Book reviews, Poetry

The Crossing by Manjeet Mann – Book Review


A trailblazing new novel about two teenagers from opposite worlds; The Crossing is a profound story of hope, grief, and the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis.

Natalie’s world is falling apart. She’s just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge.

Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future. 

A twist of fate brings them together and gives them both hope. But is hope enough to mend a broken world? 


The Crossing is a unique tale as it’s told in verse. 

It follows the characters, Natalie and Sammy. 

Natalie’s mother has died from cancer. She had worked with refugees and shared her compassion with Natalie. 

But now without her, the family is falling apart with Natalie’s brother part of an anti-refugee ‘gang’…that’s the only way to describe these heartless people.

Now, Sammy is a boy from Eritrea, he doesn’t want to be in the army, the country’s conscription and the abuse, so he wants to escape and try to get to the UK.

This is a unique and beautifully written tale, it tells of the desperation of refugees, of fear and of compassion. An Eye opening, incredibly moving and thought provoking read.

Book reviews, Non fiction, Poetry

The Princess Of Felling by Elaine Cusack – Book Review


The Princess Of Felling describes Elaine’s childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970’s and 1980’s. 

The book pays homage to her hometown of Felling on Tyne and is an extended loving letter to her late parents.

This illustrated poetic memoir features a Foreword by Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Rossena Petcova and unique maps by poet and artist Steve Lancaster.

The book contains reminiscence by Felling folk plus guest appearances by Nick Heyward, David Almond, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, The Reverend Richard Coles, Lady Elsie Robson, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gyles Brandreth and more.


Available for the publisher



This is an absolutely charming memoir of growing up in the North East…full of memories from friends and neighbours, to the music, film and tv of the time. 

It’s warm, funny and sad at times too.

I love the illustrations and photographs which bring back memories of childhood and the poems are gentle, funny and packed with emotion. A little treasure of a read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Book reviews, Poetry

Poetry For Christmas And Other Beginnings chosen by Orna Ross – Book Review



 The mid-winter holiday provides the perfect space to indulge the pleasure of poetry and in this pamphlet, you’ll find a poem for each of the twelve days of that holiday season. All these Christmas poems circle around the story we’ve been telling for 2000 years about what happened in Bethlehem on a certain 25th December. 

Some of them reassert that story, some challenge it, some see it as purely symbolic — but all are engaged with the deeper questions that underwrite it. 

The poets included in this slim volume are: WH Auden, John Betjeman, TS Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Dan Holloway, Patrick Kavanagh, Mary Oliver, Anne Porter, Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Christopher Smart, WB Yeats — and there’s a “bonus” poem from Orna Ross. A perfect stocking filler — or gift to self. Indulge and enjoy.


This is a collection of just 12 poems, so it’s short but inspiring.

There are poems about Birth, blessings, Faith, Christmas and hope.

From a personal point of view I found the poem First Flush very moving. My daughter, born 30 years ago has just given birth to her own daughter and so it felt it was meant for me. 

A lovely, emotional collection, something to treasure.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.





ORNA ROSS is an award-winning writer, an advocate for independent authors and other creative entrepreneurs, and “one of the 100 most influential people in publishing” [The Bookseller]. She writes novels, poems and nonfiction guides for creatives, and is Founder-Director of two popular online communities, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and The Creativist Club. She lives in London and writes, publishes and teaches around the globe. When not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.


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Poetry for Christmas : And Other Beginnings by Orna Ross

  • Paperback: 54 pages
  • Publisher: Font Publications (4 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957341288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957341289