Murderous Passions By B.R. Statham Rated: 4 stars ****
Sinister and intrigue between the pages of Murderous Passions.
Thank you to Henry Roi for contacting me to review Murderous Passions on-be-half of his represented author – B.R. Statham. Read on for the blurb, review and link.
Two cops. Four homicides. One case involves a college professor and six thousand suspects. The second involves a dead farm girl, a dead gigolo, and a grieving housewife. The third is a jewel thief who likes to play with big caliber guns. The fourth involves a drug-crazed hoodlum with a killer’s desire to challenge the world. It is just another working day for Detective Sergeants Turner Hahn and Frank Morales.
A tinkle on the piano may never seem as innocent again. Strike up the music and take away a piano string from the note of C and the author presents it as, not a thing of beauty for music to be made, but a very murderous instrument for garroting. It all gets very messy and macabre for someone known to Anderson University. Frank Morales and a couple of “on the beat” officers Alonzo Gonzales and Tubby Charles are on the case to such a murder, which is gruesomely described at the beginning of the book. The book then turns to the classic whodunnit mystery as it weaves through university-life within the Science faculty, focusing, especially on the professors within the Chemistry and Physics departments. The faculty was somewhat surprising as I had automatically assumed it would be within a music department, but as it isn’t so obvious, it adds to the intrigue.
It all happened in the science department of the university and there are a good few candidates of who could have committed such a murder or may know something within the department. It’s all pretty well described in a sometimes sinister way as the plot takes readers to a plethora of characters who are questioned. The university is also worried about the publicity the case could get and in-turn, its reputation, which could be in question over other serious misadventures within the very faculty that is under investigation for the murder.
Certain aspects feel a little overly described, but mostly it plunges readers deeper into the life of the characters and the mystery and sails by at a decent pace as you play detective, trying to work out what the motive really is and who committed such a murder as theories the police put together are torn apart here and there at the seams and holes appear, adding to some twists and turns.
There’s a political bent to this book about gang crimes and policing. The book certainly packs a lot in and shows certain parts of modern times and what’s happening on the streets.
Murder is twisted, but this one seems more so as more questions to do with how the victim was killed and more, are thrown out there for the police to work out. It’s interesting to read about the police pondering over different suspects and who may have motive.
The book keeps you guessing as motives and behaviours present themselves, one suspect at a time until quite a twist, that has a tone and turn of phrase, that may well leave readers with a shudder about at least one of them.
The last paragraph, both within the context of the book and outwith context of the book is both profound and thought-provoking.
The Thursday Murder Club By Richard Osman Rated: 5 stars *****
Just to add to his talents – impressively, Richard Osman, who most notably presents Pointless and House of Games with aplomb, can also write a book very well. The Thursday Murder Club is a Must Read!
Many, many, many thanks for the advanced copy and for allowing me to review.
I have a burb and my review below. I loved the book. It is a Must Read. Please note that my review is unbiased.
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.
But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
The Thursday Murder Club is a book that hasn’t just reached expectations, it exceeded them! Richard Osman is such a talented man and wow, can he write! I must say, after seeing him talk about his book and read an excerpt at Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in Stirling, way back in September 2019, I had high hopes. I’m so impressed that I do think it does have all the ingredients to make a terrific film and indeed Steven Speilberg has the rights to this. The book is very hard to put down, once started. With instantly likeable characters, who still have quite a bit of life and humour about them, it gets off to a fantastic start. They are quite a crew of people who wouldn’t normally have met, but are thrown together in their new stage of life in the retirement village, which I must say, sounds amazing, surrounded by countryside, with plenty to do. This is much more than a humour type of book, it is an excellent mystery that layers up and will take readers in all sorts of directions, sort of like an enigma in this otherwise genteel setting. I couldn’t guess who the culprit was. The book just absorbs you into its setting and characters incredibly well and everything is certainly flung at them. It takes a somewhat realistic view in the fact that the characters have to be aware of the present-day in its behaviour and technologies.
I was impressed then and the book has lived up to expectations; so I am still impressed now, having read the book in its entirety. It’s up there with some of the best in cosy crime, with its supposedly, unassuming characters in a retirement home, who are sharper and more “modern” in their thinking, than you would think, but they don’t appear to be as they are rather overlooked by many people, which proves useful as they get to do anything they want with little consequence. With solving crimes on their minds, they form The Thursday Murder Club and no more so when they find ways of getting involved in one that happened on their doorstep.
There is some rather dark humour from the residents. That catches the attention straight off. Readers, are led, like you are going on a tour with her and you’re the person who is there to “Meet New People and Try New Things”, as the first part is called. It’s a clever way of introducing characters and some background and layout of the retirement community. Elizabeth is first, then Bernard, then Mary, Ron and Ibrahim. They like to talk about murders in sometimes, perhaps in a way that you may not want to mess with them. Then there is a live murder, right on their doorsteps, that grabs the residents attention as they get themselves involved in solving the case in imaginative ways. Throughout the book are excerpts of a diary that Joyce keeps, full of bits about murder and poignant, philisophical thoughts.
There is enough intrigue set up, surrounding Tony Curren and Ian Ventham and the companies.
The book is wonderfully nuanced with how the characters behave. I would go as far as saying Richard Osman has observed his chosen age group for his characters very well. The tone, things they say and how it is said, is very much set in reality. There’s quite a bit of positivity written about his older characters, to show that at least some, are still capable of doing things, which also amusing.
I thought it was a lovely thing to have a character (Ibrahim Arif) support Westham United. I also think it is lovely he has included a character (Ron Ritchie) who has read all of Mark Billingham’s books, since that is who he did a talk with and sounded like they know each other well. As well as the characters and plot being quite heart-warming, it is kind moments like these that also add to the heart-warming moments.
The way the pensioners are with the Detective Inspector – Chris, is priceless and full of humour. I do sort of feel a bit sorry for the D.I. He certainly wouldn’t have expected the pensioners to be quite so excitable; but the way Richard Osman has written these scenes has timing down to a “T”.
“Everyone Has A Story to Tell” and they certainly do in the second part as more comes tumbling out. Kindness is portrayed again, this time in the form of strangers helping Joyce after a fall. There are also some unexpected twists and turns, which cause excitement and more debate amongst the residents. Things hot up as the Thursday Murder Club get ever closer to the truth.
The book can be bought from today on Amazon, Independent bookshops and Waterstones. I highly recommend this “Must Read” book.
The second book is being drafted out. I for one, cannot wait until it is published next autumn.
The Midas Cat 2 By Tommy Ellis Rated: 5 stars *****
Review written by Louise Cannon
The Midas Cat series is just incredible by Tommy Ellis, a Scottish author who is growing this series he began 2 books ago. It has good humour and is compelling and enthralling, throughout. They have this ability to be unputdownable. The length is perfect for reading in one sitting and this is how I’ve found myself reading them. I highly recommend them if you want some light-hearted fun with twists and turns as there are often the unexpected. The writing that weaves the plot with the humour together is very well done. It’s all cleverly funny. I thank Tommy Ellis for requesting for me to review this book and for (which I’m still smiling about), quoting me on the cover. Please note, that, like all my reviews, it is non-biased. I saw the cover long after I read the content and wrote my review and rated it.
Do also feel free at popping by his social media page. Tommy was mostly on Facebook, but has recently started to use Twitter. @TommyEllis14. All of the books are available to buy on Amazon
Discover the blurb and review below, but also check out the mysteriousness within the cover art.
Ex-banker Ralph Williams has inherited three million pounds due to a typo in his uncle’s will, and his cousin Rolph wants his money back. Rolph changes his name to Eric and hatches a plot involving the dark web, his neighbour’s 8-year-old son, and a fake midas cat. Follow the hapless pair as the genuine animal inadvertently starts a feud between Ralph and a psychotic loan shark’s dysfunctional family, causes a string of car wrecks and a wild-west-style shoot-out in a Hertfordshire town centre. In part two, Ralph is on the run for murder and has escaped to a secretive police state. He thought testing antidotes for germ warfare recipes and spying on the West was as bad as it got until the midas cat shows up and accidentally sparks an incident bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war!
This book follows on well from The Midas Cat Wears Prada in what is a cleverly funny series. It’s so creative and original. Ralph has since been released from the Psychiatric Unit due to a computer error. He was there due to The Midas Cat. Now he was after the cat that he had bought for his wife, which is the most expensive, elusive cat. He also has his wife to win back, especially now her marriage has to film director – Troy Halliday has imploded.
