Dinner at an Inn of Court takes an unusual turn when a corpse falls onto the Benchers’ Table. A battleaxe and a rubber glove are found at the scene. A trophy has been stolen. But who could have wanted the Porter dead – and why?
Aspiring barristers Tom and Becca set out to investigate. But another murder isn’t far away…
Rob Keeley is an established award-winning author of children’s novels, short stories and picture books, including the Spirits series. Other credits include the award-listed stage play Mr. Everyone, and Chain Gang and Newsjack for BBC Radio. Death At Friar’s Inn is his first novel for adults and draws on his own experiences training as a barrister
Considering this is only 107 pages long, I’m shocked at just how much was packed into this gripping little crime mystery! It was one of those stories that I found to be immediately appealing with the action and mystery happening from the get go!
Tom is an aspiring barrister, eager to please and a little unsure of his own abilities. He wants to do things the right way and his introduction to early lawyer life is a lot to live up to with traditions to follow and expectations to live up to. He and his fellow lawyers are thrown in at the deep end with a mock trial which introduces you to a lot of lawyer talk and banter but doesn’t overwhelm and seems easy to pick up and assimilate you to the world of the law!
Things start to heat up when a death occurs at a big gathering of lawyers attending a meal – you’d have thought things would have been safe amongst your ‘own kind’! But that sets Tom on a mission to try and solve the case – it feels like Cluedo at some points as he collects clues and tries to make sense of them all!
There are enough red herrings and twists to throw you off track as a reader as to the identity of the killer and I really loved how well that worked as the more that evidence was piled up, the more you began to doubt even your own conclusions! The reveal shocked me that’s for sure!!
The pace of the story was really well worked, and the characters were people I found myself interested in while following them on their journey into a new career… just not quite the start to their career that I’m sure they expected!! Great stuff!!
Lily loves eating fruit and vegetables – but is tricked by Jordan, who tells her that carrots grow on trees.
With the help of her Mum, some healthy eating and a box of elastic bands, Lily sets out to teach Jordan a lesson…
Carrots Don’t Grow On Trees! is a bright, colourful and funny story, told entirely in dialogue and pictures, and takes a fun and compassionate approach to dealing with teasing at school, as well as promoting healthy eating.
Rob Keeley’s second picture book sees him reunited with illustrator Simon Goodway, following their previous successes with My Favourite People and The Treasure in the Tower. PUBLISHED BY TROUBADOR PUBLISHINGPUBLICATION DATE – 28TH NOVEMBER 2021
Oh to be a kid again!! I’d love to have had the range of picture books that seem to be available now when I was little and Rob Keeley has such a fun way of telling a story and getting various important messages across, that this title was just a blast to read!
From the fabulously bright illustrations, to the simple font, this was such a fun and easy book to read and is a great way of getting across the message of healthy eating in children, alongside approaching the subject of teasing and making things up – and how to deal with that by getting your own back in a creative way!!
Jordan teases Lily that carrots grow on trees, and his schoolmates back him up on the story to the point where Lily is made to feel silly and wrong! Mum to the rescue!! And they come up with a plan to get their own back on Jordan!
There are also a list of little activities in the back of the book to help extend the enjoyment and messages that can be learnt from this book and it’s such a great way to add to the reading experience! It even allows for the reader to make up what they think happens next between Lily and Jordan – hopefully helping create some new aspiring authors out there who might get the writing bug from creating their own stories!
A fabulously colourful picture book carrying important messages, that are put across in an engaging way. Fun for all!!
My thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.
A school trip to historic Deanchester becomes more exciting when Jess and her friends discover the city hides a secret treasure. Local historian Dr Joseph Pyrite left a series of clues scattered around Deanchester’s landmarks, which Jess, Mason and Kessie are determined to solve. But they only have three days. And they have competition. A series of increasingly cunning tricks awaits Jess and her party as they try to beat Perdita and Thomas to the treasure.
This was just the kind of book I needed at this time!! Pure escapism and full of fun and intrigue! The perfect middle grade story for readers young and slightly older!!
