The Girl Downstairs~Ian Maitland

Well bloody hell! What a book!

I’ve never opened a review with a swear word but this title has literally blown me away! I couldn’t stop reading it (and trust me when I say that it’s been a while since that happened!) and the twists were phenomenal!

Let’s start with the plot; a lonely man takes in homeless girls when they need it the most. Nothing seems too sinister, until you realise this book is written by a thriller writer known for his guts and gore narrative and that the main character is really struggling with mental health difficulties.

As the plot thickens you see the lead character struggle with sleep, self regulation and balancing of emotions and as a reader you try to put together the pieces of the puzzle in front of you which are laid out with snippets of what can only be described as dark poetry. There’s talks of “being inside” and a lot of death and pain, which made me think that he had been in prison and perhaps was a criminal who had escalated in to a serial killer.and that rather than helping vulnerable women he was preying on them.

The plot actually develops over several twists and turns and becomes a true game of cat and mouse and toward the end, you have literally no idea who is the cat and who is the unfortunate mouse.

Honestly I thought the second to last chapter was going to be a happily ever after and hoped that all my instincts had been wrong, as they had been previously, but it turns out the last chapter totally changed everything. It was intense!

The Girl Downstairs is truly a magnificent read and I can’t believe I haven’t come across Maitland’s books before! I’m intrigued to follow him as an author and I really enjoyed his writing style and the characters he creates. Well worth a read!

About the Author

Iain Maitland is the author of three previous psych thrillers, The Scribbler (2020), Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017), all published by Contraband, an imprint of Saraband. Mr Todd’s Reckoning is coming to the big screen in 2023. Iain is also the author of two memoirs, Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), a book of letters written to his eldest son who experienced depression and anorexia, and (co-authored with Michael) Out Of The Madhouse (Jessica Kingsley, 2018). He is also an Ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity. He talks regularly about mental health issues in schools and colleges and workplaces.

I Know Your Secret~Jess Roy

 

Married to a leading medical consultant, with a fabulous career, two amazing children, and a beautiful house in the suburbs of Galway City. Everything is perfect – or is it? Because Amanda hides a secret. One she has lived with for years. A secret so terrible she has no doubt it will destroy her life if ever it is revealed. And this is exactly what happens, starting with a note pinned to her car, on it just four words: I know your secret. Who knows her secret? Who does she turn to? Who does she trust? Amanda’s worst nightmare has just begun.

Well WOW! Just wow! Never having read any of Jess Roy’s work before, he was a totally new author to me and I’ve really been missing out! The characters had their moments where they weren’t particularly strong or interesting, and it felt like they were keeping things buried a lot of the time, but over all they were pretty likeable. I felt for Amanda-secrets are hard to keep when they could derail your life BUT the discovery of a note like that would put anyone in to turmoil!

I Know Your Secret is well written, suspense in the right places despite it having time hops, and it just works. It was intriguing and a real page turner! I think over winter break from work I’ll be reading Roy’s previous novels for sure!

Author Biography.

Jess Roy has writing all of his life and holds an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. However, not really had the confidence, or focus, to pursue it properly until relatively recently. So when he’s not typing away, Roy is an employee of the Irish police, An Garda Síochána. Since 2014 and has also written six novels, three published by Bookouture. More recently, I Know Your Secret was published by Question Mark Press in November 2021. He enjoys playing guitar, writing the odd ditty, and singing American country songs.

The Recovery of Rose Gold~Stephanie Wrobel

I’ve hit a bit of a reading slump lately and struggled to get through a single chapter once I’ve eventually managed to pick up a book BUT this had been on my TBR list for so long it was actually a bit rude to skip past it yet again, so I began to read it on Sunday and by the following Saturday I had finished the entire book-I was so gripped by Wrobel’s writing style, plot and characters that I simply couldn’t put it down! I even read it while sat on my boyfriends sofa totally ignoring the three dogs and their mischief (which is totally unheard of!)!

The Recovery of Rose Gold is a phenomenal book that alternates narratives between Rose Gold in the past and present, as well as her abusive mother Patty (again, in the past and present). Rose Gold was a victim of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIA), more commonly known as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSP) (think Gypsy-Rose Blancharde but without parental murder but a huge revenge plot!) and Rose Gold not only survived the abuse from her mother Patty BUT she testified against her in court and then fours years later went on to forgive her mother. Or so she had the world believe.

