Thursday, 15 September 2022

Blog tour: Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson (Thriller, 9/10E)

 1st September 2022, The Borough Press, Ebook, Review copy

Book Summary

The year is 1999. Returning to practice after a suspension for stealing opioids, a young Scottish doctor takes the only job he can find: a post as a senior house officer in the struggling east London hospital of St Luke’s.

Amid the maelstrom of sick patients, over-worked staff and underfunded wards a darker secret soon declares itself: too many patients are dying.

Which of the medical professionals our protagonist has encountered is behind the murders? And can our unnamed narrator’s version of the events be trusted?

Nayu's thoughts 

With hospitals being quite a large part of my life, I found the concept of murder in a hospital really exciting. Due to my passion for hospital dramas I understand almost all the medical terms and jargon and understood all the processes that the doctor carried out. Sometimes People Die is an accurate title, but sometimes people are also killed, which is the case in this book. What I liked quite a lot is the protagonist, who admittedly I and other characters felt could be the culprit for a time, is really far from perfect. He is not someone I can relate to on pretty much any level but that's why he was so interesting. Due to his shady past he is not in a great hospital, but he does meet some genuinely kind staff members. There are some who are not kind but he gets used to their abrupt manner. And thankfully he gets to move out of the initial accomodation because that just was not the best place for him.

I like that somehow throughout the entire novel (I think) he is never really named. He does end up in a relationship, but it felt like something he felt he ought to do rather than really wanted, which seemed so odd to me. He himself is not a bad doctor, he isn't the best but he does his job fairly well despite the weird deaths. There's definitely a sense of fear during the time he gets blamed for the murders, every time the police came I wondered along with him if it would be the time they would formerly arrest him. He develops a rapport of sorts with the investigating officers, although as the story progresses that doesn't necessarily help him out. There is a shocking turn of events which I won't spoil but does affect his previous addiction, and seeing him spiral was not pleasant, but he does eventually get the help he needs. He is the only one who feels that the alleged murderer is not necessarily the correct one, and he gets to journey out of London in the attempt to discover the truth which was a total shock and cleverly executed.

I liked the snippets about other historical murders that came every few chapters, but as the tension mounted in the plot I did find these distracting and while I suppose it was like an alternate point of view, I just wanted to get on with the story rather than learn how evil some doctors can be in the past. I probably won't reread this as a lot of the wow factor came from not knowing anything, but it is a really good thriller and I highly recommend it. I did sit down for several hours and couldn't stop reading until I finished it! 

Check out all the stops on the tour: 

Suggested read

For other good thrillers try No Smoke Without Fire by Claire S Lewis (Thriller, 9/10E)


Thursday, 25 August 2022

Review: The Greatest Show On Earth by Mini Grey (Children's, Non-fiction, 9/10E)

 April 2022, Puffin, Hardback, Ebook, Review copy 

Book Summary from Penguin

 Take your seats for the ENTIRE history of Planet Earth, as we take a whistle-stop tour from the birth of Earth, to the age of bacteria, the era of dinosaurs . . . to the moment of people (blink and you'll miss it).

Narrated by a friendly troop of insects and with mind-blowing, lively illustrations, this illustrated non-fiction book will entertain and educate, as we put on a show, the greatest show, the show of the evolution of life on Earth.

Nayu's thoughts

Our planet has been around for a phenomenal amount of time. Often history looks at more modern issues, but The Greatest Show on Earth focuses more what happened many millions of years ago rather than ancient civilisations. It looks at how the earth's creatures evolved to meet the changing atmosphere. The style is as a circus act with several cute creatures (even if in real life they might have some readers including myself squealing and running far from them) as the performers. There is a timeline at the bottom of the page to help keep perspective on how far back the current era is. In the margins on each page there are further details about the talked about era with fascinating facts to learn about.

The watercolour style which is in a sort of muted tone suits the feel of the book and is a pleasure to look at. There is humour in both the text and the images themselves, which will make the information more palatable for younger readers. Stopping to think of all that's happened is quite a marvelous feeling. Even now, millions of years on there are constantly new discoveries about the past which is an important part of our present. It's not all dinosaurs or amoebas, there are many other almost mythical creatures (sadly no unicorns) that I had forgotten about from when I learned about this in school. The Greatest Show On Earth is by far better than a dull textbook, and I feel is a companion book to a home library encyclopedia as facts presented in a fun way are so much easier to learn about and remember. Hopefully this will interest younger readers in historical science!

