#BookReview by Lou of My Sister Is A Monster, My Brother Is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #MonstrousMe #ChildrensBook

My Sister Is A Monster, My Brother Is A Monster
by Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing with you the next installment of this wonderful series. Each book is complete within themselves and are worth collecting them all for the complete family of them. It is a split-perspective story, so you see both the sister and brother’s point of view. First one and then flip the book over to see the next, in whatever order you like, so it’s a bit like 2 stories for the price of 1 and with all the same excellent characters in both. It’s fun and it encourages a sense of self and empathy. Find out more about the author, the blurb and my full review of this excellent book as you meander down the page. Discover a link to activities that accompany the book after my review.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review. Thanks to the author Natalie Reeves Billing for sending me the book.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (5)Natalie 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.

My Brother Graphic 1

Blurb

Two Books in 1! The Monstrous Me Collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping 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 book, a brother and sister are convinced the other is a monster. But, are they really? When we look at the story from the other side, we see a very different story.

My sister Cover

    My Brother FINAL cover

Review

This is again, another terrific book that flips 2-ways to tell 2 stories. This time it focuses on the brother and the sister. It, like other books in this collection, has interactive elements of trying to find the Monstrometer as you go along. It adds an extra layer of fun and it is great that there are activities on her Lollipop Lodge website, which you can find just after the review.
Half the book is My Brother Is A Monster and then you flip it over to find My Sister is a Monster, or indeed, vice-versa, which is also fun and quite different.

The story starts at breakfast time, moving onto school and back home again before heading to bed. It tells of how the brother has the worst eating habits, bully’s his sister at school and then at home, won’t let her play with his toys and messes up the rules and the house. Then at the end, it demonstrates how he does love his sister really and does something courageous for her.
On the flipside, her brother sees his sister as being a monster as she is fussy at breakfast and has rules and then come school, won’t join in any games she thinks she will lose. At home she won’t leave her brother alone and tidies up rather prematurely. After all that, she then gives her brother a lovely homemade gift and shows she does love him after all.

The book is well-rounded and encourages empathy and understanding as children will be able to see through the eyes of both characters and work out how things really are and what is percieved. I has wonderful humour, rhythm and illustrations throughout will easily engage children.
This is a book that is part of a great collection that will be sure to delight children throughout at home and in the classroom. It can be used for both reading for pleasure and in a nursery and young classroom school setting, such as Reception or Primary 1, for fun and for stimulating conversation. 

Link to Activities

www.lollipoplodge.com

My Brother BT Poster

#BookReview by Lou of Dangerous Women by Hope Adams @adelegeras @MichaelJBooks @GabyYoung

Dangerous Women
By Hope Adams
Rated: 5 stars *****

Captivating and original, Dangerous Women expertly tells a tale of fiction and reality, that not everyone may already know about. It weaves, like the threads in the tapestry that inspired this book, words of fiction and real life together to create an epic adventure, laced with crime from the outset that grips and keeps you guessing, as it takes readers on a great advenuture with crime, based on a true-story.
Thank you so much to Gaby Young at Penguin Michael Joseph publishers for adding me to the blog tour and for sending me a book, which has a terrific cover.
Follow onto the blurb and my review.

Dangerous Women 1

Blurb

London, 1841.
The Rajah sails for Australia.
Aboard:
180 convicted women convicted of petty crimes.
Daughters, sisters, mothers –
they’ll never see their family again.
Despised and damned, they only have one another
Until the murder.
As the fearful hunt for a killer begins,
everyone on board is a suspect.
Based on a real-life voyage, Dangerous women is a tale of confinement, hope and the terrible things we do to survive.

Dangerous Women

Review

The book invites willing travellers to hop aboard onto a boat to sail with women branded as dangerous in this story which, even before the book is opened, sounds thrilling on the cover. Then just inside the cover, take note of your fellow travelling companions on the “Register of Convicts.” It will tell you what you need to know of what they’ve been convicted of…

The book takes place between April and July 1841 and what’s interesting about it, is that this isn’t just any historical thriller, this has been inspired by real-life events. It’s inspired by the real life voyage of the Rajah, which set sail in 1841, with 23 year old Kezia Hayter on board as Matron, who features in this book. This gives this book quite some providence and enters a part of history, that, at least in the UK, not everyone may know anything about. It is however a fictional novel too and that’s worth bearing in mind as you travel along on this voyage, but gives inspiration to look into the true facts behind the story afterwards. It may have been nice if there was a bit added at the back about this as I’ve seen it in some other books, but that doesn’t take focus away from what a rip-roaring book this is and there is an interesting Bibliography, which would be a good place to do your own research from, if the mood is upon anyone, who wishes to do this.