I really enjoyed how strongly the characters were written and the varying narratives and time hops were easy to follow and digest in order to pain the picture that Wrobel has worked so hard for the reader to see. I found it really interesting how Rose Gold actually developed Munchausen Syndrome herself (pretending she had an illness of her own accord) in a desperate bid to join her “other family” on a trip to Yellow Stone National Park and as you read on, you start to see that Rose Gold isn’t so much as forgiving her mother but is actually setting her up for highly intricate, and frankly pretty perfect, stone cold and long overdue revenge!

Anyone who has followed the case of Gypsy-Rose Blancharde will highly enjoy this compelling read, as will those who have followed other high profile MSP cases around the world such as the case of Marybeth Tinning (who lost 9 of her children in the 70’s and 80’s), Lacey Spears (whose 5yr old son passed away from overdosing via salt in his NG feeds in 2014), and British Lisa Hayden Johnson (whose son was very premature and Lisa enjoyed the attention so much that she had everyone believe he had a severe food allergy and was tube fed as a result and she spent years spiking his feeds).

The Recovery of Rose Gold is literally like a MSP case crossed with Gone Girl and was so compelling! Not often would I rave about a subject so harrowing, but the twist really has me and that for me was the making of the book! And I truly cannot recommend this read enough!

About the Author

Wrobel is a Chicago native who has spent the last few years living in Britain (lucky us!) with her husband and their dog. She has previously worked as a creative copywriter for a variety of advertising agencies before turning her hand at writing novels. The Recovery of Rose Gold (or Darling Rose Gold in the US) was her first novel and was published in March 2020 (the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic) and has been quickly followed by her second novel, This Might Hurt, which will be released in March of 2022 (which I really can’t wait for!).

The Farm House at Peace & Plenty~L.B. Stimson

“The house, for all of its solitude, seemed incredibly noisy. The Farmhouse, having stood against time and history for nearly 160 years in the Virginia countryside, was forgotten and abandoned until Kyle and Jenny Dowling moved in during the summer of 1972. The Dowlings, married just a year, were struggling to repair their broken marriage. It was to be the perfect place, away from it all, to heal their relationship. Jenny would write and Kyle would tend to minor renovations. The rent was cheap. The realtor warned them, however, against staying beyond the final days of fall.

I have to say a big thank you to ZooLoo’s Book Tours who arranged for me to have a digital copy of the book and gave me a space on the blog tour. And secondly thank you to L.B Stimson for writing this boom and creating the character of Jenny.

While I found the book a little slow to start, I really connected with the character of Jenny and understood her angst, pain and attempts of determination. Living with the pain of having to go to her husband when he had been found after his disastrous sex-session with a student could not have been easy, and then leaving her home for the summer to live in a run-down and remote place while he made attempts to fix the house and try to fix their marriage isn’t easy to witness-whether its fictional or not. I hated Kyle throughout the entire book! He seemed selfish to me. Even when Stimson wrote him as a guy who was trying to come through for his wife, a voice in my head still screamed “but he wouldn’t have to try so hard if he hadn’t have screwed up in the first place!”

I love the setting too! The farm house is so remote and I really enjoy how it fuelled Jenny’s writing and when she began to picture her heroine at the farmhouse you didn’t know if she was seeing her imagination play out in front of her or if she was seeing the images of lives lives long ago.

Kyle was told not to stay longer than autumn at the farmhouse, Jenny was warned by the towns folk, but they did just that and the consequences weren’t a bed of thornless roses. Which, I do realise is the point of the plot, but did a lot me because if you’re told not to stay then in my optimism you simply don’t stay! However, it was cleverly set up so how much of the decision to stay was their own and how much was another influence at work is tricky to tell, which makes the plot that more riveting all around.

Overall I enjoyed the book once I got stuck in! I wouldn’t necessarily watch it if I came across it as a film or series because to me a narrative can be dramatically different when transcribed from page to screen and I feel like it would ruin the experience of the book for me, and I would recommend it for a spooky or Halloween reading challenge that avid readers, book bloggers and bookstagrammers are so fond of (last year I took part in a spooky read along and really enjoyed it) as it’s perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson’s style and era of fiction.

About the Author

L.B. grew up in a one stop-light town in central Idaho. After earning a Bachelor of Art’s degree in cultural anthropology from California State University-Chico, she uprooted herself to begin a new life in Washington, D.C., where she began a varied career in professional communications in private business and education.

