Books Round-up: Book subscriptions galore & a focus on non fiction

Books round-up

Photo credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Welcome to July?s Books Round-up, this month I have been looking into book subscriptions. As a book lover, I think it is such a wonderful idea to have new bookish goodies arriving in the post for you every month, particularly for young children. On my blog, my son and I have been reviewing a children?s educational magazine subscription to Amazing magazine. I wasn?t sure how it would go down, but my son has really enjoyed it. 

Over 40 and Mum to one has been reviewing a book subscription Bookabees. Which is a bespoke book subscription service from babies right through to eleven year olds. Jaymee from The Mum Diaires has been reviewing an alternative book subscription service from Wilf Books, which looks like a really lovely and personal service. If you have a baby, you may want to read And Another Ten Things? thoughts of the subscription service Baby Book Club. Mummy to Dex has reviewed Happy Book Club which is a themed monthly service that also includes a fun activity with it. 

If you?re more of a digital person, then maybe Reading Eggs is for you and your family, which has been reviewed by The Reading Residence. Which is an online educational games and reading subscription. For parents of older children, have a look at Susan K Mann?s review of Owlcrate a book subscription aimed at children aged 8-12. Finally on the book subscription front is this post from Pickle and Poppet who review Once Upon a Time book Subscription service a personal book selection for children under 12.  

I also have had a look at some non-fiction book review this month. Kids of the Wild has written about The Little Book of Whittling which shows you how to carve 19 different things from wood. For those of you that would like some parenting advice, Five Little Stars has reviewed a selection of parenting books, with her thoughts on the most popular titles. If you have a trip to London planned in the near future, have a read of Home and Horizon?s review of Insider London: Get the Inside Knowledge on the Capital. Which includes a guide to the city?s essentials and lots of different and cool places to go.  

Ever felt you just want to change your life? Dark Tea has written a post on a really fascinating book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod which is based around the concept if you don?t change your life now, you never will. If you want to change your ethos around food, JuggleMum has reviewed an equally fascinating book Cooking with Love and talks about the Yoga of Food which is about nutrition and cooking in a way that suits your body.

I hope you enjoyed the round-up. If you would like to be included in next month?s round-up I would love to hear from you, you can tweet me @laurasummers or drop me an email.

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About Laura Summers

Laura is a Mum of two, as well as a freelance writer and blogger at Laura’s Lovely Blog. A consummate bookworm, she thanks the Gods of invention for the eReaders because she can now hide just how many books she’s buying. A bit of a magpie, Laura has a bit of a handbag addiction and is lover of lovely things. She also writes about gratitude and positivity, as she made the decision to ditch the diet in 2016 and instead strive for a healthy, balanced life. You can find her on Twitter @laurasummers or Instagram @laura_summers.

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12 Reasons Spider-Man: Homecoming Is The Best Spidey Movie Ever

Spider-Man Homecoming Iron Man Marvel Studios

The long-awaited Spider-Man: Homecoming is finally here, and seems to be going over exceptionally well with critics and fans alike.

While it doesn’t quite reach the upper echelons of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is an argument to be made that it’s the most decisively confident and downright entertaining Spider-Man movie to date.

Looking back at Sam Raimi’s somewhat dated Spidey trilogy and the unfortunately misguided Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man flicks, it’s easy to see how the MCU has brought the character into 2017 with a bang, while firmly planting seeds for the future.

This is the Spider-Man movies fans have always wanted to see: hilarious, action-packed and even meaningful on occasion. On the basis of this movie, it’s clear that the web-slinger is in safe hands from this point on…

12. There’s No Origin Story This Time

Spiderman Homecoming Flag Marvel Studios

Though Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man movie did a fantastic job telling Peter Parker’s origin story, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man made the fatal mistake of needlessly re-telling it rather than just moving on with Peter Parker already donning the spandex.

As such, when a second reboot movie under the Marvel Studios banner was announced, there was worry that fans would be forced to sit through another pointless rehash of the superhero’s well-known origin.

