Friday 2 December 2022

The Family Tree Mystery by Peter Bartram - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life of a Nerdish Mum I am excited to be sharing my review of Peter Bartram's latest Colin Crampton mystery. I also get to share a juicy extract to tempt you in more! A big thank you to Peter for wanting me along on this tour and Anne of Ranom Things Tours as always. 

The Family Tree Mystery 

Brighton crime reporter Colin Crampton gets on the trail of a big story when Hobart Birtwhistle, a distant relative of feisty model Shirley Goldsmith, is mysteriously murdered.

Colin and Shirley team up to investigate the case. Spiky history don, Victoria Nettlebed, suggests the mystery may lie a century earlier in the life of an Australian gold prospector… and the death of his partner.

But does Nettlebed know more than she’s telling? And why did cockney metals trader Lionel Bruce meet Birtwhistle days before his death?

Shirley wants Colin to track down her long-lost relatives. But more murders bring the threat closer to home. The pair tangle with London East End gangsters, an eccentric Scottish lord, and a team of women cricketers in their hunt for the truth.

There are laughs alongside the action as Colin and Shirley uncover the shocking secrets of the family tree. And Shirley has one last surprise for Colin.

My Review

I always look forward to picking up a Colin Crampton mystery, Peter's writing is so warm and inviting that it makes me feel like my best friend is telling me a really interesting story. The setting of the 60's, as I have said before and will say again is a character all by itself. It's not in your face, but it's so natural and it doesn't feel forced when people use things that were normal in that era. Solving mysteries took skill, patience and time, there was no nipping on google or sending a quick email. Agood phone voice was definitely an asset.

Colin and Shirley are so cute and I really enjoy their relationship as it evolves through the story an across the books. Shirley is so strong and independant, but she needs Colin in her own way. Colin, always the awkward charmer will do anything for her. Maybe the mysteries should now be Crampton and Goldsmith mysteries? The additional characters in The Family Tree Mystery all have wonderfully wacky, but realistic names as always and their character development is on point, even when they are only smaller supporting characters. 

The plot and murders are done with the usual class and don't take away from the cosy tone of the story. It had me guessing a long time with the clever writing. The final plot reveal made me squeal so loud. Long time readers of the Crampton mysteries will be very, very happy! 

I fully loved reading Peter Bartram's newest mystery and as always I will eagerly wait in anticipation for the next in the series! 

I gave this book a big 5 stars.

Sneaky Extract

Brighton crime reporter Colin Crampton has had one of those
days. First, one of his girlfriend’s relatives was murdered.
Then his news editor has been on his back for more scoops.
And, finally, when he arrives back at his lodgings, his
landlady, Beatrice “the Widow” Gribble, wants a big favour.
Now read on…

