Monday, October 24, 2022


This is just a quick post to say a big thank you to everyone who voted in the Feed my Reads 2022 awards and I'm delighted to let you know that I won the Book Reviewer award 🥳🎉 

I'm humbled and delighted (and, if I'm honest, a little overwhelmed!). In his speech Fraser said there had been 'a huge amount of voting on this one' and 'there was so much love and community support for'. Fraser also said Tweetables show 'how it should be done and are leading the way'- wow, wow, wow!
A big thanks to Fraser for organising these awards and do take a look at their blog as it has a huge amount of author interviews and information.
I'm also delighted to let you know that Maximilian Sam (see our interview here) swept the board with awards (see right).
I've also got an author interview coming soon with Naomi Kennedy and she won Historical Novel of the year!
So a huge thanks from me to everyone who voted for me - I have no idea who you are but I'm sending you virtual hugs as you've made me very happy. Now I'm off to celebrate!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Sneaky peek at 'Backstories'


When Simon approached me to review this book, I fell in love with the idea straight away. Backstories is a combination of fact and fiction, each short story like a puzzle as you try to work out which famous character is featured. And the range is broad, from pop stars to murderers!
If you've not read Simon's work before, he's given me a tweetable to introduce himself to you (tweet here)
'Simon’s work is powerful, tightly written and emotionally true, perfect for sophisticated readers who are prepared to be morally challenged.'

The author interview and book review will be live on the 1st November but you can find out more by visiting the author's links below:

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Saturday, October 15, 2022

Author interview Genna Rowbotham/ Book review 'Lottie the Ladybird's adventure'

I've a delightful children's book for you now, written by author Genna Rowbotham, which is aimed at 7-9 year olds. I started by asking Genna to tell us about herself.
'My career began in the secretarial field (*see below) until becoming a full-time Mum, but thoughts of writing a children’s story would often pop into my head – usually, whilst reading to my little ones. At the time, I didn’t think it was something possible for me – and hadn’t a clue how I would go about it. Although when I mentioned it to my husband, he would often say, ‘Just do it!’ So I did. 
Inspired by my children, in 2017, I took the plunge to write my first story, fitting it in around caring for a young family, and I have so far published eight children’s books.

I live with my lively, imaginative family in Derbyshire in a house full of books, magazines as well as colourful drawings and all sorts of artwork from my children (empty cereal boxes are often taken from the recycle bin to reinvent something wonderful like a spy camera or a telescope).
Some of my favourite things to do are reading, writing, travelling, astrology, star gazing, movie nights, walking in the countryside, and exploring the great outdoors.'
Isn't that lovely! And my little * means that Genna is setting up an online secretarial service currently, so if any of you need manuscripts or anything else typing, she can help. She's still constructing the website but there is a form avaiable here or you can contact her via her business email address (
But back to writer-Genna again and what made her want to write Lottie?
'As a child, I remember being fascinated with ladybirds/ladybugs and that fondness has stayed with me. Stories about ladybirds are very popular with many young children and with this story, children can learn interesting, fun facts about them too.'
So, does she have a favourite part of the book she'd like to share with us?
'This extract begins with Darcey talking to Lottie the Ladybird. It’s the end of the first chapter and the beginning of the second.
‘Ah, don’t be daft! You’re still beaut-’ 
Just then, Darcey spotted George running into the woods from his neighbouring garden. (End of chapter 1)
‘Over here, George!’ shouted Darcey, waving her arms in the air. 
‘No, Darcey!’ said Lottie, her face full of fear. ‘Don’t call him over!’ 
‘Why not?’ 
'He’s far too boisterous. He’ll just want to prod and poke me with that stick of his that he swings around – all too freely for my liking.’ 
‘Ah, I never thought. Here, crawl onto my finger and you can hide inside my pocket.’ Carefully, she placed her new friend into the pocket of her t-shirt. ‘OK, let’s go!’ 
And off she went, sprinting along the winding path that was lined with big, tall trees on either side. Good thing she was a fast runner. Much quicker than George in any case. 
‘Darcey!’ bellowed George, amongst a gathering of trees. ‘Where ya going? Wait for me!’ 
Darcey dashed behind a tree. ‘He’s seen me,’ she whispered, panting. 
Lottie crawled out of Darcey’s pocket to spy. ‘Oh no! What’s that in his hand?’ ‘
A stick.’ 
‘What! Just keep running, Darcey – please!’ begged Lottie, crawling back into her pocket.'
And this sets up the story. There are lovely illustrations throughout the book and I'd assumed they’d been left as black and white outlines for children to colour in, so I asked if Genna had ever seen them completed, such as at book signings or readings?
'To be honest, I’d not thought about the children colouring them in, although that would be lovely if they did and shared them with me. 
There’s also a colouring page on my website here: where children can print off various illustrations and colour them in from different books. 
If they’d like to share their artwork, they can email them to me at, and I’ll pop them onto the gallery page for everyone to enjoy at:'s-gallery'

