Another week has come and gone, time is absolutely flying by and it only seems a couple of days ago when I last wrote up a weekly book update!
This week has been a good week, we managed to rearrange our kitchen after taking out the old fire. It’s amazing how much space this took up! It was also an opportunity to go through the cupboards and get rid of all the crap that we seem to have accumulated.
So to the books I read this week…
I finished reading…
KULT by Stefan Malmstrom
This is a dark crime fiction book. It is atmospheric, insightful and poignant. As the title suggests this is a story that spends some of its time in a cult. The author uses his own experiences from when he was lured into one, and boy you can tell he knows what he is on about. This is a fabulous read and I am so glad I signed up for the blog tour for this book. My review will be at the end of the month.
Next up was…
Coming Home to Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters
Anyone that knows me knows I don’t do Christmas until December, but this was a an author I recognised from other Book Bloggers reviews and I wanted to read one her books.
So even though it is not officially winter, the evenings are feeling a little chilly and this worked really well for me. It is a lovely heartwarming read that I loved. It had various threads weaving through it that gave it such a good depth, there were wonderful characters who had to work through dilemmas. A great read and another Blog Tour book that I will review at the beginning of october, yes you read that right October!
Then I read…
The Demons Beneath by WD Jackson-Smart
This is a creepy crime thriller and the synopsis really intrigued me. It is a really good crime thriller that has a bit of something else… This is a new author for me and after reading this one it will not be the last time, and I have just discovered the 2nd book in the series is available 🙂 Look out for my review in, yep you guessed it October.
The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole
This is a book for a Blog Tour in September, its a book about…well…books or rather how books can transform and evolve. It is about innovations and errors and people defacing books, burning books and books that create. I am really looking forward to this one. It has been a while since I have read a non fiction and this looks good.
Well that’s the Book stuff done… now for the Non Bookish stuff…
It has been another day today (sunday) of cooking again. Its all well and good growing food but then I have to deal with it. Now you know how homegrown and home cooked food is supposed to be healthier? Well not in our house in ‘aint, I was brought up proper and that means puddings, cakes, jams and chutney 😂
So this week saw me finally making a start on the raspberry jam, I have been picking these for weeks and bunging them striaght in the freezer until I had a good stock for a proper jam making session. So 12 jars of my “Almost Seedless Raspberry Jam” was made along with 2 jars of runner bean chutney, some coffee and walnut buns because the eggs needing using up and finally another crumble, this time a plain apple one, I say plain but a good dollop of maple syrup and also some cinnamon adds a nice bit of mmmmmm to it.
Oh my goodness has the weather turned chillier or what. I am still wearing my shorts and refusing to put them away yet! Though wearing them to work when I am on a night shift makes me think twice!!!!
First up is the Non-Bookish stuff…
I had a good week in the garden and kitchen this week. I finally got round to dealing with my beetroot, this resulted in 12 jars of beetroot chutney and 4 jars of pickled beetroot. The chutney was a first make for me and nice and simple – home grown beetroot and onions, some donated cooking apples, ginger, vinegar and sugar! and it tastes great and is tasty in a cheese sandwich 😋😁
I was given enough apples to make a couple of crumbles as well, I still had some of last years blackberries in the freezer so they were added as well…
I think you could say that Tuesday in our house should have been called “Purpleday” and that Wednesday was definitely “FeelingFatday” 😂
Now for the books I read this week…
First up was…
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
WOW! I loved this so much. I was a little dubious about starting this at night after the OH had gone to bed and I was sat reading in a room by myself!
This is tense and just awesome. Not everything is explained as such in regards to all the why’s of the catastrophe that led to people having to wear blindfolds, but taking a step back from the book and thinking about things logically, if there was a phenomenon that led to an end of days event… would anyone know the real truth anyway?
Then I read…
The Death Of Justice by Tony J Forder
This author is a favourite of mine and I always look forward to reading any of his books. This is the 5th in the DI Bliss series and I have to say it his his best book for me to date.