The story is based around a school trip to Deanchester! Lots of excited kids on a coach, away from their parents for probably the first time – those poor teachers!! But the moment some of the children find an intriguing book, their attention is switched to solving the mystery! The book tells of a historian who has scattered clues around Deanchester before his death, and it hints of hidden treasure! Who wouldn’t be excited!
What follows is 2 groups of friends working against each other to be the first to solve the clues – and provides a perfect way of them learning while having fun in completing the quest! There’s lots of sabotage and fun along the way and I found myself just as fascinated as to what they would uncover if they solved all the clues! There’s history and ghost walks and all against the ticking clock of them having to go back home! There’s also some really sweet black and white illustrations that add that little extra to the story!
I really enjoyed this and just enjoy the way Rob writes stories to keep them relevant and engaging!!
When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie’s dreams – and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century? Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents – and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today…Rob Keeley’s first novel for children brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognisable modern world setting.
Readers of his short story collections for children will find in Childish Spirits the elements which made his past books such a success – strong and contemporary characters, inventive twists on traditional themes, and a winning combination of action, suspense and humour.
Having come to this series late – I started with book 3 The Sword of the Spirit – I’ve been thrilled to be able to listen to the audio version of Book 1 to see where it all began and I loved how brilliant it was to hear it all brought to life, and loved the drama, mystery and humour throughout!
Ellie is the star of this series, and we find her moving to Inchwood Manor, along with her mum and older brother, as a new chapter of their life begins and her mum starts a new job helping prepare the old house to be opened to the public. Ellie is quite excited by the mve, the same can’t be said for her brother Charlie!
It doesn’t take Ellie long to notice a young boy watching her, and she’s braver than I would be when she starts exploring the Manor late at night when she starts hearing noises, and comes face to face with a prank pulling young boy called Edward! What follows then is her learning about the history of the house and finding out about the family who lived there, and why Edward seems to be trapped and so scared of his governess who still haunts the rooms too.
Ellie has this boundless enthusiasm that is infectious! She’s willing to throw herself into solving the mysteries of the Manor as well as helping Edward and it’s also a great way to learn about the differences between growing up now, and how Edward grew up in the Victorian years. There are some scary moments alongside quite emotional times when Edward is remembering his family and this was all brilliantly portrayed in the audio version too! It’s a great mix for readers (and listeners!) of all ages!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing how this fabulous series started – I love the mix of history to be learnt and mysteries to be solved, and my thanks go to the author and publisher for letting me have a copy of the audiobook in return for a fair and honest review.
The final book in the award-winning Spirits series.
Sequel to High Spirits – Georgina Hawtrey-Woore Award winner 2018.
Rob Keeley is back with the fifth and final instalment in his award-winning Spirits series. The series allows young people to learn more about other times, as well as the time in which they live.
“Nazis alone were dangerous enough, but Nazis with the powers of ghosts… of evil spirits…”
Britain. The present day. The world we know. Ruled by the Nazis. Victorian England. Edward Fitzberranger is soon to become ill and die. But could there be another way? The Middle Ages. Sir Francis Fitzberranger is about to marry… but finds himself shifted in time.
The barrier into the spirit world is finally breaking down and no one in the mortal world is safe. History must be set back on course and prophecies fulfilled. The Grand Defender is needed.
As Ellie works with an underground resistance movement and with the spirit world too, she is about to discover her true destiny…
The boundary of the spirit world is broken – and what a way to finish this fun and educational supernatural series!
The action in The Coming of the Spirits is fast paced and full of intrigue as Ellie prepares to right the wrongs of history being changed by her previous encounters with times gone by! And she gets to meet up with old friends as well as make new allies as she faces up to some troubling times.
I came to this series late but have enjoyed every step along the way as the author has mixed great storytelling with learning about various times in history so well. You end up becoming fully invested in the character of Ellie as she faces challenging decisions, and I have to admit that I may have even shed a tear with certain events in this book! I loved the mix of jumping back to various timelines, with Ellie dealing with her own personal issues with her family and the scary prospect of aging 2 years every night!! Time definitely does fly in this book!
There’s so much for children to learn and take from this series in general, and it’s a perfect book for parents to enjoy with them as The Coming of the Spirits is full of pulsating action and touches of humour to lighten some serious issues and developments. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Ellie, her family and all the characters that became her friends over the years!
My thanks to the author and publisher for sending a copy of the book my way in return for a fair and honest review.
Delighted to be able to share my review today of this fun new picture book for the little people in your life, alongside a guest post from one of my favourite people in the book world, and that is Rob Keeley!!
About the book
Rob Keeley’s first picture book!
A book for young children all about the importance of relationships.
Comes complete with suggested activities for bringing the book to life.
Illustrated by Simon Goodway.
My favourite people are…
all in this book. And I’m going to tell you all about them. You can meet my Auntie Meg and Uncle Steve, my best friend Alice, my favourite footballer and the band that’s going to save the world. Then I’ll tell you about a brilliant idea I’ve had…
Following his success as a writer of novels and short stories for older children – including the ongoing Spirits series, listed for the Bath Children’s Novel and Independent Author Book Awards – Rob Keeley makes his picture book debut with My Favourite People, a fun illustrated journey through childhood and the friends and family who make it possible. It’s an amusing and insightful look at the world around its central character, an excellent read-aloud or read-alone. It encourages young people to look at relationships and recognise their importance. It will appeal to girls and boys of lower primary age – and to parents and teachers reading the book aloud.
Paperback, 1st, 24 pages
Published April 28th 2018 by Troubador Publishing Ltd
This is the first picture book from the author Rob Keeley, and it is a bright and bubbly book that has plenty of colourful illustrations and educational activities inside to keep young children entertained and engaged with for the duration.
It introduces a variety of characters and their relationships with the central character and all the things they do that make them so special to him! And at the back of the book are a number of suggested activities that make it easy for those reading with youngsters to make the reading experience more personal and to engage with what they are reading and seeing.
Lots of fun!! And a great way of helping you get more out of a book when reading with children!
Now I get to hand over to Rob for his thoughts on the whole experience of creating this picture book and a little bit more about himself, including where you can find him online!
Karen is now one of my favourite people following all her lovely reviews of my books for children, so I was delighted to get this opportunity to write a guest post for her blog! I’m so pleased to see that My Favourite People is proving popular. It’s my first picture book for younger children and is aimed at both the preschool and the 5-7 audience. I wrote the text some years ago but have been looking for the right illustrator to bring my characters and fictional world to life. Finally I was thrilled to discover the work of Simon Goodway, a very talented man with wide experience of children’s books as well as other projects (visit http://www.simongoodway.com). His pictures are bright and colourful, slightly larger than life but with a realistic quality to them as well. In other words, a perfect match for my writing style! I would love to do more picture books with him and am already thinking of a follow-up – though I have the final Spirits novel for older children to publish first!
My Favourite People is more of a character piece than a narrative one, and revolves around a young boy who’s the same age as the target audience. He tells us all about the favourite people in his life – family, friends, acquaintances – and then about a brilliant idea he’s had to reward them for their kindness and friendship. It’s a celebration of the pure pleasure we can get at that age from being in the company of someone we love. We get to see, through his eyes, what makes his favourite people special – the Mum and Dad who love him, the best friend who’s there when he’s unhappy, the teacher who inspires a love of music, and the footballer and the pop band who are his heroes, amongst others. I gave Simon notes on all of these characters and he has interpreted them brilliantly.
I did a lot of research into picture books for these age groups and saw that many now end with activities to bring the book to life and build the young reader’s literacy. These can be used by parents reading the book at home, or by teachers in the classroom. I had teaching assistant experience to draw on as well as more recent experience of holding author workshops in primary schools and children’s libraries. I ended up suggesting tie-ins with everything from Food Technology to P.E., taking in English lessons along the way! Reading should be an interactive experience and the four pages of Suggested Activities that end the book allow adults to join children in their reading dream.
Two favourite points in the book? Uncle Steve tinkering at the baking session, and the boy’s big idea at the end. But you’ll have to read it to see what I mean!