It was almost midnight by the time I arrived back at my
I had a suite of rooms on the top floor of a house in
Regency Square. “Suite” sounds a bit posh. There was a small
sitting room with squeaky floorboards. There was a bathroom
where the cold tap dripped. And there was a bedroom tucked
under the eaves, where I lie awake at night listening to the
seagulls scrabbling around on the roof.
The place was presided over by Mrs Beatrice Gribble, known
to her tenants (behind her back) as the Widow. Her husband
Hector had expired, probably from boredom, a few years
earlier. There was a photo of him on the mantelpiece in the
Widow’s parlour. He looked like he wanted nothing so much as
the earth to swallow him up.
After Hector’s death, the Widow was faced with keeping a
five-storey house going without any income. So reluctantly,
she turned to the landlady game. She got her own back by
making her tenants’ lives a constant battle for sanity – not
least in my case.
I inserted my key in the lock and turned it silently. As I
opened the front door, I applied a well-practised upward force
to the handle to stop the hinges creaking. I closed the door
behind me and crept towards the stairs.
I had my foot on the first tread when the Widow shot out of
her parlour. She was wearing a royal-blue quilted dressing
gown that came down to her ankles and pink pom-pom slippers.
She’d put her hair in curlers under some sort of net
arrangement. She’d smothered white cream on her face so she
looked like the lead in The Ghost and Mrs Muir. On second
thoughts, perhaps not. In the film, the ghost was played by
Rex Harrison wearing a full beard. The Widow only had a thin
moustache along her upper lip.
She said in the ingratiating tone she usually saved for
titled ladies and bank managers: “Mr Crampton, you’re a man of
the world.”
I said: “Actually, I’m an alien from Mars and I’m just
going back to my mother ship to sleep.”
The Widow’s face cracked into what may have been a smile.
“You know I don’t have aliens here. Or travelling salesmen.”
“I thought we were missing something good.”
“Can you spare a minute?”
“As days on Mars are thirty-nine minutes longer than Earth,
I suppose I might manage one.”
It was usually quicker to let the Widow have her say.
The Widow said: “My cousin Christine in Solihull has passed
“You’d told me before she was moving to Cleethorpes.”
“She’s been called to a higher place.”
“Mr Crampton, Christine is dead.”
“She’ll have to cancel the Cleethorpes move, then.”
“And now there are arguments about who should inherit her
portrait of Lady Amelia Fogge? It’s by that artist who sounds
as though he was in the army. Corporal, was it?”
“Do you mean Sargent?”
“Yes, I think he was the brush twiddler.”
John Singer Sargent was more than a brush twiddler. He’d
been a top player in the paint-your-portrait game. Everybody
who was anybody in Edwardian society at the turn of the
century had their ugly mug slapped on a canvas by Sargent in
his finest oils. Now he was long dead, a decent portrait by
him could easily sell for twenty or thirty thousand pounds. No
wonder the Widow wanted to get her grubby fingers on it.
I said: “Surely, Christine’s will sets out who gets the
“She didn’t have a will.”
“She died intestate?”
“No, in a nursing home.”
“If there’s no will, her goods and chattels go to her next
of kin. Is that you?”
“It could be.”
“What relation were you to Christine?”
“Sort of a cousin.”
“What sort?”
“The sort that couldn’t stand her. She always had her nose
stuck in the air. The type that thinks she’s better than
anyone else.”
“You didn’t like her but you want her picture,” I said.
“Isn’t that just a teensy-weensy bit hypocritical?”
“I didn’t say I didn’t like the picture.”
I shrugged. “Well, I can’t see why you need my help.”
“Because Christine kept the picture in a vault. A bank
vault. I rang up the bank manager today, but he wouldn’t let
me have it. I want you to write him a letter. On my behalf.”
“Much better you do it yourself.”
“I wouldn’t know what to say – how to put it right. You
have a way with words.”
The Widow gave me a big blousy wink. “There’d be something
in it for you,” she said. “That new rug for your bedroom
you’ve been going on about.”
I staged a long yawn to show how unimpressed I was. “I’ll
think about it,” I said.
I powered up the stairs. Behind me, I heard the Widow slam
the door to her parlour.

* The Family Tree Mystery, book 7 in the Deadline Murder
series, by Peter Bartram, is available as a paperback (£8.99)
or e-book for Kindle (£2.99 until 31 December, then £4.99)

About the Author

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime
mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous - the action is matched by the laughs.
The books feature a host of colourful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain's
most trend-setting towns.
You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle from 
Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and
magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in
journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in
locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham
Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers Association.
Follow Peter on Facebook at 

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Thursday 14 April 2022

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm so happy to be back in the warm embrace of an Orenda Books and Random Things book tour! 

I am kicking off the tour for The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen with my review. 

The Rabbit Factor

An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri's relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

My Review 

Going in to reading The Rabbit Factor I already knew that I would enjoy the writing style as I have read and enjoy Antti Tuomainen's writing before. It didn't disappoint and his clever sense of humour shone through this smoothly written book. 

As there is a mystery to the story, I won't be talking too much about the plot line. However I would be remiss if I didn't mention how incredibly well woven the tale was and the pacing of the writing matched what was happening during each chapter. It wasn't a heart pounding race to the end, and that really worked with developing the character of Henri and the background of the adventure park (not amusement park). 

Henri is truly wonderful and I found very likeable. The way he tries to deal with things so logically and that while it occasionally works, he shows so much growth throughout the book and develops a wider range of methods. He shows both through his dealing with out of the box situations and a romance that he's not what anyone, including himself, would expect. 

Overall an absolute pleasure to read and I'll definitely be continuing to read anything by Antti Tuomainen. I gave this book five stars. 