Panic fills the book from the beginning and indeed, who has a knife?
There’s a real sense of what it is like onboard of the Rajah and to get a sense of Kezia and why she is onboard is fascinating! The case starts almost immediately and you can almost smell the sea and there’s almost a claustrophobic atmosphere as women grapple with their innocence and yet someone has been murdered and the gallows await whoever has committed such huge crime. Trust has clearly been broken, even amongst these thieves and panic and darkness sweeps across the women in the boat and enters their every waking and sleeping moment. The research that’s then created into story-telling is exquisite and all-consuming as it swallows any fellow voyager/reader whole in a magnificent read.

The pace, you would expect to be a bit slower for such a period piece, but this is quite the opposite and has not too disimilar pacing to a modern day crime fiction book.

As well as the crimes, there is a human interest story weaving throughout, where readers get to know the convicts, their life of crime and their backstory and how some were respectable at certain points in their lives, like Hattie and it is these stories that may well tug at the heart-strings. It tugs at strands of curiosity throughout, including when the convicts meet at Newgate Prison for the first time.

Surprisingly, there’s a bit of glamour and oppoulence that fans of period pieces have come to know and love, injected in the form of stories from the women’s lives before they were onboard the Rajah, especially in Kezia’s life. There’s also sadness, especially in Clara’s life when she was young.

There’s some lightness in atmosphere and a bit of humour, that cuts through, when the women are sewing and there’s a sense of the patchwork being created and building up.

There’s all the supposition adding to the intrigue as to who the murderer is and if the guilty one will be sent to the gallows.

It is absolutely fascinating to read what became of the women and reading the historical note at the end. There is also a comprehensive bibliography for further reading and demonstrates that this has been well researched, so that this work of fiction does have a backdrop of realism to it.

#BookReview by Lou of Kissing Lying Down by Kate Tough @LoveBooksGroup #Fiction #KateTough

Kissing Lying Down
By Kate Tough
Rated: 3 stars ***

Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Kissing Lying Down. It is a book that takes relationships to their most gritty edges.
Thanks to Love Books Tours for inviting me to review and providing the book.

Kissing Lying Down

Blurb

Gordon knows what Gabby wants but he hates to do what he’s told; Chrissy stalks the internet to find what her fiance wouldn’t give her; three friends reunite during a heatwave and their evening gets better and better, until it doesn’t.

In these relationship tales, many are burned by their pasts while scanning their horizons… A woman wonders if passing strangers have a better sex-face than her boyfriend; a birthday meal goes sour at the offer of no-strings dessert.

Navigating the on and offline worlds of pairing up, this spiky collection of short stories delves deep, with dark humour, into what it takes to strap on a smile through thirty-something failure and make human connections in the modern age.

Kate Tough ebook cover (1) (1)

Review

Six short stories all consisting of relationships. They aren’t all happy relationships and some have a gritty realism of what can really go on behind closed doors. They take readers into all different stages of love, such as dating to weighing up whether to stay together or not, to that one word of “no” being ignored. At first glance you’d think it’s a book women to read, this is true, but a second thought crossed my mind, what if men were to read it and then think more about their behaviour too, as this is one of the things the stories focus on. It doesn’t feel vindictive against men, it just bravely takes readers away from the complete loved up romance, to something that is also real and dark, but with some uplifting elements scattered here and there too. It shows how romance isn’t all black and white and nor is it as innocent as it sounds…

The first consists of the tangled world of dating and how complicated it can be and just browsing through all those men, weeding out the unsuitable ones is hard enough, but then the story brings out the complexities the internet chats and questioning to find out more about each other to actually meeting.
The writing is all encompassing and paints a pretty accurate picture.

In the second, there’s what Janie calls “Mills & Boon moment” in  cafe, a glance, a wink here and there… the casualness of it all… and if she wants something to actually happen, she’s going to have to be the one to do it, and sounds pretty fed up of how men do this to women and shows how men don’t always do the courting anymore and shy away sometimes from it and how men can be pretty disappointing in how they say stuff, but don’t always mean it. It should perhaps be a story for men to read too.

