An Echo Of Scandal By Laura Madeleine Blog Tour

I received An Echo of Scandal by Laura Madeleine, a historical fiction full of mystery. Slipping between eras, piece by piece the story unfolds as you lose yourself to its pages.

An Echo of Scandal

An Echo of Scandal

In the dead of night, with blood on her hands, she made her escape.

Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.

Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.

Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.

Laura Madeleine

After a childhood spent acting professionally an training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge.

Laura Madeleine

She now writes fiction as well as recipes, an was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom.

My Thoughts

I felt fully absorbed in Sam’s life in Tangier mixed with it’s mysterious past and characters within it. You find yourself so wrapped up in the story as Sam digs deeper and more is revealed about Ale’s past. Laura Madeleine writes beautifully, I really didn’t want to stop reading with this book. I will definitely be adding Medeleine to my list of favourite authors and seeking out her other novels. I thoroughly enjoyed An Echo of Scandal, historical fiction fans will fall in love with this beautifully written novel.

Skull Scarf – Free Crochet Pattern

I’ve altered a Skull Scarf free crochet pattern that I found by Nadelwork on Ravelry. The original narrow skull scarf pattern is beautiful, however, it wasn’t eating enough yarn.

Skull Scarf - Free Pattern 
Purple to grey crocheted skull scarf. Each side has 3 skulls broken up with blocks of double croche

I have a beautiful purple to grey Ice yarn, my lovely friend, Sarah bought me last year that I wanted to use up fully. I decided to make some simple alterations which make it more of yarn eating scarf.

Skull Scarf Free Crochet Pattern

This pattern is lovely and simple, mostly using chains, single crochet (SC) and double crochet (DC) stitches. The scarf is worked in two halves and sewn together at the end.

Skull Scarf - Free Pattern

I chose 3 skulls at the bottom of each half as these will be on display when worn, with a simple block of DC between them to break the pattern up but you can decide how many you would prefer to add.

(Make 2)

Chain 46

Row 1: Chain 2, DC in 3rd chain from hook, DC to the end of the row.

Row 2 – 10: Turn, Chain 2, DC to the end of the row.

(From the original pattern)

Row 11: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 9, skip one space, 4 DC in the next space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, Chain 2, DC.

Row 12: Chain 2, 3DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 4 SC around the chain, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in space, Chain 2, 4 DC in space.

Row 13: Chain 4, 4 DC in space, chain 2, 4 DC in space, chain 6. (worked on the 4 SC from the previous row to make the teeth) 1 DC, chain 1, 1 DC, chain 1, 1 DC, chain 1, 1 DC, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 14: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 8, 11 SC in the skull. (2 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 1 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 1 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 1 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 2 around the chain) Chain 8, 4 DC in the space, Chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 15: Chain 4, 4 DC in space, chain 10, 4 SC (On the last 4 SC of the 11 SC from previous row), chain 5 (This will be the nose). Skip 3 stitches, 4 SC (On the first 4 SC from the 11 SC from the previous row). Turn now Chain 10, 1 SC around the chain 5, chain 10 and slip stitch in the very first SC of this row. (You just made the arches of the eyes!) Turn again, 10 SC around each arch (20 in total), slip stitch into the 8th SC in this row. Chain 10, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 16: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 10, 16 slip stitches on the eyes of the skull. (Count 8 from the middle to balance your stitches). Chain 8, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 17: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6 12 SC on skull (again count 6 from the middle), chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 18: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 8 SC on on the skull, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 19: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 6 SC on the skull, chain 6, 4DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 20: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 21: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Rows 22-32: Turn, Chain 2, DC to the end of the row.

Repeat Rows 11- 32 for a second skull and continue this repeat until you have the amount of skulls you are happy with. (I chose 3 each side).

I then continued with 46 rows of DC to use up my ICE yarn, leaving just enough to sew the two halves together. Add as many rows as you feel is necessary for the correct length.

This is a really fun pattern and the added rows of DC help speed it along and eat more yarn. With autumn just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to crochet a beautiful skull scarf.

This pattern is free to use, you may sell finished items but please do credit myself and Nadelwork (on Ravelry) and do not sell the pattern on.

If you’ve used the pattern feel free to tag me in your photo’s.

Dynamic Entry By Fiona Morgan

I bought Dynamic Entry by Fiona Morgan when it was published last month. Fiona writes thriller romance novels and I was excited to read Dynamic Entry having enjoyed What’s Mine and Free.

Dynamic Entry by Fiona Morgan

Dynamic Entry

Sophie Peterson is a fiercely independent undercover policewoman who refuses to let any man stand in her way. Love is not in her vocabulary. Her fiercely guarded heart… and her life, is threatened by a chance meeting while on a date with her target, the head of an extensive criminal enterprise.

Now, split between her undercover job in the dangerous would of protection rackets, drugs, and guns, and her blossoming love life, Sophie is forced to choose between bringing down the gang, or saving the man she loves.

Can she bring the criminal cartel down once and for all?

Will he forgive her for her lies?

Or was she right all along with keeping her heat hiden?

Dynamic Entry is a thriller romance novel based in Glasgow and deals with love, deception and revenge.

My Thoughts

Once again Fiona Morgan has written a fantastic romance thriller novel that will have you hooked from the start. Sophie Peterson’s job pushes her into a tricky situation, just as she finally meets a man she likes, forcing her to go back undercover.

Due to Sophies own past, lying to her new boyfriend about her surname and job has her really torn. To make matters worse, the criminal she thought she’d had locked up is determined to make her his. Can she finally free herself of her past, allow herself to love and take down this nasty criminal once and for all?

Fiona has an amazing talent when it comes to showing the depth of emotion and mental struggles of her characters, making it hard to tear yourself away from her books and Dynamic Entry is certainly no exception!

Thriller Romance Novels By Fiona Morgan

I honestly couldn’t recommend Dynamic Entry, What’s Mine and Free more. They are all fantastic reads and I’ll be harassing Fiona for updates on her fourth book!

Fiona Morgan - Author of Dynamic Entry, Free and What's Mine

Fiona Morgan

Fiona started writing as a way to fight depression. She enjoys writing about strong female characters who find their inner strength. In her day job she works as a British Sign Language Facilitator and a Deaf blind Communicator, having learned BSL after the birth of her second daughter. She lives in Airdrie, a small town near Glasgow, Scotland, with her husband and two daughters. Her ambition is to be a full-time author, writing and attending writing festivals and book signings.

Do you enjoy thriller romance novels?

A River Of Bodies By Kevin Doyle

I received A River of Bodies by Kevin Doyle, the second book in his Solidarity Books Trilogy, to review. I also received his first book To Keep a Bird Singing.

The Gripping Sequel To Keep A Bird Singing

A River Of Bodies

Noelle Sullivan, disaffected ex-punk and grassroots activist, has every reason to be afraid. His investigation into Danesfort Industrial School and the boys who went missing from it is attracting attention. Special Branch want him to disappear and he’s made enemies of the powerful Walsh and Donnelly families.

A River of Bodies

But Noelie is determined to get to the truth. He walk away. At least that’s what he tells himself until his friends and family start paying the price.

My Thoughts

Noelie’s investigation continues into the dark world of the Donnelly family. The clock is ticking with Albery Donnelly onto Noelie and his friends. This really is a fantastic political thriller, written in such a way that you won’t be able to stop yourself reading it in one sitting. Noelie is so determined to uncover all the dirty secrets regarding the Donnelly family and their associations with the Catholic church and the security forces.

I’m looking forward to the third book of the trilogy being published and finding out how Noelie and his friends manage to uncover!

To Keep A Bird Singing

To Keep A Bird Singing

When Noelie Sullivan finds his stolen punk records for sale in a charity shop in Cork it seems like a lucky break. But Noelie has just made himself and those closest to him a target.

Hidden among the records is a statement alleging that missing man, Jim Dalton, was murdered by the security services twenty years ago to protect a high-ranking informer in the IRA.

