Hellrider By JG Faherty – Blog Tour

I received Hellrider to review, a fantastic horror by JG Faherty. Published by Flame Tree Press, Hellrider is available in both paperback and hardback copies.

Hellrider

Hellrider

Eddie, a former biker gang member is burned alive by fellow members of the Hellrider gang when they burn down his garage for ratting out their president. With his last breath, Eddie vows revenge. Returning as a twisted, psychotic ghost with his trusty custom motorcycle Diablo, Eddie seeks vengeance leaving a trail of bodies behind. With his power growing with each diabolical murder he commits, the whole town is at mercy of Eddie’s insanity. Can anyone put Eddie back in his grave Hell Creek burns to the ground?

My Thoughts

Hellrider was a fantastic read from start to finish. Darkly satirical and violent with a message deep at the heart of it, everything you want from a good horror. Eddies need for revenge fuels him further and further until even he realises he is turning into some kind of monster! Worse than even he could imagine. I have to admit I did giggle at some of his ways of revenge! Each attack ending more gruesomely than the last. I would definitely recommend Hellrider for anyone that enjoyed grindhouse movies from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

JG Faherty

A life-long resident of New York’s haunted Hudson Valley, JG Faherty is the author of six novels, nine novellas, and more than sixty short stories. He has been a finalist for both the Bram Stoker Award (The Cure, Ghosts of Coronado Bay) and ITW Thriller Award (The Burning Time).

JG Faherty

He writes adult and YA horror, science fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal romance. His works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness. As a child, his favourite playground was a seventeenthcentury cemetery, which many people feel explains a lot. You can find him on Twitter at @JGfaherty, on Facebook or on his website.

IGIST By L.S Larson – Book And App Review

We received IGIST by L.S Larson to review, an innovative new immersive children’s reading experience. The IGIST book and augmented reality app work together to create an entirely believable and compelling new universe.

IGIST front cover

A story aimed at children and teens 10+ that champion science, curiosity and exploration. Encouraging children to find out more about the amazing world of science and technology through a new reading experience.

IGIST

IGIST Back Cover

According to the one teacher on Earth who believed in her, Emi had a chance. The space academy of her dreams was more than a reach. The Intergalactic Institute of Science and Technology (IGIST) hadn’t admitted and earthling in decades. The bygones left on Earth would lead a boring existence if, and only if, they were lucky enough to evade the plague.

IGIST app screenshot

Emi always thought she was different, not because her only friend growing up in Rockland was a drone named Sadee, but because she was very determined to become a revered scientist like her late mother. But even a passion for science and good old-fashioned grit could not prepare Emi for the challenges that await in a wide, strange galaxy under the auspices of the Star League.

Our Thoughts

We really enjoyed IGIST, Emi’s character is so determined to reach her dreams. Whilst my phone doesn’t work with the AR, we can still use the app. As you read the book the app awards points and badges. Eva has really enjoyed reading IGIST and using the app. She thinks there should be more books with apps like this.

A great read for STEM-interested girls and boys. The main character, Emi is driven by her desire to break barriers and get into the most renowned science academy in the universe. IGIST does for science what Hogwarts did for magic.

You can either read the book on its own or with the app.

The Boy Who Couldn’t By Rachel Coverdale

We received The Boy Who Couldn’t by Rachel Coverdale to review. Both Eva and I read the book and love the message behind it as well as the addition of animals.

The Boy Who Couldn't

The Boy Who Couldn’t

A stirring action-packed adventure story following two very different boys who are forced to create an uneasy friendship when their paths cross unexpectedly.

Illustration from The boy who couldn't

When James and Greg stumble upon a badger baiting plot by dangerous criminals, their tenuous relationship is tested to breaking point. Can they overcome their differences and fears to help each other and save the badgers?

A heartbreaking yet uplifting story about becoming the person you can be, not the person you are expected to be.

Woods - The boy who couldn't

James’ life has had a big change, as has Gregs. This leads to James’ dad becoming a stay at home dad while Gregs’ family life falls apart. James and his dad discover a badgers sett in the woods. Badgers are highly endangered so they agree to keep them a secret.

