Q & A with Childrens Author Stuart Reid

I am very excited to welcome Stuart Reid onto my Blog today, I hope you are ready for bogies, snot, bottom burps 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!)

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-Faced Zombies

Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits! 

Must…..have….bogiieeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

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

Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve #Audible #AudioReview

I am delighted to be sharing the Audible Version of Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve and Narrated by Barnaby Edwards.

Welcome to the astounding world of Predator Cities!

Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.

In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage – and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

“Predator Cities”… yeah, you read that right… cities that devour other cities! Not only do they devour cities they also float!

This obviously falls into the fantasy genre and is also a YA themed book and is the first in the series. I have seen this advertised as a film and while I am waiting to watch it I thought this might be as good a time as any to listen to the book.

Tom is the main character and he is a little naive to some of the more darker dealings and politics of the cities and its power-hungry leaders. Corruption is rife and puts Tom in danger. Along the way, Tom meets Hester. She is an intriguing character, nervy, watchful and, alert at all times.

The battles between the elite and the powerful as they strive to be bigger and better than others and have their cities to be bigger and better also. There is definitely one megalomaniac that stands out from the rest, he is evil and yeah slightly mad with his vision for the future. In with that, there is the struggle that the common people have, the comparisons intrigued me as I listened.

I really enjoyed some of the word-building and the play on words, as I listened I understood why this would be made into a film.

Barnaby Edwards does a great job with the narration and had a tone in his voice that didn’t jar or jangle. He had a good range to the voices and I found it easy to follow.

I enjoyed listening to this a lot and it has actually left me wanting to read the book as well! So now I am looking forward to the book and the film!

It is an Audiobook that I would recommend.

Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly #ReadersFirst1 #Review

I am delighted to share my review for Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly. I won a copy of this book from Readers First so my huge thanks to them.

As a child I loved fairy tales, especially Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. They told of magical adventures and whisked me off to far away lands to meet all sorts of people and beasts. Step Sister is the story of what happened after Ella was found to be the owner of the glass slipper.

‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’

Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .

Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?

This is the story of Isabella, one-half of the “ugly sisters”, the other being Octavia. I was really interested to see how or where the author would go with this story. The author took a route that included Fate and Chance, it wasn’t the story I thought it would be. Instead, it was so much better than I could imagine.

I immediately got the fairy tale vibe as I started this story, and I was so glad of that. I think it is important to have this as it follows on from such a famous one. The main focus is Isabella and I learned of her childhood and growing up. More importantly, I discovered what the turning point was in her life for her to turn ugly.

The way the author portrayed the character and showed things from Isabella’s perspective was interesting and became very compelling. Instead of the flippant, high-maintenance and demanding girl instead, I found someone very different. A girl who so much wanted for her mother to be proud of her. A girl who was expected to become someone she didn’t want to be. A girl caught in an endless circle.

As this tale unfolded I was drawn deeper into the lives of the sisters. The story made me think about them in a different way as a new light had been shone on them. The author has given the sisters something different and for me, it worked really well. There was more of a feminism flare to the story, and as this strain started to make itself felt the fairy tale started to fade. There is still the magical feel but it just feels more grown up.

If like me, you still like fairy tales then Step Sister is one you should really take a look at. It has darkness that has been balanced with the various other threads of the story. For me, this version of what happened after is very good and makes for brilliant reading.

It has strong characters, a wonderful storyline and gives great escapism. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

The Hunted by Tarn Richardson @TarnRichardson #free #ebook

If anyone asks me about my favourite books, I always mention The Darkest Hand Trilogy by Tarn Richardson. This is fabulous Dark Fiction that absolutely blew me away. A blend of historical fiction, fantasy and religious conspiracy.

Why am I letting you know about this, I hear you ask!

Well Tarn Richardson also has a novella, a prequel to the series and it’s called The Haunted. It is an amazing action packed, full speed intro to Poldeck Tacit and the best bit is that it’s FREE!

Yep!

You heard me right!

A FREE download over on Amazon!

Do yourself a favour go and get a copy. It is 48 pages long so grab a coffee and have a read.

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Tacit Poldek is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke. 


With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Tacit Poldek. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


THE HUNTED is the
FREE prequel to Tarn Richardson’s gritty and compelling DARKEST HAND TRILOGY featuring the brilliant but flawed inquisitor Tacit Poldek.

Amazon UK Link

Happy Reading folks!

Malice by John Gwynne #Review

I am so delighted to be sharing my review today for Malice by John Gwynn.

If you are after starting an epic fantasy series then you definitley need to cast your eyes to this The Faithful & The Fallen series. Malice is the first book.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. 

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.

As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.

This is a great lump of a lump at 672 pages long and I have to say it was brilliant!

It is told in quick chapters that alternate between the main characters. There is quite a large cast that consists of various Kings, Queens, warriors, knights the list goes on and seems to include people from every walk of life. Rulers of the lands to the stable boy and all manner of others in between.

With this large cast, it would easy to think that it would be confusing to remember them all, this is definitely not the case. The author has created characters that are memorable for so many different reasons. Some are more intriguing than others, some are kind and others are mysterious.

With this being the first in what I think will be an absolute belter of a series, there is some brief history in the prologue to start the scene setting. This is then built upon in a wonderfully paced and totally gripping story. I did take my time with this book as I felt it required a little more concentration, but the further I got the more I could relax as I started to get the plots, characters and general feel of the story in my head.

I loved the setting of this story and map at the beginning was helpful. It made it easier for me to understand the placing of the various parts of the Banished Lands.

The story is EPIC! There are alliances that are not exactly set in stone. Loyalties can lie with whoever looks more likely to win, though not everyone is power mad and has questionable morals. It can be the most unlikely that show the most courage. These are the ones that just carry on the best they can, doing what is expected, trying to stay out of trouble!

With the threat of a prophesied God Was looming there are those who look for signs, they try to interpret them trying to get the upper hand. Others are hunting down and laying claim to ancient relics. It is an age-old battle for ultimate power. These struggles lead to skirmishes that then lead to bloodthirsty battles, they separate families and cost lives.

Oh my… I am waffling so much about this book and seem to be getting nowhere! I am trying to explain who bloody good this book is without giving details away…

Back to basics… John Gwynne has created a truly brilliant story. It is detailed and so absorbing, and even though it did require concentration, I loved everything about it. Quick chapters gave a quick pace. It has things that occur in everyday life for those who live in the Banished Lands and epic bloody skirmishes and battles. There are feuds, quests, vendettas and so, so much more.

If you like fantasy reads then you will love this one. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series as there are so many things that I want to know more about.

Would I recommend Malice? Well, absolutely I would!

Many thanks fo reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx

Tarn Richardson – #TheDarkestHand @TarnRichardson @RedDoorBooks – #CoverReveal #BookNews

I have been a huge fan of Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I am so excited and delighted to be welcoming you all to have a look at the fabulous new look covers for this fabulous and Highly Recommended trilogy. Tarn has recently moved to Red Door Publishing and I wish him all the best for this new journey.

I first became aware of this fabulous trilogy when I read the short prequel called The Hunted. This is action packed from the very start and was when I first got to meet inquisitor Poldeck Tacit. This prequel is available free for download from Amazon and is the start to an absolutely amazing trilogy. If anyone asks me about some of the best books I have read, this series always gets a mention! Get your free copy of The Hunted HERE

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Poldek Tacit is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.

With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Poldek Tacit. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


After reading The Hunted I wondered how on earth this author could maintain such a frenetic pace in a full length book? Well not only did he deliver a story he did it in a very intricate way.

The Damned follows and I realised what sort of journey I was on. Referred to as Dark Fiction, for me this series covers many genres. Historical fiction, fantasy, crime, thriller, alternative history, if you love reading any of these or like mystery, thriller and suspense then this is for you as well.

Here is a snippet of one of my reviews…
“I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them. Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters. I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some. For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written. It is like reading a film. There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.”

The Fallen and then The Risen just cemented my love for this trilogy and I was gutted when I realised that I had come to the end of my journey with Polek and the other fabulous characters. This trilogy for me was simply sublime reading, it ticked so many boxes because of the many genres it spans. The attention and research to historical events is brilliant and very evident. There is conspiracy and intrigue at every turn as Poldeck battles his own demons and investigates others. This is a trilogy that was perfect for me and I think deserves far more attention than it has had. It is my sincere hope that as Tarn has now moved publishers The Darkest Hand gets the notice, attention and acclaim that it deserves.

So let’s have a proper look at the covers …

Now when it comes to covers I am one of those that tends to prefer the cover of a book I see. So for me I loved the original ones, but I to say that I am impressed with these new ones. I love that the original main colour was kept and the imagery is very suited to each book and link in to the main story. I will definitely be buying these new copies when they are published.

Tarn Richardson was brought up in a remote house, rumored to be haunted, near Somerset. He has worked as a copywriter, written mystery murder dinner party games and worked in digital media for nearly twenty years. He lives near Salisbury in England. The Damned is his debut novel, the first in a series of three featuring tortured Inquisitor Poldek Tacit.

Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.

Social Media links – Website Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or like would be amazing 🙂 xx

My Week In Books w/e 30th April #MeAndMyBooks

Well hello once again! I was going to post this yesterday but as I was taking part in the Publication Day Review for Jaded by Rob Ashman I decided I would change the day for My Week In Books rather than have two posts on one day 🙂

Another month gone!!! April has been a mix of sunshine and showers and a bit windy thanks to Storm Hannah, but my garden survived pretty unscathed, thank goodness.

This week has been a better one as far as my reading has gone and I have managed to read a five books.

So let me share the books I have read this week…

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson.

I have several books by this author and, do you know what? I have never actually read one! I saw a review post by the fabulous Linda at Linda’s Book Bag for one of this Authors books. As I had just finished reading one book and deciding which to pick up next, Linda’s enthusiasm for Milly Johnson made me go to my TBR and pick up The Queen of Wishful Thinking.

This is a good sized book at just short of 500 pages. I will tell you it was so good that I read it in one sitting! Yes it was a brilliant read that captivated me completely. I am really looking forward to reading the other 7-8 that I have and obviously buying the ones I am missing.


Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

If you are a Book Blogger then I am sure you have seen Dead Inside by fellow Book Blogger and now Debut Author Noelle. Check out Noelle’s Blog at Crime Book Junkie I have been excited to read this book and I had been hearing so many amazing things about Dead Inside.

If you like your crime thriller reads to be hard hitting, emotional deeply intriguing and want a real belter of a read then you seriously NEED to pick this book up when it is published. As soon as I had finished Dead Inside I immediately nipped over to Amazon to pre-order the next book in the Maggie Jamieson series. A fabulous debut and one that I would Absolutely and Most Definitely recommend.


Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green

I was mooching around on my kindle not quite sure what I wanted to read next when I came across this gorgeous cover. It is the first instalment in the Little Duck Pond Cafe series. It is a short read at 127 pages but it is a wonderful intro to a wonderful sounding community that Ellie finds herself drawn to. I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of this one.


Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly

I was a lucky recipient of this paperback book via Readers First. When it arrived I immediately picked it up to read, one of those right books at the right time things…

This is the story of what happened to the Ugly Sisters after Ella was whisked away by her Prince. I love a chance to remember childhood fairy tales and I do admit that Cinderella was one I really liked. The author has done a fabulous job of keeping the magical fairy tale feel in her story but also injecting moral aspect that I really, really enjoyed. This was a fabulous escapism read on a rainy April afternoon.


The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

When I read a Hardback book I always take off the cover so it doesn’t get damaged and also so I can see if there is any other details hidden underneath…I love these Magpies on a white cover. The significance of the Magpies are part of the story in this fabulous read, I have had this book since last year and I am so pleased I have finally managed to read it. It is one of those books that has a sad almost bleak style to it, this is not a criticism at all in fact it is this style that really draws a reader in, it plays on the emotional ties that you start to build with the character. This is a fabulously atmospheric and creepy feeling read that I thoroughly enjoyed.


