Author Archives: mumjd

Shark Bait by Matt Walker

I have received a free e-copy of the book Shark Bait by Matt Walker to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Shark Bait by Matt Walker

Here is the book blurb.

“I’m no hero. I’m a Licensed Vigilante. And I kill people for a living.” Government hitman John Steele has just completed his current contract, and has the bullet wound to show for it. That’s when he meets a vicious criminal loan shark called Gary Brooker. But Brooker has got his own problems. He’s picked on the wrong guy.

I was drawn into the story just by the opening line “The worst time to get pulled over by the cops is when you have a body in the boot”. However John Steele is able to show the police his LV (licensed vigilante) ID card and drive away with the bad guy banging from inside the boot.

But the Carlucci drug gang that he has just busted are not the only baddies in town. On his way to hospital, he spots a man, Jeremy in some distress in the road. John lends him his phone to call his wife and then drives him home, where a goon is waiting outside in a van. From what he has overheard both on the phone call and from the goon speaking, John works out that Jeremy has a loan shark Gary Brooker on his back and he is not happy when he sees Jeremy hand over his Dad’s war medals. John decides to follow the goon to get the medals back. He waits until the goon has handed them to Gary, then follows Gary’s Porsche and deliberately rams it at the traffic light, before punching Gary and another goon Baz and robbing Gary of the medals.

When John finally gets to the hospital, he sees Jeremy being wheeled in unconscious. Looks like Gary has been back again. So John gets further embroiled into this when he should be hot-footing it out of town, since more of the Carlucci clan are after him now. Meanwhile Gary has other problems, so lots more to the storyline.

I really liked how the different parts to the story aren woven together, along with John’s background too.

Shark Bait is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A good thriller with lots of twists.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Blondies

Now I’m sure almost everyone knows what type of cake Brownies are, but I’ve always been intrigued as to Blondies. I had never seen one and I guessed that they were similar, but made from white chocolate. I decided to look up a recipe to try making some and found that I was on the right track, but not quite correct. I have adapted my recipe from this one which uses pecans that I found on the Waitrose website, as the boys are not keen on pecans.


Blondies

Blondies

Ingredients (makes 16)

150g butter
150g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
few drops vanilla extract
250g plain flour
100g white chocolate

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 degree C.
Line a 21cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Chop the white chocolate into small pieces
Melt the butter and both sugars in a pan over a low heat, stirring to combine.
Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs in a jug, then whisk into the butter and sugar mixture along with the vanilla.
Beat in the flour.
Stir chocolate into the mixture.
Spoon mixture into the tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until risen and golden on top.
Allow to cool in the tin.
Slice into 16 squares.
Serve and enjoy.

blondies

These were delicious. I’ll certainly be making them again. And I’d love to hear about when you were surprised by a recipe.

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Taking Care of Business by J. D. De Roeck

I have received a free e-copy of the book Taking Care of Business by J. D. De Roeck to review.

Taking Care of Business by J. D. De Roeck

Here is the book blurb.

When Paul Smith travels to the south of France for a sales conference, events conspire to drag him into a world of kidnappings, blackmail and murder. Following a violent incident, Paul instinctively offers refuge to a girl he believes to be a vulnerable lost soul in a desperate situation, only to find that all is not as it appears. Unwittingly, he finds himself caught between competing international crime syndicates as they go to war, and two powerful Russian families as they fight for control of a vast Russian conglomerate. What begins as a routine business trip to Nice, turns into a journey of self-discovery that takes him to some of the most glamorous locations on the Cote d’Azur. Paul is compelled to confront each new escalating threat in turn, while his neatly ordered world spirals relentlessly out of control. As events unfold, he is forced to challenge everything he thought he knew about himself, before finally embracing the danger and brutal violence he encounters along the way. Can Paul get to the truth, and does he have what it takes to keep those he cares about safe, and himself alive?

This book is mainly set in 2014, but it starts 3 years previously in St Petersburg to give some background to the story. The initial chapters swap back and forth between interesting background material and what feels quite dull introducing Paul, an average guy and his associates Gary and Doug who are all attending a sales conference in Nice. As a reader I was left thinking, come on there must be more to this story.

And there is, but it isn’t until chapter 11 that things start to heat up. Paul wakes in the night, hearing someone being attacked in the next hotel room. He rescues a terrified girl Anna, when she is thrown into the corridor naked by a huge brutal man, hiding her in his own room.