The secret of the badgers is soon shared when James, his dad and Ahmed come across Gregg injured in the woods. Gregg agrees to keep the badgers secret too, fascinated by their habits and happy to escape his unhappy home. It doesn’t take long for the boys to uncover dangerous criminals badger baiting. Can they work together to save the badgers?

Our Thoughts

Eva read The boy who couldn’t first and said she really enjoyed reading from both boys perspectives. The story is fast-paced and full of action with a twist at the end.

Rachel Coverdale

Rachel Coverdale was born and bred in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside in North East England. Raised with copious amounts of animals, and without the distraction of a modern TV set, she turned to bookers and her own imagination for entertainment. Animals were and still are a huge part of her life and inevitably they made their way into her stories. She is keen to promote animal welfare and wishes to raise awareness about the vulnerability of British wildlife, particularly badgers.

As an adult, Rachel has worked with many troubled children and is passionate about highlighting their plights and encouraging people to see the damaged child hiding behind the poor behaviour.

Rachel also writes books for younger children. Believing strongly in fresh air, nature and outdoor play to give children a sense of fun and freedom, she uses her books to encourage children to venture into the countryside.

Lets Find The Tiger – Children’s Book Review

We received Let’s Find The Tiger to review, beautifully illustrated by Alex Wilmore. Published by Little Tiger and aimed at children aged 0-3 years, who will love finding the Tiger.

Let's Find The Tiger

Let’s Find The Tiger

This colourful peek through the pages and lift the touchy-feely felt flap book encourages little ones to look for the tiger. Curious children will love exploring the leafy jungle to find the tiger in this stylish touch and feel book.

Inside spread of Let's find the Tiger

This tactile exploratory wonder of a board book will keep children engaged in their search to find the tiger. With little hints of hiding animals on each spread, little ones with love hunting for the tiger. The final reveal includes a satisfying flocked image on the final spread.

With a repeated refrain that encourages the development of word recognition and an introduction to a whole host of jungle animals, little ones will learn whilst having fun. With plenty of colour filling every page and playful illustrations provided by Alex Willmore, this is a fun book for every tiny future explorer!

Lift the flap book

Alex Willmore

Alex Willmore is an illustrator who just loves drawing fun, cute characters. He lives in rural Northamptonshire with his wife, two sons and two cats. When not drawing, Alex can mostly be found eating outrageous amounts of biscuits and enjoying a nice drive or walk around the countryside.

Coming Soon!

Get ready to go searching again with the second title in this series, Let’s Find The Penguin, due for publication in September 2019!

Do you know a little one who would love this book too?

I Love My Llamacorn – Book Review

We received I Love My Llamacorn to review by Prisca Le Tande. Published by Little Tiger and aimed at children aged 2 to 5 years, this gorgeously glittery book is perfect for fans of llamas, unicorns and everything magical!

I Love My Llamacorn

I Love My Llamacorn

A loveable llamacorn will steal your heart in this beautifully sparkly board book. Full of bright, colourful illustrations, fun peep-holes and die-cut concentric hearts penetrating from the cover right through every page, this little book for children proves just how deep love goes.

I Love my Llamacorn

I Love My Llamacorn is a celebration of unconditional love in board book form. With gentle rhyming on each spread, children will stay engaged on their journey through the book. Tiny book lovers who tend to flick forwards, backwards and skip pages when first engaging with board books will still be able to receive the full message regardless of reading order thanks to the self-contained rhymes on each spread.

Inside - I love my Llamacorn

Prisca Le Tandé

Prisca Le Tandé is a child of the disco era – so dancing queens and grooving cats are right up her street. She sees the world of illustration as a dessert trolley laden with your favourite things. Why no taste everything – you can always go to the dentist afterwards. After studying Applied Art at school, she enrolled in a film studio degree and embarked on an adventure in the into the world of animation. She is still living the adventure, as the author and artistic director of the animated series “Grosha and Mr B”. When she was young, Prisca adored the craft craze scoubidou. It’s that same simple creativity that gives her such joy now that she’s creating books for children.