In spite of himself, Noelie gets drawn into the story of Dalton’s disappearance and uncovers a link between the missing man and a powerful family of brothers, who have ties to a former industrial school.

Noelie’s every move takes him deeper into danger. What price will he pay for the truth?

My Thoughts

Right from the start you feel compelled to keep reading and discover more about Albert Donnelly, his family and the detailed statement Noelie finds in his stolen records. Noelie’s sheer determination to uncover the truth pushes him and his friends into danger in this political, you can’t help but want to dig deeper with him. A brilliant start to the Solidarity Books Trilogy.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle is from Cork and works as a writer and creative writing teacher. He has been published in many literary journals, including Stinging Fly, The Cork Review, Southwords and the Cúirt Journal. He is the winner of a string of awards, including the Tipperary Short Story Award (1998) – first; Over The Edge New Writer Of The Year – Shortlist; Hennessy Literary Awards (2011) – Shortlist; Seán Ó Faoláin Prize (2013) – Runner up; Michael McLaverty Short Story Award (2016) – Winner. In 2018 he published his first novel.

The Secrets We Kept By Lara Prescott Blog Tour

I received The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott to review, a historical fiction around the banned masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago.

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

The Secrets We Kept

1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation.

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any mean necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But the cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Lara Prescott

Lara Prescott -Author

Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivago and first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Centre for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.

My Thoughts

Lara Prescott has certainly written an amazingly compelling read. With a mix of historical fact and fiction surrounding Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, it’s a real page turner!

Told through the eyes of two female spies taken from the typing pools of the CIA to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR during the height of the cold war, The Secrets We Kept is a cleverly written novel, showing the level of research Lara Prescott must have put in to complete it.

With the literary love story between Boris Pasternak and Olga, his mistress and muse and the base of Zhivago’s heroine, Lara, interweaved throughout, The Secrets We Kept keeps you wanting to read on and know more.

The censorship of literature always intrigues me and it’s interesting to see the lengths those in power will go to, to ensure writers and those helping them are persecuted. With 2020 marking the 60th anniversary of Pasternak’s death, Lara Prescott’s novel will certainly help his legacy and the importance of Doctor Zhivago lives on.

The Lost Fairy Tales – Fearless Girls Around The World

Eva received The Lost Fairy Tales – Fearless Girls Around The World to review from Little Tiger. Written by Isabel Otter and illustrated beautifully by Ana Senderthroughout, this book is perfect for ages 7 to 11 years.

The Lost Fairy Tales - Fearless Girls Around The World

The Lost Fairy Tales

An enchanting anthology of 20 overlooked and forgotten fairy tales has been collected from different cultures around the world to create this book. Every story features a female heroine, who approaches life with humour, wit, cunning and bravery. None of these heroines need rescuing!

Story Map

Ana Sender’s magical illustrations bring these tales to life, and a handy map shows the origin of the stories from around the world. The Lost Fairy Tales is the perfect gift to inspire and uplift young readers.

Isabel Otter

Isabel is a children’s book editor and writer. She grew up in rural Herefordshire and spent much of her childhood in trees. Isabel loves weaving stories and writing about the world around her. She currently lives in London.

Ana Sender

Ana was born in Terrassa (Barcelona). As a child, she loved to draw, write and imagine all sorts of stories. She studied painting and illustrations in Massana art school in Barcelona. Her work has appeared in newspapers, books and also fashion (as a pattern designer for the Spanish brand La Casita de Wendy). Ana has written and illustrated children’s books The Orchid Hunter and The Cottingley Fairies, her last book Onironiro is a picture book about the adventures or situations she lives in her dreams. She likes werewolves, surrealism and swampy places.

Our Thoughts

We love The Lost Fairy Tales, each story really is unique in showing how women, all around the world are heroines too. The majority of fairy tales often portray prim princesses as damsels in distress but not in this book.

Goddess of the sun

Eva’s favourite story was Goddess of the Sun, set in Mexico. She likes how the message behind the story is that men aren’t always the strongest or bravest and that girls can be the heroine of the story.