“I’ve always had a passion for photography, travel, writing, and history. I am thrilled to now be creating works of fiction that allow me to share these passions with others. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the historical research required to bring authenticity to my characters’ lives.” This is her fifth book and the second in her standalone series: Tales from the Parlor Room–a collection of gothic and ghostly tales. Stimson currently resides in Virginia where she enjoys cemetery walks, visiting abandoned and haunted places and working on more ghostly tales.

Two Truths~ Dana C.Carter

“After the mysterious death of her husband, Renee Morgan is determined to protect her three daughters, forcing her to face a history she has spent a lifetime avoiding. Groomed by her father to join the most elite of secret societies, Brett knows she is destined for something great. But her ambition demands a high price. Sara is ready to avenge her father at any cost. When she finds herself swept up in conspiracies and family secrets, her search for answers uncovers a primeval power. Hadley watched her father die and now he won’t leave her alone. Guided by his ghost, she begins to experience memories of past lives. As the journeys of Renee, Brett, Sara and Hadley converge, two Truths are revealed that change everything they knew about themselves and the world they live in.

Firstly I’d like to say a big “THANK YOU” to ZooLoo’s Book Tours for placing me on this blog tour. For a book reviewer whose been in a deep slump for some time, she’s really taken a chance on me when others have not and I’m grateful for that.

Secondly, let’s get on with the review!

I first picked up the book with high expectations- it had been a while since I had read anything other than murder mystery’s and crime thrillers so I was excited to get stuck in. But sadly I found it a slow read and this could be because it’s a step away from my usual genre or because I may not be ready to dedicate myself to reading again just yet, possibly even a mixture of the two, but read the book was my goal and I did just that. Albeit it very, very slowly.

The characters are all very different; Rennee the mother and her daughters, Brett, Sara abs Hadley all bring something different to the table and they are all very well written with their own issues and missions in life which I found to be a little confusing at times when I was trying to push on with my reading, but did enjoy the different dimensions of each character.

As the title states there are Two Truths to learn and each has its own consequence and chain of events. And Rennee has to learn to live with the fact that even though she is trying to help her daughters she simply must allow each girl to travel their own path and learn for themselves, no matter her thoughts and feelings on it. Which as a mother made me really feel for her.

Two Truths is a well researched and well written novel, and Carver clearly knows her Bible verse as there are numerous references throughout-don’t let this put you off reading it though! It’s relevant and not at all a book about Christianity! It’s a book for fans of Dan Brown though! Never having been a huge fan of Brown, I do find that any follow in titles I won’t be reading as it simply didn’t enthral me as much as I would have liked (again this could be because I’m severely pre-occupied and it’s also not my usual genre, however I was eager to branch out from my comfort zone and glad I did!).

About the Author

Dana C Carver was born in 1972 in Columbus, Ohio. She wrote her first book at seven years old and won the school’s “super writer” award, and has been writing ever since.

She has a degree in psychology with a minor in creative writing from the University of Cincinnati, and did her post-graduate studies in physiology at Portland State University Currently she works as a program manager and coach, helping organizations to implement and evaluate change initiatives. She is the Chair of the Good Programmes Trust, home of the award winning GoodYarn program, which has seen nearly 7000 people educated in mental health and wellness. Previously, she owned her own coaching and training studio, which operated for over a decade serving nearly 400 clients. She now lives on a Dairy farm in the South Island of New Zealand with her husband, Tony, and is blessed with three step-children, a foster-daughter and two grand-daughters

The Flat Share~Beth O’Leary

A fair amount of time has passed since i last uploaded review, but a lot has been going on! I also lost my love for reading temporarily which didn’t help me rush to find the time. However, while taking a well-earned break upon The Magic At Sea (a Disney Staycation Cruise) I had a few hours each day to myself which I used to read a book that had been on my TBR list for what seemed like forever! The Flat Share caught my interest while flicking through social media and other book blogs but had been at the bottom for some time and when I was buying sticker books for my daughter, I noticed it was in a special offer so it seemed silly not to pick it up for myself.

Tiffy has been broken up with Justin (the worst boyfriend ever by the way! Seriously cannot hate a character anymore than I hate Justin!£ for a while but still lives in his flat. Deciding that she needs to take back her life, she moves out. Sadly Tiffy, like many of us, has a pretty low wage and can’t afford her own flat and is pulled in to a flat share of epic proportions with a seriously low price. Why is the price so low? Because it’s a one bedroom flat with one bed, and the other flat dweller is Leon- an over worked hospice nurse with an innocent brother in prison and a less than understanding girlfriend (I think she’s stuck up, but I think each reader will have their own interpretation). How will this arrangement work? Simple! Leon works nights so will have the bed in the day, and Tiffy works days so will have the bed in the night. Weekends are Leon at his girlfriends place and Tiffy being sick he has the place to her self.

So what stops this arrangement working? Leon and his girlfriend split up, meaning he has no refuge for weekends. Justin (the creep) keeps turning up and literally ruining things for poor Tiffy. Meanwhile Leon’s brother as struggling in prison, and Tiffy’s discovery of a bag of crocheted scarves under the time-share bed helps her and Leon out no end, meaning Tiffy and Leon become involved in each others lives more than they had ever bargained for.

When I first started to read The Flat Share I kept thinking it won’t work, I won’t make it to the end, the brother will turn out to be guilty and it’s going to be one of those books that has too much hype and not enough meat on its bones. BUT how wrong I was!

What really blew me away, was how O’Leary can write to narratives from two polar opposite characters and get it so right! Even the dialogue is set out differently and somehow it’s more “readable” and easy to follow! It was as if Leon and Tiffy were written by two different people! I also really enjoyed the end result and how Justin got exactly what he deserved! I also kept wondering if Leon’s brother was innocent or guilty as we had to take everything about his story at face value, and I was waiting for a twist about him but was really relieved that it all worked out.

Over all, The Flat Share was a pleasantly surprising read and well worth sticking with through to the very end and I’ll be recommending it to everyone as a really good and alternative summer read.

Author Biography

The Flat Share was O’Leary’s debut novel and was written on the train while working as a children’s publisher in 2019 and has since gone on to publish The Switch: A Novel, The Switch 2 (both in 2020) and The Road Trip (available now).

Author Post by Mac Altgelt

Inspiration. Process. Disappointment.

As a debut author, I don’t mind admitting that I was slightly intimidated when asked to create a blog post covering simply a “subject of my choosing”, while to me it seemed the obvious goal must be to achieve greater visibility for my forthcoming novel.  Surely then, promotion was to be the subject, right?  Actually no, said they, you can write about dishwashers if you want.  Scratching my head, I observed to myself just how little this advice accomplished in the way of assuaging my concern.  However, feeling my inexperience as an author to be approaching a little too close to the surface for comfort and threatening to expose me for the fraud I undoubtedly was, I feigned comprehension and asked no more.  

The truth is that, strictly speaking, I am not a debut author.  I have been published before.  To say the contract was traditional, however, is perhaps a bit of a stretch.  In a technical sense, it was traditional in that I did not pay to have it done, nor was I obligated to buy anything afterwards.  The problem was that nobody else paid anything either, not least the would-be readers upon whom I relied for success.  So concluded the exciting chapter, forgive the pun, of my initiation into that coveted and exclusive club of published writers.  It was underwhelming, but had a charm reminiscent of childhood (and all the naivety inherent therein).

When in the wee hours of one early morning I awoke from a dream, the complexity and vividity of which still astonishes me today, and jotted down its essence so as not to lose it back to the realm of sleep from whence it had come, I never would have dared to guess that from it a complete novel would be born.  Why I even bothered to write it down I still don’t know with any degree of certainty.  Time dragged on as time invariably does in the days and months that followed, and nothing had been done in service of the great dream.  Gradually, and due perhaps in part to the diminishing recollections I maintained at that point with regard to the dream itself, I decided to write a short story based on the notes I had taken on that fateful night.

The process started off simply enough, my verbose style coming through in true form and echoing a far-less talented version of Proust.  This early draft would, of course, have to later be scrapped due to its overly ambitious language that served only to inspire nausea in its readers, as might an excessively sweet candy.  

Obstacle overcome, and progress ensuing, it soon became clear that there was more to the story than could responsibly be confined in a mere short.  As I am what’s called in the writing world a “planter”, my story grew quite of its own accord once I started writing.  I had at my disposal a simple 1-page story outline, on which each bullet point inevitably lent itself to a full chapter in the text itself.  Once the purpose of the chapter had been established, it fell to me only to move the story along to its predetermined end by whatever means I fancied.  This unstructured approach, perhaps unsurprisingly, led the story far from its original syllabus and into territories that had never been foreseen.

