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I blog about my upcoming releases, all sorts of other books, and other bits of fluff from my mind. I also have a passion for wildlife and the environment. Every now and then I also share poems and stories.

Currently reading

The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett

Kiwi's Christmas Tail was kitty good!

Kiwi's Christmas Tail - Vickie Johnstone

This is book six trust me to start near the end!

Luckily for me this one can be read as a standalone.
Whether you love cats, children's stories, hearty christmas tales or all three I recommend this book to you.

Whether it's christmas or not this book is guaranteed to put you in the yule tide spirit.

It was like the literary equivalent of drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream.

Price of a Bounty Review

Price of a Bounty - S.L. Wallace

Meet Keira, or is her name Madeline or even Kendra?

This woman of many guises has many decisions to make as she meets someone who forces her to take a good look at the world and herself.

Now she must decide whether or not to turn her specialist skills to aid the common good, but does the common man even deserve her help?

The divide between rich and poor has always been wide, ever since the war, and although everyone looks out for number one in this cut throat environment they are still better off than any other nation, or are they?

As Keira lifts the slimy rocks of her world to see what's under them she discovers things are far more crooked than she suspected and as her family are dragged under she decides that whatever happens she must not lose what is left of her family or who she is.

Although this story follows several characters the one I stuck with most was Keira. She is the first we are introduced to but soon we are introduced to other characters and slowly get to know them.
In fact the first few chapters cover over the same points from several perspectives and, whereas I personally don't like to go back over things, I can see why this was; so that we could better get to grips with these new characters.

This book is very character driven, all the people in it come across as very real and extremely compelling and carry the story very well (from other works I've read of Wallace's she always manages to create very real characters)

Although I would love to explore this land more as I haven't formed a very strong picture of the surroundings; other than the rich are rich and have gardens and posh cutlery and the poor are poor.

I will be reading the next one as I can't wait to see where this story goes and to find out what it was that sparked the war that sent everything spiralling into chaos.

All in all a very readable and intriguing read with a twist that I just did not see coming. Would recommend to anyone over the age of 16.

Kiwi's Christmas Tail is Kitty Good

Kiwi's Christmas Tail - Vickie Johnstone

This is book six trust me to start near the end!


Luckily for me this one can be read as a standalone.
Whether you love cats, children's stories, hearty christmas tales or all three I recommend this book to you.


Whether it's christmas or not this book is guaranteed to put you in the yule tide spirit.

It was like the literary equivalent of drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream.


Kiwi's Christmas Tail was kitty good!

Jake by Michael Cargill

Jake - Michael Cargill

I read most of this thinking; here's a nice teenage boy going through life, not much happening, just about a normal kid living his life and fluffing stuff up like any normal kid, but still it's well told.

I didn't get too bored, it was a nice story I could dip in and out of.

3/4 of the way through and things are much the same, life's looking up for him, I'm pleased for Jake, but still not certain if anything's going to happen.

Then Wham.

Right at the end his world is turned flippedy upside down and it's heartbreaking.

I finished this book and couldn't do anything else but sulk for about half an hour because I was so upset.

I had to go for a walk and muck out the rabbits.

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor Review.

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor - A E Curzon


Deep in the jungle lurks a lazy, manipulative enigma that seems to have a certain appeal.
Meet Mungai, the mysterious animal fresh from the Jungle with a large agenda and a pocket full of empty promises.
Mungai uses persuasion and manipulation to get his fellow critters to help improve his own life, whilst making them think that they were improving their own.
This is a cautionary tale about a group of animals duped into servitude by the mysterious Mungai who convinces them that in order to have a better life they need to make the things they want.
In their search for the better life they almost destroy the lives and homes they have.
Too late do they realise that they have been duped and they have to quickly find out who to trust in order to bring Mungai and his accomplices to justice.

The review

I found this to be an easy read full of fun characters and crazy schemes. I loved everything from the society of animals to the lives in the jungle.
The only thing I would change is to eradicate the presence of the two legs (humans). There were two legs that were villains, two legs that helped and some two legs who started out villainous and turned out not to be so.
Whereas I liked the villainous two legs I would have preferred the animals to have worked themselves out of the situation without any help from the humans.
Although I can see why the author did this as it enabled her to write about conservation efforts and the importance of habitat, which I think is largely why the author wrote this book the way she did.
I can see from these pages that here is a woman with a passion for animals, nature and conservation.

