Due to personal reasons, I decided to bid for No More Knives in the Children in Read auction for Children In Need.
In my parcel I discovered that the author Christina Gabbitas had kindly added a beautifully illustrated book: Share Some Secrets (illustrated by Ric Lumb) complete with audio written and narrated by the author, plus a poem about the importance of our environment ‘save us from plastic.’ Both of these books and poem are about subjects which matter greatly.
So why did I bid for No More Knives?
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to come into contact with gangs, (as my daughter and her boyfriend did,) you will realise how frightening and dangerous it can be. Luckily, they both survived to tell the tale and thankfully, no knives were involved, but I doubt the experience will ever be forgotten.
So, that is why this is so important to me.
Education is key to ensuring that youngsters understand the very real dangers of drugs and how bad friendship choices can lead to crime.
Blurb – No More Knives
Friends, Siobhan, Ellie, Luke, Jamie and Mo, meet in the local park as usual to hang out. There is a new guy in town, Steve, wo offers them money to deliver packages to different areas.
The promises of close freindships and what they thought was easy money, don’t quite work out.
A story of choices and consequences.
Christina was approached to work with the Police & Crime Commissioners Office to help educate and work with children aged 10-16 on the topic of Knife Crime. Christina will be producing and online digital magazine that will be used as a resource for children, teachers and parents. The delivery of the project will be January 2020.
My reviewof No More Knives – Christina Gabbitas, illustrated by Evie Hurst.
This is a beautifully illustrated book on such an important subject. I love the cover art showing all the children linking arms and smiling.
The youngsters portrayed in the story are from different cultural, family and socio-economic backgrounds. From the first page, we learn that Jamie, Luke, Siobhan, Ellie and Mo rang in age from pre-teens to teenagers – ten to sixteen years old.
When the youngsters meet Steve, who’s involved in a drug gang, they are encouraged to think they can make ‘easy’ money.
The children soon realise that nothing is easy, friendly or safe about this at all.
I’d recommend this book to help educate young people about the dangers of crime, drug taking, and the very real threat of knives and violence, which sadly are becoming all too prevalent in our society.
The simple but effective illustrations in a comic graphic strip style will appeal to young people. These convey with ease how young people can end up in dangerous situations.
A fantastic book and a lovely project for Christina Gabbitas to be part of.
My recommendation: Highly recommended, particularly as an educational tool to use in schools.
Christina Gabbitas is an award winning children’s author, poet and voice artist. A successful author and businesswoman, and unrecognisable from her younger self. At school she was a pupil who preferred to sit at the back of the classroom and blend in with the furniture, scared of people and anything that moved. She was a quiet, shy character who nearly lost her first job, as she found it difficult to converse with people. Over a period of time she had to teach herself not to be so self-conscious and gradually she flourished with an abundance of energy, ideas and passion to achieve. Christina not only writes but stages storytellling sessions, engaging with primary age children, encouraging imagination through writing. Christina equally enjoys inspiring older children to believe in themselves, as she talks eloquently about her journey from wallflower to author, poet, voice artist and director.
Christina has made her dreams become a reality and feels privileged to be able to pass on her experience to others.
The Crapsey cinquain is a five-line, non-rhyming poem featuring a syllable structure of 2/4/6/8/2. Choose words that create drama which builds into the fourth line. Remember, the turn occurs on line five, the most important line. This is where you change your focus away from the drama in some interesting way. Surprise your readers!
A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother. A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer. A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents. And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.
After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?
Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.
Disclaimer – I received a free ebook copy of Deceived. My review of this book has in no way been influenced by this kind offer.
An excellent debut by Heena Rathore Pardesi. Just what you would expect from a book blogger who loves to read and studies the craft of writing extensively.
I have to admit that there were times especially towards the end of the book where I went, ugh, that is so horrible, Heena! So, be prepared for that. Heena is a huge fan of horror and this comes across in her writing. She is not afraid to shock the reader.
In Deceived we read of Elizabeth’s story, a sad tale of sexual abuse perpetrated by her stepfather that led her already fragile, disturbed mind towards a need to commit violent acts herself.
Ally ‘s mum and young brother were murdered making her a vulnerable character longing for stability and love. She has suffered so much and I longed for her to be happier and free from anxiety.
Both Elizabeth and Ally are damaged people. There is a sense that anything can and will happen.
I liked the creepy journal entries which add an insight into a murder’s crazy psyche and these are interspersed with Ally (Allison Stone’s) and Elizabeth Lawson’s story.
There are obvious parallels between Ally and Elizabeth. They are both looking for love. Ally hopes to find happiness with her boyfriend Danny. Elizabeth imagines the love she thinks she deserves. Will either of them find happiness, or will there be more tragedy?
Right from the start it is clear that Ally’s best friend Sam doesn’t trust Danny. I would have liked Sam to be more determined and vocal about Ally escaping from Danny’s clutches. Especially, when it becomes obvious that Allie’s mental health is slipping due to weird discoveries in Danny’s creepy house and the ‘voodoo’ house next door. Also, it would have served as a strong contrast to the ending of the book. But, no spoilers.
Ally’s journalist cousin Steve doesn’t come across as a very trustworthy character at the beginning of the book. And yet Steve doesn’t trust Donny, (who is helping him in his murder investigations,) and is obsessional about Allie. But are Steve’s instincts right? Is Donny strange too?
Ally’s dog Max is such a sweetheart, always wanting to be beside Ally to protect her from harm. But with a killer on the prowl even Max is in danger.
And Elizabeth, what a tale that is!
There are numerous clues throughout the book to keep the reader engaged and turning the pages.
Heena Rathmore uses an unusual technique in some dialogues whilst speaking on the phone – only showing one person’s speech, which I found somewhat unusual until I got used to this style. Perhaps the author did this to maintain the pace of the story, and add an air of mystery.
This novel certainly brings a fair few questions… very cleverly done. My recommendation: Read this! An engaging psychological page turner. The ending will stay with me for a long time… Highly recommended.
Heena Rathore Pardeshi is a published fiction author, manuscript critic and the Editor-In-Chief at a local publishing house. She is also a fiction writing coach and conducts regular webinars, workshops and lectures on Creative Writing and Fiction Writing.
She has a Bachelor Degree in English Literature from University of Pune. She has also studied 3D Animation Film Making from Reliance Big Animation, Modern Masterpieces of World Literature from Harvard University and Introduction To Psychology from Yale University.
She has seven years of extensive knowledge in blogging and content creation and continues to create content for her YouTube Channel. She is also an animal activist and participates in regular Neuter-And-Release and animal foster activities in her city. She loves music and is currently learning Piano from a tutor of Trinity College of Music, London. She is a book aficionado and reads more than a hundred books every year. She loves travelling, but prefers a lifestyle that suits her introvert nature. She lives in Pune with her husband and 6 cats in a house full of love, chuckles and books.
For the first time, I participated in The Children in Read auction in aid of Children in Need this year. I donated a copy of my YA fantasy The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone to the highest bidder.
I decided to bid for No More Knives ( illustrated by Evie Hurst.) in the Children in Read auction for Children In Need. I chose this particular book for personal reasons: my daughter’s boyfriend was assaulted (while she was with him,) and mugged by a gang of youths. He was repeatedly kicked and ended up in hospital – thankfully there were no knives involved in this unprovoked attack but if there were… I hate to think what might have happened. Sadly, the experience has left its mark on them both.
Educational books such as No More Knives are crucially important. They might help prevent youngsters from getting involved in gang culture, and drugs. I hope so.
In my parcel, I discovered that the author Christina Gabbitas had kindly added a beautifully illustrated book (illustrated by Ric Lumb) complete with audio, written and narrated by Christina, entitled: Share Some Secrets, plus a poem about the importance of ‘Save us from plastic.’
Both of these books and poem are about subjects which matter greatly. I look forward to reading and reviewing. #nomoreknives #childreninneed2020 #childreninneed #childreninreadauction #childreninread
The Curse of Time is to be a series. I’m currently working on the second book, so do consider supporting an independent author by buying a copy of book one. I’m deep in edits and could do with some encouragement!
And some review quotes and images of The Curse of Time #YA #Fantasy.
Thank you so much to Chelle for this feature on her blog and lovely short intro:
Morning my lovelies. Hope you’re all keeping safe and well. Today I’m delighted to welcome M J Mallon over to chat with us. We’re discussing the emotions of a first time author, paranormal activity, how her superpower would help humanity, mythical creatures, which one of her characters she’d love to bring to life, her most recent book, This is Lockdown and more.
Do pop over to read and comment at Chelle’s blog, Curled Up With A Good Book – link below:
Thank you very much, Marje, for offering me this space on your blog to introduce my book Paranormal Warwickshire to your readers.
It is my pleasure Sheila.
Warwickshire is a county steeped in the supernatural, as befits the county of Shakespeare and the many ghosts and spirits that he conjured up in his works.
The towns and villages of Warwickshire, its castles, houses, churches, theatres, inns and many other places both grand and everyday have rich and complex stories to tell of paranormal presences.
In this book I investigate stories at places such as Guy’s Cliffe, the Saxon Mill, Warwick Castle and St Mary’s Church, Warwick; Kenilworth Castle and Stoneleigh Abbey; Nash’s House and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as in the towns of Rugby, Nuneaton and Leamington Spa.
I explore the spiritual resonance of each location, recounting the tales of paranormal activity associated with it and examining the reasons for this within the history of the place.
What inspired me to write about this subject? I’ve lived in Warwickshire for twenty-four years, at the time of writing. Though born in south-east England, I have, since coming here, grown to love and feel a deep connection with some of this county’s most iconic locations: castles, houses, abbeys and churches; and also some of its less familiar ones.
I began by frequently visiting these places, and then I wrote blog posts about them in my occasional series Places of Inspiration. Ultimately I was to draw those posts together into a book.
As a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction, I’m very interested in strong atmospheres in old houses. There’s a vast difference between a house which leaves you cold, and a house with a rich atmosphere. That seemed to lead me on naturally to paranormal events, though I’ll admit that I didn’t focus upon them until history publisher Amberley had expressed interest in my proposal and said they wanted it to fit into their paranormal series.
Amongst the places I write about, we may find Guy’s Cliffe House in Warwick, an atmospheric ruined gothic mansion near my home. As I say in my book,
Many stories linger within these ruins. As you wander around you may wish to climb the gaping staircases, or stand on one of the stone balconies and gaze at the view cross the river and over the surrounding fields; or imagine you see a shadowy figure flit past an empty window-frame.
In this, and so many other historical sites, I feel a distinct spiritual resonance; and that is why I’m drawn back to them again and again.
When I began to put my book together, it occurred to me that since this is Shakespeare’s county, and several of the locations have close personal connections with the Bard, it would be a good idea to base the book around the theme of Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirits. I hope you agree that the words of Shakespeare with which I have chosen to open every chapter in this book, capture the very essence of what these special places signify to us today.
One of my favourite quotes is this, from the mouth of Prospero the magician, in The Tempest:
These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into this air. And like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
I love Prospero’s relationship with his servant, Ariel, whom he addresses as my tricksy spirit. Ariel obeys his master’s every command, until such time as the magician chooses to set him free to the elements.
And how I love Puck, that shrewd and knavish sprite who does Oberon’s bidding in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One of my favourite speeches is the one he chooses to end the play with:
If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here whilst these visions did appear…
No-one can be quite sure whether Shakespeare believed in ghosts and spirits, or used them purely as dramatic devices. One thing’s for sure; they make frequent appearances in his plays. It’s known that he himself played the spirit of Hamlet’s father, many times, and it was the top of his performance as an actor, according to his first biographer.
I’ve heard opposite points of view on Shakespeare’s own beliefs from an Oxford professor and from a Shakespearean actor leading the Stratford-upon-Avon town ghost tour. But Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirts certainly inspired me as I was writing my book!
To us now, entering these places as curious visitors separated from their living inhabitants sometimes by centuries, those long-gone people have all melted into air and are insubstantial, but have left an imprint of their lives in the very fabric of the buildings.
Paranormal Warwickshire will be published on 15 th November 2020 hope you will enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed researching them!
It has been a pleasure hosting you on my blog Sheila. I have always been fascinated by the paranormal and this collection is one to treasure. Thank you so much with entrusting me with an advanced readers copy to review.
I have always been fascinated by the paranormal and have had a far few ghostly and strange experiences myself, so this book by S. C. Skillman caught and kept my attention throughout.
It’s a well-researched, detailed and beautifully photographed book. Some of the images within are by S.C. Skillman herself.
If you like tales of haunted castles, churches, theatres, hotels, manor houses and many more locations beside, (a ghost can hang out anywhere they feel drawn to,) this is for you!
The collection begins in Warwick and moves on to various locations in Warwickshire: Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, Lapworth, Alcester, Rugby, Nuneaton (Birthplace of George Eliot,) and Leamington Spa.
Some of my favourite tales within included ghostly tales from theatres: in Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The ‘grey lady’ ‘is thought by by many to be the spirit of Elisabeth Scott, and is one of the theatre’s most well-known ghosts.’ ‘She appears so real she is often mistaken for a lost theatregoer.’ ‘It seems that many who have loved this theatre in their lifetimes cannot turn away from this magical and evocative place.’
And in Rugby Theatre: ‘One of the stories told here is of a woman seen floating down the stairs. It is thought she was an usherette in former times…’
It’s an interesting collection and one that will encourage you to explore the paranormal. After reading, you will want to visit these locations first hand to see if you experience the haunting visitations described within. Who knows, you might even want to become a paranormal investigator!
Sheila lives in Warwickshire, and writes psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers.
She began her publishing journey with a duology of novels Mystical Circles and A Passionate Spirit. This was followed by a non-fiction book Perilous Path: a writer’s journey. Sheila is currently working on the second novel in a new gothic fiction series.
Sheila was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and studied English Literature at Lancaster University. Her first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later she lived for nearly five years in Australia before returning to the UK.
She has now settled in Warwick with her husband and son, and her daughter is studying at university in Australia.
This week, Kat Myrman, from Like Mercury Colliding, selected the words:
Imagine & Gratitude
So, I decided to write about my recent walk in the botanical gardens in Cambridge. It was a glorious autumn day which filled my spirit full of imagination and gratitude. There is a small area which is normally for school children only but this has been opened to the public.
I took various photos. I particularly loved this lovely writers throne which I shared on my Instagram…
A writers garden
Blessed with thanks
And this was so unusual, just a couple of broken branches but they looked like a crocodile’s head and tail!
I enjoy taking part in 5 at the Mic @ Charli Mills Carrot Ranch Literary Community. It’s a great way to gain experience of reading your writing aloud! It’s a bit embarrassing too – you see all your flaws, etc, etc, and weird mannerisms! But, no matter… I can live with that.
The videos feature Ellen Best, D. Avery, Anne Goodwin, Paula Moyer, Susan Spitulnik, Bill Engelson, myself and Susan Budig.