Posted in Adventure Fiction, Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, New Books, Young Adult

Earthlings : The Beginning Ray Star 5*#Review @RayStarBooks @chronospublish @midaspr #Earthlings #ReadGreen #SavethePlanet #magick #dysotopian #animals #BlogTour #BookReview #AuthorInterview #QandA #MondayBlogs

A twisting tale of elemental magick and a broken ecosystem, Earthlings is the spellbinding debut from Ray Star exploring family, friendship and the intrinsic value of nature

Peridot Watkins has always lived a very sheltered life. Raised on a remote island by an over-protective mother, she has never spoken to anyone outside of her family.

Until one day, a strange boy Euan knocks on her window, mumbling about escape from captivity on the mainland and Peri quickly learns that the world isn’t safe for people like them. It isn’t safe for Elementals, those who have the power to control earth, air, fire, water and spirit.

On her quest to learn the truth, Peri escapes the island to discover that the world is worse than she could have possibly imagined. Humans are slaves, animals can talk and the world is run by unruly chickens.

Peri is thrown into a world she barely understands; caught in an ongoing battle for freedom and struggling to command her magick whilst trying to find Euan, who is entangled with people who may not be as straight forward as they seem. Peri’s abilities may be what is needed to save humanity but at what cost?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Earthlings is intended for the young adult fantasy age group, but it explores issues that affect everyone. There is something in this story to capture most people’s interest. It envisages an alternative world where the balance of power shifts from humanity to the animal world. Whether you are an advocate of animal welfare or not, it’s hard not to see that current practices using animals are likely to harm not just them but humans too.

Peri’s sheltered life leaves her unprepared for her exceptional skills and the real world she encounters. This story is about how she copes and the difference she can make. It’s a coming-of-age fantasy story, but its setting and the world-building gives it a dystopian ethos. The inhumanity shown to animals is reversed in this world with humans as the farmed captive creatures. The story has a serious message that is impactful because of the quality of the storytelling. Adventure, friendship, family and relationships are all explored. Magickal practices feature strongly in this story through the main protagonist and as a major plot strand giving this story an engaging vibrancy.

The characters are believably crafted and draw the reader quickly into a world that should defy belief but doesn’t.

Q&A with Ray Star – #Earthlings

When creating your story, which comes first, the characters, plot or setting? Why do you think this is?

I am going to be completely honest with you, I have no plan of action when it comes to writing. The words find their way to me when I’m in the moment, and I rarely, if ever, know what I am going to write.

The Earthlings story came to me bizarrely when I was at lunch with my mother, a few weeks after my dad’s funeral. We were seated next to a small tropical fish tank, and I remember feeling so sad for the fish that would inevitably spend their lives swimming round in circles, never experiencing freedom.

I remember vividly, turning to Mum and saying quite out of the blue, “I’m going to write a book about animals that can talk.”

She stopped eating, put her fork down and said with a smile, “Well, why not?”

“Yes,” I thought, “why not indeed?”

I looked down at my dad’s ring that I wear always, and as the green gem twinkled back at me, Peridot’s tale came to life from there.

What are the inspirations for Earthlings – The Beginning, your debut fantasy novel?

Animals and the environment were the reason behind the creation of the Earthlings trilogy. As a practising eclectic green witch, I have a deep love for the natural world, and it pains me to witness how humanity neglects our home and its inhabitants.

I wanted to write a book that had a conscience to the narrative, enabling readers to contemplate how life could be if we were no longer the dominant species on the planet.  

World-building is an essential component of fantasy novels. How did you create yours?

This was surprisingly the easiest part of writing Earthlings, I looked at modern day society and without giving too much away, reversed some of the roles.

I remember thinking another writer might have a similar concept and beat me to it, itching to publish the book so I didn’t miss the opportunity to share the Earthlings tale.

Did you set out to write a book suited to the young adult market? If so, can you share why you believe they are your target audience?

I knew from the moment I wrote the first chapter that I wanted the story to revolve around teenagers, finding their inner power and trying to make positive changes for the planet. It’s a concept I believe we can all relate to.

Deep down, everyone wants to make the world a better place.

I also wanted to incorporate some of my daily practises as an eclectic witch into the novel, as an avid YA Fantasy lover, giving Peridot magick (yes – magick with a ‘k’), was too tempting to resist.

This was the only aspect of Earthlings that I debated – whether to include magick. In the end, it was my love for YA Fantasy that made it an easy decision to make.

 Is this book part of a series? If so, what aspect of elemental magick and the ecosystem does the second book explore?

Earthlings includes genuine magickal practises that I use in my own rituals, from herbal lore, crystal healing and invoking the elements to following moon cycles – I wanted to include practical magick that works and that we can use in our lives today.

Earthlings is book one of a trilogy as the story has many depths that I wanted to cover, and I physically could not cram them all into one book, as much as I wanted to!

The following book in the trilogy (Dominion) is in the editing process due for release this festive period, with the final instalment (Land of hope and glory) to be released next year.

A little inside secret for your followers; I will be writing a prequel (The Changing) which will be Peridot’s mother’s story explaining how the Earthlings world came to be, and I plan to have a spin off series from this once that book is complete.

Readers can sign up to my newsletter on raystarbooks.com for more details on this to come next year!

 What five words summarise your story. Can you explain why?

Unexpected. Intriguing. Disconcerting. Moving. Magickal.

Earthlings is the world we live in today, reversed, and with a hearty helping of magick added to each page.

Ray Star

Ray Star is a Fantasy author from Essex with a passion for animal rights and eco-living. She can often be found writing, exploring nature and occasionally stargazing underneath a full moon with a tarot deck in one hand and a strong cuppa in the other.

Earthlings was conceived from a love for the environment and inspired by her father, whose passing was a catalyst in leading a greener lifestyle.

Ray’s dream is to one day open an animal sanctuary and wildlife reserve in memory of her father. Earthlings is Ray’s debut novel and the first book in the Earthlings trilogy.

#Earthlings

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, New Books

Crab, Dab & Blenny Peta Rainford 5*#Review @PetaRainford @rararesources #ChildrensBooks #picturebook #kidlit #environment #plasticpollution #savetheplanet #CrabDabandBlenny

Crab, Dab & Blenny is a fun, rhyming picture book about the serious theme of plastics in the ocean.

Fish friends Dab and Blenny are upset by the plastic that washes into their lovely rockpool home. Crab, on the other hand, just LOVES the shiny bright colour… But when Blenny gets caught in plastic twine, Crab finally understands the danger of plastics in the ocean.

Crab, Dab & Blenny is a book that celebrates friendship and the vast variety of life that exists in a quiet rockpool. Perfect for early readers or as a bedtime story for four- to eight-year-olds.

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Brightly illustrated, likeable characters help children learn about plastic pollution and how it damages the sea’s ecosystem. The rhyming text is appealing. It encourages interest in the world they live in. It will appeal to children in the target audience of 4 to 8 years with different levels of understanding.

Easy to read with fun characters, this vibrant book engagingly delivers an important message. This book makes visiting a rock pool a great idea.

Peta Rainford

Peta writes and illustrates her funny picture books on the Isle of Wight, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and hairy jack russell, Archie. In normal times, Peta loves going into schools to share her books and inspire children in their writing and art. She has appeared at a number of festivals and other events, including: Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, Isle of Wight Literary Festival, Exmoor Dark Skies Festival and Ventnor Fringe. She is one of the organisers of the IW Story Festival, for children and families, which takes place every February half term.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

What the World Needs Now – Bees! Cheryl Rosebush 5* #Review @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours Illustrator Zuzana Svobodova #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Ecology #SaveThePlanet #BookTour #BookReview #WhatTheWorldNeedsNowBees

Inside the sprawling forests of Ontario, Canada lives a friendly black bear named Melly. One of Melly’s favourite things to do is EAT! And many of the delicious fruits she snacks on wouldn’t grow without the help of some very important little forest creatures.
What the World Needs Now: Bees! explores the vital role busy, busy bees play in helping plants to grow the food people and animals love to eat.

What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature, and our place in it.

Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.

The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love. 

The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.  

Environmental Kids

Read my review of Book 1 – What The World Needs Now – Trees!

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Book two in this environmental series aimed at young children features bees. The book emphasises bees importance to pollination, and ultimately food production, using engaging animals, vivid illustrations with text that’s easy to understand.

The series aims to make children love the natural world and become invested in its protection. Melly, a bear in Ontario, Canada, shows how essential bees are for her to eat. Children are encouraged to see how far away they are from Melly by drawing on a bright map. There’s information on different bee types and an activity page too.

The book makes it’s point succinctly, in a way young children will understand. It provides information for further discussion with young children about their world.

Cheryl Rosebush

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me. 

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again. 

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist. 

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

Website

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

What the World Needs Now – Trees! Cheryl Rosebush 5* #Review @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours Illustrator Zuzana Svobodova #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Ecology #SaveThePlanet #BookTour #BookReview #WhatTheWorldNeedsNowTrees

What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature, and our place in it.

Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.

The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love. 

The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.  

This is a brand-new adventure for me – completely independent and self-published! And it feels like the culmination of everything I have ever worked on.


When was the last time you bought a book that offset its own carbon emissions and preserved critically threatened rainforests? So proud to say that when you buy “What the World Needs Now: Trees!”, you will be doing just that.

Meet Jefri! He’s the adorable main character in the first book of my series called What the World Needs Now: Trees!. He was created by my talented illustrator Zuzana Svobodova. For me, it was love at first sight! 

I knew I wanted my first book in the series to be about trees, and after my World Bank mission to Sumatra in 2019, I knew I wanted my main character to be an orangutan. They literally have everything to lose by tropical forest loss. And since they share so similarities to humans, I thought an orangutan would be the perfect animal to underscore the ways in which we are all connected to trees. 

Watch this amazing video to see Jefri come to life!

Order at YPD Books

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This picture book’s bright illustrations and cute characters will enchant young children engaging their interest in nature and making them realise that they need to protect what they love.

Jefri the Orangutan shows children his rainforest and the trees there. The life-giving nature of trees is explained and emphasised so that children realise their importance to all living things, including humanity. The consequences of cutting down too many trees and the importance of planting more and varied trees, to protect the rainforest, are shown in an easy to understand way. The book demonstrates the fragility of the ecosystem well. Although aimed at children, the book has a message relevant to adults too.

Cheryl Rosebush

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me. 

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again. 

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist. 

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

Website

Posted in Blog Blitz, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

What the World Needs Now – Trees! Cheryl Rosebush @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours Illustrator Zuzana Svobodova #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Ecology #SaveThePlanet #BookBlitz #WhatTheWorldNeedsNowTrees

What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature, and our place in it.

Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.

The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love. 

The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.  

This is a brand-new adventure for me – completely independent and self-published! And it feels like the culmination of everything I have ever worked on.


When was the last time you bought a book that offset its own carbon emissions and preserved critically threatened rainforests? So proud to say that when you buy “What the World Needs Now: Trees!”, you will be doing just that.

Meet Jefri! He’s the adorable main character in the first book of my series called What the World Needs Now: Trees!. He was created by my talented illustrator Zuzana Svobodova. For me, it was love at first sight! 

I knew I wanted my first book in the series to be about trees, and after my World Bank mission to Sumatra in 2019, I knew I wanted my main character to be an orangutan. They literally have everything to lose by tropical forest loss. And since they share so similarities to humans, I thought an orangutan would be the perfect animal to underscore the ways in which we are all connected to trees. 

Watch this amazing video to see Jefri come to life!

Preorder at YPD Books

Cheryl Rosebush

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me. 

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again. 

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist. 

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

Website