Book Review “The Secret Voices” by MJ White


The Secret Voices

They said they’d keep me safe.

They said, ‘It’s okay, Hannah. You know you can trust me.’

They lied.

When eight-year-old Hannah Perry goes missing in the small Suffolk village of St Just, the community is rocked. Heading up the investigation is Acting DS Rob Minshull, but he’s out of his depth in a case that seems to mirror the disappearance of a young boy, seven years ago. That search ended in unimaginable tragedy…and Minshull is praying that history won’t be repeated.

But with an investigation full of dead ends, and a kidnapper taunting the police with sinister deliveries of Hannah’s belongings and cryptic notes, the young girl’s life hangs perilously in danger.

Until Dr Cora Lael enters the picture. A psychologist with a unique ability, Cora’s rare gift allows her to sense emotions attached to discarded objects. When she is shown the first of Hannah’s belongings, she hears the child’s piercing scream.

With few leads on the case, could Cora prove Hannah’s only hope? And as time runs out, can they find Hannah before history repeats itself…?

A twisty, original and utterly gripping detective thriller that fans of James Oswald and LJ Ross will love. Don’t miss the crime thriller debut from the bestselling women’s fiction author, Miranda Dickinson.

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Blimey, just blimey! what a totally gripping crime thriller. I just loved every single page. Right from the start you are in this book with gusto. No preamble messing about getting characters sorted, this just throws you right in and by the end of the prologue I just had to keep reading. Gripping, gripping and then just when you think you can sit back for a moment, even more gripping. This book, a debut crime thriller has it all. Suspense, child in danger and written so perfectly you just can’t help but love or hate a character. A total page turner and I am not just saying that, it really is. My heart was hurting for poor little Hannah. I loved the way that we feel right inside Hannah’s mind. Her life seems so sad and she is such a gentle little girl. I just wanted to scoop her up and keep her safe.

The introduction of Dr Cora Lael is brilliant and I enjoyed getting to know her before she becomes part of the investigation. There was nothing unbelievable about her. She also comes across as a gentle soul and hopefully just what Hannah needs to save her.

The Secret Voices is a fabulously written book. Not a wasted word, no faff and long unnecessary flowery filler, its just super gripping, I think I may have said that already. I enjoyed the fact that the story is told from several different perspectives, drawing you in to each character as their story is revealed. The Police, especially Minshull are not your typical police, bored, uninterested and angry. These police offers clearly care and are absolutely willing the investigation to b successful. Can it really have a happy ending? Is Hannah ever going to saved? Can Cora be her saviour? All questions that will be answered when you read this fabulous book. Highly highly recommended.

Author Bio

MJ White is the crime pen name of the internationally bestselling author Miranda Dickinson. To date she has sold over one million books worldwide and has been translated into sixteen languages. Miranda has always been a huge fan of crime fiction and The Secret Voices marks the start of a new and exciting departure for her writing.

With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ……

Rachel Gilby

MJ White


Book Review “A Scottish Highland Surprise” by Julie Shackman



A Scottish Highland Surprise

Discover the secrets and surprises that the scenic Scottish town of Briar Glen has to offer…

When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.

Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.

And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.

The perfect feel-good romance for fans of Jo Thomas, Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley.

Purchase links

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US –


I do love a good romance and a superbly written Scottish romance hit the right spot for me. The Scottish Highland Surprise was definitely a huge surprise. I loved the setting in the china shop, which makes a fabulous change, I love all things china, especially a good, pretty teapot, I love a cuppa, so I was absorbed into this book completely.

Sophie is a wonderful character, brave about changing her whole life. I am not sure I would have been as brave as her but I wish I was. The romanticism of it all just drew me right in. I’m sure I sighed several times.

I am not sure that “Romance” really does this book justice as there is a smattering of history, a bit of intrigue and mystery all surrounding the Romance. Definitely something for everyone. It is not an overly mushy romance either. It is a romance that we have probably all encountered at some even if it might have briefly. This brings the characters to life, they are unquestionably believable people which brings a sense of realism to the whole story. An absorbing read that I urge you to read.

Author Bio –

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue pup, who she named Cooper. A Scottish Highland Surprise is Julie’s sixth novel.

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With Thanks for the Advance Copy to …….