Thus, IN THE BEAST’S CAGE slowly came to quiet fruition.  Drafts and edits followed, along with long periods of a stubborn unwillingness on my part to accept the sound advice of editors, viewing as I did their suggestions for bettering the narrative as an affront to my artistic vision.  In the end, I bent, and it was the right decision to do so.  For sentimental reasons, I have preserved my original drafts, but I admit now with dignified humility that the story of today easily triumphs over the story as it had been.

In retrospect, all of this led me to understand that this process is full of disappointment, rejection, and compromise.  It would be foolish to think such things would not apply to any aspiring writer.  It requires diligence, and an uncommonly strong constitution.  The important thing for carrying on is that one must never lose confidence in their own work, and in this they will surely be tested beyond what’s humane.  It is a veritable Pandora’s Box of despondency and distress, but we are fortunate to retain that most precious of gifts with which we just might persevere: hope.    

In The Beasts Cage.

Harbouring a dark secret from his past, immortal Lord Blake from medieval England arrives mysteriously in a sleepy coastal town in Georgia, USA. There he meets Hugo Wegener, an ex-doctor who is burdened with his own dark secret, and life-long resident Ginny Harrison, who is involved in her aging father’s absurd dream of refurbishing and reopening the town’s long-defunct zoo. As Blake’s relationship with Ginny blooms, he finds himself involved in the insane zoo project and, when Bruce Kelly, an exotic game smuggler from South Africa, arrives in town on the eve of the grand reopening with a plan to rid the zoo of its valuable animal species, it is up to Blake, Hugo, and the old man to stop him, without revealing the terrible secrets of their pasts.

Author Biography

I am a Risk Management executive and Investor in Texas but I moonlight as a writer, short-film maker, musician, composer and world traveller (or, I was a world traveller in the pre-COVID days). In music, I have released 2 full-length albums (one of which is still available) and 2 E.P.s. I have published one humor book entitled 101 TIPS AND REVELATIONS FROM A MODERN DAY CYNIC (Black Rose Writing, 2017). IN THE BEAST’S CAGE is my first novel, but I have a second already in progress and no plans of slowing down. I have also written countless blogs, poems, short stories, essays and movie scripts in addition to my more sprawling fiction projects. Because of my work in the Risk Management industry, I spend a great deal of time in London working closely with Lloyd’s and can be found in that country often as a result. I have a wife (Alejandra) and two children, a 3-year-old daughter (Sophia) and a 1-year-old son (Otto) who was born in the midst of this pandemic. My wife is a dual-citizen of Mexico and Spain and had been living in London for 2 years prior to us meeting.

Death on the Lake~Jo Allen

DCI Jude Satterthwaite is back on book five of this incredible series by Jo Allen. I read the previous book (Death at Rainbow Cottage) a few months ago WITHOUT having read the previous three. I have noticed that Allen’s flow of writing and style means that you actually can read the series as stand alone books, which I actually really appreciate and love! I wanted to read the previous books but moving house, studying, new contracts etc meant I literally had no time to go off plan sadly.

So, Death on the Lake- what’s it about? Well it starts with two twins who hail from a wealthy family waking up on their family boat minus their party-going friend who spent the night with them. However soon they get themselves together enough to notice she’s floating face down in the water totally naked. It seems they quickly think up of a plan to move her body so they’re in the clear. After all Summer Raine (yes that is her name!) had a reputation as a summer worker, didn’t she?

Moving the case aside, we get to see our main character, Jude Satterthwaite making his way through his personal relationship with work partner DS Ashleigh O’Halloaran while ex girlfriend Becca tries to pull away from her new relationship with Jude’s old friend (who was known to be supplying drugs). Sounds a little bit like one of those morning daytime TV shows BUT I promise you it’s nowhere near as cringeworthy as that and makes for some very interesting reading!

Over all, Death on the Lake is a crime thriller that I have simply adored reading! And I honestly cannot wait to finally sit still for a weekend so I can enjoy the previous titles!

Allen’s work just files so well and the narrative used just fits nicely. The characters are interesting and the places (based on real locations but names changed) are described so beautifully that I can’t help but want to visit them myself despite the deaths!

