Book Review: A – Z of Warwick by @scskillman #Warwick #bookreview


The county town of Warwick is famous for its magnificent castle rising above the River Avon but there is much more to this historic town. Although many medieval houses were destroyed by the Great Fire of 1694, buildings from an earlier age can still be found, including its oldest hostelry, The Roebuck, and Lord Leycester Hospital. Local historic characters include Warwick the Kingmaker, world champion boxer Randolph Turpin and socialite and campaigner Daisy, Countess of Warwick, as well as the ichthyosaur in the Market Hall Museum, and the town’s many events include a Victorian evening and annual folk festival.A–Z of Warwick reveals the history behind the town, its streets and buildings, businesses and the people connected with it. Alongside the famous historical connections are unusual characters, tucked-away places and unique events that are less well known. Fully illustrated throughout, this book will appeal to all those with an interest in this historic Warwickshire town.

My review

Thank you to the author S C Skillman and her publisher for sending me an ARC of A- Z of Warwick.

This alphabetical compendium of Warwick is beautifully illustrated with photographs and each alphabetical letter details a topic and begins with a appropriate quote from literature. Letter A Actors at Playbox Theatre begins with a quote from Midsummer night’s Dream.

I was interested to learn that this theatre is the ‘UK’s first purpose-built and designed theatre for young people.’

Thereafter there continues, details on Mediaeval Bridges, Gardens, Period properties: the County Mental Hospital, Historic court house, Dungeon at The County Gaol, East Gate, Eagles at Warwich Castle, Folk Festival…, the Great Fire of Warwick, etc, and the people of Warwick.

I particularly enjoyed the sections on gardens, (Hill Close Gardens, Master’s Garden, Mill Garden,) wildlife haven of Kingfisher Pool, Fossils, (200 million year old Ichthyosaur, and Oisin, the Irish Giant Deer,) Incarcerations: Thomas Beauchamp ‘was fighting in the war in France; his exploits there earned him the nickname ‘the devil Warwick,’ the statue and detail about Randolph Turpin ‘commemorating Britain’s first black world champion professional boxer,’ Warwick a Singing Town and the detail about the Playbox Theatre.

There are many historical details about Warwick people and its history, so highly recommended for history buffs.

There is much to be gained from reading and enjoying A – Z of Warwick for people who both live in Warwick and for those outside the area who would like to discover more about it. The author S C Skillman must have done a huge amount of research to create this excellent and interesting resource.

Author Bio

S. C. Skillman is a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction, who has lived in Warwickshire for over twenty years. She has also an interest in the local history of her area and the neighbouring counties.

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Book Review: Things on A Tree @dlfinnauthor #middlegrade #Christmas #story #kids


What a way to spend Christmas Eve! Thirteen-year-old Aimee is sick and missing her dad, who died in a car accident last year. While the rest of her family are outside playing in the snow, she is alone by their Christmas tree. Aimee sighs as the tears begin to fall. She wishes she still believed in Santa Claus. Then she could ask him to change the last year. Yeah, right, she thought. She turns away from the tree, and falls asleep. Later that night, Aimee awakens to a strange noise. Clink! Clink! Clink! Her fever must be higher than she thought, because she can’t believe what she is seeing running down her purple blanket! But everything that was happening to her was very real, including the fact someone wanted her dead. Aimee was thrust into a world of magic, wonder and greed. Her journey takes her from her snowy rooftop, to the streets of New York and the North Pole with the promise to return her father to her family. Was her wish coming true or was there more to this. Who could she trust when things aren’t always what they seem?

2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist!

My review:

Things on a Tree by D.L. Finn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a lovely and unusual story about saving Christmas and believing in yourself from D L Finn. The main protagonist young Aimee is sick on Christmas eve with a temperature of a 102. She misses her dad who has passed away. She begins to think she is seeing, or hearing things due to her fever.  All sorts of extraordinary happenings occur, like ornaments coming to life and animals becoming humans. Santa, magic dust, the kittens, danger, becoming the caretaker of the forest, a dubious elf, humour, grandma, her uncle, etc, are all intriguing elements/characters.

Who is who? And who are the bad guy/s, trying to control the North pole, divesting it of magic? Is Santa a good guy? And can there be a happy ending?

And what can Aimee’s special part be in all of this?

The tale has the added bonus of great illustrations.  It is a lively and fun story to whet your appetite for the forthcoming Christmas season!

I really enjoyed this imaginative family Christmas story for middle grade kids and I’m sure adults will enjoy it too!

Read on kindle unlimited

View all my reviews

Author Bio

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

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Feature in Tomorrow Magazine #Portugal #review #Shakespeare #new #release Dan Costinas, & M J Mallon #feature #books #poetry

I am delighted to announce that I have been featured in November issue of Portugal’s Tomorrow Magazine. Many thanks to Dan Costinas for interviewing me about my poetry prose memoir collection Do What You Love.

Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do. With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.
Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon Canada:

Here is the Tomorrow magazine link, I am on page 46, and Dan Costinas is on page 52.

Also Dan has released a book too… which is also featured in this issue.

More about that and a special giveaway for Dan’s book mentioned on Facebook, I’ve added the link below the review!

I’ve finished Dan Costinas’s new release ! The Last Folio.

My review:

One gets a sense of Dan Costinas’s great love of Shakespeare’s dramas, comedies and tragedies in this 400th anniversary work of essays to commemorate the publication of Shakespeare’s first folio.

Costinas reminises about his first introduction to Shakespeare:

“I clearly remember, like it happened yesterday, my first contact with the Plays: I was ten years old and I was completely captivated almost three hours watching Ariel, Ceres, Iris, Juno, Caliban, and their magical story on the stage.”

Costinas writes with flair, knowledge, humour, and enthusiasm bringing Shakespeare’s undoubted dramatic skill to the modern reader. So many Shakespearean topics are still pertinent today: fortune hunters, love, hatred, jealousy, seduction, the war of the sexes, adultery, absurd foolishness, mankind’s flaws, power, the common man, battles, court life, etc.

Costinas also discusses (within the Shakespearean context,) topics such as racism, homophobia, misogyny, and antisemitism and his opinion on how Shakespeare viewed women. A debate I found particularly interesting.

This book is for those who enjoy Shakespeare, literature, philosophical discussion and history. And it is evident, his intention to encourage Shakespeare to be read and enjoyed by future generations, with this easily understood insight into the bard and his remarkable works.

Highly recommended. Well done, Mr. Costinas. 5 stars…


I believe that Dan is offering free deluxe hardcover copies for the first reviews, up to 50 free copies in total. More about this via this FB link which states:

The first 50 reviewers will be granted one deluxe-illustrated-signed hardcover copy of the book in the 26th of April 2024. See below for details of the giveaway as this is via Authors for Hispania, contact Dan Costinas for more information, via FB.


If you are interested in all things Shakespeare, (in an accessible and entertaining way,) here is the link to buy a copy:

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Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2023 – #Poetry and #Prose M.J. Mallon, #Crime Jane Risdon, #ComingofAge, #Family #Relationships Beem Weeks

Delighted that my poetry and prose collection Mr. Sagittarius is featured at Sally’s Christmas Book Fair along with fellow authors Jane Risdon and Beem Weeks. Follow the link below that will take you to Sally’s blog.

About the collection

Twin brothers Harold and William love the magic of the natural world.

When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request.

Will his brother William and his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the garden work its magic to ensure that they do.

A magical story expressed via an original compilation of poetry and prose with photographic images.

One of the reviews for the collection

Dan Costinas VINE VOICE5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Love is a Garden,’ or how to understand life better  Reviewed in the United Kingdom

If you are familiar with Mrs Mallon’s books, this one will pleasantly surprise you, being nothing but a wee treasury of kind thoughts, short prose, and even shorter poems, inspiredly designed and cleverly illustrated with photos taken in the fantastic botanical gardens of Cambridge.

I don’t know if our author has ever read Roald Dahl’s The Minpins, with its famous last line ‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it,’ but what I know for sure is that MJ Mallon strongly believes in magic. Read the book, and you will have the same sensation when meeting the real protagonists: a dragonfly, a robin, a golden weeping willow tree, and a couple of spirits. The human appearances are only secondary characters, to certify the link between mystic and real patterns: magic versus twins and sibling relationships, the unconditional beauty of nature, and the seasons of the year, to name just a few.

If this book were a fable, the moral would be:

Love is the best teacher, and it helps human beings sail through challenges they might face in life – believing in themselves and others. 

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be sharing books by my recommended authors that I believe would make great gifts. If you are gifting someone a Kindle this year it would be a great idea to stock it up with some great books to be enjoyed. Short stories are becoming increasingly more […]

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2023 – #Poetry and #Prose M.J. Mallon, #Crime Jane Risdon, #ComingofAge, #Family #Relationships Beem Weeks
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365 Day Poetry Challenge #Mallorca #Travel #Poetry #Challenges #livinginthemoment

I’m participating in The 365 day poetry challenge on Facebook. This is organised by Melissa at The Poetry of Me MD:

We are currently on Day 12 so apologies for not mentioning this earlier but I have been on holiday!

This has been a fun activity to do, and less daunting than doing Nanowrimo which I was considering. I should really be doing Nano to finish my novel but poetry won!

I’ve kept up each day writing 12 poems to date.

I wrote a few poems during my recent trip away to Majorca, (an early birthday treat!)

Here is one inspired by that trip…

Living In The Moment 

Living in the moment the cock crows announcing a new day.

Today Majorca, tomorrow Portugal.

We live this life of travels, new experiences, admiring each spectacular sunset.

Music strums the tunes of new adventures.

Wine tasting in a Mallorcan Bodega?

Talking to friends trying new foods,

Olives, local cheeses, nuts and dried fruit,

We remember bbq fish at Fuseta in Rui’s,

The sea sparkles sublime with crystal blue waters.

In Parc National de Sandragó  the ocean’s beauty is protected by cleansing algae.

In deeper waters near our hotel the evening sea is deep, black and sleek as ink.

High winds bring stormy seas and high winds,

Whilst in Palma, a man exercises near the rocks!

We laugh as sprays of water soak us.

Remembering similiar days in Cascais,

Sunshine smiles, storms, and rain bring laughter,

The cockerells and hens roam free

beside the families of feral cats

Listening to the beat of our soul

We discover new ways to live.

©️2023 M J Mallon

The Day 1 prompt was to compose an ocean related poem.

And given that I was in Majorca and saw a yacht named Ron Punch I inevitably thought of my dad, Ron. Who loves the sea, loves boats and wouldn’t say no to the odd tipple or two in his time. Now 94 he is less able sadly to go adventuring as he used to.

Ron, a drinker, was,

His yacht, Ron Punch, now lays docked

Oceans long since tamed,

Tales all told, he ponders, life,

Storms long forgotten.

He misses old times,

Such rare days his young self had,

Sighs, saluting waves.

©️2023 M J Mallon

Here are some photos from Parc National de Mondragó, as you can see it is an unspoilt, beautiful spot!

If you would like to read more of my poetry please follow my author FB page:

Bye for now,

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Review of The Rockstar & The Outlaw @GodsAngel1 #bookreview #time-travel #adventure #western #outlaw #rockstar


A time-traveler oversteps his boundaries in 1887. Things get out of hand quickly, and he is hanged, setting in motion a series of events from which there’s no turning back. In 1887, LeRoy McAllister is a reluctant outlaw running from a posse with nowhere to go except to the future. In 2025, Amaryllis Sanchez is a thrill-seeking rock star on the fast track, who killed her dealing boyfriend to save herself. Now, she’s running from the law and his drug stealing flunkies, and nowhere is safe. LeRoy falls hard for the rock star, thinking he can save her by taking her back with him. But when they arrive in 1887, things turn crazy fast, and soon they’re running from both the outlaws and the posse, in peril once more. They can’t go back to the future, so it looks like they’re stuck in the past. But either when, they must face forces that would either lock them up or see them dead.

My Review

Well this was nothing like I’ve read before!

A time travelling western – what fun, flitting from 1887 to 2025.  Loved the characters, especially feisty Rockstar Amaryllis who does her worst to get away from Vegas drug dealer lover Claude. There’s lots of excitement, high speed chases, some love scenes, jail breaks, time travelling ripple effects,  and the threat of a noose around the neck is never far away!

I also enjoyed Cowboy who she takes a shine to and Monchique, Amaryllis’s best friend, a gnarled  psychic who isn’t old but sure looks it due to Werners Syndrome.

Loved the direction the ‘ending’ went with the sense there is more to come.

Highly imaginative and so entertaining! Really enjoyed.

Thank you to the author for an advanced copy. Opinions given are my own.

My rating 4 stars. Very entertaining!

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