Books In The Post

I have been very lucky with books this week. I enter a few giveaways, yes it is a bonus to win but I do it to help share the #BookLove it is my way of helping the promotions and Blog Tours in the hope that my tweets will help other readers find “new to them authors”. So, as well as winning a copy of Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly, I also won a paperback copy of…

A Sister’s Sorrow by Kitty Neale

My copy came from the wonderful Avon Books in a Twitter Giveaway, I have seen but as yet not read any books by this author and I am really looking forward to starting this one.


The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

I recieved my copy of this Hardback, and I have to say it is gorgeous, from Penguin Random House. I entered a Giveaway on Cathy’s blog and you can find her wonderful Blog at What Cathy Read Next. I had seen many wonderful reviews about this book and I am looking forward to reading this so much.


Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

This is another book I had got on my reading radar, and this paperback copy is one that might just be my next read! Many thanks to Anne who has an amazing Blog at Random Things Through My Letterbox. If I say that Anne has said that she ” adored it” and also that she “adore this author.” I think this is one I will also enjoy!


Well, that’s me rounded up for the week. My total books read for the month of April was 15 taking my Goodreads tally to 72 out of my planned 200 for the year, so still on target.

My Netgalley tally is 18 on my shelf with 2 of those slipping into the older than 3 months, but with my 88% Feedback Ratio I think I can live with that for the moment, but I do hope to get them read soon!


The Dollmaker by Nina Allan @QuercusBooks #TheDollmaker #NetGalley #review

Today I am sharing my review for The Dollmaker by Nina Allan. My thanks to Quercus Books for accepting my request to review this title via NetGally.

Let’s have a look and see what this one is all about …

Stitch by perfect stitch, Andrew Garvie makes exquisite dolls in the finest antique style. Like him, they are diminutive but graceful, unique, and with surprising depths. Perhaps that’s why he answers the enigmatic personal ad in his collector’s magazine.

Letter by letter, Bramber Winters reveals more of her strange, sheltered life in an institution on Bodmin Moor, and the terrible events that put her there as a child. Andrew knows what it is to be trapped, and as they knit closer together, he weaves a curious plan to rescue her.

On his journey through the old towns of England, he reads the fairy tales of Ewa Chaplin–potent, eldritch stories which, like her lifelike dolls, pluck at the edges of reality and thread their way into his mind. When Andrew and Bramber meet at last, they will have a choice–to break free and, unlike their dolls, come to life.

A love story of two very real, unusual people, The Dollmaker is also a novel rich with wonders: Andrew’s quest and Bramber’s letters unspool around the dark fables that give our familiar world an uncanny edge. It is this touch of magic that, like the blink of a doll’s eyes, tricks our own.

The synopsis tells quite clearly what this story is about. This is a story with other stories woven into them. A story about Andrew and Bramber, and their correspondence with each other. They have a shared interest in dolls, not just any dolls either. These are sought after items, they have a history and at times a price tag. Andrew decides he wants to visit Bramber and so takes a journey, during which he reads a story book. It’s by Ewa Chaplin, she also made dolls.

This is a slower paced story that felt a little erratic at the beginning. It took me a good while before I got to grips with the characters, their stories, the alternating timelines and the style. Gradually I found myself drawn into the story and the stories. It was one of those books where I suddenly found myself somewhat caught up and hadn’t realised it had happened. I think a lot was to do with curiosity and to see where the story would take me. The short stories that Andrew reads during his journey are at times on the dark, or very dark side, they are like twisted fairy tales. There are things that mirror Andrew’s life.

I enjoyed this book and I have a feeling that it is not going to be for everyone. At times it has the feel of literary fiction, with a mix of fairy tale and fantasy. There is subtle romance aspect to it though not one that follows the usual route or expectation.

It’s one of those books that I think will divide readers, for me, there are parts I really enjoyed and others not so much. It has an unusual structure to it and it will be interesting to see what other readers think of this one.

Nina Allan is a novelist and critic. Her first novel The Race won the Grand Prix de L’imaginaire and was a Kitschies finalist. Her second novel The Rift won the British Science Fiction Award, the Kitschies Red Tentacle and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her short fiction has previously been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Award. Her most recent novel is The Dollmaker. Born in London, Nina Allan lives and works in the west of Scotland.