Would recommend to- those who wished to teach their child about nature and conservation and anyone who is an animal lover.

This has to be one of the best books I've read in a long while

Blind Sight - Nicole Storey

I received this book in return for an honest review.

Where the worlds of angels and demons collide, humans are stuck in the middle.

One family in particular feels the pressures pouring in from both sides; ordered around by arrogant, and often sociopathic angels and hunted by tricky demons that seem to be behaving strangely civilly, this family has more history and heartache on its shoulders than most.

In this family survives a vibrant and, lets face it, kick ass young girl called Jordan.

Jordan is a girl like no other, possessed with a 'gift' that others see as valuable she is kept 'safe' and is unintentionally isolated from what's left of her family.

Things change when a particularly nasty demon comes to town and Jordan is allowed to help, but things don't quite go according to plan.
Now a family history that has always been tumultuous is about to boil over and spill secrets that could potentially tear the fragile little family apart indefinitely.

Oh, and then there is of course the demon to deal with.

Reblogged from There Might Be Cupcakes and Books:

I didn't finish it- My bad :/

The Sword Guest - Martin Chu Shui

The Dragon's Pupils started off so promisingly with a brush that could bring whatever the artists painted to life, and then it got into the main story.


It felt a bit too disjointed, I didn't feel for the characters; basically it left me feeling cold.


So I decided to shamefacedly put it permanently in the "unread" pile.


That's right I didn't finish it. 


*shuffles away feeling guilty*

The Last Hero

The Last Hero - Terry Pratchett, Paul Kidby



Although this story is light hearted it's also incredibly sad.

It marks the end of wonder and simplicity,  where heroes really heroed and evil men were really inept.


But most of all this story was about making being remembered.  A group of heroes set out on a quest with a minstrel just so that their name would never die, even when their bodies and minds had.


It raises the question what happened when our last grey haired hero wobbled off this mortal coil, do we even know his/ her name?  



Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews:

The Adventures of the Frog Prince only $0.99 bargain!




In this Fairytale retold find out about the Frog Prince from the Prince's point of view.

Disappear into a fairy tale land and find out whodunnit with The Adventures of the Frog Prince, now a mere $0.99 (0.77p).

So get your copy here and make Prince Leo and his cohorts hoppy today!



The Tale of the Greedy men.