This is a real step up for me by this author with this latest publication. It is emotional, has a complex case and has so much drama and tension to it. It is simply fabulous and it also broke me, tears galore for me for this book.
As I was reading this on my ipad I saw a message come up from the very same author asking me if I had got this, his latest book! Very twilight zone or what!!!! So yes I took a photo and sent that saying… “Yep I am currently reading it” 😮😂
Keep your eye out for my review on tomorrow (tues 10th)
Then I read…
Guest by SJ Bradley
I read this book as part of the upcoming Morecombe & Vice Crime Festival Blog Tour that has been organised by Sarah Hardy at Book On The Bright Side Publications. This Blog Tour teams up 41 Book Bloggers and Authors for daily Blog Posts that see Book Reviews and Question & Answers posts. I am really looking forward to this. It runs from 18th to 27th September. There are some fabulous Authors and also festival organisers involved, so make sure you check out all the Blog Posts.
Guest by S.J. Bradley is a story about Samhain and how he has reached a crossroads in his life. He has to decide what he wants to do when revelations from the past suddenly arrive at the same time. This is a literary fiction story that has been beautifully written and was a lovely read.
Currently Reading… not sure yet, I will probably choose a book later today (Sunday as I write this) 🤔😁
UPDATE – Just read Escape to Giddywell Grange by Kim Nash – a fabulous and heartwarming story that I adored. This is the 2nd book by this author and the 2nd time she has delivered a fabulous read that I devoured in one sitting. Keep an eye out for my review at the end of the month as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel Gilbey.
My next read is going to be Kult by Stefan Malmstrom 😊
Well that me done for yet another week. I will catch up with you all next week 🙂
I am delighted to welcome you to read my thoughts as I help to kick off the Blog Tour for Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington. My huge thanks to Nick for sending me the 3 e-book set and to Sarah Hardy at BOTBSPublicity for the invite onto the Blog Tour. This collection is a series of 3 books and I will try by best to give you a mini review for each book…
But first how about I let you know what the Boxer Boys Collection is all about…
Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London. While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.
So first up is Crossing the White…
Gary Marshall is being bullied on the rundown London estate he lives on, local lad Arnie (Arnold) Dolan steps in and saves Gary from a beating. This is the start of a friendship that see’s the boys through their teens and is the start of the Boxer Boys.
It is a story of family, friendship, changing from kids into adults and watching each others backs. Over the course of the story it becomes apparent that Gary is drawn into the murkier side than he really wants to. Things go awry for Gary and his chances at living his dream in a career he is passionate about, instead he takes different route.
This is a gritty read that deals with teens in the sprawling and gang ruled estates of London. There are various things that have been dealt with and it adds to the authentic feel of the story.
A great first book in the collection and it made me want to know exactly what was going to happen next. So much so that I went straight onto the 2nd in the set.
This is a book that goes back to the era of Gary and Arnies parents, mainly the Dolans, but the Marshall’s do have a part to play. The Dolan family is made up of Big Mo & Beryl and, Chuck their eldest, it is also about Clive, Big Mo’s brother.
This has a different feel to it and it was nice to get to know more about the family of the boys I had met in the first book. Big Mo is, well tough to say the least. He has a fiery temper and is the sort that hits first and then asks questions later and he is the leader of a shady small group of friends. The Dolan’s have a reputation not to be messed with.
Clive and Mo are very different in what they want out of their lives. Mo is about power, reputation and money. Clive is about wanting more from his life and this is why he joins the Scots Guards. This is the time of Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s and the Falklands conflict. Nobody thought that would come to anything and so off Clive goes. History tells us that this was something and Clive is not the same person he was when he left.
This is a more emotional read as well as having more violence. It gives a great insight into the families, their priorities and loyalty. It’s all about the family and who they are.
