Blogger Book Nook: Murder in the Library

When I saw that this month's Blogger Book Nook was going to be about crime and thriller fiction I was excited. I love a good thriller which is definitely my favourite genre to read and most of the books on my tbr pile are of that genre. I had fun choosing which book I wanted to pick up for my mini review at the end of this post.


1. Who is your favourite fictional detective and why?

I've found this question pretty tricky to answer because  most of the books I read in this genre don't tend to be written in the perspective of a detective. When I do though I like a detective that is reliable, has a back story and is motivated in his role.

2. Do you enjoy being able to solve the mystery in a book before the characters do, or do you like to be kept guessing until the end?

A bit of both really. I love a good gripping read that keeps me guessing however I do love working it out and seeing if I am right. I don't like working it out too early in the book or if there is a twist in the end that makes no sense though.

3.Murders, missing people, or heists and thefts: Which do you find most compelling?

Murders and missing people definitely.  I find them to be more exciting than heists and thefts. 

4. What keeps you most engaged in a crime plot? Intriguing characters? Mysterious settings? Or a whole lot of action?

The suspense! The characters for me along with the plot keep me engaged. If the characters are boring than I find it hard to continue reading. 


5. Crime is a popular theme for novels, TV shows and video games: Which is your favourite way of experiencing the genre?

It's definitely a tie between novels and tv shows! With novels it gives me the chance to use my imagination about the crime, what the characters are like etc however with tv shows I tend to focus more on the plot.

Now for the review:  Close to home by Cara Hunter

Close to Home is part of the Richard and Judy book club and I can see why they chose it. Close to Home features many twists and turns along the way and is a gripping novel. Eight year old Daisy Mason goes missing at a family party, no one saw anything- well that's what they are saying. DI Adam Fawley tries to keep an open mind but knows 9 times out of 10 it's someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying. This fast paced read is definitely my favourite read this month and I loved the twist at the end when we find out what really happened to Daisy.

Book Review: James and the birthday balloon

We love getting new books and we recently got sent a copy of  James and the Birthday Balloon  by Nicola J. Rowley. This is a fun short story suitable for children aged 3 to 7 years, which is the right age group for Blake.



The story follows James who is heading to the birthday party of his best friend Ruby. During the birthday party, James and Ruby are given giant balloons.  But Ruby lets go of hers and whilst chasing after it, trips and hurts her leg and needs to go to hospital. She's scared because she doesn't know what to expect. 

It's a lovely story with two themes the first one being about friendship where James is thoughtful and compassionate. The other theme is about reassuring children about a trip to the hospital as it can be a strange and scary experience. 

The only thing I can say I dislike about the book is the images but other than that its a great story and you can even scan the QR code in the book to get a free audio copy read by tv favourite Dr Ranj. 


You can purchase your own copy for £7.99 on Amazon.

How to know you’re buying quality products

Just because you pay more for something doesn’t mean it is the best quality, even though this is what we would often expect. More often than not, a higher price, typically does equate to higher quality; but, this isn’t always the case. So, don’t depend on price alone. Consider some of these factors to ensure you’re buying quality items online.




Read online reviews.
Read unbiased reviews and make sure you read multiple reviewson the product you are looking at buying. When you read reviews from people like yourself who have purchased/tried the items you want to buy you will get a better understanding of quality and functionality, before you invest. One example of a site you could use to get some more information about the product you are planning to purchase is Rated Winner


Know the specs/uses. Yes, sometimes the material finishes, the design, and other elemental-factors are going to tell you about a product’s quality. So, rely on this information as well when you are trying to find the best products to buy.


Rely on the experts. Not the manufacturer reviews but experts in the industry. Like unbiased reviews written by other consumers, experts in the field who aren’t a part of the company or didn’t design the product are going to give you in depth and honest feedback of products. So, rely on what they have to say before you decide what to buy or which brands you are going to invest in.


The price is also an indicator but again it should not be the only thing you look at. If you want to ensure you are getting quality no matter what items you are buying you need the right information to help you find these items. These are some indicators which will help you find the quality goods you want and know you’re buying the best products on the market regardless of the types of consumer goods you’re shopping for.

Who's your Emergency Service Hero?


Everyday people working in emergency services save lives. Not only that but they deal with dangerous and life risking situations where they are completely selfless during the toughest times and for that reason they are true heroes.

