The Path Keeper Book Tour

I received The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds, the first book of the Indigo Chronicles to review. A mixture of fantasy and historical romance, I simply couldn’t put this book down!

The Path Keeper Book Cover

This book does come with a mental health trigger warning and contains sexual scenes. These will resonate with older teens (15+) and adults alike.

Mental health & sexual scenes warning.

The Path Keeper

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London, she misses her old life in Spain and struggles to get over her past. Then she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story., not now or ever. Ella doesn’t realise that Zac’s secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic. The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

I absolutely loved The Path Keeper and will definitely be looking out for the rest of the Indigo Chronicles. N.J Simmonds writing just flows so well, piecing the story together bit by bit so you just can’t put the book down! Zac and Ella are such interesting characters with so much going on with each of them both in the present and the past. I’m not the greatest fan of romances but this is just so different.

N.J Simmonds

N J Simmonds Author

Natali Drake writes under the pen name of N.J. Simmonds and has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications. In 2015 she cofounded the online magazine The Glass House Girls and is a regular contributor. Originally from north London, she now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

The Amber Maze By Christopher Bowden – Blog Tour

I’ve been reading The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden which I was sent in exchange for my honest review.

The Amber Maze Cover

The Amber Maze

A mysterious key found down the side of an antique chair in a Dorset cottage begins a search for answers. Hugh Mullion is determined to unlock the secrets of this unknown. No one knows how long the key has been there or what it opens but Hugh begins to investigate for himself.

During his search for answers, Hugh unlocks the secrets of a troubled life of a talented artist. Destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late, suppressed by a dark secret he could never escape.

The mysterious trail takes Huge from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960’s Camden Town where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.

Christopher Bowden

Christopher Bowden is the author of six novels, each with a colour theme and lives in South London. The Amber Maze is his most recent novel, published in September 2018. His previous books have been praised by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derok Jacobi, an Shena Mackay.

My Thoughts

The Amber Maze draws you in from the start with the mysterious key being found. Bit by bit secrets quickly unravel throughout the story in an enchanting way. I loved the idea of a secret at the heart of The Amber Maze and was pleased the secret wasn’t spoilt until the very end. I had hoped for a slightly different outcome although this may be more due to my preference for thrillers! Overall I did enjoy The Amber Maze, it is definitely a page turn for mystery lovers. I love the colour theme idea behind Christopher Bowden’s novels, especially The Purple Shadow. I will definitely have to

The Amber Maze Blog Tour

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour posts!

Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks Review And Giveaway

We were sent Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks range to review this week. Written by Sarah Parkin and Designed by Rob Hale. Each Mini Playbook has a story, playmat, pop-up building and over 20 press out pieces. There are currently 6 books within the Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks and we have 3 books to offer one lucky winner! Read on and enter below.

Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks

Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks

Currently, the six Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks available include Farm, Animal Hospital, Fire Station, Castle, Airport and Garage. These fantastic books encourage reading and learning through play.

Miles Kelly Mini Playbook - Animal Hospital

Mini Playbook Fun

Each storybook follows a character at work, explaining the different tasks they do each day. Once you’ve read the story and learnt the tasks, it’s time to play and act out the different roles! There is a handy guide to setting up and using the book inside too.

Animal Hospital Instructions

Each book turns into a square playmat with a road, pop-up building and relevant scenery. The buildings all have doors that open, allowing your press-out characters to go in and out easily.

Miles Kelly Animal Hospital Mini Playbook

Animal Hospital Playmat - Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks

Inside each pop-up building, there is plenty of space to move characters around. Both girls enjoy setting up these books and playing out the roles. Izzy especially loves animal hospitals and this was definitely her favourite. Reading about Sam the Vet’s adventures at work and then playing Vet kept Izzy busy for hours!

Castle

The Castle Mini Playbook follows Cedric the knights adventures in a medieval castle. The Castle comes with a Dragon, knights on horses, a Lord & Lady, Musician and more, the girls quickly got lost in this Mini Playbook.