Starting with little things like going out to buy Anna something to wear, Paul gradually gets pulled from his everyday sales world, hardly attending any of the conference. Not all is as it seems with Anna and Paul finds himself immersed in a very different violent world of kidnapping.

The story develops into a real page turner, and Paul becomes such a different character as he faces dangerous challenges. Wow what a thrilling read. And how many people can you squeeze into one hotel room, as we get introduced to other good characters in the story. Of course we meet plenty of baddies too.

This book is available on Amazon currently priced at £11.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. It is a long book, but a gripping read once it gets going. Highly recommended. Plus the ending allows for a possible follow-up.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Who is The Pretender plus giveaway?

We love playing games together as a family, so were delighted to be offered the chance to review a new game The Pretender for free. This is manufactured by Gamely who also came up with Randomise that we reviewed a couple of years ago.

The Pretender game

Just like Randomise, this is a nice compact size, which always gets the thumbs up for me. The boys possessions are overflowing the storage space in our house, which is not helped by most games coming in half empty, huge boxes.

This is a game of mini charades, bluffing and suspicion. Basically one player is the Pretender and the aim of the game is for the other players to discover who the Pretender is, whilst the Pretender must fake their way through the game, escaping detection and trying to work out what on earth everyone else is miming!

The Pretender

The rules suggest that it is for 4-6 players and suitable for age 12+, but son2 at a younger age was in his element playing this, even if he didn’t quite know what a word meant. And we found that you definitely do need at least 4 players, 3 wouldn’t really be enough, particularly as we soon twigged  that whoever chose the item number for a round wasn’t the Pretender.

The Pretender

After the charades, come the accusations. I seemed to get accused a lot more times than when I actually was the Pretender, so looks like I need to brush up on my charades skills. Most embarrassingly, when I was miming knitting, as I’m the only one of us who actually knows how to knit. And jaws dropped when at least a couple of times, they thought they had caught me out, but I escaped by successfully identifying the item.

There are 10 items in each category and 36 different categories in total, 2 categories per card so it will continue to feel fresh and new after many games have been played. Scoring is optional, so we didn’t bother.

The Pretender game currently retails at £11.99 on Amazon and John Lewis. Very good value in my opinion for all the fun we had. I can highly recommend this game. We’ve now got our eye out for the other new game from Gamely, which is Soundiculous.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway The Pretender game to one lucky winner. What a fun prize.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your idea for a new game.

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Family Fever

Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Timmy on the Toilet by Peta Lemon

I have received a free e-copy of the book Timmy on the Toilet by Peta Lemon for son2 to review. He was really looking forward to it having enjoyed Peta’s previous book Hilda The Fed-Up Cow.

Timmy on the Toilet by Peta Lemon

Here is the book blurb.

Timmy is walking to school one day and saves a fairy in distress. He is granted a wish but accidentally wishes that he could fly whilst sitting on the toilet at school.

Join Timmy on his adventures flying on the toilet and find out what happens when the fairy grants him another wish for looking so daft!

This is what son2 had to say about the book.

This book is very funny, especially when Timmy’s teacher ends up on a flying toilet. This book is 8/10. I think it is aimed at children aged 3-6.

Book review - Timmy on the toilet

Once again author Peta Lemon has teamed up with illustrator Maria Dasic Todoric, to bring us a fabulous children’s picture book. Son2 loved that the theme of the book involved toilets and chose his ideal place for his photo. Timmy is thinking of lots of great ideas for his wish, but on seeing a bird fly past the window whilst he is on the loo, accidentally wishes that he could fly. Oops too late to take back his words. See what happens as Timmy flies out of school on the toilet for an adventure.

Timmy on the Toilet is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.99 in paperback and also available in Kindle format. A gorgeous rhyming picture book. Thumbs up for this book from son2.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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The Memory Tree by John A Heldt

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I have really enjoyed several books by John Heldt. So I was very pleased when John asked me to review his latest book, The Memory Tree. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Memory Tree by John A Heldt

Here is the book blurb.

Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents’ Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

The Memory Tree is the second book in the series – The Carson Chronicles. You may see my review of the first title River Rising here, This was a book I really loved.

