Challenge Participant


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Brian the Lion Goes into Space by Tracey Radford

Brian the Lion Goes into Space (Hardback)

A rhyming picture book about a lion called Brian who goes on a space adventure.
Brian the lion is tired of hanging out with his pride - all they do is sleep all day long. While they snooze, Brian gazes at the stars, dreaming of going into space. He can't believe it when his loved ones, tired of his moaning, present him with a DIY rocket so that he can fulfil his dream. Zoom - he's off! After looping the loop, Brian soon lands on a moon near Saturn and meets small green gnomes who make him rainbow-coloured food and speak in a strange language, and their dragon Norris. Though things are exciting for a while, Brian is soon missing home, even the boring bits. What will Brian do? Will he stay in his new space home or return to his pride? Featuring one of craft expert Tracey Radford's adorable animal creations, Brian the Lion Goes into Space is a sweet tale, with a wonderful moral message, that will be loved by young children.

Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd
ISBN: 9781782495765
Brian the Lion Goes into Space is a lovely story book to share with children. The story is written in clear bold text and is written in rhyming verse. The thing that drew me to the book was the pictures. They are all photographed scenes using simple crafted pieces and props that could be used as ideas for crafty rainy day projects or for book related crafty pieces at children's play and craft sessions. For instance, Brian the Lion is made up of simple shapes of card stuck together to make a lion with a big brown mane, the grass is green card cut into spiky strands. The caves are paper covered paper mache/ play dough structures and the gnomes are made of toilet rolls and cotton wool. It all adds to the appeal of the book to me and I wish that I still ran toddler play sessions so I could recreate some of the scenes myself. Many of the creations are included in the book Make Your Own Zoo by Tracy Radford

I received this book from the publishers, Cico Kidz in return for an honest review.

Where's The Baby by Britta Teckentrup

Where's the Baby? - Britta Teckentrup (Hardback)

On every one of the brilliantly patterned pages of this book, there is a mother animal with a baby. Children will love searching for the baby animal in this spot-and-find book. This is the fourth beautiful title in Britta Teckentrup's bestselling spotting series, which includes: The Odd One Out, Where's the Pair and One is not a Pair. The series has sold over 250,000 copies internationally.

Publisher: Templar Publishing
ISBN: 9781783706105 

Britta Teckentrup's books are always beautiful and as the reader turns each page they are presented with another stunning picture, each as good as the previous illustration and I am always in awe of Britta's drawing ability. Her books are for children however I always enjoy them.
Where's the Baby is a spotting book with lots of different animals included - including elephants, parrots, whales, chickens, sloths, geese, tigers, frogs, kangaroos, giraffes, sea horses, zebras, crocodiles and snails. Many are animals which are not traditionally included within children's books but all are beautifully drawn and there are lots of each animal on the page and the game is to spot the moth and child. It is a great game to play with youngsters and each animal also has a verse to read alongside the game.
This book would make a lovely gift for a young child to share with their parents at story time.
Thank you to the publishers Big Picture Press for sending me the book to review. 

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Blog Blitz - The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair

Today I am pleased to participate in Bookouture's Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Alex Sinclair's latest release, The Day I Lost You.

You only let her go for a second… Now she’s gone. 

Erika Rice is in an elevator with her four-year-old daughter Alice when it stops on the wrong floor and her little girl runs out. The doors close before Erika can follow, and the daughter she loves more than anything is suddenly nowhere to be seen. Erika can’t bear the thought of her daughter in danger or afraid, and will do anything to get her back. But with no sign of Alice, Erika has no idea where to begin. The residents of the apartment block claim not to have seen anything, but Erika realises someone’s lying to her – and that there’s something darker at play. How could a four-year-old disappear into thin air? 

A gripping and addictive psychological thriller that will have you holding on tight to the ones you love. If you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors, Silent Child and I Let You Go, you won’t want to miss The Day I Lost You!

I was looking forward to reading Alex Sinclair's latest release after enjoying 'The Last Thing I Saw', Alex's debut novel last year, a psychological thriller which kept me guessing to the very end. 'The Day I Lost You' is the second novel and Alex has definitely followed up with another psychological thriller which kept me hooked to the very end.

