Magnificent Women And Their Revolutionary Machines

I received Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines by Henrietta Heald to review. The lost story of Britain’s, trailblazing, boundary-breaking women engineers starting in the 1800’s. Published in time to mark the centenary of the Women’s Engineering society, this really is a must read!

Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines

Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines

In 1919, in the wake of the First World War, a group of extraordinary women came together to create the Women s Engineering Society. They were trailblazers, pioneers and boundary breakers, but many of their stories have been lost to history. To mark the centenary of the society’s creation, Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines brings them back to life.

Their leaders were Katharine and Rachel Parsons, wife and daughter of the engineering genius Charles Parsons, and Caroline Haslett, a self-taught electrical engineer who campaigned to free women from domestic drudgery and became the most powerful professional woman of her age. Also featured are Eleanor Shelley-Rolls, sister of car magnate Charles Rolls; Viscountess Rhondda, a director of thirty-three companies who founded and edited the revolutionary Time and Tide magazine; and Laura Willson, a suffragette and labour rights activist from Halifax, who was twice imprisoned for her political activities.

This is not just the story of the women themselves, but also the era in which they lived. Beginning at the moment when women in Britain were allowed to vote for the first time, and to stand for Parliament and when several professions were opened up to them Magnificent Women charts the changing attitudes towards women in society and in the workplace.

Henrietta Heald Author Photo

Henrietta Heald

Henrietta is the author of William Armstrong: Magician of the North, which was shortlisted for the H, W. Fisher Best First Biography Prize and the Portico Prize for non-fiction. She was chief editor of Chronicle of Britain and Ireland and Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Britain’s Coast. Her other books include Coastal Living, La Vie est Belle, and a National Trust guide to Cragside, Northumberland.

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines, it truly is an eye-opener! Henrietta Heald gives a fantastic account of the achievements from these magnificent women from the Women’s Engineering Society, alongside the social pressures they faced. The collection of photographs throughout the book really help you picture these women as you read about their extraordinary lives.

Do you know much about the Women’s Engineering Society and it’s members?

Little Explorers: Goodnight Ocean – Children’s Book Review

Izzy received Little Explorers: Goodnight Ocean to review from Little Tiger. Written by Becky Davies and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña. This board book with layered die-cuts are perfect for ages 1 to 6 years. Your little one will enjoy watching sea creatures take a rest as they drift off to sleep themselves.

Little Explorers: Goodnight Oean

Little Explorers: Goodnight Ocean

Dive into the depths of the ocean and say goodnight to the sea creatures take their rest as they swim over carpets of coral to the deepest depths of the ocean.

Goodnight Ocean

The intricate peep-through scenes and facts on every page will engage children as they discover different habitats under the sea. The gentle rhyming text will slowly lull your little one to sleep making this beautiful book perfect for bedtime.

Becky Davies blends the lyrical and the factual to make learning fun. With additional facts on every page and a twinkling, foiled final spread, little explorers will love this book. Beautifully illustrated by the popular Carmen Saldaña, illustrator of the award shortlisted The only way is Badger, little ones will immersed into the depths of the ocean.

Final spread of Goodnight Ocean

Carmen Saldaña

Carmen lives in Gijon, a rainy city in the north of spain. After studying Arts, she worked as a graphic designer in advertising agencies before becoming a freelance illustrator focusing on children’s books, the field she enjoys the most. Carmen Loves furry animals, birds, bugs and everything related to nature, her main source of inspiration.

Becky Davies

Becky is a children’s book editor and sometimes author from the South West of England. Her favourite things are animals, books about magic, and anything sparkly. In a parallel universe she lives in Hawaii, where she works in a dog sanctuary and surfs until the sun sets beyond the horizon.

Do you know a little one who would love exploring the Ocean at night too?

Plusnet Modern Day Fairy Tales – Rapunzel Rewritten

Plusnet have teamed up with Larry Lamb to re-imagine a trilogy of classic fairy tales for the digital generation. Recent research suggests infrequent readers are on the rise between 6-16 years. Giving these classic’s a modern day twist will appeal to children under 10 and give them a positive way to use technology. 

We were asked by Plusnet to re-imagine our own fairy tale favourite and received a box of supplies to help us. As a family, reading is very important to us and a main topic on our blog. Some classics are rather outdated for our modern day technologically advanced world. 25% of parents today admit to changing the story lines of classic tales to fit modern day values and we were excited to rewrite a classic ourselves.

Plusnet - Jack and the Beanstalk

Using the Amazon Fire HD10 we watched the Plusnet trilogy to give us ideas. The trilogy includes Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. 

With the books, pens, pencils and stickers, the girls set to work deciding which story to rewrite. In the end they decided on Rapunzel, and wanted kindness to save her instead of a Prince. 

Rapunzel Rewritten

Once upon a modern time, a young Rapunzel sat on her bed, daydreaming. Rapunzel had been locked up in her tower by an evil witch, Mother Gothel, who was jealous of her beauty and long, magical hair.

Plusnet Once upon a time online

As Rapunzel sat daydreaming, an idea suddenly came to her.
“Perhaps if she booked a pampering spa day, Mother Gothel may feel happier and beautiful and set me free.”

Rapunzel uses her smartphone to begin searching for spa days and books Mother Gothel in at a luxurious spa, offering full day packages.

Rapunzel pages 2 to 3

Now Rapunzel just had to find a way for Mother Gothel to get there without knowing about the surprise.

Rapunzel realises the next day, Mother Gothel would take an Uber shopping to buy supplies for Rapunzel. She changes the booking just in time the next morning.

Mother Gothel is surprised when her Uber pulls up at a luxurious Spa retreat. Before she can say a word, a member of staff whisks Mother Gothel through to the spa, handing her a fresh bathrobe and fresh youth smoothie. Mother Gothel relaxes, allows her hair to be dyed and enjoys her pampering session at the spa.

When Mother Gothel returned, she thanked Rapunzel for planning her surprise spa day. “Thank you, Rapunzel. I feel amazing now and I see that keeping you here is wrong. Sorry Rapunzel, you are free to leave, the Uber is outside waiting for you.

The end.

What do you think of the girls ‘Rapunzel Rewritten’

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!)