Book Review – Monstacademy, The Halloween Parade by Matt Beighton

The Halloween Parade
by Matt Beighton


The Halloween Parade

Summary: It’s not every day that a vampire borrows your pencil. When was the last time yousat next to a werewolf in maths?
Meet Trixie Grimble, the newest pupil at Monstacademy. Unfortunately, in a school filled
with monsters, she’s the only ordinary girl and when she’s asked to help prepare for the
annual Halloween parade, everything starts to go wrong.
Oh, and she’s also been kicked out of her bedroom to make room for a cat circus.
Fans of Jill Murphy and Isla Fisher will adore the silly humour and loveable characters in this delightful modern classic.



So my eldest is a real book worm, she spends hours a day reading away, enjoying a variety of different books from fairies to Minecraft, science to learning about rocks and stones, she often her nose in a book. That said, at the ripe old age of 8 years she has also become a literary connoisseur, or at least she knows what she likes and defiantly isn’t afraid to tell you when she doesn’t!! So off Monstacademy went to see if it would pass the brutal scrutiny of my chief child literature tester. 

She read it through in one evening and there was complete joy and laughter that could be heard through the ceiling to my office below. She loved the story; the pictures were enough to keep her interest but not too frequent for her age and she absolutely adored the extra’s at the back of the book. Let’s just say it was a big hit!

From my perspective the story was great, chapters the right length for the age target, illustrations lovely and I find the added short story and activities at the back of the book, an amazing touch. It’s small touches and thoughts like that which make an author stand out in the vast minefield of children’s literature. 

We will certainly be on the lookout for more of Matt’s books in the future x


**Disclaimer: Whilst I received no payment for this review, I did receive a copy of Monstacademy for the purpose of reviewing. All views are my own (and the eldest’s!).

Don’t forget, all of the Monstacademy series are available in both standard and dyslexia adapted format. To celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week 2018, use the code DYSAWARE to get 15% of any Monstacademy orders at the Green Monkey Press Etsy store. Offer valid from Monday 1st October to Sunday 7th October 2018 at 



Information about the book
Title: The Halloween Parade (Monstacademy #1)

Author: Matt Beighton
Release Date: 12 th September 2018.

Genre: MG

Publisher: Green Monkey Press

Goodreads Link:
Amazon Link:


Author Information

Matt Beighton was born somewhere in the midlands in England        Matt Beighton
during the heady days of the 1980s and continues to spend most of his days in the same shire. He is happily married with two young daughters who keep him very busy and suffer through the endless early drafts of his stories.
When he’s not writing, he teaches primary school (Kindergarten to some of you), messes around on canals in his inflatable kayak and supports his beloved Leicester City.






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New Term Chaos

It’s the start of a new school year and that means of course that chaos has reigned this week!

Not helped by the fact that the week began with my cousin’s funeral over 200miles away, so a long day trip and emotional reunions with family ensued.

It’s hard that the only time you see a lot of family is at these sad times, we all live so far apart and have our own busy lives. Yes social media allows us to stay in “contact”, but it’s not the same is it? It was really nice to see people even if the circumstance wasn’t the best, and plans have been made for next year for a little adventure with one of my closest cousins, so that is something to look forward to at least!

Back from that emotional day and the next saw the kids back at school for a new year! They grow up all too quickly and time just seems to be flying by at the moment. However there was no time to stop and pause as I had my 3 hour UKCAT exam at 9am!

Despite the circumstances I did manage a score above average which I should be happy with, but I messed up the last section so I really don’t know how things will be effected now, only time will tell I guess :/

The rest of the week was filled with working at uni, housework and working as a healthcare assistant at the weekend (gaining experience for my applications!). So very much tired all around. I am fighting the pain and fatigue at the moment and I really don’t know if I can keep this up much longer but hopefully the pace will be more chilled this week.

It’s hard to get everything done that needs to be whilst trying to maintain this constant balancing act between my life and my health. Well more of a battle between what I want to do and what my body will allow me to do!

Just keep swimming.

The Ups and the Downs

It’s been a rough week or so.

