Protectors of the Roblox Universe | Lifting Simulator

Lifting Simulator on Roblox

The family that plays together, stays together… or so I have been telling myself as I have spent untold hours playing Roblox lately. Yes, I know, not really a suitable occupation for a 40 something but when your little one is obsessed by it and you want to make it as safe as it can be, you do what you can. I have to be honest here, the games become strangely addictive after a while and when your husband joins in and all of your immediate family is playing it can be quite fun.

This is therefore a review of the Roblox game, Lifting Simulator.

What does my son think?

He loves the game. In fact, he was the one who found it. He was even playing it before Denis Daily added it to his Roblox YouTube channel. We joined maybe a day later. He’s not a fan of the constant clicking and I am worried about RSI a little but it does teach him that success isn’t instantaneous. Of course, he is now asking us to click for him!

What do I think?

I am enjoying it. I like the way the game has several layers. You want to upgrade constantly to be the biggest and the most powerful using weight, genetics, and body alter but there is also the enforcement and criminal element of the game, which can be the most addictive.

When you start out you begin as a skeleton and you are weight lifting a pencil. You click your mouse to move the pencil until you have 30 coins. At this point, you have to sell your coins as you have run out of room in your wallet. You can spend or collect the money depending on your goal.

You can spend your money on three things. The first are weights and on the first run through, (I will explain this later), you have to buy each weight in the list before the next shows up. If you are fed up with emptying your wallet every couple of minutes, you can better your DNA (if only this was possible in real life). This has the effect of increasing your wallet so you don’t have to sell so often.

The third element of game play that you will spend your lifting simulator earnings on is called body alter. You can give yourself power and speed by buying this when you have enough money. The trick here is to buy enough weights to get the alter but no more in the first round. As soon as you buy the first power (freezing) then you will revert to the smallest body type and have to work your way up again. You will also lose all your money so there is use getting more than you need. For example, one on the weights cost around 100,000 but the first body alter costs 150,000. If you can reach 100,000, you may as well hang on and get the body alter and get the expensive weight later when it will be easier to get it. Otherwise, you will end up saving for the 100,000, spending it on the weight and then having to save a further 150,000. It is quicker to just save the one lot.

The next run through whether with the freezing, fire or any of the other powers, you can skip weights to get through it a lot quicker. While you could not see the entire list before, after you have bought them once, you can see them again but you will have to buy them after each and every upgrade.


As you go through the game and do plenty of weight lifting, you will gain a rank. This is fluid and will change as you play. This is a game with no judgement you can be good or bad and there are an equal number of ranks to go through until you reach the pinnacle of your chosen side. On the good corner there is Nice Guy, Bodyguard, Protector, Guardian and Superhero. If you are neither one way of the other you may end up as Neutral or you could go to the dark side and become a Bully, Jerk, Thug, Criminal or Godfather.

You get to be these ranks by killing other players who have a better or worse rank than you … and sometimes randomly. I have been minding my own business lifting the odd motorbike when someone kills ME and then demotes me from Nice Guy to Bully. Ooh, I was annoyed. I had to go around killing other bullies and jerks to get my status back until eventually I became a Protector. Sometimes you get to keep your status but other times not. I have left a Protector but come back as a Bodyguard. Another time I left as a Nice Guy but returned as a Bully.

When we started, we were constantly killed as soon as we spawned so when we had enough clout to get ‘em back we tried to be protectors. There are a few player who pride themselves on being the sheriff and kill all the bullies and worse around. However if you get stuck with a bully rank but you didn’t deserve it they don’t know this and they will still try to kill you. Also, some good guys will be good for an hour and take the other side so you can’t trust the other players! Still, you can still make alliances and it’s a sweet thing when there’s a bunch of you keeping the peace.

You get to keep your normal character during this game and unfortunately, my little one is obsessed by a YouTuber and will model himself on him. He’s too young to understand that people can be offended by that and I think (hope) that the guy is nice enough to understand that. We have already seen him in a previous gaming video so he’s come across him before when he was still Kindergarten age and he was sweet about it in the video.

This game is good for the whole family. There is nothing ominous about it. Our son’s chat has been disabled so he can’t talk to any dodgy people if they are on it so it’s just good clean fun. He’s learning to save and the concept of sticking up for people who can’t protect themselves because in this case they can only weight lift a pencil and he can carry a piano.

Definitely recommended for children with supervision. The supervision is for the horror stories you hear on the internet about the internet.

Happy lifting!


It felt as if the wait would never end but finally Lucifer hit the small screens again at the end of September and boy, was the wait worth it.

“Everything’s coming up Lucifer”, “Liar, Liar, Slutty Dress on Fire” and “Sin Eater” have already aired. If you haven’t caught up yet, then don’t worry here’s a recap of what you missed.

For anyone who has lived in a cave for the last year, Lucifer (played by the delectable Tom Ellis) is the devil who takes a vacation on Earth but then instead of living with the memories and taking home a souvenir snow globe or t-shirt, thought it might be more fun to explore humanity and stick it to the man at the same time. The man in this case being the Almighty of course.

The conclusion of Season 1 saw Lucifer dying but making a deal with ‘Father’ (God) to send ‘Mum’ (the Goddess of All Creation) back to hell after she escaped in exchange for the chance to save Chloe (Lauren German). This brings us neatly to the premise of Season 2.  Who is ‘mother’ and what does she want. Episode 1, (Everything’s coming up Lucifer) has Lucifer paranoid that every dead body is his mother coming to take revenge for the time she was tortured in hell. To be fair to him, he didn’t do any of the torture – that pleasure was all for Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) who seems hell bent (pun intended) on finishing what she started. Maze could never break ‘Charlotte’ (played by Tricia Helfer) in hell but Charlotte mentions that you only get the punishment you deserve in hell. Could it be that she was innocent, or that she was too powerful to be hurt by a lowly demon? She is the Goddess of All Creation.

Charlotte however, says she has no intention of taking revenge on Lucifer (well, she would hardly tell him she would play his emotions and then kick him when he is down.). When she lands in the dead body of a hot lawyer, she toddles off to find Lucifer and is
intent on showing him she hasn’t killed anyone. All she wants is what any other mother would want – to be with her boys again.

Lucifer doesn’t believe her at first and heads off to solve the murder of the body his mother inhabits without giving away the relationship to Chloe. Cue the typical Luciferisms of solving the case by only thinking of himself which leads to a few laughs through the episode.

Wlucifer3arning, spoilers ahead…

The story is complicated further by his brother Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) who has sworn to send his Mom back down to hell. Just a thought, why does Lucifer have a British accent while Amenadiel’s dulcet tones’ hail from the States? Fortunately for us, (and Charlotte) Amenadiel’s wings are going through an existential crisis themselves and look more like they’ve been in a scrap with a rather large cat than angel wings capable of flying to hell or heaven. Needless to say Amenadiel is not happy and in Episode 2, “Liar, Liar, Slutty Dress on Fire” has help from his former colleague to realise he has been acting selfishly. Even so, Episode 3 “Sin Eater” shows Amenadiel hitting the bottle hard. Is it living on Earth that affects angels in this way or maybe love? Amenadiel and Maze were getting jiggy in Season 1 and they may be more attached emotionally than either of them would like to admit. Will he swallow his pride and tell Maze or Lucifer about his wings? Either way, he is persuaded to go to Lux to intervene with Lucifer’s new house guest.