About The Author 

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his
literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author Iin 2013, the Finnish press crowned
Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published.
With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge
the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The
Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona
and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with
Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His
latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the
Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award,
and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

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Saturday 2 April 2022

A Very Alice Easter


Blackburn BID are hosting an Easter Wonderland Adventure and today kicked off the Easter and half term activities in the town centre.

The themed trails are always a huge hit with the kids and this Alice in Wonderland trail was most definitely one of the best ones we've been to. Because it was the first day, there were characters around who you could meet and intereact with. They also gave special words as clues to complete a phrase in the trail booklet. When this was completed, the kids both got an easter lolly for getting it right. 

We decided to visit all the characters first before going on the decorated egg hunt, the characters we met were...


We met Alice first and she was absolutely wonderful. She was in the Mall and was having a round of pin the smile on the Cheshire Cat with the kids. Thea put her smile on almost perfectly and Tristan made it look like it was wearing a hat. 

The Mad Hatter

We found the Mad Hatter down a rabbit hole in Mad Hatters Cupcakes and Tearooms. He was as mad as a box of frogs and had riddles for the kids to solve. Thea wasn't a big fan and left, but came back with the added bravery of a marshmellow lolly. Tristan thought he was brilliant and solved his riddle to get the word clue. 

The Queen of Hearts

My favourite character and costume! The Queen was outside of the cathedral and the kids managed to have a game of croquet with her without losing either of their heads! 

The King of Hearts

The King of Hearts was avoiding his wife and hiding out in Geek Retreat. He was busy playing memory games. I absolutely loved the giant cards and the kids were so happy finding pairs. 

The White Rabbit 

The White Rabbit was celebrating one of their many Un-Birthdays in the market. Thea decided she had a lot of Un-Birthdays too and both kids managed to solve the riddle for our last word clue. 

Once we'd met all the characters, we stopped for a bit of dinner and then went on the easter egg hunt. There are 9 eggs hidden around the town centre that have all been decorated by local schools. Each one has information about it and the answers to the questions in the trail booklet. Tristan's favourite thing to do is a treasure hunt/trail, so he was really happy using the map to figure out where all the eggs were. I got confused by the map and used the list of places instead! 

The egg hunt is on till the 16th of April and there's a chance to win £100 in vouchers if you fill in the trail booklet questions and hand back in at the Ask Me point in the Mall. There are also activites on daily which all look really fun, so I'm sure we'll be back another day to check them out.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

The Lion And The Unicorn by Tom Ward - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm closing out the blog tour for The Lion And The Unicorn by Tom Ward. A big thank you to both the author and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

The Lion And The Unicorn

London, 2054. After a devastating global pandemic and a bloody revolution,
Britain’s new government imposes peace by stringently dictating the nation’s
cultural intake. In the quest to create better citizens, everything from the
television we watch to the clothes we wear is strictly policed. As part of the unit
tasked with upholding these so-called ‘Bad Taste Laws’, H. and his partner,
Bagby, have their work cut out.

When former reality TV star Caleb Jennings is found murdered, some suspect it
could be a simple vigilante slaying. But, as H. digs deeper into the killing,
Bagby’s association with old revolutionary figureheads is called into question.

With the help of Caleb’s estranged sister, the museum curator Kate Faron, H.
must navigate a Britain in which paranoia and suspicion of the unknown are
rife, all the while dealing with the mysterious tech behemoth Vangelis, new
revolutionary murmurings, and the legacy of Kate’s biologist parents.

Compelled by what he uncovers, H. begins to question his loyalty to the state at
a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious.

My Review

I have read many dystopian works of fiction and many murder mysteries, but The Lion And The Unicorn is my first with both mixed together and it really, really works! I really felt the different politics and morality laws added a whole extra layer of intrigue. 

The main character H is neither a traditional grizzled detective or a teenaged saviour and so is very relatable and deals with issues in ways that anyone would. I found myself debating what I would do in his place and most of the time I'd do exactly what he did. I really enjoyed his thought process and the feelings that followed. 

As the story takes place following a pandemic and the following fall out, it was very close to home as everything is not really that much of a stretch to imagine with the direction certain real life politics are heading. In some ways this made the story even more immersive as I could picture how situations would come about and obviously I still have very strong feelings about living through a pandemic. 

