Sapphire Pavilion by David Grogan plus giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Sapphire Pavilion by David Grogan to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Sapphire Pavilion by David Grogan

Here is the book blurb.

Steve Stilwell’s former Navy JAG Corps buddy Ric Stokes has been jailed for possession of heroin in Vietnam. He was found in the same room with his traveling companion Ryan Eversall, dead of an overdose and in the company of a prostitute. Steve knows his friend is a straight arrow. Was he set up? If so, for what reason? Steve travels to Ho Chi Minh City in search of the truth.

In no time Steve is targeted by the people who framed his friend. A beautiful young American businesswoman insinuates her way into the case. Can she really help, or is she just a dangerous distraction? Ric and Ryan came to Vietnam in search of an Air Force transport plane that disappeared in 1968. The pilot was Ryan’s father. Before the heroin bust, they had located the wreckage. Ryan’s notebook, which Steve manages to obtain, spells out the exact location. Ryan’s widow has given Steve’s associate Casey another piece of valuable evidence, a file labeled “Sapphire Pavilion.” Someone is willing to go to any lengths to steal both the notebook and the file.

From Virginia and Texas to DC and Vietnam, powerful, all-seeing forces with unlimited resources are determined to bury the truth about Sapphire Pavilion. But they have grossly underestimated Steve Stilwell and his associate Casey, a former Army pilot who lost her leg in a helo accident. And the ability to inspire loyalty wherever you go can come in handy when danger lurks behind every corner.

Book 2 of the Steve Stilwell Thriller series, which began with The Siegel Dispositions.

The story starts in 1968 with a US air force plane taking off from an airbase in Thailand on a top secret mission. But it crashes after being hit by a missile from another unidentified plane. We then fast forward to Vietnam in 2000 where Ric Stokes has been mugged. Things get even worse when he gets back to the hotel and finds his room mate Ryan dead. A prostitute runs from the room. When the police arrive, they discover heroin in Ric’s suitcase and arrest him.

Back in the US, Ric’s wife Noriko comes to ask their lawyer friend Steve Stilwell and his new recruit Casey to help get Ric released. She says he has been set up. Steve travels to Vietnam whilst Casey pays a visit to Ryan’s widow, Angela in Texas. After a very brief meeting with Ric in the prison, Steve retrieves Ryan’s notebook from the hotel safe. And Angela lends Casey a file labelled “Sapphire Pavilion”, containing Ryan’s research into the disappearance of his father’s plane.

But both Steve and Casey are being watched. Steve is soon approached by Wendy Gallagher, and he realises she is pumping him for information. Things start getting dangerous and that’s all I’m going to say.

I did have to look up what JAG refers to and it is a Navy Advocate Judge, the role that Tom Cruise played in A Few Good Men. The author also had a lengthy career in this job before writing, so a familiar subject for him to base his story on. And he even visited Vietnam, a country he had never been to previously, for the purposes of research for his novel.

Sapphire Pavilion, published by Camel Press is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A gripping story that had me on the edge of my seat. I shall certainly be adding David’s first book “The Siegel Dispositions” to my wishlist.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of Sapphire Pavilion to 1 lucky winner. Open worldwide.
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And you may see my other giveaways here.

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

Boggle – National Board Games Week

Did you know that 8th-14th May is National Board Games Week 2017? For the second year running, Pork Farms have been hosting National Board Games Championships in micropubs across Britain with the grand final to be held at BeerheadZ Grantham on May 13th. Contestants have been battling it out at Boggle, Taboo, Monopoly, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit 2000s.

And families can get involved from home by downloading a free printable pack from Pork Farms website to help them plan a board games activity night, and then share a photo of their evening on social media for the chance to win a stack of board games and a year’s supply of Pork Farms pork pies.

We love playing games as a family, so we were very pleased to be offered the chance to choose one of the five Hasbro games for free. We opted for Boggle.

Boggle
We had great fun playing this. We adapted the rules slightly so that the boys could score for all their words, whilst the adults had to stick to the proper rule of only scoring for those words that nobody else spotted.

Playing Boggle

The boys loved shaking the letters too.

Such a quick fun game. You can opt for a set number of rounds or first to a pre-specified number of points.

Playing Boggle

A dictionary was required to verify some of the more dubious word suggestions.