Mercifully, this isn’t the case, as though Peter is still very much in the early stages of being Spidey, there’s only a single line of dialogue about his iconic spider bite, with Homecoming being very much concerned with moving the character far beyond that incident.

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Xbox One Backwards Compatibility: 10 Xbox Originals We Can’t Wait To Play

Xbox Games Microsoft

At E3 2017, Microsoft made one hell of an announcement in that original Xbox games would be available via backwards compatibility on the Xbox One and Xbox One X. In doing so, Microsoft has united the entire Xbox family of consoles and games on one single console – quite the impressive step, considering both the PS4 and Nintendo Switch offer paid emulations or nothing at all, respectively.

Looking ahead, it’s unknown exactly when the original Xbox games will hit the Xbox One, but it has been confirmed to be happening in 2017. It’s also unknown just how big the library of original games will be, with only two games actually being announced for the program at the moment.

Keep in mind, however, Phil Spencer of Microsoft has also confirmed that the original games library will ultimately be smaller than the Xbox 360 library that is currently available. That is no surprise considering there are just under 400 Xbox 360 games available in the backwards compatibility program right now.

As the year goes on, and the time when original Xbox games being playable on the Xbox One family draws closer, we can only sit and wonder what treasure we will soon be able to play again.

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Your ESSENTIAL Guide to the Best Sun Protection products


The Summer is finally here its official ! It might only last for a few days, it could be here for a few weeks, who knows it could be a couple of months that we are basking in this seasonal halo. Now I don?t mean to bring your mood down, but there is a very serious side to this fantastic weather. We men and I do mean to generalise here are pretty damn awful when it comes to safe tanning, laying in the sun and most importantly putting on suncream and when we do, that it?s a high enough SPF (Sun Protection Factor). OK then, now because we at Clothes-Make-the-Man care about our loyal readers and we want you around for as long as possible we have compiled our top 5 tips for sun safety;
1) Make sure you use enough product ? you should apply a blob about the size of a two pound coin for each limb and your front and back, as well as a blob about the size of a pound coin for your face,
2) Protect your skin before you first go into the sun ? we recommend applying sun cream 15 minutes before going into the sun, then reapplying again as soon as you go out in the sun. After that, you should reapply every 1 to 2 hours, as well as immediately after swimming or towelling.
3) Check for 5 star UVA rating ? ensure your chosen sun care product has maximum 5 star UVA protection as well as a high SPF, as this will provide the best protection from skin ageing as well as burning.
4) Use an SPF of at least 15 ? you should be using a high SPF (30 or 50) if you?re going abroad or have fair skin. Also don?t forget?your lips, they are prone to drying and cracking and long term exposure can cause uneven colouration as well as more serious skin conditions.
5) Choose a well-known brand that you trust ? when buying sun care make sure you look for a brand that are investing in research into the latest suncare technologies as well as in educating people about sun safety.

With these top tips in mind, very much the last point, we have thoroughly researched the market to determine what are the best sun care products on the market.

Since the 1970s, Bioderma has acquired a unique expertise in skincare and is recommended by Dermatologists worldwide. Bioderma?s sun care range is for everyone. With very high protection (SPF 50+, which blocks 98% of UVB rays), the Photoderm Max collection contains several options for face and body, as well as a Spray and Mousse for children that is adapted to their delicate skin.

A sore Red nose isn?t the only feature that can be affected by the sun on your face. From dehydration lines to dull-looking skin, your face needs the upmost care to boast that healthy sun kissed, holiday glow. Hawaiian Tropic with their Silk Hydration Air Soft Face SPF30 have adapted their Air Soft formula into a handy 50ml bottle, designed specifically for facial use.

Marks & Spencer are a trusted brand name and particularly when it comes to Safe Tanning and Suncare protection. Not only are these products Made in Great Britain, Extra water resistant, they offer both Ultra UVA and Max UVB ? according to EU maximum label recommendations. Plus they are Not tested on animals BUAV approved and are made in Eco-Factory.