When Lucifer gets back to his apartment, his brother and their mother (Charlotte) have apparently made up but Lucifer has one more bombshell for her. His identity as a punisher has been reinforced with the latest case involving a serial killer and he has decided what her sentence will be (that boy really needs to focus on something other than his previous job!). He has decided he won’t send her back but her sentence will be to live with humans as a human. Unbeknown to him, his mother is not as human as he thought. In the final moments of Episode 3 she has the strength to throw a mugger across a street into a wall and from her expression, she is not unhappy about this development. The question is, what other powers will she develop over time? How will she fare with her human family? Can Amenadiel’s wings be fixed? Is it a punishment for his shenanigans in Season 1 of Lucifer or a side effect of living on Earth? Will Amenadiel and Maze make up? Why is Lucifer vulnerable in Chloe’s company? Will Chloe get the iron bar out of her proverbial and notice what is happening around her? Given that her marital problems with Dan, (Kevin Alejandro) is coming to a head, this may be sooner than we think. At the end of “Sin Eater”, Chloe and Dan realise that their marriage is at an impasse and Dan asks for a divorce. The end of their relationship opens up the narrative for Lucifer and Chloe to get together and for Trixie to play up or at least play her parents against each other. This begs the question, will Lucifer take advantage of the situation or has he grown over the last season or so?

This season is all set to be full of action and laughter and I for one am really looking forward to how this will play out.

What do you think of the season so far? Let me know by commenting below!

Lucifer returns to Fox with the Season 2 episode entitled “Lady Parts” on October 17 2016. It is available in the UK via Amazon Prime and Australia from FX.

Inside Out Movie Review

5 starsThere are not many films my toddler will sit through, but Inside Out is one of them. Because my little ankle biter loved it, I would give this movie from Disney/Pixar 5 stars.

What did I/he like about it?

I enjoyed it as an adult but I loved watching my child’s reaction to it. He’s only two but he was getting emotional at some aspects of the film but then he did in the Penguins of Madagascar as well. If that film is on we have to cover his ears when the baby squid starts crying or they’ll be hysterics for ten minutes.

Anyway, back to Inside Out, I love the development of the characters. As Riley grows so do the characters representing her emotions. It is fascinating to watch their journey and how Disney has visualised our emotions and reactions to them and how they interplay together. I think I may have some pointers for when he gets older!

The animation is great and very imaginative. There are a lot of laughs, the best one can be seen on the trailer. Take a look on YouTube if you haven’t already seen it.


It was a brilliant, funny and imaginative film and a must see if you have a toddler. A totally deserved 5 stars from the Clark household.



JupiterWarning my Jupiter ascending review will contain some spoilers (but they are not that bad).

Having read and watched dozens of reviews for Jupiter Ascending, I was a little worried about going to see it for our annual trip to the cinema on Valentine’s day (thanks for babysitting mum!).

We watched it in 3D and in the IMAX cinema. I needn’t have worried, I LOVED it!

The reviews warned about watching it in 3D. Seriously? It was brilliant. At the beginning there was a bit where a woman was on a flying bike. It was like being there!

The story

This was my kind of story. An intergalactic space opera with unknown ordinary person taking an integral part on the plot.

An unappreciated cleaner with early starts and low wages needs some money and tries to donate some eggs to get some quickly. Her genes are picked up by aliens when tested at the clinic. They then try to kill, kidnap and marry her. Her genes are the same as a matriarch who had died a while ago. Unfortunately her predecessor wrote her in to her will which the family didn’t appreciate so the plot unfolds with some or all trying to kill her to get her/their inheritance.

There was politics in the film but you need it to understand the backdrop. Without it you would be stumbling in the dark getting annoyed at the motivations of the characters. It wasn’t as bad as Star Wars.


I was really dreading what this character was going to do after hearing what the critics had to say about this character.

I found the character to be believable. Before you say but she didn’t ask too many questions etc., put yourself in the character’s shoes. You have spent your entire life as a cleaner which is not that stimulating (I’ve done the job in the past), and you are suddenly a queen in charge of worlds and some people are clearly trying to kill you. Are you suddenly from nowhere going to get a full potted history of the family, politics and the skills of a Karate black belt? Huh? No, you are going to go along with what seems to be the most reasonable thing anyone says while you observe and learn.

As to her intelligence, she reads up on information as soon as she can get it and uses it at the first opportunity she can.

I also got the impression she’s a wimp from the reviews but she slaps someone early on and kicks the butt off her ‘son’ later on. She’s no shrinking violet!

The love interest

If you are ever in danger this is the guy you want on your side. Sure his emotional range is limited but he is someone who is part wolf. Put yourself in the character’s point of view. He’s not a lovesick puppy, he’s a battle scarred wolf!

Other characters

Ok, the guy who used to own Earth is quite weird but then he is from a different culture. Sean Bean is awesome but then he always is and I quite liked the ‘daughter’ even if she was morally reprehensible.

In conclusion

I loved it and couldn’t recommend it enough. I needed a good action film where the fight scenes didn’t go on and on and on… This was it. It was an intelligent movie where you have to listen to what the characters say to get the best out of it. It was bright, brash and most of all fun. The best sci-fi I’ve seen in a long time.

Holiday Review: Parkdean Holiday Park, Mullion

The caravan - Parkdean MullionSummary

Accommodation: 2 Stars

Entertainment: 4 Stars

Food: 4 Stars

Overall: 3 Stars

In the interests of full disclosure this is the third time I have stayed in a caravan but I don’t remember the other two times. We have always stayed in holiday cottages, apartments or hotels so I have been used to a certain standard of accommodation. I am trying to bear in mind that the conditions that we were in may be usual for a caravan.

The Caravan

Accommodation: 2 Stars

We stayed in the Veryan Caravan (B37) in May.

We arrived quite late on a cold, wet and windy day, but within the time allowed as stated on the Parkdean website. We picked up our keys from the Arcade from a security guide who also gave us a welcome pack.

As we drove past the caravans we were quite impressed, the rows looked neat and the caravans seemed quite nice. We passed the white ones until we reached the green ones which I have to admit didn’t look quite as nice but I reserved judgement until I could get inside.

We entered in the caravan and first impressions were good. There was a glass bowl on the little table with a little note saying the caravan had been cleaned by (person’s name) and if we had anu problems to go to reception.

Excuse the mess of the counter, I took this just before we left and we hadn't cleaned it yet!
Excuse the mess of the counter, I took this just before we left and we hadn’t cleaned it yet!