Playing Boggle

I’ve always loved the taking part element and remember fun time spent one lunchtime every week at my first job playing board games. One of my colleagues owned enough games to fill a whole wardrobe sized cupboard and would bring a different selection into the office each time. I think that was my first introduction to Taboo, one of the games mentioned above.

Both boys belong to Chess Club at school and son1 has qualified for the county Megafinal again.

Is there a game you would like to play? I’ve got Ticket To Ride on my games wishlist after trying it out at a café last year.

And I’m looking forward to attending the Board Games Championship Bloggers Event on May 6th. Watch out for my post on that afterwards.

I’d love to hear your favourite board games or your best memories of playing games. Son1 likes the Harry Potter version of Cluedo best whilst the Doctor Who board game is son2’s favourite.

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

Turning tears into smiles

Britmums have challenged bloggers to participate in the #TearsIntoSmiles Campaign. I received two free packets of Elastoplast plasters and a garden ring toss set. We already have a quoits set and the boys have come up with the idea that they can both play simultaneously now.

Elastoplast challenge

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2013 and was on chemotherapy for over 3 years which he completed last summer. During that period he had a weekly blood test for which we tried to numb the pain sensation by applying Emla cream an hour in advance. We then had to talk soothingly to him whilst he removed the large sticky dressing holding it in place. He would never let anyone else take it off. So by the time the blood test was completed, he had had enough of anything adhesive and my brave boy would always refuse a plaster.

But at least now son1 has finished chemotherapy and had his portacath removed, we can enjoy outdoor play so much more, without the worry of bumps and tumbles. So he now can join in with his classmates playing rugby and he has done his Bikeability. He’s slowly building his stamina back up again.

Playing Quoits

Meanwhile son2 is usually distracted by a picture on a plaster whenever there is a scrape or a cut. Luckily we didn’t need any first aid on this occasion, but he likes the look of the Star Wars pack. Both my boys are keen Star Wars fans. However he has declared that we can give the Frozen pack to my niece. I wish there had been pictures on plasters when I was a child. What a clever innovative step forwards.

Elastoplast challenge

So my top tip for happy outdoor play in the event of tears, besides remembering to pack the plasters and rest of my mini first aid kit in my bag before we head out for some fun is distraction. This could be pointing out nice things nearby, telling a fun tale, singing a song, promising a treat or finding something your child will want from your bag like a biscuit or toy. Don’t forget to follow through if you make a promise. Hugs and cuddles used to be good too, but sadly the boys are now getting to the stage of rebuffing me, if I try to give them a hug.

I’d love to hear how you turn tears into smiles?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk. This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Forbidden by Feather Stone

I have received a free e-copy of the book Forbidden by Feather Stone to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Forbidden by Feather Stone

Here is the book blurb.

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, a devout Muslim and police captain becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. Captain Sharif is horrified to discover that if he exposes the cover-up, his family will suffer dire consequences.

The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

The book starts with a couple of flashbacks to 2013 and 2020 to set the scene. We then meet Canadian paramedic Eliza who has just arrived in the Middle East at Samarra airport in RIPT and is waiting for the rest of the volunteer team to arrive from the US. Eliza has suffered with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) for 4 years since being the sole survivor of her family when a tanker crashed into her car.

The team then set off in their bus with a police escort but it is a trap. There is a massacre. Somehow Eliza survives and is then under the police protection of Captain Hashim Sharif. When the Police Chief and Mayor arrive, they insist on a cover-up and Sharif, a devout Muslim, is forced against his will to keep Eliza hidden in his apartment. Over the days they begin to bond.

In his investigations, Sharif discovers that the killers were supposed to have killed him too. But things get worse. With the CIA on their way, Sharif is ordered to execute Eliza, else his family will be in danger. What will Sharif do and who are the killers?

When asked to review this book, I had been initially concerned that it wouldn’t be my kind of thing, as it is set in 2047 and in general, I’m not a huge fan of futuristic reads. But I was proved wrong. I really enjoyed this book.

Forbidden is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.56 in paperback or £2.40 in Kindle format. A gripping read which had me on the edge of my seat.

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

HelloSkin skincare plus giveaway

I was very pleased to be offered the chance to choose a selection of 3 products from HelloSkin free to review. The lady at HelloSkin had seen that I have previously blogged about Flexitol footcare products which is a line they stock.

HelloSkin products

HelloSkin is an online store selling skincare products suitable for those people with psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin conditions. The site has been designed so that you can easily shop by need, type or ingredient. Alternatively there is a product finder which is refinable by age group, body part, symptom, need and when to use.

I initially chose the following three products
DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet
Moisturising Cotton Sleep Socks
Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner

But as my first choice of socks were out of stock at the time, I swapped to
Jasmine 100% Silk Moisturising Socks for dry and cracked skin

The products were dispatched on a next day service and arrived well-packed. I spotted that they also offer a free standard delivery service, which I always appreciate.

DermaTherapy fitted sheet

So I’ll start with the DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet which is billed as being the first clinically proven Therapeutic Bedding. I chose this in a king size which currently retails for £84.95 but it is also available in single and double sizes. The fabric feels amazingly smooth compared to standard sheets, but to really understand this, you should look at the zoomed in image of the weave. The HelloSkin website focusses on the benefits for those with sensitive skin conditions, but the packaging also indicates that it is ideal for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Pity I hadn’t heard about it a few years earlier, as when son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia, I thought I was making the right choice to buy best quality pure Egyptian cotton bedsheets for him.

They also stock duvet covers, pillow case, flat sheets and sleep sacs. I tend to often wake up sweaty in the middle of the night and I found that this sheet is very effective at wicking away heat and moisture. Now I just need the rest of the range, as my ordinary duvet meant I was still sweaty above, although much more comfortable underneath. Significantly more expensive than standard bedding, but definitely worth the investment for those that it helps to a much better night’s sleep in my opinion. It is 50% polyester and 50% polyamide and is so easy to fit on your mattress compared to most sheets. I actually had to double check the packet to make sure I hadn’t accidentally got super-king rather than king size. I washed it on a 60 degree cycle and tumble-dried it on low. It came out almost crease-free, so I didn’t even need to iron. And the packaging indicates that it will withstand washing upto 90 degrees.

Jasmine Silk Socks

Next the socks, which fit size 3-7. I’ve been planning to get a pair of moisturising socks for ages, but had never got round to it. The idea behind moisturising socks is to apply your usual footcare product and then the socks will help the absorption whilst you sleep. I’m loving these. I can definitely say they work. I’ve blogged before about how dry and cracked my feet are, as per image on left. Well I’ve seen a marked improvement in the mornings since I started wearing the socks, as per image on right. At £7.99 for a pair, they are great value in my opinion. Wish I’d got some sooner. Although the socks are silk, they can still be machine washed on a low 30 degree setting, but I chose to hand-wash them.

Neutrogena T/Gel Dandruff Shampoo

And finally the shampoo. I frequently get a flare up of flaky scalp and have tried many different brands of anti-dandruff shampoo, but this is the first time, I’ve tried this brand. At the time of testing, I only had a very mild case of dandruff (as per top left image), which I’m happy to say it treated. I do prefer using combined shampoo and conditioner like this rather than two separate products. This shampoo lathered up well and also had a nice fragrance and my hair felt soft and tangle-free afterwards. This was the 125ml size which currently retails for £3.99 and it is also available in a 250ml size. More expensive than most shampoo at the supermarket but competitive with salon brands.

So in summary, I was very happy with all three products and will certainly be using this site in the future.

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase at HelloSkin with discount code: “HELLOCLAIRE”. This offer is valid once per customer.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway HelloSkin products to three lucky winners. The first winner drawn will win a DermaTherapy fitted sheet in their preferred choice of size. The second winner drawn will win a pair of Jasmine Silk Moisturising Socks. And the third winner drawn will win a bottle of  Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner.
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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 top skincare tips.

You can find HelloSkin on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

Spring Reading Week – Addicted to Death by Matthew Redford

I have received a free e-copy of the book Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation by Matthew Redford to review, as part of Clink Street Publishing’s #SpringReads Week.

Addicted to Death by Matthew Redford

Here is the book blurb.

Following the murder of Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs savagely beaten to death outside their home by an unknown, fedora wearing assailant brandishing a large metal spoon, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and the leading food detective in the police force, is called in to investigate. When the only food sapiens minister in the Government, Professor Perry Partridge, is murdered at the Strawberry Strip Club, run by the young damson Victoria Plum, DI Wortel suspects that the two cases may somehow be linked. As the Head of the Food Related Crime Division, DI Wortel is ably assisted by his human colleague Sergeant Dorothy Knox. But as their investigation begins, four celebrity chefs are sent death threats. It’s a recipe for disaster as the incarcerated evil genius MadCow McBeef is seeking parole; someone appears to have crumbled Mr Bramley’s apples; and there is an anti-GM food protestor on the prowl. And why do Oranges and Lemons think they owe someone five farthings? DI Wortel and his team must find out who is seemingly addicted to death. It will take all efforts – human, fruit and vegetable – to figure this one out.

This story is crazily silly with half the characters being foods. Most have corny names too based on real-life celebrities, like footballer Wayne Rooster, a potato who plays for Breadenham Hotspuds or pop icon Curly Kale Minogue, plus a smattering of references to well-known nursery rhymes. If you can ignore the corniness and concentrate, the plot is actually quite good.

The book begins with two eggs, Benedict and Darcy Blacktail being murdered with a spoon on their doorstep, as they returned home from a night at the theatre. The Detective Inspector investigating the crime is Willie Wortel, a carrot. Another murder follows, that of government minister for DAFaRT (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Trade), Professor Perry Partridge, a pear. Initial chief suspect is Alex Pine, an anti-GM food protestor. And then Victoria Plum who discovered the dead Perry Partridge, goes missing. Meanwhile four celebrity chefs are sent death threats, so DI Wortel goes to meet the chefs.

Wortel gets lumbered with two new team members, Oranges and Lemons, who tend to mostly be more of a liability than an asset. He also keeps receiving foreign texts, which he ignores as he doesn’t understand them. Looks like a cue for the next story.

Addicted to Death is Matthew Redford’s debut novel and is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. and is published by Clink Street Publishing. I usually love food related stories, but this one was just too over the top for me with all the silliness. Even though it had a good plot, I think I’ll be giving his next book “Who Killed The Mince Spy” which also features DI Wortel, a miss.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.
Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and head of the Food Related Crime Team is trying to find out who is sending death threats to celebrity chefs, when a chocolate bomb cake is placed at Goodeatery, the restaurant of famous chef, Scottie Rodgers.

A startled Wortel was pushed aside by Scottie Rodgers who bounded towards the restaurant at full speed. Wortel turned and started to run after the celebrity chef who was surprisingly fleet of foot. When Wortel caught up with Rodgers he was already at the site of the bomb, spatula in one hand, whipped cream being vigorously shaken in the other.

The timer read 2:15.

Rodgers spoke first without looking up.

“It’s more complex than I thought Wortel. This wiring is intertwined, one wrong swish of this spatula and we’re goners. Take the whipped cream and keep shaking it. I’m going to cut a wire and then you need to spray that cream on it quick. That’ll prevent the bomb from detonating accidently.”

Wortel looked unconvinced.

“Trust me.”

Wortel took the whipped cream and carried on shaking the can as Rodgers separated the wires using the spatula.

The timer read 1:45.

“Blast,” said Rodgers, “oh sorry, wrong word at this time I guess.”

“What’s wrong?”

“If I cut the blue wire, that’ll trip the green wire. And if I cut the green wire that’ll trip the red wire.”

“So cut the red wire first then.”

“My god, I know you’re a carrot but are you just plain raving bonkers? Cutting the red wire is suicide.”

“Then what?”

“We need to divert the red wire and make the bomb think it’s still connected before I cut it. Don’t you see?”

“Actually no, and you’re talking about the bomb as though it has a brain and can think for itself.”

Rodgers looked quite disappointedly at Wortel. “You really know nothing about bombs do you. Of course they can think for themselves once armed. That’s why we have to trick it.”

“Not the time for a lecture Mr Rodgers. What do you need?”

The timer read 60 seconds.

“Something thin and wire like. Any thoughts?”

Wortel scanned the kitchen, all the time shaking the whipped cream violently in one hand. He looked across left at the suet chef’s station and saw nothing. He turned to the right and scanned the soup chef’s station and saw something which looked like salvation.

“Will noodles do?”

“Jolly good show Wortel. Yes, noodles are great.”

Wortel lunged forward and grabbed the noodles, turning in one fluid movement and throwing them to Rodgers who had briefly put down the spatula.

The timer read 30 seconds.

Rodgers grabbed plain flour from the suet chef’s station, patted some onto his hands to dry his nervous sweaty palms, and went to work. Wortel moved to his side and looked on as the celebrity chef who held a degree in physics and engineering began to trick the bomb into thinking it still had a red wire, which was now nothing more than a noodle.

The time timer read 15 seconds.

Rodgers put down the noodles and raised the spatula. “I have to say DI Wortel that it’s been a pleasure. Do you think we’ve enough time to take a selfie?”

“Not now Mr Rodgers.”

“Fair point. It’s now or never old bean.”

The timer read 7 seconds.

“Mr Rodgers.”

“Yes.”

“Cut that wire – FAST.”

The spatula came down and swiped through the wires, red followed by blue followed by green. As the wires were separated Wortel sprayed the whipped cream covering the bomb in a coating of white froth.

The timer came to a stop with just two seconds remaining.


About the author

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels. To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford


I’m participating in the Clink Street Spring Reading Week book tour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of reading tastes.

Spring Reads Blogival Calendar

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

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

I have received a free e-copy of the book Remnants by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

Here is the book blurb.

All that remains are whispers of the past…

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the deceased, building a profile of this serial killer is more challenging than usual. How are these targets being selected? Why are their limbs being severed and their bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this person to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

This is book 6 in the series featuring FBI agent Brandon Fisher. I had worried whether it would work as a stand-alone book, as a few of my recent reads have left me confused as to what happened in previous books. But no such problem this time, although there were hints like one of the agents having almost been killed last summer. I’m sure that must have featured in an earlier book.

The FBI agents leave loved ones behind on Valentine’s day to fly to Savannah to investigate where human limb remains have been discovered in the river from three victims. A phone is found nearby. DNA will take far too long, so they start by interviewing those who found the remains. First suspect on their list is ex-plantation employee Jesse Holt who was sacked for using an outbuilding for gutting fish. The phone is identified as belonging to Stanley Gilbert whose wife has reported him missing yesterday. Potential victim or suspect? And is there a link to old crimes in Michigan? More remains are found in the river, this time a torso painted blue and missing its heart and a skull. Very creepy.

Meanwhile we see the killer torturing his next victim, by cutting out his tongue. How are the FBI going to find out who is the killer? And that’s all I’m going to say.

Remnants is available on Amazon, currently priced at £13.04 in paperback or £4.45 in Kindle format. A very dark read but certainly gripping. And you may download a sample here.

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

The Embers of Enchantment by S D Davieson

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Embers of Enchantment Destinies Entwined Part I by S D Davieson for son1 to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Embers of Enchantment by S D Davieson

Here is the book blurb.

Darkness has awoken once again within the shadows. Three unlikely Welsh teenagers and a young dragon fall mysteriously into each other’s lives as destiny is forced to intervene. Lizzie-Ann the white witch of Mwmbwls is already aware of the impending threat they face, but even she doesn’t have all the answers. Dylan attempts to train his dragon Heulwen. Seren receives a gift from nature that no other magical being has received in centuries and Emyr uncovers a dark secret that has been kept from him his whole life. Let’s just hope they have enough time to prepare for what is to come. We all now depend on them! Including you!

The Embers of Enchantment by S D Davieson

This is what son1 had to say.

I’m reviewing a book called the ‘Embers of Enchantment’.
I quite liked the book and rated it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It’s quite a multi mix of characters and so there isn’t really a main character.
The main characters are:
-Dylan and his pet dragon, Heulwen
-Emyr, son of Lord Deheubarth
There are other main characters but none more main than them.

Short and to the point, but I also read this book, so I’ll add my comments. This book is set in the Mumbles, Swansea area of South Wales. 14yr old Dylan has his own baby pet dragon, Heulwen, hatched from an egg who he is trying to teach to fly. Then we meet 15 yr old Emyr who lives in Oystermouth Castle. Also white witch Lizzie Ann with her large dragon Ysbryd. And Seren whose father has forbidden her to practice magic, but who has just received a wand whilst hiding in a bush. Versus Bartholomew, captain of the pirates searching for treasure in Oystermouth Bay.

An eclectic collection of characters who have just begun interacting when we reach the end of part I, with Emyr in a secret chamber he never knew existed in the castle. The reader is definitely left wanting to jump straight into part II, which was published last month. The book is being released in 4 parts, so you’ll have to wait for parts III and IV.

The Embers of Enchantment Destinies Entwined Part I is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. Both son1 and I enjoyed this book. We have also received a free copy of Part II, so son1 will start reading that soon.

The Embers of Enchantment by S D Davieson

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

Lemon Drizzle Cake

When it was my turn for baking and serving at the teahouse, I decided to make a couple of Lemon Drizzle Cakes as half of my contribution.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

200g margarine
200g caster sugar
2 lemons
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
milk to mix (optional)
75g granulated sugar

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 deg C.
Line a 21 x 8cm loaf tin.
Grate the zest from the lemons.
Cream margarine and caster sugar together.
Mix in lemon zest.
Beat the eggs in a jug.
Gradually beat in the egg.
Fold in the flour.
The mixture should be a dropping consistency. If it is too stiff, add a little milk to mix.
Spoon into prepared tin.
Cook on middle shelf of oven for about 45-50 minutes.
Test with a skewer. It will come out clean when the cake is ready.
Leave in tin.
Meanwhile squeeze the lemons.
Mix granulated sugar into lemon juice.
Make lots of holes in top of cake with a skewer.
Gradually pour over the warm cake.
Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon drizzle is one of my favourite cakes. I’d love to hear your favourite?

Lemon Drizzle Cake

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Chewy Moon snack box review and giveaway

I have received a free sample Chewy Moon healthy snack box via Talk To Mums. The box size is designed to fit through your letterbox.

Chewy Moon snacks

These boxes are aimed at children from age 3 upwards and son2 was really excited when he saw the pug on the outside of the box. Even though he is fairly dog-phobic, he has recently started asking if we can get a pug. Whilst son1 who is equally wary round dogs wants a labrador. But no need for them to argue over breeds, as a puppy is not on the agenda since I work full-time.

These boxes contain 5 individual snack portions along with some fun activities and a page of nutrition facts. Our activitites were a pop-out frog, a short comic story and facts about ants.

Chewy Moon snacks

The 5 snacks we received were:-
Snacko Italiano (Tuscany cashews and baked cheese)
Happy BBQ (smokey almonds and coconut chips)
Crazy Crunch (smoothie bites)
Cherry Cola (cola raisins, cherry, cranberry)
Freaky Fruits (blackcurrant drops, apricot sticks, cherry cubes, peach cubes, raspberry strips)

Chewy Moon snacks

Son1 chose the Snacko Italiano first whilst son2 opted for the Cherry Cola. He did insist that son1 give him the empty Snacko Italiano pug box afterwards though. Son1 loved the pieces of toasted cheese, but only liked the Italian herby cashews. He let me try a couple of the cashews and I thought they were delicious. Meanwhile son2 quickly scoffed the Cherry Cola.

Chewy Moon snacks

The next time son2 selected Freaky Fruits whilst son1 went for Crazy Crunch. Once again son2’s snack vanished very quickly and he gave both a resounding thumbs up. Although son1 is a huge smoothie fan, he wasn’t convinced by the Crazy Crunch flavour, so offered them to the rest of us. We all enjoyed them but none of us guessed the flavour correctly which was blueberry and red beet.

Chewy Moon snacks

And to avoid arguments, I got the fifth pack, the Happy BBQ, which was right up my street, as I love almonds and coconut. Very yummy indeed.

Chewy Moon snacks

These packs are ideal for an after school snack. But if your children attend a school that has a nut-free policy like my boys’ school, then you wouldn’t be able to send either Snacko Italiano or Happy BBQ in as a playground snack. However there is a “no nuts” option when ordering.

You get to rate the snacks, to build up a profile of which your child does and doesn’t like for future boxes. Each box currently costs £4.93 including 98p P&P, but you can get your first box free. You select between fruit box, variety box or savoury box and you can order for multiple children. The boxes are delivered weekly and you may cancel your subscription at any time. A competitive price in my opinion.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a month’s Chewy Moon subscription of 4 boxes to one lucky winner. What a tasty 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 about your favourite snack ideas.

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