Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Niggle by Peta Rainford - Review


I'm very happy to be able to share my review of The Niggle, written and illustrated by the ever lovely Peta Rainford on the day of its release. 

The Niggle

Joe Jackson is a little boy who has never felt fear... until the day a miniature monster swims in his ear! The monster is the Niggle, who whispers worries in Joe's head and makes him afraid.

Will Joe Jackson let the Niggle win? Or will he learn to overcome his fears? Read this rhyming picture book to find out. And remember: you can't be brave if you don't feel fear!


My Review

I absolutely loved The Niggle, it is so well thought out and so well written. The rhyming really flows as you are reading and it makes everything sound good whether you're reading it out loud or in your head.

Joe is a great character and reflects so well what children are like before their fears (or Niggles) creep in and make them more cautious. I enjoyed watching his fearless journey up until his accident. I then thought it was powerful how he slowly over time learnt how to deal with his Niggle and how to still do everything he wanted to safely.

The artwork is absolutely lovely and really matches the tone of the story. I have watched Peta Rainford share snippets of her drawings on her Facebook page as she planned out The Niggle, so it was really good to see it all put together and in context.

At the end, after Joe deals with his Niggle, there is a page aimed at the reader, which I thought was a really nice touch. It makes the child (or reader) relate the story to themselves and realise that they too can overcome their fears. Also that being afraid isn't a bad thing, you just need to know how to use it.

The Niggle is a very enjoyable read and both me and mini Nerdling will be reading this many more times in the future.

About The Author


Peta Rainford was lovely enough to appear on my feature, Getting To Know... so you can find out even more about her here.

Peta grew up on the Isle of Wight so long ago she can remember buying crisps from the school tuck shop for 21⁄2p. As a child she loved words, and loved drawing too, but she had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She studied English at York University and then worked in London as a business journalist and editor for 14 years. She went to art classes and even studied fine art at St Martins, but she still had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She moved back to the Isle of Wight in 2006, and it was here that Peta, now balancing the roles of freelance writer and mum, decided to write and illustrate her first book for children. It was a revelation: a way of combining picture making with her love of words – not to mention an outlet for her awful jokes. It may have taken more than four decades, but finally, Peta knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne - Blog Blitz Review


I bought The Puppet Master months ago and have been wanting to read it, but have just not had the time. When I saw Bloodhound Books were going to be running a blog blitz for the book, I immediately volunteered to be part as it gave me the perfect reason to have time to read a book I've wanted to read for so long! I'm so glad I did as it was well worth the wait to read. 

The Puppet Master 

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.
Unbeknown to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.
Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?
One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.
My Review

The Puppet Master certainly fits the bill perfectly for being a psychological thriller, its dark, chilling and the tension builds to a crescendo. I absolutely loved it.

The story alternates between the two main characters, Adam and Billie and I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives that gave me as the reader. It's always good to get inside the head of more than one character in a story. I also thinks it makes the book even harder to put down as I always tell myself I need to find out what the other person thought about what just happened!

The story also shifts between present day and when all of Billie's problems started. That was a really clever way of giving us readers information without info dumping and I really enjoyed going through things as they happened with the character.

I was fascinated to find out exactly what Billie had been through and just what Adam knew about her as he seems to know so much. The relationship that's built between them is very tentative and fraught with indecision and mixed feelings. It really showed just how much they had been messed up by things that had been controlled by someone else.

I really wanted to see how someone could really control two peoples lives so minutely and without spoiling anything I can say it was pretty darn genius! I was taken aback a few times through the book by things that I was not expecting.

Overall an absolutely excellent debut novel from Abigail Osborne and I can't wait for more from her. I just won't leave as long to read this time.

About The Author


I was lucky enough to have Abigail appear on my Getting To Know... feature which you can check out here if you'd like to know more about her. 

Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree and also met her husband. She is a passionate reader and has an unsustainable collection of books. This obsession with books has led to her creating her own Dewey decimal system and she has been known to issue fines to family and friends if her book is not returned on time. 'The Puppet Master' is Abigail's debut novel and has unleashed a passion for writing. When not writing or reading Abigail is usually playing her violin or hiding from her much too energetic cats. She also works as a Needs Assessor for disabled university students in the West Midlands.

