulsive? Gods or freaks? How deep will the identity divide be dredged, and to which side will the truth finally tip? Out of the city, through strange forests and dark dreams, we follow six young friends as they chase their answer. Lightning-lit and pulling moon into mountain, it awaits them at the top of the world.
Author Jeffrey Kinsey is a native of Jacksonville Florida, and a settler in Charleston, South Carolina. He makes cool stuff with his wife, Amelia Dreglewicz, goes for long walks by the water, and has a heavy interest in the dynamic, graceful and inventive interface of prose and visual art.
It’s that interface that takes center stage in “Areh” – a book that combines prose and art. That may sound like nothing new, but “Areh” is something unique – a book that places equal importance on both aspects, binding them together to create a memorable, special, and beautiful tome that, even when reading on an ereader, brings a story to life in vivid, colourful detail.
Set in a dark and trouble society, the book becomes a race against time to prevent a terrible catastrophe befalling the land. However, whilst there is a definite sense of pace to the story, the use of poetic, flowing language makes this a read that manages to be both timeless and current – the sometimes epic art lending it a feel of myth or fable. It doesn’t skimp on character either – with the plight of the children at the heart of this tale one that is conveyed with a great deal of sensitivity, and the character interactions between the children are cleverly written – reading as contemporary and youthful, without falling into any of the traps that many writers seem to plunge into when focusing on the language and syntaxes used by youths in an new setting.
The art that accompanies the prose is mesmerising – beautiful chapter headings that draw the readers eye without fail. Clearly influenced by ancient art forms, they help immensely to transport the reader to an other world, and some patterns linger long in the mind after the close of the book – intricate, delicate designs that represent points in the story and the characters lives.
All in all, “Areh” is a wonderful read – ambitious and original, it’s refreshing to read something that is clearly the product of years of hard work, determination and love between a group of people.
“Being good is overrated. Wicked on the other hand…simply delicious”
Cutting your friends from your life and treating guys as Ken Dolls may seem like an easy task to achieve…WRONG! It’s harder than you realize. Especially where you live in small city where the gay community consists of only a hundred people. So you’re bound to run into drama.
Recently single, Allister finds himself at a crossroad. Try the dating scene again hoping to find a better guy who won’t take him for granted or dip into the hook-up scene feeding his inner sex god.
First a photographer, now a writer – Allister Dean is a Nevada based writer, currently relocating to Oregon in order to write his second novel. “Deliciously Wicked” is his first, and it’s a debut that’s both strong and sparkling – pulling the reader into a world that’s fun, sexy, honest, and relatable.
It may seem rather difficult to believe, but “Bridget Jones Diary” was first published in book form 21 years ago. Whilst it sparked a revolution in how it recorded women’s lives, no-one has, to my knowledge, been able to emulate that style well in writing about men – certain changes have to be made, and especially when writing about a Man in this day and age, when diaries are less of a thing, but so many elements of our day to day lives are recorded in emails, texts, blogs, tweets, Instagram posts, dating site profiles, etc…
Allister Dean has collated all of those differing elements, and combined them into one book – making it a read that feels fresh and exciting, allowing the reader snippets that give them detailed glimpses into the lead characters life, and yet allow for the book to maintain a strong sense of pace – it excels at being a light read, yet it’s rather astonishing quite how much information you can gleam from just a few pages of text exchanges, snatched conversations, sexual encounters and messages to ex boyfriends.
It’s quite often that I read books wanting to have on the characters as a friend – but it’s rare to read one where it feels like the lead character is a friend from the off – regaling you with sexy stories, sassy asides and bitchy comments that make for hilarious reading. You shouldn’t just write this tale of as a shallow look at gay life though – it’s packed full of interesting insights and frank acknowledgements. Brilliant asides are peppered with chapters of story that move several different plots along, keeping the book moving at a rapid pace, but nevertheless, allowing the reader to get to know other characters who enter Allister’s life, and making this a far deeper read than it may initially appear.