 Image ©J.R.Barker 2013


Crunch crunch went the heavy black boots as they stomped across the snow laden roof.
Heavy though they were they didn’t leave a mark. Like the earth, time was frozen.
Now the world was populated entirely by living statues, the only thing that moved in this little slice of time was a man dressed in red. His great white beard and snowy white hair seemed to have a glow that was all its own. He had rosy red cheeks and eyes of the deepest blue that seemed to twinkle like snowflakes.
His name was Christmas and he was a Father to all.
Like a good Father should he looked after his children, he rewarded the just and the unjust were taught a lesson.
As Father Christmas searched through his sack he hummed a jingle then selected two presents, one for each child in the house.
This roof did have a chimney, but that didn’t matter, Father Christmas had never needed to use one. If he could freeze time what wall could stop him? He closed his eyes and turned on the spot.
With an un-dramatic pop he appeared in the house. Inside all was dark, everything was silent, but then when time was frozen so was sound. There were no creaking pipes, no creaking floorboards, no scurrying mice, even the adults were halted mid snore.
But there was something amiss in this house
Before him instead of the usual Christmas tree he saw a chair and some rope, he turned around slowly and found himself looking down the barrel of a gun.
Two men stood armed, frozen in time, their weapons pointed directly to the fire.
Christmas laughed a great belly laugh and walked behind them. He put a hand on each shoulder and pulled them out of time.
The men were startled at the sudden weight the hands on their shoulders. One fired a shot, but the bullet just hovered.
“What were you hoping to achieve here my sons?” asked Father Christmas to the men holding guns.
“We want your presents,” squeaked one, “we want them all, we are hungry and poor and we deserve them most. Why should the rich have their fill and not us?”
With his hands still on their shoulders Christmas answered,
“There are those that are rich and those that are poor, there are those with no food and there are those with no homes. As long as they are good souls I bring gifts to them all, no matter their circumstances. Yes even the rich, even they have their troubles. So pray tell me why you think you deserve all the presents and deprive all of these people.”
The tallest tried to turn round, but found himself rooted to the spot, so he ranted angrily over his shoulder;
“We’ve had a hard life, we’ve seen things we shouldn’t, we’ve struggled for every meal on our table. Whilst witnessing the rich wasting money on baubles. We deserve those presents oh yes, and much more than most. It’s our turn to have a nice easy life.”
Father Christmas fell silent, eyes glittering bright, he turned them on the men and answered them thusly;
“There are rooms filled with ever growing lists telling me who has been naughty and who has been nice. Both your names are there, which list do you think they‘re on?”
Then men remained silent, so Father Christmas carried on.
“This isn’t your home and this isn’t your family. I am not scheduled to visit your homes on my journey. But I’ll give you gifts, since you want them so badly.”
As the Father spoke the men thought the world had grown larger, but as they looked at each other they saw instead they’d grown smaller.
As the hands pushed them down they were shrinking in size.
The guns they grew heavy and they dropped to the ground. As the ground grew closer the men began to squeal in fright.
They tried to escape but couldn’t, try as they might.
Father Christmas looked down on them with a glint in his eye.
“Now you are elf sized you can come to my factory. The gifts are all there, since that’s what you wanted. You may have fun with all the playthings, but only if you help make the toys.”
The men they trembled and shivered and said,
“You can’t take us, we would be missed.”
“Nonsense” said Santa, “just look at your bullet. See how it hovers so harmlessly? I’ve stopped all the clocks, time has been frozen. Don’t worry if you finish you’ll be returned to your time, there’s just one thing you might like to bear in mind. But I think to demonstrate you’d best come with me, then I can show you how busy you’ll be.”
The two elfin men looked at each other nervously, then found themselves outside.
The hands lifted from their shoulders and they looked around in wonder, they were up on the roof looking at all the snow covered houses in town.
Reindeer snorted and stamped on the roof behind them.
“I think you should come along,” said Father Christmas.
The men they nervously mounted the sleigh. They struggled now that they were so small.
“Before we go anywhere I must warn you that there’s a curse on you both. My workshops are filled with men like you two, turned to elf sized and doomed to make toys. Those whose hearts continue to fill up with greed will find themselves continuing to shrink. There are those that became so bitter that they shrank away to mere atoms. But, if your hearts fill with love and joy, then your stature will begin to return to normal. When you have achieved your normal height then you may return to your time. You might want to bear that in mind as we travel. Are you ready? Then let’s go; there’s no point in wasting no time.”
With a chuckle Father Christmas flicked the reins and the deer flew to the next house, then the next one and the next, till the men could no longer tell where they were or how many houses they’d seen.
For endless hours they flitted from rooftop to rooftop. They began to worry about all the toys they’d have to make, they’d never make it home at his rate.
As they travelled they saw poor houses, rich houses and middle class ones too. Then there were those that weren’t houses at all, but lean-tos and sheds, then the homeless who had no roofs at all.
As the men flew with Father Christmas they began to see a side of the world that they had never seen before, not just the insides of peoples houses. They saw those that had hardships that rivalled both their own, yet they still dutifully left milk for Father Christmas and carrots for the reindeer. The children all left notes hoping for something better.
Some asked for games, others asked for friends, each note was different, but all told a story.
As they read all the notes they began to choke, they began to see the hopeful innocence of children who had nothing asking for something in the hopes they’d receive.
When one girl asked for summer to come early because she had no coat, the men broke down and began to feel very sorry indeed.
As the never ending night wore on the men’s heart became heavy as they left presents in the snow next to sleeping figures huddled up in coats.
But the heavier their hearts grew and the more they thought of others the taller they became, though at first they did not notice. When they reached their normal size Father Christmas turned to them and smiled.
“Now I see that you have both learnt your lesson, it’s time for you go home.”
“But what about the other presents? You haven’t delivered them all.”
“No I have not, but your height has been restored, and therefore I can safely assume that so have your hearts. Still, because of what you did there will be a penance, every year on Christmas night you will have a task. I cannot see every house in one life time now. I’ve started recruiting, I now have quite a crew. You will join the Santas on every corner, ringing Christmas through. When midnight strikes time will freeze once more and you will both have an area to deliver gifts. This will happen every year and when you’ve paid your penance and you have truly changed, you’ll never have to give another gift again. But this I will warn you, and this warning you must heed, if you once ever show any hint of greed, you’ll begin to shrink and you’ll become very small, then you might find yourself working in my hall until you can prove yourself worthy once and for all. But I trust that will not happen, I’m sure that you have changed. So for now a merry Christmas to you both.”
Father Christmas disappeared and signs of life started up around the men, a breath of wind, a touch of cold. The sound of the world sleeping through the night waiting for Christmas to arrive and not knowing he’d been and was always there, just hidden out of sight, a step out of time.



Tale of the Greedy Men ©J.R.Barker 2013

Hello fellow bookworms!

I have set up a YouTube channel In which I will be reviewing books from all walks of life, both the old and the new.

As a budding children's author I'm given licence to read as many books and stories as possible.

So join me as as I delve into the magical world of books in order to find that rare and elusive knuckle gripping story.

I will rate books using my very own system that I have dubbed the Tea system and exceptional books will be awarded the Golden Biscuit Award!

Please comment and subscribe, it's always good to meet fellow readers.


My first Zombie book (I dream of Zombies by Vickie Johnstone)

I Dream of Zombies - Vickie Johnstone


This is my first zombie book so other than the obvious necessary element of zombies I had next to no idea what to expect.

It follows a very capable young woman called Marla and her sister Ellen as they attempt to escape a sudden out break of a mysterious virus.

Through a series of horrific dreams they are among the first to realise that something evil was on the horizon, yet no-one can tell them what’s going on or how they can get help.

When their dreams start to become reality they band together with those who were lucky enough to survive in an attempt to find somewhere safe.

Eventually they find vague pointers to a possible safe haven, yet none can tell whether the place is real or has already been compromised, but with the walking dead and opportunistic gang members baying for blood it gave the mismatched group a hope to cling to.

As this is the first in the series not all questions are answered, I would be very interested to see why it started with a dream, and is it all as Marla suspected, some government experiment gone awry?

The Long Earth Terry Pratchett's first sci-fi


I'm an avid reader of Terry Pratchett's books, and I do love a bit of sci-fi, so I was intrigued when I heard that Terry Pratchett was going to start writing sci-fi.

I wasn't blown away by this book, not in a sense that it wasn't brilliant, because I did absolutely love it, just that it was an incredibly gently paced story.

It took its time and matured like a fine wine or cheese. As a result it was actually a very relaxing read.

It started off in a bit of a disjointed fashion, depicting scenarios and snippets of information from certain walks of life, which gradually gelled together to create a more detailed image of what the world might be like if there suddenly endless earths.

I found it to be extremely readable and (without giving too much away) refreshing to have an ever present evil that turned out not to be evil at all. Merely misguided.

Needless to say I can't wait for the next instalment. 

Blue Fire and Ice review ***

This is a simple and innocent story containing simple and innocent people. It concerns three different tribes who will have to overcome their differences to defeat a common enemy.
The enemy in this case being a mystery flame haired woman from overseas who is hell bent on their destruction, starting with the fussy little Beadles.
However, despite the fact that no-one in any of the lands can recognise the mystery woman, she seems to have some kind of connection with one of the muddles, and the mystery deepens.
The Beadles are lost and confused when unquenchable fires start to break out. They Don’t know who would do such and thing and they began to turn to their neighbours for help. But their only immediate help came from the Muddle tribe, a disorganised group, who could never quite seem to keep their minds or bodies together.
This story wasn’t action packed, which I can forgive, but it was also a tad slow.
I personally found it a bit dull in places, but others might think differently. Overall it was a sweet story and would be ok for younger readers. 
The characters are simple and very nice, in a twee sort of way, with a bit of an Alice in Wonderlandish quality about them, especially with the muddles and their interchangeable limbs.
Personally I wasn’t hooked and it took me a while to read; maybe it’s a book to be read out loud to someone else. 
There are some things that irked me in this book. One was the author’s tendency to repeat himself, both with words and sometimes whole sentences. 
Also the layout of the sections when jumping between actions shots was a bit disjointed, they could have done with blending together better.
Not to mention the enigma of this mystery women who is the cause of all the trouble; she’s a bit like Wiley Coyote, trying to destroy something for no apparent reason other than some irrational prejudice.
I also didn’t really get the significance of this “connection” that certain members of the group had to.
I’m not even sure what they had a connection too, was it the fire, or the ice? Perhaps it was another guardian altogether… I’m not really sure. As I said, it could have been explained better.