#Review of #ChildrensBook – My Mummy is a Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves #MonstrousMe #MyMummyIsAMonster @RandomTTours

My Mummy is a Monster
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Illustrated by Lisa Williams
Rated: 5 stars *****

Vibrant, funny and a great interactive plot is contained within My Mummy is a Monster, which I have a been invited to present a review for. Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to review and to Natalie Reeves Billing for sending me the book and a lovely letter on the most fun writing paper (it has fun children’s sweets in pretty colours around it). Find out more about the author and the book and what I really thought about it, below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic.jpegNatalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

BLURB

 The Monstrous Me series is a split perspective book looking at situations from another point of view to help children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this first book, ‘My Mummy’s a Monster’ an inquisitive little girl is convinced her mum is a monster. But, is she really? When we look through her mummy’s eyes, we see a very different story.

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Review

Can you find the 7 Monstrometers hidden throughout the story. Are you a monster or is your mummy a monster? This delightful split perspective book invites you to find out. It has 2 parts to the story. Part 1 is the daughter and son reckoning their mummy is a monster and that lots of mummies have monsters hiding inside of them, especially when they suddenly turn into monsters just before 8:45am and try to comb their children’s hair and get them to brush their teeth and walk to school and shock horror, gleefully makes them walk to school. The story is something children will find, along with the colourful illustrations that support the story, just so funny! The book then invites children to draw their mummy monster in the monstrometer. Please don’t do this if the book doesn’t belong to you. The monstrometer would be easy to copy and draw onto paper.

On the flip-side, mummies see their children as monsters too and maybe even granny can see. Everything is flipped to how it is when children scream they don’t want their hair brushed and kick up a fuss over teeth brushing, all making mummy late for work and when they don’t want to go shopping and mummy is just tired.
There’s a monstometer at the end to draw themselves being the monster.

Both parts endearingly end with love.

This book is a fun story, but is also one that can open conversations about how things are sometimes and to show each other the challenges, but also that children love their parents and parents love their children really. It’s a great book for promoting wellbeing and understanding of behaviours at certain times and for developing a well-rounded, empathetic human.

There are some great activities that support this story on http://www.lollipoplodge.com

I have a paperback, linear copy, but the author has informed me that there is a hardback copy where your child can have fun actually flipping the book over when it comes to part 2 to continue with the story. I’d say that the physical act of doing this goes to serve children well in re-enforcing the stories message of their being 2 sides to the story.

Buy link: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Mummy-Monster-Children-Monstrous/dp/1916388914

Also check out your local independent bookshops too.

Follow the rest of the tour

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Review of Crossing In Time by DL Orton – One to go Time Travelling With. @The_WriteReads #DLOrton #Review #Sci-Fi #dystopia

Crossing In Time
By DL Orton
Rated: 3.5 stars

Thank you to Dave at The Write Reads for inviting me on this blog tour to review the interesting, sci-fi book Crossing In Time. I thank him and the author – DL Orton for an audiobook code, so I could listen to it.

About The Author

DL ORTON, THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the BETWEEN TWO EVILS series, lives in the foothills of the Rockies where she and her husband are raising three boys, a golden retriever, two Siberian cats, and an extremely long-lived Triops.♂‍

In her spare time, she’s building a time machine so that someone can go back and do the laundry.

Website: http://www.DLOrton.com.

Amazon link: Amazon Buy Link

Goodreads link: Goodreads reviews link

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Blurb

The past isn’t over, it’s an opening. The future isn’t hidden, it’s a trap.
If she ever wants to see him again, she’ll have to take the risk.

Fall into this “Funny, Romantic & Harrowing” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review) dystopian love story and prepare to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely NO ditzes!)

When offered a one-way trip to the past, Isabel sacrifices everything for a chance to change the rapidly deteriorating present–and see her murdered lover one last time. When she arrives twenty years in the past, buck naked and mortally wounded, she has 24 hours to convince a stunned but enraptured nineteen-year-old to change their future. Definitely easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heart breaker, save the world or not.

This offbeat tale is about falling madly in love when one is too cynical for such things, letting go of pessimism when it’s the last life jacket on a sinking ship, and racing against the clock when one doesn’t have the proper footwear. It’s a coming-of-age story for old fogeys, a how-to-make-love guide for diehard celibates, and a laugh-out-loud tragedy with a hopeful twist.