All because of that and more they truly deserve a big thank you for what they do and to celebrate the team's behind their uniform and show appreciation for all the increadable work that they do on a daily basis.

Working in Emergency Services is a tough job and being able to reward those doing such a hard job is something that is important. The job isn't just about saving lives, it's a career that takes courage and determination along with dedication for their role. 

Do you want to say a big thank you to the firefighter who got your loved one out of danger, the paramedic that kept you calm and talked to you when you felt scared and needed someone? The ones that were there when you were feeling at your most vulnerable, the ones that went above and beyond not just because it's their job but because they genuinely care.

If so you can say thank you by nominating an emergency service hero  that you would like to see rewarded £2,000 to spend on Peli UK products, before 31st May.

Once you have done that all you have to do is wait to see if they have been short listed and visitors can vote for which team they would like to see win the prize!

It's definitely a great way to celebrate these heroic people and make them feel appreciated. 

In my life, the mountain between us and sandals #LittleLoves

This week hasn't been very exciting in all fairness . My tablet decided to break which meant forking out for a new one but also I spent less time online which meant I got more reading done. This week has also seen me feeling very nostalgic especially as Wednesday was 9 years since my Dad passed away. I''ve found myself looking at a few old photos and remembering the good times we had as a family.




Read
This week I've read one book within a few days and am also half way through another.
A gathering light by Jennifer Donnelly is an easy read. Based on a real murder at the turn of the century this a moving novel. Although not like the type of thrillers/crime stories I love to read I did enjoy this book. 

I'm  currently reading Close to home by Cara Hunter and hope to have finished by the end of the weekend. Close to home is definitely more my kind of read and I'm excited to finish this book as I'm really enjoying the story. I won't go into too much detail but the story is about eight year old Daisy Mason who has disappeared.



Watched
Netflix wise I've binge watched the first season of On my block which popped up as a recommendation and I've actually enjoyed it. On My Block" follows a quartet of bright, street-savvy friends who are navigating their way through high school, including all the of the triumph, pain and newness they experience along the way. 

I also got around to watching The Mountain Between Us Stranded on a mountain after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must work together to endure the extreme elements of the remote, snow-covered terrain. Realizing that help is not on the way, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing each other to survive and discovering their inner strength. I really loved this film which stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as the main characters.

Heard

I've being playing In My Life by The Beatles this week. It was one of the songs at my Dad's funeral but also I do love The Beatles and also been listening to Let it be.


Made

Nothing to see here 
Wore
New sandles at the beginning of the week anyway as the Sun decided to disappear again. I picked these up in peacocks and they are really comfy so have ordered another pair in white online as they of course didn't have my size in store typically. 



And lastly...

With little loves moving on to being a monthly rather than weekly linky.  I'm looking forward to sharing what we get up to in May as we actually have some exciting stuff planned. 

In loving Memory of Philip Eaton 27/07/1950 - 25/04/2009











Hooked On Books With Strawberry Fountain

Hi Everyone welcome to another instalment of Hooked on books. You may not know but I run a book group on Facebook called Hooked on books with Joanna Victoria which you are welcome to join to talk all things books. 


Every Wednesday I will be bringing you a brand new guest series. I’ll be featuring  some lovely bloggers  who will be sharing their answers to reading/book related questions. I hope you manage to find some more wonderful blogs to read.  If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch!

This week's instalment is with Terri from Strawberry Fountain 

My name is Terri and I started blogging at The Strawberry Fountain 2 years ago along side my career as a teacher. In January 2018 I left teaching and became a full time freelance writer which gives me more time to spend with my boys and doing the things I love such as swimming and reading. I love taking a break from reality and getting lost in the plots and trying to guess the twists and turns that the author has dreamt up and one day I hope to be writing my own books for other people to enjoy. 




What book(s) are you currently reading?


i've just finished reading Eleanor ophilant id completely fine and I'm currently reading Jodie Picoult  - Small great things on my kindle. 




What book is next on your “to be read” list?
I joined a book club in January so our next book is Truth and lies of Ella Black  and then i also bought Friend request by Laura Marshall so that one will follow. 




What is your favourite genre to read?
I like to read a variety of books I don't really have a favourite genre but I do avoid ones steeped in history as I get a bit bored. 




Who are some your favourite authors?

My favourite authors are Jodie Picoult, Dorothy Koomson and Karen Rose. 



What are your top 5 favourite books?
in no particular order I think my favourite have been 

My sisters keeper 
A fault in our stars
me before you
ice cream girls 
Leaving time 



Paperback vs digital books - which do you prefer and why? 

I love my kindle for travelling as I have 100's of books at my fingertips without the weight and most books are cheaper on digital, but I also love a good book, the smell the turning of the pages and being able to read it in the bath without the fear of breaking it if I drop it in the water. I'm not sure which I prefer and honestly use a mix of both at the moment.  




What was your favourite book or series of books as a child?

When I was little I used to love reading the babysitters club series but before that it was the goose bumps books. I was one of those kids that went to the library every Saturday and chose 6 books and read as many as I could and I still love reading now. 



Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it?

Absolutely not. I do not understand why anyone would do this, what's the point in reading the book if you already know what's going to happen. 



 Do you hang on to your books once you've read them? Or do you prefer to pass them on to a charity shop / a friend?

Under no circumstances can I bin a book. I'm not sure why and to others it is probably really strange but I just can't do it so I pass as many on to friends and family as I can and then the rest go to charity shops. 



Do you read one book at a time or do you have multiples on the go?

I can only read one fiction book at a time and I don't understand how people can have more than one on the go. I sometimes have a fiction book and a work related book on the go at the same but that's all I can manage. 




Describe your ideal reading nook



For me the ideal reading nook would be in a large bay window seat with loads of cushions and big soft blanket with a roaring fire and a cup of coffee, wine if its the evening. No interruptions just me and the book. Perfect. 

You can find Terri over on:


Finance for freedom #TacticalTuesdays

Hi everyone it's time for #TacticalTuesdays
If you have not joined in with this linky or need a reminder the idea behind the linky is that you share with us your Tactical Parenting posts/hacks for the week. This can be crafts, recipes, meal plans, reviews, Days out, parenting posts etc. Both old and new posts are welcome in the link up all you have to do is grab the badge at the end of the post and the rules are also stated below too.

Please don't forget you can use the hashtag #TacticalTuesdays over on Facebook, twitter and Instagram) 



This week's featured post is by Bryony – Perfectly Imperfect Mama and her post Some meal ideas for kiddywinks!! I know quite a few of my readers would love this post as its filled with meal ideas and we sometimes need a bit of inspiration. 

This week I'm linking up with my post on the Finance For Freedom course I recently completed. Now it's not a parenting post as such however I feel that its important for everyone to have their finances in order and more so as a parent.

I'm looking forward to seeing all your posts again this week.

Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

How to read more



I've always loved reading as far back as I can remember. This year I set myself the goal of reading more. This is because since having Blake I found I'd been reading less and less. Now I've started to really get back into it and have been asked frequently how I find the time to read more.

All I've done is made simple changes:

Read everyday 
I always make sure I find the time to read every single day.  Even if its a few chapters before bed.

Fitting it in
Most of my reading time is in the evening once Blake is in bed. I also try and fit in some reading once Blake is at pre-school and whenever I get a chance at other points in the day depending on how much there is to do.

Turn off the TV
I used to watch Hollyoaks in the evening's and once Blake was in bed I'd spend a good 3 to 4 hours binge watching something on Netflix. I've now cut this down so that I can read more. 

Putting down my phone
I also found I'd waste precious reading time by scrolling through Facebook and instagram a lot. It can be easy to get sucked into social media so I'm trying to cut my time online down. 



As I said its just very simple things I've been doing. Do you think you could cut down on tv and social media usage? If you give it a try to get more reading done I'd love to know how you get on. Last of all I want to know when do you find the best time to read? Are you like me and find the evening's the best? 

A trip to the Farm, reflexology and a rose tattoo #LittleLoves

What a week! We made the most of it being Blake's last day of the Easter Holidays on Monday with a lovely trip to Green Dragon Eco Farm. With the Sun finally arriving, I've found my mood has lifted and I've not being feeling as low this week. Blake's loved being back at preschool and the children have been outdoors a lot which Blake has loved.

Anyway lets get into all the lovely things from this week.



Read

Whenever I've had a spare moment this week I've been getting through my two recent copies of In the Moment and Breathe Magazine.  I'm definitely loving breathe more though so will stop purchasing in the moment. Don't get me wrong they are both lovely magazines its just I've enjoyed more of the articles in the two copies of Breathe I've read so far.