Links:

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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Live Life Like You Give A F**K! by Nicola Findlay - Blog Tour Review


I'm excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Live Life Like You Give A F**K! by Nicola Findlay. The book is a more modern and kickass version of a self help book and one I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Live Life Like You Give A F**K!

The No Nonsense Philosophy for Smart Girls who Want to Smash It!
Boss a bitch? Diet a hot mess? Broke after payday? Ghosted on tinder? 
If life feels like a constant hangover why not take five f**king minutes for yourself to decide what you really want. Slam on the brakes, kick off your heels and unplug from the social media circus.
Stop Surviving - Start Thriving
Live Like You Give A F**K will show you how to create the future you want, not the one that’s been shoved down your throat. It will shake and wake you from the hypnosis of modern living. The triple shot of empowerment, confidence and motivation will unleash the badass in you.
Nicola Findlay is the straight-talking, bold, coaching diva who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. If you ask her advice about your lame partner she’ll give you a bitch slap, tell you to raise your standards and get rid of that loser.
She’s your best friend, your enemy, your punchbag and your cheerleader. Some people call her a diva, some people call her a badass bitch but whichever you decide you will get results.  
WARNING: If you’re afraid of a few swear words on a page put this book down and go cry to your Mama. I’m not here to offend anyone.  I’m here to tell you how to rock your world, and because I’m so passionate about it I’ll be shouting and swearing from the rooftops.

My Review

Well, this book is certainly not like any other self help book I have ever read! It's the kind of book that takes you by the shoulders and gives you a short, sharp shake. I have to admit the swearing took me aback for the first page or so, not because I was offended (trust me I can swear like a sailor!), just the fact that I'm not used to reading that kind of language. It certainly makes an impact and I sat up and paid attention. As the book goes on, it does level out and the swearing becomes more conversational rather than in your face.

There are some really useful and actually quite powerful exercises throughout and ones that I will continue to use going forward. However if you are reading the e-book version like myself, then be armed with paper and pen as you can't utilise the lines designed for you to write on. I love stationery so I always have a notebook and pen to hand, so this wasn't a problem for me.

I wasn't sure what to expect before reading Live Life Like You Give A F**K! but I was incredibly motivated to make goals and get stuff done (which wasn't the best idea at midnight led in bed haha) but I made sure I made my lists so I knew what I had to do or where I had to start. I'm definitely looking forward to some of the changes that I want to make and I'm excited about my goals knowing I'm making a start instead of just thinking about them.

Live Life Like You Give A F**K! is aimed at women, but genuinely the advice given is perfectly valid for anyone, so don't let that put you off giving it a try.

I read the book all in one go, with breaks taken to write my lists and goals etc, but it is perfectly set out so that you can dive in and out at your own leisure. You can also go back to different chapters if you want to go back over anything at any time, which I can see myself doing in the future.

There are things that I know won't work for me, but as the author says (paraphrasing) "dump that shit like a bag of crap". Everything doesn't work for everybody, so you can choose what work for you and ignore the bits that don't. Having that freedom to decide whether I was going to use what was suggested was really good and it actually made me put more thought into each exercise as I wanted to decide properly as to whether I would use it or not.

Overall an excellent book and one I will be recommending (and gifting) to my friends.

I gave this book 4.5 stars.

About The Author


Nicola Findlay, a former British Airways air stewardess, is a qualified neurolinguistic practitioner and accredited international coach with over a decade of experience. She runs personal group workshops, 1-2-1 coaching and corporate training working with companies such as Specsavers and Stella & Dot. Previously she managed the Brighton branch of Life Clubs where she ran weekly personal development workshops with different themes each week before starting her own company The Coaching Diva in 2015. In 2018 she is planning a series of live events in London and New York including; Attracting Mr Right and Live Like You Give A F**K! Nicola lives with her 7 year old daughter and husband in Surrey, England
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/nicolafindlaytcd/

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Why We Love Mysteries - A Guest Post by Larry Enmon


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I am very pleased to welcome debut author Larry Enmon to my blog as he discusses just why everyone loves a good mystery.