In the third story it shows how a bit of romance can go just too far and dominant males don’t always pay attention to the word “No!” There’s the emotion and terror of the struggle as she tries to fight the assailant. It’s an important story that shows that men aren’t always strangers who sexually assault and even if in a romantic liason, this can still happen. It’s quite a vital story.

The fourth tale is about a woman who isn’t into commitment, she wants a man but not a husband. It’s about a different sort of love and terms of relationship, but love none-the-less.

The penultimate story takes place in bustling Sauchiehall Street – Glasgow on a fairly drunken night out. It swiftly moves onto the relationship between Sheridan and Ross and how they live, at least some of it by spreadsheet, but then sometimes he can be protective. The relationship also sounds on the brink. Read further to find out if they can find enough reasons to stay with each other or not…

The final story tells of a couple who met, lived a life and how it all came to an end, which isn’t quite how you might imagine it to be.

About the Author

Kate Tough is a fiction writer and visual poet.

Her novel, Keep Walking, Rhona Beech (Abacus, 2019) is available from all usual outlets. It’s the retitled second edition of, Head for the Edge, Keep Walking (Cargo) which has had five stars on Amazon since 2014. The book is a funny and moving account of how a thirty-something office worker in Glasgow, with a clumsy tendency to speak her mind, puts her life back together after it spectacularly falls apart.

Readers have noted that the novel reminds them of a book about someone called Eleanor Oliphant, although Kate’s novel appeared prior to that one, in 2014, when it got good attention in the Scottish media. It’s great that readers can enjoy both books and a bonus that people who like one character have an opportunity to discover the other one.

Kate’s poetry pamphlet, tilt-shift, was Runner Up in the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award, 2017 and her piece, ‘People Made Glasgow’, was selected as a Best Scottish Poem 2016. Recently, her work was included in Makar/Unmakar: Twelve Contemporary Poets in Scotland and she’s an invited poet at STANZA in 2021. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow.

Last year Kate adopted a cat with very long tail who shares his name with the Prime Minister of Britain – the rescue centre gave him that name – but now that she knows him better (the cat, not the Prime Minister) she’d have chosen the name Rocket, because of the way he shoots from underneath furniture at unbelievable speeds.

Kate understands that life isn’t an easy ride and she lives in perpetual awe of her fellow humans; getting out of bed each day and getting involved. On a general basis, if she sees the sun rising and swims lengths in a tide pool, then its not a bad day.

For occasional updates from the author about new work, writing tips and audio clips, subscribe via the button on Kate’s website at www.katetough.com

#Bookreview by Lou When The Earth Stood Still by Kate Eastham @eastham_kate @bookouture #HistoricalFiction

When The Earth Stood Still
By Kate Eastham
Rated: 5 stars *****

A tremendous historical fiction book that fits in perfectly for these present times…
When The Earth Stood Still will show human strength, make you cry and a smile a bit too.
Follow onto the blurb and my review below that and find out where and how you can purchase such an emotionally driven book that yet shows glimmers of hope…
Firstly find out more about the author, blurb and then review and follow onto who else is on this tour…
Thanks to Sarah Hardy and the publishers – Bookouture for inviting me on this first day of the blog tour and for the book.

About the author

KATE (1)A change in circumstance meant Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to being a carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ and inspired by an in-depth study of the origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.

https://twitter.com/eastham_kate

When-the-World-Stood-Still-Kindle (1)

Blurb

The nurses were putting in twelve-hour shifts now, day and night. Emily felt broken inside, dried out, not even capable of tears. They were short-staffed after a softly spoken Irish nurse, who’d only been with them for four days, had died from the deadly flu and two more had fallen ill. And more patients were coming in every hour, though the hospital beds were already full…

1918. Twenty-year-old Emily Burdon has been training as a nurse in London, learning on the job as she tends to patients from the crowded poorhouses that ring the hospital as well as wounded soldiers returning from the war. She pours her heart into her nursing while she waits for happier times – peace in Europe and the return of her childhood sweetheart Lewis from the Western Front.

But when the deadly Spanish Flu arrives in London on the heels of the war, Emily’s faith and courage are put to the test. All around her men and women in the prime of their lives are wasting away, and until a cure is found there is nothing for Emily and her colleagues to do except make them comfortable, treat them as best they can… and, eventually, ease the pain of their passing.