Suggested read

Take a step back in time to 2010 and check out one of Mini's fiction books:Three by the Sea by Mini Grey (Children's, Picture book, 5 years +, 9/10E)


Monday, 8 August 2022

The Last Monster by Dan Walker (Children's, 9 years +)


 4th August 2022, UCLan Publishing, Paperback, Ebook, 322 pages, 

Book summary 

The Light Hunters have fought Monsters for centuries and Squad Juno are the very best at it. From cities to villages, the young group’s abilities are on show for all to see now that their powers don’t have to be used in secret. Every victory they have prevents a Monster from taking more victims, preventing more loss. Lux Dowd, Squad Juno’s healer, has had more than enough loss ... But a more immediate loss is that of his powers. Lux can’t – or won’t – heal his teammates. Whenever he tries, a terrible energy comes from within and hurts the people around him. Lux can’t afford to lose anymore of those he cares about. Sent on a mission that could end their war against the Monsters, the Light Hunters soon find themselves making new allies in their quest to unearth an Ancient secret that may be able to stop the attacks. Could this really be the last monster they fight?

Nayu's thoughts

This is more a spotlight post of the second book in a fantasy series that does look really interesting but for various reasons I haven't read it yet. Plus the cover is really cool! I know, never judge a book by a cover but cool ones help make a book look more attractive!

Suggested read

Make sure you check out book one, The Light Hunters

Sunday, 17 July 2022

The Pancake Champ by Joanna Nadin and Ana Gomez (Children's, 5 years +, 10E/10E)


 June 2022, Bloomsbury Young Readers, Paperback, 32 pages, Review copy

Summary from Bloomsbury

 Manjit is going to his new friend Leon's house for tea. There's lots to be worried about… What if they have a scary dog? What if Leon's dad is a dragon? But worst of all, what if they're having pancakes for tea!

Nayu's thoughts

Without reading the summary I thought the title might refer to the protagonist, Manjit, but it also is a title Manjit's new friend gives his father. Manjit is highly relatable because at first he doesn't have a special friend at school, something which can take time. When he does find Leon they do everything together and have the best time, until Manjit is invited over. Manjit has a lot of anxiety about who will be there, what dinner will be like as he hates peas and his mum's pancakes too. I really like how his mother tried to reassure him, giving him an option how to refuse food if he truly didn't want to eat it. Manjit discovers there are different types of pancakes - I prefer the thick ones his mother makes but Manjit, under Leon's dad's supervision, creates his own thin and crispy pancake.

He is allowed to put whatever topping he wants on his pancakes and happily eats some quite gross ones. The illustraations are bright and cheerful, I liked the pea soup which was also a meal Manjit dreaded. Plus the cats were adorable!!! It is a really good book for those who suffer with anxiety over getting a new friend then visiting a friend. There are pointers on what to keep an eye on in the story for the adult supervising the reading, as well as questions to ask afterwards which is useful. Manjit is also a pancake champ because he discovers ones he likes that that there are more toppings than just lemon!

Suggested read

If you like food themed books check out Spaghetti with the Yeti by Adam & Charlotte Guillain and Lee Wildish (Children's, Picture book, 10/10E)


Thursday, 9 June 2022

Review: Tails: The Animal Investigators of London by Martin Penny (Children's, 9 years +, 10/10E)

 March 2022, Eyewear Publishing, Hardback, 250 pages, Review copy 

Book summary from Blackspring Press

Yowl is a very special tabby kitten owned by 6-year-old Lucy. Sitting on her lap through endless children’s books, he learns to read. From the local paper, he discovers there’s a criminal on the loose in Croydon targeting cats. TV news reports confirm over seventy incidents.

With the help of his feline neighbours, he enlists the support of Big Red, the leader of the foxes, to hunt down the killer. Secret, a squirrel who’s afraid of heights, will play a crucial role, but it’s Hoot the owl whose help they need most. An eye in the sky will prove essential in identifying the culprit. Yowl will be forced to risk his life to earn his assistance.

Just as they’re making progress, the police close the case. They point the finger firmly in the direction of the foxes. In response, Big Red steps up their involvement. Together, they identify the killer, but what can they do to stop him?

Nayu's thoughts

 Having an animal mystery told from the perspective of a clever cat is a brilliant way to tell a tale and make it seem interesting. For starters Yowl is extremely clever - he does not know everything but that is what his friends are for. They aren't just cats and he has to make alliances with animals who would normally be trying to hunt the other, which in itself makes the story that bit more exciting. Yowl lacks some life experience but he makes up for that in charisma and a great sense of adventure. He does not want harm to come to cats, including himself, and he is in a good position to find the criminal and bring them to justice. 

There is a fair amount of humour in the interaction of Yowl and his friends, and bucketloads of danger when they deal with the criminal, and when unexpected problems occurs. The way that the team solve the case and make it obvious to the humans that the criminal is the culprit made it a book I couldn't put down and had to read in one sitting. I am really interested in seeing what Yowl's next adventure is, he has such a big presence in the book, a kind and caring cat with big plans to save his fellow animals from harm. Yes he gets in over his head and tail at times, but his confidence is what helps bring the case to a close. His relationship with his owner Lucy is charming and realistic.