WHY WE LOVE MYSTERIES

Just so we start off on the right foot here, I've read everything Sir Author Conan Doyle ever wrote about Sherlock Holmes. As a young man I was fascinated by mysteries and mystery writing. Read everything I could get. But I did something that caused me to stop following the genre. I became a policeman.

For thirty-seven years I lived the dream—and often the nightmare—of solving mysteries. I started as a municipal police officer in Houston working uniform patrol and undercover vice. I eventually accepted an appointment as a special agent with the Secret Service and continued investigating crimes and solving mysteries. But I stopped reading them. That was probably a mistake.

Every good story contains an element of mystery. It's in our human DNA to ask why—to solve the puzzle, to discover the secret. That's what pushes mankind forward. Everyone wants to be the first to figure it out.

Reading a good mystery allows the reader to experience the thrill of the hunt without the inherent dangers involved in hunting. Staying at a safe distance from danger is always better than experiencing it first hand. Trust me—I've been shot at more than once. And what else do we love about mysteries? The crime gets solved and the bad guy either gets killed or goes to jail. Not always so in the real world.

The old-style detective and mystery writers weren’t as concerned about characters as the new writers of today. What started out as a plot-driven genre has evolved into a character-driven one. In the digital age, we want to know everything about everyone. This has led to the characters in mysteries becoming more interesting than the plot. Let me share an example: True Detective – Season One (HBO). Sure we care about the detectives discovering the identity of the serial killer, but what keeps us coming back to view the next episode is the relationship between the two detectives, Rust and Marty.

Another writer once asked me how many homicides I saw as a uniform police officer. This started me to thinking about all the different types of death I investigated. Each had a mystery associated with it that needed solving. I saw death by shooting, stabbing, drowning, electrocution, crushing (yes, that happens), poisoning, blunt force trauma, falling, hanging, and burning. I was the first unit on the scene, and it was my job to determine what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and round up the witnesses before the homicide detectives arrived. (Old Cop Trick #1: Always ask the witnesses for some identification. Once they present it, drop it in your pocket. If you don't, in all the confusion, they might just wander away.)

I suspect that few police officers read mysteries, probably for the same reasons that I stopped. It's hard enough living with the horrible real images we see as police. Also living with the fictional ones is like taking your work home with you. But having the experience as an officer gave me the background necessary to write a good mystery. I still love to solve crimes, but only fictional ones, please.

So let me leave you with a real police mystery I witnessed first-hand. My partner and I made the scene of a shooting involving two men. The victim was in his mid-twenties, six foot five, and unarmed. The suspect was in his late teens and five feet tall. According to a half dozen witnesses, the older man began harassing and threatening the younger one over the affections of a woman. The younger man pulled out a small caliber pistol and pointed it at the older one. The victim screamed, "Nooooooooooooo!" just as the single shot rang out. The victim fell to the pavement, dead as a door nail. But there was one problem. The body didn't have a mark on it. No entry wound of any kind!

Everyone assumed the guy either cracked his skull when he fell or suffered a heart attack out of fear. The only blood was a few drops on the guy's lower lip, which could be attributed to biting his tongue or lip as he hit the pavement. The homicide detectives were on their way, so I had only a few minutes to figure it out. As far as everyone was concerned, the suspect had missed the victim when he shot at him. But it was a homicide. Want to know how?

The short suspect fired the small caliber pistol at the taller victim as he screamed, "Nooooooooooo!" The bullet entered the victim's mouth and, because of the angle of the shot (five-foot-tall guy shooting at six-foot-five guy), went into his brain, killing him instantly. The small amount of blood on the victim's lower lip was the only sign of violence. But the bullet in the brain was the cause of death.

Yes, everyone loves a good mystery.

Wormwood


In Dallas, Texas, Katrina Wallace goes missing. As the mayor's daughter, her kidnapping triggers mounting political pressure and forces the Chief of Police to put two senior detectives on the case. Rob Soliz and Frank Pierce have done the impossible in the past, but their methods are unconventional.
The only evidence at the scene is a Bible found in the girl's car and soon Frank and Rob find themselves involved in a disturbing investigation shrouded by Bible prophecy, doomsday cults, and murder.
Is Katrina still alive? And what exactly is Wormwood?
As the trail leads them into the woods of rural East Texas, Frank must deal with his lingering religious doubts and solve the case. His worst fears will be realised when he must discover the ugly truth about Wormwood. But he and Rob will have to get out alive to tell the story...

About The Author


Larry Enmon retired from the U.S. Secret Service and started writing. During his career he acted as liaison between the USSS and FBI, working in the Joint Terrorism Task Force.  He received special training from the FBI and CIA in weapons of mass destruction.

For relaxation, and to get away from the city, he likes spending time at his ranch in rural Eastern Texas. With 200+ acres, private shooting range, a 2 ½ acre pond, and miles of woodland trails to explore on four-wheelers and RTV’s, it’s the perfect getaway.
He swims four miles a week, holds a Divemaster rating with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and has a black belt in Tang Soo Do karate.  He is married with two children and lives in Tarrant County, TX.
His debut crime mystery novel Wormwood is being published by Bloodhound Books, Cambridge. He is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency, Ltd, London.
To Connect With Larry Enmon
Twitter: @LarryEnmon
Instagram: @Larry_Enmon

Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson - Blog Tour Review


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Orenda Books publish the most amazing books from the most amazing authors! If I could realistically read and review every single book they publish in time for the tours, I'd never say no! Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson is another excellent example of the quality of books they produce and I'm very happy to be sharing my review with you all today. 

Whiteout

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim's mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland's bestselling crime writers.

My Review

Ari Thór is back with another dark and fascinating case. Ragnor Jónasson's writing is excellent and the cases he comes up with are incredibly unique and fascinating. 

The first few chapters in Whiteout, follow Ásta who is returning to her childhood home after over twenty years. We don't get much information about her as she is quiet and reticent, but we know enough to really get to care about her and what will happen on her visit "home". I thought it was a really nice touch, getting to know the victim first and joining her on her last few days before her untimely death. 

As always Iceland is one of the main characters of the story and the dark, cold isolation of Kálfshamarsvík really comes through the pages. I could feel the bitter chill of the winter and the wildness of the sea crashing against the cliff bottoms. Such a lonely and sad place to die. 

On this case, Ari is back working with Tómas, his old boss as a favour and as a way to possibly move to a different police force. It was good to see them back together, though they seemed to have drifted apart in the time they haven't been working together as Tómas isn't aware of some major happenings in Ari's life. We also see more of Kristin in Whiteout and her and Ari's relationship is an interesting one. They've been through a lot together, but I personally don't know if they really work. 

As this is a sequel and a crime book, I won't be talking about the plot as I would never want to spoil anyone discovering what has happened on their own. As usual you can read this as a stand alone, but there are some minor spoilers from previous books, but nothing too major that I can recall. The translation is absolutely spot on and again you wouldn't know this was originally written in another language. I think this is so very important in translated books so as not to make the reading difficult and put anyone off trying more. 

Overall another excellent nordic noir from Ragnor Jónasson and one that has left me eagerly anticipating the next book in the Dark Iceland series. If you haven't already, go check out the series! 

I gave Whiteout 5 stars. 

About The Author


Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

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Saturday, 11 November 2017

Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett - Blog Tour Review


Who isn't excited about the next instalment of the Detective Kay Hunter series, Hell To Pay, by Rachel Amphlett? When I heard there was going to be a blog tour, I immediately jumped at the chance to be able to read, review and be a part! As you'll be able to tell from my review, I'm so glad I did. 

Hell To Pay 

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

My Review

Detective Kay Hunter is officially in my top detectives of all time. She's strong, intelligent, determined and I think a great role model. She does her job properly and even when things get personal, she stays professional to make sure the job gets done. 

Hell To Pay is the fourth instalment in the series, but though it is fully recommended to read the three previous books because of how good they are, this can be read as a stand alone as there is plenty of character development throughout. There are some spoilers for previous books though if you are planning on reading them all. 

I was completely sucked into this story and became increasingly invested in the outcome. When real life came knocking and I had to put the book down, I was constantly wondering what would happen next and how things would be resolved. There's a lot of tension and at times, you're nervously waiting to see if something would go wrong. 