Overall a really excellent book. I really enjoyed the writing style and the story was wonderfully planned out. There were enough twists that kept me wanting to know what happened next. I would love to read more from Tom Ward. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

About The Author

Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including

Wired, Esquire and National Geographic.

He has won the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine

Journalist of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for The People's Book
Prize. He is also a graduate of the Faber Academy.

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Tuesday 24 August 2021

Gorilla by Christine Hamm - Blog Tour Review

Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I am sharing my review of Gorilla by Christine Hamm. A big thank you to the author and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.


Poetry. Women's Studies. Winner of the 2019 Tenth Gate Prize. This surreal series of prose poems, harmonic and jarring, pops the reader into a world where the animal is a danger-suit we might all don, or is a force of chaos that breaks families, or America's unconscious hatred of women. Perhaps it is our world, perhaps more real than surreal. One of the most unusual investigations of gender and family, this collection disorders and disturbs, knowing that upending the status quo makes the best manners of all.

My Review

I'm so happy I "discovered" poetry a few years ago, it's so easy to check out different genres and types and finding your own favourite method is really fun to do. I love poems that tell a story and Gorilla definitely falls into this category, each poem itself tells a tale and there's also a running thread through the whole collection. 

Gorilla is on of the more challenging poetry collections I've read. The use of magical realism alongside anthropomorphism it at times meant I had to read the poem a second time to ensure I'd understood what I had read. This is not a bad thing! Poetry should be re read as you pick up something different each time you read. 

I was listening to a lot of Kate Bush while reading this, which I really felt enhanced the experience and feeling of being just on the edge of reality. 

The poems are written beautifully and I could definitely feel the emotion and I identified myself in more than one of them. 

Overall a really excellent collection and I'll be excited to read more poetry by the author. 

I gave this book 4 stars. 

About The Author

Christine E. Hamm, queer & disabled English Professor, social worker and student of ecopoetics, has a PhD in English, and lives in New Jersey.  She recently won the Tenth Gate prize from Word Works for her manuscript, Gorilla.  She has had work featured in North American Review, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly and many others. She has published six chapbooks, and several books -- including Saints & Cannibals, about which Cynthia Cruz said, "Joyfully acrobatic is her language and the wonderful jumps she makes. Hers is a voice we have been waiting for."

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Wednesday 21 July 2021

Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I'm taking part in the blog tour for Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater. A big shout out to the author as always and thank you to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for having me along. 


Welcome to Tecant.

Nothing ever happens here.

Until today.

Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which “liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.

Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.

He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.

Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.

And if he fails, he’ll be dead.

My Review

Another absolute page turner in the Lost Solace series by Karl Drinkwater! I flew through this do quickly because I just couldn't put it down.

I will never not be amazed at how much character development and world building that Karl Drinkwater can bring to a story, I become completely invested in the character and Ruabon was no different. Ruabon has depth and complexity and it was so interesting seeing what he would do next. 

The tone throughout is both thrilling and intense as you watch the scenes unfold. 

You can tell in all his work, but particularly in the Lost Solace series, just how much time Karl Drinkwater spends researching things and making sure the science in his world works. It's technically written, but doesn't exclude people who aren't technically minded. 

A really wonderful addition to the series and another 5 stars from me. 

About The Author

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”. Karl is an active member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.






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Friday 16 July 2021

Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater - Blog Tour Review

Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I'm extremely happy to be sharing my review of Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater. A big thank you to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources and of course Karl Drinkwater for having me along. 


If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.

Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.

Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.

I hate them.

And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.

My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.

And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.

My Review

I am always incredibly excited to read anything new by Karl Drinkwater (I really should share a photo of my Karl Drinkwater book shelf!) and that wasn't any different this time. I'm completely invested in anything Lost Solace too, it's definitely one of my favourite Sci Fi worlds. 

Never underestimate just how much world building and character development that Karl Drinkwater can fit in a novella. Even though Clarissa is just over 100 pages long, I was so absorbed and felt like I learned so much without it being an info dump. 

I really feel like Clarissa is a really believable ten year old girl, I definitely related the way she thought at times to how I was back then (I know that was a while ago). She's so strong and observant, but considering who her sister is I'm not surprised. She's easily become one of my favourite characters in this series. 

In Clarissa you can definitely tell that Karl Drinkwater writes horror and I think the combination of the genres is perfect. They really compliment each other. I love how he knows when to bring it in for maximum effect.

As always I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and I always want more. I gave this book 5 stars and will continue to recommend this series to everyone!! 

About The Author

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”. Karl is an active member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.


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Thursday 24 June 2021

Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB - Blog Tour Review


Today Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm taking part in the blog tour for Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB. A big thank you to the author, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

Preacher Boy 

Dr Harrison Lane is everything you wouldn’t expect from a man with a psychology doctorate. For victims, he’s everything they need.

As Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Ritualistic Behavioural Crime Unit, Dr Harrison Lane knows his Voodoo from his Aum Shinrikyo and a Satanist from a Shaman.
Harrison had an unusual childhood, raised by a bohemian mother and one of the native American Shadow Wolves - the elite tracking squad that works with US Drug enforcers. After his mother’s murder, he dedicated his life to finding those who hide behind spiritualism and religion to do evil. 

Following the discovery of a missing boy’s body in what looks like a Satanic killing, Harrison is called in to help detectives. When a second boy is snatched, it becomes a race against time to save him, and sees Harrison come face-to-face with some dark secrets from his own childhood.

My Review 

Preacher Boy is the first in a new series by Gwyn GB and it's the first book I've read by the author, but it won't be the last. 

The story is fast paced from the start and pulls you right in. I found it hard to put down at times to do adulting when I wanted to know what would happen next. 

The writing is excellent and I really enjoyed Dr Harrison Lane, though I would have liked to get to know him a bit more. There are two more books due out, so I'm sure gaps will be filled in as the series progresses. It certainly makes me want to read the next book to get more information. 

Though kidnapping is a sensitive subject, especially one involving children, the author desks with it in as respectfully as possible. 

Overall a really good read and I look forward to the rest of the series. 

I gave this book 4 stars 

About The Author

Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author. Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.

Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.

You can find out more about Gwyn at
Or on social media:

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In Other Words: Eight Stories, Eight Unheard Voices - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I'm sharing my review of a very special book - In Other Words. A big thank you to the authors, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

In Other Words 

A shift in the nature of light reveals an eighth colour in the visible spectrum. A boy befriends the last tree in the natural world. A single mother finds help at the darkest point of her life. A young man finds himself trapped in a university overrun by crows.

These stories and more form In Other Words, an anthology as diverse as the writers themselves. Some cover trauma, societal issues and stigma; others offer fragments of hope and light. Some reach back in time while others transport us to another dimension altogether. There is heartbreak, wit, humour, poignancy and above all a mastery of the imagination.

What these transcendent stories share is that they were created by autistic writers, people often dismissed as unimaginative or incapable of creativity a myth that has persisted for generations. This collection hopes to shatter those stereotypes, those misconceptions and misunderstandings, and the perception that one must be neurotypical to be afforded a voice in the arts.

My Review

What a wonderful and perfect anthology of short stories! Not one story was less than another and each was extremely enjoyable in a different way. 

I laughed, cried and wondered throughout and feel I went through a whole gamut of emotions in between. I've been trying to decide if I had a favourite story, but genuinely I think it'd be unfair to make me choose and as it's my review I decided to say they're all my favourite, just for different reasons. 

The level of writing skill in each story is amazing and some beautiful prose is used. What Mainspring Arts have done to be able for this work to be shared is commendable as we might have missed out on some amazing new authors. 

I absolutely loved reading In Other Words and I will be getting myself a hard copy to keep in my collection. 

100% 5 stars for this anthology. 

About Mainspring Arts

Mainspring Arts, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making the arts
inclusive, diverse, and accessible to all, was founded in 2015 by Katya Balen and
Miranda Prag. They were frustrated by the lack of diversity in the arts, where
neurotypical and non-disabled actors or writers frequently assume the roles or
voices of neurodivergent people, or those with disabilities. Katya and Miranda
believe those people should be able to tell their own stories, and Mainspring
Arts exists to help them do it. @mainspring_arts

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Tuesday 22 June 2021

Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen by Erin French -Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm proud to be part of the blog tour for Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen by Erin French. A big thank you to the author, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen

Erin French grew up barefoot on a 25-acre farm in Maine, fell in love with food as a teenager working the line at her dad's diner and found her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant The Lost Kitchen, tucked into a 19th century mill--now a world-renowned dining destination.

In Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen, Erin tells her story of multiple rock-bottoms, from medical student to pregnant teen, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but ripped away her very sense of self. And of her son who became her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food--as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of creating community and making something of herself, despite seemingly impossible odds.

Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin French's rollercoaster memoir reveals struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and the passion and courage behind the fairytale success of The Lost Kitchen

My Review

What an inspiring and emotional read. Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen, allows you to follow Erin French on her journey from developing her love of food and cooking to the darkest times of Erin's life, to finding herself again. 

The writing is beautiful and flows so naturally, you don't realise how much you've read as it's been so easy to read. If Erin ever decided to become an author of fiction I'm sure she'd be amazing. The way she described experiences and places, really made me feel like I was there and participating. I was really involved in her life. 

There are bits throughout which are hard reading due to the subject matter. Reading about addiction and what it can do to you, especially when you're so involved with the person and are rooting for them so much. Knowing the outcome definitely helped getting through those parts. I feel privileged that Erin decided to share her life with us. 

An absolutely amazing read and one that will stay with me. 

5 stars. 

About The Author

Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in
Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME
Magazine. Booking is by postcard ballot on the first day of spring with over 20,000
postcards received last season. Erin French has written for The New York Times,
Martha Stewart Living and The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, The Lost Kitchen
Cookbook, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award and named one of the
best 2017 cookbooks by The Washington Post and Vogue. Erin French will host The
Lost Kitchen TV show on Joanna and Chip Gaines’ new television network, the
Magnolia Network, launching in March 2021.

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Thursday 10 June 2021

She Never Told Me About The Ocean by Elisabeth Sharp McKetta - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I am happy to be taking part in the blog tour for She Never Told Me About The Ocean by Elisabeth Sharp McKetta. A big thank you as always to the publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

She Never Told Me About The Ocean

Told by four women whose stories nest together, She Never Told Me About the Ocean is an  epic about a rite of passage that all humans undergo and none remember: birth. 

Eighteen-year-old Sage has been mothering her mother for as long as she can remember, and  as she arrives on the shores of adulthood, she learns a secret: before she was born, she had an  older brother who drowned. In her search to discover who he was and why nobody told her,  Sage moves to tiny Dragon Island where her mother grew up. There, she embarks on a quest to  learn the superstitions of the island, especially its myths involving her mother. Gathering  stories from Ilya, a legendary midwife who hires Sage as her apprentice; Marella, Sage’s  grieving mother who was named for the ocean yet has always been afraid of it; and Charon, the  Underworld ferrywoman who delivers souls to the land of the dead, Sage learns to stop  rescuing her mother and simply let go. But when her skill as Ilya’s apprentice enables her to  rescue her mother one final time, in a way that means life or death, Sage must shed her  inherited fears and become her own woman.

My Review

This is the first book I have read by Elisabeth Sharp McKetta and it definitely won't be the last! I'm going to have to find all her back catalogue to work through I enjoyed She Never Told Me About The Ocean so much. 

She Never Told Me About The Ocean is such a beautifully written book and the language is poetic and pulls you into a world of folklore and myths. I absolutely love learning about both of these things so this really spoke to me and I was fascinated. 

The characters are extremely real and the story is very character driven. I always love reading multiple POV books as you get an insight into more characters than just the main character. 

Overall a very compelling read and one I have recommended to friends. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

About The Author

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta grew up in Austin, Texas. She holds literature degrees from Harvard, Georgetown, and the University of Texas at Austin and teaches writing for the Harvard Extension School and the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. She is the author of eight books: We Live in Boise, Energy: The Life of John J. McKetta Jr., Fear of the Deep, Fear of the Beast, Poetry for Strangers Vols. I and II, The Creative Year: 52 Workshops for Writers, and The Fairy Tales Mammals Tell. She Never Told Me About the Ocean is her first novel.

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The Family Tree Mystery by Peter Bartram - Blog Tour Review

  Today on Life of a Nerdish Mum I am excited to be sharing my review of Peter Bartram's latest Colin Crampton mystery. I also get to sh...