Rachel Gilby

Julie Shackman

Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter

Book Review “A Final Call” by Eliot Parker


  • Purchase link:
  • Genre:  Detective thriller, murder mystery
  • Print length: 260 pages
  • Age range: This is an adult novel
  • Trigger warnings: Graphic violence; sexual violence; homicide
  • Amazon Rating: 5 stars


About A Final Call

Homicide Detective Stacy Tavitt has too much on her plate. Her delinquent brother is in deep trouble and now he’s gone missing. Is he in danger? Is he dead? And an old college friend has a missing son, Colton, and is counting on Tracy to track him down. But Stacy’s last investigation has left her physically sick and at risk of being invalided out. She has a lot to prove and time isn’t on her side. Nor, it would appear, are some of her colleagues.

At first, there is little reason to suspect foul play in Colton’s disappearance – until he becomes the primary suspect in the brutal murder of an ex-girlfriend.

There are dirty cops in the force and dirty business at every turn. It’s a race against the clock as Stacy searches for the truth about her brother, the location of her friend’s son, and the mystery of a killer who is targeting her friend’s family.

She needs answers, even if she has to break the rules to find them. This time it’s personal.


A final call is my first read by Eliot Parker and it’s definitely right up there with some of my favourite books. The plot line is super fast paced and you need to keep your wits about you, but this is what I like. It makes me feel much more invested in the characters, I felt like I was trying to work out who did what to whom. The characters are full of, well character and it seriously is an enjoyable read so full of twists and turns my head was spinning, but in a good way. When the end arrives, it is a full on shocker and not what I was expecting but it was brilliant. I certainly want to read more by Eliot Parker and I would highly recommend, if you like a good fast paced police procedural book then this is one for you.

Book Review “The Mersey Mothers” by Sheila Riley



The Mersey Mothers

Liverpool 1953

January sees the dawn of the Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation year as the mothers of Reckoners Row unite in preparation for the celebration of the new Queen.

Meanwhile Evie Kilgaren is dreaming of her summer wedding to Danny Harris, but trouble looms for Skinner & Sons with a new rival trying to put them out of business, but no-one knows why….

Ada Harris is summoned to the bedside of her estranged husband, who, in his dying moment confesses to a deadly secret – he knows who really murdered Evie’s mam Rene all those years ago and the consequences are far reaching.

Has an innocent man been jailed and is there still a murderer walking carefree?

Will Evie get the happy-ever-after she so longs for with Danny? And will The Mersey Mothers unite and still be friends?

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This is my second book by Sheila Riley but the first in the Reckoner’s Row Saga. The Mersey Mothers is book 3 of this historical saga, however I don’t feel that I missed to much but having said that I do now want to read to other two. So in all honesty, I think it’s better to read all three.

This is a beautiful story, full of passion, strong morals and unbreakable friendships, no matter what has happened. Everyone living in and around Reckoner’s Row has a huge sense of community and they stick together through thick and thin. Ada is a brilliant character. she won’t let anything get her down even though she has a tough life. I really loved her forthright nature. In fact a lot of the women are forthright and it’s great to read. She actually reminded me of my Grandma. She wore the same wrap around pinny, lived in a very similar community and I couldn’t help but smile.

Evie and Lucy are wonderfully written women. Evie, looking after her younger sister since their Mother’s demise. They have a superb relationship and I utterly adored them both.

The Mersey Mothers is written so well, the plot is great and it evokes strong strong emotions that you find yourself having a chuckle one minute, feeling really angry the next then full on tears. A totally compelling read that absolutely lives up to being a saga.

Author Bio –

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing the Reckoner’s Row series under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool.

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With Thanks for the Advance copy to ……….

Rachel Gilby

Sheila Riley

Boldwood Books

Book Review “The Last King” by M J Porter


The Last King

From author M J Porter comes a thrilling new hero.

They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

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Having Read M J Porter before I was really looking forward to The Last king. It certainly didn’t disappoint. I was prepared for plenty of fighting, blood and gore and this book has that in spades, so be ready for it. It does however help to set the plot excellently and the characters are written with a strength that you kind of get to actually like despite the profuse amount of swearing. I’m still not wholly convinced that the huge amount of the “f” word is needed but I soon just glossed over it as the story is so good you can ignore it to some extent.

This is an exhilarating read that is fast paced and each battle is described accurately for the time the book is set. I have learnt more about the this historical period by reading M J Porter than I have from any other books. I am fast becoming a fan and already have my next book lined up.

If you love a fantastical story based on Vikings, battles, violent escapades between the characters then I would highly recommend that you give M J Porter a try.

Author Bio – I’m an author of historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest, as well as two 20th-century mysteries). I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it’s little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

Find me at and @coloursofunison on Twitter.

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With Thanks for the Advance Copy to …..