Castle Miles Kelly Mini Playbook

Fire Station

We read about Firefighter George’s adventure at work, then we set up all the pieces. The girls had hours of fun playing as firefighters, rescuing cats from buildings and putting out fires. This Playbook comes with a fire engine, fires, barriers and various firefighters.

Fire Station

Airport

Jack is on his first visit to the airport in this storybook on his first family holiday. Learn about what goes on in an airport then fold out the playmat, pop up the building and play! I love how the aeroplanes go together for this playbook making them 3D.

Airport

Farm

Follow Farmer Sam around the farm as he cares for all the animals. Farms are very busy places with lots of jobs to do, press out the pieces and help Sam look after the animals. With cute farm animals and a shiny red tractor this Playbook is amazing.

Farm

Garage

Learn about mechanic Matt’s adventures at work in this storybook before getting busy helping at the Garage. Help wash cars, change tyres, repair engines and become a marvellous mechanic for a few hours.

Garage

The Mini Playbooks fold back down after being played with. This makes the Mini Playbooks easy to store until next time. Simply flatten the press-out pieces and store them inside the building safely too. We are really impressed with the Mini Playbooks as they are so easy to set up and clear away. They certainly kept the girls occupied and having fun for hours at a time and the enjoyed building a few at a time and connecting the roads on the playmats to create their own little town.

Miles Kelly Mini Playbook Giveaway

As promised, we have 3 Miles Kelly Mini Playbooks to giveaway to one lucky winner*! The winner will be able to pick any 3 titles from the 6 available, simply enter the giveaway below and keep an eye on your emails.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Winner will be notified within 24 hours of the giveaway closing and will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.

Which 3 Miles Kelly Mini Playbook titles would you pick?

Magic Pie – Children’s Book Review

We were sent Magic Pie by Robyn Embrey to review* last week. This beautifully rhyming, magical adventure is a lovely book for children. Published by Pegasus and available on Amazon. We always enjoy reviewing children’s books like this, that just flows so well.

Magic Pie - Robyn Embrey

Magic Pie

Magic pie is all about a little boy named Olly who tries to make a magic pie. He tries but with no luck. His mum finds him and explains real magic lies in a box of pixie dust beneath her bed. Olly embarks on a magical adventure where he meets a genie, a rabbit and fairy.

Olly making magic pie

Olly just wants to make Magic Pie,
One to make him magic, one to make him fly.

But he might just find where real magic lies instead,

With a box of pixie dust, beneath his mummy’s bed.

Magic Pie – Robyn Embrey

Our Thoughts

We love reading this book and have already read it a few times. Its rhythm flows beautifully making it fun to read aloud. From the start, the girls listened intensely to Olly’s magical adventure. You could see they really enjoyed it throughout.

Magic Pie colouring pages

Both my girls have tried to make magic potions before, as have most children. Mixing all kinds of ingredients in little pots so I found Olly’s magic pie making quite amusing.

Magic Pie Blogger Pack

As reviewers, we also received some colouring pages, bookmarks and pixie dust, which the girls really loved! Magic Pie is already a favourite read for the girls and I can really see why. Olly has so much fun on his magical journey. When he returns, he knows that one day he’ll show his sister the magic that lies beneath mummy’s bed too. We would love to see more children’s books by Robyn Embrey as we thoroughly enjoyed this one!

About The Author

This is Robyn Embrey’s first Children’s book she has published. I have followed her on twitter for a while and know she has worked hard to create this fantastic children’s book. Below is a short ‘about me’ from Robyn herself.

My Children live in a world only confined to the limits of their imaginations. With so much inspiration around me in day to day life, I started to write down their adventures. With the support of my long-suffering husband, my faithful friends and a little creativity, Magic Pie and other stories started to keep me awake at night. The only way to get some sleep was to write them down

Robyn Embrey

Have you heard of or read Magic Pie yet?

*Whilst we were kindly sent this book for a review, all opinions are our own and honest.

Princess Ponies -The Lucky Horseshoe Book Review

The Princess Ponies series by Chloe Ryder is full of stories that are empowering, uplifting and full of empathy. Jeff Norton kindly sent us an author copy when we responded to his tweet sharing the release of Princess Ponies – The Lucky Horseshoe. We decided that since we love to review books, we should review this too!