We found out last week that my cousin who had been battling cancer for a number of years had passed away. No matter how much you think you are prepared for something you know is going to come one day, you aren’t.

It has been a couple of years since I last saw her in person and whilst we all stay in touch over social media and such like, it just isn’t the same. Some times it’s hard having a family spread across the country, and time flies past far too quickly being caught up in the day to day struggles of our own lives.


The following day was pride. Something I have wanted to take part in for years and was really, really looking forward to. It felt weird to be so colourful and cheery considering and the weather certainly wasn’t on our side. But despite getting drenched and tired, the experience was a great one and I can’t wait to take part again next year.


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Plymouth Pride 2018


Mid week the girls had their first salon experience. Which was lovely. I took them to my hair stylist for a long overdue cut and they had a great time! It’s really nice that they are getting to the age where we can do things like this together. Quality time and fun, taking the edge off the hardness of single parenthood!


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Hairdressing Fun Times


The week ended with a high though, a day out to Paignton for their Children’s Week activities, although to be honest I didn’t think that much of what was on offer that day. However we ended up going for their first ever trip to the circus! Im a massive circus fan and hoped they would be too, and needless to say they loved it. The looks on their faces in awe of the acrobatics and gymnastics, the laughter at the “clowns” and such like, it truly was a wonderful experience and one I hope to repeat every year 🙂


I’ve found the last week or so draining. The spoons are certainly low at the moment and the pain high. My head is still flying around all over the place and it’s a constant struggle every day.

Living with chronic pain and fatigue is a constant battle and when bad news hits or the weeks are long (summer holidays) it really takes its toll. It’s easy to forget when you look at me and see what appears to me a normal life on the outside how much I am carrying around. It’s been a lot of ups and downs and I can certainly feel it at the moment. Lets hope that the next isn’t quite so bad eh 😉

Chaos of the Mind

I live surrounded by chaos.

Chaos of clutter, chaos of the mind, chaos that comes with being a parent.

My mind is constantly running a hundred miles an hour. Thoughts and fears and plans and worries. Trying to remember everything I need to do. Trying to plan for every circumstance. Trying not to overthink every small detail of what has happened and what could happen.

My life feels so up and down, surrounded by so many pitfalls and walls I have to overcome. Constant chaos that wears me down.

I want to streamline. My life, my home, my mind. Try and create some calm amongst the storm inside. It’s hard. I try every day and the pain and the fatigue wear me down as well and its like I’m just treading water. Never really getting anywhere.

I have so much to do and so very few spoons to achieve it.

Book Spotlight: I’m a dragon You See


I'm A Dragon You See


Have you ever wondered what a Dragon likes to do for fun? Or what he might look like?
Even what he likes to eat. Is it ice cream or pasta?

Then ‘I am a Dragon you see’ will reveal
all these mysteries and more. Go on an adventure with a fun repeating rhyme and colourful

A fun way of learning about the importance of friendship and kindness.



Title: I’m A Dragon You See
Author: David Kirkman
Release Date: 19 th June 2018
Genre: Picture Book
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link:
Amazon Link:


Part of the #ImADragonYouSee book tour, hosted by @authoright

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Yearly reflection

Just over a year ago (a year and 2 days to be precise!) I wrote a reflection on the previous year and everything it had brought about. So it seems only fitting now, a year on from that, to reflect once again on the year gone by.

The last month or so has been challenging, having changed to alternative assessments in my degree I was faced with around 11 essays to write in 13days. With a few of those days taken up looking after my children and my nephews birthday, it meant I was working on an essay or more a day, not easy and certainly not relaxing! But as always my body decided to throw an extra spanner in the works with me getting ill days before starting this epic task. JOY!

However it is now all over and with that marks the end of the second year (all being well!) of my degree.

It’s been an interesting year, I learnt to let go a lot. Leaving acting behind to focus on my studies, leaving old toxic friendships behind to focus on me and my family, and leaving behind some responsibilities I no longer needed to carry, so I have time to breath. I am finally starting to get to places I want to be in my life, focusing more on my health and rebuilding that, so I at least stand a decent chance in surviving a career and having more family fun. Building a home for me and my girls.