The living space was nice, there was a sofa that took up the length of the back of the caravan, cupboards EVERYWHERE, and a nice little gas fire. The kitchen was serviceable and the bedrooms looked clean. There was the matter of the teeny-tiny television but hey, I knew there would be compromises. I set my toddler on the floor to have an explore, and we brought everything in from the car.

As we sat down for a quick dinner (our toddler needs to eat at a certain time or he gets very grouchy) we realised it was getting colder. My husband went about trying to put the gas fire on. It took about five minutes but he was able to get the flames going.

20140516-20140516_094535Cooking the first dinner was a breeze. The gas hob was easy to use and our emergency tinned Spaghetti Bolognese on toast was delicious!

We brought our own cot bed because we wanted to make sure that our little one would have a good night’s sleep, I just wish we had been as foresightful with our own sleep! There were two little beds in his room and no space for his cot. We stacked the two beds on top of each other and placed mattresses on top of the construction allowing us to put the cot bed up in the remaining space.

We took our toddler in to brush his teeth in the bathroom and the smell hit me like a wall. That’s awful! Still it got worse through the stay so I learnt to toughen up a bit. As we stepped into the bathroom the floor dipped as if there was a hole in the floor covered by vinyl. It was disconcerting but after a while I automatically did a large step every time I had to go in there.

We made sure the radiators were on in the bedrooms and we settled in for the night.

Day two started with minor aches and pains from sleeping on the uncomfortable mattress. Luckily I had the more comfortable side, my husband was really grumpy because he hardly slept at all from the feel of the bed.

We picked up our baby, gave him breakfast and headed up to entrance to the camp where the reception was to ask if they could change the mattress. The lady was polite and very helpful and said that she could make no promises but that they would see what they could do. Satisfied we toddled off to where Tot Stars would be held, which was excellent, but after we tired our little one out, we headed back to the caravan to let him have a nap.

We got back to the caravan to find the bedroom door open and all our bedding thrown on to the floor. The sheet was half up the mattress and our stuff was strewn around the bedroom. My first thought was that the caravan was burgled but a quick look at our electrical equipment led us to surmise that Parkdean’s customer service didn’t extend to its mattress changing staff.

We got our baby to sleep and we went about putting the bed back together again. What a great way for the holiday to begin! The next morning I was aching all over and my husband was only slightly aching. They had simply rotated the mattress so then I had the bad side. I’m still a bit aggrieved by that!

The next day I took the duvet from one of the beds in the other room (our baby had his own that we brought with us) and put it between the mattress and the sheet. Not perfect but we were only aching as opposed to being in agony the following day. So the configuration was mattress, duvet, sheet, double duvet and for me, the other duvet from the second room to keep myself warm in the night. The double duvet provided was the thinnest duvet I have ever seen!

To cut a long story short here are the lowlights of the holiday:

  1. After the initial lighting of the gas fire, it got progressively harder so we ended up having to light the hobs to make the caravan a tolerable temperature.
  2. The boiler light kept going out at inconvenient times.
  3. The hole? on the bathroom floor kept tripping me up at the beginning.
  4. The bathroom stank.
  5. The grill pan handle couldn’t be the right handle for the plan as if kept falling off. My hsiband burnt himself as a result.
  6. The knives were blunt in the kitchen so we had to buy a utility knife from Sainsbury’s which luckily was just down the road by car.
  7. The mattress was really uncomfortable.
  8. They forgot to put pillow cases on all the pillows. Luckily I brought my own.
  9. The thinnest double duvet known to man was provided in May.
  10. They threw all our bedding on the floor!

Highlights of the accommodation:

  1. It was clean.
  2. Tot Stars was excellent
  3. The soft play area was good but it did need a clean and they should really empty that bin more than they do.

Book Review: Huw the Bard by Connie Jasperson

This book is like a good film, you can spend so long finding so-so stories that when you do find a really good one, you want to rave about it. I loved this book.

It’s loosely based in Medieval UK, (and judging by the names, Wales) I say loosely because I don’t remember reading about dragons and firedrakes in my history books! It follows Huw the Bard who suffers a tragedy in the opening chapters and has to escape his home to avoid the same fate as his father. You follow Huw from a vacuous youth to a fully rounded adult as he grapples with trials throughout his journey.

I liked that the hero didn’t have magical powers but the world did. The characters had to show ingenuity and not a small amount of bravery to get out of situations that a lesser author might have given their characters powers to just ‘wish’ their enemies away. You wonder if they will survive, who will survive and you will genuinely care if Huw the Bard gets away and finds happiness again.

I recommend this book. If you like historical fiction/fantasy then this is for you.

Top 10 of the greatest books to read before you die – and they are free…

people reading on booksI’ve got my librarian’s hat on for this post. To celebrate the publication of my A Simpler Guide to Finding Free eBooks, I decided at 1 in the morning to write a post about the top 10 books to read before you die that are available for free. Little did I know it would take hours to compile and format! Still, the list below are novels you should at least take a look at with links to Amazon and the Gutenberg Project. While you can only get Kindle versions from Amazon, you will be able to download other types of e-books from the Gutenberg Project and of course they are free.

Here are my top ten picks:

1. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

One of the first and best romance novels of all time. Set in the 19th century by a writer from the 19th century, this is a read you won’t want to miss.

Get it now as:


2. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Rags to riches and unrequited love, this book has it all from the writer of Oliver Twist.



3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Another classic romance, boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, split up, then get together again but this is one of the first novels and one of the best (or it wouldn’t be in this list!) Worth a look.


4. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I read this story when I was about ten years old. This completely freaked me out as a child and so I recommend it for the next generation! Dorian Gray is a handsome man who sells his soul for eternal youth. He doesn’t lead a good life and there are consequences…


5. The Mill on the Floss – George Elliot

This is a fast paced love story from the Victorian era. This is a tragedy so have a box of tissues ready.


6. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

Ah, Mr Darcy. Who hasn’t heard of the hero of this romance? This is the original of the  often repeated tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.



7. The Fall of the House of Usher & other stories – Edgar Allen Poe

An old crumbling, evil house, a sick relative, a death, this is a gothic horror which builds on previous horrors to a new level. The links below take you to the Works of Edgar Allan Poe, volume 2 but this is the book you are looking for.



8. Vanity Fair – William Thackeray

Vanity fair is the opposite to the Brontës, as in don’t expect the straight happy ending. It is a more complex read but well worth it.


9. Moby Dick – Hermann Melville

The hunt for Moby Dick has fascinated readers for generations. Will it captivate you?


10. Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

The last entry in this blog post is a mystery. This is one of the first detective novels ever written and if you like the Mystery genre you’ll want to see how it all began. Even if you don’t normally like Victorian literature you might be pleasantly surprised with this one.


A disappointing visit to see Santa at the Celtic Manor hotel, Newport

20131223_222122-1We went to see Santa the other day. All three of us set off an hour early, bundled together in our warmest garb ready to meet the elements.