But then Lewis catches the deadly flu himself on his way back home, just as a new doctor is transferred to head up Emily’s ward. From the distant land of Prince Edward Island in Canada, Dr James Cantor is the first of a generations-old farming family to have left the island, and wartime London feels a long way away from the rugged beauty of his homeland. But despite their differences, he and Emily find common ground in their passion for helping patients and stopping the spread of the disease. But with life forever changed around her and Lewis’ future hanging by a thread, can Emily survive the most terrible epidemic in the history with her life – and heart – intact?

A heartbreaking historical novel based on true history – emotional and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Jean Grainger, The Beantown Girls and Diney Costeloe.

When-the-World-Stood-Still-Kindle (1)

Review

The Spanish Flu was absolutely devastating as is Covid-19 today. It makes me think of what we are living today and how much worse it would be, living in the times of Spanish Flu (no technology and even less medical know-how and equipment). It’s a rather timely historical fiction book, that deals with such a subject matter well and takes it seriously and yet provides a gripping read with character’s lives you can care about, in particular Emily’s life.
It is an emotional read that tells a story relevant of that time and any time of a pandemic. It’s about having passion, perseverance and carrying on, even in the toughest times, even when a loved one is hit by it and you feel almost broken like Emily. It shows how lives change quite dramatically and it’s dealt with in a realistic manner, with a certain strength of character. There is wonderful strength of friendship and comaraderie amongst some of the staff too, that has tremendous care and compassion within it. There is the care of the patients and what is happening to the soldiers as well, who were in service. It’s a well plotted book that has heart and soul within it, even in the toughest of times that the characters are all living through.
This book, although set within historic times, serves well for people living today and shows how people can be in their manner. It also reminds people too of the Spanish Flu pandemic and gives hope too and that people do come through it and it was even tougher then, so it is thought-provoking for today’s generations and I come at this, having lost someone to Covid-19 and working in another keyworking sector.

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2ZkWWn7

When the World Stood Still - Blog Tour Poster

#BookReview of Lost Souls by Chris Merritt @DrCJMerritt @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Thriller

Lost Souls
By Chris Merritt
Rated: 5 stars *****

Lost Souls is the 3rd in the Lockhart and Green series by Chris Merritt, but also works well as a stand-alone. It’s a nail-biting page-turner of a thriller, with suspense that draws you further into every character, the deeper you go…
Thanks to Chris Merritt for inviting me onto the blog tour and for Sarah Hardy and Noelle Holten at publisher – Bookouture for adding me to it and supplying the book.
Follow onwards to discover more about this gripping book, to the blurb and my review…

Blurb

Lost-Souls-KindlePlease forgive me for what I’m about to do…

Standing at the school gates, he waits until the last child leaves the safety of the playground. And then he follows at a distance, keeping to the shadows. Only he knows what’s going to happen next.

In a quiet church, on a busy London street, 12-year-old Donovan Blair is found dead. His hands are clasped together as if in prayer. Just hours ago, he was happily playing with his friends at school, but now his body is lifeless, and his killer is long gone.

Detective Dan Lockhart is working alone on his wife’s missing person’s case when he receives a call telling him to get to the crime scene at St Mary’s Church immediately.

Bringing in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help profile the murderer, Dan is convinced that the killer has provided a clue by leaving the body in a prayer position, and Lexi agrees. As they try to get into the mind of the person responsible, another victim is found. A 13-year-old girl, left in a different church, posed in exactly the same way.

Fearing the murderer may already have another child in his sights, Dan and Lexi work together to establish links between the two deaths, and soon discover that not only were both children in care – they had attended the same school. And when it emerges that Lexi’s new boyfriend works there, things become difficult between her and Dan. How much can he tell Lexi about the case? And could she be at risk?

As Dan makes a breakthrough in the investigation, he receives devastating news about his wife, Jess. But with children’s lives at stake and Lexi in danger, Dan must put his personal emotions aside and chase the killer. Can he and Lexi work out who is behind the murders before another vulnerable child is taken?

This nail-biting crime book is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Robert Dugoni. Once you pick up Lost Souls, you won’t be able to put it down!