P20?s easy, no fuss iconic once a day formula provides up to 10 hours protection from the sun?s harmful rays. Now that doesn?t mean you are immutable to the sun?s harmful rays or burning, it?s long lasting formula provides broad spectrum photostable protection. It combines UVA filters (to safe-guard against premature signs of ageing) and UVB filters (to protect the skin from harmful burning rays) that do not break down when exposed to sunlight and heat. This means P20?s level of protection, which is active 15 minutes after application, remains effective for up to 10 hours. P20 is also clinically proven to be very water resistant, the highest classification. But remember it?s better to be safe than sorry.

Clinique?s New SPF 30 Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream includes Clinique?s Solar Smart+ technology, a blend of antioxidant + barrier repair ingredients and sunscreens that help to strengthen and repair skin?s moisture barrier, while providing high-level, broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB. By forming a protective shield on skin, this formula helps to prevent against premature ageing caused by sun exposure. Formulated to be non- acnegenic, non-photoallergenic, and non-phototoxic, NEW Clinique SPF 30 Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream is dermatologist-tested and suitable for all skin types.

Anthelios Anti-Shine Invisible Mist by La Roche-Posay is a very much in demand product right now and after you use it, not only will you understand but will follow suit. It?s Anti Shine formula is a Patented molecule Airlicium which leaves oily-prone skin shine free. Previously used by NASA in space science, this anti- sweat, anti-shine and super light molecule ? composed of 99% air and 1% Silica ? has the unique ability to absorb up to 100x its weight in sebum and proactively controls sources of shine for an all-day clean skin sensation and matte finish. Plus, it surpasses European anti-UVA guidelines, for maximum protection.

Next up a new product from the World?s No1 Sun Care Brand combining highly effective UVA and UVB protection and offers extra water resistance. Nivea Sun Protection Roll-On with its easy to handle roll on application it is simple and quick to apply, particularly on children?s skin. It is a fast absorbing non-sticky formula that makes applying suncream easy instead of wasting time preparing for fun in the Sun it starts immediately with the application of sunscreen.

Last but certainly by no means least, we have saved the best til last, this is always in CMTM sun defences. It?s small, simple, throw it in your bag, pocket, whatever. It?s great for protecting your more delicate bits, that can be more prone to sun burn, like around the eyes, nose and forehead. It never stings ? and it stays put, however hot and bothered you get- Clarins sun stick ? 30+. Essentially a product we can?t say enough good things about !!!!

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Menswear to Serve ? Sports Inspired Collections


The fashion industry has seen quite the rise in sportswear inspired garments in recent years with mega-trends such as ?sports luxe? and ?Ath-leisure? saturating the market. This sartorial mash-up of class and comfort expels the ?fashion rule book? as there simply are no boundaries. This summer really is no exception as brands release sportswear inspired collections, fit for occasion on and off the pitch and what a better time then just-in-time for good old Wimbledon.

Kent and Curwen

Creative director Daniel Kearns has clearly been quite busy in recent months. Working closely along side business partner and brand ambassador and the man himself, David Beckham, Kent and Curwen has produced a well liked and received SS18 collection, increased their brand awareness across the menswear fashion and retail scene and grown the brand?s strength from ageing and uncreative to well designed, expertly crafted and sought after.

Kent and Curwen

Creative Director Daniel Kearns and David Beckham

As seen from the interesting presentation that received a well deserved mention in our top LFWM collections which you can see here, Kent and Curwen has focused on a ?teams? inspired collection. Bringing in design and detail from different sporting events such as tennis and cricket, the collection has created a nostalgic and very British aura, something rather refreshing and good to see on the menswear scene.

Kent and Curwen

Although this is next Spring/Summers collection, Kent and Curwen?s current SS17 collection is still the perfect choice for today?s modern sportsman. From knitted striped tees to cotton cricket jumpers, the collection is bursting with British heritage and sportsmanship. What?s more, the collection is currently on sale, so make sure you check it out before its gone!

kent and curwen

Australian L?Alpina

A name often associated with sports, Australian L?Alpina was founded in 1946 and quickly became a recognisable player on the tennis scene.  The unique kangaroo motif may well be one of the more recognisable of heritage brand logos too and has continued to grow in popularity, both on and off the court.

