Book Review: Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow by Colin Garrow

A dead body. A hoard of forged banknotes. A gangster out for blood.

Newcastle, December 1955. Returning home after a weekend away, singer and amateur sleuth Rosie Robson discovers a man lying on a baggage trolley with his throat cut. After the police get involved, an attack on Rosie and her boss prompts Inspector Vic Walton to find a safe house for the pair. But the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of them and Rosie is forced to track down a possible witness to the murder in a bid to learn the truth. Can the canny crooner solve the mystery before a Newcastle gang boss catches up with her? 

Set on Tyneside, Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow is book #3 in the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries series.

Purchase Link –

My Review

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

Although this is the third book in the series, it’s the first one I’ve read, and it definitely stands on its own.

Rosie and Cindy find a body when they get off a train after a shopping trip. Suddenly, Rosie is being chased by bad guys and wherever she goes, the bad guys find her! She has some help from interesting friends and acquaintances while she’s trying to stay ahead of the bad guys.

There are some twists in Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow and a lot of action. It’s not an easy book to put down. I wish, though, that I had realized that there is a Geordie Glossary at the end. There were times I had to slow down to figure out what was being said.

I definitely recommend this book, and plan on reading the first two books in the series soon.

About the Author

True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. He has also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin’s published books include the Watson Letters series, the Terry Bell Mysteries and the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland.

Social Media Links –

Website (Adults)

Website (Children)

Amazon Author Page





Book Review & Giveaway: Lulu and Malek sail off to sea!

Book Title:  Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea! by June Foster and Rob Scheer
Category:  Children’s Fiction (ages 3 to 7), 32 pages
Genre:  Children’s Book
Publisher:  Hubble & Hattie
Release date:   August 23, 2022
Formats Available for Review: print-softback (USA)
Tour dates: Jan 9 to Jan 27, 2023
Content Rating:  G.  The book is designed for children between 3-7 years of age.

Book Description:

Adventurous friends Lulu and Malek make fantastic discoveries, take care of our planet, and meet new friends as they explore the wonders of the world under the sea. With vibrant illustrations and endearing characters, this fun-to-read rhyming book is sure to be a children’s favorite that they will want to read over and over again! Add this fun-filled and inspiring book to your home or class library! It will be enjoyed by children who love adventure, a good laugh, and want to learn more about the sea and conservation.

Buy the Book:
Amazon B&N ~ BAM
Indigo ~ AbeBooks ~ IndieBound
add to Goodreads

My Review

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

Lulu and Malek are friends who go to the beach to meet a whale. Before playing with the whale all day, they clean up all of the trash on the beach. They have a fun day and don’t have to take a bath since they spent all day in the ocean!

Lulu and Malek sail off to sea! is a cute book about friends who go on an adventure and meet many other animals and see fish, coral, and even a shark. It also teaches about taking care of the earth through picking up trash. It’s told in verse and the illustrations are colorful and adorable. It’s a book children will like, and I can’t wait to read it to my grandkids.

About the Authors

Just a bit about me. I live in Arizona, but for most of the year, I travel across our beautiful earth as a deckhand and yoga instructor in the yachting industry. I love the serenity of the sea, exploring treasured caves, hiking through lush green forests, immersing myself in different cultures, and meeting new friends. I recently launched an online retail store ( that offers conservation and yachtie inspired designs through my Sea Our Love and Silent Whispers Collections. You can also purchase a Personalized Signed Copy of my books on my online store, or please visit to learn more!

​My co-author, Rob Scheer and I have completed two beautifully illustrated, heartfelt children’s books. Rob is the Founder and CEO of Comfort Cases. Since 2013, Comfort Cases set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags and provide children entering the foster system with brand new essential and comfort items. To date, Comfort Cases has positively impacted over 110,000 children, and has recently opened a chapter in the United Kingdom. For each book purchased of Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea, we will donate one book to Comfort Cases.

connect with the authors: 

website ~ twitter ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ goodreads


Enter to win a signed copy of


$100 American Express Gift Card!

(one winner) (USA only)


Follow the Tour

Jan 9 –Cover Lover Book Review – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 9 –Liese’s Blog – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 10 –Bizwings Book Blog – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 10 –My Reading Getaway – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 11 –Character Madness and Musing – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 11 –icefairy’s Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
Jan 12 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
Jan 12 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 13 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book review / giveaway
Jan 13 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 17 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review / giveaway
Jan 17 – Lisa’s Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 18 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 18 – Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 – Reading is My Passion – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 20 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 20 – Older & Smarter? – book review / giveaway
Jan 23 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 24 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 25 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway
Jan 25 – @enjoyingbooksagain – book review
Jan 26 – Books With A Chance – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 26 – Lady Hawkeye – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 27 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
Jan 27 – Regally Written – book review / giveaway

Book Review & Giveaway: Blooming Rose Blasts Off by Lauren Piland

Book Title:  BLOOMING ROSE BLASTS OFF! by Lauren Piland
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   Jan 10, 2023
Format available for review:  print-hardback (USA), PDF
Tour dates: Jan 10 to Jan 30, 2023
Content Rating:  G for all kids.

Book Description:

Rose loves to write, draw, and play―but what happens when she has to face a project she’s never done before?! With encouragement from her best friend, Brady, and some brainstorming with Dad, does Rose’s rocket launcher project turn out to be less than stellar or out of this world?!

Buy the Book
Amazon ~ B&N Target  ~
Mascot Books
Blooming Rose Kids

My Review

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

I can relate to Rose. I remember having an art project in 6th grade that I kept putting off because I didn’t know what to do, and I became more and more overwhelmed. Like Rose’s dad, my mom helped me figure out what to make.

I read Blooming Rose Blasts Off to one of my grandsons. He’s almost 4 years old, and I can’t usually get him to sit still to read a whole book, even if it’s a picture book. He sat through the whole thing! Then he went to certain pages and wanted me to read them again! That was so exciting! Kudos to Lauren Piland.

This is a great story with a lesson for children, and the illustrations are realistic and colorful. It’s a great addition to any child’s library. I can’t wait to read it to my other grandson who likes to be read to.

About the Author

As a former second grade and elementary art teacher, Lauren Piland is a Louisiana native turned Texas homesteader who knows the importance of engaging read-alouds both in class and at home. After taking a step back from the classroom to raise her second child, she realized the gap some campuses face between the undersupported emotional struggles of students and the overwhelming responsibilities of teachers. “When we can use tools such as books and relatable characters to open up those more meaningful conversations, both at home and in the classroom, it aids in that process of peeling back layers of getting to know each other better and building trust,” says Piland. “Children need to feel seen, feel heard, and feel protected. And we do that by tapping into our emotions.”

Piland also wanted to further support teachers by including ready-to-use, curriculum-based exercises to go along with each book that focus on learning objectives such as reading comprehension strategies, vocabulary building and word mechanics exercises, writing prompts, whole group projects and STEM exercises with differentiated versions for students in Pre-K all the way to fourth grade.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest ~ youtube


Enter to win signed copy of BLOOMING ROSE BLASTS OFF!

(one winner/USA only)


Follow the Tour

Jan 10 –Cover Lover Book Review – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 10 –Sandra’s Book Club – book review / giveaway
Jan 11 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
Jan 11 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 12 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review / giveaway
Jan 13 – Liese’s Blog – book spotlight / author interview
Jan 13 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 17 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 17 – My Reading Getaway – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 18 – Books With A Chance – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 19 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 19 – The Phantom Paragrapher – book review / giveaway
Jan 20 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 23 – Lady Hawkeye – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 24 – Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
Jan 25 – Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 25 – @RebeccaReviewedIt – book review / giveaway
Jan 26 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 27 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway
Jan 30 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / giveaway
Jan 30 – Regally Written – book review

Book Review: Giant Island by Jane Yolen

In this wondrous book by award-winning fantasy author Jane Yolen and award-winning fantasy illustrator Doug Keith, two children and a dog explore the coves and caves of a tiny island. Under the watchful eye of Grandpa, the kids are thrilled to discover a huge surprise: the craggy rocks, tufted grass, and wind-swept trees on Giant Island are much more than they seem. Jane Yolen’s text entrances readers with hints of age-old magic, and pays tribute to mystery, curiosity, and friendship. Doug Keith’s paintings invite readers to discover the giant secret for themselves. Visit Giant Island, where fantastical adventures await.

My Review

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

Two children go to Giant Island with their grandpa and don’t understand why such a small island is called Giant Island…until they explore while Grandpa is fishing. They have a great time playing and exploring, and they have a big secret when it’s time to go home!

Giant Island is an amazing book that children will want to read again and again. The story is a great fantasy, and the illustrations (paintings) are wondrous. They help to tell the story especially at the end. Such a fun read!

About the Author

I was born on February 11, 1939 in New York City at Beth Israel Hospital, the first child of my parents, Isabel Berlin Yolen and Will Hyatt Yolen. Because my grandmother Mina Hyatt Yolen’s family, the Hyatts, only had girls, a number of us were given their last name as a middle name to carry it on. So I am Jane Hyatt Yolen, and my brother, Steven Hyatt Yolen, was born three and a half years later. Alas, we are no relation to the Hyatt Hotels, no matter how often I have tried to convince the staffs there.

I love being a writer. In 2018, I celebrated #Yolen365 in which my 365thbook (yes, that is a Yolen book for every day of the year) was published. Actually, 365 and 366 published on the same day. Since then, that number has grown to 378.