Rachel Gilby

M J Porter

Book Review “The Witch’s Tree” by Elena Collins


Present day

As a love affair comes to an end, and with it her dreams for her future, artist Selena needs a retreat.  The picture-postcard Sloe Cottage in the Somerset village of Ashcombe promises to be the perfect place to forget her problems, and Selena settles into her new home as spring arrives.  But it isn’t long before Selena hears the past whispering to her. Sloe Cottage is keeping secrets which refuse to stay hidden.


Grace Cotter longs for nothing more than a husband and family of her own. Content enough with her work on the farm, looking after her father, and learning the secrets of her grandmother Bett’s healing hands, nevertheless Grace still hopes for love. But these are dangerous times for dreamers, and rumours and gossip can be deadly. One mis-move and Grace’s fate looks set…

Separated by three hundred years, two women are drawn together by a home bathed in blood and magic. Grace Cotter’s spirit needs to rest, and only Selena can help her now.


There is an absolute serenity that runs through the whole of The Witch’s Tree and the relationship between Grace from the 1600’s and the present day Selena is moving beyond belief. It seems odd to talk about these two characters having a relationship after all they are 300 years apart. However they really do develop a closeness that brings them together, without Selena really understanding who Grace is and why she feels a constant presence in the holiday home she has camped out in.They have similarities in their lives that gives them a strong connection that shines out. Selena’s beautifully described art draws you right in to the exquisite surroundings that Selena finds herself in. She is trying to fix her broken heart in more ways than one and her paintings bring her closer to finding Grace, although she doesn’t know it.

Grace’s story is one of pure love tinged with sadness. She is a strong young women, growing up in times of deep superstition that weighs heavy on her shoulders. Her final end is so sad that I have to admit I did weep for Grace. The injustice of what she endures is truly heart-breaking.

The Witch’s Tree is written with just the right amount of spooky alongside beautiful descriptions of not only the countryside but also the people that come into Selena’s life. I fell in love with this book wholeheartedly. It took me on a wonderful yet sometimes sad journey. I felt strong emotions throughout., alot tissues were needed, and I want to buy all of Selena’s paintings. The end is fantastically moving and finishes of both women’s lives in a way that you feel justice does get done eventually. Do Grace and Selena both find their happy endings? Well you will just have to buy a copy ( you won’t be disappointed) An utterly moving story that I urge you to read. It’s truly outstanding.


Author Bio

Elena Collins, AKA Judy Leigh

You may have read some of my novels writing as Judy Leigh, uplifting stories of the lives of older women and the possibility of second chances.

I’m so excited to introduce you to my dual timeline stories under the name of Elena Collins: the name is a tribute to my grandmother who was a teller of stories and fortunes and she had healing hands.

These new novels bring together three things I love: delving into history, exploring stunning locations and evoking the possibility of the supernatural. They are tales of people’s lives then and now, and there will be some spine-tingling moments.

I love writing, travelling, reading, music and theatre. I have an MA in Professional Writing. When I’m away from my desk and my three black cats, you’ll find me researching my next novel in some of this country’s most beautiful locations and beyond.

Book Review “Emma’s Tapestry” by Isobel Blackthorn

  • Purchase link:
  • Genre:  Historical fiction
  • Print length: 311 pages
  • Age range: This is an adult book but suitable for mature teens
  • Trigger warnings: None;
  • Amazon Rating: 5


At the dawn of World War Two, German-born nurse Emma Taylor sits by the bedside of a Jewish heiress in London as she reminisces over her dear friend, Oscar Wilde.

As the story of Wilde unravels, so does Emma’s past. What really happened to her husband?

She’s taken back to her days in Singapore on the eve of World War One. To her disappointing marriage to a British export agent, her struggle to fit into colonial life and the need to hide her true identity.

Emma is caught up in history, the highs, the lows, the adventures. A deadly mutiny, terrifying rice riots and a confrontation with the Ku Klux Klan bring home, for all migrants, the fragility of belonging.

Emma’s Tapestry is an imaginative retelling of the remarkable life of the author’s great-grandmother.