I've also enjoyed a few blog posts this week:


I'm really into essentail oils so I'm looking forward to try out this recipe once I get round to getting the ingredients I don't yet have.

Me, him, dog and a baby - A guide to selling on Facebook

I much prefer to sell unwanted items on Facebook these days instead of eBay and this post is handy as I've been struggling to sell things recently. I definitely need to start describing items in my selling posts rather thsn relying on just the image.


Watched

As i've mentioned already we went to the farm on Monday. It was lovely watching Bake having do much fun and so sweet watchjng him stroke a lamb. I wish i had managed to get a photo.

Television and film wise there’s been very little I’ve actually watched apart from Riverdale which I've caught up with. 


Heard

Yesterday I had my first  reflexology session which was so relaxing and I loved hearing the relaxing music in the background. I'm definitely going to have to listen to this kind of thing a lot more, especially when feeling stressed.

Made

We've finally made a holiday booking! We had originally planned to go to fetuventura this year, however plans have changed and we hope to go next year instead. This way we can save more  so we can go for two weeks rather than just one. Instead we are staying the UK and going to Hayling Island in Hampshire with Park Dean resort's.

Wore

I had my beauty and the beast rose tattoo done on Saturday and its starting to heal nicely now. I really love how its turned out and am now trying to decide what I want my next tattoo to be. 


And lastly...

I'm planning to try and fit in a bit of shopping at the weekend as I've realised I'm in the need of some more summery bits such as new flipflops, dresses etc.

Finance For Freedom ( The course)

Recently I was given the oppertunity by the lovely financial coach Eileen Adamson from your money sorted to do her 28 day Finance For Freedom course.

The course is £399 however I was given access to the course at no cost so I could share with you my readers insight in what the course is about and how I got on etc. 


On the course you will learn about your habits, personality and attitudes towards money and the impact that these can have on your spending. This will help to transform the way you think about and manage money, and consequently help you to save money and manage your money more effectively now and in the future.

At the beginning of the course there is the pre-start and introduction, this is where you are given advice on sorting out your paperwork first, how the course works and the workbook which you can download to either use electronicly or to print off. 



Module one is all about thinking how your attitude with money affects your finances, changing your beliefs in regards to money, a money habitials quiz,and more. It's a great way to look at what you want from the course as well as knowing more about your spending habits. There is even a video to help you come up with your own outcome statement. 


Module two is about building an action plan, making goals and possible steps you can take. When it comes to making your own goals its important to make sure that they are SMART. ( specific, measurable, achieveable, realistic and timely). 

The advice in these two modules have really got me thinking about things I can change.  

Module three is where you start to look at different ways you can increase your income. 

You start to look at your needs vs your wants, find out about different ways you  can increase your income, benefits and minimising your money. Some examples of increasing money are mentioned in the screen shot below however there are many more ideas within the course. 

I loved the value for money section as it really got me thinking  before I buy the cost per use as well as the other ideas mentioned such as comparing prices.





Module four is all about different ways you can decrease your expenditure. 

Eileen helps you out with many ideas on how to reduce costs in different areas such as spending on food,  everyday costs, household expenses and more. 

She even helps you with advice on credit ratings, learning about debt and advice on how to pay off debt for example the snowball method. 

I must admit the debt section for me was a learning curve as I've never actually taken out a loan, credit card or found myself in debt although I know a few people that have and the advice is invaluable. 



Module five is all about learning and experiencing different methods of managing your money and learn about how to prepare for life's expected and unexpected events. 

There are many great sections in this module such as having a spending plan, the envelope system,  tracking your money , methods of managing money, having  an emergency fund plus more. 

I've found some great information in this module and the envelope system is something I'm planning on giving ago along with tracking my money. I'm also planning on building up my emergency fund with the ideas mentioned within this module. 



Module six is all about future proofing your finances in regards to saving, borrowing, investments, random thoughts and how to sustain change. Below is a screen shot of some of the ideas that didn't  fit well in other areas of the course such as insurance and entertaining children. 

Last of all Module seven is all about looking back at what you have learnt throughout the course. From what you have achieved, revisiting your goals and where you can find the handy Facebook group to help you keep on track along with other ideas for saving money.  