Review

Let the cover lead you into another world. A dystopian world. There are a few twists and turns here and there within this dystopian tale of love. It is fast-paced as it takes readers through a dystopian wasteland as Isabelle tries to survive. She is going through a messy divorce and meets up with an old flame, some time before the world becomes an even darker place to be.
There are some intriguing plotlines, one of the strongest ones being about what happens when Diego gets abducted by the government in a strange time travelling sphere. I like the sounds on the finicky time machine. It is a fascinating concept.
The love aren’t always quite believable, but there are some excellent, strong topics within the relationship and being in danger sense, within this book as well as some strong characters.
I thought it lacked in humour a bit, but the tragic side was definitely well told and is emotional and well-handled. The topics huge and do take for an empathetic reader to perhaps grasp the world, without being argumentative and instead empathetic, to be able to enjoy this story. I will say again, the themes are well-handled.

There is adventure, trepidation and I would go as far as saying, danger, within a hope that doomsday won’t actually happen.

The book sets itself well for another to perhaps follow on from the series.

Is it worth a try? Well, yes it is. There are some ups and downs in the book, but in saying that, it does make for an intriguing story and it does hold attention and the maturity within the story is good, in the way the world is created.

A Thin Porridge by Benjamin Gohs @Bengohs @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BlogBlitz #blogtour

Book Excerpt of A Thin Porridge by Benjamin Gohs
Part of a blog tour for LoveBooksTours

This afternoon I am part of a blog tour for A Thin Porridge. I have for you, an exerpt of the book and a bit about the author.

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Extract/Excerpt

When 19-year-old Abeona Browne’s renowned abolitionist father Jon Browne dies in summer of 1860, devastating family secrets are revealed, and her life of privilege and naiveté in Southern Michigan becomes a frantic transatlantic search for answers—and someone she didn’t even know existed.

Still in mourning, Abeona sneaks aboard the ship carrying her father’s attorney Terrence Swifte and his assistant Djimon—a young man with his own secrets—on a quest to Africa to fulfill a dying wish.

Along the journey, Abeona learns of her father’s tragic and terrible past through a collection of letters intended for someone he lost long ago.

Passage to the Dark Continent is fraught with wild beasts, raging storms, illness, and the bounty hunters who know Jon Browne’s diaries are filled with damning secrets which threaten the very anti-slavery movement he helped to build.

Can Abeona overcome antebellum attitudes and triumph over her own fears to right the wrongs in her famous family’s sordid past?

So named for an African proverb, A Thin Porridge is a Homeric tale of second chances, forgiveness, and adventure that whisks readers from the filth of tweendecks, to the treachery of Cameroons Town, across the beauty of Table Bay, and deep into the heart of the fynbos—where Boer miners continue the outlawed scourge of slavery.

Author Bio

Benjamin J. Gohs is a longtime award-winning news editor whose investigative journalism has included stories of murder, sex-crime, historical discovery, corruption, and clerical misconduct. Benjamin now divides his time between writing literary thrillers and managing the community newspaper he co-founded in 2009.

A Thin porridge blitz (1)

#Review of the absorbingly authentic Daughters of Cornwall By Fern Britton @Fern_Britton #HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #RandomThingsTours #DaughtersOfCornwall

Daughters of Cornwall
By Fern Britton
Rated: 5  Stars *****

Written by Louise

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Fern Britton’s 9th novel – Daughters of Cornwall. Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her book is fascinating and just grabbed me from the minute I turned to the first page, right until the end. It’s a Must Read! Before you discover the blurb and review, I would like to thank blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the invite to review, Elizabeth Dawson – PR Director at Harper Collins for sending a PDF copy and also to her and Fern Britton for a most interesting and lovely, relaxed Zoom chat. I also thank Fern Britton and her publisher for inviting me to her Twitter book launch. I was excited to have the opportunity to review the book, but to have these extras, made it all even more special, as you will see, throughout my review and. That being said, the review is still not biased. I have rated it 5 stars because it is an absolutely brilliant, impressive book with a great story that unfolds, that is told well. I also love the cover to this book – see below, where you’ll also find the synopsis, review and a bit about the author and media links as well as extra bits, after the “about the author” section.

