Book Review: Haunted by Tessa Buckley

Alex doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he is about to have his beliefs challenged…

When Jimmy Devlin asks the twins to investigate the strange things that have been happening at The Priory, Alex seizes the opportunity to prove to his sister that there is no such thing as ghosts. However, it soon becomes clear that unquiet spirits are not the only problem facing the Devlin family.

Are the family servants hiding secrets? Has a valuable ring been stolen, or just mislaid? And what has happened to Jimmy’s missing elder brother, Harry? As the twins and Jimmy try to solve the many mysteries of The Priory, they discover they are dealing with a very dangerous enemy…

Purchase Links

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Twins Donna and Alex formed their own detective agency because they’re such good sleuths. Unfortunately, they’re also good at getting into trouble. When their friend Jimmy asks them to investigate strange occurrences at his new home, they’re happy to. Alex is determined to prove to Donna that ghosts don’t exist and they’re able to attribute everything to humans…well, almost everything.

Haunted is a great story for middle school readers. It has mystery, suspense, and action. It even gets scary once or twice. The characters are well-developed and it’s easy to get caught up in the mystery. The staff at the Priory (Jimmy’s house) are all a bit odd and well described.

This is a good book and one that I’m going to recommend to my niece. She’s the right age to read it and I think she’ll like it!

About the Author

Tessa Buckley was an inveterate scribbler as a child, and spent much of her time writing and illustrating stories. After studying Interior Design, she spent fifteen years working for architects and designers. She took up writing again after her young daughter complained that she couldn’t find enough adventure stories to read. This led, in 2016, to the publication of  Eye Spy, the first in a series of detective stories for 9-12 year olds, designed to encourage reluctant readers. The second book in the series, Haunted, was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2017. 

Tessa lives with her husband and a large white cat called Pippa. in a town on the Thames estuary, which inspired the seaside setting for the novels. She also writes about health and nutrition, and family history, which has been her passion for many years.

Social Media Links –

Inebriated Imposter

Cynical Wordsmith

The mind slows
And floats at the rim
Of an empty glass.
I love this feeling,
But I don’t need it.
It just makes me feel
Like my thoughts
Are average.
But the back of my mind
Knows the truth.
I am different.
I am unique.
And this self inflicted stupor
Is a macabre mask
Of normality.

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Book Review: Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom by Monique Roy

Author: Monique Roy
Publisher: Writer’s Republic
Pages: 36
Genre: Children


When the wicked witch of the land snatches up Princess Astrid, her sister, Princess Laurel, realizes it will take more than her plant-growing superpowers to rescue her. With the help of a handsome prince, Laurel rides deep into the dark forest in search of the witch’s den.

To her horror, Laurel discovers that Astrid is jealous of her superpowers, and has teamed up with the witch to weaken Laurel’s powers. Now, Laurel must convince Astrid to abandon her evil ways and return to goodness — before the witch and Astrid shed harm onto the kingdom.

This fairy tale story will enliven the imagination of children with a little witchy fun in between. The story teaches children about what makes us unique, appreciating your special characteristics, and doing what you love.


Amazon → 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Children who like to read about princes and princesses will enjoy this story of a magical princess, her non-magical sister, and a prince. Of course, there’s also an evil witch to make the story interesting.

The reading level is a little more advanced than for beginners and it has beautiful, colorful illustrations. Along with a good story, Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom also teaches about kindness and that each of us is special in our own way.

There is a happily ever after for the prince and princess, as required by fairy tales, but I like that it includes happy endings for Princess Astrid and their friend Benedict as well.

This is definitely a book worth adding to your child’s library.

Book Excerpt:

A young, beautiful princess named Laurel lived in a marvelous kingdom where steep, gray mountains touched the clouds and a long, zigzagging river flowed around forests. She was more than a pretty princess who dwelled in a giant castle. Laurel possessed a magical power—with a single touch of her hand or a single tear from her eyes, she could make trees grow, flowers blossom, and plants flourish. Her name signified the beauty all the trees, plants, and flowers gave to the Earth. She was greatly admired by all, except a few who were jealous and evil.

About the Author

Monique Roy’s passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur, and children’s book Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom. 

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her first historical novel.

Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and Monique likes to explore the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.

Monique resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a freelance writer.



Audiobook Review: Black Rocks and Rainbows by Susan C. Riford

Author: Susan C. Riford
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: YA / Historical


The journey of a lifetime told in the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS begins with a ship: “An enormous canoe, with great white wings like a magnificent bird.” This is the merchant schooner Triumph from New England, anchored offshore by what is now known as the Big Island of Hawaii, and in 1807, the sight of it captivates a young Hawaiian boy’s imagination and spirit of adventure. Fifteen-year-old Hiapo Opukahaia, orphaned as the result of a war between two rival island chiefs, has been contemplating his future. He dives into the sea and swims to the ship, where he is invited to stay for dinner. When the captain asks if he would like to go to America, he nods Yes.

The audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS, an historical novel for young adults, edited and narrated by actress Suzanne Ford, was written by her late mother, Susan C. Riford.  The audiobook chronicles the gripping story of Hiapo – renamed “Henry” by his fellow crewmen – whose literal and figurative journey leads to the greatest adventure of all: a hunger for knowledge which ultimately changes Hawaii forever. The title refers to the lava rocks and beautiful rainbows of the Big Island, the vision of which Henry carries with him for the rest of his life.

Working as a cabin boy, Henry does encounter true-life adventures – pirates, storms – during the ship’s year-long voyage, via the Seal Islands and China, back to its home port of New Haven, Connecticut. He also learns to read and write English, unlocking his quest for further knowledge; upon arriving in New Haven, Henry realizes he desperately wants to keep learning, but has no idea how.

Weeping one day on the steps of Yale College, he is found by a kind student, a relative of the school’s president. Taken under the president’s wing, Henry becames a scholar. He wants to translate written works from English into Hawaiian, but at the time, there is no such written Hawaiian language. So he begins to apply the principles in an American spelling book – devised by Noah Webster, of dictionary fame – to the sounds of his native tongue. In doing so, he creates the alphabet-spelling-grammar system that is the basis for the Hawaiian written language in use to this day.

Sadly, Henry dies of typhus fever in 1818 at the age of 26. He is buried in Cornwall, Connecticut, until 1993, when he makes one final journey: a group of Hawaiian residents has successfully crusaded for the return of his remains to the Big Island for permanent burial. Hiapo Opukahaia has come home.

Suzanne Ford was inspired to create the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS originally written by her late mother, Susan Riford, a prolific author of children’s books and plays and founder of what is now known as the Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, New York. Her mother became fascinated with Henry’s story when she moved to Maui. “The novel was her final work before she died,” Ford says. “I took on the unfinished manuscript, wrote the last chapter, had a few copies printed and recorded the audiobook. The story is such a fascinating and compelling adventure, fun to listen to for anyone, but especially for young adults.”

Ford is working on an updated, illustrated book version of BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS. “It’s noteworthy that there has never been a full-length historical novel about Opukahaia, who is such a major figure in Hawaiian history and whose story carries a timeless message about the importance of education,” she observes. “Especially in this era of the dawning of deeper recognition of indigenous peoples and their heritage, this as yet unfamiliar but universal coming-of-age story is resonant and relevant to youth of any culture.”

Amazon →

My Review

I chose to listen to the book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This story is based on the facts of the life of Opukahaia, which was an amazing one. At just 10 years old he witnessed the murder of his parents and then had to live with the chief of the tribe responsible for killing his parents. When his uncle found out that he was alive, he took over his care and wanted to teach him to follow in his footsteps. Although everyone treated him well, he wanted to find his calling in life instead of being told what he was going to do. Such a strong young man!

At 15 years old, Opukahaia became a cabin boy which started his journey that not only changed his life but made his mark in history. He was so smart and he had a thirst for knowledge so, fittingly, he ended up at Yale and learned as well as taught others about his homeland.

Historical fiction has been one of my favorite genres since I read Johnny Tremain as a child. I enjoyed this story immensely and believe that young adults as well as adults will like it. The ending was sad and really touched me, I think because I knew that Opukahaia was an actual person. But he did inspire others to go to Hawaii to teach his people to read and write using the alphabet that he devised.

Suzanne Ford does a great job narrating the story. Her pace and timing are great, and I enjoyed listening to her. I definitely recommend Black Rocks & Rainbows to anyone who likes audiobooks.


“This adventure story is riveting from start to finish and the action keeps coming. The ending, though sad because it’s a true story, was very uplifting and inspiring. A very satisfying audiobook experience.”


Listen to a sample of the audiobook here:


And here:

About the Creator

Suzanne Ford is an actress and writer working in film, television, and theatre. She has performed in more than100 stage productions in New York and Los Angeles, on tour and in regional theatres around the country. Her many film credits include the Duplass Brothers’ recent hit Manson Family Vacation; You, Me and Dupree and The Apparition, and she has appeared on such television shows as Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal MindsIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Friends. She has been an advertising copywriter, has written a biography of Mel Gibson, screenplays, and cookbooks, and has ghostwritten memoirs. She and her husband live in the Hollywood Hills.



New Release

Where butterflies wear wings of eternity, a mad chase lost in a wild gaze and with her you run behind her butterfly in lanes frilled by pink bougainvilleas and tall eucalyptus recreating and revisiting your childhood, crooning lost lullabies. The poetess has very delicately expressed her sensibilities, caressing life and fondling nature. All the topics handpicked by her will give you a different perspective, a spiritual retreat where you can relive your lost life and will compel you to at least prick one more time those social issues, the neural pathways to which we have totally disconnected. Dive with her in her poetic excursion!!

Excerpt from the book:

Love Lost

Tears of love
Tears of separation
Come from the purest of land!
With none to see
And none to feel
I shed them on a barren land

My little ocean of rain
Thou hold!
You failed to convey your pain
Wilderness in the drop
An abandoned child
They wanted to leave the slave’s land
With nothing to hide
They broke the silent guard
And flew like a river wild
None could survive those waters wild
It banged every hurdle that came its way
Like a child’s wail for his mother’s embrace
To cross the toughest terrane
To finally arrive on a lost barren land

I sow my seed of love
Drain it with my puddle of pain
It smiled back at me
Now blooming into a handsome tree
Sheltering love lost
A beautiful maiden with her handsome beau
Arrived at my lonely land
Cuddled into their arms
I can’t hold my tears abound!
Drops of heavenly crystals pour out
From an empty heart
Bewildered they gazed into each other’s eyes
To ask a question undefined
‘Do the trees ever cry’? Asked her handsome beau
I just realized every fleeceable unripe leaf
Had Crystal’s on their edge
The beautiful maiden replied
You worldly man can never realize
The woes of a lost love!
How deceitful is a big man tears?
Fallacious deceitful disguised
In worldly woes!!

My Pink Bougainvilleas” by Sunni Sinha is available in paperback from Amazon UK at:

The memorable collection of poetry is also available from Amazon USA at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 711 956

Book Review: The Road from Cromer Pier by Martin Gore

It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?

Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?

Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.
Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.

Purchase Links

UK –

US –

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read The Road to Cromer Pier last year and although it started slowly, I ended up enjoying it, so I was happy to read The Road from Cromer Pier which occurs ten years later. Again, I felt this book started slowly but I stuck with it and did enjoy it. There are several people who were in the first book, so that always helps. It does also work as a standalone novel if you haven’t read the first one.

As always, there are financial issues for the theater at Cromer Pier with the evil Pemrose wanting to snag up the theater as soon as he is able. While Janet and Karen are dealing with finances, there are many other challenges for them and the people who are working in the theater. There are mental health issues, domestic abuse, and retirement just to name a few.

There are quite a few characters and they are all well developed, each with their own flaws. I also like the author’s writing although sometimes there’s a little more description than I like, but that’s a personal preference. The Road from Cromer Pier is a well-written feel good book with a good ending.

About the Author

I am a 63 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.

When I was nine years old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.

I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.

The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He’s Behind You, is now available on:

Pen Pals was my first novel, and a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, is now available in all three formats. It was. officially launched on Cromer Pier itself, coinciding with the new season of the Summertime Special Show.

I’m active on twitter @authorgore and on facebook martin gore author. My website is

I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.’

Social Media Links

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Book Review & Giveaway: Amal the Thirsty Gamal: A Christmas Tale by Robert Schorr

Book Title:  Amal the Thirsty Gamal: A Christmas Tale by Robert Schorr
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
Genre: Children’s Picture Book 
Publisher:  Mascot 
Release date:  July, 2021
Content Rating:  G.

Book Description:

The charming tale told in Amal the Thirsty Gamal is for every young person who might be anxious about how they are viewed by those around them (and yes, camels care about that too!). For so long, our little hero has been hearing taunts and jeers and thinking negative things about himself, his looks, and especially his little hump. But—oh, brace yourselves! — because Wise Men are traveling with Amal’s special caravan, and when one of them speaks up around the campfire one night, everything changes for little Amal!

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N 
Mascot Books

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I love it when I read a children’s book and learn something new! Like Amal, I learned that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about camels. In Amal’s case, it did wonders for his self esteem.

Knowing what is at the end of the caravan’s trip, I am excited to read this to my grandchildren. There is a lot of text for youngsters, but the rhyming and the bright colors of the illustrations should keep their interest.

I like this story of Amal that not only teaches that being different is okay, and sometimes even better than being “normal,” but also has the Christmas story included. And such a great ending for Amal!

About the Author

Robert Schorr resides in San Clemente, California, with his wife Sharilyn and their family nearby. For 26 years, he served as Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Old Towne in Orange, California. Prior to that, they lived in Asia for 17 years. He is devoted to his Savior, to Sharilyn, his children, flying, hiking, fly-fishing, Chinese, and writing. He loves any story that makes someone special, and he knew, a long time ago, that little Amal had one to tell.

Connect with the Author: website facebook 


Enter to win a signed copy of AMAL THE THIRSTY GAMAL! (one winner/USA only)


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