I have spent a lot of the last year trying to decide on what next. There are a few options, each with their advantages and each with their varying degrees of obstacles. Every single one though revolves around medicine in some way or another. It is my calling and I will find a way to pursue it one way or another! What I really need to do is find that magic money tree somehow :/ But I will face whatever comes, when I get to it!

As I have said many times before, I owe so much to my mum. She is and as always remains my rock, my constant and my best friend. A phone call is all it takes to bring a smile to my face in even the most hardest of times. When things have got rough or hard, she has always been there on my shoulder and my greatest wish is that I can build the same love and friendship with my own daughters.

So now I look forward to the next year, completing my degree, deciding on a future and all the trials that may come with it.

Bring it on.

Hermit in the filing cabinet

It has come to the end of second year and what does that mean? Oh yeah, dreaded exam period, ARGH!

On that note I have received my million essays I have to write in lieu of exams and will now be hermitting myself away for the next two weeks.

Part of my fibro is the incredibly frustrating brain fog.

I like to describe it as like having everything you know in a room full of filing cabinets. Every fact, feeling and even individual words are contained in different files within these cabinets. What fibro likes to do, on random occasions, is come into your little room of knowledge, pick a cabinet at whim and lock it. Just like that, the stuff you know you know is sealed out of sight and you just can’t seem to open it. Then another time it will open that back up again and go find another random cabinet to lock.

It is incredibly frustrating and as such, coupled with possible extreme fatigue or pain flares, I have a tendency to not exam well at the moment. So after a lot of paper work and meetings I was able to sit alternative assessments, of which my first try in January saw an instant improvement in performance.

Don’t get me wrong, these are in no way easier. I currently have around 11-12 essays to crack out in 13 days and the marking criteria is much more full on than in exams and I am expected to fully reference all my work.

So yeah, this is me at the moment, working hard and trying not to loose what little is left of my worn out mind.

Slow and steady wins the race?

It’s certainly been slow in the fundraising department although bits and pieces are coming in here and there. I have also applied for a scholarship placement so wish me luck on that one!

Wanna know what else I’ve done? I’ve given up coffee…..for a whole MONTH!! Me! The girl who has caffeine tattooed on her forearm because she love it so much!

It’s going okay so far, it’s been 2 and a half weeks and yes there have been times I have missed having a cuppa and honestly it’s starting to get to the point where I am looking forward to the end of the month to grab some new flavours im dying to try out, but I am doing it.

SOooooo…. if you would like to sponsor me, even if it’s just a few pennies, I would be so grateful. Every little helps get me just that bit closer to Africa.

My PayPal…..

And if you would like to follow any more updates remember my fundraising page on facebook:



Facebook base for fundraising

I have been a little all over the place with my fundraising efforts I have to admit. It’s new territory and not something I am at all used to, so finding the right or best ways of doing things is certainly trial and error and taking a bit of time.

So in an effort to try and bring it all together I have created a Facebook page in order to try and concentrate things into one place so people can see what’s going on, follow my progress and (hopefully) donate or support me!!

This is the page: Jem’s Fundraising Adventure and I really hope you will come over and give me a like!

I will leave that there for today as my hands are flaring and will post a better update soon xxx

Can you help me to help?

I have an amazing opportunity. Two weeks helping in hospitals in Africa!

The opportunity to shadow doctors, see how life works in developing countries and help out in the community. It’s an opportunity that could be life changing and not only gain me so much medical experience but also life experiences I will treasure forever.

I have a lot against me. My conditions, my circumstances but also the fact that I need to fund raise around £3000 to be able to go on this adventure.

I want to show the world just how much a single mum with chronic conditions can achieve when she puts her mind to it, that despite the obstacles anything is possible.

Can you help me? Whether it’s 50p or a share of my gofundme page, any tiny bit of help will be so appreciated. Also any ideas on what else I can try to fund raise would also be amazing.

You can find my page at  Jems volunteering in Africa

I will post updates as I go both here and on the gofundme site for all those who want to follow my progress. Wish me luck and thank you! xxx