WOW! this book absolutely blew me away. I was totally immersed from the very first word. An extraordinary book based on real life events that just sweep you along on Emma’s incredible journey through life. The things she sees and endures had me held in the palm of the authors hand. My favourite part was Emma’s time in Singapore. It just gave me a whole new insight into just what it must have been like to be a woman living in a foreign land that she literally knew nothing about. I loved the descriptive style, it really brought everything to life, from Emma’s surroundings to the sights and smells, her husband, Ernest and his odd foibles that Emma keeps wondering what she ever saw in him, left her family for.
This is truly one of the most compelling stories that I have read, I think knowing that this was based on the authors Great-grandmother gave it much more of an impact. Emma is dragged from pillar to post and she endures it all with grace and just makes the best of what she is. A truly remarkable woman. Please please go and get a copy. Its phenomenal


Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of unique and engaging fiction. She writes across a range of genres, including gripping mysteries and dark psychological thrillers.

The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Reader’s Favorite book awards. A Prison in the Sun was shortlisted in the LGBTQ category of the 2021 International Book Awards and the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her short story ‘Nothing to Declare’ was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019. Her dark thriller A Legacy of Old Gran Parks won a Raven Award in 2019. The Cabin Sessions was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award 2018 and the Ditmar Awards 2018.

Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism from the University of Western Sydney for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel The Unlikely Occultist and the full biography Alice A. Bailey: Life and Legacy.

Isobel carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain, her former home. Five of her novels are set on the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. These standalone mystery novels are setting rich and fall into the broad genre of travel fiction.

Isobel has led a rich and interesting life and her stories are as diverse as her experiences, the highs and lows, and the dramas. A life-long campaigner for social justice, Isobel has written, protested and leant her weight to a range of issues including asylum seekers and family violence. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives in rural Victoria, Australia.

With Thanks for the Advance copy to ……

Blackthorn Book Tours

Book Review “The Lake Templeton Murders” by HS Burney

Fast paced Thriller based in Vancouver


The Lake Templeton Murders

A body washes up on the shores of Lake Templeton, a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island. Sharon Reese, the victim, was a dedicated government employee. Everyone liked her, but no one knew much about her. Was she hiding something? Maybe a questionable past riddled with scandal. And did it lead to her plunge to death, in a drunken stupor, off the dock outside her secluded lakefront lodge?

Was it an accident? A suicide? Or cold-blooded murder? Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, is determined to find out. 

Fati arrives in Lake Templeton to find secrets that run as deep as the City’s sewers. Everyone is hiding something and nothing is as it seems. A cult escapee. A corrupt politician. A struggling airline. A multi-million dollar public-private project to revitalize the Lake Templeton waterfront. How are they all connected? 

As Fati valiantly unravels the knots, another body is found on the shore. Is it the same killer? And can Fati stop them before they strike again?

Purchase Link

US –

UK –


I found The Lake Templeton Murders refreshingly different. The setting was beautiful and the main protagonist Fati made a delightful change. I loved her no nonsense style. She tells it how it is and somehow manages to get people to tell her things that they wouldn’t tell anyone else. I thought the fact that she was a Private Investigator was a great alternative to the usual stroppy detective story. Fati is feisty and obviously a strong independent woman. I felt very endeared to her, admiring her greatly.

The book is written with intellect and it goes at a pace that keeps you turning the pages and you’ll definitely find yourself in that “oh just one more chapter” phase. I particularly enjoyed that we, the reader seem totally involved. At times it felt like Fati was actually talking to me, sharing her questions as if my opinion mattered. I loved this style completely. We are not left out of Fati’s thought process at all.

The Lake Templeton Murders is the debut whodunit by HS Burney and its hard to believe it’s her first foray into the murder thriller genre. It’s totally brilliant. There are many red herrings along the way. I thought I’d worked it out, felt so sure then, oh no it’s not that/them at all. All the characters are written exceptionally well. You get to know what makes them tick almost immediately. I much prefer books that get to the point, no faff getting to know each character in a round about way. You know instantly each characters little foibles and it creates a utterly compelling read that I really found hard to put down. If you’re looking for a new author, new series and absolutely not cosy murder mystery then this is the one for you.

Author Bio –

HS Burney writes fast-moving, action-packed mysteries set against the backdrop of majestic mountains and crystalline ocean in West Coast Canada. She loves creating characters that keep you on your toes. A corporate executive by day and a novelist by night, HS Burney received her Bachelors’ in Creative Writing from Lafayette College. A proud Canadian immigrant, she takes her readers into worlds populated by diverse characters with unique cultural backgrounds. When not writing, she is out hiking, waiting for the next story idea to strike, and pull her into a new world. 

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With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ….

Rachel Gilby

HS Burney

Book Review “Cook it, Eat it, Live it” by Jo Kenny

Cookery Book. 43 vibrant recipes

Cook it Eat it Live it

Cook it Eat it Live it is written by Jo Kenny, food writer and owner of
In this first publication, Jo offers readers a vibrant and varied collection of recipes inspired by both travel and family ties to the UK, Japan, Guyana, the Caribbean.

