Star in the Shadows

I’ve been taking some time off from reviewing lately as I just couldn’t seem to be able to read (not good for a reviewer of books).

I love reading and I love books, I love that they can take you away into different worlds and forget the real one for a little while, so to loose the ability to read made me sad and frustrated.

Then I received an email from the lovely Helen Buckley, asking me to review her book Star in the Shadows. There was no pressure, no deadline, just whenever I could.

I thought, why not!

So without the pressure of a deadline I felt comfortable enough to give reviewing and blogging another go.

So without further ado, here we go!

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What a stage door experience!

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved going to the theatre. She loved it even more when one of her favourite actors was also starring in said play/musical.

She would go, be entertained and then after the show she would make her way round to stage door and wait patiently for said favourite actor/actress to appear. When they did she would join the mad rush of pushing and pulling to try and get to the front. Everyone wanted that autograph or selfie, I mean they were entitled to it, right?

Most times it was a success but sometimes she never quite made it to the front.

“I’m too short!” she would say “it should be better managed” and “that’s annoying”

Off home she would go, feeling annoyed that the actor/actress couldn’t have just stayed  10 minutes more, just so she could get her picture. Its their job!

Well, one day after going to see a play in London (she had waited a long time for this one) starring one of her all time favs, she was determined that no one was going to stop her getting that autograph,

So as usual after the show, she went round to stage door where she saw a sign stating that said actor would not be signing programmes or taking pictures after the show. Annoyed but thought it was kind of nice to know so she wouldn’t be standing around waiting for hours for them not to appear.

“Maybe next time” she thought.

As she turned away from stage door she was faced with her favourite actor leaving the front of the theatre. She didn’t spot him first, a big group of women were already racing their way over, screaming and thrusting their programmes and phones in his face. She couldn’t believe her luck. So off she went to join the ever so common madness of pushing and shoving to get her autograph, after all they are famous, this is part of their job. Its okay.

After a couple of minutes, this girl who was so desperate to get her programme signed, suddenly stop and looked round and instead of seeing an actor who she thought would  be smiling, happy to sign these programmes and loving having selfies and girls screaming, he just looked tired. He had spent 2hrs pouring his heart and soul into his performance (one she was very lucky to see) but now he was surrounded, no not surrounded, mobbed by a group of screaming women.

There was no security (He was standing inside the safety of the theatre).  She could hear him very polity saying that he had to go and that he was so sorry, he was trying back away but they kept closing in.

She backed away now, suddenly feeling very guilty. She looked around but didn’t really know what to do. Imagine being in the middle of those women, not knowing how to get out, I would be terrified.

Eventually the crowd slowly started to back off and then she found herself standing next to him, he was still apologising trying to get away but not wanting to come across rude. He didn’t want to come across rude? These women didn’t care that they were literally mobbing this poor man, who at a closer look, was tired and extremely uncomfortable.  But this was her moment to ask him to sign her programme, she had been waiting for this, but instead she stood to the side and let him walk by.

He walked quickly away, girls still chasing after him screaming.

She walked over to her friend who had come to watch the play with her.

“did you get it?” she asked

“no I didn’t, but its okay because I got to watch him act on stage, doing what he does best and that’s good enough for me”.

It had suddenly dawned on her that she had been taking for granted the fact that she had been lucky enough to watch this wonderful actor do what he does best. The show was completely sold out, yet she was 4 rows from the stage getting to watch it first hand. It was one of the best things she had seen in so long.

Now that was enough, an autograph would have been the cherry on top but not like that.

They walked back to the train station, she had a lot to think about and a long train journey to do it on.

The End.

I have told this story because that girl was me and that play I saw was real, I watched an actor get surrounded by screaming girls and joined in. He had no security but everyone seemed to think that was ok.

If we saw that happen on the street to an “normal” person, we would be outraged, we would want to help, but no one helped that night because somehow its acceptable.

There were clear signs up saying he would not being doing stage door, probably for the simple reason of wanting to get back to his family or he was just tired. I mean he had just acted his arse off.

The point of this blog is not to name names or say what play I saw because that doesn’t matter, what matters is it happened and it happens all to often, I’m seeing more and more posts from actors who are saying they have been verbally abused at stage door for not signing or staying long enough, so I just wanted to add my voice, from an audience members point of view.