Princess Ponies - The lucky horseshoe

Princess Ponies – The Lucky Horseshoe

The Lucky Horseshoe was released in time for St. Patrick’s day. This beautifully illustrated book comes with a lovely magic horseshoe collectable charm. There are several books in the Princess Ponies adventure series, each with a different charm to collect.

Collectible magic horseshoe charm

Chloe Ryder wrote the Princess Ponies series as an alternative for adventure-loving girls to Barbie and Disney Princesses. The main character Phillipa (Pippa) is a head-strong action heroine who strives to save the day. Eva especially loves a storyline full of adventure like this.

Pippa lives in the land of Chevalia. She is having terrible luck at school on St. Patrick’s day. To make it even worse, Pippa is alerted by Princess Stardust and the Pirate Ponies that the troublemaking Divine has cast a spell to steal all of Chevalias good luck too.

Princess Ponies Book Review

Pippa sets off on a journey across the high seas, on The Jolly Horseshoe, in search of a way to win the ponies’ luck back. During this journey, Pippa and her friends meet cow sharks and discover a mysterious island. On this mysterious island, a new pony may be able to explain how to turn their luck around.

Eva’s Thoughts

Eva said she really enjoyed reading The Lucky Horseshoe. She said it has some really cool characters from humans, ponies and cow sharks! The storyline is full of adventure and kept Eva absorbed throughout. She loved the ending and now wants to read the rest of the series!

Making Happy Work – Book Review

I was kindly sent Making Happy Work to review written by Mick Timpson. This book is a beginners guide to navigating the modern world with meditation. As someone who suffers anxiety and depression, meditation can be really helpful. Modern meditation is the art and science of being more aware of yourself, others and the wider world.

Making Happy Work

Making Happy Work

Mick Timpson has created a self-help book to take you on a meditation journey. This journey is broken down into eight parts. Step-by-step, Making Happy Work teaches you to meditate. Teaching you that the key to making happy work is not what you do in life that matters, but how you live through your life.

I know I often stress over the things I do or don’t do in live but reading Making Happy Work makes it easier to look at things from a different perspective.

We have all become a little disconnected from who and what we are. Living in an increasingly chaotic world, struggling to survive, let alone thrive! Unfortunately, we are doing so at the expense of being. If we make time to stop, notice, and learn to be, we can reconnect and link our being with our doing. We can learn to be and do differently. Making Happy Work gently guides you through how meditation works, practising meditation and different techniques.

Focus

Meditation helps you find direction and purpose in a chaotic world. Learning to slow down and Be instead of just Doing makes a world of difference. This practice of purposely focusing on the present moment at any time and place, observing and accepting without judgment, expectation or attachment reduces stress and anxiety. In turn, this allows you to focus on what really matters and that is being happy, having purpose, resilience, creativity and wellbeing.

Have you tried meditation before?

The Baby Detective Blog Tour

I received The Baby Detective by Sarah Norris to review, a parenting book unlike many others I’ve read. This book doesn’t dictate what is the right or wrong way to care for your baby. Neither does it tell you which parenting style to go with, instead, it gently guides you through caring for your newborn.

The Baby Detective

The Baby Detective

Sarah Norris gently guides you through investigating what the problem is and why it is happening. With 25 years experience as a maternity nurse caring for hundreds of new mothers and families Sarah developed a new method. The unique AIM (Assess, Investigate, Modify) method to help parents solve the challenges any new parent may face.

Sarah Norris

A Unique Parenting Book

New parents can often feel confused and overwhelmed with unasked for advice, tips and tricks to care for their newborn. This book encourages parents to use their own tuition rather than telling them what to do. This book will give you the confidence to care for your new baby with confidence. Solving each challenge you face from sleeping, feeding, routines and winding.