Once again as soon as I had finished this one I was straight onto the next…
Back again with Gary and Arnie, or should I say Gareth and Arnie. The previous books were extensive in their groundwork and this is brought to a fabulous conclusion in Dying Seconds. It is 2016 and while Garth is dealing with a job in Wales, Rugby and Football matches, Arnie is having to come to terms with his new lifestyle.
He has had his role in the Boxer Boys changed and the families are fracturing with tension and suspicions are running at an all time high.
There is a lot for the two men to deal with and their responsibilities and loyalties have changed. Gareth’s past is brought up to date and he can finally deal with things that have been hanging over him for the past few years.
This is a tense 3rd book and it is where all the threads are finally pulled together and things slot into their proper places. It is a story full of doubt, suspicion and fear and it is full of pace.
OVERALL – this has been a great series and I really do apologise for being so vague, but I was aware that if I wasn’t careful then spoilers would slip out.
The three stories combine to give a fabulous insight in two main families and the trials and tribulations that go with them. There are so many things that happen along the way for not only the families but also the boys as well.
The style of the story is gritty and it fits so well with the gangland setting. As much as there is violence with the story as you would expect, there is also much more than that. It is a story that show the dynamics of family and society of the respective times the stories are set in. It is about loyalty and friendship and how long they can be stretched before something gives.
This has been a really good collection of 3 stories that are intertwined and linked and that span the years. They each have a connection to each other and yet at the same time each have a different feel in the way they read. After reading Nick’s Bio I can see that he brings his own knowledge and experiences to his writing. This is a collection that I thoroughly enjoyed each one of the books and I would suggest that they are definitely read in order, you could argue that they could be read as stand alone books but for me they worked perfectly as they were set out.
It is one of those collections that falls into several categories. I add my own tags and the ones I have chosen for this is, Urban Fiction, Family Drama, Family & Lifestyle and Contemporary Fiction as well as General Fiction. I think it is one would interest many readers.
A fabulous collection and one I would Definitely Recommend.
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World
phone-hacking scandal you never hear about.
As the newspaper’s Welsh
Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch
closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011.
On holiday at the time, Nick
was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area
with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets
to his Fantasy Football selections.
Handed the contents of his
desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a
crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old
baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having
hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of
the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.
The book was praised by
many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’
Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both
sides of the pond.
Almost two years after
Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel
called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on
July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill
With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG
medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers
throughout the world.
The third book in the Boxer
Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in
Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.
I am delighted to share my thoughts on Silent Scream by Angela Marsons. This is a series I have been seeing and hearing good things about from other readers. It has taken me a while but I have finally started the series.
Let me show you what it is all about…
Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever …
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally murdered, the first in a spate of gruesome killings which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?
This author has created a fabulous and feisty character in the form of DI Kim Stone. Along with Stone, there is a brilliant team supporting her. Her main sidekick is Bryant and seems to be a “voice of reason” to Stone’s abrupt, “bull in a china shop” approach. The banter between these two is so good and there is a strong sense of friendship and respect between them. There are strong characters in this story and with this strength there is going to be the odd clash, especially with her superior. Luckily for Stone she delivers results so she does have a bit of leeway.
The case itself is that of the discovery of a body that has been found on a local dig site. These requires a different skill set and a specialist team are called in. I love the way the author has used Bates, one of those brought in, and almost painted a bulls-eye on him for Stone’s sarcasm. It is actually something that is a good thing as this sarcasm is usually when a discussion about a body is due to be dealt with. It kind of breaks the tension before the nitty gritty details about the body takes place.
During the case I was able to learn some interesting stuff about Stone, they came in little snippets that were scattered through the story. I have a feeling she is a complex character from what I have learnt about her so far and I think there is a lot more to come.
This story was one that once I started I had problems putting down. It was immediately engaging and really did keep my attention. There is a good amount of detail in the various aspects of the investigation that for me worked really well and these were balanced wonderfully with the more personal side of Stone’s life-history.