Be kind and remember actors are humans too. If they are happy to hang around to sign programmes and take selfies then fabulous but if they are not able to, please be respectful, they are not being rude, they are not “up themselves” or “arrogant. They are humans, who have lives and commitments.

I look back now and  cringe at the way I used to join the crowds desperate for my autograph and selfie and not really think about the person in the middle.

That experience was definitely a learning curve and I’m making sure I never forget that lesson. Will I still go to stage door? Hell yes! Difference is I will be respectful of the actors and if they can’t be there or stay long then that’s fine. I was still lucky enough to watch them do a job that they love so much and that I love watching.

I have a huge respect for theatre and everyone involved but now that extends to stage door too.

Be kind, be respectful and be grateful.


Books, Books, Books!


At the start of the year I decided to do a 12 month reading journey. I have a lot of books that I haven’t read that are just sitting in my room. (I will link previous blog about this below).

12 months of reading blog

Now I started the year off well, reading 3 books in a month and blogging about each one but then came the readers block. I just couldn’t read, no matter how hard I tried I could not get my mind to focus on a book. Obviously this made me frustrated which in turn made me not want to read even more.

Its a vicious cycle.

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Book 3, Himself by Jess Kidd

1950. A teenage girl is brutally murdered in a forest. But, somehow her baby survives.

1976. A mysterious and charming young man returns to the remote coastal village of Mulderrig, seeking answers about a mother who, it was said, had abandoned him on the steps of a Dublin orphanage.

With the help of its oldest and most eccentric inhabitant, he will force the village to give up its ghosts. Nothing, not even the dead, can stay buried forever.

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Go Go Go see Joseph……


I have never seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (wow that’s a mouthful), so I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean of course I know the famous song “Any Dream Will Do”  and that Philip Schofield very famously played the roll of Joseph and of course its Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice but I never actually got round to seeing it, so here I am at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley about to experience it for the first time.

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Secrets of a Sun King by Emma Carroll



Book 2 in my 12 months of reading is Emma Carroll The Secrets of a Sun King.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was an easy read with lot’s of adventure. As the guy in Waterstones told me its a good old-fashioned adventure story and that it is.

Yes it’s probably aimed at the younger audience but I don’t care, I’m not one of these people who worry about what age a book is aimed at. If I like the sound of the story then I’m going to give it a go.

Harry Potter and Twilight are possibly 2 of my favorite series of books and I don’t think you can say they are specifically aimed at adults. Anyway I digress, this book is not to be taken too seriously. it’s about 3 kids taking a cursed canopic Jar back to the resting place of King Tutankhamun to rescue Lil’s granddad from the curse. They have to find the final resting place of the Pharaoh before it’s too late and without anyone catching them especially Howard Carter who is looking for the tomb himself but saying that it is a great story about friendship, family and adventure.

I had to tell my adult voice to be quiet on a few occasions when it was trying to tell me that would never happen or don’t be silly, they could never have done that. You need to let yourself get lost in the fun of it all and isn’t that what books are for?

I loved all the characters and I especially loved the story throughout the book where don’t just follow Lil’s adventures but we learn about King Tutankhamun (Kyky) and his friends Lysandra and Maya.

There are some historical facts in the book that the author states in back. For instance it is documented that King Tutankhamun heart is actually missing (this is the focal point of the story) which I did not know, I like that she clarifies the fact from the fiction and that I have learnt something new.

I also like that her main character Lil (Lilian Kaye) is actually named after a real little girl Ella Lily Kaye, her mum won a bid at a charity auction for Grenfell to have a character named after her. How wonderful is that? A great way to raise money for an amazing cause but also a great way to make reading exciting for children.

I do recommend this book to be read as it’s just a wonderful adventure story that is well written and filled with mystery, it’s even better if you love anything to do with ancient Egypt and I would go so far as to say it would probably make quite a good adventure film.

As always let me know your opinion if you have read this book I always like to know.

Now to decide which book to read next in my 12 months of reading journey!



Get ready to Rock! Rock of Ages UK Tour, The Hawth, Crawley



Rock Of Ages Production Photos©The Other Richard

Rock Of Ages Production Photos ©The Other Richard

No matter where you sit in The Hawth Theatre you are guaranteed a good view of the stage, which is brilliant because I definitely didn’t want to miss a second of this fabulous show.