Different Case Studies

Each case study is unique and as a parent of 2 daughters myself, I’ve faced most of these problems. Looking back at my own experience these problems sometimes took month to solve due to conflicting advice, especially with Eva. Sarah’s explanations of looking for clues as to what affects your baby is fantastic for new parents. I honestly wish I had a book like this to hand as a new parent. Everything a new parent will face with their newborn is covered. From environmental factors, biological states,temperamant and emotional response.

Record Keeping

Sarah explains how record keeping can help new parents keep track and solve problems. From feeds taken, winding times and issues, sleep patterns and issues, nappy changes, Sarah makes record keeping seem a breeze . She also goes on to explain whilethis can be reassuring it can also increase anxiety at times. If this happens she explains what to do in that situation. This kind of book would have been helpful when I had Eva. I became obsessed with weighing Eva weekly until she was over a year old. Because she was born at 4lb 14oz, then dropped to 4lb 4oz due to jaundice, I was constantly worrying. Record keeping can be useful, but it needs to be kept simple and not become obsessive as Sarah explains.

How To Be Your Own Baby Detective

Rather than tell you which problems may arise with a newborn Sarah explains situations she has faced with new families. With each challenge the parents face The Baby Detective explains how to assess the situation, investigate the problem and make modifications. This method can be applied to big and small problems even those minor day-to-day issues.

Planning

The Baby Detective covers planning ahead using AIM. This can be applied to family gatherings at home, medical appointments or treatments. It can also be applied to Social events away from home, foreign holidays and as baby develops. This in depth look at planning helps you plan aheadwith ease to suit you and your babies needs.

Winding Your Baby

An in depth look at winding, why your baby gets wind, anatomy of babies stomach will help you understand what is going on with your little one. This will fill a new parent with confidence instead of leaving them feeling clueless. With an extensive look at winding techniques that will help your baby you will quickly become a winding expert!

Useful Tools And Equipment

As a new parent all the baby products everywhere can be really overwhelming. You can feel really unsure what will actually be useful day to day and how to use them. Sarah looks at each tool and why you may need it, reasons it can be useful. She also explains how not to overuse items like pacifiers and tips for sensible use. Each item is fully broken down again, filling a new parent with confidence that they are doing the right thing to comfort and care for their newborn.

What Is Normal

As a new parent knowing what is normal for your baby can be very confusing and scary. Again Sarah gives an in-depth look at every part of a newborn. From skin colour, umbilical cord, eyes, arms, feet, noises and crying. The Baby Detective also looks at head shape, appetite, wind, hiccups, breathing and temperature, febrile convulsions and sleep. A look at birthmarks, urine, feaces and constipation, menstrual blood in baby girls and skin rashes will leave you confident in caring for your newborn.

Where and How To Get Help

As you face new challenges you may require support and have no idea where or how to get help. Sarah makes this easier for new parents by point5ing out exactly where to get the help you need and how. From other peoples opinions, hospital, community midwives, health visitors, GP’s, consultants, maternity nurses and support groups. Whatever help you need, Sarah Norris has compiled an extensive list to make finding help easy.

Emergency Action

We have all faced a newborn screaming, having a total meltdown whilst feeling overwhelmed and exhausted ourselves. Sarah offers some fantastically useful advice and suggestions for this situation. Sarah provides comforting ideas for your baby, an emergency routine to reset and calm a baby. These aren’t long term solutions but will help you get back on track and continue with the AIM method in desperate times.

Genuinely Helpful Parenting Book

Having read The baby Detective, I love Sarah Norris’ way of looking at caring for a newborn. I remember too well how stressful those first few months with Eva were. I never felt confident that what I was doing was right and everyone felt I should try their way. It’s very overwhelming and stressful but The Baby Detective would make that time much easier for any new parent. I genuinely couldn’t recommend this book more, it’s unlike any other parenting book I have read.

Crochet Learn It. Love It. Book Review

I received Crochet Learn It. Love It. By Tracey Todhunter to review. As most of my readers already know I love crochet, so I couldn’t wait to review this book. I have to say before I explain any further, if you are looking for a comprehensive beginners guide to crochet then this is definitely it!

Crochet Learn It. Love It

Crochet Learn It. Love It.

The book contains a mix of essential crochet skills, patterns, tricks and tips to ease you into a life of learning and loving crochet!