Suggested read

If you like animal themed reads check out Ship Rats: A Tale of Heroism on the High Seas by Rhian Waller (Chidren's, 9 years +, 10/10E)


Sunday, 3 April 2022

Over On Nayu's Crochet Dreams #65 Ramadan 2022


Find out which anime I'm currently watching too!

 Check out what I'm up to this year from Ramadan on Nayu's Crochet Dreams

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Zero Water 12 Cup Water Jug Vs Brita Maxtra Plus Water Jug

My Brita Maxtra + vs ZeroWater 12cup


Recently I had the opportunity to review a Zero Water water filter jug. I am happily a Brita water filter jug user: while my water does taste ok, I am in a hard water area with a lot of calcium which is not good for my guinea pigs, so I use a Brita Maxtra Plus jug filter. It took an age to figure out a jug that would fit in my fridge because I need it to be lightweight as I have weak hands and I like cold water (I let it warm on the counter before giving to my piggies and birds).Despite loving Brita I have been intrigued by Zero Water systems. Zero Water focuses on removing particles in the water. So when the chance came to review a Zero Water jug I took it! Will I change from Brita to Zero Water? Let's take a look, but first here is some info taken from the email by Marc Parker who compiled the info about the benefits of filtered water (he is the one who offered the jug for review). 

TDS meter was elsewhere but is included for free

ZeroWater reduces 99.6% of all total dissolved solids in your drinking water. It delivers the purest tasting water in minutes. ZeroWater removes much more from tap water than other leading filter brands in the UK. ZeroWater removes 97% of lead, 96% of mercury, 95% of chlorine, and even 97% of asbestos which is often displaced from old and aging water pipes. ZeroWater removes almost twice as much from tap water than other leading brands.


ZeroWater gets better results due to a 5-stage filter, most filters only have 2-stage. ZeroWater patented technology ensures that you can save money on buying bottled water and ensure your tap water is pure. The 12-Cup ZeroWater comes with a free TDS Reader (Total Dissolved Solids). Some areas of the UK have readings of more than 300. When water is filtered through the ZeroWater filter it will score 0, Meaning you can enjoy great-tasting pure water at home.


As you can see ZeroWater has a lot going for it. The UK site has 11 types of jugs available, from small to large, plus filters and a filter subscription service which can save up to 15%, although is probably more for those who use their ZeroWater jug a lot.


The ZeroWater 12 cup Jug
I received this beautiful and extremely large 12 cup ZeroWater jug. 


I love that it has a tap on one side, which has to be pushed in to use and does not drip. 

This is useful as this particular jug is too heavy for me even with just a small amount of water in. 

Preparing the ZeroWater jug for use

Time to get into the water filter itself! Unlike Brita water filters which require several filling and emptyings of the water to get the filter system working, ZeroWater does not need all that. The filter top is taken off. 

Filter with the top on

Then it is screwed into place in the jug filter - the instructions note to not drop it in from the top but screw in from the bottom of the filter part otherwise it won't create a proper seal.

It is easy to see how it screws in

  I simply put some water in and was ready to go! I did a quick taste test and honestly the water tasted fine. So in that respects I prefer ZeroWater to Brita.

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Tests



Next I used the TDS tester to check water levels for all 3 types of water. First was my normal tap water. 


The reading was 266 which I expected it to be high. Let's see how the Brita filter that is a good 2 weeks into using the current filter is. 

Brita read 066 which is a massive reduction and I was really happy about. Finally time for the ZeroWater reading! 

And I got 012! The instruction say to get zero make sure the cup is really clean: my cups are clean but the tester probably had remains of the previous two waters and honestly even 012 is really good if not quite zero. 

The Verdict

Getting rid of various elements in water does sound like a good idea as who knows what is in our tap water. ZeroWater does remove the most solids for sure, and does have smaller jugs which would be easier for me to use. However, while I did not do an exact calculation on filter costs, the ZeroWater filters are significantly more expensive than Brita water filters. I do not know exactly how long a ZeroWater filter will last - I would need to keep testing the water over time until it stopped filtering as well. Even if it lasted 1 or 2 months, it still is expensive to replace compared to Brita (which while I have name brand filters for now I will be switching to even cheaper off brand filters). 


If price of the filters isn't an issue then yes I absolutely would switch to ZeroWater. But as someone who can't work due to health issues money is less than for most people and I will happily stick with my Brita. I will either use ZeroWater for my animals or I will give the jug to my family to try to see if they like it. I am thankful that I received a sample of ZeroWater to try for review and happily will recommend it to family and friends if they want to get a water filter. 

Find  out more about ZeroWater filter systems on ZeroWaterUK