About the Author

Jo Allen lives in the Lake District, which is where she has based the DCI Satterthwaite series, and began writing under the name of Jennifer Young and publishing short stories in the romance and romance suspense genres after a career in economic consultancy. 2017 saw Allen taking the plunge in to crime thriller, her personal favourite genre, and really enjoys football (being a ticket holder for Wolverhampton Wonderers) and likes cats and her Instagram feed features squirrels, cats, alpacas and nature (woman after my own heart!) and is quite possibly the most thoughtful lady I have ever spoken with and really hope to promote her books again in the future.

Death on the Lake~Jo Allen

DCI Jude Satterthwaite is back on book five of this incredible series by Jo Allen. I read the previous book (Death at Rainbow Cottage) a few months ago WITHOUT having read the previous three. I have noticed that Allen’s flow of writing and style means that you actually can read the series as stand alone books, which I actually really appreciate and love! I wanted to read the previous books but moving house, studying, new contracts etc meant I literally had no time to go off plan sadly.

So, Death on the Lake- what’s it about? Well it starts with two twins who hail from a wealthy family waking up on their family boat minus their party-going friend who spent the night with them. However soon they get themselves together enough to notice she’s floating face down in the water totally naked. It seems they quickly think up of a plan to move her body so they’re in the clear. After all Summer Raine (yes that is her name!) had a reputation as a summer worker, didn’t she?

Moving the case aside, we get to see our main character, Jude Satterthwaite making his way through his personal relationship with work partner DS Ashleigh O’Halloaran while ex girlfriend Becca tries to pull away from her new relationship with Jude’s old friend (who was known to be supplying drugs). Sounds a little bit like one of those morning daytime TV shows BUT I promise you it’s nowhere near as cringeworthy as that and makes for some very interesting reading!

Over all, Death on the Lake is a crime thriller that I have simply adored reading! And I honestly cannot wait to finally sit still for a weekend so I can enjoy the previous titles!

Allen’s work just files so well and the narrative used just fits nicely. The characters are interesting and the places (based on real locations but names changed) are described so beautifully that I can’t help but want to visit them myself despite the deaths!

About the Author

Jo Allen lives in the Lake District, which is where she has based the DCI Satterthwaite series, and began writing under the name of Jennifer Young and publishing short stories in the romance and romance suspense genres after a career in economic consultancy. 2017 saw Allen taking the plunge in to crime thriller, her personal favourite genre, and really enjoys football (being a ticket holder for Wolverhampton Wonderers) and likes cats and her Instagram feed features squirrels, cats, alpacas and nature (woman after my own heart!) and is quite possibly the most thoughtful lady I have ever spoken with and really hope to promote her books again in the future.

The Problem With Poppy~Emma Sandford

Poppy has a slight problem; she doesn’t have a single friend. She seems to frighten them off with her (physically) prickly nature, despite her really not meaning to abs trying so hard to make friends, poor Poppy is so very lonely.

That it is until this little porcupine scares away a tiger cub by the name of Rory. On a mission to find him and apologise, Poppy bears witness to little Rory being taken by poachers. But it’s Poppy’s quick thinking and small act of bravery that sees her rescue Rory and make forms friends for life.

The Problem with Poppy is a beautiful tale of making friends despite appearances and being brave when the problem seems bigger than you are. Truly an inspirational story for children of all ages! My four year old daughter abs class of Yr 4 children adored this picture book and really got their interest- I had so many questions about poachers and deforestation that it really became a bit of a project to find out more!

Part of the sale of this book is donated to such a good cause to preserve the forests and these animals homes and keep them safe from poachers. So it’s a book that works to make a difference in the world!

Author Biography

Emma Sandford is a children’s author and businesswoman based in Cheshire. For many years, she has wanted to write a children’s book that draws on her own experiences and helps young children overcome personal issues. One day, inspiration hit her: she realised that a porcupine has a very obvious defence mechanism where it shows its quills, stamps its feet and chatters with its teeth when feeling threatened. 

Unfortunately, due to traumatic events in her life, Emma has also been defensive in situations where she didn’t need to be, and was frightened to let people get close to her. The Problem With Poppy is a fun way of teaching kids that while everybody has a natural defence mechanism, there is a time and a place to use it. By the end of the story, Poppy has learnt this valuable lesson and she makes a lifelong friend in the process. 

Emma is planning on writing more books in the future that have similar important messages for youngsters. Watch this space!