What a great idea, so get colouring kids! 
Genna also sent over a lovely ladybird photo (right) and I wondered whether she'd made it but she said, 'I bought Lottie quite a few years ago from WH Smith when I began writing the story as my little mascot.' 
Inspiration really is everywhere for talented writers! It must be fun seeing a toy and then writing a story around it so I wondered what Genna felt about that and what she might like to say to you, her readers?  
'Lottie the Ladybird’s Adventure holds a very special place in my heart as it was one of the first stories I ever wrote, so when I heard from Caab Publishing saying they were interested in publishing it, I was thrilled, to say the least. I’m now delighted to be sharing it with the world.
Thank you so much for selecting my children’s books to read for without you there would be no point in writing. I hope that you will continue to enjoy my books and that they entertain, educate and inspire your life in some way.'

Sharing your stories must be daunting for a new writer though?
'In the beginning, I had lots of self-doubt about myself as an author… like whether my writing was good enough etc. I also struggled, and still do, to balance my writing alongside caring for my growing family, but it’s important to have something for yourself and to feel OK about that.
My husband has been very supportive in encouraging me when my confidence has been low, and I’ve felt like giving in. Especially, in the early days when I was submitting endless manuscripts to agents and getting nowhere.'
What a lovely supportive husband! I always imagine the call from an interested publisher means champagne popping and an instant huge increase in confidence, but I’m guessing it’s not really like that, so how was it for Genna?
'It was a brilliant feeling and helped give me the confidence boost I needed! I was in my writing den at the time when I found out...' 
Wait, hold on - a writing den? Without even knowing what it is, I feel I need one! What does Genna's look like?
'I absolutely love my writing den. It’s basically a summer house that my hubby and his dad built for me last year and it’s very cosy. It’s mainly a work-only space with a desk, pin-up board, bookshelf etc. but I’ve also got some teddies, drawings and artwork in there that my children have given me. 
I try to stick to working Monday to Thursday but that doesn’t always happen as personal life sometimes gets in the way and vice versa. Before my writerly den, I used to work in my children’s bedroom. Every workday morning (school day for them) I’d ask if they could clear their bedroom floor of toys and teddies so that I could bring my small portable desk into work from, so they’re very pleased they’ve got their bedroom back. 
It was the best alternative at the time as my hubby also works from home and he’s in the dining room so that space was already taken.' 
Yep, I was right, I definitely need one of those! But back to our chat, and getting that call from the publisher...
'It was an email from Caab Publishing and it popped up in the corner of my screen. I was so thrilled! I raced up the garden and into the house to tell my husband. Although I’m not sure he understood a word I said because I was speaking so fast with excitement. Of course, I was delighted to be sharing the story and getting it published, but it was also validation that my writing was good enough. I still have moments where I doubt myself as a writer, but I think we all feel like that from time-to-time, especially in the creative field.' 
Too true! So does she read the reviews left on her books?
'Yes, I do. Of course, I love the good ones; it gives me a great sense of pleasure knowing that the reader has taken something from the story and enjoyed it. 
For any bad reviews, I try to take on board any constructive criticism as it helps me to become a better writer. Sometimes though, I think it’s just a reader’s personal story preference, including their own life experiences, beliefs and so on as to whether they’re going to like a story and there’s nothing you can do about that apart from accepting that it’s not for them.'
That seems very wise, so what does Genna enjoy the most about writing?
'Leaving the outside world and creating a brand-new one that’s hopefully magical, entertaining and educational for children and adults alike to enjoy. I also find writing quite meditative – and when it flows, time flies and I could write all day. The flexibility of working from home and choosing my own hours is also a bonus!
I’ve always loved the world of books, so I count myself lucky to have a career that I love.'