This delicious collection of every day recipes satisfies appetites for light bites, indulgent dinners, fresh sides and delicious desserts.You’ll find a spectrum of dishes from rich, earthy flavours to fresh aromatics giving you meals to enjoy year round. All recipes are firm favourites in Jo’s own household and cooked regularly. This is family style, every day inspiration to ensure no more boring dinners.

Recipes are punctuated with stories of travel, food inspirations and a personal philosophy of enjoying food unapologetically. Cook it Eat it Live it is about finding happiness in the little things and injecting some joy into every day life through wholesome, exciting meals.

Purchase Link –  


Reviewing a Cook Book made a really great change to my usual reviews. My husband James and I reviewed it together as we both enjoy cooking, he prefers to do dishes that need marinating, lots of spice and different ingredients. After I had a weekend away and left James with the book, he had a great time searching through the recipes and here is a bit of what he thought…

James Preston’s snippets

I enjoyed reading the new and interesting recipes, there was a good balance of traditional English, Indian and Asian recipes amongst many others. There were lots of handy tips that made preparation much easier for some recipes.

I found that most of the ingredients are those that are easily found in most high street Supermarkets. a really good thing is that the ones that do use more unusual ingredients can be stored for a long time so you are not splashing out on things you can only use once and throw the rest away. This is a brilliant idea, as I have been put off creating some dishes because of the waste of some ingredients. The perfect idea.

The recipes were easy to follow and highlighted any extra times needed, such as marinating which is especially helpful.

I have used and discarded many a cook book but this one is definitely a keeper. A great selection of recipes to suit everyone’s palate. Nothing overly complicated. You can create restaurant quality dishes in your own home. I would certainly try the vast majority of the recipes in Cook it, Eat it, Live it. A 5 star addition to anyone’s kitchen, and even better the final results really do look like the scrumptious photographs. An all round superb Cook Book for newbies and established cooks alike.

Author Bio –

Jo is a food writer from Bedford, living with her husband Alex, newborn son and Kimchi the cat. Her website was founded in 2012. Starting out as a personal space to capture cooking and food adventures, it has evolved into a public hub for recipes, cooking guides and food inspiration. Jo is passionate about fresh ingredients eaten joyfully, intuitively and adventurously.

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With Thanks for the Advance Copy to…..

Rachel Gilby

Kingsley Publishers

Book Review “David’s Bin Day” by Sue Wickstead

Children’s Book. Age range, 3/8 years

David’s Bin Day

What happens on a Wednesday morning?
As the bin lorry clatters down the street a little boy is watching with interest.
Just like them David is wearing his brightly coloured bobble hat.
He is ready to play.
But where does everything disappear to?
And what happened to Daddy’s important letter?
“David’s playtime adventure stirs up a bit of trouble
in this sweet book about playing pretend.”
Sarah Flores, Write Down the Line

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REVIEW ~ K.M. ~ 4 STARS written up on behalf of K.M by Niki Preston

David’s Bin Day was read and reviewed by my Grandaughter, K.M. Although she is 8 years old, so at the upper age that this book is aimed at, she still enjoyed it.

K.M. Review

This book has some really lovely pictures. I thought David was really cute and enjoyed his game of being a bin man. It was funny. His family are nice and the story is good at showing little kids that pretend play is fun and good for their imagination. This book is very easy to read and the story is fun and made me laugh.

I think this book is very good for little children and will help them to learn to play and to get an interest in reading. I love reading, I enjoyed David’s Bin Day a lot.

Author Bio –

A work of the heart.

I am a Supply teacher working across Sussex and Surrey.

For over 20 years, alongside my teaching career, I worked with a Children’s Charity, a Playbus, which led me to write a photographic history book about it. (Bewbush Playbus.)

I soon found that many children had never been on a bus let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more.

I have been telling stories about the bus which led me to writing the fictional tale.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, came out in print in 2014. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continues.

The story has led to 11 other children’s stories to date; some are from my teaching and play-work experiences as well as my bus adventures. There are more stories written and on their way.

In my role as visiting Supply Teacher, I am able to share the story as well as to leave a copy of the book in each school as I go.

I undertake author visits in schools, libraries and events on request.

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Book depository

Facebook: – Author Page

Facebook  – Playbus page



With Thanks for the Advance copy to …..

Rachel Gilby

Sue Wickstead