Challenge Participant


Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thompson

The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale' is a 5000 (ish) word children's Christmas poem, about 3 siblings who build an evil snow queen in their own front garden. Little do they know of the adventure that lies ahead in their plight to save Christmas from her evil plan to end the season once and for all.

Every family has a favourite Christmas story that is brought out each Christmas Eve and read with the family. This could be the new favourite for many families this year.

The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale is a Christmas poem and, due to its length, suitable for older children who don't believe in Father Christmas but enjoy the festive atmosphere and traditions. It is a definitely alternative Christmas tale but one which will appeal to adults and children alike.

Written in rhyme the tale is about Elaine Gale, our heroine, who is a head strong and ambitious young lady, and the baddie, an evil snow queen. The main elements of Christmas are all in the book, Father Christmas, his reindeers and the gifting of presents however this is a truly modern approach to a Christmas tale and one which I love. 

The storytelling is brilliant and the use of rhyme is very popular at the current time and will keep children of all ages attention to the very end. It is a great story and one which will be brought out each year and passed from generation to generation.

Thank you to the author, Daniel Thompson, for sending me the book in return for an honest review. 

Press Out and Decorate Unicorns

Press Out and Decorate: Unicorns - Press Out and Colour (Board book)

Each press-out design is intricately decorated with pink foil and perfect for all ages to decorate. Featuring 20 unique designs, the press-out pieces can be slotted together to create magical three-dimensional hanging ornaments or threaded together to make a super-cute garland. From flying unicorns and shooting stars to fluffy clouds and rainbows, these gorgeous press-out pieces look elegant in white and pink, but even better as a decorated collection of flying unicorns.

Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd
ISBN: 9781788002172
A great stocking filler this Christmas time or the perfect present if a pack of felt tips, crayons or pencil crayons or a glue stick and sequins are added to the parcel.
The book contains 20 board pages and each contains a push out unicorn design which has been pre foiled, and can be easily pushed out,  along with wings, stars, rainbows and other designs which can be added together to create three dimensional displays, mobiles, bunting style garlands or scenes or stuck to cards to give as gifts. There is also plenty of blank space on each page which has been foiled and could be used with punches to add extra designs to creations or as embellishments for hair slides, cards or put in the craft box for future projects. The designs are in a range of sizes making them perfect for a number of different projects.

Thank you to the publishers, Nosy Crow, for sending me the book in return for an honest review. 

Crafty Gifts by Jane Bull

Crafty Gifts: Packed with ideas for presents, wrapping, and cards (Hardback)

Stuck on gift ideas for mum, dad, grandparents, or teacher? Then turn to Jane Bull's charming new children's craft book. Packed with over 20 ideas for presents, wrapping, and cards, perfect for kids who love to craft. Crafty Gifts is full of amazing projects for children aged 7+ to make, all with clear step-by-step instructions. Jane takes you from creating lovely presents, all the way to the finishing touches of wrapping and cards. Children will love crafting delightful doodle mugs, brilliant button-art pictures, and more. Even better, each project can be customised and personalised, meaning every present really is a one off. Let Crafty Gifts show you it's better to make a gift than buy one.

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd
ISBN: 9780241275801

A great gift idea for a child who loves crafting or as a resource for primary school teachers, early years providers or carers of young children for rainy day or festive crafty ideas.

Published by DK Books it is a well thought out and presented book. There are three main sections within the book: Crafty Gift Ideas (button charms, salt dough treasures, apple packs, gingerbread folk, jars of goodies, bath fizzes, picture it, this belongs to and thanks a bunch), Craft cards (love bugs, pop out cards, snap happy and cards for crafters and grafters) and Crafty Gift Wrap (pillow boxes, make a box, flat packs and brown paper packages).

The book begins with a crafty kit - what tools are needed to complete most of the projects within the book - always good to have a basic craft kit before starting any project (scissors, glue stick, sticky tape, all purpose strong glue, felt tip pen, pencil, ruler and colourful paper/card), add to this paint, glitter and crafty sparkles and you have a great craft box ready for any eventuality or rainy day!