The first man I married, in 1962, David W. Stemple, is the only man I married. He and I have three children and six grandchildren. Alas, he died of cancer in March, 2006 after 44 years of a wonderful marriage. I live in Western Massachusetts right next door to my marvelous daughter Heidi (the little girl in OWL MOON). My sons live far away with their families, Adam in Minneapolis, Jason in Charleston, SC.  I also have a house in Scotland where I live about four months of the year. The rest of my life is all book talk.

For more about Jane Yolen and her books, go to her website.

About the Illustrator

Doug Keith attended the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art in New Jersey and graduated in 1974. He worked his way through ad agencies in the New York area for five years until an opportunity to relocate with an industrial design firm brought him to Seattle in 1979. A desire to start his own studio became a reality in 1982, and business has been growing ever since. Keith’s ability to work in a variety of styles and mediums has attracted clients such as Sports Illustrated, the Seattle Times, the Seattle Mariners, the Goodwill Games, local TV stations, restaurants and advertising agencies. Along the way, Keith has won an Emmy award for television graphics (KIRO-TV), a Society of Newspaper Design award (the Seattle Times), and national recognition for his innovative and amusing alphabet designs. Keith has found his love of sports (and sense of humor) invaluable in making the conventional alphabet more than just a group of letters. In his sports alphabets, players, referees, cheerleaders and fans bend and contort every which way to form all the letters. In each letter is a story which is commonly known to every sports fan, which explains why Keith’s work is just as at home in a boardroom as it is in a playroom.

Book Review: A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley

Monterey, 1851. Ever since her husband was killed in a bar fight, Eliza Ripple has been working in a brothel. It seems like a better life, at least at first. The madam, Mrs. Parks, is kind, the men are (relatively) well behaved, and Eliza has attained what few women have: financial security. But when the dead bodies of young women start appearing outside of town, a darkness descends that she can’t resist confronting. Side by side with her friend Jean, and inspired by her reading, especially by Edgar Allan Poe’s detective Dupin, Eliza pieces together an array of clues to try to catch the killer, all the while juggling clients who begin to seem more and more suspicious.

Eliza and Jean are determined not just to survive, but to find their way in a lawless town on the fringes of the Wild West—a bewitching combination of beauty and danger—as what will become the Civil War looms on the horizon. As Mrs. Parks says, “Everyone knows that this is a dangerous business, but between you and me, being a woman is a dangerous business, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise …”

My Book Review

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

This is the first book I’ve read by Jane Smiley, but it won’t be the last. A Dangerous Business is about Eliza who is working in a brothel since her husband was killed in a bar fight. She actually likes working there better than when she was with her husband because he treated her horribly. The men she services are all different, but most are harmless. If there’s a man she’s concerned about, she can leave her door cracked so that Carlos (their protector) can keep an eye out.

When someone starts murdering girls who work in Eliza’s profession, she and her friend, Jean, decide to investigate because the law doesn’t seem to care about the girls. Poor Eliza becomes suspicious of most men, but that’s understandable. The identity of the murderer has a twist, and I thought it had a good ending.

Like good historical fiction, A Dangerous Business has a good story, but it also has true historical facts. I’ve always been interested in American history, and that along with a murder mystery makes a great read.

About the Author

Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University. Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster’s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century Americans chick lit.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Book Review: Pairs of People by Jeanne & Mark K. Shriver

In this lively, vibrant, and inspiring follow-up to the Christopher Award-winning book 10 Hidden HeroesNew York Times bestselling author Mark Shriver and his wife Jeanne Shriver help children learn about the power of numbers and how working together can make the world a better place. Pairs of People makes math fun and meaningful by showing how our service to others multiplies when people pitch in together.

The whimsical, rhyming text and colorful artwork from award-winning artist Laura Watson inspire discussion on such topics as friendship, leadership, and camaraderie while illustrating the basic concepts of multiplication.


My Review

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

Pairs of People is about multiplying by 2, and the examples are of people who help others. It starts with one pair of people and goes all the way up to twelve pairs of people. Then it asks what 50 pairs of people could do!

Each pair of pages gives an example in rhyming text of what people can do to help others. At the bottom of the pages, it shows how many people are in that number of pairs (for example, 2 pairs = 4 people) and the math equation representing it as well (2 x 2 = 4). What a great way to teach children about community service and math at the same time!

The illustrations by Laura Watson also add to the overall story with realistic and colorful illustrations about the concepts presented. My grandson is only 2 years old, but he loves being read to, and I know he will enjoy this book for years to come. I can’t wait to share it with him!

About the Authors

Mark K. Shriver is president of Save the Children Action Network in Washington, D.C. Shriver created the Choice Program and is a former Maryland state legislator. His New York Times and Washington Post bestselling memoir, A GOOD MAN: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver, was published in June 2012 and received a 2013 Christopher Award. Shriver lives with his wife, Jeanne, and their three children, Molly, Tommy and Emma, in Maryland.

Jeanne Shriver lives in Bethesda with her husband, Mark. After working for Merrill Lynch and American Express, she left the corporate world after 10 years to raise their three children. She has served on several non-profit and independent school boards and is an active volunteer for several non-profits in her community.

About the Illustrator

As a freelance illustrator working in Toronto, Laura Watson has been creating whimsical illustrations for children’s books, educational materials, magazines and various retail applications since graduating from Sheridan College’s Interpretive Illustration program, in Oakville, Ontario, in 1995. Born and raised in the heart of the lovely Kawartha Lakes region in Peterborough, Ontario, Laura also studied Fine Art at York University and graduated with an Honours degree in Visual Arts. In the past few years, Laura has enjoyed illustrating several trade children’s books (most recently, My Evil Big Brother Packed My Lunch from Chronicle Kids) and countless school publications for subjects as diverse as poetry and math. Laura lives in the leafy Riverdale neighbourhood of Toronto with her husband, 11-year-old daughter, and 3-year-old redbone coonhound / lab rescue dog, and works in a converted backyard garage studio surrounded by a slightly unkempt garden. She enjoys the outdoors, runs often and spends as much time as possible at the beach hunting for sea glass.

Book Review: The House in the Middle of the Street by Jennifer Sklias-Gahan

There once was a house, and it sat in the middle of a simple and quaint treelined street. A beautiful woman named Rebecca lived in this house with her faithfully devoted husband and their newborn daughter. They were happy, and they were proud.

The house had originally belonged to a great-great-aunt of Rebecca’s named Minerva. She lived in the house all the days of her life, and she died there on the very last night of the year. In her final earthly wishes, Minerva bequeathed the house to her next of kin and all of its belongings, including a golden sealed letter reading “Instruction for the Keeper of the House”, to be given to whomever took legal ownership of the house.

None of her next of kin came forward to claim the house. Some neighbors speculated that the relatives passed on such a beautiful home because of the rumored hauntings attached to it; the wild sobs of a young woman heard through the winter winds as the year closed, coupled by a sturdy knocking at the front door that emanated onto the street. The house sat and sat, empty until the law firm handling Minerva’s estate located Rebecca as being the next in the family line to inherit the house and all its belongings, if she so wanted.

Rebecca and her husband were thrilled and received the house gratefully. This stroke of luck came at just the right time in their lives as they were starting a family. With the arrival of autumn, Rebecca and her husband moved into the house welcoming this new chapter in their lives, on this street, and in this house. It was the house of their dreams. As the last leaves of autumn blew out, in came the arrival of their first child; their daughter was born.

On the very last day of the year, Rebecca prepared a “special” bread for her family’s first New Year’s Eve together. As she opened the kitchen window to let in the cool winter breeze, she heard a sturdy knocking at their front door. She peeped out the window and saw two children standing there, a boy and a girl.

My Review

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

Although this story is short, it’s worth the read. The writing is eloquent, but the story is creepy. I loved it!

There are different ways to enjoy the book. I had the chance to listen to the audio while watching the video storybook. It was great! That’s the version I recommend, but I think if I had to choose between the kindle or audiobook, I’d read it. The author did a wonderful job with all of the versions.

Just remember, you don’t have to welcome everyone into your home.

About the Author

Jennifer Skliás-Gahan is an American actor, writer, and producer.

In 2018 she co-founded the film production company, 18 Bleecker Films. Matilda, written and starring Jennifer, produced by 18 Bleecker Films, won the best short award on the festival circuit along with qualifying for the Academy Awards. Data Management, co-starring Jennifer will be released on DUST a sci-fi platform of Gunpowder and Sky on January 2023.

Tonight Is Your Night, written and co-starring Jennifer, is a short film being released by 18 Bleecker Films December 2022.

Jennifer will direct her first short film, THE CLOCK SHOP in winter 2023.

Jennifer is presently working on a documentary threading together interviews filmed in the last 10 years to present from the “MasculineUS” project, a not-for-profit multimedia project promoting positive images of women who occupy a BLIND SPOT in society.

“The House in the Middle of the Street” was written and narrated by Jennifer. It is a gothic fable about an old house, its occupants and the yearly visit of a boy and a girl on New Year’s Eve….that knock and knock and knock until they are invited in.

Jennifer wrote and narrated The House in the Middle of the Street as well as performed its music.

She wrote this tale to be listened to in the vein of the ancient tradition of storytelling she grew up with in her Greek family. She narrated The House in the Middle of the Street as well as performed the music used in its sound design and its opening and closing theme.