This story works well as a stand-alone read, but even better as part of a series and I certainly can’t wait to read book 3. It starts where book 1 finished with the Carson family stepping through a time portal from 1889 to 1918. Apart from Bridget, whom Adam married in 1889, they really belong to modern day, but they are still trying to track down their missing time-travelling parents, Tim and Caroline.

By now, Tim and Caroline also know that their children are looking for them, so they in turn are looking to reunite with the rest of the family. Can they all manage to get together and return safely to 2018? Danger continues to pursue them, particularly Greg. Throw some romance into the mix too. Also Cody and Caitlin seek out their friend Emma from 1889, who is now married with grown-up children herself. Of course, they have to explain to Emma why they haven’t aged at all, but cover-stories are used as they interact with others, including their own ancestors. The portals only open on the solstices, so can Natalie travel as far as World War 1 France and get back in time?

Once again, John Heldt weaves fact in with fiction. Not just obvious events like Armistice Day, but things I hadn’t heard of but eagerly looked up on Wikipedia afterwards, like the Cloquet fire.

The one thing I did wonder about was when ancestors who were pictured in a wedding photo hanging at home in 2018 actually die before the wedding takes place. This is questioned but not explained. Has the timeline been altered?

The Memory Tree is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.54 in Kindle format. I really enjoyed this book and of course, it had some great twists. An amazing read which as usual lived up to my expectations of a John Heldt novel, As always I highly recommend this author and now I am eagerly awaiting book 3 in this series.

And you may be interested to see my reviews of some of John Heldt’s other titles.
The Mine
Indiana Belle
Hannah’s Moon

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Chrissy à la Carte by Genevieve Lerner

I have received a free e-copy of the book Chrissy à la Carte by Genevieve Lerner to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Chrissy à la Carte by Genevieve Lerner

Here is the book blurb.

Chrissy’s life is the dictionary definition of A Hot Mess.
She’s homeless, unemployed, broke, extremely single…and now she has to live with her parents!
What could be better?

…Literally, anything.A year after college graduation, Chrissy ends up where she hoped she would never find herself: back on her parents’ doorstep. She magically lands a job at the Netflix show “Let’s Cook! with Derrick Longjohns,” and prays it will be a one-way ticket to her dream culinary school.

But her job turns out to be nothing like she imagined, especially when she runs into a very attractive, very bicep-y stranger. Unfortunately, she is Clumsy McAwkwardson, and has a bad habit of spilling Fanta all over herself. Super attractive.

Now, she just has to pretend to be a good employee. And stay on Mom’s good side. And impress her perfect sister, Paige. And help plan Grandma’s (seventh) wedding. And somehow, some way, convince everyone that she has it all under control.

No biggie.

The story starts a year after Chrissy graduated. She hasn’t managed to hold down a job for more than 3 weeks, is homeless and broke, so she does what she vowed never to do and moves back in with her parents, who she hasn’t spoken to in the last year. And guess what, she has arrived back the day before her grandma, usually resident at a nursing home, also comes to stay for the few weeks before her 7th wedding. Her successful sister Paige is a producer on a TV cookery show and gets Chrissy a job filing the recipes there. Chrissy is terrified on her way there the first day – has she remembered to use deodorant, will she get drug tested for eating a poppy seed muffin, etc. But even she is surprised to discover her workstation is an upside down bin for a desk and a cardboard box for a chair in a room reminiscent of Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs.

We soon discover that Chrissy manages to get into plenty of hilarious predicaments. On her first day in the new job, she soaks her trousers with the unisex toilet auto-flush so that it looks like she has peed herself. She is then climbing the wall backwards attempting to dry them under the hand-drier when a hunky guy walks in. The only thing she seems to excel at is cooking and her dream is to go to culinary school.

Chrissy à la Carte is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.63 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A fun read that really got me laughing throughout.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Gangster School by Kate Wiseman – book review and giveaway

I have received a free copy of the book Gangster School by Kate Wiseman for son1 to review.

Gangster School by Kate Wiseman

Here is the book blurb.

Milly and her new friend Charlie have just started at Blaggard’s.
But what’s it like to be in a school that teaches lying, kidnapping and stealing instead of Maths and English? Their parents and teachers are master criminals and want them to follow in their footsteps…but are Milly and Charlie just too…dependable? In this funny and exciting adventure, smart Milly and super-hacker Charlie face some of the worst villains around, including the cold-hearted Pecunia Badpenny and her sidekick: Wolf the evil electronic dog.
Can Milly and Charlie beat Badpenny and her demonic plans?
And are they criminal enough to keep their place in a school they’ve come to love?

