Monthly Archives: August 2020

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes by Scott Furlong – Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Emily is five-years-old. She wears pink ballerina shoes and wants to be a ballerina when she grows up.
Emily’s mummy and daddy are both special police officers called detectives. Lately, Emily has noticed that her mummy hasn’t been spending time with her. She has stopped taking her to dancing lessons and her older brother, Jackson, to his rugby lessons. One night, Emily sees her mummy crying on the sofa being comforted by her daddy. At a family meeting Emily learns that her mummy is poorly with something that the doctor calls Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a heart-warming story about a family who are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a story written about a family, for families by a family, by author Scott Furlong with illustrated by his cousin Emma Cahill.

Goodreads Link

About the Author

Scott Furlong resides in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on a 10-acre equine property. He medically retired from the Queensland Police Service after 20 years’ service with PTSD and Depression in December 2019. He was a detective for 18 years and worked in Homicide, Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Task Force, Organised Crime and Officer in Charge of a Criminal Investigation Branch. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Law and a Masters of Professional Studies (Research). His love of learning didn’t develop until he was in his early 40s. Scott’s wife was also a detective and worked in child protection. In 2011, she also medically retired from QPS with PTSD. They have one son who is 14 years old. Scott has a great love for reading and writing. He also loves cooking and sports.MUMMY WEARS BLUE SHOES is Scott’s first book.

What I Thought

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a charming picture book that brings some light to a dark topic. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t just a soldier’s illness, and sadly I think it’s something that might affect more people from more walks of life post covid.

Author Scott Furlong writes from personal experience and I think it’s a lovely touch that his cousin Emma Cahill drew the illustrations. She has a lovely style perfect for the age group and she is very good at emotional facial expressions which is needed to best convey this topic.

The story is well structured, with it clearly looking at what life was like before mummy got PTSD and then after. It then explores the reason for the changes.

If you want to explore a difficult topic with very young children this would be a great book to use. Children are never too young to develop empathic skills and the metaphor of shoes that runs throughout is both relatable to them and powerful, especially considering the final image.

I received a gifted copy of the book for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out the rest of the blog stops too.

The White Phoenix by Catherine Randall – Blog Tour Book Review

Happy Book Birthday to The White Phoenix. This is Catherine Randall’s debut novel, a historical middle grade story.

About the Book

London, 1666. After the sudden death of her father, thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hopper and her mother must take over THE WHITE PHOENIX – the family bookshop in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. But England is at war with France and dire prophecies abound. As rumours of invasion and plague spread, Lizzie battles prejudice, blackmail and mob violence to protect the bookshop she loves. When the Great Fire of London breaks out, Lizzie must rescue more than just the bookshop. Can she now save the friend she wasn’t supposed to have? CAN THE WHITE PHOENIX RISE FROM THE ASHES?

About the Author

Catherine Randall was brought up in Shropshire but has lived in London since graduating from St Catherine’s College, Oxford with a degree in Modern History. Catherine worked as an editor in book publishing before taking a break to bring up her family. She took a Master’s in Children’s Literature at the University of Roehampton, writing a novella for teens as part of her dissertation. Now living in southwest London, she is known in her local area as the writer of two history plays (The Teddington Review and Letters from the Front) performed in 2017 and 2018. As a result of her research for The White Phoenix, Catherine takes workshops about the Great Fire of London into primary schools. She is passionate about encouraging reading and volunteers with the charity Prisoners’ Reading Groups. She is currently working on her second novel.


What I Thought

If you know anything about me you will know that I love books about books and book lovers so when I realised The White Phoenix was a story about a bookshop I was immediately sold.

Our protagonist Lizzie and her mother take over the family bookshop – The White Phoenix and they have to fend off prejudice, sinister suitors, plague and The Great Fire of London!

This book transported me to my childhood and it gave me the same feeling I had reading or watching stories like The Railway Children, The Sound of Music, Pollyanna, Heidi, Little Women, and the early scenes in Great Expectations. There is a strong cast of characters from headstrong Lizzie to *makes me shudder* Mr Pedley.

I loved the detail included about the book binding process and oddly enough I know an artist – who also uses Phoenix in their shop name – who binds/rebinds books. The love that this process shows for the books makes me feel warm inside and I’m certainly glad that publishers and sellers are making more effort with their books bindings. Of course the front cover of The White Phoenix has to include some gold foiling to make it extra special.

There is human drama a plenty that starts for poor Lizzie straight away and there are ominous threats both seemingly far away and much closer to home. The constant mentions of the Plague feel very apt with our current situation. St Paul’s is there too, looming and an omen if you know anything about 1666.

So will Lizzie and the books survive the great fire? You will have to read to find out.

I want to know which book would you save in a fire? You can choose only one.

I was gifted a copy via Kaleidoscopic Tours for the purposes of an honest review.

Texts From Dad: The Coronavirus Chronicles by Peter Barber – Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Hilarious account detailing 57 days of Coronavirus lockdown by ways of daily texts to his daughter that ended up going viral.

Bringing a smile by taking a different view. Introducing humour and leading the reader through a slow realisation that we have all been affected in the funniest ways if only we would stop to think about it.

After the first page a smile will creep across your face, by page two you will be hooked.

Written by a technophobic old fart that has trouble programming a dishwasher who was pushed into writing a blog using modern technology during forced isolation. Funny or insane? You decide.
Laugh at him, or with him. Either way, you will probably end up laughing at yourself too.

About the Author

Peter is a Carnivore with vegetarian tendencies (sometimes meat needs a garnish). BBQ enthusiast, father to a wayward daughter, husband to a fiery Greek philosopher and muse. Owner of two unfit overweight dogs, part time writer and full-time couch potato.

What I Thought

First things first the title and cover are slight misnomers. Rather than actual text messages these 57 entries are more like blog posts (or at least they are very long texts hence the author’s complaints of tired thumbs!). They detail musings on the first days of lockdown from Boris’ Blunders to The Tribulations of Trump, each accompanied by a pencil sketch which I assume the author drew. Nb. It was his daughter Charly – see her comment below.

We Now Fart to Hide a Cough

Thankfully the author shares similar views to me on Brexit and how the government has handled the pandemic response otherwise I think I would have struggled to connect with this. There were a couple of comments re China that maybe could be considered non PC but on the whole I got and understood the humour.

There are even a few more serious moments/reflections touched on but due to the end date this didn’t reach the BLM movement and instead has more hopeful references to seeing a reduction in racism etc at the start of lockdown.

I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the weekly clap for keyworkers as that was such a striking part of my own experience but this is one person’s account and a generally lighthearted one at that.

I do wish that more careful editing had taken place to transition from the ‘text’/blog format to the finished book.

This account will definitely kick start reminiscences now and in future. It takes us from 24th March to 18th May so does focus mainly on the early stages of lockdown and the humour to be found in that situation. And there is a lot of humour in it. Very British humour at that – including a fart joke or two. I did find myself chuckling along but then I do enjoy a dad joke and a pun.

I was gifted a copy for the purposes of an honest review.

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