Tag Archives: Reading

Confessions of a Learner Parent: Parenting like a boss by Sam Avery – Review

So today I’m reviewing Confessions of a Learner Parent: Parenting like a boss by Sam Avery. Here’s the blurb :-

Page count – 289 pages

‘I always wanted kids – but then again, I always wanted a loft conversion. Both are pretty easy to put off as they’re very expensive and tend to wreck your house.’

Stand-up comedian Sam Avery (aka the Learner Parent) started his award-winning blog when his twin boys were born. A million nappies, Peppa Pig episodes and a lot less sleep later, he shares all the lows, highs and hilarious in-betweens of his experiences of first-time parenthood in this, his highly anticipated first book.

Sam’s honest, messy and laugh-out-loud account of trying for a baby (which transpired to be babIES) and figuring out what to do with them once they arrived – right up to the toddler years of talking, walking and tantrum-ing – will have you crying with laughter between your own nappy changes and nursery runs.

Review

My wife has raved about Sam Avery for a while after following him on Instagram. Like any good husband I wondered who this bloke was so I had a look for myself.

I liked his posts and found his comments more than a little funny so when I noticed he had a book out it was a no brainer and I picked up a copy.

I’m a dad of twins myself so I was really interested to see if this book fitted with my own experiences and for me Sam got things spot on.

What I really enjoyed about the book is its honest.. so honest it’s funny. I don’t think you can every be the perfect parent and you’ve got to be able to take a step back and relax and this book certainly made me do that.

There are bits that made me actually laugh out loud on this bus to work.. here’s just a few things that had me gagging.. “leak week”, “baby gravy”, “ever-expanding Grand Canyon”, “putrid string of aubergine” and not to forget the line “I’ve shat myself”

This book is a very fun take on becoming a parent but it’s more than just that. It’s reminder to take stock once in a while…laugh..and keep these moments alive.

It made me genuinely smile and because of that it’s worth every penny!

I enjoyed this book so much so that I’ve got tickets to his show in Newcastle later this year!

Well worth a read!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

 

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The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance.

Amazon Verified Purchase.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars.

Albinus, the son of a revered Roman veteran Silus, has always longed to be a farmer, not a soldier, and live his days ploughing and reaping the harvests, with his bride-to-be, Licina. But Silus’ has darker ambitions, for Albinus to follow in his footsteps in the army.

But, as the conflicts between father and son come to a head, a growing threat comes down from the vengeful Germanic tribes to the north. Just as Albinus and Licina are about to marry, their settlement is raided by barbarians and Silus and his veteran comrades are brutally killed, while Licina is kidnapped by the raiders and taken to their king as a gift.

Believing her to be alive, Albinus sets out on a quest to find Licina, finally fulfilling his father’s wishes as training as a soldier, even as he is spurred to avenge his father’s death. As the barbarian hordes gather and plan major rebellion against the Romans, Albinus finds a new fighting spirit within him and grows in stature among the legionaries.

Licina meanwhile has a fight of her own, to escape from slavery and find Albinus. Time is running out, as the northern tribes head for Rome, decimating everything in their path…

Review

Albinus is the son of a famous Centurion but he’s nothing like his father..he’s just not cut out to be a solider and because of this the tension between them could be cut with a knife.

Silus, Albinus’s father, is retired and has set up a nice little place for his son and former colleagues to live out the rest of their days. During an outing to secure supplies for the community we get our first glimpse of the differences between the two. Albinus wants to make his dad proud but he just can’t see any way to do it.

The plot moves quickly as two Romans are captured as slaves.. will Silus help free them? The choice made haunts Albinus for a time and I’m sure he will never come to terms with it.

We next see a few really good plot developments as a strange figure appears, he’s got an agenda and is willing to do anything to make sure events play out the way he wants. At the same time we also see an enemy of Silus plot revenge for what he sees as a past wrong to be put right. These events lead Albinus and Silus down very different paths and is the making of Albinus.

Silus is now dead with Licina, Albinus’s love interest, taken. Albinus sets out to be the man his father would have always wanted. It’s time to join up and become a solider.