Fun, funny and filled with clever writing, catty characters and sexy situations, “Deliciously Wicked” is far more than the sum of its parts – a great read with a big glass of wine and a big bar of chocolate ( or one of the delicious meals that you’ll find the recipes for within the pages of this book…)
When was the last time you managed to get away from everything?
Robert and Tristan needed to close a chapter in their relationship. This photography book will take you through their intimate journey in search for answers. You will leave behind the city to immerse yourself in nature and witness the awakening of their passion, and above all, the deep connection they thought they had lost. A special moment in their lives that only you, me and the woods will share.
Vincent Six is a photographer based in London. Originally from Spain, he has dedicated a big part of his professional career to creating images for films in Hollywood, but has set up his own independent publishing label in order to explore a more intimate side – in a book full of passion, love, and nature.
You Me The Woods is a book full of Vincent VI’s beautiful photography, but chooses not to focus solely on the beautiful images, but instead inserts a written narrative alongside the images, detailing private conversations between the two characters whose interactions VI closely details, and allowing the readers unbridled access into the lives of these two men – allowing a level of closeness and intimacy between the reader and the action of the book that is almost unparalleled.
The writing documents close, flowing conversation between two lovers – the kind of conversation that only comes from years of love and intimacy. The writing takes the reader by the hand and guides them through the photographs – shedding light on pictures that are already filled with an immense amount of storytelling – making this an immersive experience. Whilst it’s only a short read, you’ll want to linger over these images – the models are truly beautiful men, and Vincent VI has created a real sense of connection between the pair of them – making the pictures moving, emotive, and erotic.
There is some nudity, but it’s beautifully shot – and the reader does not feel like they are watching two men mid photo shoot, but merely being granted glances into the lives of two men during a moment of their relationship – intimate, yes, but also filled with love and affection.
It’s also worth mentioning that nature is the real third character here – a beautiful forest setting adding to the enchantment of these pictures, and also highlighting the fact this book is part of the One Tree Planted campaign -so for every copy of this book that’s bought, a tree will be planted. I feel like I’ve given you enough reasons to buy this book already – but if not, that’s one more for you!
A beautiful, tender and intimate read, You Me The Woods is a book that creates something more than a normal photography tome – creating a project that portrays a relationship in stunning fashion. Most definitely a book to buy and look at over and over again…
Join Theo and Maria : Two of life’s young professionals, oversexed and under appreciated as they strive and stumble their way through life’s ups and downs within their Central London existence. Maria , a feisty, career driven woman and her friend Theo, a gay, sarcastic, warm hearted lover of life, find themselves, on a whirlwind journey of life, love, loss and sexual humour set against the backdrop of a vibrant Soho.
Rob Adam is a writer based in Somerset, writing about life, love and relationships.
So, it has to be said that I have somewhat of a mixed relationship with “Soho” – the area in which Rob Adam has set this book. As a gay teen growing up in the countryside, magazines like “Attitude” and “Gay Times” had me believing that Soho was a mythical Valhalla of Men, overflowing with fun, friendship and sex. As it turned out, that wasn’t quite the case – there was plenty of what I’d hoped for, but also a lot of loneliness, a lot of drug use, and a lot of superficial attitudes. Of course, part of my feelings on it are based in part to my having been a very self-conscious at the time, and now I’m a lot older (and hopefully wiser), I enjoy a good night out in Soho with the rest of them.
Author Rob Adam captures the sense of fun that permeates the area, but also makes no secret of the fact that the characters who populate it are layered, relatable characters who the reader will instantly recognise, and Theo and Maria are so brilliantly written that it’s not just enjoyable to spend time in their company, it’s an absolute pleasure. The journeys they go on through out the book may initially seem relatively light, but Rob Adam does not avoid delving into difficult and troubling situations – really delving deep into the history of these characters, and using it as a means to move these characters forward into new situations. Anyone who has been through a heartbreak or a job loss, or even been fed up of the dating scene, will instantly feel an empathy with the characters, and their strong friendship is a real backbone for the book, and I’m sure something that will continue to serve as a strong thread for the series as it moves forwards.