I have seen Rock of Ages before but it was a few years back so I was intrigued to see it again to see if anything had been changed and because if I’m honest I wanted to see Kevin Clifton as Stacee Jaxx. I was intrigued.

This musical has it all. The music, all the 80’s rock classics played by a fantastic live band, the set, a great cast (all of them superb), great 80’s costumes, choreography, humor and a llama! Like I said it had it all, even Curly bloody Watts (Kevin Kennedy) who is hilarious as The Bourbon Room owner Dennis.

Rock of Ages UK Tour©The Other Richard

Rock of Ages UK Tour ©The Other Richard

Rock of Ages UK Tour©The Other Richard

Rock of Ages UK Tour ©The Other Richard

Lonny (Lucas Rush) had to be my favourite of the show. As the narrator he brought great humour and storytelling, he had impeccable comic timing. He kept the laughs coming and the audience joining in (Hey Anne). Then to top it all off he had a great pair of…………lungs.

That man can sing.

Sherri was played by the amazing Jodie Steele, I was lucky enough to see her in Heathers when it transferred to the West End so when I saw she was cast as Sherrie I knew she would be perfect. Her vocal talent alone is mind blowing.

Luke Walsh plays Drew he is another one with a great pair of lungs! His voice I could listen too on repeat. Honestly I’m not joking when I say this cast is phenomenal. Luke and Jodie share great chemistry on stage making their characters likable and believable.

Rock of Ages Photo Credit : The Other Richard

The humor can be a little risque but that’s the point, it’s the 80’s, it’s rock n roll, anything goes. Also if you know the story or have seen the film you know what to expect, if not just enjoy the ride and don’t take it too seriously. Rock of ages is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a deliciously raunchy, rock n roll 80’s night out, with great costumes, staging, chorography and cast. In my opinion its not one to be missed.

Now onto Kevin Clifton, did he make a good Stacee Jaxx?

I must admit I had my reservation when taking my seat, I mean I know he can dance but can he sing? Can he be the bad boy that this character needs him to be?


Rock of AgesPhoto Credit : The Other Richard

Rock of Ages Photo Credit : The Other Richard

The answer is hell yes! As soon as he came out on stage all my reservations disappeared. This man can belt out a tune and act the bad boy. He makes you hate him and want him all at the same time. He is definitely not the Kevin you know from Strictly, he is Stacee Jaxx, he takes on the character and plays it well. For me he played it perfectly.

Rock of AgesPhoto Credit : The Other Richard

Rock of Ages Photo Credit : The Other Richard

All the cast in my eyes were perfect. From Zoe Birkett as Justice to Alexander Day as Franz, I could list them all but this blog has to end at some point, just know that everyone who works on this tour are all amazing.

It’s a good night out with lots of laughs and lots of wanting to sing your heart out. You really don’t want to miss it, if I could go again I would.

Rock Of Ages Production Photos ©The Other Richard

The Rock of ages UK Tour is at The Hawth Theatre Crawley until the 23rd February.

Don’t miss out!



The New Mrs Clifton by Elizabeth Buchan

My first book in my 12 months of reading journey was The New Mrs Clifton by Elizabeth Buchan.

What is the book about?

It is set just after the end WWII, we have Gus returning home to England, his two sisters Julia and Tilly waiting for him but it’s not just him that comes home, with him, he brings home a wife.

Krista is German and to say his sisters are shocked is an understatement but no one is more shocked than his fiancée Nella and Gus’s best friend Teddy.

All are carrying secrets and hate but they all have to try to get along, easier said than done. So we follow these character’s as they try to adjust to life after the war and also to each other.

Can it be done?


Tough to start but brilliant ending.


My thoughts

I don’t normally read books that are set during or around the end of the war. I’m not sure why, I think, maybe it could be that it wasn’t really that long ago, especially WWII. I mean my grandparents were around at that time, so I find it quite tough to read. Also if there is too much army talk and technical terms used then I get lost.

But recently I have read a couple of books that were set around this time period that I really enjoyed which is why I decided to give The New Mrs Clifton a go.

To be honest I struggled with this book to start, I really struggled. I just couldn’t get into the story or follow the characters, I put it down I few times.
But with all books I like to get half way before I even consider giving up and even then I rarely do because once I have started a book I like to finish it, even if it takes a few months (like when I read The Hobbit).