Each crafty idea has lots of photographs and easy to follow step by step instructions. There is the basic project and, in many cases, suggested alternatives or examples. The pages are full of colour and ideas. The projects split down into easy to follow steps with very clear instructions. The crafts are suitable for small hands, with adult supervision, and will make great presents for friends, family and many other recipients. They can be adapted for a range of celebrations or for sale at fund raisers or fayres.

Even though this book is aimed at children I really like a number of the craft ideas and will be looking to adapt them to encompass my favourite crafting styles

Thank you to the publishers, DK Books, for sending me the book in return for an honest review.

Shady Bay Buddies created by Emma Brown

Today I would like to introduce my younger blog readers to the Shady Bay Buddies who have been created by Emma Brown.

Emma Brown in an expert in crochet, who has created a cast of adorable crocheted characters. Originally created for her daughters, they spent many a happy time making up stories together about them. The animals live together on a far-away island called Shady Bay. Emma began thinking up designs for the characters and wrote her own patterns to bring them to life.  Emma's patterns for a number of her animals can be found in 'Crocheted Bears and Other Animals'.

A picture book designed to inform and reassure children who are worried about going to the doctor.
Shady Bay Buddies: Archie Goes to the Doctor (Paperback)Archie and his big sister Amber are two of the Shady Bay Buddies who live in the close-knit community of Shady Bay Island. They love playing outside together, but one day Archie falls from the garden swing and hurts his arm. He's very worried when it's made clear he'll need to see the doctor. With his mum and Amber by his side, Archie goes off to the doctor and is pleasantly surprised to find it's not that bad after all. There are fun things to do there and the doctor is very kind. This delightful picture book, with adorable crocheted characters designed and made by Emma Brown, will become a firm favourite with young children who are fearful of doctors and hospitals.

Shady Bay Buddies: Archie's First Day at SchoolPublisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd
ISBN: 9781782495444

A picture book designed to inform and reassure children who are starting school.
Archie and his big sister Amber are two of the Shady Bay Buddies who live in the close-knit community of Shady Bay Island. Archie is starting school and wondering what to expect. Amber reassures him that it will be fun. We join Archie as he gets ready for school, meets his teacher, Miss Whimsie, and enjoys lots of fun activities on his first day. He even makes a new friend called Woolie. This delightful picture book, with adorable crocheted characters designed and made by Emma Brown, will become a firm favourite with young children as they embark on that all-important first day at school.

Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd
ISBN: 9781782495451

I really enjoyed both of these books. They are beautifully photographed, each double page spread being a great photograph with Emma's crocheted characters taking central stage, and including Archie's felt bunny which has been cleverly placed in each scene for young readers to spot. 
Each title is a great story, helping children to understand what will happen at a visit to the doctors or on their first day at school.  The stories are told in simple text, short sentences which are accompanied by the brilliant photographs. The crocheted characters are adorable and are joined by lots of their friends. Children of all ages will enjoy meeting them and the scenes tell their own story, lots of look at on each page and to discuss.

I really do like this new series of books. Parents will love the clean and non fussy scenes, the stories are short and easy to understand, but the illustrations can be used as the start of conversations. I really like that the characters are crocheted - perfect for craft lovers - and as Emma's patterns are available in 'Crocheted Bears and Other Animals' children can own their own Archie and Amber, allowing children's to recreate scenes and make up their own stories with their favourite characters.

Thank you to the publishers, Cico Books, for sending me the books to review in return for an honest review. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Blog Tour - It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton

Twenty-five-year-old Bea is a hopeless romantic with a hopeless love life – until now. New beau Dan ticks all the boxes: he’s good-looking, kind and thoughtful. The complete opposite of Bea’s ex, who once threw her out in the middle of the night when she was ill so she didn’t disrupt his sleep.

So when her friends point out that she and Dan don’t have fireworks, Bea ignores them. Dan is the whole package. And yet Bea can’t stop comparing him to her best friend Henry… Because Dan doesn’t get Bea’s jokes. Or like books. Or make her laugh until she can’t breathe. Or become speechless when Bea puts on her favourite black dress for a night out… 

As time goes on, Bea can’t shift the feeling that something just isn’t right. On paper Dan is the perfect man. But in reality… Will Bea be brave enough to ask for more from life – and get the fireworks she deserves?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Cate Woods, and Mhairi McFarlane.

Today I am pleased to be part of Bookouture's Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Keris Stainton's new release, It Had To Be You. Keris is an author who has written a number of books for both children, young adults and adults.

It Had To Be You is a laugh out loud novel with characters who everyone can relate to and care about. The storyline is also relatable to many readers, two people meeting, having a relationship but finding that there is something missing and not being sure, or brave enough, to do something about it.

I really enjoy Keris' style of writing. I have read a number of her previous novels and always find them to be well written, comedic and great story lines. They are easy to pick up and get lost in and have great casts of characters.

I recommend everyone to pick up It Had To Be You this Christmas time for a great, easy to read, comedic story, which everyone can relate to.

Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for giving me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Blog Tour - The Secret Child by Kerry Fisher

You can run from your past, but it will always catch up with you…
Susie was forced to do something she will always regret: giving her baby son up for adoption. Everything that led to this child, this choice, had to be buried and forgotten.

Her secret echoes down through the years, tainting everything it touches. Her husband wonders why his wife is so distant. Her daughters can’t understand their changeable mother. 

Susie knows her past is pushing her family apart, and the guilt is eating her up, but she can’t escape the longing for her lost son. No-one but Susie knows the whole story, and when her daughters discover a piece of the puzzle, she must face the question she has struggled with for most of her life:

Would the truth bring them back together, or break them?
From the bestselling author of The Silent Wife, The Secret Child is a heart-breaking and unputdownable novel about family secrets and lies. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain.

Today I am part of the Bookouture blog tour to celebrate the publication of Kerry Fisher's latest release, The Secret Child, a heart warming novel which addresses a mother's worst nightmare, giving birth to a baby and having to give him up because he was the result of a fling with a naval officer while her husband is away at war. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was a book that tugged on my maternal heart strings on a subject which I am sure many women have experienced and still hold this secret many years later. I really liked the inclusion of the Janet and John books within the story, where Susie (the mother) is reminded of the 'traditional' family, mum, dad, daughter and son, and a constant reminder of the missing son she had to give away and only her mother knows of his existence. It is a walk down memory lane for those readers growing up in the sixties, Family Circle magazine, also plays a big part in the story, another grounding element within the well researched story. The story really is a tear jerker, but in a good way, it was a book that I could loose myself in and I really felt for Susie and her family through this difficult time. 

The Secret Child is a poignant tale, one which will stay with the reader after finishing it and is a book suitable for book club reads with a number of topics that make for great discussion.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Blog Tour - Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies

Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found: A Heartwarming Feel Good Romance Novel (Paperback)

Sometimes you’ve got to run away to find yourself…

Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single and frustrated with her studies she gives up everything to run a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton.

Lucy loves reading almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. Handsome but silent Callum is the biggest puzzle of them all...

But Lucy’s meddling begins to cause more problems than it solves, and no one is more surprised than Lucy when Callum steps in to help. Could there be more to him than people think?

As Callum and Lucy start working together to fix the broken hearts of the library’s most loyal customers, the first sparks of romance begin to fly.

Can they right all the trouble Lucy has created, and might there be a chance for a happy ending of their own?

An utterly uplifting, emotional page-turner that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Milly Johnson.

Today I am pleased to be part of the Bookouture Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Emma Davies' new release, Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found.

I really enjoyed this book, it is one of the those books that once picked up, can not be put down until it is finished! It is one of those books that take the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions while in the middle of a great read.

Lucy, the main character, is in temporarily in charge of a library, while also suffering confusion about her teaching career and unsure what to do. Her life is in turmoil but she, as I am sure many of us do, finds the solution within a good book. 

There is a great cast of characters, and we meet them all through the library's book club. Each member has their own life, and their problems are also dealt with within the book. As I previously said, this book is a roller coaster of emotions and I really enjoyed reading about the reading club's members lives, they represent communities all over the country and I am sure everyone can relate to a number of the cast within this book.

I definitely would recommend this book to all, get settled one weekend with a drink, comfy chair, some chocolate and some tissues - you will not be disappointed.

Thank you to the publishers for  inviting me to take part in the blog blitz. I did receive a copy of the book in return for an honest review on my blog.