Chapter 1 – Essential Skills

Essential Skills covers everything you need to know starting with different yarn types and weight. I was pleased to see a Ball Band explanation, something I haven’t seen anywhere else before. With different types of hooks available, basic accessories and even luxury accessories explained, any beginner is sure to feel knowledgeable.

Essential Crochet Skills

This handy book shows you all the essentials from holding and tensioning the yarn via various methods. It also shows you how to hold the hook, make a slip knot, foundation chain, count chains, work into chains and fasten off. All explained in great detail, accompanied by photos making it easy for any beginner to learn Crochet.

Basic Stitches

There is a great guide to basic stitches which will help you get started on most projects. To make this easier there is a full explanation on how to understand crochet stitches to help you make sense of your work and pick up on any mistakes, a huge help for any beginner. I remember looking at my first crochet attempts and having no idea what I was looking at or if it was correct. This book puts your mind at ease as you learn making it much more enjoyable.

Basic Stitches

Confidence Building

Crochet Learn It. Love It makes reading patterns and charts a breeze and explains measuring AND adjusting your tension! From joining yarn to working neat stripes, stripes with a difference and shaping your work, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

You’ll find yourself knowing how to finish your work, different blocking methods, tapestry needle stitches, crocheted, slip stitch and conceal crocheted seams enhancing your work. I’ve been crocheting at least 2 years now and I had already learned so much from this book, without even passing this first section!

Quick Start Projects

There are several quick start projects throughout the book. These consist of quick and easy patterns which require little yarn. Each project states the finished size and tension along with the items you’ll need. These are items such as yarns, crochet hook sizes, yarn needles, buttons etc.

There is also a list of abbreviations and techniques used in the pattern along with the page no within the book to help you with stitches. Following pattern notes you can find the pattern itself with photo’s to guide you. Compared to other crochet books I’ve read I genuinely felt that I could try each project. This would have been perfect when I first started out. With such great explanations and notes you are filled with confidence to complete each project. I’ll definitely be making a few of these once I’m done with my current Crochet Projects!

Chapter 2 – Working In The Round

Working In The Round

Moving on to the second section you quickly learn how to work in the round. Learn the foundation ring, magic ring and finger wrap methods to start. This section will quickly show you how to crochet circles and spirals along with a gorgeous ‘sun in the center’ pattern to show off your new crochet skills!

Sun In Circle

Blocks and motifs are great for making various pieces and are also worked in the round. This books explains how to make a plain granny square block, granny motif, granny triangles and granny hexagons. These are useful from cushion covers, blankets, cardigans and more. You will also learn to crochet a circle or flower in a square. There’s a lovely pattern at the end of this section for a granny square cushion similar to the one I recently made too.

Granny Triangle

I love granny squares as they are nice and easy but I decided to try a granny triangle for the first time. I found the pattern easy to follow and can now tick it off my list of things to learn!

Granny Triangle

Learning tubular crochet can make things quite fun. Luckily this book makes it simple to learn with some fab patterns to go with it! This handy guide makes crocheting a beanie or Amigurumi fox a piece of cake

Chapter 3 -Stitch Patterns

Stitch variations really can change crochet, from working into just a front or back loop, extended stitches and alternate loops, this book covers it all. This is something I hadn’t found in my other books either and Tracey Todhunter explains it all so well.

Stitch Patterns

I was surprised to find so many beautiful stitches and patterns to go with each stitch enabling you to create impressive crocheted pieces instantly! It really is quite an extensive list for a beginners guide and will no doubt make falling in love much easier.

Chapter 4 – Finishing Touches

Finishing touches such as buttons, holes, edging stitches and more are explained in great details with some fantastic techniques shared. Whether finishing crochet work or adding a touch of crochet to a pillowcase or similar, you can use these finishing touches to pretty up just about anything!

Finishing Touches

Each section is bursting with enough crochet knowledge that you feel confident taking on new projects. I may not be a complete beginner but I still learned a good few tips and stitches. The patterns throughout are simple to follow and will have you falling in love with crochet in no time!