So I kept going and lo and behold I got halfway and I started to like it, I started to enjoy the characters, I wanted to see the outcome for all of them.

As I say the beginning is a bit slow, it took a while for me to care about the characters, I don’t know if that’s because it was all about setting the scene, the author wanted you to know who was who and what was what and where. Which I know is what’s suppose to happen at the beginning of a book but I feel it may have gone on for too long.

If you persevere like me you are rewarded, the characters come to life, they all have their own stories to tell and they are told well. I especially loved how Krista was portrayed. Here we have a German woman who has married an English man coming to live in England, imagine that happening and how hard it would have been to start a new life here, especially when the war with Germany had just ended.

The author addresses this well, I felt sorry for Krista, I wanted her to do well and I wanted everyone to just leave her alone and just accept her, it wasn’t her fault that the war broke out, she had been to hell and back herself but she was a German living in England.

Elizbeth Buchan got the balance just right between Krista settling and people adjusting to her. It didn’t feel forced or unbelievable.

I also particularly liked the sisters and their relationship with Krista and each other. Both the opposite of each other with a different view on life but each with a secret that the other didn’t know. They both had their own personal reasons not to like Krista but they struggled, not wanting to upset their brother.

All three women have secrets that all come to ahead towards the end of the book, resulting in one very good cliff hanger, I just had to do a lot of reading to get there.

Was it worth it? I think so. I thoroughly enjoyed this book in the end. It’s a romance of sorts with family drama thrown in. It’s about trying to survive the war and staying together no matter how hard it gets but sometimes it’s not possible.

It’s about relationships between all, husband/wife, brother/sister, sisters/sister in-laws, ex fiancée’s to ex best friends, its got it all.

Elizabeth Buchan does write well, she brings the characters to life and is good at portraying the relationships between them all, as well as building tension but I just can’t put my finger on why I struggled so much at the beginning.

This is just my personal opinion of the book, I found the beginning hard work, you might read it and think What was she talking about?

But if like me you do struggle to get into it, keep going, it does get better.

Am I glad I read it? Yes. Will I read it again? probably not, so this book I will pass on for someone else to enjoy.

Please do tell me if you have read this book and what your opinions are of it, I would love to know.

Thanks for reading.










12 months of reading

Soooo I have a lot of books and by a lot I mean a lot.

They are not books I have read either, they are the total opposite. Most of them, in fact nearly all of them are books I have not read. I have an addiction to buying books and never reading them, that’s not to say I don’t like reading because I do, I really do. It’s just I buy to many to be able to keep up.

My plan for this year is too read all my books before I buy anymore, I am not letting myself buy any more.

These pictures below will hopefully show you why it is probably going to take me a year.


So many books, so little time

All of these books apart from I would say 6, maybe 7 I haven’t read. I know, I know, why would I keep buying books? I don’t know, I can’t help it, I see it, I want it what can I say.


And there’s more……

I was originally going to vlog my reading journey, I thought it might help motivate me to get the job done but although I have recorded a couple of videos, I have realised that I am not very good at keeping up with it and I haven’t posted them anywhere so far. Thats not to say I won’t in the future but for now I thought why not blog it. I may still do some videos but at least for the moment I don’t have the pressure of editing and remembering to record a video and I already have a blog so why not use it.

I was also thinking of doing a review for each book as well as blog my 12 month journey, I don’t know if that will be of any interest to anyone but I think it will help me to keep reading without the pressure of videos (unless I want to).

I mean we are already in February and I have only read 2 books so I need to do something.

When I have read the books I have decided that the ones I don’t want to keep I will donate them to charity or see if friends or family might like them. I’m hoping that I will clear some room on my very crowded bookshelves.

The first book I read was in January and it was called The New Mrs Clifton by Elizabeth Buchan but I will do a whole new blog post about that.

So without further ado, welcome to my 12 months of reading.

Wish me luck!





Where have I been???

“Sometimes you need to get lost to find your way.”

Where have I been?

The answer is, I don’t know.

I have been neglecting my blog for a while now and its not because I’m lazy or just cant be bothered or even that I have nothing to say (trust me I have a lot in this brain).  The simple answer is I let my (negative) brain win, I let the little voices in my head take over and they got me good.

I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect blogger (what even is that?) not just the perfect blogger but just perfect in general (ridiculous I know).