There is an atmospheric carnival for the week, where there are people dressed up for Hallowe’en. This is where the Midas Cat turns up having its observational fun. There’s also troubled British actress – Lisa Lovelock who is obsessed about Adam Ant.
There’s much humour when readers will meet Jeffrey. It doesn’t matter that he is a psychiatrist and a professor of experimental pharmacology in a prestigious psychiatric unit – Falcon Hall, his mother will always treat him as the son that he is and yell for him to do this and that, as he thinks about what he could possibly do about her constant interruptions. She was a teacher and once a teacher, always a teacher in manner and tone.
There’s a conman on the loose trying to con £3 million out of Ralph, but he really needs that midas cat so he could win back the woman who used to be his wife, as that’s all she ever wanted. He goes to great lengths to do so.
The characters are most definitely creative and original. It’s a book that will uplift your spirits through the humour that is used, but also fill you with intrigue through its twists and turns and unexpected jeopardy.
Ralph reckons if he hadn’t gone along with his wife’s demands, he wouldn’t be tested on for germ warfare antedotes, divorced or on the run for suspected murder. This is probably true and it does leave you feeling kind of sorry for him.
This is a highly original series that I also highly recommend. There are 3 books in total, featuring The Midas Cat, who doesn’t seem all it appears to be, which adds to the book’s mysteriousness. Check outAmazonfor The Midas Cat Wears Prada, The Midas Cat – The Harrington Collection and The Midas Cat – Rolph’s Revenge, all of which are very well conceived.
About The Author
Tommy is an author and saxophonist. He’s played alongside Chas and Dave, Mud, The Troggs and Earth Wind and Fire, to name a few. He’s played in a nudist camp where he felt a tad over dressed and had to run away from a gun-toting audience member. He’s also had terrorists threaten to blow up two of his gigs! He is the author of The Midas Cat books; a series of surreal dark humour featuring an Adam Ant loving, talking feline that’s being tracked down by an unscrupulous banker. Think The Pink Panther as if re-imagined by Tim Burton. Available now: The Midas Cat: The Harrington Collection.The Midas Cat: The Devil Wears Tabby: available as an e book and paperback. The survival of Ralph’s marriage is dependent upon him capturing a hundred million dollar talking cat. Standing in his way, however, is the cat itself, Lord Lucan, an imaginary game show host, and a voodoo death spirit. Follow Ralph into insanity as the cat tears his life apart piece by piece.
The Miseducation of Evie Epworth By Matson Taylor Rated: 5 stars *****
Written by Louise Cannon (Lou)
Today I am delighted and excited to present to you my review of the heartwarming and funniest book I’ve read in ages – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. It’s a book I highly recommend. Find out more about the author, the book and my review below.
About the Author
Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academicwriting tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.
Cold Comfort Farm meets Adrian Mole in the funniest debut novel of the year. Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become? Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampoo and-set drudgery at the local salon. Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan to rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.
I love this book from the very first page. It is full of so much good humour. Humour, like writing and even my review, is subjective, but it takes skill to get humour down on a page well. Matson Taylor does this very well. What I really like is that it isn’t too silly and yet it is laugh out loud humour. It’s a hearwarming, cheery book with artistic placement of some words, which I enjoyed.
The pages are filled with so much energy, fun. Evie is 16 1/2, milk delivering teenager in 1960s, East of Yorkshire and is full of life. She also has an MG, her dad’s car that is, which she crashed, but is still good humoured. Evie loves the celebrities like Grace Kelly, who she tries to emulate in fashion, but her favourites are Adam Faith (who she wrote 3 times to and sadly he didn’t have the decency to write back. So sad), Shirley MacLaine and Charlotte Bronte. Then there’s The Queen, who she also idolises. She also seems to like Norse mythology and having fun with them. Who she doesn’t like too much and can be a bit scathing of is Christine, her soon to be step-mother and for good reason.
The book is set in Yorkshire. An area of the country I have explored some of and have loved. Evie’s dad has booked a trip to York to visit York Castle Museum ( which I recommend. It’s a place I’ve been to a few times and it never disappoints with its olde streets and ye olde shops inside it and fashions and more) and Betty’s Tearooms (which I recommend you visit. It has a list of teas as long as your arm, perhaps longer and lovely cakes).