Chapter 5 – Taking Your Skills Further

The Final chapter shows you a few more advanced skills such as tunisian, broomstick and hairpin crochet. I will be attempting the Tunisian at some point as this guide looks much easier than other’s I’ve looked at. Detailed step by step photos with explanations make each technique seem doable.

Taking Your Skills Further

A Fantastic Guide To Crochet

Honestly, Crochet Learn It. Love It. is a fantastic guide to crochet and makes it so easy to learn, you really will love it! You can learn so much from this fab little book and I know I’ll be using it for reference in future. There are a good few stitches in the book I’ve yet to try. I can’t wait to speed through my current projects and try them.

The Kiss – Children’s Book Review

We were sent The Kiss to review*, such a heart-warming story of a Kiss brightening up the world with smiles, laughter and dancing. This beautiful book is written by Linda Sunderland and Illustrated Jessica Courtney-Tickle.

The Kiss

The Kiss

This lovely book begins with Grandma heading home from Edwyn’s house. He blows her a kiss which she catches and puts it in her pocket.

Edwyn blows Grandma a kiss

Spreading Happiness

On the way home, Grandma comes across people looking sad such as an old man at the bus stop. She makes the old man smile by taking the kiss from her pocket and showing it to him.

They begin to dance and make the people at the bus stop smile! Grandma blows the old man a kiss which he catches and puts in his pocket. Edwyn’s one grows heavier and bigger while Grandma uses it to spread happiness all the way home. Kindness and happiness make it thrive!

A Stolen Thief!

A man hears all about the kiss and asks to buy it from Grandma but she refuses. He tries all different ways to get hold of it but Grandma refuses. The man sends flowers, letters, even a brass band yet she still refuses. He decides to stal it!

The kiss - Book review

The man cages the kiss and it slowly begins to grow thinner, the skies turn mean and the sun goes to sleep. It withers in front of his eyes which makes the man sad. He eventually decides to return Edwyn’s kiss to Grandma. Thankfully when Grandma releases it from its cage it returns to normal!

The man looked so sad that Grandma blew him a kiss which he caught and smiled sweetly! When Grandma next sees Edwyn he gives her a hug and she puts it safely in her wardrobe for whenever she felt cold and lonely!

The kiss - Edwyns hug

A Beautiful Story

This is such a beautiful story showing how kisses and hugs can spread joy and happiness everywhere! It goes to show just how far a small act of kindness can go. Spreading the message that the act of sharing can be more powerful than taking what we want from the world through a beautifully written children’s book. Such a lovely uplifting story to read to children aged 3 to 6 years. Both girls really enjoyed this sweet story, a perfect bedtime read!

Do you love Children’s books that spread important messages like this too? Can you recommend others like this?

*We were sent this book to review but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Smudge And Friends Children’s Book Review

We received a copy of Smudge and friends children book to review*. Written and illustrated by Andy Edwards based on an idea by Caroline Groves, this lovely book is full of confidence building stories.

Smudge and friends

Smudge And Friends

To begin you meet Smudge who is 5 years old and very nervous about his first day at school. This gave him butterflies and he really didn’t like it when his mum said it was time to leave for school.

He met his teacher who seemed friendly so he agrees to stay. As the day goes by he chooses to try and say hello to other children. Doing this he slowly feels more confident and notices two friends and heads over to them. One of them rushes over to him first and the 3 quickly becomes good friends. They have fun together and Smudge decides it’s been a brilliant day! He can’t wait to go back the next day.

Overall Thoughts

Chapter One and it’s Smudge’s first day at school. It is just one of a good few challenging situations that Smudge and his Friends face in this book overall. Four short stories tell of how the characters find ways to navigate through their new experiences and how they step-up to other challenges they meet in-school and in their daily lives.

Reading ‘between the lines’ there are messages about learning how to interact socially and to build self-confidence just like Smudge and his Friends.

We absolutely love this book and would definitely recommend it!

Have you heard of Smudge and Friends before?

*Whilst we were kindly send a copy of Smudge and Friends to review, all opinions are our own and an honest review.