The story is told from different perspectives and this made for a fun read and you can see things developing quickly. You’d get engrossed and just at the right point the author would switch focus building the excitement and ramping up the suspense.

I really enjoyed the book. At times the soldiers were a bit too lovey dovey for my tastes, I prefer my soldiers to be rocks and simple nod or grunt to show affection ha.

The plot certainly has promise and I’d like to see where Albinus ends up. The development of this plot really made it what it is..and to top it off it’s a very easy-going read so someone of a younger age wouldn’t struggle with the language or word count.

A good read and an author who shows promise in the areas I like.. keep switching perspective to build on that strong plot that’s developing and you’ll have me back for the rest of the series when published 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Screaming Mummy (Quest Chasers #2) by Thomas & Grace Lockhaven – Review

Title – The Screaming Mummy (Quest Chasers #2)
Author – Grace & Thomas Lockhaven 
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The Quest Chasers series, which debuted with the fun, fast, and fantastical Deadly Cavern, returns with the equally enthralling The Screaming Mummy. The evil Ranger has a track record of eliminating children, and he again (along with his creepy sidekicks) has Tommy and Eevie in his sights—this time with greater vengeance.

What sets this series apart from the competition is the loving and humor-laced companionship of Tommy, Eevie, and pal Drew. They rely on each other to solve riddles, wield magic, escape danger, and heal from relentless attacks—physically and emotionally.

The author deftly takes us from warm, quiet moments between friends to harrowing adventures, with the emotional roller coaster ride continuing throughout. Just when you think they’re safe, they’re not, and the closing chapters reveal one stunning twist after the other.

Review

Sometimes I truly believe books written for young adults are just so much better than adult novels. There’s so much freedom with the story as you try to stoke the imagination of your audience.

If you’ve not read The Deadly Cavern yet you should do! it’s fun and fast paced and is very engaging with the reader.

We are back with Tommy & Eevie. They escaped the evil range once but he’s not about to let them get away that easy. Our team grows with the addition of Drew. The three of them need to use all their knowledge to solve the riddles of the past and find a way home.. will they make it out alive this time?

The ending leaves me eagerly awaiting more. The plot is fun, the characters are likable and it’s perfectly written for a young adult who is a fan of fantasy. I dare so it’s perfect for an adult of 33 too :).

Quest Chasers is an intriguing series and I’d love to see how things play out.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Retalio by Alison Morton – Review

Title – Retalio (Roma Nova #6)
Author – Alison Morton
Genre – Alternative History
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

“A classic tale of resistance and resilience – the only regret is when the action stops.” – Douglas Jackson Early 1980s Vienna. Recovering from a near fatal shooting, Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and former foreign minister of Roma Nova, chafes at her enforced exile. She barely escaped from her nemesis, the charming and amoral Caius Tellus who grabbed power in Roma Nova, the only part of the Roman Empire to survive into the twentieth century. Aurelia’s duty and passion fire her determination to take back her homeland and liberate its people. But Caius’s manipulations have isolated her from her fellow exiles, leaving her ostracised, powerless and vulnerable. But without their trust and support Aurelia knows she will never see Roma Nova again.

Review

We are back with Aurelia Mitela in a world where Rome didn’t fall completely and women have a much more prominent role in society. Not everyone is happy with this power divide..none more so than Caius Tellus.. a horrible worm of a man..

To truly understand the buildup to this novel you need to have read the previous two novels AURELIA and Insurrectio.

The government of Roma Nova has been overthrown and Aurelia is duty bound to help put things right..her people are being treated badly, many have died..and many more will. Caius will stop at nothing to have the power he craves even though the situation is highly volatile and he is slowly losing control.

It’s a fast paced novel full of action as the resistance fight back to take control of Roma Nova.

There’s some great twists as the resistance struggle to come together and trust each other..who wouldn’t have issues..after-all anyone could be working for Caius and one bad move could mean death for them all.

While this novel is a work of alternative history it feels quite real and plausible giving the very real political issues we are facing in the present day.

This series is all about ideals..knowing right from wrong and standing up to fight even when you know the cost may be too high.

A great addition to anyone’s library.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

The Cold Light Of Dawn by Anna Belfrage – Review

Title – The Cold Light Of Dawn (The King’s Greatest Enemy #4)
Author – Anna Belfrage
Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

Review

The Cold Light of Dawn is book four in the highly enjoyable The King’s Greatest Enemy series by Anna Belfrage.

You can read my reviews for the rest of the series by clicking the links below.

In the Shadow of the Storm

Days of Sun and Glory

Under the Approaching Dark

I had high hopes for book 4 of this series. I’m invested in Kit and Adam’s future and I just hope one day they get the peace they deserve..will they get this in book 4??? Not bloody likely ha.

King Edward is growing up fast and he’s starting to resent his mother’s control and Lord Rogers more so. Lord Roger may have become regent with the best of intentions but power has a way of changing a person and Lord Roger is no exception.

The this tale Adam is torn even more in two and both the King and Lord Roger questioning his loyalty..the trouble is he’s loyal to both but that’s not going to be acceptable by either of them..it’s time he picks a side one way or another and without giving the game away something rather personal for Adam happens that really tests loyalty to both.

The plot is strong but also balanced well with the personal aspect of Kit and Adams relationship. I’ve said it every time but I’m no fan of romance in novels but the romance in the Cold Light of Dawn builds on the story for me rather than distract from it.

We see more of Queen Phillipa in this tale and Kit has her own issues when she finds herself a pawn being controlled by two Queens.. how can she please them both while not betraying either?

The ending of the story does give the reader a little closure as the tension that has been brewing finally plays out but at the same time leaves the door open for more tales from our favourite knight.

This series is exactly what I love about historical fiction. A tale of the authors imagination written around facts. While the life of King Edward and Lord Roger have already been written in history but Kit and Adam’s story belongs to the author and her alone and what a wonderful, heart wrenching tale of love and loyalty we’ve been given.

I challenge anyone to read this series and not enjoy it..it would be impossible not to love it.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Empire of Shades (Legionary #6) by Gordon Doherty – Review

To celebrate the release of book 7 of the Legionary series I’ve got right up to date with the adventures of Pavo and the XI Claudia so here’s the blurb and my review for book 6 of the series Empire of Shades!

The blurb –

379 AD: Thracia has fallen to the Gothic horde…

With the ashes of Adrianople still swirling in the air, the Eastern Roman Empire is in turmoil. The emperor is dead, the throne lies empty and the remaining fragments of the army are few and scattered. Numerius Vitellius Pavo, now Tribunus of the XI Claudia, tries to hold his patchwork ranks together amidst the storm. One of the few legions to have survived the disaster at Adrianople, the Claudia do what they can to keep alive the dying flame of hope.

When word spreads of a new Eastern Emperor, those hopes rise. But the coming of this leader will stir the Gothic War to new heights. And it will cast Pavo headlong into the sights of the one responsible for the East’s plight – a man mighty and seemingly untouchable, and one who will surely crush any who dares to challenge him.

From the ashes of Adrianople, new heroes will rise… with dark ghosts in close pursuit.

Review

After the events in the last book I wondered if the series had any life left in it.. I’m so glad to say YES IT DOES!

Shades torment Pavo during this tale. The faces from the past now walking by his side always. We see occasions when Pavo is urged on by these shades.

With Emperor Valens dead a new emperor must be crowned. Will this man be another puppet of Emperor Gratian?

Pavo is now Tribunus of the XI Claudia and while the faces from the past might be gone they are not forgotten. While I loved the old characters some of the new ones are just wonderful! Libo and Rectus I just loved! Stichus was by far the best addition to this tale. Pavo can see himself in Stichus and learns a lot about how to be a leader from guiding the young lad just like Gallus did with him many years back.

The war with the Goth’s intensifies as the horde splits its forces, each force might be separate but they have enough manpower to make the men of Rome shake and now Gratian is calling support to the West! this means one thing..a showdown between Pavo and Emperor Gratian. Pavo is on a mission of vengeance for Tribunus Gallus whose family were slayed on the orders of Gratian may years ago.