I was so busy comparing myself to other writers that it made me feel that I wasn’t doing good enough, I actually made my thoughts and fears a reality, I stopped writing as much and when I did write I had changed my writing style. I started to try and adapt my writing and reviews to how I thought it should sound instead of how I wanted it to sound, I wasn’t being myself and writing how I wanted. I was rushing out my reviews because I was doubting my writing and my ability to review, was I good enough to have an opinion on what I was seeing/reading? who was I to say if this was good or bad?

I kept thinking I had to do more, be more, see more but what I really needed to do was stop.

The last few months have been hard, knowing that you want to write but you just cant. Knowing that you have probably messed up any chance of being a “successful” blogger because you couldn’t physically reply to the emails, or post a blog, feeling mentally drained but at the same time wanting to carry on, wanting to write that blog but getting nothing out.

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Anxiety meet blogging, blogging meet anxiety.

I’ve come to realise that blogging with anxiety is not the easiest of things.

How can you blog when you have anxiety?

How can you have anxiety when you blog?

Often the two go head to head and many a blog has been left unwritten.

Should I just give up and realise it’s just not going to work for me?

I love to write but barely do I ever get anything written. The voice is so loud, it goes on and on and on, a running commentary inside my head.

From the moment I wake to the moment I sleep there is this constant ball of anxiety sitting in my chest, putting me on edge, waiting for anything to go wrong, for anyone to judge me just so it can be proved right.

I love life, I love to live my life but my days off are mostly spent sitting in my room (like I am now) staring, thinking, over thinking.

I should go to town, I should do writing, I should see my Nan/grandma, I need to see my friends but no, evening comes and I’m still sat where I was when I woke.

Another day has passed.

Work is my hiding place, I get anxious about being there, I worry constantly about everything going wrong or being asked things I don’t know but at least there, there I have peace from my social mind.

“Sorry I can’t meet tonight I’m working till 9pm”

“Sorry I can’t visit nan I’m working”

“Sorry I’m not off that day”

The list is endless and everyday I beat myself up because I have wasted yet another day, another has passed me by.

I wish I knew why my brain works the way it does, I wish I could switch it all off and re-boot it like you do with computers but I don’t seem to know how.

There must be a way? I’ve got this far in life, so the voice and the anxiety can be beaten but never for long enough.

Why is that little voice so important? Why does it win above all else?

It’s only me and my thoughts.

Everyday is a battle and one I have to keep fighting but sometimes I just don’t have enough soldiers, sometimes I’m too exhausted, so I sit and I wait, wait for it to pass, wait for it to become a little easier to handle, so that I can at least have some time for me.

But it’s still there just a little quieter for now, gathering its troops, rebuilding its weapons, getting ready to attack.

Battle number to many to count, waiting to charge.

The voice is never quiet for long, the anxiety is never gone, but I like to write, I like to read, I like to blog, I just have to keep trying but I just want people aware that I’m not lazy, I’m not fickle or unorganised, I’m anxious.

I want to write your review, I want to see your play, I want to hang out with my friends, I want to meet new people, I want to make memories and experience new things but right now the battle has been fought and I have been left drained.

I will rebuild, I will get my troops together but I need patience, I need time, I need reassurance.

Anxiety is a bitch and it’s real and it affects us all in one way or another, so let’s be kind, let’s ease the pressure, let’s just try and help each other get through this thing called life.


The Lovers by J.D Bretton

When author J.D Bretton asked me to review the 3rd book of his Tarot trilogy I did not hesitate, I really liked the first two and I wanted to know the ending to the love story I had been following.

Danielle has moved abroad in the hope of leaving her past behind, she has a new love in the shape of Sawyer but something was still not quite right, she was trying to start new by running away from her but you can’t run forever.

A dark and mysterious man enters Danielle’s life, he has a strange familiarity about him but it can’t be can it?

He’s called Noah but looks strangely familiar……..

This is a love story with a twist and you really do need an open mind and have a liking for the supernatural.

I found the ending to be a little to happily ever after for me and it was all over to quick, just as I was getting into the story and where it was going, it was over.

If your after a supernatural love story that doesn’t take to much time to read then the Tarot trilogy is for you.

JD. Bretton is a lovely story teller but I just wanted that little bit more.

As always my opinions are my own and I always recommend you see for yourself.

If you would like to read The Tarot Trilogy by JD.Bretton you can buy them here: