Book Review #38 TIME OF OUR LIVES by Jane Costello

This is the second time that I have read this book and I enjoyed it just as much this time as before. It was a shame that I could remember the twist though because reading it, and not knowing the twist, was brilliant.

I laughed out loud whilst reading this book which got me a few funny looks on the beach from the french locals on holiday. I also cried, which worried my husband a bit before I composed myself enough to be able to explain why.

The Time of Our Lives by [Costello, Jane]

The main character, Imogen, is a single mum who has never been able to afford a luxury holiday especially since raising her daughter single handedly. Her heavily pregnant friend, Merideth, has won a holiday and uses it have some much needed girl time before the baby arrives. Along with another friend Nicola, they embark on the holiday of their dreams. Of course it does not quite go to plan.

Imogen is hounded by work the whole time after a PR disaster, Merideth is not the best room mate, a new love interest opens old wounds for Imogen that we witness her struggle through, and other various hilarious and disastrous events that lead to this best seller.

Written from Imogen’s point of view, we follow her difficult journey getting over her last relationship with Florence’s father.

I read it in a few hours; granted, I was on holiday (therefore not doing much else apart from sunbathing and eating ice creams) and I have read it before, but it is a wonderful read.

If you fancy a funny, touching women’s fiction then this is definitely for you.

I give it 5 stars. It is very different from the fantasy I usually read so not full of the world building and description I am used to but I loved it.

Have you got any more women’s contemporary recommendations for me? Let me know.

Here is a link to the book on The Time of Our Lives Amazon (this is an associates link).


Book Review #37 LEGACY by Michelle Lowe

LEGACY was sent to me as an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Due to a number of reasons, that I will not bore you with, it has taken me a long time to finish reading and review. This is no reflection on the novel itself. I really enjoyed it!

Publisher: Nordland Publishing

Available: 28 Aug 2016

LEGACY is a steam punk, fantasy.

Indigo Peachtree has spent his life making toys for children.

The kindly old toymaker has carried a secret with him that he wants to keep hidden. Yet as with most secrets they tend to come up to the surface.

Tarquin Norwich has learned of a journal containing everything Indigo desperately wants to protect. When Indigo goes underground, Tarquin seeks help from a witch. The witch–Mother of Craft–tells him that to find Indigo, and his journal, he will need two outlaw brothers.

Tarquin sends his children, Archie and Clover, across the English Channel to snare Pierce Landcross, the first of the two outlaws, while Tarquin and his eldest son, Ivor, capture Pierce’s estranged brother, Joaquin. All in an effort to find the missing toymaker.

As Pierce is being pulled back to England, his desperate situation turns around when he’s saved by a crew of Apache privateers known as the Sea Warriors. And instead of fleeing with his seabound mates, Pierce decides to return to England to try to save his old friend, Indigo.

Going back means Pierce will encounter old dangers…as well as face a past he’d much rather leave behind.

Description taken from Goodreads

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book, is that there are several characters within it that I care about. Michelle cleverly links together the lives of a few characters that are motivated by different reasons. Their lives become entangled in a beautiful web that we get to watch as they become more ensnared with each other for better or worse.

The brotherly and sisterly bond between Clover and Archie is moving to witness. As a young girl, Clover is insightful, smart and lovable. Archie is frantically trying to protect his secret and keep Clover innocent and safe. 

Pierce is a fabulous character. Quite simply, I adore him.

He is a flawed yet compassionate thief who I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. I found his history fascinating and his personal struggles intriguing. 

This is a good book. I connected well with the characters. The plot was interesting and I definitely want to continue following the story in the next in the series. I think that the world building was good but not as ‘beautiful’ (for want of a better word) as I have read on other books. There was nothing in the description that wowed me or left me in awe, but otherwise, it was a book that I feel privileged to have been able to read.

I give this book 3 stars *** and recommend it to you.

Here’s the Pinterest board I created whilst reading it:

My current view. Just saying. Liguria Lane Cottage Niagara-on-the-lake, Canada


Welp! I’m off on holiday tomorrow and am so excited I am hardly contain myself. It’s a big one, trip if a lifetime territory.

Canada here we come!

So, I will be out of action for a while but before I go I wanted to let you know what I’ll be reading while away. You know… the holiday reading.

I have three books but am taking my Kindle so may add another if I need it for the flight home.

Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

I love the films and really wanted to see how the book compares – get into Jason Bourne’s head more. I also love a bit of action film and think I should read more books in that vein too.

Available on Amazon* and Book Depository

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I have had this book recommended from several sources and had some gift card money left for Waterstones so how could I resist? Huh? It has also been used as a comparison/ favourite title on a few PitchWars Mentors bios (more on that in a mo). Needless to say, it looks like my kinda book.

Available on Amazon* and Book Depository

Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri

This is an Netgalley ARC that I just had approved in exchange for an honest review. It will be published January 2017. It’s a thriller. Eek!

If I buy any more I’ll let you know and, of course, review them.

Available to preorder on Amazon* and Book Depository


Whilst away I will also be submitting to #PitchWars run by the fabulous Brenda Drake. Here is the information about the competition. This will take some organisation which I will have to sort today. So with that in mind, I need to continue getting ready to go.

There maybe some quick holiday updates over the next few days, but for now, happy summer holidays!

*This is an associates link.

Pinterest Plans

I have decided to trial a new thing where I create a Pinterest board for new book reviews.

I think it would help my followers to maybe get an idea of the type of things/plots/descriptions contained within the novel.

I have started with THE BONE SPARROW by Zana Fraillon

After reading the book I chose some images that I felt represented it and created this board. I hope you like it. It is a beautiful, moving book, read my review here.

I have also created a board for the YA fantasy I have written and am currently querying with agents, (at the moment called TAKARA: THE JOURNEY HOME). This is the first time I have shared this publicly so I am a little nervous. I started to draw up character sketches but they may take a while. My main character is a shape-shifter: she morphs into a cougar. As you can see the setting is beautiful and wolves make an appearance too.

I hope that by Pinterest boards will help people get a feel for the books that I am reviewing.

Just started LEGACY by Michelle Lowe which I will review as soon as I have finished.

Book Review #36 THE BONE SPARROW by Zana Fraillon

cover88328-mediumThis ARC was sent to me via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you to the author Zana Fraillon and Hachette Children’s Group for this opportunity.


Edition: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781510101548

PRICE: £12.99 (GBP)

Publication Date: 14th July 2016

Description courtesy of

Subhi is a refugee who has spent all ten years of his life in a detention centre. Jimmie is a girl who lives on the Outside. Beautiful, vivid, and deeply moving, The Bone Sparrow is an important, timely story of survival and bravery, perfect for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This novel reminds us all of the importance of freedom, hope, and the power of a story to speak for anyone who’s ever struggled to find a safe home.

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck – both talismans of her family’s past and the mother she’s lost – Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.

As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie’s family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

This novel introduces the readers to the Rohingya people and their plight. Fleeing from Burma, where they are considered stateless entities, many left risking life and limb trying to find a new home.

Written in the first person, we are introduced to Subhi and a little bit of magic realism that runs through the novel. Subhi talks about the night sea and the treasures that it brings him from his ba (father). In the refugee camp there are only cramped, poor, damp, inadequate living conditions but Subhi tries to find pleasure and purpose in his day to day life. Born in the camp he relies on stories, magazines and his imagination to picture a world outside of the fence. He is yet to see anything outside the fence through his own eyes.

The jackets (wardens) are harsh except for one who tries to add a little joy to the lives of the children in the camp with simple things like a small paddling pool to keep the children cool in the scorching weather.

One night a young girl from the local houses comes into the camp finding a weakness in the fence. Jimmie’s mum has died and left her dad broken. Jimmie has a book from her mum but cannot read it. Subhi can read, so through Jimmie asking Subhi to read the book to her a beautiful friendship is established.

Night after night she sneaks in and Subhi reads a story about Jimmie’s ancestors. As the story progresses so the life in the camp changes. Subhi’s Maá (mother) is eating less and less, his sister Queeny is increasingly angry at their situation and when his friend Eli gets moved from the family zone to the male adult zone, when he is obviously too young, events take a devastating turn.

This is a moving piece of writing by Zana, the poor standards of life that she makes us aware of through this book is shocking. But the story is not overwhelmed by the point that Zana is trying to make. The story itself is beautiful and well thought out.

I would encourage you to read this book and perhaps do some research  for yourself about the plight of refugees around the world.

I give this book 3 stars. I liked it, it made me think, I recommended it to a friend. I think the only thing stopping me from making it four stars is the magical element. This is purely personal taste- magical realism is something I struggle to connect with.

THE BONE SPARROW is available for preorder on Amazon* and will be released on the 14th July.


* This is an associates link

Here is a link to a Pinterest board I created inspired by this novel.

Pimp my Bio #PitchWars 2016

Mother’s Day hello hi mother's day movie julia roberts

It’s that time again! Time to start stalking  researching the mentors on Twitter, websites and blogs to find out who I want to apply to.

I love this competition! I haven’t won, I didn’t even get partials requested… so why do I love it?

The community, support, encouragement and advice that you get just by participating is amazing!

A little about me

I am a primary school teacher who loves talking to the class about books. I often get caught up in conversations about which books we love, how they made us feel, the ‘Read-the-book-before-you-watch-the-film’ argument.

I always tell the children to look at the way their favourite authors write, the language they use, how they build tension, etc. I also encourage them to reach for their dreams and I can’t wait to stand in front of them with my published book and say,

“If I can achieve my dream, so can you.”

My Submission

My YA, high fantasy is about a girl who was found abandoned on the streets of London at the age of six with no memory of who she is or where she came from. Now sixteen, April is still battling her insecurities and abandonment issues when she is kidnapped to another world. She learns that she is Takara of the Cougray, a shape-shifter and a powerful sorceress.

TAKARA: THE JOURNEY HOME is all about the Takara’s struggle for identity, dealing with mental health issues, the horrors of war and being torn between two worlds.

Pinterest Board

Here is my Pinterest board for TAKARA. Just getting started on some character sketches.



  • I started this blog in July 2015 for book reviews (have a little look if you fancy it)
  • One day a week I lead forest skills, mentoring and Sandtray therapy helping children at my school deal with the many issues they may be facing.
  • I  love adventure and have been sky-diving, white water rafting and bungee jumping in the past.
  • I got into reading after my teacher read THE HOBBIT to the class when I was nine-years-old. Thank you Mrs Allinson!
  • Find me on twitter @pike_jp


Thank you to Lana Pattinson for hosting the mentee bio blogs. See other links on her website.

Milestone with my followers


Thank you to all my followers!

It may be a small milestone to some, but achieving now 55 followers, in the last 11 months, is just fabulous.

I am currently tweaking the site, changing menus and widgets and such, in the hope of making my site easier to navigate. Please stick around and comment on my blog posts.

Thanks again.