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

Blurb/Synopsis

1918

The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret.

1939

Hannah has always been curious about her mother’s mysterious past, but the outbreak of the Second World War casts everything in a new light. As the bombs begin to fall, Hannah and her brothers are determined to do their bit for the war effort –
whatever the cost.

2020

Caroline has spent years trying to uncover the lies buried in her family history. And once she arrives in Cornwall, the truth finally seems to be in reach. Except with storm clouds gathering on the horizon, Caroline soon learns that some secrets are best left hidden.

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

Review

Daughters of Cornwall is yet another wonderfully written book by Fern Britton, with characters you can understand their predicaments of and can empathise and sympathise with. Written with such sensitivity, candour and a little humour along the way; it is an all absorbing, page-turning, must read book.

Set between 1918 and the present day, this book feels incredibly authentic. The book flows from one age to the next very well. There’s certainly no room for confusion in this book as all the generations and the timelines are well connected.
It’s inspired by her grandmother, who was called Clara, whom is one of the characters in the book, which I think is a lovely thing for Fern Britton to do. 

The book starts with a toast that has been adopted by Scottish regiments everywhere, in memory of her great uncle, which is just lovely and very fitting to what comes next.
Fern, in a zoom chat, talked about a man who wrote to her, who turned out to be her grandmother’s son, her mother’s half-brother, making him Fern’s half-uncle, who was given a way. Just the sign of the times, when difficult decisions were made and children were given away because of the shame of the, then, illigitimacy, back then and just further shows that families can be complex. It was so interesting to hear. It inspired part of the story, which is also very fictionalised, but with threads of truth weaving in and out. This perhaps why the writing feels so heartfelt and authentic. The writing is brave and I am glad that it is a story that has been told, with its emotional plot and the nuances of her characters, that in turn, creates a desire to keep reading to discover what happens next as time progresses.

The prologue itself just drew me in from the start as it sets up the story of family bloodlines so well. It’s the way it is written that adds curiosity and intrigue, one of the marks of a skilled author. I get the feeling that Fern Britton has honed so many skills to write this masterful, authentic book, that spans between 1918 and the present day.

Family secrets from the past are uncovered as a well travelled case is mysteriously sent to Caroline in the present day, also containing the initials of her grandfather – Ernest H. Bolitho, who had died in Penang, Malyasia.

Part 1 introduces Clara in 1918, a month after the First World War ended, on her way from Kent to Cornwall on an interesting journey. Interesting because there are different attitudes presented by Clara and a passenger. She would rather not talk about the war, but he would. The needs and emotions are handled well and with great realism.

Clara and Bertie were very much in love, but Clara has secrets that she is all too willing to hold close to her chest and weaves truths with lies to reinvent and perhaps, protect, as she travels by train, alone, after the war to meet Bertie’s family, one she should have been firmly part of, hadn’t it been for such a tragic fate that so many people in the war faced.
What emerges is that Clara is a strong woman, with a lot to deal with as she hides her tears and also gets on with this stage in her life.  Readers will also see the endearing love between Bertie and Clara.

Attention to detail is astonishing, right down to meat paste sandwiches some of the fashions of the times and, and down to the advent of fashions/materials that are now so commonplace, such as denim/jeans. I’m suitably impressed! Overall, this is an impressively written book as real life and fiction is weaved seamlessly together to create this latest novel.

Fern talked a bit about on the Zoom meeting, how it was called the Great War because of course they thought that was the war to end all wars and not realising there could be another one. There are letters written between the two. The letters are well-written and feel authentic. I very much enjoyed talking to Fern Britton about them, she informed me  (and everyone involved) they were made up, but she did delve into the archives a bit. Clearly, thought has gone into creating the letters because they feel natural and I’ve seen (and possess) letters with some similar content and tone. There’s also some amusement injected in the letters about snakes and frogs, which she talked candidly about. Some letters, when time goes back a little and Bertie is out at war, are fast-paced and energised, almost cinematic.

There are lovely brief sections that go to Caroline in the present day and intelligently feels like you are with her, looking into all the discoveries she makes.

Fern Britton bravely talked about illigitmacy and secrets in her own family. It was fascinating to hear (she has also talked about this for bigger, more prominient media programmes/interviewers). There’s plenty of families, mine included that did things that are perfectly acceptable or understandable for present times, that perhaps weren’t seen as so back then and that, in my humble opinion, is okay and to me, it just interests me, not because I’m totally nosey you understand, it’s just that you learn, you accept and understand and care. 

Part 2 concentrates on Hannah in 1938/39. Hannah is protective of the family, which is then involved in the second world war, within the RAF. There’s also insight into this and also how Cornwall was affected. She also wants to find out more about her mother.

Fern Britton also has family who have been in the RAF during the world war, she divulged in the Zoom chat. It was interesting as so do I and it all turned into a lovely and interesting conversation about the way planes were and more…

Caroline, in the present (2020), gets to a point where it is time to tell her own daughter, Natalie to tell the truth about the family and the courage and strength they have had within and how they survived against the face of adversity.

The end of the book is thought-provoking and is also gently poetic as family lines continue.

I highly recommend this book. It is different from her other books. It shows that Fern Britton can write many topics very well and it’s a book that had me absorbed from the beginning to the end and I am sure many other readers will be too.

The Launch Party of this book was done incredibly well, given it was all done on Twitter.

Her launch party was so much fun. She shown people, virtually along a gorgous bay and read  passages of her book. She has narrated the audiobook. I can say that she is incredibly pleasant to listen to and the acting/reading skills are really good.

She also gave a shout out to the independent bookshops, which was thoughtful and shown a gorgeous one in Padstow, as well as a welcoming looking cafe, where she also informed us that she also has a male following who are also enjoying her books.

Comandeering a boat, she shown her sense of humour as she gave us a fun tour around the harbour.

All in all, it was all a real treat. The book is available now. I do highly recommend it and is one, readers can really get into and get to know the generations of a family, she has skillfully created.

About the Author

Fern IMG_20200602_164922Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels.

Born in London, into a theatrical family, Fern started her professional life as a stage manager. Theatre life was great fun but within three years, in 1980, she graduated to television and became a presenter on Westward Television. Here she achieved her ambition of living in Cornwall. Since then television has been her home. She spent 14 years as a journalist before presenting Ready, Steady, Cook for the BBC. This Morning for ITV came next where she won several awards and became a household name. Her interview programme Fern Britton Meets had guests including Tony Blair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dolly Parton and Cliff Richard. Fern presented The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2), For What It’s Worth (BBC1), Culinary Genius with Gordon Ramsay (ITV)

Fern’s novels are all set in her beloved Cornwall. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won her legions of loyal readers. Fern was a judge for the Costa Book of the Year Award and a supporter of the Reading Agency, promoting literacy and reading.

Fern turned her talents to acting last year when she starred as Marie in Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical Calendar Girls.

Fern has twin sons, two daughters and lives in Cornwall in a house full of good food, wine, family, friends and gardening books. She has a motor cycle licence, an honorary doctorate for services to broadcasting and charity, and is a member of Mensa!

Author Links to click on:                 Website    Facebook      Twitter          

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I credit Joanne Baird for sending me a screenshot from the Zoom Chat. Again, I thank Fern Britton for giving her time to do a Q&A session for bloggers (and for the nice, appreciated comment that was made about bloggers), of which there were 7 of us at this exclusive event (and then Elizabeth Dawson and Fern Britton, making 9), that was well and kindly organised by Elizabeth Dawson – PR Director at Harper Collins.

Go ahead and also see who else is on this blog tour and also check out the book, which is available to buy now!

 

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The Catalyst #TheCatalyst #TheWriteReads #TracyRichardson #TheWriteReadsBlogTour #BlogTour #Paranormal #SciFi

The Catalyst
By Tracy Richardson

Today I am pleased to be on The Write Reads Blog Tour with The Catalyst by Tracy Richardson. I present to you a bit about the author and a synosis to whet your appetite about this mysterious book.