This year, L?Alpina has teamed up with former British David Cup winner, James Ward, as the brand ambassador for this spring summer season. As James Ward steps back into the tennis scene, he has lead the latest collection of contemporary and timeless tennis garments perfect for a game on the grass or a drink at the pub.

Logo embroidered polo shirts with contrasting sleeves and heritage inspired track tops make up most of the collection, with L?Alpina sticking to their traditional style of design as they always have done best. Wearable for sporting occasions and causal occasions alike, this Summer17 collection defines Italian sportswear without the ridiculous price tag. The full Italian contemporary collection is available now on Australian L?Alpina.

Australian L'Alpina

Australian L'Alpina


Now a household name for the younger and older generation, Ellesse was started in 1959 and took pride in it?s Italian sportswear roots as it still very much does to this day. Initially starting with ski-wear, Ellesse quickly became an important name in the sporting world as it went on to sponsor the likes of Ferrari F1 and the New York marathon in the 1980?s.

Taking inspiration from Wimbledon itself, Ellesse has launched a tennis collection for men, with each garment appropriately named after a famous tennis sporting figure. The colourways of navy, blue and white keep the collection contemporary and up to date, whilst the Ellesse red and yellow logo stands out to create a nice finishing detail. At an extremely affordable price too, this is the perfect range to keep you on top of your game this summer, available now on Ellesse.

ellesse tennis collection

Live: 2017 Austrian Grand Prix first practice | F1 Fanatic Live

Join us to follow the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix first practice session on F1 Fanatic Live.
F1 Fanatic Live combines updates from the teams and drivers in real-time via Twitter with comments from F1 Fanatic readers and more.

Launch F1 Fanatic Live: 2017 Austrian Grand Prix first practice

Watch F1 live on Sky Sports with Now TV for as little as £6.99

Want to watch all of this weekend?s Formula One coverage on Sky Sports? F1 Fanatic readers in the UK can buy a 24-hour subscription to all Sky Sports channels for £6.99 or a one-week pass for £10.99 to watch this weekend?s grand prix.

And when you buy using the link below you also make a contribution to F1 Fanatic! Find out more and sign up here:

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Drivers should be sent off for deliberate contact ? Hamilton | F1 Fanatic Round-up

In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says deliberate contact should be treated as seriously in F1 as it is in other sports.

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Interview: Uppercut Games on the journey from BioShock to City Of Brass

With the announcement of City Of Brass [official site] today, I was intrigued to learn what this group of Irrational veterans ? key players on so many well-loved games like SWAT 4, Tribes: Vengeance, Freedom Force and of course, BioShock ? had planned for their first-person Arabian Nights-themed roguelite. I got in touch with team lead Ed Orman to find out more about how Uppercut Games formed, and how their experience on so many big games plays a part in creating something quite so different.

Following on from 2015?s Submerged, City Of Brass is a very different game. A first-person, whip-n-sword action game, designed to kill you as often as it possibly can. While it?s only been announced this afternoon, it?s intended to release in just a few months. So quickly, to the interviewmobile!

RPS: I know most of the team at Uppercut worked on BioShock, but you were also key developers behind games like Freedom Force 2 and Swat 4. Could you tell us a bit more about your development background?

Ed Orman: There?s six full-time people at Uppercut, and we all got our start making PC games. Between us we have something like 90 years of experience on first person shooters, turn-based and real time RPGs, single and multiplayer games.

My first Lead Design role was on Fallout: Tactics before I joined Irrational. Andrew was an animator for years before he began work on the original Tribes: Vengeance. Ryan and John started at Irrational on Tribes, too. Ben started out on BioShock, and Evan worked at Big World (the tech behind World of Tanks).

RPS: Can you tell us a bit about how a group breaks away from a larger studio? It must be complicated to coordinate, or even just to find enough who are ready for something new that cover all the skills needed.