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy enjoyed this book so much. She is absolutely obsessed with unicorns, llamas and anything magical so she has been reading this tgo her Llama’s! This is definitely a perfect book for little ones who love the That’s Not My Series which Izzy adores too. Izzy loved the sparkly pages and brightly coloured, cute animations. Eva has been asked to read this several times as Izzy loves the way she reads the rhymes throughout.

Do you know a little reader who would love this too?

Wicksteed Park – A Family Day Out

Wicksteed Park kindly invited us to visit on Thursday for a family day out. We were given member wristbands and a Clip N Climb session in exchange for an honest review. It took us just over 2 hours from Grays to Kettering due to an accident but the park was really easy to find.

Wicksteed Park

Wicksteed Park

Charles Wicksteed

Wicksteed Park is an amusement park that opened in 1921, located in Kettering, Northamptonshire. The park was founded by Charles Wicksteed, the son of a Unitarian minister of the same name and his wife Jane Lupton.

Wicksteed Park Garden

Charles Wicksteed has left behind a legacy enabling children to play and explore nature in his park for free. There are beautiful gardens, a lake, animals and so much more to offer family days out for any budget.

Lake at Wicksteed Park

Prices

This beautiful 147 acre park is free to enter with a completely free playground, open all year round. You can purchase individual ride tickets at the park that last up to 7 days or a wristband from an outlet or online for a discounted price. You can also buy wristbands for activities such as Clip N Climb and the Zipwire.

Playground at Wicksteed Park

Things To Do

There is so much to do at Wicksteed Park from family picnics enjoying the beautiful scenery, playing in the playground and the 30 rides and activities.

Merry Go Round at Wicksteed Park

There is also a campsite so you can stay overnight, something we will be going back to do when it is a little cooler! We happened to arrive in the middle of a heatwave so whilst we tried to cover as much of the park as we could, with regular water and rest stops we still have more to go back and do.

Meerkat Tunnels at Wicksteed Park

It didn’t take the girls long to check out the cute Meerkats when we arrived. There is a tunnel system allowing you to pop your head up in a bubble for an upclose look. The girls loved this and we had to promise Izzy we would go back again before we left (and we did!).

Meerkats

Alongside the Meerkats are goats, there are also some Alpacas we saw whilst riding on the train. We will try to find them next time! There is also a big bird aviary which the girls really enjoyed.

Narrow Gauge Railway

Wicksteed Park Train Ticket Office

There is a beautiful narrow gauge railway which runs around the lake giving you a stunning view of most of the park. The train runs regularly and takes just a few minutes to go all the way around the lake.

Train at Wicksteed Park

If the train stopped at the bottom of the park (near the alpacas) that would have been fantastic. We got to see the Zipline, Archery, Boats on the lake and the Thrill area with even more rides than the arena before arriving back at the gorgeous train station.

Riding the train

Food & Drink

We had packed a few bottles of water to take with us on the day knowing that the temperatures were expected to be very high. We still needed to top up and buy more drinks whilst we were there though and were pleased to find they weren’t too over priced. Fruit shoots were just £1.40 each and drinks like 7up were around £1.80. There are several places you can buy food and drink around the park too.

Ice cream Parlour

Of course we had to stop for ice cream on such a hot day too and the girls had quite a selection to choose from. Izzy tried the raspberry ripple and Eva had bubblegum, they didn’t take long to disappear!

Mini Landrovers

Driving Mini Landrovers at Wicksteed Park

Having cooled back down we headed over to the mini Landrover area so the girls could try driving them around the course. The girls really enjoyed this.

Tree Top Walk

Eva enjoying the tree top walk at Wicksteed Park

The tree top walk is quite fun and a little challenging. Eva flew through the walk really enjoying herself. Izzy is a little afraid of heights lately so she became tearful but managed to keep going until the end and was then really proud of herself!

Tree top walk

Clip N Climb

After a few hours of fun we headed to Clip N climb where we were booked in for a 10 minute briefing before we began. We all listened to the instructions and got harnessed up. Don’t worry, I was tempted but decided my back wasn’t up to climbing!

Clip N Climb at Wicksteed Park

Eva didn’t take long to get the hang of climbing up and flying back down from the top of different courses. Izzy was again quite fearful of climbing up and falling back down but the staff were fantastic and encouraged her to at least go up a few rungs on a ladder whilst they held it still.