The CatalystAbout the Author

TRACY RICHARDSON wasn’t always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In a weird way that book has even shaped her life through odd synchronicities. She has a degree in biology like Mrs. Murry, and, without realizing it, she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg’s parents.
Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environmental issues, metaphysics, and science fiction. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her doing any number of creative activities — painting furniture, knitting sweaters, or cooking something. She lives in Indianapolis, and, in case you’re wondering, yes, she’s been to the Indianapolis 500.

Synopsis

Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained—an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.
This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke.
The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds— something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history.
It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.

Review of #MustRead – Before I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley @vbradleywriter @simonschusterUK #RandomThingsTours #CrimeFiction #Thriller #MustRead #Reviews

Before I Say I Do
By Vikki Bradley
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I am so delighted and happy to be on this blog tour for Before I Say I Do. I am so thrilled to be able to share this treat of a book with you. You’re in for a book that is addictive to read, a book that twists one way and then another, a book where the bride is far from your average woman about to be married and has dark, dark secrets. They are the darkest secrets and just who is the bride really and where is her groom? This is a psychological thriller that you will see time runaway from you as you read and you may well just have a need to discover the answers. It’s a great book for your tbr pile (to be read pile)  Read on to discover the blurb and my full review…

It is also with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to the publisher Simon Schuster for supplying me with a print/physical copy of the book.

About the Author

Before I Say I Do Vicki Bradley Author PicVicki Bradley is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. She
has had a varied career, as a uniformed response driver in Brent and then as a detective Constable in Southwark CID. She has managed High Risk Sex Offenders and worked on the Serious Organised Crime Command. She is currently on a 5-year career break to focus on her writing. Vicki completed a Creative Writing MA at City University in 2016. Before I Say I Do won the Write Here, Right Now competition, came 3rd in the First Novel Prize and has been shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer 2017 and Peters Fraser and Dunlop Prize 2016. She enjoys travelling the world and climbing
mountains. Vicki lives in London with her husband.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Blurb

Winner of the inaugural Write here, Right Now Prize 2018, in partnership with the
Bradford Literature Festival.

Her dream wedding is about to become her worst nightmare Julia is nervous and it’s not just because she’s about to get married. There’s a lot that her soonto-be husband, Mark, doesn’t know – and she is determined to keep it that way.
As she walks down the aisle, spotting Mark is his tailored suit, she knows she is taking her first steps to happiness- her past can’t catch her now. He turns to face her…
But it isn’t Mark in the beautiful suit – it’s his best man. Because Mark is missing.
And Julia’s past is closer than she thinks.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Review

Firstly the by-line To Have, To Hold, To Hurt, sets this thriller up so well, as does the stunning cover. Like a bride with her groom, I am in the clutches of the book from the first page. The book joins readers up with Julie Talbot on her wedding day to Mark along with best friend and bridesmaid – Lucy Webb. From as early as the first chapter the intrigue heightens and you know there’s something in Julie’s past and there is one sentence, about wondering if the registrar knows something, that hooks you in even more. It is by far a normal wedding day, not with a missing groom, who Alana Loxton, recently demoted MIT officer to CID officer, is on the case to discover what happened, along with DC Dominik Kowalski. This is a fast-paced book that goes wonderfully between the bride and her feelings and  the investigation into Mark’s mysterious disappearance as CID search for clues as to what may have happened, until the two collide and her past catches up with her. The writing is excellent, from the emotions to the detailing of what is going on. Before you know it, you’ve reached page 100 and just keep reading as someone from the past turns up.
The book also goes a bit into forensics, which is good. It all gives a full picture to the investigation.

The tension ramps up as the story progresses, as does the murkiness of Julia’s past and who she used to be associated with. I won’t spoil it for you as to what her past actually entails as it is part of the crux of this story, which twists one way and then another. The bride – Julia Talbot, as readers will discover is not exactly your average bride as more dark, dark secrets come into the forefront as you will discover as you read it and also discover more about Johnathon Cane and where he fits into her past as it all get more and more sinister. The senetence structure to build the tension works so well. To put the book down is like when something is so hot, it sticks to your skin and hard to release. This book is hard to put down. The climax is quite something to behold and will leave you sighing with relief from the tension when you’re done.

This is such a great book, a must read book even, from this debut novelist, that will have you clutching onto it, tight, until it finishes, like an ordinary bride would with her groom.

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