The course is really invaluable and I want to thank Eileen for giving me the chance to complete  and share this course with you. 

If you haven't read her blog yet I'd definitely check it out. For now I'll leave you with 6 reasons why you should join the finance for freedom course.

Best children’s catalogues

If you are shopping for the children, you want to find the best catalogues which cater to them. Instead of a general catalogue, consider a few of these which specialise in items/clothing for children, to ensure you find what you are looking for and of course the most affordable pricing as well.



Meblik.co.uk is a great site which sells furniture for kids. If you have a nursery you are decorating or if you are preparing your child’s room for the upcoming school year the right furniture will go a long way in creating the space. This catalogue caters to furnishings and distinct styles, which are going to fit your child’s personality perfectly.

Boden.co.uk has the styles kids love which is nothing short of extraordinary. If you have a child with their own distinct personality who love to look their best and is always looking for the latest styles you are going to find it here. In addition to the top designer-names you can find the ‘runway’ look for kids to ensure your child is going to look their best and stand out in a crowd.

Thekidsdivision.co.uk is a third site to consider. As the name implies, it caters to children. Clothing, nursery items, new furniture, prams, strollers or even joggers for the active parent are some items you can find on this site when shopping for your kids. For those parents who love quality, selection and want to find the best pricing as well this is a reputable, top-rated catalogue to consider doing your shopping with online.  There are loads of online children’s catalogues you can choose from.

No matter what items you are looking for when shopping for your kids, specialised catalogues are the way to shop. Consider a few of these the next time you’re ready to do some shopping for the kids or for their room/new décor for the nursery space.

Hooked On Books With CasaCostello

Hi Everyone welcome to another instalment of Hooked on books. You may not know but I run a book group on Facebook called Hooked on books with Joanna Victoria which you are welcome to join to talk all things books. 

Every Wednesday I will be bringing you a brand new guest series. I’ll be featuring  some lovely bloggers  who will be sharing their answers to reading/book related questions. I hope you manage to find some more wonderful blogs to read.  If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch!

This week's instalment is with Helen from CasaCostello

Helen is a Mum of 3 girls from Merseyside. She has been blogging about food, books & lifestyle for 10 years. Always busy as a parent taxi service & President of the local WI, she still finds time to be an avid reader. Helen loves finding new authors & reviewing fiction.



What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m almost at the end of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I’m enjoying it but like her most recent one, Little Fires Everywhere better.

What book is next on your “to be read” list?
Oh so many! I don’t think I can stop myself from reading Kristin Hannah – Winter Garden for much longer. Although I do have a few library books that I ought to read first .. Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) & The Secret Marriage (Diane Chamberlain)

What is your favourite genre to read?
I love realistic fiction. Anything set in modern day times. I love a good family saga or a story set in suburbia.
I’m also really enjoying thrillers at the moment too.
I’ll read most genres apart from sci-fi or fantasy.

Who are some your favourite authors?
Kristin Hannah, Clare Mackintosh, Rachel Abbott & Jenny Éclair, Erich Segal. A lot of my favourite books have been one offs or debuts like Anthony Doerr, Rhiannon Navin, Ruth Hogan.

What are your top 5 favourite books?
Oh my goodness – so hard!
  1. Doctors – Erich Segal
  2. A Thousand Splended Suns – Khalid Hosseini
  3. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  4. Little Women – L.M. Alcott
  5. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

Paperback vs digital books - which do you prefer and why? 
I prefer a physical book but probably read about 50% digital as I review a lot digitally and often it is cheaper/easier to get hold of of a digital copy.

What was your favourite book or series of books as a child?
Enid Blyton – Malory Towers series. I am so sad that these have not aged well and my girls will not get the same sense of love from reading them. I used to read in secret in the middle of the night by the light from the lampost across the road.

Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it?
Nope never! I’m such a stickler for staying with a book. If it is truly terrible and I have got to page 100, I might leave it but this hardly ever happens.

 Do you hang on to your books once you've read them? Or do you prefer to pass them on to a charity shop / a friend?
I tend to pass them on. We have so many books around the house that haven’t been read yet that I can’t afford to hoard books I will never read again.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have multiples on the go?
One at a time. My book goes everywhere with me!

Describe your ideal reading nook
Snugged up on the sofa with a blanket, a cup of tea & a bag of crisps. I’m easy pleased!



You can find Helen over on: