Month: January 2017

Better Buckle Up book video – read for you by SuzieW

Better Buckle Up book video

There were many stages in the making of Better Buckle Up book video.

  1. The making of the flash file that turned the pages of the ebook.  Pain point 6/10 – only involved slight swearing at InDesign.
  2. The recording myself reading the ebook and turning the page at the same time.  Pain point 7/10 – used Camtasia for screen capture. Hard to keep the mouse in the right place to turn pages nicely.
  3. The hating of hearing my voice on the recording. Pain point 10/10 – I thought my Northern accent had mellowed! Spent more time listening to voice artists on Fiverr. Couldn’t decide. Went back to me.  
  4. The making of the animation for the Intro and Outro of the video. Pain point 0/10 – because I didn’t do it 🙂
  5. Cutting the video together. Pain point 8/10 – involved copious amounts of swearing at Premiere Pro. Was OK once hubby decided I was unteachable and just did it for me.
  6. The adding of the music.  Pain point 9/10 – not that this stage was unpleasant but it took forever to audition possible sound files in Audioblocks library. Then a further forever to cut them together with the video.  


Hope you like it.

Suzie xx

The Pramshed
Talk of the Town

Read With Me

My Random Musings
Dear Bear and Beany
Book Review: The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.

A very special book.

The Mystery of the Clockwork sparrowOK, first things first – I loved this book. Everything about it is special: the gold highlights on it’s cover, the lyrical writing style, not forgetting the unique story itself. The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow was published in 2015  but it has a wonderfully old-fashioned feel. I have already ordered, The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth, book two in the series and book three, The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, is due next month. Next month! Yippee.

Right, now I’ve got that out of the way. Let’s get down to business.

The Blurb

You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!

Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villains to justice…

I actually think this doesn’t do justice to the book. It makes it seem a little silly and shallow, which isn’t the story at all. Whilst I can see they were trying to set up the feel of a by-gone era, for me, it doesn’t draw the reader into the ‘mystery’ like it should.

The Characters.

All the characters in the book are well-written. Although the story centres on Sophie Taylor, we  actually see the story through four points of view.

mystery of clockwork sparrow artworkSophie Taylor: Sophie’s father has recently died leaving her an orphan with no means of support. As Sophie is fourteen years old, she is too old for an orphanage. She’s lucky to land herself a job in the hat department of Sinclair’s, the newest, most luxurious department store in London.

Even though Sophie was brought up as a typical ‘young lady’, she is clever, brave, kind and resourceful. In short; a great heroine.

mystery of clockwork sparrow artworkLilian Rose: Lilian is an aspiring actress who works as a model at Sinclair’s but she is more than just a pretty face.

Billy Parker: Billy is the young porter at Sinclair’s. He is more likely to be found reading his story paper than working. Will all the tips he learned in those mystery stories help solve the case?

And finally we have Joe.  On the run from the infamous Baron’s gang,  living on the streets, but with a good heart. These four characters work together to solve the clues of who stole the Clockwork Sparrow? And why?

The Plot

No spoilers here but I will say that the stakes for the robbery turned out to be much higher than just the robbery of a jewelled antique. Woodfine scatters the clues cleverly throughout the story until the reader doesn’t know who to trust and the events happen at an ever-increasing pace. The book contains some fights, a shooting and Sophie gets abducted but it’s all handled well so I don’t think it will give even the most sensitive reader nightmares.

the mystery of the clockwork sparrow

A glimpse into a world of times gone by.

“The shop girls there were expected to work fourteen hour days and to sleep in communal dormitories above the shop, but were paid only a few meagre shillings a week.”

It’s a far cry from today. When I started reading, I did wonder what modern day children would make of the language; the duffers, and rotters, the shillings and guineas. But anything that can’t really be guessed from the context is skillfully explained. It’s good writing. Did I mention I loved this book?

British Books Challenge 2017British Books Challenge 2017

I’m adding my review of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow to the British Books Challenge for January. Katherine Woodfine is a Lancashire lass after my own heart. I’ll definitely be reading more of her work.

Suzie xx

My Random Musings
The Pramshed
Talk of the Town

Read With Me

Dear Bear and Beany
Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy: book review

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy: book review.

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart FairyI picked up a Kindle copy of Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy on a whim because the title made me laugh!

