Ask the Author: D.E. Howard

Maddie M. White

What would you like readers to know about you?
I write whatever speaks to me at the time, so while so far my books have been fantasy/romance that is not necessarily always going to be the case. I am also a HUGE Beatles fan.
What is Spirit of the Book about for those who haven’t read it?
It’s a tale of a young woman who finally breaks free from a mother who never wanted her, and finds an old book, which just happens to be inhabited by a spirit. Through a growing friendship with Spirit Ellie learns the truth about magic and finds a strength in herself she never knew existed.
What has been your inspiration for writing Spirit of the Book?
I actually wrote this for a Nanowrimo. I find I can be rather a lazy writer but I find the target and deadlines of Nanowrimo really…

View original post 211 more words


Book Review – James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes

James Acaster has been around in the world of comedy for a while now – and while I have seen him on a few panel shows and the like the first time he properly caught my attention was on a recent edition of “Bake Off”. If you didn’t see that you need to watch his highlights now!! Has anyone ever baked quite so badly???!

Then at the weekend I spotted his book in a discount store – well I just HAD to get it didn’t I?  And this is what I thought….

James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes


scrapes‘I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has made me cry with laughter as much as this one. It was very difficult reading it in public as I looked like a madman’ – Richard Herring

James Acaster has been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award five times and has appeared on prime-time TV shows like TASKMASTER, MOCK THE WEEKLIVE AT THE APOLLO and WOULD I LIE TO YOU?

But behind the fame and critical acclaim is a man perpetually getting into trouble. Whether it’s disappointing a skydiving instructor mid-flight, hiding from thugs in a bush wearing a bright red dress, or annoying the Kettering Board Games club, a didgeridoo-playing conspiracy theorist and some bemused Christians, James is always finding new ways to embarrass himself.

Appearing on Josh Widdicombe’s radio show to recount these stories, the feature was christened ‘James Acaster’s classic scrapes’. Here, in his first book, James recounts these tales (including never-before-heard stories) along with self-penned drawings, in all their glorious stupidity.

My Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: This is a kind of biography but told through a series of “scrapes”. You do wonder how one man can get himself in so many crazy situations and he really does never seem to learn, but that is half the appeal. I challenge anyone not to laugh through this book – it’s a pure joy. And the fact that the wild strawberries story still haunts him is beyond endearing ❤ (Now you have to read it to see what that’s about!)

Book Review – You then, Me Now

Don’t you just love it when a favourite author has a new book out – and this is one that I just devoured in two days… so here is what I thought about:

You Then, Me Now by Nick Alexander

Blurb: YouMEShe’s given her daughter everything. Now it’s time to give her the truth.

Becky’s father is not just absent: he’s a mystery, a gaping hole in her past. He died before she was born and for her mother, Laura, the subject is strictly off-limits. But when Laura books an unexpected trip to Greece, Becky decides to join her, determined to get closer to her mother—and to the truth.

As they make their way to the beautiful island of Santorini, it becomes clear that this holiday is not as impulsive as Becky thought. Laura’s hiding something from her daughter—and she’s been hiding it for as long as Becky can remember. Laura has been here before, and that last visit holds the answers to Becky’s past.

But Laura’s memories of that first trip are tinged with pain and heartbreak, secrets she’s kept buried for twenty-five years. Now, with the truth emerging into the sunlight at last, can mother and daughter lay the ghosts of their past to rest and find the happiness they’ve both been looking for?

My Rating:  5/5

My Thoughts:  This is a beautifully written tale split between alternating narratives of the two lead characters, Laura and her daughter Becky.

The “You Then” is Laura’s tale of the past – a past she has kept from her daughter her whole life. “Me Now” is Becky in the present trying to get to understand her mother and possibly crack the elusive secret of her unknown father.

There were so many moments in this story that made me gasp, or shake my head, or want to shake one character or other, and even shed some tears. In fact I was quite emotionally exhausted by the end – but in a good way!

The island of Santorini is almost like another character – it is so amazingly described and its locations are the perfect setting for the magical moments of this story.

I have always loved Nick’s writing but this is certainly one of, if not THE, best so far. A real treasure of a read. Give it a go – you won’t be sorry 🙂

Book Review – Vanished by Mark Bierman #RRBC

Well what do you know! It’s only time for another book review… so here it is.

My latest read was Vanished by Mark Bierman

vanishedBlurb:  Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.
Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.


Rating:  5/5

My thoughts:  After a shared loss Tyler and John decide to get away for a while and go to Haiti to help the construction of an orphanage. What they didn’t expect while they were there was for a small child to be abducted, they certainly didn’t expect for no one, not even the authorities, to have any intention of doing anything about it.

Unable to accept the situation Tyler and John decide to do all they can to track the girl down and bring her home. They had no idea what they were getting into as they came face to face with violence, danger and threats of death.

This is a great read with plenty of twists as we discover the world of human trafficking, from the view of Tyler and John, those who have been taken, and also a glimpse into the darkness of the mind of the traffickers.

A well written and enjoyable read, I would recommend it.


How Not to be a Boy – Robert Webb

So my life has taken an unexpected turn and, as such, I found myself at home reading on a Monday afternoon – not altogether an unpleasant way to pass the time it has to be said. The book I finished reading was the autobiography “How Not to be a Boy” by Robert Webb

I’ve always been a sort of casual fan of Robert Webb – I would enjoy anything he happened to be in, thought the sketch show with David Mitchell was lots of fun and adored the crazy, screwed up character he played in Peep Show. But it was his unexpected performance in a charity dance show that, for some unknown reason, really blew me away… you don’t know what I’m talking about? Then stop reading this right now and watch….

So anyway… on with the book review

Don’t Cry; Love Sport; Play Rough; Drink Beer; Don’t Talk About Feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

Rating: 5/5

My thoughts:  The blurb describes this book as “hilarious and heartbreaking” and I have to agree. There are moment of pure joy and moments of utter heartbreak, causing both laughter and tears in equal measure. The thing that really struck me about this book was the honesty. I’m sure we could all tell a story about our lives and gloss over the parts where we behaved like complete morons but in this book we see Robert Webb shine a light on every moment where he knows he behaved like an arse and own up to the fact that he was in the wrong. As such there are times when you want to shake the young Webb and tell him to stop being such an idiot, and there are times when you just want to hug him close and tell him that things will work out… eventually.

All in all a very emotional read that lets you know there is a lot more to that funny guy on the screen than you might know! Give it a read, you’ll be glad you did 🙂