Ed Orman: I?d love to say that we were well coordinated! The reality is that Andrew and I just decided we had had enough of 2K and quit on the same day. Ryan left 2K not long after, but it was several months later before he joined us. That?s the three founders of Uppercut, and between us we had the Art, Production, Marketing, Design and Coding skills to make a game on our own. Crucially, we also had experience ? enough to know what we were capable of making in the short time our savings allowed, and how to take advantage of the opportunities that mobile was finally offering.

That got us through our first project, EPOCH, and it taught us that we could have done better with more hands on deck. While we wanted to expand a bit, we certainly didn?t want to return to the huge teams that we?d been involved with at 2K. So we?ve been growing as carefully as we can.

RPS: Submerged was beautiful, and really touching, but in some ways it felt like a proof of concept ? almost like it existed to say, ?Look, here?s what Uppercut can do.? Showing off weather effects, incredible lighting, and of course that bane of game development, realistic water. Were there ever plans to build it into a larger, more involved game?

Ed Orman: Submerged is one of those games that changed a lot through iteration. We did start out with plans for stealth and combat play, but the more we played, the more that those kinds of high-tension mechanics seemed out of place, and the more we wanted to just spend time relaxing, exploring and enjoying this world we were creating.

RPS: The game received some colossally stupid reviews. How did you, as a small indie team, deal with that?

Ed Orman: To call Submerged ?polarizing? would be an understatement ? it?s a classic love/loathe. Even before we shipped, we were getting forum comments from people who didn?t like the idea of exploration only, or even a female main character. So you learn to take criticism in your stride, and you don?t set out to make a game to please everyone. If we made any mistake with Submerged, it was not communicating what the game was effectively enough.

RPS: City Of Brass is clearly a very different sort of thing. What was the process that led you from the previous project to this one?

Ed Orman: You couldn?t get much further from Submerged than City of Brass! There?s a couple of major factors that led us in this direction. First, we?ve worked on many combat games in the past, including Tribes: Vengeance, BioShock, BioShock 2, and EPOCH. We decided that it was time to benefit from all of that experience, and try out some ideas that we never had the chance to work on before. We?ve taken particular inspiration from the potential of games like BioShock to generate combinative combat situations. For example, you can use the whip to stun an enemy before slicing them with your scimitar; or you can run, slide and push them into a trap; or bait one enemy such that in its rabid desire to kill you, it actually destroys other enemies nearby. We think City of Brass will generate a ton of cool combat moments.

Second, we wanted to try our hand at procedural generation. As a small team, we have to be really mindful of how much time we have to spend on the games we are creating. In Submerged, we hand-crafted every nook and cranny of the environment. It was a long, hard, laborious process, and when you have so much geometry to texture, it?s incredibly difficult to build at a consistently high quality. With procedural generation, we can polish modular pieces of geometry and their associated textures really carefully while still being able to generate large, unique cityscapes. That?s not to say it?s a total win-win; there?s a certain degree of trade-off of course. You may not be spending as long building geometry, but it takes a greater programming effort to create a believable city procedurally, and even longer to test it for problems. But for City of Brass, procedural generation is a core feature.

RPS: Obviously ?roguelike? is a term stuck on every other game being released now. What makes City Of Brass stand out in amongst that busy space?

Ed Orman: We were surprised to hear that there?s an ?official? definition of Roguelike that came out of the International Roguelike Development Conference. In light of that, we prefer the term ?rogue-lite? instead, because while there are some roguelike elements in City of Brass, it?s not a classic example of that genre. We?re keen to ensure that people know the kind of game they?ll be getting!

With all of that said, there?s a ton of things in City of Brass you won?t find in every rogue-lite ? the whip that can be used to grab, trip, disarm, stun or shatter as well as swing, the fluid movement and melee combat, the traps, wide variety of enemies, combinative gameplay like in BioShock. OK, the levels are procedurally generated, but the scripts that generate them are careful to make it feel like a realistic city, not a random collection of chambers, corridors and courtyards stitched together. Yes, there is perma-death and there are no saves, but you will encounter lots of new stuff as you get deeper into the game. We have friends who are shooter fans who?ve really enjoyed playing it, some of whom don?t even know what a rogue-lite is?

