#BlogTour – The Memories we Bury by H.A. Leuschel

The Blurb

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, whose own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In ‘The Memories We Bury’ the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

My Thoughts

The Memories We Bury is a well-written and compelling psychological thriller. At times I found it to be a bit of a slow burner but I couldn’t put it down.

Lizzie thinks she has it all when she marries Markus, who she thinks is the man of her dreams. Before long she falls pregnant but it would appear that this was not part of Markus’ plan. Once the baby arrives their relationship doesn’t quite go as planned and he shows his true colours – a patronising, arrogant and selfish individual who really made my blood boil. Lizzie doesn’t seem to be able to see past him and makes excuses and accepts how badly he treats her which both angers and frustrates me as I willed her to get a backbone and make him accountable.

The story centres around Lizzie and Markus’ neighbour Morag who becomes extremely interfering when the baby is born. The relationship between Morag and Lizzie is complex and very much controlled by Morag who is twisted and conniving. As the story progresses you learn a lot about Morag’s life and things start to make more sense.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘The Memories We Bury’ and will most definitely be looking out for more of H.A. Leuschel’s work.

About the Author

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal. Please find out more about Helene at heleneleuschel.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow her at:
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/HALeuschel

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/haleuschel/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/HALeuschel

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15337013.H_A_Leuschel

Website : https://www.heleneleuschel.com/

#BlogTour The Nurse by J.A. Corrigan

I have already recommended this book to so many of my book-loving friends! If you love psychological thrillers then it is most certainly a book for your TBR list.

The Blurb

When you hear her story, will you believe her?

Rose Marlowe is a hard-working nurse, a loving wife, and a merciless killer. Or so she says. Despite her confession, it is hard to believe that this beautiful, kind woman could have killed her vulnerable patient in cold blood.

Down-on-his luck author and ex-journalist, Theo Hazel, is convinced that there’s more to what happened than Rose is telling, and so decides to visit her behind bars to write her story. His first surprise comes when Rose reveals that the victim was not a stranger to her. 

As time goes on, it seems that Rose is letting Theo see behind her perfect mask. With each new visit, he learns terrible new things about her heart-breaking past. With each new visit, he becomes more and more convinced that she can’t be a killer. But is he trying to free an innocent victim, or falling prey to a calculating murderer?

A gripping and unputdownable thriller that will keep you guessing into the early hours of the morning. Perfect for fans of The Silent Patient, Shari Lapena and JP Delaney.

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I have read a psychological thriller as good as ‘The Nurse’. I found the story very original and was gripped from the very first page, it really was difficult to put it down.

Rose is the main character and I think any reader would struggle to dislike her, despite her confessing to a murder. From the beginning something didn’t ring true about her crime and you know right away that there is more to the story than it would first appear. She shares her story with Theo, an author who wants to write her story and Rose opens up to him as the book progresses, sharing extremely relevant information about her past. The story unfolds through their meetings and Theo’s subsequent research and interviews with members of Rose’s family and old acquaintances. I found myself racing through the pages and unable to stop at the end of a chapter as I needed to find out what happened next. Then just as I thought I had worked it all out another twist was thrown in which completely shattered my assumptions.

Throughout the book there were so many characters I couldn’t quite work out and just as I felt I had they would morph into something else in entirely and once more completely throw me off working out what was happening.

‘The Nurse’ is one of those books that you can’t stop thinking about long after you have closed the last page. It is compelling, full of twists and an absolute must read.

About the Author

Julie-Ann Corrigan was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. She studied in London, completing a BA (Hons) Humanities degree, majoring in Modern History and English Literature. Travelling in Europe for several years, she taught in both Greece and Spain – countries and cultures she found fascinating. On return to the UK she gained a BSc (Physiotherapy), becoming a Chartered Physiotherapist. She lives in Berkshire with her family.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliannwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacorrigan

Website: http://jacorrigan.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juleshayes6/

Buy your copy now…

#Blogtour Setsuko and the Song of the Sea by Fiona Barker and Howard Gray

The Blurb

Setsuko loves the sea. She swims its shallows. She dives its depths. But she worries that her friends have chosen to abandon her way of life. Then she meets a whale who also fears he is the last of his kind. In return for giving him hope, he gifts her a song which she uses to remind people of the beauty of the ocean. Setsuko took the song and made it her own. They played together from the first crisp light of morning until the setting of the evening sun. Everyone who heard Setsuko’s song was filled with the wonder of the sea. They remembered the beauty and mystery of the ocean. A story of an unlikely friendship, Setsuko and her friend the whale have one thing in common ― their love of the sea. Much like the revered ama-san, ― women who have been diving off the coast of the Shima peninsula in Japan for over 2,000 years ― Setsuko is a strong girl who is on the path to becoming one of these real-life mermaids.

10% of the net profits from each book will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity working for seas full of life. Visit www.mcs.org.uk to find out more.

My Thoughts

‘Setsuko and the Song of the Sea’, is a stunning story told at a time when looking after our oceans is a prominent topic of discussion among children. As I read the story for the first time I found the message of friendship extremely emotive and did not fully appreciate the other message that was being shared through the illustrations. The illustrations themselves tell their own powerful story and time and care needs to be taken to discuss these as you read the book with children.

This is most definitely a book that children will love for the story itself, but it is also a story that will be loved by teachers all over the world as a way to open up discussions about the environmental impact humans have on the oceans.

A beautiful book with an important message!

Buy your copy now…

#BlogTour – Sir Lambalot by Jude Lennon. Illustrated by Holly Bushnell

The Blurb

Queen Floss is determined to rid the land of dragons, giants and trolls, so she turns to Sir Lambalot and his trusty steed Ned to help. But when the brave knight meets these fearful creatures, he discovers they aren’t quite so scary after all. Written in rhyme and full of fun, this story has an important message about kindness, tolerance and acceptance.

My Thoughts

Sir Lambalot is a lovely little rhyming story that my two year old daughter really enjoyed. I particularly liked that the giant was a girl, this isn’t something I have encountered in a picture book before as giants are stereotypically male so it was a lovely change and a great way to challenge gender stereotypes. The troll was one of my favourite illustrations, her rainbow hair is amazing and will most certainly be loved by all children who read this book.

Although I felt that the rhyming was a little forced in parts, the story works well and the moral of the story is clear – don’t judge a book by its cover! Certainly a lovely little book that could be well used in classrooms to teach children not to make snap judgements of others and to be kind to one another.

Buy your copy now…

About the Author

I used to be a teacher who loved writing, now I’m an author who loves storytelling.”

Jude Lennon is a former Early Years teacher who now works as a Storyteller under the name Little Lamb Tales. She tells stories at Primary schools, community events, festivals and libraries. Jude is also a children’s author and is the current Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West of England.  As an official Patron of Reading, Jude works with schools to spread the message about reading and writing for pleasure.

Jude published her first book, The Dragon of Allerton Oak in 2015. Set in her local park (Calderstones) it features the real Allerton Oak which has stood there for 1000 years. Since then, Jude has gone on to publish eighteen further books. 

Her books cover topics as diverse as Mindfulness for children, phonics, dragons, pirates, astronauts and books set in other countries (including two bilingual English/Spanish ones).

Jude has written two books for the Bobby Colleran Trust to support their Slow Down For Bobby road safety campaign. As part of the campaign, Jude visits Primary schools across Merseyside delivering funded assemblies to highlight the importance of Road Safety. To date she has read the books to over 150,000 children across the area.

Jude is currently working with Will Hawkes (Hal’s Books) a young man with autism. Together they have written two books featuring an autistic main character. 

In October 2019, Jude launched her first book for adults – a collection of short stories called ‘A Slice of Lennon’. It was well received and she’s now working on a full length novel. Her most recent children’s book ‘That’s Our Home!’ launched in March 2020 and is all about keeping our beaches clean for future generations. Her forthcoming children’s book ‘Sir Lambalot’ is due out on April 23rd.

A proud member of Team  Author UK, Jude provides a range of courses and writing retreats including – 

  • 6 Week Creative Writing Course (online at the moment)
  • Pick Up Your Pen membership club
  • Preparing for an author visit
  • Workshops at the Wrexham Carnival of Words Festival and their Writing group
  • Weekend writing retreats (not at the moment)

For more information about her books, author visits, creative writing courses and storytelling please visit www.littlelambpublishing.co.uk  

Contact Jude Lennon

www.twitter.com/Littlelambtales

http://www.twitter.com/judelennonbooks

www.facebook.com/JudeLennonAuthor

www.facebook.com/littlelambtales/

https://www.instagram.com/JudeLennonBooks/

#BookBlitz Setsuko and the Song of the Sea by Fiona Barker and Howard Gray

I am very excited to be taking part in the Book Blitz for Setsuko and the Song of the Sea which is published today!

The Blurb

Setsuko loves the sea. She swims its shallows. She dives its depths. But she worries that her friends have chosen to abandon her way of life. Then she meets a whale who also fears he is the last of his kind. In return for giving him hope, he gifts her a song which she uses to remind people of the beauty of the ocean. Setsuko took the song and made it her own. They played together from the first crisp light of morning until the setting of the evening sun. Everyone who heard Setsuko’s song was filled with the wonder of the sea. They remembered the beauty and mystery of the ocean. A story of an unlikely friendship, Setsuko and her friend the whale have one thing in common ― their love of the sea. Much like the revered ama-san, ― women who have been diving off the coast of the Shima peninsula in Japan for over 2,000 years ― Setsuko is a strong girl who is on the path to becoming one of these real-life mermaids.

10% of the net profits from each book will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity working for seas full of life. Visit www.mcs.org.uk to find out more.

Buy your copy now…

#BlogTour Guardians of the Planet: How to be an Eco-Hero by Clive Gifford and Jonathan Woodward

The Blurb

This environmentally positive book contains everything children need to become guardians of the planet. Kids can learn how to become keepers of the coasts, friends of the forests, home heroes and much more through a mix of compelling facts, creative activities and proactive tips.

Key environmental topics are clearly explained, and the easy-to-follow projects and suggestions help to put the issues in an everyday context. From reusing clothes and composting food to reducing water waste and giving wildlife a helping hand, this book will encourage children to engage with environmental problems and inspire them to take care of our wonderful planet.

The book includes an introduction by ClientEarth, an organization that uses environmental law to protect oceans, forests and other habitats, as well as all people, and a foreword by Brian Eno.

Printed using waterless ink on FSC paper.

My Thoughts

I love this book! As a self-confessed eco-warrior myself I am always looking for ways to make simple changes to my lifestyle to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly and although this is a book aimed at children, I myself learned lots from it.

Each chapter in the book looks at a different aspect of the environment starting with the home. In each section there are lots of interesting facts and so many great ideas for activities and challenges that children could easily undertake. As a teacher, my initial thought was that each chapter could form the basis of a short topic within the classroom where children could explore the information further, carry out their own research and then some of the suggested activities. Sustainability is such a prominent part of our curriculum in Scotland and for this reason I have already ordered copies of this book for our classrooms.

In addition, not only is this an extremely informative book it is also eye-catching and easy to navigate making it perfect for children. It is most definitely a book that all children should have.

Author Bio

Clive Gifford is an award-winning author of over 140 books for children and adults. These include Out Of This World (Buster Books) which was shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and Cool Technology (Scholastic) which won the School Library Association Information Book Award 2013. Clive’s titles range from the serious (Robots, The Kingfisher Geography Encyclopedia, Planet Under Pressure: Pollution and Wow! Science) and sporty (with books on the Olympics, football, basketball and skateboarding) to the downright silly (Joy’s Annoying Toys, The Huge Rude Duke and The Curse of the Toxic Trousers).