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Sleeper by J D Fennell #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing Sleeper by J D Fennell. This is the first in the Sleeper series and I am looking forward to reading the next one Sleeper – The Red Storm.

So let’s have a look at the synopsis…

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

Will Starling is on a mission when something makes him disobey orders. The result is him fleeing for his life and guarding what he has discovered in his search for truth.

Set in 1940’s London, this book definitely falls into the “fast-paced” category. Will has a specific skill set, though these skills do catch him unawares as he tries to remember who he is, who he should trust. It was great to learn about Will as he remembered things about himself, a great way to put the reader on an even keel with a character.

Now the plot, it’s just great full of deception and twists that kept me on my toes every step of the way. A race against the bad guys to keep an artifact from falling into the wrong hands gave a wonderful cat and mouse, ducking and diving chase across London.

This has the feel of a younger verion of Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher feel to it and I will say a hint of Indiana Jones. It has elements that I like in all the above and I thoroughly enjoyed this quick, fast paced, action packed book.

A brilliantly paced teen spy, thriller with a great plot. It’s one I would absolutely recommend.

J. D. Fennell
Photo and Bio taken
from Author’s Amazon Page

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him. A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës.

He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

Facebook: JDFennellAuthor
Twitter: jd_fennell
Instagram: jdfennellauthor

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Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review for Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. My thanks go to Harper Collins UK for accepting my review request for this e-book that I received via NetGalley.

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. 

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!

This is the 8th book in the Tortall series, but book 1 in the Numair Chronicles. This book, as it happens, turned out to be the right choice for me as I had not read anything in the series or by this author before.

In the Imperial University of Carthak there are three students who are ahead of others in their age group and also those older in terms of their abilities. They are Varice, often referred to as the “kitchen witch”. Prince Orzone was known as the “left-over Prince” and then the youngest Arram Draper. It is Arram’s story that is experienced in this book. The three students form a friendship that is needed, singly they would probably stand out more and be loners, open to bullying, insult, and attack. Together they are strong.

The story follows their progress through their studies. It focuses mainly on Arram and how he and his fellow students’ magical gifts are developing. Arram’s magic stands out more as it seems to be more natural, wild and if not careful, uncontrollable. Yes, this is a story about magical abilities but it has so much more to it than that. At times it has a historical fiction feel to it with mentions of Emperors, Royalty, Slavery, Gladitorial battles, and traitors.

The three friends have very different backgrounds and ideas, they have different subjects that will help them in their respective futures, whatever their futures may be…

This is a fair paced story and I found it really easy to get into, the characters were very quick to become memorable as I read. Mixed in amongst the learning, magic and daily life are mentions of various gods. Some make themselves known and in their respective forms, and if I were to meet one I wouldn’t hang around. The story has a very nice flow to it, I guess what I mean is that it is very easy to involved in, relate to some of the dilemmas of the students and just to be able to follow the story and enjoy.

As I said earlier, this is the first time of reading anything by this author and I can definitely say it will not be the last, I am looking forward to reading further books in this series and then I am eager to reading the follow on series. It does have the feel of a new series to it, groundwork, history, all the building blocks are being laid down, as many first in a series books do. It is a series I am very interested in and will continue with. I think this is one that readers who don’t often read fantasy would get on very well with, yes there is magic, but there are other things as well. Ideal for fantasy readers and I think general fiction readers as well, and one I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from the Author’s Page on Amazon UK

Tamora Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania and her parents were originally going to call her Tamara, but the nurse who filled out her birth certificate had never heard of that name before and accidentally misspelled it. However, Tamora likes her name and in case you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it sounds just like a camera. She was a passionate reader from an early age, devouring encyclopedias, Dr. Seuss books, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Writing helped Tamora get through her parents’ divorce and in her junior year at college she sold her first story and went on to publish The Song of the Lioness, originally with adult readers in mind, but found success when she turned it into a quartet for teenagers. The rest, as they say, is history! Tamora lives in New York with her husband.

Author Links – Amazon Author Page

Purchase Link – Amazon UKTwitterWebsite

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