I recently bought Pop Up Pirate second hand from a friend and it has been an instant hit in our house!
The premise of the game is super simple so all of us could join in. Push the pirate down into the barrel and give him a twist. This twist resets the popper mechanism so it is in a different place each game.
The swords are brightly coloured and can be assigned to different players but my kids enjoyed grabbing at random.
Take it in turns to stab a sword into the barrrel and whoever pops the pirate is out! I admit that I jump everytime he pops!
There are various ways to play. The box says for 2-4 players but it could easily be played singly or up to 24 (one per sword). I have had a competition with the children as we try to see if we can pop him first time or 24th. It is also easy to challenge yourself in this way.
Of course there has been some sword fighting with the little swords too. I would says ‘boys will be boys’ but Anya is just as deadly!
The game is available from Amazon and other retailers for around £10.
Sarah and Steve are devoted paretns to three year old Ollie but sadly their own relationship has broken down and both of them have found love again. Steve moves in with his girlfriend Laura and she is keen to begin weekend visits with Ollie. But Sarah isn’t convinced that Laura can be trusted: is she right to be suspicious even though everyone tells her she is paranoid?
My Husband’s Girlfriend had alarm bells ringing from the very first page. There was a realism to the careful negotiations between a couple who are no longer together but must get on with their own new lives, yet are still connected by a child. Both parents want the best for their son but also want acceptance for their new partners: tricky situation that many people will empathise with!
As a mum, I can completely understand how difficult it is to leave your child with others. Laura’s actions seem suspicious because she is trying so hard and always has a ready explanation for the incidents that concern Sarah. Added to this is Laura’s relationship with her overbearing mother, sleepwalking and stammer which make her appear vulnerable to Steve but Sarah sees them as worrisome.
My feelings towards Sarah are very mixed. I understand her natural protectiveness towards her son but she has double standards. She insists on meeting Laura before allowing Steve to introduce her to Ollie, but fails to offer Steve the same courtesy of meeting her new lover Joe.
The book is written from various perspectives but not in the first person. The pace is reasonably slow to begin with as various incidents ramp up the animosity between Sarah and Laura/Steve. There is a big twist which links to the title and I did guess but it did not spoil my enjoyment of the book. There were extra plot twists as all is revealed at the end and I didn’t see those coming 🙂
She told my little boy a secret and now he’s gone…
Tucking her little boy Ollie into bed one night, Sarah notices his beloved teddy bear, which she bought him when he was born, is missing and in its place is a new toy given to him by her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, Laura. When she asks Ollie about it, he begins to shift uncomfortably, before whispering ‘Laura told me a big secret and she said I can never tell you’.
Sarah’s heart sinks. But when she raises her concerns, nobody wants to listen. To everyone else, Laura is the perfect stepmother and Sarah is just the jealous ex-wife. But Sarah knew the moment she met Laura she couldn’t trust her, from her overly perfect stepmother act to the way she evaded questions about her own history.
Soon Ollie is asking to spend more time with his dad and Laura, and shrinking away from Sarah. Then, when she calls to him in the garden one day, Ollie doesn’t answer back. The garden is silent. Ollie’s sandpit is empty. Ollie has disappeared.
If you love a book that keeps twisting and turning, then you’ll love My Husband’s Girlfriend – it’s guaranteed to keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Claire McGowan, Shalini Boland and Lisa Jewell.
Bestselling Author, Sheryl Browne, writes taut, twisty psychological thriller. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies where she completed her MA in Creative Writing. Sheryl has also obtained a Certificate of Achievement in Forensic Science and – according to readers – she makes an excellent psychopath. Sheryl’s latest psychological thriller MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND comes to you from BOOKOUTURE. Her previous works include the DI Matthew Adams Crime Thriller series, along with contemporary fiction novels, The Rest of My Life and Learning to Love.
A teenager’s body is discovered in a burning building but she was killed before the fire broke out. Detective Amanda Steele finds herself leading a murder case whilst also dealing with professional conflict and personal upheaval. Can she stop the killer before he strikes again?
Stolen Daughters is the second book by Carolyn Arnold to feature Detective Amanda Steele. There are spoilers about events and outcomes from the previous book The Little Grave so I would advise reading the series in order.
Amanda has faced a great deal of tragedy in her life and feels like she has nothing else to lose. She takes risks which drives her superiors and her partner crazy with worry. Her lieutenant wants to remove her from the team but Amanda clings on thanks to her impressive crime solving skills.
I said in my review of the first book that Amanda isn’t particularly likeable and I have changed my opinion! She has a better rapport with her partner Trent Stenson, has greater contact with her family, and her previous alibi is now heading towards boyfriend status. I think her personal side has softened which endears her more to the reader than the rigid contained persona of the previous book (even though it was completely understandable!)
Some chapters are seen from the perspective of the killer so we can see his twisted logic and justification. This also increases the tension as he plans his next attack. The pace of the book is quite fast as Steele and her team seek to discover the identity of the dead woman, find her killer and prevent further deaths although they fear a serial killer may be in town.