And how does she name her characters?
'I love picking names for characters and usually, but not always, it’s instinctive and comes easily. But when it doesn’t, I search the internet for names and their meanings for the year my character was born to get inspiration.'
What a great idea - I'm going to use that myself in the future! If Genna could go back in time and chat to her younger writing self, what would she say?
'Read. Write. Read. Write. Be a part of the writing community; they are immensely supportive. Join writers’ groups for networking, support and encouragement. Enrol on any free online writing courses that may interest you – there are loads out there. Most importantly, believe in yourself and don’t ever give up. You can do it.' 
More sensible advice that I think a lot of us will also take onboard. So what would be Genna's favourite novel and why?
'My all-time favourite novel is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. On Christmas Eve, a miserly old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, is visited by three spirits: the first ghost representing Ebenezer’s Christmas past, the second his present and the last his gloomy future. They all take him on a journey showing him how his mean behaviour has affected those around him, but also how his behaviour has affected his own life. At the end of the story, he is relieved to discover that all is not lost and there’s still time for him to change, which is when he transforms into a generous, kind-hearted soul, spreading his joy to everyone he meets.
I have always had an interest in all things ghostly/spiritual, so it appeals to me on that level, but I also love the magical ending and the powerful message that this story sends.'

Oh, I do love a bit of Dickens - it's not Christmas for me without a bit of miserly Ebenezer! 
To conclude our interview, I asked if Genna wished to add anything?
'Once again, I’d like to say thank you to my readers for choosing my book, and as such, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Reviews are like gold dust to authors, and I would be so grateful for your time if you could write a brief review on your favourite store, even if it’s just one sentence. Your review will make such a difference to me and help gain exposure for my work. Thanks so much!'
And just in case you're not sure how to do this, please take a look at my featured post all about writing reviews (press here) - it really isn't difficult!

I was charmed by this book from the front cover! We follow the story of Darcey who runs away from home because her mum's boyfriend is coming to live with them. She likes him but doesn't want her home life to change, so she goes into Ladybird Wood where she meets a talking ladybird. 

Lottie the ladybird (or ladybug) is unhappy because she's lost her spots so Darcey joins her on a quest to find them. 

They have lovely adventures together, such as playing pooh-sticks and making a daisy chain - it's completely charming. The chapters are the perfect length for bedtime reading too and the illustrations are ready for colouring in.

Genna has such a lovely way of storytelling, it's lyrical and easy to read out loud (and I've read some bedtime stories where I've stumbled over words!). For example, when Darcey meets a frog, this is her reaction:

'He looked just like her grandad, wearing a gentlemen’s red and green tartan flat cap and a matching waistcoat with a handkerchief in the pocket. The frog seemed deeply engrossed in his newspaper that read, The Frog Times on the front cover.' 

I liked the fact that the story introduces challenges many youngsters face today, but Darcey's experience is so positive with great outcomes that it sends a lovely message. There are also fun facts about ladybirds at the end which is a great idea.

I really enjoyed Lottie the Ladybird's adventure, even though I might be a smidgen over Genna's target age group 🤣 I recommend it to anyone with 7-9 year olds, particularly if they're facing similar challenges.

Find out more about Genna at:




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Thursday, October 13, 2022

It's awards time!


I'm celebrating again, but this time it's because I've been nominated for two awards and authors I'm working with have been nominated too! 

For my own nominations, I'm flip-flopping between complete shock and then total elation because this blog is a hobby (and a bit time-consuming!), but at times like this it all feels so worthwhile!

So a big thank you to whoever nominated me and do take a look here and vote for your favourites. I've been nominated for Book Blogger of the year ( and Book Reviewer of the year ( and the other entrants are amazing so do look at their blogs too.

I was thrilled when Maximilian Sam contacted me to say he'd been nominated for 4 awards for his book I reviewed (Best cover,  Best children's, Best comedy and Best debut) - check out my review here and take a look at the link to the awards: 

And I'm interviewing another author in February, Naomi Kennedy, and she's also been nominated for two of these awards (Best debut and best historical).

Happy days! Please do take the time to vote for your favourite authors - these talented writers need your support! I'm off to vote now 😁 UPDATE 20/10/22 - THE POLLS HAVE NOW CLOSED - thanks to everyone who voted

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Sneaky peak at 'Lottie the ladybird's adventure'

I've a lovely book lined up for next week 🎉🥳

Lottie the Ladybird's adventure is aimed at 7-9 year olds and written by talented author Genna Rowbotham. In case you've not come across her before, she's given me a tweetable bio for you (tweet here):

'Genna Rowbotham is a children’s author of eight books ranging from picture books through to middle grade. She has a passion to write stories that help entertain, educate and inspire children and adults alike as the reader can escape the seriousness of life and enter a world of magic.'

Find out more about her at:




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