OK, maybe there was a little bit more to it than that.

First, I read the blurb:

A Fairy. A Dream. And a Bean Burrito.
Annabelle, like all of her fairy friends, desperately wants to be a rose fairy when she grows up.

But when things go horribly wrong at the Great Selecting ceremony, the fairy queen tells Annabelle she will have to spend the rest of her life as a . . . fart fairy!

Oh, what a logline. Brilliant!

Second, I checked out M.T Lott’s website,

What is a Forgotten Fairy?

A Forgotten Fairy — or FF for short — is a fairy who has a job that most people don’t want to talk about. Like the snot fairies, the vomit fairies, or the scab fairies.

Without the FFs, people would have a very difficult time existing, but no one seems to care about them.

Forgotten fairies? You got me.

My review

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart FairyThis book was not what I expected. Yes, there are lots of references to bodily functions and Annabelle’s name is Buttocks (“It’s pronouced Bee-you-tocks!“) but there was a clear message: ‘even though you don’t always get what you want, things can turn out OK’. It also touches on important issues like bullying and judging others.

The age range for the book is 9 – 12 years range. Lott does a great job of making Annabelle and her friends sound very typical opinionated tweens. The cover has a modern feel and I liked the artwork scattered throughout the pages. The author does a great job of building up the fairy world ‘rules’ and sets the scene nicely for the other books in the series.

I didn’t always like Annabelle. She wasn’t particularly nice to her brother, and her attitude gets herself put in fairy prison! Is that scary for a 9 year old?

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart FairyAnd then the book takes a completely unexpected turn. There is an asteroid heading straight for Earth. Can the fairies save the planet? Will Annabelle’s idea work?

Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

I didn’t laugh out loud at this book, and it certainly smashes any ideas of fairies as demure little winged creatures. I’m rounding it up to 4 stars on Amazon because it had some interesting ideas I’m sure kids will like.

Recommended for lovers of bean burrito’s everywhere.

If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think below.

Suzie xx

[amazon_link asins=’0615973094′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’isdiettheansw-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’760abc31-d91e-11e6-8ebd-b3a26879d40d’]

Dear Bear and Beany
My Random Musings
The Pramshed
Laura's Lovely Blog

Read With Me

British Books Challenge 2017
British Books Challenge 2017

I usually avoid setting New Years goals and resolutions. It naffs me off when I don’t reach them. However, one of the challenges is the British Books Challenge 2017. Reading British Books is definitely high on my agenda and you only have to commit to reading and reviewing just one book per month, so … deep breath … I’m jumping in.

The British Books Challenge 2017.

This years challenge is hosted by Chelle over on Tales of Yesterday. There are even some bookish monthly prize packs and a £25 voucher for Foyles, if you need an extra incentive.

Here are the rules regarding qualifying books and authors.

  • Authors who were born in the UK, live in the UK and are published in the UK
  • Authors who were born overseas but are CURRENTLY living in the UK and his/her books were/are being published in the UK first
  • Authors who were born in the UK are currently living overseas but his/her books are being published in the UK first

Sounds easy enough.

Every month I’ll post a link to the book review on this page so you can keep an eye on my progress.

January’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017

The Mystery of the Clockwork sparrowJanuary’s book will be The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine, a Lancashire Lass born in Preston, so she definitely counts 🙂

I picked this up from the library last month but Christmas got too hectic for me to start it. You can read my review here.

February’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017

it was bedtime in the jungle

There is a new favourite book in our household. It was Bedtime in the Jungle by the super talented author/illustrator John Butler. Find my review here.

March’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017

silly doggy

A hilarious book about mistaken identity by Adam Stower. Check out my review.

April’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017

Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants

A fun debut novel from Nikki Young. Find my full review here.

May’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017

pilot jane and the runaway plane

A rhyming story about Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain. My review is here.

June’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017

Billy has a Birthday

Billy has a Birthday is a book about bullying by James Minter. Check out my review here.

If you’re joining in the challenge, leave a comment below and I’ll check out the books you’re reading.

Happy 2017. Let the challenge begin.

Suzie xx 


[amazon_link asins=’1405276177′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’isdiettheansw-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’0d741be7-d503-11e6-aa7c-39bfecca94a2′]