Lost-Souls-Kindle

Review

There’s a philisophical truth in the beginning of the book about life, death, new choices, new resolutions that’s pertinent to everyone and indeed the characters in Lost Souls. The philosophy being presented is almost lyrical in style and then it digs a little deeper and the intrigue builds. It’s a well-written book full of intrigue and suspense, with interesting and good turns of phrases to be found here and there. It culminates into a nail-biting conclusion.
This is book 3, in the series but it is also okay to read it as a standalone, that works fine too.

The book tackles issues of the care system a little within it and how, especially killers may interpret The Bible. There is a clear insight into the victim’s life and a picture of who Donovan was is soon built. The thought of who a person was is valuable to not just the case, but takes into account of human life and isn’t swept away and helps progress the detailed case along and adds another layer.

Throughout the book the emotions of Lockhart are revealed as is his determination to solve the case and the reasons why this is so apparent come to light in the backstory. Lockhart’s personal life is also complex, which is also very interesting to see unfold and gives readers an understanding of his character/personality and cause and effect.

There are insights, perhaps, some unsurprising ones, into the NHS, through Dr. Lexi Green of how things can be quite tight within the NHS and how hard it is with all that red-tape. The character Dr. Lexi, because of her job, brings much more of a unique psychological perspective to the book, which is incredibly fascinating as she delves into people’s lives. The book also recognises current events ie. Covid, but this is not the crux of the plot, but does give a bit of insight into some of the psychological effects and more.. It makes it all a very timely piece of writing as it just pokes through just enough to not over do it, but shows how serious it is and weaves nicely and neatly into the storyline; yet each time, moving swiftly back to the murder case and deducing who the murderer is, in this in-depth, page-turning case, which is very compelling and has a lot at stake and the force cannot afford to make any mistakes.
The entire book with its many components that create a rounded look at all that’s going on with the case and within the lives of the main recurring characters that make up the team. It all builds up to a very tense, page-turning, nail-biting final few chapters…

About the Author

Dr Chris MerrittChris Merritt is a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.

All his novels are set in London, where he lives. He began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. He specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked his interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.

Now he spends most of his time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When he’s not writing, he loves climbing and playing basketball.

 Author Social Media Links:

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/DrCJMerritt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17558172.Chris_Merritt

Website: www.cjmerritt.co.uk 

Lost Souls blog tour poster

Happy Publication Day for Photographed In The Writer’s Room by Michelle L. E. Price A #NewBook for #ValentinesDay @MichelleLEPrice @rararesources #Fiction #RomanticFiction #BlogTour

Photographed in the Writer’s Room
By Michelle L. E. Price

Come and check out Photographed In The Writer’s Room by Michelle L. E. Price. It is published today and will be a lovely read for and after Valentines Day. Read further to find out about this author and about her book. I have a blurb and links to her social media and her book too. It makes you wonder if the main character Brandi Tyler will find her new life and if it really can be a happy one. Can she also find some romance along the way…. Find out a bit more below…

countdown to release LIVE (1)

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

About the Author

Born in Montreal but raised in New England, author Michelle L. E. Price has been writing as long as anyone can remember. An avid reader who was on the verge of losing her mind as a mom to two small children, Michelle began writing her first book, Hidden in the Writer’s Room, as an escape… at least her characters would do exactly what she told them to do and she could always count on a happily ever after ending. She also enjoys wine, re-watching 90’s sitcoms and occasionally running, but heavily relies on writing to stay sane. Michelle is a firm believer that laughter and love are the best parts of life.

Social Media Links

https://www.instagram.com/michelleleprice/

https://twitter.com/MichelleLEPrice

photographed in the writers room - front

Blurb

photographed in the writers room - frontFormer TV star Brandi Tyler’s big screen debut crashed and burned amid rumors of an affair with her married co-star… Now, she wants nothing more than to quietly slink away from Hollywood. When she’s offered an opportunity to get out of town and work on a project involving the photographer that launched her career, it seems like the perfect escape! Unfortunately for Brandi, her famous face makes hiding out even a huge city like Houston a little tricky.

When the celebrated photographer’s son offers to let her use his home for privacy, it seems like everything is falling into place. Little does she know that Michael Ames a gorgeous best selling author, and he comes with the package! As Brandi makes her way through old photographs and new scandals, Michael struggles with his next project, and they both fight the growing attraction between them.

Maybe a posse of new girlfriends, some Texas-sized boozy brunches, and a little private time in the writer’s room will help this leading lady find her path back onscreen. And, if she can just picture it, maybe this time she’ll even find love?

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

Photographed in the Writers Room