This is a series I am so happy about finally beginning, and the best bit is… there are several more books in the series for me to catch up on.
Silent Scream is a book I would Definitely Recommend!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite. I have gradually been reading this authors books and I think I have just read my favourite…so far! I still have to get up to date with her books, but my goodness this is an author who is well and truly on my “go to” Author list.By this I mean that when she releases a new book, I will automatically buy it.
Let’s see what Her Last Secret is all about…
Some secrets you can never tell.
Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family grand London house, gorgeous kids.
They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck. They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit. They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text. But someone knows all their secrets.
Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?
This book is beyond awesome! What a devious author Barbara Copperthwaite is!
The synopsis, though brief, is intriguing and as I read it back after finishing the book I realise how clever it is. Just the merest of hints that give nothing away about what it contained inside the cover.
They say that you never know what truly goes on behind closed doors. Those doors in this this story belong to the family home, an office, a bedroom and a flat. The secrets that are contained behind those doors are the secrets of the individuals that occupy them.
I loved the dramatic way the story starts. Its Christmas Day and the police arrive. The story then backtracks for the members of the Thomas family painting a picture of them as a family as well as them individually. The author has cleverly spun a web and added more and more deception until things are brought up to the arrival of the police. Then things slot in place, well almost…
The Thomas family are: Benjamin, the father, an accountant that is in trouble. Dominique is the mum who isn’t quite a in control as she appears to be. Ruby, 15 year old daughter is being bullied and doesn’t tell her family and finally 8 year Amber the youngest, who prefers to hide in small spaces and is called “Mouse” because of this. What appears on the outside to be a successful family is one that behind the front door is one struggling. Their stories about their struggles are individual, but when they come together as a family the dynamic shown is one that is tense and edgy.
Keeping things to yourself and not admitting that you are struggling is something that is at the core of the story. These things become secretive and eventually controlling, it then affects your mood, decisions and how you interact with other people. This is where the author really has played her cards so well in writing this story. She has successfully woven a tale that had me on the edge of my seat and I was powerless to stop reading, I started this book mid evening and turned the last page in the early hours of the morning.
By the end of the book I actually punched the air! What an ending!
This is such a wonderfully wicked, deceptively devious and magnificently manipulative from start to finish. It is a book that I would absolutely recommend!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated xx
I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike. This is a Young Adult book that is full of magic and that this Adult Reader enjoyed as well!
Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…
A stunning fantasy debut, enter the unique world of the Spell Breathers.
Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne – she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud devils that cover her mothers precious spell book.
But it is spell breathing that keeps her village safe from the dreaded monster curse that plagues their world. It is ancient powerful magic, but as Rayne learns to her horror . . . it is also fragile.
In one clumsy move, the magic that keeps them safe is broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . .
12 Year old Rayne is learning to be a Spell Breather and is an apprentice to her mum. They live in Penderin, a village hidden behind an invisible barrier that keeps them hidden from the world outside. The world is one where monsters roam. Raynes mother has to make a journey out of the village and leaves Rayne in charge of the Spell Book for safekeeping. It is not very long before there is an accident, the only person to help is her mum. So Rayne decides she will have to go after her.
This is a wonderful story that Older, as well as Young Adult Reader, will enjoy. The author has built up a magical story with an array of goodie and baddies and has a nice balance between the good and evil in the story. Magical is a pertinent word for this story as there are spells that are woven and spoken, being cast on the breath of the speaker. The spells are used to help people in their ailments, problems and also to provide protection, or at least that is what Rayne’s mum uses them for! On the flip side of this is what happens when the spells are used for self-empowerment.
The pacing of the story is good, the story flows nicely and it meant I wasn’t rushing the reading to find out what was going to happen next and still kept me turning pages eagerly.
There is a good range of characters, some good, some bad and some that left me which side they were on! Enough to provide a depth to the story but without being confusing trying to remember who was who and what role they played. They added diversity to the story that at times felt like a fairy tale.
I liked the focus on the words themselves that are included in the spell making. Not only using alternative words but also including the feeling a certain spell should feel like. It is a way of accessing feelings for younger readers. At the end of the book, the author has a great few pages about words and how you would create a spell. Using a thesaurus to find different words and then putting them together. I liked this inclusion because it encourages the younger reader to use their imagination and also learn new words at the same time. This is something that would have really appealed to me as I began my reading journey as a younger reader.
A great story that I, and older reader, thoruoughly enjoyed and would highly recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
Hello once again to another weekly wrap-up of the books I have read this week. I seem to be on a roll this week with books!
So I have to mention the weather! While everyone has been roasting in scorching temperatures, down here in Cornwall we have had some cooler weather. Still warm but not the roasting that others have had to struggle with.
So, down to what I have read…
Clear My Name by Paula Daly…
This is the last Blog Tour Book until September and it was an absolute corker. Carrie is imprisoned for murdering her husbands mistress. Tess works for a charity that deals with cases that deal with false imprisonment. Is Carrie guilty or is she innocent? Look out for my review next week!
The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike
This is a Young adult book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Full of magic, spells, good and evil. I liked the way the author approached this story and also at the end adds encouragement to youner readers to help their vocabulary and also feed their imagination. It is a book I would have loved as a younger reader!
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christie Lefteri
I won a copy of this book a few weeks ago, or it could be a couple of months ago!!! I’m really not sure! Anyway, this is a stunning story that follows the story of Nuri and his wife Afra from war torn Aleppo, Syria to the UK. A beautiful yet heartbreaking story that I am gutted that it took me so long to get to. Review will follow.
Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain
What an absolutely wonderful book, so wonderful I read it in one sitting! A story that left me wishing I could live with the fabulous characters in Nightingale Square. A story that completely hooked me from the very first page and wrapped me up completely. A story of friendship and smouldering romance. A perfectly ideal summery read.
Before the Rains by Dinah Jeffries
This is a stunning historical fiction set in 1930, Rajputana, India. A story of a photo-journalist Eliza, a widow. Her status does not sit well with the more traditionalist residents of the Royal Palace. Even more so the fact that she is a British woman. She has many things that could go against her and her friendship with the Prince is definitely one that may cause problems. A story that has emotion, history and culture that is another fabulous and immersive read.
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey – Audio Book
I was looking for something a little more lighter to listen to and this seemed to fit. Annie is a complete and utter rom com film fan. She is unlucky in love as she waits for the perfect man who will fit into what she believes will be her perfect life. She thinks love should be like love that is seen on the big screen. The perfect moments, the perfect man, the perfect life… A fun listen that I enjoyed and was a good escape book.
What I am currently reading and listening to…
Hudson’s Kill by Paddy Hirsch – I am currently half way through this historical fiction / crime book.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman – Audio via Borrowbox. This is a full cast dramatisation of a story I really enjoyed. Just started this book and I am loving the actors on this already…
I am delighted to welcome you all to my review for the Audio version of The Hat Shop on the Corner by Marita Conlon-McKenna.
Let’s see what it is all about…
A gloriously warm-hearted novel about wonderful hats, the people who buy them – and their remarkable stories.
Hats! Hats! Hats! Upbrims, sidesweeps, silks, ribbons and trims all become part of Ellie’s life when she inherits the little hat shop on Dublin’s South Anne Street. But the city is changing, and Ellie must decide if she wants to follow the hat-making tradition of her mother or accept a generous offer to sell the shop.
Encouraged by her friends, Ellie takes on the hat shop, and her quirky designs and tempting millinery confections soon attract a rich assortment of customers all in search of the perfect hat.
Creating hats for weddings, shows, fashion and fun, and falling for the charms of Rory Doyle along the way, Ellie is happier than she has ever been before. But as her fingers work their magic she discovers a lot can happen in the heart of a city like Dublin….
Ellie inherits a hat shop on the corner of South Anne Street in Dublin. After some thought, she decides that she will take on the running of the shop and continue in her mothers’ footsteps. Using her own experience and knowledge to create millinery masterpieces fit for any occasion.
This is a lovely story to listen to and the narrator Caroline Lennon has the perfect tone to her voice to make the story come alive.
This is obviously a story about hats, the making of them, the different materials used and all manner of other things. The author has the balance of the millinery world just right. Giving enough information to keep my interest without overburdening me. It compliments the story of Ellie and her customers. There are also other different things going on this this story. The street where the hat shop is situated is underthreat, not just Ellie’s shop, but also other retailers, from a large development.
I am going to go back to the hats again, well the customers actually. Each customer that comes into the shop wants a bespoke hat. This involves Ellie finding out what the occasion is and then also a little bit about each customer. This means I got to know more characters and their own stories, some are sad, some happy, some nervous, some shy but all want a hat. I got to know their likes, dislike and preferences. Whether they were willing to take a chance on something they wouldn’t normally pick or knew exactly what they wanted.
This was such a lovely story to sit and listen to. It’s one I would recommend to those that like a gentle, heartwarming story about people in their everyday lives. It has also left me wanting to now go and read the book as well.
This is book 4 out of 20 in my #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous : xx
I am very excited to welcome Stuart Reid onto my Blog today, I hope you are ready for bogies, snot, bottomburps and bums…I kid you not! If I say that this author has described as the “Billy Connolley for kids” that should give you some indication of how this post today is going to go!
Stuart is an author of the Gorgeous George books for Children, he is a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tours schools bringing his books to children everywhere. . I admit I had great fun writing up this post. I hope you all enjoy it…
I don’t know about you, but for me I love Book Covers! Want to have a look at a couple of Stuart’s? (I apologise for reducing the synopsis for each book!)
Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits!
Bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!
A must read for children (and anyone else) who love crude, rude, exciting, silly, sometimes smelly and humorous books.
I must admit the kid in me is sniggering sssoooooo much 🙂 🙂
Okay now for the Q & A (aka – author interrogation!) – make yourself comfy…
1.When was the moment that you realised you wanted to write children’s books?
I’ve always loved writing. When I was 16, becoming a sports journalist would’ve been my dream job (basically being paid to watch football) but I studied Business Management instead because I thought it was sensible. After 25 years in business, I was running a 300-bedroom hotel in Dubai; I had a large house, a maid, a gardener, a swimming pool and two 4×4’s and I realised that I wasn’t happy. Work was unfulfilling and the credit crunch made things much harder. My wife persuaded me to start writing again… anything that would make me happy… and I began writing about people, situations and weird stories that I laughed at when I was 9 years old. I regressed back into my childhood and have never been happier.
I think being happy is your work is important, but still WOW…
2.Where did the idea of taking your books direct to your audience come from?
In 2009, I decided to give up my job… along with my salary, my car, my house, my healthcare and my pension… to start writing children’s books, so my family and I returned to Britain where I finished my first book. I was luckily enough to find a small publisher who agreed to publish the first book but he said “You’ll never make any money being a children’s author” so I started working as an area manager in retail again (which was soul-destroying). I realised that my target market meet together five days a week, forty weeks of the year… if I could tick the education box for the teachers, the reading inspiration box for the parents and the enjoyment and excitement boxes for the kids, then I might have a product that schools could benefit from. Six months after my first book was released my diary was so full with bookings from schools, libraries and book festivals that I was able to give up my proper job again and become a full-time children’s author. Since then, I have hosted over 1,500 events throughout the Uk and Ireland, as well as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, India, Hong Kong and Australia.
Finding your target audience was obviously important!
3.Is there a special standout moment from your books or from your performances?
Yesterday I was boarding a flight in Australia, returning from the Adelaide Festival, when an Emirates check-in staff member asked for my ticket and passport. She looked at the passport and then asked, ‘Are you the author? Were you performing at the Fringe? You asked my husband up onto the stage to be a lady elephant!’ – I nearly wet myself laughing. I also hosted an event in the Middle East with a group of boys from a royal family and almost started a riot. After one of my Edinburgh Fringe events last year, one of the parents described me as ‘Billy Connolly for kids’ – which is a massive compliment but one which I felt wholly inadequate to justify (didn’t stop me putting on my posters though). Writing scenes in my books where kids can help me bring the stories to life is great. Young volunteers help the audience visualise certain chapters by throwing false teeth at me, becoming snot zombies, enacting the water and the mountains and the tents around Justin Bieber’s campsite, as well as unleashing the two cheeky chimpanzees that amuse the crowd and terrorise the elephants.
Audience participation appears to be a key factor and also increases the fun!
4.Its obvious children love these performances from the video. I also noticed the adults loved it as well. Is this something you expected?
The more I’ve toured, and met mums and dads and teachers, the more I’ve found that most people still hold onto their inner child… the little person they once were that enjoys silliness, that laughs uncontrollably and helps them realise that it’s okay to have fun. Life can often be challenging but people need to laugh more, to enjoy life as much as possible and never take themselves too seriously. We’re only on the planet for a visit!
Yep, I have many silly, hysterical moments, and thats all I am saying about that lol
5.As I am a lifelong bookworm, I have to ask what were your favourite childhood books?
When I was about nine, I was hooked on a mystery series entitled Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, where my love of an abstract adventure came from. Before that, the first book I remember reading by myself was Roald Dahl’s The Twits, and loved the monkeys gluing the furniture on the ceiling and Mr Twit pulling off the birds’ legs (which sounds a big gruesome nowadays). I also remember a hilarious book called Fungus the Bogeyman, as up until that point, I never knew you could put bogies in a book! And as a teenager, To Kill A Mocking Bird was the first book I ever read twice.
I remember The Twits and have heard of but never read Fungus.
6. And because I am nosy, what are your favourite books as an adult?
I am obsessed with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and have recently started another Stephen King phase. My two teenager daughters are brilliant at recommending books too. I’ve just finished You by Caroline Kepnes, although it was a wee bit rude so I will be having words with that daughter! I couldn’t put John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars down, and it was the first book where I’ve actually cried buckets. Me Before You was very good and I shed a tear or two with RJ Palacio’s Wonder. I still enjoy reading children’s and young adult books, as I need to be aware of market and like to recommend books to little readers and their teachers.
Never too old to read children’s books!
7. And yes, I’m very nosy! What are your interests and hobbies away from books?
I love cooking and will always be experimenting in the kitchen – creating new tapas dishes is my favourite thing right now. My wife and I love to travel, so if she’s not joining me on my book tours, we try to squeeze in a cheeky wee holiday or weekend break every couple of months. And although my stage shows are quite energetic, and my fitness levels are okay, I don’t play football anymore, as I’m scared of breaking my leg and not being able to perform on stage. Playing FIFA on the PS4 is the best sport I can manage these days.
8. Apart from bringing stories to a younger readers, what are your future aims or dreams for your books?
If I was to allow myself to have a dream for my Gorgeous George books,it would be a movie or television series, with a young Rupert Grinch playing George, an older, balder Robert Carlisle wearing an enormous ginger moustache would play Grandpa Jock. A younger version of Letitia Wright (from Black Panther) would be Barbara and Allison would be played by the Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, if she had a time machine go back to being a kid again. The adventures would be a mixture of live action, bright animation and full-on CGI, with Simon Cowell as the villain in Giant Geriatric Generator. We’d need a cast of hundreds for the Zig-Zag Zit-faced Zombies story and Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright and Woody Harrelson would have feature too, with time-warp trouser trumpets, aliens, Loch Ness monsters, piles and piles of pink poo, a parody of A Christmas Carol would need to be the festive adventure and there’s also a love story for Grandpa Jock too. But to be honest, I haven’t really given it much thought.
Oh I agree no thought at all hahaha
9. If I could wave a magic wand what would you wish for?
Wow… you mean apart from the last answer? Well, I suppose I want every kid in the world to see one of my live events, and to feel inspired enough to want to read more books, more often. And not just my books, but any good book. And to learn to love reading, and to share that love of reading with their own children. My books are yucky… they are about boogers, bums and big bottom burps and my characters will never grown up… but I know that every little reader will, and they’ll leave Gorgeous George behind and read other books, better books and more intelligent books but I’d love it if my books were the inspiration for that. Oh, and world peace.
My love of reading started as a child and has been with me ever since!
10. Now the 3 W’s – What is next? Where Will it be? And When will it be?
It’s already shaping up to be another busy year. My diary is full for months with a short tour of N.Ireland, followed by my first gigs at the Brighton Fringe, then the launch of Book no.8 Gorgeous George and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident in July. My sixth year at the Edinburgh Fringe is in August with 60+ appearances there, more school events, Book Week Scotland and my first tour of schools in Qatar. There is also the possibility of hosting events in Australia again with Perth Fringe in January 2020 and back across to Adelaide again in February. It’s great to be so busy… I think I have the best job in the world!
Wowsers…very busy and I wish you all the very best. I agree, it does sound like you have the best job!!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated so much 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review for The Awakening Aten by Aiden k. Morrissey. My huge thanks to Aiden for my copy of his book and also to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.
Let’s have a look and see what The Awakening Aten is all about…
he Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.
Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.
This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.
If you like ancient historical fiction novels that have a huge amount of factual detail incorporated, then you should consider picking up a copy of The Awakening Aten. It is set in 1420 BCE Egypt and it is the first in a planned 5 Book Series.
I enjoyed this story so much and rather than write a review about the story itself I am writing about the things that stood out for me. It is just that when I try and write a review on the story it sounds so confusing because it is such a big story, and I don’t feel able to do it justice. That makes it sound like the story is confusing, and actually, once you get into it flows wonderfully and makes complete sense!
The story has quite a large cast and the main characters have a mention in a handy list at the front of the book. What I liked about this list was that is was broken down into family groups. The author has also noted which characters are real or fictional.
The cast covers a diverse range of backgrounds from those facing death to the King. In between, there are priests, mercenaries, artists, builders and princes just to name a few. This is where that handy list comes in useful as I started to get to grips with them all.
The story itself charts the lives of the key characters, the roles they play as well as the everyday things. Here the author manages to weave individual stories that gradually build into a far bigger picture.
The research and knowledge are very evident and the inclusion of some very interesting notes from the author adds to that feeling that the details were right. I am not knowledgable in this era of history, I do know bits and pieces like most others but things just felt right as far as I was concerned.
The story itself had so many things going on and though it follows the lives of the main characters, I also felt as though I was getting a grand tour of ancient Egypt and all that was involved at the time. The story has a lot of drama and it is explored through various means. There is murder, corruption, power-struggles, religion, social etiquette, tombs, mummification… in fact, pretty much everything I would expect from this period and then a whole lot more!
This was such a fascinating and very insightful novel with some fabulous detail. Following different families as they made their way through the story. It has left me very eager to read the next in the series.
This is a book that has left me wanting to read more and it is one I would definitely recommend.
am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family
to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to
travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North
East of England, to concentrate on writing.
graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some
years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in
career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at
various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.
have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in
Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the
latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb
(Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which
only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in
Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.
have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels
on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am
fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums
containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as
spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and
other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.
novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the
fictional lives of real people through a period of major political
and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.
hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and
taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the