20 Jul 2021

HARVEY AND THE HANDY LADS.

 Written by the late brother of a very good friend of mine and definitely one for my collection of hedgehog story books, today its my pleasure to share ...

ISBN 0 85236 356 7
HARVEY AND THE HANDY LADS by HENRY BREWIS.

Harvey the hedgehog has a problem 

- how can he crosss the road without getting run over?have the right answer?

Lots of woodland folk offer him all sorts of advice and help, but nobody seems to have the right answer ... That is, until he meets Ernie the brainy badger, Nat the fat brown rat and Maxwell Mole - the fabulous  Handy lads. {Back Cover Blurb}

Harvey was a VERY worried hedgehog. {First Sentence, Page un-numbered} 

Ernie wondering
The badger never made a really important decision in a hurry. He always thought about it very carefully ... wondered about it for a while ... and then, considered it all again ... Until, just when everybody assumed he must have forgotten the question, Ernie would come up with the answer. (Memorable moment, Page un-numbered} 

Sunday tea
MY THOUGHTS ... The story of everyday woodland folk with a dilemma ...

What to do when you can't cross the road without getting squashed?

Hmm!

You could of course stay on the same side of the road forever where its completely safe as the snooty old owl points out but then as Harvey rightly points out he has to cross the road sometime as he has relatives over there and he visits his Grandma every Sunday for tea. 

With cousin Winston now a dead, flattened hedgehog and the fact that 'nobody worries about a few spiky little creatures on the motorway ... They just vroom over the top of us and we're completely squelchified', coupled with Fergus {a fox, illustrated with an obviously dead fox in his jaws} remembering 'coming home with a nice juicy hen one night' ...

Written by a man whose love, knowledge and concern for modern country living {yes, even Ernie the badger has a mobile phone, 'a new, bright-red mobile phone'} shines through, Henry Brewis doesn't shy away from incorporating the lives {and deaths} of his animal characters into this story; writing of the dangers, both natural and man-mad, that they face. 

Perhaps not a read for very young or particularly sensitive children ... or indeed for those adults not yet ready/wanting to answer any of the questions that might be raised as a result of reading the book..

Speaking for myself ...

A great introduction to some of the small animals and birds to be found in our countryside.

The wonderful story of a diverse group of countryside critters coming together to solve a problem with illustrations that are very realistic and yet at the same time have a cartoon like look that I found hugely appealing. I thought Harvey And The Handy Lads an incredibly engaging read that raised the issue of traffic on country roads. 

ABOUT HARVEY AND THE HANDY LADS ... 

GENRE: Children's illustrated book featuring animals

Standalone story

NUMBER OF PAGES: 48

PUBLISHER: Farming Press {Distributed in North America by Diamond Farm Enterprisers

ABOUT HENRY BREWIS ... Born near Alnwick, Northumberland in 1932, Henry Brewis was one of a clan of farmers in the area. He spent much of his life running a mixed arable and livestock farm at Hartburn, near Morpeth, Northumberland. In the 1970s he began drawing cartoons and writing regularly for farming magazines, including the West Cumberland Farmers Journal, regional NFU journals and Livestock Farming. Booklets of his collected pieces were immensely popular. Farming Press issued the first of Henry's full collections of cartoons in 1983. Funnywayt'mekalivin' was the star attraction of that year's Smithfield Show when Henry signed copies on the Farming Press stand. Henry sold his farm on a lease-back arrangement and began to devote more time to writing and drawing. A small industry grew up around him, with Christmas cards, licensed prints, statuettes, decorated beer mugs, tee-shirts and audio-tapes. He was also in demand as an after-dinner speaker. In his youth Henry had been a keen cricketer, fielding at silly mid-off, and despite many years of illness he continued to enjoy sport, particularly golf. Henry died in 2000 leaving three children and two grandchildren.

Find more of Henry Brewis' books here on GoodReads.

BUY THE BOOK ... ~ Amazon UK ~ Book Depository~ Waterstones ~ 

Book cover and illustrations {copyright of Henry Brewis} photographed by myself. 





10 Jul 2021

  One of several bloggers who over fourteen days will be participating in this Blog Tour (the full list of which can be found in the Schedule at the bottom of the post). Today {the 10th day of the Tour) its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on the following three books by Heide Goody and Iain Grant, the genre of which is 'Comedy Crime Mystery with a female sleuth'.

SEALFINGER {Standalone Book 1 of Sam Applewhite Series}

PUBLICATION DATE ... 26th June 2021

ESTIMATED PAGE COUNT ... 300 

Some bodies just won’t stay buried.

When a client tells Sam Applewhite she’s seen ghosts in the nearby graveyard, Sam dismisses it as the ramblings of an old woman. She’s got bigger things to worry about — Keeping on top of her job at DefCon4 Security Services isn’t easy – particularlyy since her manager is a cactus and no one will tell her what her job actually is.

But when the ghost-spotting client goes missing and only Sam suspects foul play, she is compelled to dig deeper.

Aided by her retired stage magician father and the owner of the most outlandish junk shop on the sea front, Sam dives into a mystery involving psychotic seals,  unexploded air force munitions, DIY foot surgery and a corpse that just won’t quit. {Synopsis}

"There's a bearded lady in the loft, dad." {First Sentence, Chapter 1}

They had done terrible things, crossed legal and moral lines, and now this was the world they inhabited. One where hiding a decomposing granny in a ghost train was both normal and necessary. {Memorable Moment, Page 209}

DOGGERLAND {Standalone Book 2 of Sam Applewhite Series}

PUBLICATION DATE ... 4th July 2021

ESTIMATED PAGE COUNT ... 350

There’s something very wrong at the Otterside care home.

When Sam Applewhite tries to help a friend who’s lost a beloved pet she  finds that it’s just the first in a series of seemingly unconnected deaths. Is it her imagination, or do all of them somehow point back to the same residential home for seniors?

Sam’s skills are in demand elsewhere however, as she must orchestrate a safety drill with animal actors, cook dinner on an abandoned oil rig and keep an eye on those vikings who are building a longship.

When the police don’t see the pattern, it’s all down to Sam, and the closer she gets to uncovering what’s going on at Otterside, the more danger she’s in. {Synopsis}

"It's trite but true that distance gives you a whole new perspective on things." {First Sentence, Chapter 1}

"Is that my NutriBullet?" he said, feeling a misplaced indignity that the intruder had been in his kitchen.

The intruder stepped forward. The NutriBullet's power cable was linked to a long orange extension cable that snaked into the utility cupboard. With acute clarity, Greg saw what the intruder intended. 

"Wait!" he cried. "You can't do this. You can't murder a man in his own hot tub."

The intruder turned the little blender on. Its whir echoed coldly in the sparsely decorated space. "They'll assume it was an accident."

Greg screwed up his face. "Who in their right mind would take a NutriBullet into a hot tub?" {Memorable Moment, Page 84}

SANDRAKER
{Standalone Book 3 of Sam Applewhite Series}

PUBLICATION DATE ... 14th July 2021

ESTIMATED PAGE COUNT ... 350

The aristocracy abide by a different set of rules ... 

...or so it seems to Sam Applewhite when her job brings her to Candlebroke Hall, the stately home. The burglary definitely wasn’t what it appeared to be, and the subsequent accidents suggest that it’s a dangerous place to spend time.

Sam is caught up in events as she tries to protect the interests of young Hilde Odinson, part of the local viking family. The Odinsons insist on doing things their own way though, with scant regard for the law. In the meantime, Sam starts to understand that while many people would kill to live at Candlebroke Hall, maybe there are others who would kill to get away from it. {Synopsis}

When Sam woke in the middle of the night, there was a Viking on her lawn. {First Sentence, Chapter 1}

"Apologies for the delay, Lady Lettuces. The local office is a bit understaffed" "Lay-tooses."

"Pardon?"

"It's pronounced Lay-tooses. Not Lettuces. ....."{Memorable moment, Page 20}

MY THOUGHTS ... Well! What I can safely say are, are, what? ...

Humorous reads?

Nah! humorous doesn't really cut it. 

Bonkers?  

Yes, what I can safely say are bonkers reads {especially Sealfinger, the first book in the series; Oh my goodness! That felon's encounter with the cactus, not something I'll forget in a hurry 🤣} that are full of sublimely ridiculous events and conversations. 

And oh my giddy aunt, the characters ...

Sam Applewhite, job description not totally known {no, not even by herself} though the books see her, amongst other things, delivering meals on wheels {Sealfinger}, overseeing a community payback team weeding ... in late November {book 2, Doggerland} and acting as an 'Appropriate Adult' {book 3, Sandraker} when Hilde, granddaughter of the Viking Ragnar Odinson gets arrested.

A sleuth the likes of which I've never come across before, Sam is just one in a cast of many, many memorable, quirky characters {some of them recurring, others, including the delightfully deluded Kiki, particular to that book}, the afore mentioned Odinsons {along with Delia, an outlandish shop owner who upcycles anything and everything she can get her hands on ... how I'd love a spin-off featuring her} being my favourites.

Perfectly readable as standalone novels but I'd suggest probably better if read in order.

Told from the perspective of multiple characters, these aren't murder mysteries of the who-dun-it variety as the reader knows WHO-dun-it, HOW and WHY from the beginning. The fun in the books is more in the waiting to see if Sam can piece it altogether before she, in typical Sam fashion, gets distracted by any of the quite frankly bizarre events that seem to happen when she's around.

ABOUT HEIDE GOODY & IAIN GRANT ... Heide lives in North Warwickshire with her husband and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. Iain lives in South Birmingham with his wife and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. They aren’t sure how many novels they’ve written together since 2011 but it’s a surprisingly large number.

FOLLOW HEIDE GOODY & IAIN GRANT ... ~ Website ~ Twitter {Heide} ~ FaceBook ~ Twitter {Iain} ~

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE ... ~ 1st July: Sengaghbynature ~ Booky Charm ~ BabyBackBooks ~ 2nd July: Rosie Writes... ~ Northernreader ~ turn.up.for.the.books ~ 3rd July: Booky Charm ~ Bookshine and Readbows ~ BooklyMatters ~ 4th July: c.isfor.claire_reads ~ Rosie Writes... ~ Anna's Book Blog ~ 5th July: Northernreader ~ Chicks, Rogues and Scandals ~ BabyBackBooks ~ 6th July: Rosie Writes... ~  Bookshine and Readbows ~  BooklyMatters ~ 7th July: Sengaghbynature ~  Booky Charm ~ Bookish Jottings ~ 8th Julyjay.rae.reads ~ Northernreader ~ Anna's Book Blog ~ 9th July: @rozierreadsandwine ~ jay.rae.reads ~ BabyBackBooks ~ 10th July: jay.rae.reads ~ Felicity Grace Terry ~ BooklyMatters ~ 11th July: c.isfor.claire_reads ~ Curled Up With A Good Book ~ Jessica Belmont ~ 12th July: Curled Up With A Good Book ~ Mickysbookworm ~ Four Moon Reviews ~ 13th July: Curled Up With A Good Book ~ Bookshine and Readbows ~ 33 South Textworks ~ 14th July: Sengaghbynature ~ Snowphiethebookworm ~ Sj_bookshelf ~