The traffic was heavier than we were expecting, but we arrived in plenty of time to find a space in what seemed a packed parking lot. As we made our way up the hill we noticed there was a train up to the hotel. Nice, I was expecting a lovely old style train with carriages affair (like I’d seen in the shopping centre, more fool me), instead we got a big old standard bus. Oh well, it’ll get better, I mean for fifteen quid, it had to get better right?

We took apart the pram and carried Siôn, our now excited one year old, into the bus which went up to the hotel in about five minutes. We assembled the pram again, settling the baby in there before we followed everyone (and the signs) up to Santa’s Grotto. To my dismay a large stumbling block loomed up ahead. Steps! Lots of steps. I groaned. I’m too big, heavy and unfit for steps at the moment. They rose from the ground like an impossible  invitation to Mount Olympus.Santa was calling and I had to suck it up. Grumbling under my breath I took the bottom half of the pram while my husband took the other end and we climbed.

First impressions of the first level was wow it was busy. On the right a restaurant, which was then a swimming pool as we walked, in the main building and to the left the winter wonderland.

Passing the skating rink we realised we had fifteen minutes to go, so we cased Santa’s Grotto to find out where it was and then spent some time watching the skaters.

Eventually, ok ten minutes, we tried the double doors and we were in. This looked promising. There were fake icicles coming off the ceiling, a television playing Elf in front and a reception to the right.

We ambled over to the right and proffered our ticket to the ‘elves’. They entered the information into their computer system and our son was given a sticker with his name handwritten on it stating he’d gone to see Santa. A bit premature you might think.

Anyway, we’d checked in so we went to look at the reindeer that Siôn seemed singularly unimpressed with. He preferred to play with the sign. There is no accounting for taste with babies. The reindeer seemed well cared for but starting at animals was never my thing so we had a look around the small area to see what else was on offer.

Not much is the answer. As mentioned before, there was the film, which you would only get a brief look at, I mean it wasn’t a film visit after all. There was some tiny tables and chairs where the little ones went to draw and colour-in I imagine.

The room began to fill up and I started to get worried about having to scramble into a queue but I needn’t have worried, checking in at the beginning meant that they called us in the order we came in. I just wish they had told us that when we arrived.

We hung around the entrance and was impressed with the speed that we were called but unfortunately this was delayed by a gentlemen complaining that his child didn’t have an age-appropriate gift. Whoops, this was looking more and more like a waste of money. Still, we just had to wait and see. The man left disappointed and we followed the ‘elf’ down the long white corridor to the room where Santa was waiting. Ooh exciting, I’d never done this before. Really this whole trip was for me as well as my son.

The room was decked-out like a typical living room with Santa on the sofa. It was actually quite nice. My husband was holding Siôn, so I hung back with the pram. Santa was lovely, he didn’t say much but then he didn’t have to. Siôn lasted about 1 minute before his eyes widened and big blobs of water fell down his cheeks. Yep, he cried. The ‘elf’ hurriedly brought a present and we distracted Siôn with the photo.

It was really quick and we then went to the photo kiosk where we bought the photo for a fiver. Siôn didn’t look very happy in it but hey it was the first time and I wanted something to remember it by.

Then there was the toy. The neatly wrapped soft package was gently unwrapped with the help of my son and the trip was made worthwhile by the sheer joy on his face when he saw the little dog in the winter outfit.

So all in all I would say it was a disappointing visit. I was expecting more from the Celtic Manor and indeed from fifteen pounds (twenty if you include the photo), I won’t be going there again as I’m sure there are better options. I don’t mind paying if the experience is worth it. Value is everything, sadly, I think this time I did not choose as wisely as I could have done.

THE Carnegie Event

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. Posts may be edited from the original blog. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

Carnegie Medal time has arrived again. While this does enable me to have two days out of the library it also means a small amount of stress organising the trip.

I should explain what we do to shadow the Carnegie Awards here. Well as you know there are seven books on the shortlist this year. We have to select seven pupils – one for each book and take them over to a school where each kid designs (with 12 other kids from other schools) a play based on the books. The next day they perform it at a local theatre with authors and dignitaries judging.

This year is easier and yet harder at the same time for me. The event cincidentally occurs in Activities week in our school so most of the children are on other school trips abroad. The ones that stay behind have to help with ecoschools and from what I gather it basically means cleaning the school up!

Anyway so I have a finite group to choose from (some I won’t touch with a barge pole but some are great) Unfortunately I may have to choose some of the first group to go with me. Woe is me.

The budget is also a bit of a problem at the moment. It’s at the end of the year and the accounts department get a bit ancy about spending money (even though I have enough in my budget!

The other librarians I’m told usually buy three books of each of the shortlisted titles. They then get the children to write reviews on each one and choose the best. I can’t afford to do this so I’ve got them telling me their first, second and third choice and pulling their names out of a hat so I only have to buy one of each.

Then it’s actually getting them to want to go. A couple were like “yeah yeah, I really want to go. Can I go? please, please, I’ll be good!” Others were like “um, I’ll have to tink about it, what else is going on that week?”

Interestingly enough when I mention that the alternative is to pick up litter in the school, they become strangely interested…

Just another school book fair

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. Posts may be edited from the original blog. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

From World Book Day I have ben presiding over our second book fair since joining my school. I got to tell you – its no picnic.

First day we did it (6 March) was a preview day so we just had to worry about setting up but even that day had its problems. As you know from reading this blog, the daily baby-sitting session known as prep is in the library. So try to imagine keeping 45 kids quiet with all those shiny new books just begging to be picked up and oohed and aahed over. Needless to say I failed.

Day two, we decided to make break for reservatios only as it is only for fifteen minutes. We’re librarians not mathematicians – you try working out the cost of several books, with a voucher nad answering questions while making sure they don’t destroy any more books than you can prevent! If you are wondering we got that down to one. They took out toy bits from one book and put the on a different shelf. Aargh.

Lunchtime arrives, hordes of kids descend on us, all asking for their reservaions, to buy other books. oh and “Miss, I don’t want that book now, can I have this one.” Yeah if you can do the maths for me, Of course I don’t say that, I just smile sweetly and say “yes”, getting out the calculator.

So there we were, about ten kids in my queue and ten kids in my assistant’s. …and the book fair people call. I mean they were calling a library in a school. Is calling at lunchtime a really sensible thing to do to get on the librarian’s good side? hmm. Finally get her off the line with non-committal answers and get back to to the hordes. Ten minutes later, 2 o’clcck and bliss. We’ve stil got two more days of this…


Living Social: The case of the Devilled Egg

Regular readers of my blog might have noticed that I have been on a few Living Social Events during my time. I’ve taken to blogging a few of these, Fat Attack, CSI weekend and a Newquay weekend. These blog posts were noticed by the guys at Living Social and they offered me a free Bloggers Breakfast event to showcase one of there cookery deals they do.