Stolen Daughters is an engaging police thriller with a great lead detective.
The girl looked so peaceful, she could have been asleep. Except her eyes were open, blankly reflecting the flickering flames spreading towards her…
When firefighters discover the body of a teenage girl at an abandoned house, Detective Amanda Steele hurries to the scene. Dumfries, Virginia is a small town, yet no one seems to have any idea who the dead girl is until Amanda finds a dragonfly pin with the name Crystal engraved on it.
Working tirelessly, Amanda traces the pin to Crystal Foster, a thirteen-year-old who disappeared three years ago from her wealthy parents’ home. Breaking the news to the distraught parents won’t be easy, but the loss of her own daughter still haunts Amanda, and she knows this will bring them closure. But when Amanda goes to see the Fosters, they do not recognize the girl. She isn’t Crystal.
Before Amanda can react to this new development, she gets an urgent call. A fire has consumed another vacant house, and the remains of two more girls have been found. Who are these girls, and why are they being picked off? Amanda must stop this killer before the pattern continues, and the death toll climbs.
When Amanda receives a taunting note from the killer, she realizes that she holds the missing piece of this puzzle. The victims are connected to Amanda’s past, to a case she can never forget, and which almost claimed her life. As she follows the clues to their deadly conclusion, can she save more innocent lives… even if it risks her own?
An unputdownable, pulse-pounding mystery. Fans of Rachel Caine, Lisa Regan and Robert Dugoni will be gripped.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has several continuing fiction series and has nearly thirty published books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Her crime fiction series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining. This led to her adopting the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives near London, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two beagles.
This was a tricky area as we’ve always welcomed bloggers from all niches to join in. However, as all three hosts are family lifestyle bloggers, we are now going to be encouraging linkers to add posts reflecting this area.
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Stella Carway is murdered in her home and a bow tied around her neck. Her marriage was far from perfect but the lead detective Jim Ashworth is not convinced that her husband is the killer. The police investigation uncovers lies, money and sexual secrets but who wanted Stella dead?
Tied To Murder is a police crime thriller originally published in the 1990s. Some things do date the book a little such as the cost of houses and the lack of technology. However, I found it refreshing to revisit the era in which I was a teenager!
The murder occurs at the very beginning of the book and we see it in detail but it doesn’t seem gratuitous. We then discover that Stella wasn’t the nicest of people and the number of suspects grows rapidly.
The book centres around the two main detectives investigating the murder of Stella. Jim Ashworth is older and holds a superior rank to Owen Turner but they begin quite friendly and respectful of each other. However, differences in their opinion of Stella’s husband’s potential guilt as well as developments in their personal lives, drive the two officers apart.
We are shown the human side of both Jim and Owen by seeing them in their home contexts with their wives. In particular, Owen’s home life is in turmoil as he and his wife Karen bicker constantly and he turns to a female colleague for solace.
Tied To Murder is a very enjoyable police mystery and I look forward to reading more books by Brian Battison as Joffe book republishes them.
TIED TO MURDER a totally gripping British crime mystery
DISCOVER YOUR NEXT FAVOURITE CRIME MYSTERY SERIES!
Meet Chief Inspector Jim Ashworth. An old-school detective who knows how to handle the law, and himself.
Please note this was originally published as The Christmas Bow Murder.
Blonde, attractive Stella Carway is found murdered. A blue bow is tied around her broken neck and her near naked body displayed like a bizarre gift.
Her stormy marriage immediately points to her evasive husband, Steven, as the killer. But Chief Inspector Jim Ashworth is not so sure.
This complex mystery will have you turning the pages until the stunning conclusion.
Perfect for fans of Peter May, Peter James, James Oswald, Alex Gray, Roger Silverwood and Helen H. Durrant.
“Battison, a dab hand with a satisfyingly tricky plot, puts a fresh face on it all. This debut book is a welcome end-of-year surprise.” Wall Street Journal
“Battison plots his tale well.” Publishers Weekly
MEET THE DETECTIVES
Chief Inspector Jim Ashworth is a 30-year veteran policeman with a fierce pride in his job. His position has been questioned by his boss, who insists that CID must be modernised. Despite his slightly hostile brown eyes and harsh exterior, he is a loyal and kind soul.
DS Owen Turner is a skilled detective, opportunist, and the man lined up to take over from Ashworth. Turner is the complete opposite to his superior. He’s tall, good-looking and always expensively dressed.
Bridgetown is a typical East Midlands town: its nucleus made up of thatched cottages, stone terraces and council properties surrounded by modern estates of detached homes. The busy high street is always bustling with shoppers, particularly on market day when the roads are lined with stalls of all shapes and sizes. The River Thane runs through the small town and is spanned by an impressive stone bridge with seven arches – a historical landmark from which the town derived its name.
DETECTIVE JIM ASHWORTH SERIES
Book 1: TIED TO MURDER