I've grown to love detectives portrayed with a happy home life, instead of the tried and tested cranky, alcoholic loners (loveable though they may be) and I love the balance we are given, seeing Kay's home life with Adam and the simple joy she gets out of babysitting for some Guinea Pigs. I like how they are both so supportive of each other and their respective careers. It comes across as a very healthy relationship. 

Hell To Pay is incredibly well written and I thoroughly enjoyed my read, in fact I am already eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, just to see where it goes from here and what decisions Kay will make following everything that has happened to her. 

I gave this book 5 stars.

About The Author


Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Answers From Heaven by Theresa Cheung and Claire Broad - Blog Tour Review


Something a little different on Life Of A Nerdish Mum as I review Answers From Heaven by Theresa Cheung and Claire Broad. Thank you very much to Kim Nash for providing me a copy.

Answers from Heaven: Incredible True Stories of Heavenly Encounters and the Afterlife 

Answers from Heaven will be an authoritative, modern up to date classic book about afterlife communication.
Through true life stories of ordinary people who have had paranormal experiences, bestselling author Theresa Cheung and medium Claire Broad will show the various different ways that heaven is trying to answer our prayers, offer us comfort and provide proof of survival.
Chapters include: 
1. Messages from the other side 
2. Dreams from heaven 
3. Living and loving creatures in spirit 
4. Love from above 
5. Heaven is calling 
6. Conversations from Spirit 
7. Answers from higher realms 
8. Is anybody there? 
9. Your own answers from heaven.
By the end it is hoped that readers will have lost some of their fear of death, be more aware of when the spirit world is trying to contact them, have greater awareness of the scientific research available, understand that mediumship is an expression of eternal love and nothing to be feared and that it's possible for us all to ask questions and receive answers from the world of spirit.

My Review

Without getting into my own spirituality or beliefs too much, before I get into my review I thought it would be fair to explain that I went into reading this with an open mind. I do believe in something I just can't put a name or explanation to it. 

I really enjoyed how the book was written and was split between the two authors instead of combining them into just one voice. It gave Theresa Cheung the chance to explain things from someone who is fascinated by spirituality and mediumship and for Claire Broad to explain things from a more professional side. 

Both authors shared their own experiences with the spirit world as well as stories from other people. These stories were both touching and moving and brought me to tears at points. The stories don't just cover human spirits, but animal spirits too which I thought was really lovely. 

Answers From Heaven can be read all at once, or you can choose to pick it up and put it down at your leisure, reading whichever chapter calls to you at the time. Even if you aren't a believer, the book is extremely well written and is an interesting look at why and what people believe in. If you are a believer, then this book will speak to you and you will know there are other people who have experienced the things you have out there. There are also helpful facts from Claire Broad explaining how to get a genuine reading if that is something that you are interested in. 

Overall an extremely interesting book and one I am glad to have read. It hasn't changed my own thoughts or my beliefs, but it has reinforced my thought that belief or faith in something, as long as it isn't harmful in any way, can be beneficial to some people. I'd definitely recommend you give this book a try no matter whether you believe or not. 

About The Medium - Claire Broad


Claire Broad is an Institute of Spiritualist Mediums Registered and Approved Medium with over twenty years professional experience providing private sittings, public speaking and workshops. She is an experienced guest speaker who has contributed to many spiritual awareness events and has read for an eclectic mix of clients, including those from the scientific and medical communities. Before Mediumship, Claire worked in advertising and entertainment at several major firms including The Walt Disney Company Ltd. She lives in Hampshire with her family.

About The Author - Theresa Cheung

Theresa Cheung was born into a family of spiritualists and has a Masters in Theology and English from King’s College, Cambridge. She has sold almost half a million books and encyclopaedias about the psychic world, the afterlife and personal transformation over twenty years. Her spiritual books Heaven Called My Name (Piatkus 2016) and An Angel Healed Me (Simon & Schuster 2010) became Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers and have been translated into thirty languages.

For more information please visit http://www.theresacheung.com or follow her on Facebook @TheresaCheungAuthor

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