This is what son1 had to say about the book

Want to be a master criminal (hopefully not though) then Blaggards is the place to go. Or Crumbleys though best not go there it is nasty. This book shows how criminals learnt to be so criminal. Read the book it is very interesting BUT DONT BECOME A CRIMINAL I SAID NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOO! (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T  BE A CRIMINAL) 👿👿👿

Book review - Gangster School by Kate Wiseman

Son1 usually takes a very long time to read a book, but he read this in a matter of days, so I knew it had to be good. I then read it too and I can certainly say it is one of the best children’s books I have come across. The story is set in Blaggards, a boarding school for children of criminals, where the uniform is a mask and stripy top. The teachers are master criminals, lessons are in subjects like fabrication and thievery and the houses are named after famous criminals. If you are thinking Hogwarts and Harry Potter, then yes I agree. I’m sure J K Rowling must have been a huge inspiration behind this book. Millie and Charlie have just joined the school in year 7 but are they too well-behaved to avoid being expelled from the school? Read to find out.

Gangster School is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.65 in paperback. A fantastic children’s book. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you’ll enjoy this too. Thumbs up for this book from son1 who is now eagerly waiting to read book 2 in the series.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of this book to 1 lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

All the Lovely Children by Andrew Nance

I have received a free e-copy of the book All the Lovely Children by Andrew Nance to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

All the Lovely Children by Andrew Nance

Here is the book blurb.

Charly Bloom’s life took a wrong turn that has left her alone and frustrated. When she gets a call from an old flame, she returns to her hometown to investigate the disappearances of four children. The abductions are eerily similar to a set of previous crimes.

Two decades ago, Charly and her two friends decided to play amateur detectives and help find a girl who was stolen from her home. Then, another girl went missing. Clues overlooked by the inept sheriff left only one child to survive: Charly. She managed to fight back and kill the Snatcher. Or so everyone thought…

Is the Snatcher back, or is there a copycat? Charly must face her past and her own personal demons in a race against time to save the latest victim.

The book starts in 1982 when four young girls have been abducted in Temperance, North Carolina. It sounds very similar to another series of abductions in the town back in 1959, when Charly was a young girl herself. Charly, now a private investigator, agrees to return to her hometown to help the sheriff, Kit, an old flame, with the case.

The book switches back and forth between 1959 and 1982. So first time round, Charly had managed to evade her mum keeping her home and do some amateur sleuthing with her best friends, although it almost got Charly murdered herself. But she fought back and killed the Snatcher.

So why are there so many similarities this time? And how is it affecting Charly, bringing back all the horrific memories?

All the Lovely Children is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.39  in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A good read which weaves the two timelines together well.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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For Better, For Worse or Maybe Not by Wunmi Fani

I have received a free e-copy of the book For Better, For Worse or Maybe Not (Volume 1): A Take on Courtships, Relationships and Almost Weddings by Wunmi Fani to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

For better, for worse or maybe not by Wunmi Fani

Here is the book blurb.

A man misled into hiding a million dollars from his fiancee. A woman who interprets a fortune teller much too literally. An eager lady whose clueless man won’t propose after months of in your face hinting. A serial cheater who can’t choose between three women despite an inheritance on the line.

These are a few of the stories in For Better, For Worse or Maybe Not (Vol 1); a collection of the edge of your seat narratives that explores deceit, dishonesty, greediness and putting the cart before the horse in courtships, relationships and almost weddings.

“This is hilarious! A very humorous way of dealing with complex issues in romantic relationships. I love the writing style of the author, it is enthralling and lucid!” – comment from a reader of The Underwear Defense, the first story in the series.

Win a free paperback copy of Vol 2 by guessing which of the stories are true. More details in the book!

This is a really funny selection of short stories, all on the topic of romantic relationships. You have the guy who is dating 3 girls at the same time, but struggling to decide who is Ms Right, when faced with the ultimatum from his mother of losing his inheritance if he doesn’t choose just one. And the girl who already has the wedding planner booked and has been hinting to her boyfriend for ages who seems totally oblivious. These are just two of the comical situations that had me laughing.

For Better, for Worse or Maybe Not is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.86 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A nice selection of funny short stories to dip into.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.