Izzy facing her fears

We spent almost a full hour at Clip N Climb watching Eva and the Mr climb up and fly back down and it was so much fun. Eva’s confidence just kept on growing, so much so that she was a little overwhelmed afterwards but so proud of herself. She tried most of the climbing walls, the stairway to heaven and we paid an extra £2 for her to try the Leap of faith which she really enjoyed!

Leap of faith

After the Clip N Climb session, we had one last wander around the park to see if we could spot the alpacas before heading to the gift shop to treat the girls. Of course, we remembered to stop back at the Meerkats for Izzy before we all stumbled to the car feeling absolutely exhausted but happy after such a lovely day.

Overall Opinion

As a family, we are all in agreement that Wicksteed Park is fantastic for families. There really is so much to do and we didn’t even manage to cover half of the rides or activities due to the heat. We found the park is beautifully clean and well kept throughout. There are not only plenty of toilets but also changing facilities in the mens toilet, something we absolutely needed not too long ago because of my back!

If Wicksteed Park was a little closer we would definitely make it our go-to place this summer. Instead, we are aiming to return at the end of summer when it is a little cooler to camp so we can experience everything Wicksteed Park has to offer. The cleanliness, helpful staff and sheer amount to do as a family makes it an ideal place for all the family.

Zippy And Me By Ronnie Le Drew – Blog Tour

Zippy and Me is a hilarious autobiography by Rainbow Puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew. Zippy and Me is the first behind the scenes look at the iconic children’s programme Rainbow. Rainbow aired over 1000 episodes between 1972 and 1997, I remember loving it myself as a child!

Zippy And Me by Ronnie Le Drew

Zippy And Me

Puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew has worked with the greats across almost half a century. From David Bowie in Labyrinth to Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol. The role that defined his career though was Rainbow’s Zippy, who he operated for more than twenty years.

This is the first time an insider has told the true story of what went on under the counter and inside the suits. From the petty squabbles between performers, wrangling with TV executives, and scandals such as the ‘love triangle’ between the musicians Rod, Jane and Freddy. Not to mention the now infamous X-rated episode shot for an ITV Christmas party, which subsequently found its way to the Sun.

Interweaved with the dirt on what really went on behind the scenes is the story of Rainbow’s heyday in the 1970’s and 80’s. The stars found themselves catapulted into an exciting showbiz world – scooping a BAFTA award and even performing for the queen, and the story of a young lad from a south London council estate who defied his parents’ protests to become one of the most respected puppeteers of all time.

Ronnie Le Drew

Ronnie Le Drew with Zippy

Ronnie Le Drew is one of the UK’s most respected puppeteer and recipient of the prestigious Harlequin Award. He has operated many of the most iconic children’s puppets of the twentieth century. From Zippy, Sweep, Muffin the Mule, Bill and Ben, Brains from Thunderbirds – as well as working on classic puppet films such as Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors and The Muppet Christmas Carol. He continues to work regularly as a puppeteer in TV, theatre and advertising. He also teaches at the London School of Puppetry, which he founded in 1987.

Dotty And Dash’s 1,2,3 – Children’s Book Review

We received Dotty And Dash’s 123 pop-up counting book to review. Illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood, written by Patricia Hegarty and published by Caterpillar books, an imprint of Little Tiger.

Dotty and Dash's 123

Dotty And Dash’s 1,2,3

Dotty and Dash are off on a quest, to discover the number they like the best. Children will love helping Dotty and Dash choose their favourite numbers between 1 and 100 in this colourful pop-up counting book.

Number 1  Dotty and Dash's 1,2,3

This sturdy book is perfect for children learning their numbers. With banners across the bottom edge with numerals up to 100. This will appeal to even the most ambitious of little learners.

Each page is bursting with colourful, cute illustrations by prolific artist Craig Shuttlewood, winner of the Best Children’s Book in the Junior Design Awards for Town and Country. Accompanied by rhyming text written by Patricia Hegarty making counting to 100 an enjoyable experience for young children.

4,5,6

Each page contains at least one pop-up number, so the fun never stops – and that is something you can count on!

Izzy’s Thoughts

Dotty and Dash’s 1,2,3 has quickly become a firm favourite with Izzy. She loves the rhyming and loves to show she knows the numbers by joining in! We think think this book is fantastic!

100

Craig Shuttlewood

Craig lives in Brighton with his family and drams up ideas from a garden studio. With a background in fine art, he has exhibited original work in many galleries from London to New York. More recently he has been focusing on creating engaging children’s books. In his spare time, Craig mountain bikes, plays dinosaurs and draws with his kids.

Patricia Hegarty

Patricia began working in children’s publishing more years ago than she cares to remember and is now editorial Director at Caterpillar Books. As an editor she has worked on titles ranging from atlases to animal pop-ups, craft kids to crazy mazes and sticker books to secret diaries.

Second Skin By Sue Bentley – Blog Tour

I received Second Skin by Sue Bentley to review, a fantastic fantasy featuring shapeshifting dragons! This is the first book in the Bridge of Fire books published by Endeavour Venture available from Amazon.

Second Skin

Second Skin

Estranged from birth and raised on tales of the great mountain castle of Idrith-Core, where her distant father serves as Lord Commander and confidante of the King, Aledra Jewel-Wing was now going there to court.

As one of the Drakkoni, a race of powerful shape-shifters and conquerors of a wild land, she joins her stepmother at the festival for all peoples. But when in attempting to save a life, Aledra shifts into her Drakkoni Secondskin – her beautiful second soul: a giant flighted lizard with flaming breath – she breaks an ancient oath, and the tremulous peace between the Drakkoni and Esrans is shattered.

Branded a fugitive, hunted by her father, and aided in escape by the master-mancer who raised her, Aledra begins a journey for survival across a war-torn continent.

Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley

Sue lives in a house surrounded by a wildlife hedge so she can pretend she lives in the countryside. She enjoys reading, walking, cinema, researching her books, and painting and printmaking, when she’s not writing — which isn’t very often!

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed Second Skin, Aledra’s quiet life quickly changes with joining her mysterious father in court. When things go wrong, she ends up being held in a cell where she finally meets her father. The master-mancer who taught her, helps her escape. Throughout there are complicated characters such as Aledra’s father, Aledra herself and Penda. A mixture of love, war and dragons, Second Skin is a fantastic start to the Bridge of Fire. I can see Aledra growing further throughout the series and can’t wait to see where it leads.

Have you read anything by Sue Bentley before?

American Dreams By Kenneth Bromberg – Blog Tour

I received American Dreams by Kenneth Bromberg to review, a crime novel published by Flame Tree Press. From Czarist Russia to America where dreams are made, we follow Max and his father through a world of crime.

American Dreams Bookcover

American Dreams

In 1904 Czarist Russia, Max, a four-year-old Jewish boy, witnesses his mother’s rape and murder by Russian soldiers. After the boy’s father extracts terrible revenge, father and son escape to New York and settle on the Lower East Side, a teeming melting pot of recent immigrants.

Max meets a young Polish girl, Sophie, and the two children become inseparable playmates. By the time they are teenagers, Max excels at both school and sports, Sophie has become a stunningly beautiful young woman, and friendship has grown into love. Their plans are shattered when Sophie is forced to marry a local crime boss and once again, Max must simply watch as the most important person in his life is taken from him. In response, he begins a ruthless and violent climb to the top of the New York underworld

Kenneth Bromberg

Kennerth Bromberg Author photo

Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California. He has a passion for tennis, American history, and literature. Having attended the University of California, Los Angeles, he then worked for several years as a bartender. He eventually returned to UCLA to pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant.

After retiring from accounting, Kenneth fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first work, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother who immigrated to New York from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century. If you like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, you will love this debut novel.

My Thoughts

I knew from the first chapter I would enjoy American Dreams as a crime fan and wasn’t disappointed. After a traumatic start for Max, we meet several other characters with some interesting backstories too, all leading them to America. Here they all work towards their own dreams. Forwarding to World War II where two of the sons of main characters serve, yet have their own dreams for the future too. American Dreams is rather violent throughout, mixing crime, love and a little history across several generations really well.

Do you enjoy violent crime novels too?