Clive has travelled through 70 countries, run a computer games company and taken part in all manner of sports from parachuting and gliding to Ultimate Frisbee. His books have been shortlisted for the TES Information Book of the Year, the Blue Peter Prize and the British Book Awards as well as winning Smithsonian, Children’s Choice, NAPPA and PBS awards. Sir Ranulph Fiennes called his latest book on Explorers, “An inspiration to all adventurers.” whilst The Guardian declared that his Kingfisher Book Of Football, “was worth a season’s training” and the Manchester Evening News labelled it, “The classiest football book around.”

Clive’s official website can be found at www.clivegifford.co.uk

Buy your copy now…

#BookReview – Monster Doughnuts by Gianna Pollero. Illustrated by Sarah Horne.

The Blurb

Ten-year-old Grace likes doughnuts and cakes as much as the next kid – but they are also her secret weapon. Grace is a monster hunter who owns a bakery – and everyone knows how much monsters LOVE any kind of sweet treat! Just don’t tell them about the secret exploding baking powder inside the doughnuts and the cookies … 

When Grace’s Monster Scanning Machine alerts her to the doughnut-loving, people-eating, board-game-playing cyclops Mr Harris, she realises she’s about to face her biggest challenge yet …

My Thoughts

Monster Doughnuts has all of the right ingredients to make for a great children’s book series. Filled with humour, mystery and great illustrations throughout, I’m not sure what more you could ask for.

The story itself is easy to follow and contains super descriptions that will aid children’s visualisation skills and allow them to picture all of the great scenes that unfold in this brilliant story. Every chapter is short which, in my opinion, is something that is very appealing to children and is also great if you are using this as a class novel as you can pick it up and read a chapter when you have a couple of minutes to spare.

I particularly like that the main character and monster hunter is a girl who demonstrates real courage when tasked with defeating the biggest and scariest of monsters. The monster glossary at the end is extremely useful, I just wish I had noticed this before I started reading but then again it allowed for my imagination to run wild and configure my own monster roles.

Monster Doughnuts is a book I will ensure is firmly installed in my classroom library for children to love! A great start to a new series!

Buy your copy now…

#BookReview – Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman

The Blurb

Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage to Tamara, a first chance at fatherhood to her son Elijah, and a quiet but pleasant life as an art teacher at Elijah’s elementary school in Danvers, Virginia. Then the body of a rabbit, ritualistically murdered, appears on the school grounds with a birthday card for Richard tucked beneath it. Richard doesn’t have a birthday—but Sean does . . .

Sean is a five-year-old boy who has just moved to Greenfield, Virginia, with his mother. Like most mothers of the 1980s, she’s worried about bills, childcare, putting food on the table . . . and an encroaching threat to American life that can take the face of anyone: a politician, a friendly neighbor, or even a teacher. When Sean’s school sends a letter to the parents revealing that Sean’s favorite teacher is under investigation, a white lie from Sean lights a fire that engulfs the entire nation—and Sean and his mother are left holding the match.

Now, thirty years later, someone is here to remind Richard that they remember what Sean did. And though Sean doesn’t exist anymore, someone needs to pay the price for his lies.

My Thoughts

My first Clay Chapman book but it has left me excited to read more of his work! From the cover of the book I wasn’t quite sure what I was letting myself in for. To be honest, if I had passed the book in a shop or in the library I would have kept on walking and wouldn’t have given it a second glance but then I would have seriously missed out! However, after seeing the book on Twitter a few times, I did my research and was compelled to give it a go.

The book tells the story of both ‘Sean’ and ‘Richard’ who are, as you work out very early on in the book, one of the same. At the beginning of each chapter you are told who is telling the story which I really liked as it saved any confusion and made it a straight forward read. However, eventually their stories become so intertwined that ‘Sean’ begins to make more and more of an appearance in Richard’s story.

