I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A lovely bright book, which makes full use of children’s imaginations. The original story was written with children in the author’s class at school, and some of the ideas and images are very childlike and will appeal to the intended age group.
I love the map of the walk so you can relate the story to where the children are on the walk. The animal lover in me quaked at whacking a bear, with a stick and throwing stones at the wolf, but apart from that, it was an enjoyable read, for my grandson and I.
Fun, imaginative and perfect as a Halloween book for your little one.
am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all
with a bus included somewhere.
been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to
think about writing a book for younger readers.
visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we
read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years
before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.
original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of
Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together
with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.
events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many
classes and it was always a favourite.
years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the
There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book, I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.
I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.
look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!
The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my
stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links
to real events and buses.
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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed reading this activity workbook on creative reading for children of 7 years upwards. The writing style is informal and motivational, using language that will appeal to the book’s target audience. The book is divided into sections, detailing the main areas of creative writing, and there are easy to understand, but engaging tasks to complete within each section.
Although this book is intended for children, it contains good advice that will be useful to any novice creative writer whatever their age.
I read a PDF version of the book, but if the workbook is to be used regularly, a paperback version may be more appropriate.
Lexi Rees writes action-packed adventures for children. As well as the Creative Writing Skills workbook, the first book in The Relic Hunters Series, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently longlisted for a Chanticleer award. The sequel, Wild Sky, will be published in November.
not writing, she’s usually covered in straw or glitter, and frequently both.
June 2019 is the 50th anniversary of Judy Garland’s death
August 2019 is the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz
October 4th the motion picture JUDY starring Renee Zellwegger and Jessie Buckley is released in the UK
An irresistible mixture
of memoir, biography, cultural analysis, experiment and hero-worship about one
person’s enduring fascination. This is for anyone who has ever nursed an
obsession or held a candle to a star.
Judy Garland has been an important figure in Susie Boyt’s world since she was three years old; comforting, inspiring and, at times, disturbing her. In this unique book, Boyt travels deep into the underworld of hero-worship, reviewing through the prism of Judy our understanding of rescue, consolation, love, grief and fame.
Layering key episodes from Garland’s life with defining moments from her own, Boyt demands with insight and humour, what it means, exactly, to adore someone you don’t know. Need hero-worship be a pursuit that’s low in status or can it be performed with pride and style? Are there similarities that lie at the heart of all fans? nd what is the proper husbandry of a twenty-first-century obsession, anyway?
I received a copy of this book from Virago Books in return for an honest review.
I didn’t know quite what to expect when I picked up this book. A biography of Judy Garland, whose films I have always liked, or a memoir of the author, whose life is somehow entangled with the iconic star? In truth, it is both of these, and something more, an insight into celebrity and obsession in the twenty-first-century.
Honestly written, with no filter, this is an intense book, the author truly believes that her love of Judy, someone who she never met, has and does have a profound effect on her life. Many of us have obsessions, some of us with celebrities, I love the Osmonds. I grew out of my blinkered obsession in my mid-teens, but I still like their music, and listen to it today. Few of us are so affected, but this makes riveting reading.
Aside from the biography, illustrated with wonderful images. there is the memoir, which is very readable sometimes amusing and poignant. The author also highlights obsession as an entity and explores through her experience, whether this is a positive or negative force.
Worth reading for the intrinsic interest value alone. It is thought-provoking and resonates.
‘When Judy sang to me as I grew older she seemed to confirm things that I’d all my life held to be true:’
* Things that are hard have more of life at their heart than things that are easy.
* All feelings, however painful, are to be prized.
* Glamour is a moral stance.
* The world is crueller and more wonderful than anyone ever says.
* Loss, its memory and its anticipation, lies at the heart of human experience.
* Any human situation, however deadly, can be changed, turned round and improved beyond recognition on any given day, in one minute, in one hour.
* You must try to prepare for the moment that you’re needed for the call could come at any time.
* There are worse things in life than being taken for a ride.
* If you have a thin skin all aspects of life cost more and have more value.
* Loyalty to one other is preferable to any other kind of human system.
* Grief is no real match for the human heart, which is an infinitely resourceful organ.
Susie Boyt was born in London and educated at Camden
School for Girls and Oxford University.
After a nerve-racking stint in a lingerie boutique and an alarming spell
working in PR for Red Stripe lager and the Brixton Academy, she settled down to
writing and is the author of six acclaimed novels including The Last Hope of Girls, which was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys
Prize, and Only Human, which was short-listed for the Mind Award. Of her last
novel, Love & Fame The Sunday Times said ‘she writes with such precision and wisdom about
the human heart under duress that the novel is hard to resist.’
Susie wrote a much-loved weekly column about life and art for the Financial TimesWeekend for fourteen years and still contributes regularly to their books and fashion pages. Last year she edited The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories for Penguin Classics. Susie is also a director at the Hampstead Theatre in London and works part-time for Cruse Bereavement Care.
She lives in London with her husband and two daughters. She is the daughter of the painter Lucian Freud and the great grand-daughter of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
My Judy Garland Life was Book of the Week on Radio 4, shortlisted for the Pen Ackerley Prize, extracted in U.S Vogue and staged at The Nottingham Playhouse in 2014.
‘Writing Fiction is a little
pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd
Field for film, Writing Fiction
by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’
novelist and screenwriter
Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.
It draws on the author’s more
than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and
ideas of writers including:
Martin Cruz Smith
The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.
Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
What I like about this non-fiction guide, to writing fiction is that is presented in a logical easy to use way. Beginning, with what the author considers fiction to be. Moving through a chapter by chapter guide to the fundamentals of fiction writing, with examples of why they are important, with input from industry professionals.
It covers a wide spectrum of fiction, and includes interesting analogies with screenwriting. This isn’t a workbook. There are examples, but no specific exercises for new writers to judge their content by. However, as an overall guide, and a useful reference book, for fiction writers, learning, or perfecting their craft it works.
The tone of the book is motivational, and the author’s experience and knowledge of the publishing industry are evident.
James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).
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.
I received a copy of this book from Unbounders in return for an honest review.
2019 marks the centenary for the Women’s Engineering Society, which was created by seven women in 1919. Partly created, in response to a reactionary parliamentary bill, and to reinforce the employment inroads women achieved during WW1. The Women’s Engineering Society wanted the women who had kept Britain working during the WW1, to continue in their chosen engineering and manufacturing roles. They also encouraged more women to enter engineering as a career. Given the small proportion of women enjoying a university or technical education, this was an ambitious aim. Women’s rights and choice were also at the forefront of the Women’s Engineering Society’s aims. Many of the founders came from prominent engineering families, but their social class was diverse.
The book follows the accomplishments and life events of the two most active women in the organisation; Rachel Parsons, daughter of a famous engineer, and Caroline Haslett, a dedicated suffragette. This personal element in the book draws the reader in and makes the achievements and sacrifices relatable.
The book is written in an engaging easy to read style, which makes the events, people and social ethos of the twentieth century come to life. Divided into chapters which explore significant individuals, their achievements and inventions, it is easy to dip in and out of and use for reference. However, the potential and vibrancy of this period in history for women, make this addictive reading.
The cover and images contained within the book, support the narrative well. The reader is given a good sense of the time period, social ethos and economic climate and the uphill struggle women faced in their battle for economic equality.
The final chapter lists notable events and inventions for women in the twentieth- century and is the perfect hopeful conclusion to inspire women engineers in the twenty-first-century.
Henrietta Heald is the author of William Armstrong, Magician of the No rt h 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 Irela n d 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.
I received a copy of this book from Aria – Head of Zeus Books in return for an honest review.
I love stories that have an element of serendipity, and this story of four people, seemingly unconnected, is an engaging read. It follows Caro, Cammy, Lila and Bernadette through 24 hours just before Christmas. Some of the characters feature in other books, so if you are a fan of this author, like me, you may recognise them.
The day is divided into time slots, and each of the four main protagonists has a chapter within. As the story progresses, the reader realises they are connected, and eventually so do they. All of the main characters are complex and realistic. Some have more flaws than others, but they are all relatable, and most are easy to empathise.
The plot is cleverly written, it all fits together and the coincidences are realistic. Coupled with the beautifully written characters, the emotion and poignancy of the story make this is a page-turner that you won’t easily, put down.
The ending is satisfying, it fits, and everyone gets the outcome they deserve.
Guest Post –Christmas Blog – Shari Low – One Day In Winter
Confession time! I’m one of those people who has a Countdown To Christmas clock and I check it regularly. Please don’t judge me. I know that I’m supposed to harrumph in disapproval at the frivolity and commercialisation of the festive season, but the truth is I love every flashing-elf-hat, neon-reindeer-on-my-roof, pass-me-a-red-hankie-because-I’m-going-to-watch-It’s-A-Wonderful-Life moment of it.
I embrace the tat and naffness of the season because I absolutely believe that there is no day that isn’t made better by a Santa snow globe.
On the first of December, I break out my favourite Christmas sweatshirt – the one that announces in large letters that I’m a Gangsta Wrapper.
I know the names of all the reindeers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, Argos, Visa and Mastercard.
And now that my two little yuletide thespians have flown the nest (one who delivered a memorable performance as the third sheep from the left, and the other who had a starring role as that well known Biblical character, Humph the Camel), the younger members of my extended family know that I’m a shoo-in for a ticket and some enthusiastic audience participation if they invite me to their nativity play.
But my very favourite pastime during the season of goodwill? Deck the halls with big blooming piles of Christmas novels.
When I decided to write my first December-time book, One Day In Winter, I knew that I wanted to write stories that came together like a big pile of surprises under a tree.
The novel follows four characters over the course of a 24 hour period on the Friday before Christmas. Caro sets off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father has been based on a lifetime of lies. Lila decides to tell her lover’s wife of their secret affair. Cammy is on the way to pick up the ring for a proposal to the woman he loves. And Bernadette vows to walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years. As the hours’ pass, their lives intertwine and connections are revealed, with lots of shocks, twists and dramas along the way.
When it first came out in ebook, One Day In Winter was a number one bestseller, so I’m thrilled that it’s now being released in a glossy, shiny, gorgeous paperback.
I hope readers will love it because it makes them laugh, cry and captivates them from beginning to end.
And the extra little gift that the book delivers?
After the last page is turned, it makes the perfect stand for that Santa snow globe.
One Day In Winter is published by Aria in ebook and paperback.
Extract From One Day In Winter – Shari Low
When Gran and Granda
passed away, their house had been left jointly to Mum and her sister, Auntie
Pearl. When Auntie Pearl married and moved out, they’d worked out a rental
agreement and Mum had stayed behind, living on her own until she’d met Jack
Anderson at college, got pregnant, married him and he’d carried her over the
threshold into the home she’d already lived in for twenty-two years.
Not that Caro could
ever remember him being there full-time. He probably was for the first few
years, but then he’d capitalised on the oil boom, and ever since then he’d been
gone more than he’d been home. Some months he’d be home for a few days,
sometimes two weeks, rarely more. She’d never felt neglected or that she was
losing out in any way. It was what she’d always been used to and, as Mum always
said, just one of the sacrifices they had to make because Dad had a Very
The payback for the
sacrifice? A couple of years ago, just as her parents should have been starting
to contemplate cruises and bucket lists for their early retirement, Jack
Anderson had walked out of the door to go to his Very Important Job and he’d
never come back.
Caro felt the familiar
inner rage start to build now and she squashed it back down. He’d left them a
week before her thirtieth birthday, so she was old enough to process her
parents splitting up by some mutual consent. Yet she couldn’t. Because it
wasn’t mutual and he’d bolted when her mother had needed him most, walked out
to a new life and he hadn’t looked back.
For a long time, Caro
didn’t understand why.
Only now, did she
realise that on the Importance scale, the job was up there with his Very
She still didn’t
believe it to be true.
She must be wrong.
Yet, here she was,
sitting on a train, on a cold December morning, on her way to Glasgow.
She pulled her iPad
out of her satchel, logged on to the train’s Wi-Fi, then flicked on to the
Facebook page she’d looked at a thousand times in the last few weeks.
It was one of those
coincidental flukes that had taken her to it in the first place.
It had been late at
night, and she’d been sitting beside her mum’s bed in the hospital, feeling
like she’d been battered by the storm that was raging outside. She shouldn’t
even have been there because it was outside of visiting time, but the nurses
overlooked her presence because her mum was in a private room at the end of a
corridor, and they made exceptions when it came to patients at this stage in
their lives. Yvonne’s eyes were closed, her body still, but Caro wanted to
stay, whether Yvonne knew she was there or not. It was the first night of the
October school holiday, so she didn’t have to get up early to be the
responsible Miss Anderson for a class of eleven-year-olds the next morning.
Instead, she could
just be Caro, sitting there passing the time catching up with Facebook. She
only dipped in and out of it every few weeks, caught up with a Carpool Karaoke,
the launch of a new book, or maybe a movie trailer.
A promotional link
appeared for the new Simple Minds tour, twenty dates around the country, yet
another band riding the nostalgic affection for the eighties and nineties.
Before she could stop
it, the opening bars of Jim Kerr’s voice belting out ‘Don’t You Forget About
Me’ flooded her head and she felt the bite of a sharp-toothed memory. Her dad
had been a big fan, their music playing alongside Oasis and Blur on his CD
player when he was home or in the car on the few mornings he was around to take
her to school, and that had been his favourite song.
The irony in the title didn’t escape her. Don’t You Forget About Me. If only she could forget he ever existed, then she wouldn’t have to deal with the soul-sucking fury that he wasn’t here.
Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter, A Life Without You, The
Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter and her
latest release, This Is Me.
And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is a difficult book for me to review.
I like the beginning, where Julia, obviously at a crossroads in her life decides to use long- service leave and savings, to attend a three-month spiritual retreat. I did smile that she thought to leave a sixteen and eighteen-year-old with just their father wouldn’t cause any problems, but that aside the beginning is good and full of promise for a literary adventure.
When she arrives, I wondered what I was letting myself in for. The prose was steeped in Christian church language, and I couldn’t see how this would be an enjoyable book for me, but I was in for a surprise, and I’m glad I persevered.
The characters are wonderful, believable, complex and flawed. They bring the story to life, as they find that a spiritual retreat is not what they imagined. This is especially true for Julia.Her reawakening is more physical, initially than spiritual, but the consequences of her actions, change her whole life.
The plot moves away from Christain doctrine and concentrates on Julia and her fellow retreaters quest for faith. The issues raised are complex and interesting, and the plot twists reveal more of the characters’ personalities and the true reasons they are there.
The last part of the story concentrates on Julia’s arrival at home, and what follows. It is engaging to read, and the final scenes are poignant.
So, if like me you enjoy to read something different, this is worthy of your time. Literary fiction with a message about faith, family and prejudice.
Originally from England, Sue
worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to
concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories,
articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:
Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian
Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from
drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina
Stead Award, 2014.
Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW
Christina Stead Award, 2016.
The Sky-Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.
Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker
family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017
Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year-old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Feed Thy Enemy, based on
her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face
of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a
starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.
Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism. Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.