Goddess Of The Sun Image

The beautiful illustrations throughout the book help the stories come alive. Fairy tales are often retold of written by men, about men. It’s lovely to discover so many fairy tales where that is simply not the case. I absolutely love this book and so does Eva, the stories really show that girls can be just as brave, strong and clever as men and can save the day too.

Do you enjoy books with strong female characters too?

Cherry Nova By Kelly-Marie Pollock

I received Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollock to review in pdf format. Cherry Nova is a gothic romance and occult horror set in Victorian London.

Cherry Nova Frontcover

*Contains adult themes including Sex, Drug Use, Profanity and Violence*

Cherry Nova

Set in Victorian London, Cherry Nova follows the story of Nova, a young woman, who awakens in a downtrodden hotel room with no recollection of who she is and how she got there. With her life seemingly erased, she sets out on a journey of selfdiscovery, fuelled by an overbearing blood lust that leads her down an unknown path.

She soon realises though, that not all lovers love you, not all enemies are evil and that you can’t always trust the person staring back at you in the mirror. Magic, Mythology, Secrets and Lies all intertwine themselves around her newly carved out existence, but you can’t run from the past no matter how hard you try. Your sin will always boomerang back to you. Monsters are real, afterall, she should know – She’s one of them.

Back cover and blurb of Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollock

My Thoughts

Cherry Nova is fantastic from start to finish! I often struggle to stay focused when reading PDF’s however once I finally found the time, I found I couldn’t put my phone back down. I love a vampire novel set in the Victorian era and the detail throughout really gives you that grimy Victorian London feel. Each character’s personality really shines through as the story develops making you feel like you really get to know them.

I used to read a lot of vampire novels as a teen but this honestly tops them all! There are so many different things going on for Nova as she slowly regains her memories and figures out who and what she is.

I was relieved to see Cherry Nova is the first book in The Chronicles of Nova Morgan, I’ll be keeping my eye out for the rest of them as they are published.

Kelly-Marie Pollock

Kelly is a 33-year-old, married mum of 4 plus 3 adult step-children. She has an intense love of the Victorian era, Vampires and is waiting for a Zombie uprising. Kelly’s passion is writing. She is also a mental health advocate and BiPolar warrior. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys long nature walks with her husband and their children. Kelly can not get through the day without her morning cup of tea. She uses excessive amounts of sarcasm and profanity in most sentences and she’s not even sorry. (Why would you be!? haha!)

Star In Your Own Story Personalised Books

Izzy received Star In Your Own Story personalised books from Little Tiger to review this month. Every child loves to be the star in the story and they can with these 4 new fun titles. These fun books let you add multiple names too!

Izzy Personalising 'Saves the day'

Star In Your Own Story

Star in your own story: Saves the day

Saves The Day

Written by Georgiana Deutsch and illustrated by Vicki Gausden, Saves the day is perfect for superhero fans! This book comes with a sheet of stickers for children to add their name to the book. Great for children aged 3 to 6 years.

Star in your own story: Drives a digger

Drives A Digger

Written by Danielle McLean and illustrated by Kathryn Selbert, this book is perfect for little ones who love things that go! This book comes with a sheet of stickers to add their name to the book too. Aimed at children aged 3 to 6 years.

Star In Your Own Story: The Firefighter

The Firefighter

Written by Danielle McLean and illustrated by Sebastien Braun, this book is perfect for firefighter fans everywhere. Simply pull out the slot-in card, write your child’s name on both sides and slot it back in. You can add up to 3 names too. Perfect for children aged 1 to 3 years.

Star In your own story: The Ballerina

The Ballerina

Written by Danielle Mclean and Sebastien Braun, this book will have all little ballerinas twirling in delight. As with The Firefighter, pull out the slot-in card, write your child’s name and slot it back in to enjoy the story. Perfect for little ones aged 1 to 3 years.

Izzy’s Thoughts

As all children do, Izzy loved the idea of starring in her own stories and couldn’t wait to personalise them and get reading! She found she was able to read The Firefighter and The Ballerina mostly by herself making it perfect for younger readers with a short attention span aswell as those beginning to read alone.

Izzy loved adding the stickers to Saves the day and Drives a digger, even more so because she could add emojis! She loves all 4 books and has taken them to bed every night since we got them which says a lot.

Does your child enjoy personalised stories too?

New Angry Birds Toys Review

We were sent new Angry Birds toys from Jazwares to play with this week after the release of the Angry Birds 2 movie!

New Angry Birds Toys from Jazwares

New Angry Birds Toys

The new Angry Birds toy line includes Splat Balls, Catablind collectable figures, plushes, a figure pack, a game pack, and a Pic City build N’ Launch playset.

Angry Birds Feature Plush

Angry Birds Feature Plush - Red

We received a lovely Angry Birds Feature Plush (Red) which is made with soft Velboa fabric and polyester fill. Press Red’s wing to hear five different angry grunting sounds! Each plush is made with authentic details, Red’s include his bushy eyebrows and fun hair. This 9inch plush toy is a great gift for fans of all ages.

Angry Birds Splat Balls

Angry Birds Splat Ball - Red

Angry Birds Splat Balls are available in Red, the angriest bird; Bomg, the most explosive bird; Chuck, the speediest bird, and Piggy, the most mischievous of them all! These fun, interactive birds are made with colourful, game-authentic details. Suitable for ages 6 and up, these come with a card to scan for an exclusive game on the Angry Birds App. We recommend trimming your nails when using these as we accidentally split ours!

Angry Birds Mission Pack

Angry Birds Mission Pack

With Red, Bomb, Chuck, Blue Bird, and King Leonard you can relive your favourite Angry Birds triumphs. Pressing their buttons will get them all riled up. These fun and interactive birds are made with colourful, game-authentic details and high-quality material. These 3inch figures are a great gift for fans aged 6 and up. These also come with a card to scan for an exclusive game on the Angry Birds app.

We think these toys are really cool and Eva loves angry birds! You can find this range of toys at Smyths, Argos, Entertainer, Amazon, Gamestop, Tesco and all good retailers.

Do you love Angry Birds too? Which of these new toys do you like best?

Blanket Fort Building Challenge

We received a Blanket fort building challenge from Time4Sleep who are aiming to build the world’s biggest blanket fort! We received an essential fort building kit to join in the fun and build our own forts at home.

Blanket Fort

A better world starts with a blanket fort.

Blanket Fort Building

We love building blanket forts, it’s one of our go-to ideas when the weather is miserable so we couldn’t wait to get started! In the end, we actually made several forts, each slightly different from the last.

Fort Building Challenge Kit

With the summer being so up and down we have spent a good week building different forts with our kit from Time4Sleep. We received Fairy lights, bunting, wooden pegs, a torch, popcorn boxes, popcorn, bed sheets, a chalk board sign, an iPad stand and blanket fort book.

Popcorn and blanket forts

The girls absolutely love snuggling up with the lights on, watching a DVD or their tablets cosily in their forts. I filled their popcorn boxes up with a mix of popcorn and sweets and they have spent hours together enjoying films or books and redecorating their forts, making sure their ‘Girls only’ sign is on display at the entrance!

Benefits Of Blanket Forts

Building blanket forts is so much more than just fun for kids. Blanket fort building enhances children’s cognitive skills such as problem-solving and planning. Social skills such as cooperating and negotiating are needed and the building itself builds practical skills too.

Building Forts for fun

Children are free to let their imaginations run wild as they decide on their building plans and how to decorate inside. Once built, blanket forts create a cosy safe space to relax or play in. With lots of miserable days this summer, blanket forts have kept the girls amused quite a lot.

Another benefit is silence! The girls love their blanket forts so much they often disappear for an hour or so at a time. Izzy especially loves being able to snuggle up in a blanket fort for hours on end and is silent the entire time.

Do your kids love building forts too?