In her head she thinks about jobs she might do and can’t decide, but really all she wants is to be an assistant to Adam Faith. Evie is a character you would want to get to know. If she wasn’t a character in a book, you’d want to be friends with her. Her imagination is fabulously fun and pretty accurate for a creative, daydreaming, book reading 16 1/2 year old…
There are some philosophical musings around here and there about life.
The other people readers meet via Evie are amusing in the way that she sees them. There is however a kindness about her too. She has an interest in people who she can actually meet too, such as Mr and Mrs Scott-Pym and how Mr Pym was involved in the Spanish Civil War and was a journalist and realises she knows very little about them. It’s a thought isn’t it? How much do we really know the people in our neighbourhood? Evie learns a lot from her about her family. It’s an emotional tale. The emotions of cheerfulness and sadness are skillfully written by Matson Taylor.
There are sections of just a couple of pages or so called “Interludes” throughout the book, which is an original way of telling other character’s stories. They give little insights of life of Arthur and Mrs Scott-Pym before the 1960s. It works very well because readers then get to see Arthur before having a child and when he met his first wife, Diana. It’s tenderly written. It gives insight into Rosamund Scott-Pym’s life when Caroline, her daughter, was younger, which is interesting.
There’s a triple celebration and what better than to celebrate with cake. Not just any cake though, it may contain some Yorkshire magic and a real need for Christine to eat some, to the point I was hoping she would take a bite. I found myself very firmly on Evie’s side early on.
The village fete is full of fun, cakes and cattle. Matson Taylor pulls off a joyful atmosphere very well.
Evie’s first day of work in a hairdressing salon is when the real world really hits home, it’s funny between her client and herself as there’s plans of subterfuge. Find out what else happens in this amazingly funny book that I highly recommend and if Evie leaves home for London or Leeds.
Mini Reviews and Links for Children’s Books, Spanning Across Every Age
I have reviewed a number of excellent children’s books. I have now put them all together in a small collection here for you to hopefully be inspired and try out. You will find the books at Amazon, Waterstones and some Independent Bookshops. Full reviews and extra info can be found by clicking on the relevant links, marked “Here”. I have included books for all ages of children. I have started off with a terrific chapter books and then some books for younger children. I hope this brings some inspiration for what to try next.
Blaze Dog Detective By Lin Anderson
When the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective. After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary. With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.
A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot that has red herrings, can you discover who stole the Fairy Flag in Skye? Blaze is actually a real dog in Skye and you can find out more about the book and see some more cute pics by clicking Here
She Wolf By Dan Smith
Northumbria 866. Washed ashore on a frozen English beach, Ylva’s survived. She will not cry. She’s meant to be strong. She’s a Viking.
But when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother’s stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge – or is there another way?
Quick Review – Primary Schools and Booktrust rate it highly as do I with 5 stars. Immerse yourself in a book that deals with bereavement and courage as you meet Ylva, Locki, Thor and Odin. Discover this immersive and intriguing adventure, which is excellently paced and pitched for older primary aged children. Click Herefor more info about it, plus links to Dan Smith’s website and social media.
Red Snow by Larraine Harrison
Twelve-year-old Megan though she knew everything there was to know about her mother’s death, but she was wrong.
Why will no one tell her what really happened and why has she become her father’s carer?
The boy next door has a dangerous secret that could help Megan, but will she be strong enough to pursue it to the end?
A story of danger, hope and perseverance.
Red Snow is great for 8 or 9 year olds plus. Full of atmosphere and emotion, readers meet 12 year old Megan Townsend who tries to follow her neighbour – Ryan into the woods. It is sinister and intriguing as Megan pursues the truth about her mother and was there a big cat in the woods? It is also about Megan being inquisitive and Ryan’s peculiar habits. It is sympathetically written in a child friendly manner, with themes of being a carer, bereavement, loneliness, friendship, family; with an excellent ending that will see everything resolved. Find out more by clicking Here
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
Bronte Mettlestone has been brought up in a very sensible way by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler. So when her absent parents are killed by pirates and she’s sent on a whirlwind visit to her other ten aunts, she takes it all in her stride. But Bronte’s outwardly sensible nature holds a core of steel and courage, and through her adventures, with water sprites, avalanches, elves and dragons, Bronte shows herself to be the kind of heroine we would all wish to be. This wonderful novel is witty, lively and full of magic and surprises – everything readers young and old could ask for. The kind of novel where you need to make a pot of tea (preferably cloudberry), find a really comfy sofa in front of a roaring fire, and settle in for a magical journey of your own.
Let your imagination run wild with this book and find out what the Extremely Unfortunate Events of Bronte Mettlestone are. She’s brave and courageous. She has aunts in Scotland and yet she also ends up in many other kingdoms in this wonderfully written book that children will have their imaginations captured by. There are pirates, a strange library and fantastical creatures that is all just so well pitched for children to sweep them along within exciting chapters that exceeded expectations. Find out more by clickingHere
The Treasure at the Top of the Mountain By Clive Mantle
Clive Mantle has said: “I have woven a tale of adventure in the past and present against the wondrous backdrop of Nepal and its people. I am thrilled that the story I wrote for my own son to pass on the flame has now found a wider audience, who will hopefully have their imaginations stimulated as mine was as a young boy”.
In the first of The Adventures of Freddie Malone series, The Treasure at the Top of the World Freddie receives an intriguing and unusual thirteenth birthday present from his Uncle Patrick. The ancient world map goes straight up on his wall, but Freddie fast discovers that the map is much more than just a decorative historic artefact. Freddie, and his best friend, Connor, are soon plunged into a mountainous adventure, on a path that leads to a long buried mystery, pursued by ruthless adversaries who’ll go to any lengths to get what they want.
This is more than just a tale to tell, it’s an impressively written adventure of a lifetime. This a story of (in no particular order) adventure, social and land geography, history, present day, travel and friendship and overcoming bullying. This is a book that will excite, inform and captivate children.
There are relics and treasures to be had, people to meet and a country to explore, all within the safety and comfort of your own home. This is an impressive story with adventure, once you’ve met Freddie Malone, who is celebrating his birthday and his magical present transports him to Nepal to meet mountaineers and more…
There is a lovely map and pictures and additional supporting info after the terrific story.
Find out more by clicking Here
Star Child – The Age of Akra – Book 1 –
There are 5 in the series. I have reviewed 3.
The foreshadowing of a dark future threatens the seven nations. Mai is selected to train with the mysterious elemental master Sah Dohba who will prepare her to become the protector of the desert lands. Her brother Long, steps forward to travel with her as her chaperone to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts.
A chance encounter brings them together with Akra, the Starchild. The trio travels on into a battle with the elements. Sandstorms. Deadly creatures. Starvation. Then a chance meeting with powerful earthfollower, sets them on a new path where they must each find the strength to face a terrifying foe from the Underworld.
This is the beginning of a new children’s fantasy series for children of ages 7+ The cover is exciting with its dragon, suggesting adventure and action. There are 5 in all in this series.
Covering themes such as child rivalry, there is bravery, action, adventure and emotion within these books, all suitable for ages 7/8 plus. Children who like Marvel and Ninjago and dragons and creatures in faraway lands will enjoy this. It’s an excellent series to get stuck into and to spark children’s imaginations. Check out more by clickingHere
Judy Blume books are great and have stood the test of time pretty well. I wrote an article as to why her books are still relevant and to showcase her books. Her books span right across children of all ages. Click for the articleHere
Toletis by Rafa Ruiz
Toletis is another book that is perfect for children of all ages.
Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, luscious green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed… with some very unusual help?
This is a book that provides, within Toletis, a positive role model. He has a deep interest in the natural world and has lots of fun, whilst playing in the world around him. He meets characters like the Treene-weenies and learns Wobbegong language along the way. He also has a great friend in Tutan. There are great illustrations throughout, humour, great storytelling throughout, that this makes perfect reading for those who also like The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates, Storey Treehouse series. Find out much more about this terrific book by clicking Here
Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure By Emma Larkin
Izzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.
Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.
One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…………….
Are you missing out on football? Whether you are or not, this is a great book of sibling rivalry and inspiration. Meet Izzy, she likes football and dreams of playing for her county one day, but doesn’t see how that can happen, until a discovery is made about relative. This is an excellent, positive book of possibilities. Find out more by clickingHere
Geronimo Stilton – Stop Acting Around By Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton is Getting into the movies when he is invited by an old filmmaker friend, director E.J. Sprocket, to visit the set Block Cheddar 4, starring Jack Vole. Convinced that this could make for an interesting article, he brings Thea, Benjamin, and Pandora along. But soon they discover that it’s not all glitz and glamour as strange happenings have been plaguing production, causing the film to go off course. Will Geronimo’s acting career be over before it starts? Is there a MOLE on the set? As E.J. would say, “That’s show business for ya baby!”
Geronimo Stilton books have been around awhile in libraries and book shops and they are nicely still going strong. They are graphic novels, with the story told in a well layed-out and illustrated form and often depict an eye-catching cover, with a good paced plot. Stop Acting Around takes Geronimo (a mouse) on-set of a big movie to meet his favourite actor – Jack Vole and reckons this would make for a great article. All is well until disaster strikes when 10 cans of film are mysteriously destroyed. The book has plenty of action and there is mild trepidation when there’s a rickety bridge to get across a ravine and down an old mine as the mystery continues as to what happened to the film reels and unexpected discoveries.
The Hidden Spaceship by Serena Lane Ferrari
When Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship, an out-of-this-world adventure begins. The friends have a very special mission – to help the Earth’s eco-system. They must go on a daunting journey on another planet, find a treasure chest, and complete their quest. What secret does the treasure chest hold?
There’s a song, a spaceship and humans Amelia and Noah, who embark on an adventure to a distant planet. There’s bright, bold pictures and a great story and characters like the alien Ualalumpa. The book, throughout the story, tells children about the eco-system in a way that is child-friendly and understandable. There are treasures to find that are more magical and wonderful than even gold or jewels. To find out more about this out of this world adventure, please clickHere
The Cockatoo From Timbucktoo By William AE Ford
Join Kian the cockatoo on his adventures around the world!
Can a childhood song about a shining star help him find his way home?
From the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China to New York City wonders of the world are explored delightfully in this epic journey!
William has done it again! After sending children on an interactive, rhyming time travelling adventure with the award winning Timothy Mean and his Time Machine, he now sends them on a world adventure with a lost cockatoo who just wants to go home to be reunited with his mum and dad. Children just love the adventure of flying around the world in a book, the illustrations and the repetitive nature of this book, that makes it so interactive and fun. It is a wonderful and perfect book for these different days, where young children, including the early primary school years, will gain value from. Find out more by clicking Here
The Hangry Hamster by Grace McLuskey
Review and Blurb
Meet Billy. He has a hamster who is hangry and ends up running through London, past a lot of landmarks, which he ends up towering over, like no hamster ever has before. This book is action packed, very funny and brilliantly conceived. It is also about bonding with a pet. Please find out moreHere
Princess Poppy – Fantastic No Plastic By Janey Louise Jones
When Poppy is invited to a beach party by cousin Daisy in Camomile Cove, she has to help clean up the beach first. There is so much plastic refuse. Meanwhile, her puppy Sidney chokes on a discarded bag. Poppy joins the campaign to rid the planet of one use plastic waste and comes up with an enterprising idea. Poppy is her usual energetic and passionate self as she realises everyone can do a little bit to make a big difference.
Princess Poppy is a great story with a really good mix of positive environmental messages and general fun in the characters setting. These are great books for both boys and girls alike. There’s great illustrations by Jennie Poh and humour within this story about looking after the environment. The story takes place when there’s a competition to create a poster to create an object to replace with that from a plastic one. It also shows friendship and keeping earth tidy, as well as having fun with Sidney – a dog with a bundle of energy. Please find out moreHere
Bertie the Buffalo by Wendy H. Jones
Bertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn’t need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.
Inspired by a true story in Scotland, children will meet Bertie and all sorts of animals, including an alpaca along the way as Bertie the Buffalo ends up straying into unfamiliar territories as he finds himself outside of his usual field. The book is about not feeling small, even if you are small in stature, friendship and family, in this beautifully illustrated book that will take children on an adventure and find some kindness along the way. It also is a story with a moral within it. This book has been read by many children, usually for 4 year olds plus, but has been used my middle grade classes up to and including primary 5 too. Find out more by clickingHere
There is/was a podcast with Charlotte Jones about Humble Boy, shown at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. Unfortunately there isn’t a filmed version of the play. Humble Boy is just the most terrific play that I keep hoping to tour, but the director Paul Miller always seems to be busy, maybe one day as steps were being made in Edinburgh at one point after I asked if an Edinburgh theatre may get it. It’s a long story… so onto the play that I think is just so wonderful and that thought has never left nor has it changed.
Nominated for 7 Off West End Awards Best Female Performance Belinda Lang – 2 Point 4 Children, Duet For One and more… Best Male Performance Jonathan Broadbent Best Supporting Female Selina Cadell – Doc Martin Best Supporting Male Paul Bradley – Holby City Best Set Design Simon Daw Best Director Paul Miller Best Production
My husband is dead and my only son, who has grown fat and strange, has just run away from his own Father’s funeral. I’ll be fine. Fine. At least those bastard bees are gone.
Felix Humble is drawn back to his family home after the death of his father, a biology teacher and amateur beekeeper. There in the garden he finds his waspish mother Flora, her downtrodden friend Mercy and suspiciously ever-present local businessman George Pye, whose daughter Rosie was once involved with Felix. A luncheon is arranged…
Felix is an astrophysicist who discovers that solving the riddle of his emotional life is considerably more challenging than the quest for a unified string theory.
Paul Miller directs Paul Bradley, Jonathan Broadbent, Selina Cadell, Rebekah Hinds, Belinda Lang and Christopher Ravenscroft.
Humble Boy is just so much fun, poignant, emotional, clever with a 5 star cast. This is a play that I saw pre-blog and now, as The Orange Tree Theatre have been highlighting it, it seems wonderfully right to write about it and really just to say how brilliant it is. It is poignant and the wit of the characters is just perfect. Belinda Lang was just as brilliant as I knew she would be. I had seen her on stage before in Duet for One and was so taken by her acting, so I knew a trip to London to see this, whilst visiting a friend, was going to be worth it. We were so lucky to have front row seats. For those who don’t know; The Orange Tree Theatre is off the WestEnd in Richmond, London. It is a small round theatre. The stage is on the level of the front row (we actually had to walk on the neatly cobbled stones that created a path, that was part of the set to get to our seats) and the seats do practically go almost all the way round the circular stage. The price was incredibly good being off the West End, so sitting on the front row, as brave as it was of us, as an actor once said, was a “real treat”.
The set was amazing, it was all set within a garden and some, if not all the plants were actually real, we were super impressed. The play starts with humour and some rather fun dancing with Paul Bradley’s character and Belinda Lang’s character, who is waspish and both are full of life.
Felix, played by Jonathan Broadbent, ensures, that you feel sympathy with his character. Felix is a largely unsuccessful guy in his 30s, and a university lecturer and has a passion for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Quantum Physics. His father, was a biologist with a passion for bees. A beehive that was accidentally destroyed by Flora, a vain woman who has just had a nose-job (played by Belinda Lang). She is “Queen Bee” in the community and her son is somewhat of a disappointment to her. I know, it doesn’t on paper sound like it would be amusing, but with quick quips and the acting make it so.
All the characters meet for a picnic lunch and suspicious goings on occur with the foodand more dramatic, yet shocking humourous and more poignant scenes play out, courteous of Selina Cadell’s character – Mercy as she serves up her husband’s ashes within her gazpacho after being in a bit of a tizzy and well, you can imagine how much more so when it is realised what’s been done!
Christopher Ravenscroft played the gardener well, with an air of mysteriousness about him.
The play is emotional and poignant and yet full of humour about life, death and bees.
Every single cast member were strong and absolutely wonderful and exceeded all expectations in their parts and all those nominations were well-deserved.
My 5 stars are not swayed by anything, including that I was incredibly lucky to have met the cast, a moment I will always treasure, as I do with any actors I have ever been lucky to have met. It really is, on merit, from the writer to the cast, to the production team etc, an excellent play and definitely up there in my top 5 plays that I’ve ever seen. If theatres ever re-open and this tours on a proper UK tour, especially with the same principle cast, it would be amazing to see again.