There’s sex here – good sex too, written about in such a way that make it fun, exciting and sexy, and yet never veers into smuttiness or seediness. The sex scenes aren’t just thrown in – they’re always there to move a plot forward. Yes, they are fairly explicit, but in the context of the book, extremely enjoyable! They’re balanced well with real tenderness, care, and brilliant wit – there are some real laugh out loud lines in this book that will stick with the reader. Brilliant fun – roll on Book Two!
It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorising the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs. In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.
Cory Barclay is an author, songwriter and guitarist from San Diego California. “Devil in the Countryside” is his second novel.
Now, I love a bit of historical fiction. I’m a big history fan, and when done well, historical fiction can shine a light on events of the past, whilst creating new and exciting situations for the reader – something Cory Barclay has most certainly done on this occasion. “Devil in the Countryside” is a dark read -full of death and gore, but Barclays expertly balances this out – the overwhelming darkness of the world that surrounds these characters is brightened out, at least initially, by the motivations and personalities of the characters who fill this book. All are compelling – none are straight forward and all have very individual personalities, meaning that the distinct viewpoints that Barclay employs throughout the book are easy to follow. These characters are layered and well developed – all regularly make decisions that are not always easy to empathise with, but Barclay sells their motivations and drive to the reader well. It’s particularly fascinating to see how the characters develop alongside the plot – seeing the effect that the investigation at the core of the plot has on the characters is particularly compelling, and drives the reader towards the compelling conclusion.
In terms of historical fiction, Barclay manages to keep this a relatively light read – he doesn’t go overboard on exposition, but one still comes out of this read feeling relatively enlightened on the subject of the Germany of the late 1500’s. Little facts and details are dropped in throughout, and whilst there are a few pages that are fairly heavy on sharing facts with the reader, one is invested enough to not care – and in fact they add a good level of depth to an already compelling story.
A skin prickling, puzzling, page turner – “Devil in the Countryside” is a fun read and Barclay is an author with a strong command of language and a talent for fantastic structuring a cracking story – bring on the sequel!
Beginning with Moby Dick: The Rise of the Undead (Part One), Tex Daw chronicles the passage of two men on board the Pequod, a whaling vessel poised on the edge of a world that is about to change forever. Haunted by the riddle of the vampire’s dance, each of the men is transformed, and the world is made anew…
Tex Daw is a digital collage artist, a tai chi practitioner, and an avid BMX rider. He is currently living in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is a keen instagrammer – follow him @texdaw.
In the last ten years or so there have been a wave of reimaginings of classic tales with supernatural elements – the unexpected popularity of”Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” beginning a flood of titles that included my personal favourite (in terms of titles, I’ve yet to read it – )”Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”. Some of the books were okay, some were no more than cheap cash-ins that failed to stay true to the original, so the trend seemed to die down a little – a fact cemented by the recent box office bomb that was the film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. So, when I received a copy of “Moby Dick – The Rise of the Undead”, I can’t deny that I was a little concerned about what kind of read it would be…
Thankfully, it’s really very good indeed.
Moby Dick, in it’s original form by Herman Melville, is already a very strange, gripping read, filled with giant sea creatures, strange prophecies, lost coffins and rampant homoeroticism. Tex Daw has taken all of the elements that make Moby Dick a great read and amped them up somewhat – but he’s done so with great respect for the original text. As a result, this is very fun read – a dark and moody adventure peppered with the supernatural, the subterranean, and gallons of seamen (pun very much intended!). It’s no light read either – the prose is at times elaborate and clever, with some very amusing phrases and snippets of dialogue really brightening the book up.
If you like men, whales, the sea, or simply fun takes on old classics, “Moby Dick – The Rise of the Undead” is a fun and thrilling read – bring on part two!