The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Book Review


Author: Stuart Turton

Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Raven Books (8 Feb. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1408889560
ISBN-13: 978-1408889565

The Blurb:

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My Review:

I read about this book on another blog, Jera’s Jamboree, and I was intrigued. Having recently found a love of murder mystery thrillers, my former love was science fiction and it was mentioned that this book had an edge of sci-fi.

Starting the book it was just like you’d expect, a murder to be solved, a manor full of interesting characters, lots of clues to be solved. The main character has eight days to solve the murder, but each day is spent in a different guest. But…it’s not as simple as that as he flips from guest to guest, simply because one guest has fallen asleep, or been knocked out or even murdered.

A complete tangle is formed but the author never make you feel any more lost than the main character. As you approach the end the murder is solved and you are waiting to find out what happens next, all the time with niggling unanswered questions in your mind.

You are not left feeling baffled though, everything is explained, all questions answered, all puzzles solved. It just might not be what you were expecting.

I loved this book and find it difficult to believe it’s a debut novel as it’s so well written. Each character comes to life and is so different from any other character. Blackheath Manor is described so well you could imagine you are visiting it yourself. This book is full of emotion that will take you on a roller coaster ride of suspense, horror and tension. There may even be a love story or two but that would be telling.

I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a good read with lots of twists and turns but a satisfying conclusion.

cover art for the seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle


Audible is now my most favourite way of digesting a book and I bought The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle with my monthly free credit. I always listen to a sample first to make sure I like the sound of the narrator. It’s not easy to listen to a book if the narrator irritates you. Thankfully you can listen to samples on Audible and most narrators are really great at the job.

You can buy The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on Audible here, or just listen to an extract.


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.


Forest School Adventure – Book Review

Forest School Adventure cover art

Author : Naomi Walmsley & Dan Westall
ISBN13 : 9781784944032
Binding : PB with flaps
Pages : 176
Photographs : 250 photographs
Quick Find Code : 28384

The Blurb

Learn how to light a fire without matches, build a shelter to sleep in, cook on a fire, hunt for bugs and much more. From essential bushcraft basics and Stone Age survival skill to joyful outdoor play, this book is packed with ideas to bring children close to nature an all its magical offerings.

Young children will be immersed in imaginative, gloriously mess play and crafts, while older ones can get to grips with more complex activities like stone tool making and sourcing water.

The book is split into four main sections, Nature Awareness, Bushcraft, Wild Food and Games. Entertaining stories from the authors’ own experience of surviving int eh wild can be read aloud to children, bringing to life the thrilling reality of sleeping in a cave or savouring your first ever foraged meal.

Whether in an organized setting, a group of friends or a family outing, the fun-filled exercises, crafts and games will build confidence and result in happy and energized children.

First Impressions

This is a lovely book jam packed with lots of fantastic photography. It’s printed on thick paper and the pages turn easy. It’s a good quality book that would last being taken on an outdoor adventure.

The book is divided into sections which are easy to find. And there is so much to discover inside.

The authors are from Shropshire, UK and specialise in bushcraft and Stone Age Skills. They provide unique experience for school children and teach them how to connect to nature. Together they undertook a five month Stone Age immersion experience in the US, living in the wilderness without any modern equipment, which has profoundly influenced their lives and teaching. You can read more about them on their website

My Review

This book is for anyone who wants to teach their children about the great outdoors and nature. The first section is split in two. Nature Awareness begins with lots of crafts like building a bug hotel, leaf collages, goblin villages, nests and leaf printing. Skills and Learning helps your child learn about nature and how to detect and observe our natural surrounding.

pages from the book showing how to make leaf print pictures

The Second section is Bushcraft and has many chapters which include making nots, building dens, making fire, collecting water and many primitive schools. By the time you have worked through this section your child will certainly know how to survive in the wild.

pages from the book showing how to collect water

The third sections is all about food. You can teach your child how to forage for food and medicinal plants. It begins with the laws and considerations which everyone should follow, then there is a detailed photographic section on things that should be easy to forage and finally a recipe guide. It also shows you how to teach your children to cook outside.

pages from the book showing how to make syrup from dandelions

The last section is all about games which are claimed to be excellent ways for children to start moving their bodies, get their senses tuned in and get in touch with the environment. As well as being a perfect excuse to be silly and have some fun. You can learn how to play Ninja Stick, Blind Fetch, Tail Grab and Hunt the Humless to name a few. I’ve not heard of most of these games before so it’s a thrill to find new ones to play.

pages from the book showing games for children.


We all know how important it is for children to play outside. When I was a child we would often spend hours in the local hills or over the fields. My favourite place was the Bluebell woods where we would build dens and swings and play for hours.

This book is a great encouragement to get outside and try some of the activities. It’s time to drag the kids away from their screens and get them out to discover all that nature has to offer.

From bushcraft and survival skills, to making primitive tools and learning about what is edible, this book has it all. Presented in an easy to understand text with plenty of photographic directions. And for those days when venturing far is not going to happen then the kids can get stuck in to making the crafts, most of the stuff for these can be found in a back garden or park.

If you are ever stuck outside with a load of kids you can get them to join in the fun games. Kids love playing together and these games are lots of fun while learning about thier surroundings.

I’ve come to love this book and I think it will be a useful resource for a long time.

You can buy this book for £16.99 here

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Laura's Lovely Blog


Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle and Draw – book review

Paperback: 256 pages
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Highlights Press; Act Csm edition (9 Nov. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629798401
ISBN-13: 978-1629798400
Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.6 x 27.6 cm

First Impressions.

When this pad arrived I left it on the coffee table and it was picked up by Boo as soon as she arrived home from school. She started drawing in it straight away. Then Star had a go and finally the Little Man had his turn. They couldn’t put it down between them it kept them all engrossed.

The pad is a colourful A4 size with a whopping 256 pages of activities. A lot of them involve drawing yourself and my kids love this.

The Blurb

Doodling and drawing has never been more fun with the addition of Highlights™ puzzles to extend the experience. The Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle, and Draw is packed with colorfully illustrated puzzles that kids can solve and add their own creations to. With a wide variety of activities that encourage creativity, this oversized pad features Hidden Pictures® doodles, mazes to imagine and draw, cartooning activities, and more. This perfectly portable activity pad will keep kids entertained for hours whether on car trips or at home on rainy days.

Our Verdict

This pad is so much fun. It attracted a lot of attention from my 7, 10 and 12 year old. They all enjoyed doodling and using their imaginations. It came just in time for half term so they’ve had plenty of time to enjoy it. The Little Man even took it to bed with him last night and I woke up this morning to find him sitting doodling.

It would be great on a car trip, or even on holiday for those chilling out times. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a child that loves to doodle.

You can buy the book from Amazon here Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle, and Draw (Highlights™ Jumbo Books & Pads) for just £11.99

Here’s a few pages from the book that my children have enjoyed doing.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Book Review

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

By: Gail Honeyman
Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron
Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 18-05-17
Language: English
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited

The Blurb

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

My Verdict

I listened to this on Audible. You can easily get the book but I did feel that an audio version was the better option in this case. Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of a strange thinking character and reading her thoughts might make it a little more difficult to get a feel for her personality. She does have a strange grasp of the English language, particularly at the beginning of the book. Of course this is a personal choice, but I did find the narrator, Cathleen McCarron a very good interpreter of the characters in this story.

Eleanor Oliphant is that person that we’ve probably seen at sometime in our lives. The one at the office that doesn’t interact very often and when they do they come across as inappropriate. The one often made fun of behind their backs. The one that wears the same clothes on rotation like a uniform and takes little notice of their appearance.

Then she meets Raymond and together they meet Sammy and suddenly a whole world of social interaction opens up for her.

We know from the start that there is something from her past haunting her, we know she was brought up in care from the age of ten. Little snippets of information are let out throughout the story but it’s all too painful for Eleanor.

It takes a very drastic moment in her life for her to realise that she is not alone and that people do actually care about her.


I didn’t want the story to end, I wanted to carry on hearing about Eleanor and what happened next. It wasn’t left on a cliff hanger, I just felt so engrossed, so close to the characters that I wanted to keep on listening.

The story made me tingle with emotion at times, it also made me laugh out loud. There was also a silent tear every now and then. This book certainly has all the feels.

I even enjoyed the chat between the narrator, Cathleen McCarron and the author Gail Honeyman at the end.


Audible is my best friend at the moment, I’m always popping in my earphones and listening to some story or other book. I’ve just purchased 6 volumes of Sherlock Holmes with my free credit this month. That should keep me occupied for a fair while.

You can try Audible yourself with a 30 day free trail and then it’s £7.99 per month afterwards including a free credit which you can use on a book of your choice. There are also lots of members offers to be had like this month’s 2 for 1 offer. Do let me know if you decide to give it a try

Of course if you don’t fancy Audible, I’d still recommend this book as a read which you can get from Amazon.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

The Ultimate Interplanetary Travel Guide – Book Review

Fly Me to the Moon and let me play among the stars,

Let me see what Spring is like on Jupiter or Mars.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if we could travel across the solar system? Well grab your towel because this is the ultimate hitch hikers guide to the galaxy!

Author: Jim Bell
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Sterling (7 May 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 145492568X
ISBN-13: 978-1454925682
Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 1.8 x 28.4 cm

The Blurb

This book offers space enthusiasts an unparalleled visual experience of our solar system. Featuring eight removable NASA posters highlighting the wonders of space, gorgeous full-colour photography and stunning art, Bell’s travel guide takes you on a futuristic tour of the solar system and beyond. Informative summaries of every destination are based on knowledge gleaned from more than 50 years of space exploration.

My Verdict

Fly Me to the Moon –

The moon is close to home and is about a quarter the diameter of Earth. It’s surface area is less than the size of Asia. so how about a weekend on the moon? The moon has extreme temperatures so you have to make sure you are wearing the right kind of space suit. It also has low gravity so you’ll weigh only 16 per cent of what you weigh back home. It also has a rough terrain and spends a lot of the day in darkness. Places to visit include the first Apollo landing site, Luna Park and the lava tubes of Aristarchus Plateau.

A Must for Science Fiction fans and anyone who wants to learn more about our universe.

This large hardback book is jam packed with everything you need to know about our universe with a fun twist. It’s a futuristic journey through the cosmos. In some parts you have to suspend belief and imagine you are a hundred years in the future, so there is a lot of fantasy to enjoy. But, there are also many facts to be absorbed, for instance; what causes Jupiter’s auroras and why Titan provides a unique window into understanding the early history of our own world.

As well as all the facts, figures and fun the book has some fabulous artwork and fascinating photos. Including eight pull out posters

I think this book will appeal to all kinds of space fanatics and I know it will be well read by everyone in our house.

You can buy The Ultimate Interplanetary Travel Guide from Amazon for £12.51


Disclosure: I was sent this book  in return for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.