Now here’s an interesting thing..we’ve met Speculatores before..they are assassins loyal to only Emperor Gratian.. we hate them right? nah I’m starting to like them..well one of them at least! Scapula is his name and the relationships he forms in the story really ramped up the excitement level.

Overall another cracking plot and a storyline that just keeps getting stronger and more bloody.

The ending smashed the ball out of the park leaving me wondering just how much longer Pavo can last.. lets find out in book 7!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

 

Gods & Emperors (Legionary 5) by Gordon Doherty – Review

Hey all, as you may remember I reviewed book 4 of the awesome Legionary series by Gordon Doherty last week! This is a series I’ve really enjoyed but sometime reviewing non stop means I miss out on books I want to read..no more! Requests make up a very small amount of my reading total now and I made it my mission to catch up on this series ready for book 7’s release tomorrow!

Here’s the blurb for  Gods & Emperors

The fate of the East rests on the edge of a sword as the legions and the Goths march to war…

378 AD: Fritigern’s Gothic horde tightens its iron grip on Thracia and only a handful of well-walled cities to the south remain in imperial hands. The few tattered legions pinned in these cities can only watch on from the battlements as smoke rises across their lost lands and the Goths roam at will, pillaging and extorting. Every Roman – legionary or citizen – speaks of only one thing: the Emperors of East and West, Valens and Gratian, who are said to be closing swiftly on this war-stricken land, each bringing with them vast armies capable of vanquishing the horde.

Awaiting the relief armies in Constantinople, Centurion Pavo and the XI Claudia prepare as best they can. The Gothic War has taken much from each of them, and none more so than Pavo. But still he and his fellow officers cling to the chance that two lost to them might yet return: their leaders, Tribunus Gallus and Primus Pilus Dexion – Pavo’s brother – have not been seen or heard from since setting off on a mission to Emperor Gratian’s court in the West. Some are sure they must have fallen, yet Pavo refuses to give up hope, instead whetting his blade and praying that fate will guide the pair back in time for the clash that is to come: a clash that promises to end the Gothic War – for the empire’s finest legions are destined to meet Fritigern’s ferocious masses… on the plains of Adrianople.

My Rating – 5/5 Stars!

Review

Just when I thought there’s no way this series could get better Doherty gives us Gods & Emperors, the most gut wrenching read I’ve ever came across.

I’m going to be honest from the start. The plot beautifully plays out but I had my heart in my mouth from the minute I opened the book…I’ve grown attached to the characters and in the latest installment the author takes an axe to many and some deaths hurt more than others.

Some major truths were revealed towards the end of book 4 that will play out during this book so I don’t want to spoil too much. THIS SERIES IS A MUST READ.

Pavo and the remains of the XI Claudia are without their leader Tribunus Gallus and Primus Pilus Dexion who set out on a mission to contact Emperor Gratian to petition him to bring his forces to bear on the Gothic horde..but why has it taken so long without any word..and if they did make it when will Gratian arrive?

There’s plenty of twists in this tale but for me character development played a heavy part in how good this book truly is. The author manages to breathe life in to the men of the XI Claudia and after 4 previous installments you’d think the author would be running on fumes.. not so.

While awaiting Gratian’s arrival Emperor Valens must ready his army. He’s quite a likable leader and seems to care about the true cost of war..He knows he’s outnumbered so eager to reach a truce with the Goths but the speculators, loyal only to Emperor Gratian, are set are making sure war comes to Valens. Gratian is only after power and has set his pieces on the table well.

Eventually the battle we know would happen comes to pass but even I could not have guessed the ending Doherty gives us, just simply WOW.

Overall another masterpiece from Gordon Doherty. He broke my heart with this one but damn it was one hell of a ride!

My review for book 6 will be out tomorrow to celebrate the release of book 7!

Check out the links below for more info.

Book 5 Gods & Emperors – Goodreads

Book 5 Gods & Emperors – Amazon

Book 7 – Amazon