Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Celebrating Indie Publishing’

I am thrilled to welcome another fantastic author to join me today for a chat about books and writing processes, what’s on the horizon and cause some giggles! Today’s author is none other than the lovely Gina Kirkham, the woman behind the Constable Mavis Upton series. Her previous books are Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – The Further Adventures of Constable Mavis Upton, both are available via these Amazon links.


Gina was born during the not-so-swinging 50s to a mum who frequently abandoned her in a pram outside Woolworths and a dad who, after two pints of beer, could play a mean Boogie Woogie on the piano in the front room of their 3-bed semi on the Wirral.

Trundling a bicycle along a leafy path one wintry day, a lifelong passion to be a police officer gave her simultaneously an epiphany and fond memories of her favourite author Enid Blyton and moments of solving mysteries. And thus began an enjoyable and fulfilling career with Merseyside Police. On reaching an age most women lie about, she quickly adapted to retirement by utilising her policing skills to chase after two granddaughters, two dogs and one previously used, but still in excellent condition, husband. Having said goodbye to what had been a huge part of her life, she suddenly had another life-changing epiphany. This time it was to put pen to paper to write a book based on her experiences as a police officer. Mavis Upton was born, ready to star in a humorous and sometimes poignant look at the life, loves and career of an everyday girl who followed a dream and embarked upon a search for the missing piece of her childhood.

Constable Mavis Upton is back in July 2018 in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The lovely people I meet, either in person at events, LitFest, talks etc., or through social media, has got to be one of my favourites. Being an author has gifted me that opportunity. The reading/blogging/writing communities are not only supportive, they’re great fun too!
I love being able to create and describe characters too, give them a voice, express feelings, sights and smells through words and if a reader gets my sense of humour or suffers a bout of watery eyes at a poignant moment, it makes the many hours of self-doubt worthwhile.
To have someone say they enjoyed my book, that it cheered them up or made them giggle is the icing on the cake.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Oh gosh, I think it’s got to be when you get a not so good review. You know you will get them, but if you’re not naturally comfortable in putting yourself out there, then it can really knock what little confidence you have. Having said that, reviews can be negative but still constructive so you can learn and develop your writing with help from the readers and reviewers. It’s the ones that are a little mean that sting, like when someone hasn’t enjoyed your book, calls it a ‘turkey’ and tags you on Twitter to let you and the world know how dreadful they thought it was…….
…..I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner again (unless we have chicken) without squirming in embarrassment at the memory of that one!

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I read this in my English Literature class at high school and it made such a huge impression on me. It is such a haunting tale of courage and passionate principles through the eyes of a child. I remember alternating between great sadness and anger that there were people in the world who could actually carry such prejudice in their hearts and act upon it. I think growing up with a mum who taught me to
be inclusive and accepting of everyone, it was such a shock to immerse myself in a story that was educating me to realise that not everyone thought or felt the same way as me.

How do you spend your time when you are not writing?

I am incredibly blessed to have three wonderful grandchildren, Olivia 10 years, Annie 7 years and a new addition this year, Arthur who is just 5 months old. They fill my hours with laughter, fun and silly games, I’m often squished into their Wendy House/teepee/pirate ship with my knees wedged under my chin drinking pretend tea and savouring mud pies. Hubby and I are very keen gardeners too, so we’re often found wandering around garden centres looking bemused whilst clutching money off coupons
and borrowing each other’s glasses to read how much spread a plant (not our waistlines) will have.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you have to observe? i.e specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Oooh, definitely a massive mug of tea (or bucket as my hubby calls it) to start. Then my two Westie boys beside me in their Home Bargain fleecy beds, a view of the garden, a sneaky packet of biscuits that I promise myself will last my whole writing session but in truth are normally devoured before I’ve even typed two paragraphs, my Harry Potter notebook hubby bought me and complete silence. I tend to write when my characters speak to me, I get an uncontrollable urge to put their words down and that’s when I have my most productive days. The downside is when Mavis decides to strike up a conversation in my head at 3 am and won’t shut up. I have to get up, find the bucket mug and a packet of Garibaldi’s and write to keep her happy.

What’s on the horizon?

I have been doing a lot of Speaker events for branches of the Women’s Institute over the last eighteen months, which have been great fun. I’m a terrible ‘people watcher’ which is probably quiet disconcerting for those who come under the focus of my gaze, but it’s where I get my inspiration for characters from. These meetings are always full of wonderful ladies with fabulous stories to tell. Cora and Agatha in Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes are based on two WI ladies I met at one of my talks. I really enjoyed developing these two characters who were not police related, so now I’m busy drafting a new idea for a series of mystery books, still with humour but a touch of pathos and quirkiness too.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

I know from experience that life is incredibly fragile and comes with no guarantees. Have dreams, bucket lists and savings, but don’t wait for that rainy day to enjoy them. There are plenty of wonderful days with sunshine to live those dreams now.
Don’t ever find yourself saying ‘I could have….’
When the time comes you want to be able to say ‘I did…’

….. oh, and there can never, ever be too many books in a bookcase! ☺

Can you tell me a little about your latest book? How would you describe it and why should we go read it?

Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes (The Further, Further Adventures of Constable Mavis Upton) is the third in the series of books loosely based on my career as a Police Officer with Merseyside Police. The trilogy follows a ‘thirty something’ single mum of a little girl, who reaches for her dream and joins the police. The stories chart the highs and lows of juggling everyday life, love, career and family with humour and a little sadness.

In Blues, Twos Mavis is pregnant, as is her daughter Ella, and whilst coming to terms with becoming a geriatric mum and a grandmother at the same time, the last thing she needs is problems at work. But a new sexist dinosaur of a Sergeant is more bully than mentor, and a mysterious case involving a blackmailer sending poison pen letters is baffling the police and tearing the community apart.

Can Mavis juggle late life motherhood and her career, maintain a loving relationship with her other half Joe and deal with being a grandmother, all whilst solving the case?

Well, this is Constable Mavis Upton…literally anything is possible!

Gina’s books are a wonderfully hilarious escape from everyday life and came highly recommended to me by some friends, especially the lovely Jill over at Jill’s Book Cafe. I’ve bought copies of the first two books to read before I get reading this new book and I cannot wait to find out what Constable Mavis has been up to!

A huge thank you to Gina for joining me today for a natter and being so open about her writing and her life outside of her books. I do love a wander around a garden centre too, and I’m so pleased that her grandchildren keep her out of mischief with their tea parties!

Read Full Post »

When I started this feature all those many moons ago, it was my way of shining a wee spotlight on a book or an author, and I had no idea about the many brilliant books or authors I would discover on this journey. But I am happy to say that the books I’ve bought have been fantastic, the authors who’ve taken part in the Q&As have all been brilliant and I’ve fallen in love with so many new books. I hope that others have found a new book or two to love!

Today’s book in the spotlight was written by a wonderful Irish author who I discovered a wee while ago, having read one of her recent books, I was keen to go back to her earlier books because I loved the way she could weave a tale effortlessly and bewitch me with her words.

  • Title: Betwixt
  • Author: Evie Gaughan
  • Publisher: Self published
  • Publication Date: 25th August 2015

Copy purchased via Amazon.

Description:

An atmospheric short story set in the Irish countryside.

Catherine returns to Hollowbrook Cottage on a cold November night, looking to escape her present life and lose herself in the past. However, her journey crosses the path of a mysterious stranger who will change her life forever.

My Thoughts:

I should admit that I’ve had Betwixt on my Kindle for a wee while now, I kept saying to myself that I would read it soon, but as we all know, the best laid plans and all that … so in an attempt to read more of what I fancy and when I hunted it out on my Kindle the other night and curled up on the sofa.

Although it’s a short story, only 36 pages, there’s a lot of detail and atmosphere packed into this story.
The emotions of the main character Catherine are so strong from the outset, taking readers along with her as she attempts to navigate the foul weather and reach Hollowbrook Cottage and the sanctuary it will provide, but first she has to contend with the owner of the cottage Mrs Donnelly. Mrs Donnelly is an old fashioned, perhaps brusque woman who is curious about the young woman renting her cottage in the winter season, but she’s not one for doing favours for anyone and soon makes it clear that the accommodation is barely adequate due to it being so out of season for rental.

Navigating narrow country lanes in pitch dark and torrential rain would be a challenge for any driver, but Catherine has a lot on her mind. She’s trying to remember exactly where along this unmarked stretch of road Hollowbrook Cottage is in relation to where she is when she happens upon another traveller on the road.

I’ll leave you to discover the plot for yourself, but I will say that I found myself utterly spellbound by this story. The scenes were brought to life with vivid descriptions, I could almost smell the peat that warmed the cottage, I could see the inside of the cottage, it all felt so real. The characters feel so real, their stories written in such a way that they come alive for the reader, even in a short story. I felt that I could understand the emotions of Catherine, make sense in the things she said and heard, absolutely loved one line in particular “Life doesn’t get easier, we get stronger”, so much sense in those seven words, a message from the author perhaps.

If you’re after a captivating tale to curl up with on an autumnal afternoon or evening then this is a book worth checking out. It’s packed with detail, beautifully descriptive and well written.

Read Full Post »

Today on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am thrilled to share a mini review of a fun read that my little reader and I shared as a bedtime story this week and really enjoyed.

  • Title: Timothy Mean and the Time Machine
  • Author:William A.E. Ford
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • Publication Date: 17th January 2019

Copy kindly provided by the author for review purposes.

Description:

WINNER OF READERS FAVORITE SCI-FI FANTASY CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD 2019
With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible!
Join Timothy on a magical rhyming adventure as he skips through time and pranks with pirates, gets daring with dragons, and even teases a T-Rex!
“It’s Monday. Hip hip hooray! Where shall we travel in time today?”
With Timothy Mean, every day is a rhyme in time!

My Thoughts:

We love a book that has a fun character, adventure and lots of moments for laughter, and so when we stumbled upon Timothy Mean and the Time Machine we couldn’t wait to read it! We enjoyed it so much we bought a paperback copy to add to our book shelf.

Fun illustrations help to bring the story of a bored Timothy alive as he adventures through time to visit different times and landscapes, causing mischief wherever he ends up. The pranks that Timothy plays in each new time gave us a great point for discussion as my daughter told me why she thought that some of his pranks were mean and how they might have affected people.
As well as speaking about the pranks, we also spoke about ideas the book brought on, where would we like to go if we had a time machine, what would we see? What is the moon made of? Where did the dinosaurs go? Were there dinosaurs around when daddy was a boy (he father was not so pleased about this idea), the list goes on and we’ve plans to use a box to make a time machine of our own for adventures.

Read Full Post »

It’s a huge honour to welcome authors to join me for a natter and share a little information about their books, their writing processes and what’s on the horizon for them, and today I am thrilled to bring you a Q&A with the lovely Julie Newman, whose third book has just come out. Her previous books are Beware the Cuckoo and The Kindness of Strangers, both are available via these links.


Julie was born in East London but now lives a rural life in North Essex. She is married with two children. Her working life has seen her have a variety of jobs, including running her own publishing company. She is the author of the children’s book Poppy and the Garden Monster. She writes endlessly and when not writing she is reading. Other interests include theatre, music and running. Besides her family, the only thing she loves more than books is Bruce Springsteen.

The Kindness of Strangers, Julie’s second novel following Beware the Cuckoo, just published in May 2018.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The best thing is when the character you are writing about takes you by the hand and the story just flows from pencil to page. Nothing beats a good writing day.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

The worst bit for me is when the story is finished and you are waiting for reviews and/or feedback.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Absolutely anything by Toni Morrison. Her books are profound and powerful. And A Bear Called Paddington, who wouldn’t want to be responsible for one of the most charming and endearing characters in children’s literature.

How do you spend your time when you are not writing?

Relaxing with family and friends. Visiting the theatre. Reading, of course and listening to Bruce Springsteen.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you have to observe? i.e specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I am at my best in the mornings. I always write longhand with a pencil and a new notebook for each project. I do not need silence and will very often have music playing in the background.

What’s on the horizon?

I have started my fourth novel. All I can say is it is very different from anything I have previously written.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like a book. We are all different and life is too short to spend time on something that isn’t right for you. That said, when you do read something you like please tell everyone and maybe leave a review. It helps authors tremendously and we are all eternal grateful. 

My Latest book is Cast No Shadow. Samantha, a journalist is desperate to investigate the ‘big stories’ and in her quest for this she comes across a little reported story of an hotelier in India accused of rape. The hotelier is exonerated when he is revealed as a she. Samantha looks deeper into the story with the help of Gregory, a colleague whose brother works for the British High Commission in Delhi. When Simon is murdered Gregory travels to India to discover what happened to his brother. He, in turn goes missing. Realising there is no-one able to help her Samantha heads to India to search for Gregory and the truth behind the hotelier’s story and Simon’s death.

Samantha’s journey is not just a geographical one. She learns much of herself and those closest to her. She soon learns nothing is as it seems.

Cast No Shadow looks at relationships, power and privilege. I hope it challenges stereotypes and encourages the reader – like Samantha – to realise often nothing is as it seems.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a hugely intriguing read, and one I will definitely be adding to my reading list asap! If you want to buy a copy and find out what happens to Samantha and Gregory, then head over to Amazon and grab a copy.

My thanks to Julie for joining me today, I love that she’s such a fan of Bruce Springsteen!

Read Full Post »

  • Title: Callum and the Mountain
  • Author: Alan McClure
  • Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
  • Publication Date: 14th August 2019

Copy received from author for review purposes.

Description:

It’s a quiet wee village, Skerrils.
Not much going on. Shingle beach, pretty walks, peaceful library, exploding school, talking dogs, carnivorous monuments, interfering all-powerful nature spirits and a mountainous secret too baffling to tell…
Callum Maxwell and his pals are in for the strangest, scariest, most exciting summer of their lives.
Join them and you’ll never look at the natural world in quite the same way again.

My Thoughts:

This is the kind of book I wish had been around when I was growing up! I would have loved to read about Callum and his friends going on their adventures, and I will be sure to keep this copy handy for my daughter once she’s old enough to read it.
With the strange goings on around him, it’s no wonder that Callum starts to wonder what’s happening, he cannot quite believe the events that unfold in the opening pages, but it sets the scene perfectly for the capers that are to follow.

McClure has a wonderful way of creating the scene and bringing it to life with crisp descriptions, the magic that is woven throughout the narrative is thrilling and frightening in equal measure, making this such an exciting read!
The interactions between the characters feel natural and by using Scots in the language, the author adds an air of authenticity to it all without alienating non Scots speakers.

It’s a really fun read, with plenty of moments have you chuckling out loud as you read, especially the moment with one character speaking out of his bum! And that alone will make it appeal to many readers, but the story telling is what really makes this such a fantastic book to share with younger readers, but equally older readers will enjoy the adventure unfolding around them.

Read Full Post »

  • Title: Cage
  • Author: Lilja Sigurdardóttir
    Translator: Quentin Bates
  • Publisher: Orenda Books
  • Publication Date: 17th October 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.

Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.

At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.

With a shocking crescendo, the lives of these characters collide, as drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noirtrilogy.

My Thoughts:

Cage is another stunning offering from Lilja Sigurdardóttir, cementing her place in my mind as one of THE names in Icelandic crime writing. This is also the final book in the Reykjavik trilogy, the previous two being Trap and Snare, and I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re not familiar with them.

It’s no surprise that Iceland Noir is a firm favourite of mine, especially with books of this calibre. The plot is engaging, the characters are impressive and the adrenaline fuelled frenzy that has you turning pages makes this such a punchy and thrilling read.

Although Sonia has been the key character in this series, I could not help but feel a great interest in Agla, her lover. In Cage, readers follow Agla as she faces her final months in prison for financial crimes. We see her adjust to a vastly different life to the one she had previously, and her subsequent release from prison brings more issues as she adapts to life on parole … but the chance to settle old scores and flex her intellect as she tries to unravel a mystery that places danger at the doorstep of an acquaintance, as well as brings her face to face with someone from her past.

As always, Sigurdardóttir manages to deftly weave current hot topics into the narrative of her work, offering readers an opportunity to view them from a different perspective and provides a great basis for topical discussion. She portrays events with an open honesty, showing the inescapable drug world, the dangerous links between the hierarchies of the bosses, mules and victims. But more than this, Sigurdardóttir expands on ideas of cultural unrest, migration, and the struggles of coming to age so masterfully that emotion is evoked in the reader, leaving them feeling anger, upset, shock on behalf of the characters involved.

Her style of writing pitches the perfect pace to keep readers turning pages, eagerly trying to find out what will happen next, to see how events will link up and what fates will befall the various characters.
The development of the characters throughout the series, as well as in the individual books, is superb to see. Witnessing Agla’s fall from grace, Sonia’s turmoil, Ingimar’s ruthlessness, all adds to the gripping storyline and brings these characters to life. Readers begin to connect with them in a way, not always liking them, but certainly feeling some form of a connection towards them and at times I admit, that I did feel sympathy towards certain ones.

There is no doubt for me that Cage is an electrifying read, packed with emotion and touching moments that grab the reader, but it also leaves them feeling the creeping Icelandic chill that gets under their skin and has them desperate for more books from this author!

Read Full Post »

  • Title: Pog
  • Author: Pádraig Kenny
  • Publisher: Chicken House Books
  • Publication Date: 4th April 2019

Description:
David and Penny’s strange new home is surrounded by forest. It’s the childhood home of their mother, who’s recently died. But other creatures live here … magical creatures, like tiny, hairy Pog.

He’s the one of the First Folk, protecting the boundary between the worlds. As the children explore, they discover monsters slipping through from the place on the other side of the cellar door. Meanwhile, David is drawn into the woods by something darker, which insists there’s a way he can bring his mother back …

My Thoughts:
What a wonderfully exiting sounding book and gorgeous cover! I have to admit that the cover immediately grabbed my eye and made me want to find out more and the description just sealed the deal, so I decided to treat myself for Independent Bookshop Week (which coincidentally occurs around the time of my birthday!), and got a copy of this book from one of my favourite bookshops.

Following the arrival of David and Penny at their new home, readers are given glimpses of their lives through the eyes of Pog, the small creature who has lived in their house for many years. And it is from Pog’s perspective that a lot of the action takes place, making this such a fun and exciting read. His thoughts about humans and their ways are humorous and his recollections of those who have gone before him like “Grandfa” really make this character stand out.
The narration isn’t limited to Pog though, we see events through the eyes of both David and Penny, see how they cope with the grief of losing their mother and how it’s impacted on their wee family. The author has taken great care to explore their grief in a natural way for children, demonstrating that it can make things seem harder than you’d expect, that at times it’s unfathomable but ultimately for David and Penny, the support of each other and their father is something that will help them get through the hard times.

Wonderfully vivid descriptions of the characters and their antics give readers a real feel for what goes on in this book, it’s hard not to image the scenes as they play out on the pages and draw the readers in. It’s a really beautifully written book, the magical mysticism appeals to a whole variety of readers and although it’s aimed at readers 9+, I really enjoyed it and found it a great book to blast away the cobwebs with!

Read Full Post »

  • Title: In The Absence of Miracles
  • Author: Michael J Malone
  • Publisher: Orenda Books
  • Publication Date: 19th September 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about.  A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

My Thoughts:

Michael J. Malone has the unique ability to take a dark and often less spoken about social issue and bring it right into the spotlight, and he does just this in his latest book.

Expertly taking the reader on an emotional and turbulent journey through the pages, Malone unravels a multilayered plot at the perfect pace, shocking and surprising the reader in equal measure.
With a plot so complex, it would be wrong of me to attempt to break it down or say much about it, and in all honestly, I’m not sure I could. Not without giving something away!
However, I will say that the plotting is fiendishly clever, and I had no idea it was heading down this particular route until I got to a certain passage … I then had to re-read it again, shocked at what I’d read, such is Malone’s way of ensuring difficult topics are laid out, bringing them to mainstream attention without sugar-coating or sensationalising them. And for this, I applaud Malone. His writing highlights topics that are not discussed enough or even at all. There is a powerful poignancy in his writing that never fails to move me.

The characters that Malone has created in this book are ones that I found I needed to get to know, I wanted to know about their pasts, find out more about what drove them to make the decisions they made and why they acted as they did. The clever use of multiple timelines explains many actions of the characters and gives readers an insight into a world they might never experience otherwise.

Read Full Post »

  • Title: Blood Song
  • Author: Johana Gustawsson
  • Translator: David Warriner
  • Publisher: Orenda Books
  • Publication Date: 19th September 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the lastest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series

Spain, 1938:
The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning installment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

My Thoughts:

There are a few authors that I always look forward to book news from, but Johana Gustawsson is a name that I will practically stalk on social media for updates. The simple reason is that her books are stunning.

For fans of Block 46 and Keeper, you are in for an amazing reading experience with Blood Song. With a dual timeline, readers are transported between 1938 Spain and 2016 Sweden, coupled a cast of characters who compel and captivate and a plot that completely blows you away.

Gustawsson has the ability to effortlessly beguile her readers, weaving a complex and compelling tale that draws on events from history. I must admit, my knowledge of Franco’s dictatorship was quite lacking, I had no comprehension of the atrocities committed under the guise of civil war, nor the conditions that met the imprisoned upon their arrival. The narrative surrounding this timeline is heartbreaking, and while there has been attempt to soften some of the more brutal aspects, there is no denying that it gives readers much to think about and I certainly cannot deny the impact it had upon me as I read. I felt that I was holding my breath, holding back tears, holding in screams.
The 2016 timeline contains its own atrocities, including the murder of Aliénor Lindbergh’s family. But this should not overshadow the investigation into the Swedish fertility clinics which made for frightening reading. The exploitation of people when they are so vulnerable and so desperate for a child is hard to read, but it is pitched perfectly to engage the reader.

And as the plot unfolded, I found myself wrapped up in the lives of the characters, feeling their pain, their frustrations and anguish. I always feel a sort of connection with Emily Roy and Alexis Castells, something in the way that these two characters have been crafted makes them so lifelike, the situations they are involved in become more than just words on a page, they play out like clips on a movie reel.

Up until now, Block 46 was a firm favourite for me, but I think that Blood Song has somehow managed to wedge itself a little more into my heart. Somehow this book has managed to fascinate and haunt my head in equal measure, it is a truly magnificent book.

Read Full Post »

  • Title: Forest Adventures: More than 80 ideas to reconnect with nature all year round
  • Authors: Claire Gillman & Sam Martin
  • Publisher: Modern Books
  • Publication Date: 9th May 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

Gadget-free games, activities and adventures for the entire family.

Forest Adventures is jam-packed with Forest School-inspired activities you can do any time of the year, whatever the weather. With this book in hand, an adventure is surprisingly easy to come by, whether it’s birdwatching or building a sundial, making a compass or tracking wildlife. Whatever the season, the activities within are fun for the whole family and are sure to get you excited about all that nature has to offer.

My Thoughts:

With six sections, there’s bound to be an activity for everyone in this book, and a simple key makes it easier for you to gauge the difficulty of each and the time involved.

Flicking through the book with my daughter, we spotted lots of fun activities to try out, the artwork in the book sparking her interest where words didn’t. We quickly made a list of the things we’d like to try, baking brownies, making gingerbread people, making a bird feeder, beach art, learning about clouds to name a few. Plenty of laughter and fun was had as we tried out the various games and activities, and often we’d use the book as a basis and go on to expand on the ideas and have our own adventures. What started as a simple idea of beach art soon had us walking along the beach looking for stones to spell out our names and practice counting.

The only downside is that with it being summer, there’s a lack of snow for us to try out some of the cold weather inspired fun! But we will definitely be making snow shoes and ice art when the mercury plummets later in the year.

Getting outdoors and playing in the garden is wonderful and this book gave us some great inspiration, and it was quite fun handing the book to my daughter and letting her pick an activity from a section that she wanted to try out. It’s great for the summer holidays, for those days where you’ve nothing planned and the kids utter the dreaded “I’m bored”, or even a good book to keep in the caravan for ways to entertain the entire family by collecting leaves on a nature walk to make leaf rubbings or a nature picture. And the gadget free games section is perfect if the summer weather decides to stick around, get everyone out in to the garden to play frisbee or make their own kites and fly them!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

write4bairns

Writing for Kids

The Auld (Woolly) Alliance

When a Scottish Knitwear and Toy Designer and a French Compulsive Knitter Meet...

Put it in Writing

The Blog & Website of Anne Stormont Author: Writing, Reading, Reflecting

bibliobeth

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” - Cicero

Not Another Book Blogger

Reading, Writing, Drinking Tea

BookBum

A friendly space for all horror, mystery & thriller lovers

Broadbean's Books

Welcome to my blog where I share my thoughts on books.

Berit Talks Books

“I'm just a girl, standing in front of a book hoping I will love it.”

Yvonne - Me and My Books

Books, book reviews and bookish news.

The Beardy Book Blogger

Reading and Reviewing Books - May Contain Beard: "From Tiny Book Blog Buds Shall Mighty Book Blogs Grow" - TBBB

Book lovers' booklist

Book news and reviews

Rosepoint Publishing

Blogger-Book Blogger–Book Reviews of Bestsellers & Indie Authors

Crime Thriller Fella

Crime reviews, news, mayhem, all the usual

juliapalooza.com

Books, bakes and bunnies

A Knight's Reads

All things bookish

Letter Twenty

it's all about the tea

On The Shelf Books

A bookblog for readers

Gem's Quiet Corner

Welcome to my little corner. Grab a cup of tea (or hot drink of preference), find your happy place and join me to talk all things bookish...