The cookery event was run by the Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy. Don’t worry it wasn’t all about eggs but they did feature prominantly! Bear in mind that I am only a Foodie in that I like to eat food. I have been known to burn beans on toast although I can make a wicked fairy cake.

Location: Bristol. A quiet residential street where all you can hear when you arrive is birdsong!

Verdict: Brilliant. The course was basic enough for me with clear explanantions while detailed enough for my husband who has been on a residential cookery course before.

Value for Money: Great. well it was free. Seriously though, the price I think for what we had is £135 from the Devilled Kitchen website so if you take into account Living Social discounts I think you could keep your eye out for a bargain here.

The Course:

When we arrived we were shown into the dining room while the rest of the party arrived. The house was gorgeous with large chandeliers and high ceilings – I wouldn’t mind living there!

We had time to chat and find out a little about each other before we started. The lady in charge was Barbora Stiess. Normally she would have had an assistant but she had been in an accident that morning so she couldn’t make it, I hope she is better now! No offense to the assistant though but the course went wonderfully and I didn’t realise there was supposed to be help until the end!

We all had to wash our hands or use the gel in the little dispenser as shown in the picture. I was paranoid about spreading germs because I was suffering from hay fever so I used more than my fair share of the gel. We would all be eating each other’s food so I wanted to make sure that no one would be grossed out.

There were a number of recipes but I won’t put them on here out of respect for the owner although she said it would be alright … except for one. We adored the bread rolls we made so this is going on here so I can find it again later (I tend to lose bits of paper).

Bread Rolls

This was the first recipe we followed and when volunteers were asked for, my husband stepped up to the plate (well bowl actually) and started the measurements. Here’s what was needed:

  • 500g strong white flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  •  300ml water
  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre, then add the oil and water, and mix well
  3. If the dough seems a little stiff add 1-2 tbsp water, mix well then tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead.
  4. Once the dough is satin-smooth, place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size or place in the fridge overnight.
  5. When risen, gently mould the dough into small buns and fill with olives and feta
  6. Place the buns on a baking sheet to prove for a further hour until doubled in size (cover with a clean tea towel).
  7. Heat oven to 220C, glaze bread with egg wash (beaten egg with a pinch of salt) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped underneath.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

We ate these later with ham, poached egg and hollandaise sauce. I, of course, had non-dairy hollandaise sauce because of my allergy to milk. On its own it wasn’t very nice but mixed together with the egg, ham and bread – it was like heaven on a roll.

By the way if you are allergic to gluten or dairy products the Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy does do courses which cater for these. Cool huh?

Anyways, after this was the soda bread and guess who volnteered for this? Oi, it was me. Ironic really, the only person who couldn’t eat the soda bread was the person making it! She gave a great tip. If you don’t happen to have buttermilk in your fridge, but let’s face it who doesn’t these days, then all you need to do is put a bit of vinegar in milk and voila, homemade buttermilk.

I could go into great detail about all the amazing food we created but really you would need to go on the course to get the benefit, by which of course I mean you get to eat it!

Here’s a quick list of the things we made:

Blinis with beetroot and salmon
Soda Bread
White Bread
Shortcrust pastry
Scrambled eggs
Eggs Benedict
Scotch Egg (the highlight of the course)

We got eat most of the things we made, the only proviso was that we were stuffed by the end so some people took their scotch eggs home.

Would I go again? I always ask this question at the end of a blog post and I would say yes. I learnt an awful lot and it wa a good laugh too. I highly recommend this course for novices and experienced cooks alike.

Here are a few pictures from the day to round this post off:

Book Review – A Crack in the line by Michael Lawrence

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. Posts may be edited from the original blog. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

I’m always reading books, but I’ve set myself the challenge of reading most of the books in my library, eek.

Thinking this is a tad ambitious I’ve lately opted for new books that we order in. The last one was the Crack in the Line. I picked it up at first because it was set in the UK and was different from the usual sci-fi/fantasy I usually go for.

It’s obviously a children’s book and the hero/heroine are basically two possibilities of the same person. The title refers to a crack in the railway line which leads to a train derailment. The mother has a fifty-fifty chance os surviving the train crash. At the instant of impact the Universe becomes two universes. One in which the boy loses his mother and has a dreadful life and one where a girl (the same person but a girl) gets to keep her mother and has lots of luck and comes into money.

I enjoyed this book although it was bit slow in places. There is some swearing in it so I wouldn’t recommend it for anything below 12 years old. However it is not gratuitous swearing – it does push the story along – character development and all that.

The main characters are likeable and there are some funny interchanges between the boy and his aunt who arrives at the house to look after him while his father is away. Luckily she is quite dippy allowing him the opportunity to pass between universes to meet himself as a girl. it’s part of a trilogy and I have gone through two thirds of the second book. Admittedly it’s not the best book I’ve read but certainly not the worst. If you are bored on a rainy afternoon, these do while a way a couple of hours.

Living Social Deal: CSI Weekend – Who murdered the Lord?

Another great Living Social Deal attracted my friend to pester me with emails asking if I would like to go. When I saw what it was, how could I possibly refuse?

The CSI deal was for a night in the sumptious Down Hall with dinner and breakfast included. The dinner also included the case files of the poor late lamented Lord.

Getting there

The journey to Down Hall was a nightmare. Totally our fault as we decided in our infinite wisdom that Mothers Day would be an excellent day to do a trip. In our defence, we didn’t KNOW it was Mother’s Day when we booked it. Coincidentally I bet my mother would have loved this trip, but I digress.

After taking around 3 hours for an hour’s trip we arrived only vaguely stressed. It didn’t help that the road that the Sat Nav wanted to send us down was closed and it refused to give us another direction. Note to Sat Nav makers, ‘Turn back now’ is not helpful when the road is closed and you are faced with the choice of going in two directions. As it turns out we are excellent navigators as we chose the right direction. Hah, who needs maps, a toss of the coin can do wonders.

We parked in the complimentary car park and first impressions had us impressed with the building. I would include lots of pictures here but I was using my phone camera which seems to have had a hissy fit and produced quite bad pictures but I will soldier on with the review and beg for your forgiveness.

As I mentioned Down Hall is quite impressive. If you ever had delusions of being Lord or Lady Muck then this is the place to have them. The reception however was confusing with two counters and no idea if we were skipping the queue but anyway no-one complained and we were given  our keys quite quickly. Quite efficient really.

The Room

How can I say this, the room was gorgeous but to my horror there was one double bed. I am used to posh and semi-posh hotels having two beds in the room and was a little put out, but my friend and I have been friends for years so I put aside my prudishness away for the night. I mean what was I expecting? Her to turn into some sort of bed monster in the night? Who knows? I can be weird sometimes.

I should probably mention the lift/elevator to the upper floor. This was almost worth the trip. The walls looked like they were lined with books. As a librarian and author I loved it. Way to go Down Hall, you got that bit sooo right.

Whe we arrived in our room we immediately looked to see what sort of view we had, which you can see for yourselves to the left of this post. We thought it was quite nice but the bathroom was enormous and even more impressive.

