Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Review: Memories of May

Memories of MayMemories of May by Juliet Madison
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Publication Date: May 5th 2017

Blurb: 
They say that truth is stranger than fiction, but in Tarrin’s Bay, she’s about to find that love is stronger than time...

By day, single mother Olivia Chevalier runs the family’s bookstore and raises her nine-year-old daughter. By night, she escapes into a world of fiction where there is excitement, romance, and happy endings.

Both of her roles are endlessly rewarding, but Olivia’s life has not been without challenges, hard work, and disappointment. So when enigmatic travel writer Joel Foster walks into her bookstore – and her life – with his mantras of trying new things and taking risks, Olivia knows that nothing will change.

But when a family dilemma surfaces, Olivia is compelled to enroll in Joel’s writing course to tell the story of her grandmother’s life. With each new day and each new page, Olivia discovers secrets about her family and truths about herself, and finds herself yearning to rewrite the story she has planned and seek a life as intriguing as fiction.


My thoughts:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Memories of May is book 5 in Juliet Madison’s Tarrin’s Bay series.

Olivia Chevalier is a single mother to 9 year old Mia. She owns the local bookshop and is pretty happy with her simple, some may say boring, life. That is until adventurer and author Joel Foster comes into town to teach a writing course and turns Olivia’s life upside down.
Olivia decides to attend Joel’s writing course and write her Grandmother’s life story.

I loved the blending of story’s; Olivia’s story, Joel’s story and Olivia’s Grandmother May’s story. They all held my interest and were relevant to the theme of the overall story.

”Life is merely a collection of moments, of memories. Every life matters. It is up to you to take risks, live your life fully, and follow your heart. Don’t settle for a life half lived. Make amazing memories. Make memories matter.”

Memories of May is a heart-warming story of new beginnings and the urging to create your own life, not just the one that is expected of you.


Nine year old Mia was a lovely addition to the story. She was fun and outspoken but not too precocious. It was a good way of introducing a child’s view of aging and death.

Even though this is part of a series each book can be read on it’s own but it’s always nice when familiar characters, from previous books, make an appearance through the story.

I finished this book with that warm feeling that life and love really are good.

Looking forward to the next book in the series.

I received an ERC from the publisher via Netgalley.

About the Author: (courtesy of Goodreads)

 Juliet Madison is a naturopath-turned-author with a background in dance, art, internet marketing, and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume). Nowadays she prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters. She likes to put those characters into extraordinary situations and take them on a challenging journey to discover their true passion and inner strength, weaving in some laughs, tears, romance, and sometimes a touch of magic along the way.
Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends as much time as possible writing and coming up with new ideas, while doing her best to avoid housework.
Juliet is a proud member and volunteer with The Romance Writers of Australia and she loves to interact online with readers and writers via twitter (@Juliet_Madison), and facebook (www.facebook.com/JulietMadisonAuthor). She can be contacted through her website at www.julietmadison.com where readers can also download some free short stories.




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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Review: Saigon Dark by Elka Ray

Saigon DarkSaigon Dark by Elka Ray
Publisher: Crime Wave Press

Blurb: 
 Good and bad. Life and death. Some choices aren't black and white

A grief-stricken young mother switches her dead baby for an abused child, then spends the next decade living a lie. She remarries and starts to feel safe when she gets a note: 'I know what you did'. Can she save her family from her dark secret?


My Thoughts:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On the same night her young daughter dies Lily finds a beaten neglected child, around the same age as her daughter, on her doorstep. Citing ‘fate’ as her motivation she decides to keep the child.
The story follows Lily’s life over the next 11 years as she walks a fine line between right and wrong, good and bad. She is always trying to justify her actions while hiding a terrible secret that leaves a heavy burden on her life.

The story is full of raw emotion and tension. Lily runs from her old life and starts over where no-one knows her but there is always that foreboding feeling that her past will one day catch up with her.

The narration is mainly in short, sharp sentences which perfectly portrays the way Lily’s mind is thinking; fast, sharp and erratic. She is always despairing about life and thinking worse case scenarios.

When the note appears that someone knows what she did there are already a few likely suspects that kept me guessing and changing my mind constantly. I never did actually guess right!

I couldn’t read this book fast enough. I was anxious to see what Lily would do next and if she would ever get out of her dilemma.

A tension filled story of lies, betrayal and blackmail. A real sense of foreboding is felt throughout.
Highly recommended!

I received an ERC from the publisher.

About the Author; (courtesy of Goodreads)

 Born in the UK and raised in Canada and Africa, Elka writes for children and adults. Elka divides her time between Central Vietnam and Canada's Vancouver Island - with both regions featured in her fiction.

When she's not writing, drawing, traveling or reading Elka is in - or near - the ocean.



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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review:Weave a Murderous Web - A Jane Larson Mystery

Weave a Murderous WebWeave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane Larson, an up and coming Lawyer, takes on a domestic, unpaid child support, case on the request of a friend. As she looks further into the finances of the defendant she finds there is more to him than meets the eye. And it’s not all legal! Jane soon finds herself embroiled in a web of drugs, lies and murder.

It does take a few chapters for the writing to settle but from then on the story is absorbing with plenty of twists, turns and witty dialogue.

Jane is a great protagonist, sharp-witted, sarcastic and cynical. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. She zeroes in on the problem at hand and nothing will get in her way until she has answers.

There are plenty of characters introduced and they each have their own distinct personalities. There is lots of suspicious activity, where everyone seems to have something to hide. Add to this a few red herrings and it will keep you guessing until the action packed finale.

The epilogue ties the story up nicely.

I received on ERC to read and review.


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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Review: The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name

The Little Girl Who Lost Her NameThe Little Girl Who Lost Her Name by David Cadji-Newby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First I would have to say I was very impressed with the quality of the book. Printed on high quality thick carded paper these books will take years of page turning by hands both small and large.

My granddaughter received two of these personalised books for her second birthday. I think this was the result of a wide and highly successful marketing campaign as other guests (at her birthday celebration) also remarked that they had looked at buying this particular book.

Both books were exactly the same unfortunately. However, I have noticed on the website that there are options, although very limited, to change some of the characters. Although in this case the buyer would have to pre-empt that the recipient may already have a copy. There are also options for the child’s hair and skin colour.

The story is about a little girl who goes on an adventure to find her lost name. As she meets different characters along the way they each give her the first letter of their name.

I loved that there were some unusual characters, such as a Narwhal, Aardvark and Nabarlek, rather than the typical farm and zoo animals. Each animal tells a little about themselves eg: Aardvark eats ants; Narwhal is called the sea unicorn.

My Granddaughters name has 7 letters and the book had 36 pages which I feel is great value for money. But what if your name is Zoe or Sam? They’ve thought of that too and added in 4 extra pages of story for short names.

Most importantly my Granddaughter absolutely loves this book!

And of course there is also “The Little Boy Who Lost His Name


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Monday, 5 June 2017

Review: Flames over Norway by Robert Jackson

Flames Over NorwayFlames Over Norway by Robert Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flames of Norway is set during the lead up to WWII and follows the POV of three main characters, Kalinski – a Pole, Armstrong – a Britain and Lehmann – a German.

Jackson tells the facts without prejudice and gives the reader a blow by blow description of the battle for Norway. He knows his subject and the reader is taken right to the heart of the action with vivid imagery.

Although written with great detail of the military planning and reconnaissance missions the story never gets bogged down and it kept me enthralled until the fiery end.

Highly recommended for any readers interested in the planes and the missions of pilots during WWII.

I received an ERC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Simple knitted bed sock pattern worked on 2 needles




My mother-in-law came to visit recently and asked my to knit her a new pair of bed socks.
The pair she had had been knitted for her over twenty years ago. The pattern seemed straight forward but I couldn't find anything online that was knitted with only two needles.
She was only staying three days and I have limited spare time, so no time to dig through boxes to find my round needles.

I had plenty of 8 ply wool and to make a thicker sock I used double strands.

Here is my very simple pattern which I'm hoping has no mistakes in it. Great for beginners. Experienced knitters can play around with the stitches and band. The original had a cable pattern up the front of the foot but no time to dig in those boxes for a cable needle.

Bed Socks
Material: Any 8 ply approx 120grams
Needles: 5.5mm

This sock fits a woman's size 10Aus. The bed sock was a loose fit.
It would be easy to decrease cast on stitches or needle size to make a smaller tighter fit.

8 ply wool is used double strand

Cast on 90 stitches
Work 10 rows in garter stitch
Work 4 rows stocking stitch starting with a knit row.
Row 15: K41 K2tog K4 K2tog K41
Row 16: P40 P2tog P4 P2tog P40
Row 17: K39 K2tog K4 K2tog K39
Row 18: P38 P2tog P4 P2tog P38

Continue decreasing as above until 48 stitches remain.
Purl next row
Knit next row
Purl next row

Work 8 rows in K1 P1 rib
Ribbing can be increased for a longer sock
Cast off and sew seams

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I didn't manage to get a completed photo before she delightedly whisked them away.