So for us, it?s about building a game we think pushes the boundaries of the genre that little bit further with a unique combination of systems. The game we wanted to make was intended to be procedurally generated from day one, and as all the elements came together, out popped a rogue-lite, and one we?re really proud to be making.

RPS: Looking at the early images and info, it strikes me that the whip is what will make or break the game. Can you tell us a bit about how you go about conceiving and implementing something like that?

Ed Orman: Going back to that idea of making the game stand out: that?s the challenge for every game creator, ever. So we decided early on that we would focus on systems that supported ?combinative gameplay? ? allowing players to combine their tools to do fun, different things. The whip gets us a long way towards that goal.

In terms of conception, all I can remember is Andrew, Ryan and myself were driving back from Sydney together (it?s a three hour trip and we do a lot of intense game dev discussion on these drives). We?d been talking about touchstones for City of Brass, the two obvious ones being The Mummy and Indiana Jones movies, and I suggested that a whip could be a stand-out feature. We talked about it for almost the entire drive, and by the end had a solid idea of what a whip could be capable of. Once we had the first version in the game, we knew we were onto something.

It?s just so versatile! While it doesn?t do damage, it lets you manipulate the world in so many different ways. In combat it?s used for disarming, tripping or stunning enemies, or dragging them into traps. For movement, it lets you swing and get to otherwise inaccessible places. It can grab loot, pick up objects, trigger traps and switches. There?s a lot to work with there, and we?re still coming up with new ideas for it.

RPS: It?s going to be crucial that the game compels players to have ?just one more go?. What about City Of Brass will keep us wanting to start over again after every death?

Ed Orman: There?s multiple things that we look for when we?re playing these kinds of games. Primarily, there?s a feeling of mastery that keeps you coming back. That classic curve where you start the game getting your arse kicked, but over time you learn to leap, swing, fight and loot like an action hero.

Then there?s that sense of discovery you get whenever you reach a new level, encounter a new enemy or discover some cool new combination of elements.

And at the end of the day, you want a game that?s fun to play, moment to moment. Whether you?re in it for the first or fiftieth time, whipping a ghoul in the face and then shoving them into a pit trap is always satisfying.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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Austrian GP weekend to be dry and warm | 2017 Austrian Grand Prix weather

Formula One is set for another dry and very warm weekend in Austria.

Temperatures will reach 31C during Thursday?s media day at the track but the mercury may rise even higher tomorrow, hitting 32C in the afternoon. This is a few degrees higher than last year?s peak, when track surface temperatures in qualifying reached a punishing 54C.

As Sunday is forecast to be a few degrees cooler, Friday?s practice running may not give a great guide to how the tyres will perform over a race stint. Pirelli has brought the three softest available compounds this weekend. Sunday is also forecast to be the cloudiest of the three days which will also serve to keep track temperatures down.

Hot conditions put strain on the power units as well as the tyres. The high demand on the MGU-K and MGU-H at the Red Bull Ring places additional strain on the battery, which may force teams to adjust their cooling arrangements. Even in the fourth year of the V6 hybrid turbo regulations some manufacturers are continuing to have reliability problems, notably Renault and Honda.

For more updates on the track conditions during each session keep an eye on F1 Fanatic Live and the F1 Fanatic Twitter account.

Location of Red Bull Ring

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2017 Austrian Grand Prix

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F1 may add second race in China | F1 Fanatic Round-up

In the round-up: A second F1 race in China is also under consideration by the sport?s new owners.

Predictions Championship

Remember to make your Predictions Championship entry for the this weekend?s grand prix before qualifying. Among the prizes you can win this year are a motorsport painting of your choice by Rob Ijbema like the one above.

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  • Juan Pablo Montoya took pole for the fourth race in a row today in 2002 at Silverstone

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