Whisper Down the Lane is inspired by the Satanic Panic of the 80’s which is not something I was familiar with prior to reading this book but is absolutely something I want to read about and understand further. The story is so gripping and twisted that I couldn’t work out what was going to happen next and so I found myself unable to put the book down. I was particularly enthralled by the interview excerpts that are included and couldn’t believe the way this little boy was being questioned in such a goading and leading manner, it was jaw-dropping.

Clay Chapman’s, ‘Whisper Down the Lane’ is full of suspense. It’s gripping and captivating and a book you won’t be able to put down or forget in a hurry! I would most certainly recommend it!

Buy your copy now…

#BookReview – The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

The Blurb

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

My Thoughts

The Sanatorium is most definitely a page turner! I devoured this book in a couple of days, it was really difficult to put it down! The story itself is very intriguing and most certainly keeps you guessing. I kept thinking that I had it all worked out only for something else to happen, throwing my whole theory out the window.

I didn’t particularly warm to any of the characters however for this book I felt it was a good thing as it made me even more suspicious which simply added to the suspense and my enjoyment. I did grow increasingly frustrated with Elin who kept putting herself in compromising positions despite this being the reason for her career break – will she ever learn? Will was a notably intriguing character, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a devious side to him. I found him quite controlling and opinionated and I struggled to understand or relate to why Elin was so eager to please him. There are no spoilers here so I can’t tell you whether I was right in my feelings towards him, you will have to read the book to find out.

I have to be honest and say that I didn’t love the ending with regards to the reason for the crimes. It does end on a cliffhanger which I don’t mind and I will most definitely be waiting patiently for the next instalment.

Overall, The Sanatorium is a very compelling read and I would recommend it to anyone who is a lover of thrillers and mysteries.

Buy your copy now…

#Audiobook Flamingo Fashion by Samantha Hunter

The Blurb

Freddie and Fifi are two fashionista flamingos who decide to open a fashion boutique and style other animals on the African savanna in fluffy pink feathers. The outfits they create have silly results and calamitous outcomes, teaching the valuable lesson that we are perfect, just the way we are!

“A caper of a story that encourages creative self-expression and promotes the invaluable message that we are perfect exactly as we are.”

Available on Kindle and Audible, the audio version is narrated by actor Michael Maloney.

My Thoughts

This is the first audiobook I have reviewed and the first I have listened to that is aimed at young children, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Flamingo Fashion is a lovely rhyming story with such a beautiful message. The story itself is aimed at 3-6 year olds and, although I would imagine the book would appeal to 3 year olds, I did feel that the audiobook itself would be more suitable for the older of this age group.

As I was listening to the story my mind was racing with ideas of how this could be used in the classroom. It certainly opens up lots of opportunities for visualisation tasks as the descriptions are very vivid. A great story to have in any teacher’s toolkit!

Flamingo Fashion is a very enjoyable story that children are sure to love!

About the Author

Sam Hunter is a full-time mum, podcast host and entrepreneur. She started writing after the birth of her son in 2017 and self-published her first book – Flamingo Fashion – at the end of 2020. 

Sam wrote creatively as a young girl on her weekends and during visits to her mum’s office in the summer holidays. All of her writing was about animals and it is no wonder that her first book is a children’s story set in an animal’s world! 

Her first book, a middle grade novel called Freddie’s Fantastic Adventures, was inspired by a children’s t-shirt with a flamingo on the front and while out walking a few years later, the idea for Flamingo Fashion popped into her head! 

Sam is passionate about developing both children’s and adult’s creativity and her writing is designed to inspire imaginations in a fun and playful way. Proceeds from the book are going to the LitWorld charity, who work to develop children’s creative confidence and literacy skills, through the power of storytelling.

Sam lives with her son, daughter and husband in Hertfordshire, England. 

Proceeds from book sales all going to the LitWorld Charity: http://www.litworld.org/virtualreadalouds#author

Flamingo Fashion is available in ebook and audiobook now.