Down Hall also (apparently) has a spa. I hadn’t really noticed  this when I booked the CSI weekend but I was quite excited when my friend told me and made sure I packed a swim suit. I have never been so disappointed in my life.

The ‘Spa’

First we went down to get the code for the Spa. Why can’t they give this to people during check-in? Heaven only knows, maybe it is to discourage people from using it?

We went down to reception and ahh, there was a wedding on. I love weddings but I wasn’t going to this one and sort of resented losing half an hour of my life waiting for the queue for the receptionists to go down just to get access to a spa, which a) could have been given at checkin or b) put in the guest book in the room.

Eventually we got what we needed and were given directions to the spa. Problem number 2, the signage was next to useless, we had to ask three employees to find the way to get to it. You have to go through a lounge and go outside through the fire doors, walk outside for a minute and reenter the connected building.

Now I understand the info said there was nowhere to put your stuff in the changing rooms, but there was nowhere to put anything! The changing room for the ladies was tiny. There was a Sauna, also on the small side and a pool which was really just a puddle full of excitable children. We went tnto the Sauna and I backed out of trying the pool, I headed back up to the room while my friend jostled for space in the pool.

To be fair you wouldn’t go to Down Hall for the Spa, so any criticism should be taken in context with the rest of the trip. The evening started at 7.30 and we arrived on time, and waited, …and waited in the bar in the room across the hall for it to start.

The prices were average London prices, we worked it out from the drinks we had bought the night before, so no worries about that, we were expecting it. However there were no chairs and to be frank I was getting a bit grumpy. I don’t like standing for any length of time and although those drinks were reasonably priced for London, I wasn’t used to them and was getting more frustrated and annoyed by the minute. It began to feel like a tactic to get more money out of us. I don’t mind paying if it is part of the evening but frankly it was boring. Standing up in a room of strangers wasn’t conducive to chatting for us.

The Dinner and event!

Then the doors opened and the night began.

The event was put together from a guy from Right Angle. It was very well organised. As soon as they took over the evening, it went without a hitch. We piled in, all trying to grab a chair that we could sit next to our friends and we introduced ourselves to our new team mates who were all interesting people and the meal was off to a swimmingly good start – unlike the swimming pool part earlier. Seriously I wouldn’t have been this bitter if the hotel hadn’t made us wait for an inordinate amount of time to get a poxy code.

Anyway, there was a metal case in the centre of the table and a folder with information on the crime, witness statements and other evidence. The more enterprising of our team had already opened them and were coming out with theories before we actually sat down!

The event began with an explanation of who the organiser was and how the night would progress. I was very excited to find I was going to take my own fingerprints! Unfortunately I can’t remember if the starter arrived first or if we did the finger prints first. In fact I can’t remember the order of the food vs parts of the evening at all! Maybe we had too much red wine? The starter was cheese tart, which I couldn’t have, being highly allergic to milk, so I had a fig/melon combo – yuk. I ate it though because I was hungry but I have never wished I could eat cheese more than then.

The fingerprints part was brilliant. We all had a piece of paper with a square for each finger and we shared a pot of ink. We put our fingers in the pots and then rolled it onto the paper. My friend accidentally rolled the tips of her fingers but she soon had the knack. We then compared the fingerprints with patterns on a laminated sheet.

The main meal, thankfully was the same as everyone else’s and I thought it was delicious. There were complaints from around the table that the food was dry, but I say, Bah Humbug, I LIKE dry chicken. Stick that up your pipe and smoke it.

On our chair when we arrived we were given white boiler suits which we were allowed to keep. Along with the fetching suite, was a mask and gloves. Another one of my allergies came into play. It’s like a computer game, you think you are doing well, and you go back a level. Still, what amazed me was, the organiser was prepared for this. He produced a pair of blue latex free gloves. What a star!

In the corner of the room was a CSI crime area as seen in the picture at the top of this post. We were to pick up a piece from the crime area and take it back to our table. We would then along with the other evidence in the case put them through some forensic tests. Cool huh?

I got a saucer and swizzled some powder on to the saucer. A pair of fingerprints appeared as if by magic. The team then worked out whose fingerprints they were. We also had a hammer and various other pieces.

There were hairs in an evidence bag and one of our team members went to discover what they belonged to. There were two netbooks set up in the corner and I am assuming some sort of scanning or magnifying equipment was there. That part of the room was packed so I couldn’t get close enough to see.

The evening progressed and the pudding arrived! Humph, I got blackcurrent sorbet, which I actually thought was gone off raspberry until someone pointed out what it was – oops.

Then the big reveal. Who killed who. Who did the fingerprints belong to and why was he killed?

I won’t give away the answers in case it is the same the next time they do it but not one table got the answers completely correct! Here’s a hint though, wild rabbits do not have all white hair apparently.


So in all in all, a thoroughly enjoyable event and one I would go to again, possibly with my husband or mum. If you have any reservations, don’t listen to them – just go for it – it’s a laugh.


The Hunger Games (film/movie) Review by Ceri Clark

I have wanted to see a film version of the Hunger Games ever since I read the book as part of a book club I belonged to. There was unanimous approval for the book and some members read the whole series as a result.

So I went to watch the film with high expectations and I would say for the most part, they were justified. I really enjoyed it but there were some niggling moments which made me think if I was to give it a number of stars up to five, I would give 4.5.

Why I loved it,

The concept is great, which is why the book was a best seller. It is a science fiction story which is worth watching. It has moments of brilliance and you could see it happen in reality some day. You might think no, humans could never be that cruel but just think about Hitler’s Nazis, the Gladiaters in ancient Rome and a hundred other examples in world history that have happened over the centuries. There are child soldiers even now forced to kill or be killed in some third world countries. You could argue that it was only 24 from that whole civilisation… per year…. for 70 odd years….

My favourite performance was of the Mentor and the ‘stylist’, they really gave the essence of what the book conveyed in words. They were both nice guys stuck in a horrific system, making the best of a bad situation.

The problen with reviewing a film from a  book is there is a danger you end up reviewing the book not the film. The movie has to stand on its own merits and I think it does do it. There were a few tears shed during hte watching of the film which is always a good sign as you are investing in the characters. I found the film really depressing but the overall feeling as I left was that it was worth watching. Would I watch it again? Probably not because it was so depressing. It was a great sci-fi action adventure and I would recommend it to anyone to watch, even if it is just once.

The Niggles

There were only a couple of niggles that spoiled my enjoyment. The first was the close-up camera work. I was getting very frustrated with the tight angles and I had to look away sometimes. My husband said the same, however later when the ‘action’ starts this doesn’t present a problem and it does work.

The second was the music when she is hunting in the very first scenes. While my husband loved it, I found it like someone scraping fingernails down a blackboard. My whole body tensed until it was over. I really hated that scene – just for the choice of music. I found this really strange as music doesn’t usually bother me at all, It usually just pulls my emotional strings but this just irritated the hell out of me.


I loved the book and the film comes a close second. I would recommend it and give it 4.5 stars for the reasons explained above. It has a definite thumbs up from me and it could one day become a classic.


Living Social holiday, elements of amazing with a dash of disaster – the EPIC journey to Newquay

I probably should do a few more present day posts so this one is about my recent visit to Newquay.

How long do you think it would take to go from Newport in South Wales to Newquay? 3 hours, 4? Well, if you believe National Rail around 4 hours, however if you actually go there you might think differently…

The day started out nicely enough, we’d packed the night before with the usual essentials like pillow, camera, phones and laptops, hopped outside in the morning at 8.15 and took the bus which was bang on time. Well done Newport!

We arrived in sunny Newport and popped to Greggs for a healthy breakfast, yum, hot sausage roll. Well I say we popped in for breakfast Nick popped over to a certain fast food restaurant on the other side of the road and got bacon, cheese, hash brown wrap. Not too sure who was healthier there – although he had a wrap so that beats anything.

We bought a couple of sandwiches and headed for the train station. The train was on time, or maybe a couple of minutes out – nothing to be alarmed about. We found some nice seats and settled back for the ride.

About five minutes before we hit Exeter, St Davids there was an announcenent that there was a problem. To be fair it wasn’t National Rail’s fault, there was a fatality on the line. So there we were two hours later, after wolfing down our Gregg’s sandwiches getting ever more desperate for the loo. I eventually gave up and looked for it but I hate using loos on trains they are just eww.

Once the British Transport Police cleared up, we were on our way and within five minutes we were at the Train Station where we believed we were half an hour late for the train.

The thought of coffee was swirling in my mind, visions of the black elixir was making my throat really dry so we popped in to the little Cafe. It was gooood – that and the Victoria Sponge Cake – the holiday was back on track.

…but wait, Nick was fiddling with his phone, the train waited? and it left a minute ago? Nooooooooooo. No announcements, no information nothing. There was nothing for it but to wait for the next train to Par. (Yes it’s actually called that!)

So phase one of the journey was complete, and apart from the little incident of the girl who fogot her art portfolio we got on the train in time. Woohoo. Until they decided to change the train staff unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere. This meant that we would be late getting to Par. dah dah, DAH.

We were getting more and more worried as we had worled out we were going to be late AGAIN but this time because of (it seemed) incompetence, we should already have been there! Anyway soon after the conductor came down and asked if anyone was going to Newquay so of course my arm shot up like an arrow. She smiled and said don’t worry the train would wait or we would get a replacenment bus service at St Austell. Great but she didn’t tell us what was happening after this. Did the train wait? Were we supposed to wait for the next stop and get the bus? Again, no information was given to us.

We decided to chance our luck and get off at Par, which we did and she was on the platform saying the train had waited. Trouble is you would have had to know to get off the train to know this. I wonder if anyone got caught out?

We’re there and it is now 6pm, remember we have been travelling since 8.15.

We made it, queue dramatic music and huggie scenes. Our hotel was the Bay hotel two miles out and I would love to tell you we walked for hours but we didn’t forty minutes of gorgeous stroll with amazing views and we were there.

The Bay Hotel seemed a bit of a disappointment when we arrived. It was right next to the beach but it had scaffolding over the front of the hotel. Ok we got a deal right? I can live with this.

Check in was efficient and we arrived at our room which I would describe as cosy. There was no fridge or minibar and the bathroom was miniscule but I don’t go to a hotel for the bathroom.

We stepped over to the window and had a breathtaking view of the beach marred by the scaffolding directly outside our window. What time would the workman come we asked out loud? Being as we were talking to each other there was no answer.

The phone rang and the reception called and asked if the room was OK. As we are typically British we said it was lovely.

We were absolutely starving at this point and headed down for our free meal which was part of the deal. I had no complaints about THAT. The meal was absolutely delicious apart from the tingly lips which worried me that I was going to have an allergic reaction but Nick had it too so there was some kind of tingly garnish thing on the starter. By the way, the steak was to die for.

The next morning the light blazed into our room and we woke with cotton mouths. I am a person who really feels the cold, but this place was way too hot. We opened the window but had to keep the curtain closed because of the scaffolding – nightmare.

Breakfast was excellent as you would expect – they even had soya milk! I was impressed. I was getting more and more sneezy each time I entered the restaurant and it turns out it was the flowers on each table by the window.

So we had a walk along the beach, which was beautiful. The light had a magical quality to it that I haven’t seen anywhere else. We had a coffee at the other end of the beach and walked back for lunch where I had the steak sandwivh and NIck had a freshly squeezed… sorry made pizza which I am told was delicious. These guys sure know how to cook.

We hung around, went in to the spa where the pool was amazing. The spa was clean but just a little perplexing.

There was a guy where you had to sign in but he didn’t say anythng. We clearly did not know what we were doing and the least he could say is, that we could take a towel from the open air shelving as we walked by. But no, we snuck past the towels like thieves, throwing anxious glances around, taking one before darting in to the changing rooms with our prize.

There was a sauna, steam room, large pool and jacuzzi. As I said before it was clean and while we were there they took samples of the water to test. Very efficient.

Dinner was in the restaurant again and I went for the duck and Nick went for the steak – a complete switch from the previous night. This time we asked the waitress to move the flowers and this time I wasn’t sneezing and snotting everywhere. Ahh romantic.

Another night of extreme heat and we packed ready for the road before going down for breakfast. Rather than ask the waiter who was busy with customers, we moved the flowers from our table so I could eat in peace and went to pick up breakfast. We got back and the flowers were back, taunting me as if they had never moved!

So again, as typical Britishers we just shrugged and carried on, the only difference was that I had a tissue tucked into my palm.

After breakfast we went to checkout. Nick had put stuff on his credit card which was a mistake. They accidentally put the room on the bill. As it was early and I am not a morning person I didn’t spot this so it was lucky it was Nick’s card. We questioned it and the bill reduced by £200, phew!

The journey back was uneventful, we stoppped to get our hair cut in Newquay but we caught the train we booked and we were home at the time we expected.

Would I recommend Newquay? Absolutely. Would I recommend the hotel, yes with reservations, if you know what to look out for then it was lovely. Don’t put things on a tab as the bill was confusing at the end and you’ll be fine.





The Woodcutter by Kate Danley

I read this book while holidaying in Cypress. I finished it in two days which is a reflection of how good it is. I can spend months reading a book I’m not keen on and have been known to cheekily take a sneak peak at Wikipedia for the synopsis to bluff my way through a Reading Group evening….

The story was beautifully written and at one point I thought to myself it was like poetry. I’m not a fan of poetry normally but the way the story unfolded evoked emotions and reveries which added to the ambience.

The Woodcutter is the guardian of the Wood. He is a powerful man who doesn’t seem to covet power – he does what he must. An evil queen is trying to take over the twelve kingdoms and he is the only person who can stop her.

From Snow White to Baba Yaga to Odin, the tale covers many legends and fairy stories of yore. The main characters are fleshed out, the Woodcutters wife waiting at home the only thing keeping him going at times. It blends them to a perfect mix which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’m now looking forward to the next book…

Amazon discussions – Fantasy book club:

October 2011 -Kate Danley –The Woodcutter
November 2011 -Martin T Ingham –The Rogue Investigations
December 2011 -Richard Bacon –Sinderella – The True Legend
January 2012 -J. R. Tomlin –Wings of Evil
February 2012 – Triune – Willow Poison by Triune
March 2012 -Diane Jones –Demonspell (Sunspinners)
April 2012 – Alison Deluca – The Night Watchman Express
June 2012 – Danielle Raver – Brother, Betrayed
July 2012 -David N Alderman -Black Earth: End of the Innocence:
August 2012 -Andrea K Hosth -Champion of the Rose (Darest)
September 2012 -J. Dean -The Summoning of Clade Josso: The first descent into the Vein
October 2012 – Gary Hoover – Land of Nod, The Artifact
November 2012 -James M. Vargo -Passage of the Acolyte, Part One
December 2012 -Heather C. Hudak -Breathless (The Cordelia Chronicles)
January 2013 -Patti Roberts -Paradox – The Angels Are Here
February 2013 -Muto Michelle -The Book of Lost Souls
March 2013 -Erick Flaig -Call Me Ishmael
April 2013 -Jeremy Johnson -The Legendiers and the Battle of Darkness
May 2013 -Theresa Henson -Shift: A Novel
June 2013 -Chris Howard -Saltwater Witch (Book #1 of The Seaborn Trilogy)(Book #1 of The Seaborn Trilogy)
July 2013 -Ed Gregory -As Shadows Wait (The Dayshadow Trilogy)
August 2013 -Edward W. Robertson -The White Tree
September 2013 -JS Laurenz -To Conquer the Heart of a King
October 2013 -Jeffrey Joslin -The Twilight of Miogaror: Part I
November 2013 -Jon Rosenberg -The Unicorn Crisis (The Hidden Academy)
December 2013 -Brendan Connell -The Translation of Father Torturo
January 2014 -Michael Waterhouse -Dustin Anfeald And The Vail (Anfealds World)
February 2014 -MJ Holmes -Tyme and Yon Serpent (Serpent’s Tail)
March 2014 -R.K. Finnell -Kickshaw Candies
April 2014 -Ceri Clark -Children of the Elementi special edition


For more great books check out Fantasy Island Book Publishers website for these great books:

Terps by Elaine Gannon

The Rose Tower by Connie J. Jasperson

After Ilium by S. M. Swartz

Children of the Elementi by Ceri Clark

Emeline and the Muntant by Rachel Tsoumbakos

Miranda Warning by Marilyn Rucker Norrod

Brother, Betrayed by Danielle Raver

Ednor Scardens by Kathleen Barker

Land Of Nod, The Artifact by Gary Hoover

Losing Beauty by Johanna Garth

The King Of Egypt by J. J. Makins

The Last Good Knight by Connie J. Jasperson

The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca

Black Numbers by Dean Frank Lappi

The Lollipop Club by J. Darroll Hall

Visit them now, you won’t be disappointed!

Samsung Galaxy Tab for Writing

I’ve recently bought the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I primarily bought this as a reading device but I wanted something that wasn’t too heavy but which I could write on.


  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (running Android with ADW)
    Samsung bluetooth keyboard case (the official one)

I can’t praise the tablet enough. I wanted something that was flexible, with a good battery life and which was light enough to carry oround. I usually charge the tablet every couple of days and I am an intensive user!

The tablet is light and if don’t want to use the keyboard for any reason I can hold it one-handed for a loooooonnnng time. 😉

The keyboard is also just what I need. It isn’t noisy and while it is heavier than a rubberised bluetooth keyboard it is nicer to use. It feels like a quality product and has all the features I need.


The tablet comes with Polaris Office. This is amazing. I am using it to write the second book in the Elerian Chronicles (Elementi).

I save it as an Office document format and back it up to my Skydrive using Sorami. I know with Docs to Go I can back it up to Google (I also have this)  but I rather use Skydrive for my writing. I do find it frustratng that you can only back up files to with Polaris but I hope this will improve with time. May be they will do some sort of sync option?

For those who are short sighted like me, you can increase the font on Polaris to 200%! Simply reflow the text and you can edit in comfort.

Of course the question now is do I really need a laptop now my Samsung is so good?

Time will tell…

The death of Torberta Turchin by Shannon Mawhiney

I don’t often give five stars for a book, but I’m learning to reserve them for books that really wow me, the death of Torberta Turchin is such a book.

The story I would say is aimed at the young adult market, but at the advanced age in my, ahem, early thirties, I certainly enjoyed it.

From the beginning, you are hooked and three questions stand out through the story. Is she really psychic, who is trying to kill who and what will happen to Toberta Turchin. A death can mean so many things, she could change her life, her name or take the literal meaning.

The characters are interesting and I did guess one of the plot points early on but it didn’t detract from the story and I finished it in one day.

I think this story thoroughly deserves five stars and I wish the author every success in the future for entertaining me for a day. The book is under $3 on Amazon, what do you have to lose?

Fantasy Book Review: Shifting Fate by Alexis Leno


As a not-so-secret romantic, I loved Shifting Fate. Set in a world where fate is predetermined by a Goddess, a force for evil is unleashed to change the destiny of the world.

The current ruling family took control by battling the former Royal Family. Who is to say if they were right or not but the legacy of the, murder? made the previous heir bitter which in turn twists him into the present day villain. A flawed bad guy which helps to make this book special.

The royal family has been preparing for the day that the prophesied evil would come. The Queen has the power of foresight but will not say what she has seen.

The heroine is a feisty lady who I believed in. I liked her but I did think she was getting obsessed with a village at one point, I felt like screaming ‘get over yourself’ at the book. Luckily for my husband nearby I managed to suppress the urge. This by no means should put you off this book. It was a great read and I am glad that I found it.

This was a book worth reading and one of the best that I have read as part of the Fantasy Book Club I started on Amazon discussions.

It has magic, a feisty heroine (I like that word, can you tell :-)), evil, deities, fate – what nore could a guy or gal ask for? This author has talent and we can only hope that she writes more!

Don’t feed the Fairies by Eileen Gormley

My favourite book of 2011! The fairies of the title are really aliens who live off the life force of other living things. Turns out humans are the tastiest and the heroine intends to farm us. Luckily she learns the error of her ways and when she is captured along with several good looking males and one female human she decides to save them.

But what can one alien do against a whole civilisation who view us as food?

This was a really enjoyable read. I finished this in two days which is a testament to how good it is. The better the book, the faster I read it. This had an ‘unputdownable’ quality which left me wanting more.

It was a light, sci-fi, funny read and I would recommend it to all my friends.