The story is about a mother loosing her daughter and I felt every emotion alongside Erika, it is a mother's worst nightmare and Alex has definitely captured this fear and dread very well in his writing. 

There are lots of twists and turns throughout the story and a number of them left me shocked, but also hooked and for this reason I very quickly devoured the book and has left me eager to read Alex's next book (although I expect that will be at least another 12 months to wait!) 

Thank you to Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this in return for an honest review and the chance to be a part of this Blog Blitz.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Blog Blitz 'The Summer Getaway' by Tilly Tennant

Today I am pleased to be part of Bookouture's Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Tilly Tennant's latest release, The Summer Getaway.

Ashley Moon is all set for a dream holiday with her daughter in the glittering French Riviera. But nothing can prepare her for the shock of discovering who’s staying in the villa next door… 

Ashley Moon got much more than a suntan on her first ever foreign holiday; one whirlwind romance and nine months later she had a daughter, Molly.

Too heartbroken and proud to ever contact the father, Ashley made a decision to go it alone and raise her daughter herself. Fifteen hard and lonely years later, she finally has the chance to take Molly on her first ever holiday; a gorgeous, all-expenses-paid trip to the charming French resort of St. Raphael.

It is the perfect setting for a week of quality time together; they plan to cycle through the sun-drenched vineyards, lounge by the glistening pool and practise their French on friendly locals. And just when Ashley thought things couldn’t get any better, comes the news of a handsome new occupant in the villa next door.

But fate has other plans for Ashley. One look into her neighbour’s dark hazel eyes is all it takes to give her the shock of her life. Standing in front of her is Haydon, Molly’s long-lost father and the holiday fling she thought she’d never see again.

As the temperature on the Cote D’Azure steadily rises and Ashley and Haydon begin to spend more and more time together, will Ashley find the courage to tell him who she is – and more importantly, who Molly is?

A wonderfully heart-warming story of first love and second chances for fans of Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond.

I was transported to the South of France through Tilly Tennant's fantastic writing and spent a relaxing weekend basking in the sunshine and beautiful setting while devouring The Summer Getaway. 

I did find the book rather slow going to start with, however I persevered and was glad that I did because I did really enjoy the final third of the book. I think that this was because I was hoping to read more about the fall out of the secret rather than the build up to the telling - it reminded me of Mamma Mia a little!

A good storyline with likeable characters. Tilly Tennant has again written a good summer read to enjoy poolside or basking in the sun.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review from the publishers, Bookouture.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Blog Tour - The Mum Who'd Had Enough by Fiona Gibson

A busy weekend on the blog this weekend! Today I am pleased to be taking part in Fiona Gibson's blog tour to celebrate the publication of 'The Woman Who'd Had Enough'.

The Mum Who'd Had Enough (Paperback)

The voice of modern women is back! Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews.
After sixteen years of marriage, Nate and Sinead Turner have a nice life.  They like their jobs, they like their house and they love their son Flynn. Yes, it's a very nice life.
Or, at least Nate thinks so. Until, one morning, he wakes to find Sinead goneand a note lying on the kitchen table listing all the things he does wrong or doesn't do at all.
Nate needs to show Sinead he can be a better husband - fast. But as he works through Sinead's list, his life changes in unexpected ways. And he starts to wonder whether he wants them to go back to normal after all. Could there be more to life than nice?

I really enjoyed this book. It is one of those books that makes you laugh out loud while also thinking 'I do that' or 'I can relate to that'. Fiona Gibson is a fabulous author who is writes great novels which are observational. I am sure that her characters must be based on real life people who she has seen around and from conversations she has had overheard or had with girl friends. 
I highly recommend this book as a great book to get lost in over the summer - perfect for a sun lounger or beach read to throw into a holiday bag this summer.
The author, Fiona Gibson, joins me on my blog today to share with my readers her thoughts on What is Middle Age?

Have you noticed the term ‘midlife’ being bandied around a lot? I quite like it. It’s definitely preferable to middle-aged, which has terrible connotations (stuffy, past it, looking sneeringly at young people). When I was writing my new novel, The Mum Who’d Had Enough, I thought a lot about what this lifestage means for women - our hopes and fears, how we relate to our young adult offspring and feel about our own adult relationships, our working lives and all that stuff.

When I started writing novels around fifteen years ago, my main characters were in the midst of new motherhood and coping with babies and toddlers. These days I’m more interested in the experiences my friends and I are all going through now. You might be familiar with night sweats, mood swings and being unable to remember where you parked the car. Irritating, yes - but on those plus side we can blame everything that goes wrong on the menopause. Also, it provides tons of stuff write about.

As I began to plan this new book, I asked my friends to share the aspects of arriving at midlife which they hadn’t expected to happen. Here’s what they told me.

Midlife means…  

Shunning fashion trends. Clothes are still important; no one I know wishes to flop into a puddle of beige. However one-season ‘must haves’ no longer feature on our radar at all. I love this aspect of growing older; that we know what suits us and pretty much stick within this parameters. Shopping is a breeze when you can zoom in on the kind of pieces you love, and be done with it. Last weekend, I bought every item I needed for a weekend away, and a forthcoming two-week holiday, in a single hour, in one shop.

Hair. Not just head hair, which has started to turn rather brittle, no matter how much conditioner we slather on - but those facial hairs. Weirdly, these are invisible during mirror checks at home - but appear suddenly when we venture out in bright sunlight. Occasionally, a kind friend might grab at one and pull it off.

A new-found cautiousness. Once bold and reckless, surviving on Silk Cut and cheap wine, now we shred all our paperwork and consider installing CCTV outside our homes. Whilst we used to trot out bare-legged of an evening, now we worry about everyone being warm enough. In fact, shouldn’t you be wearing a coat?

Hobbies! Yes, they sound a little old ladyish, but when our kids fly and nest we find ourselves with tons more time on our hands. Even if they’re still living with us, our domestic workload is dramatically reduced as, generally speaking, they are capable of operating the washing machine. Feeling newly liberated and energised, we can start going to classes and learning new things. It’s a bit like going back to school - without the dismal uniforms and terrible dinners.

On the other hand… we no longer feel guilty about doing very little. A perfect Sunday can mean listening to Radio 6 Music and reading the papers. No one feels pressurised to have hilarious anecdotes to share at work on Monday morning, and we’re done with competing over who has the whizziest life. If this is what they call midlife, then I’m liking it very much.

Fiona’s latest novel, The Mum Who’d Had Enough, is published as an ebook on June 14, and is out in paperback in July
Thank you to Fiona and her publishers, Avon Books, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour in return for an honest review of the book. 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Blog Tour - Murder on the Green by H V Coombs

Today I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of 'Murder on the Green' by H V Coombs.

Midsomer Murders meets The Great British Bake Off in this foodie delight with murder at its heart.
Hampden Green has been quiet for months, allowing Ben Hunter to concentrate on running The Old Forge Café. That is until celebrity chef Justin McCleish announces he is opening a pop-up restaurant at the local opera festival and wants Ben to help out.
Ben couldn’t be more flattered, until he discovers he hasn’t been hired for his cooking abilities… Justin is being blackmailed and needs help to crack the case. That is, until extortion turns deadly!
Now Ben must do whatever it takes to find the killer before they strike again…

Reading Murder on the Green reminded me of all I love about Midsummer Murders. It is a great cosy crime novel, set in an idyllic setting, with a believable cast of characters all bought together for a big event, in this case, an opera festival, and in an location that I would love to visit for a weekend away (without all the added drama of a blackmail and murder).

There are also a number of additional issues which sneak into the book, one being the difficult subject of anger issues and the subsequent management of these. There are also drug and alcohol addiction which all add to the impact.

I found the book slow to get going at first, however I was soon engrossed and really enjoyed the story. The ending was unexpected and has left me wanting to read more from H V Coombs in the future. 

I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers and Net Galley in return for an  honest review.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Blog Tour - The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins

Today I am pleased to welcome Sophie Jenkins to my blog to celebrate the publication of her debut novel 'The Forgotten Guide to Happiness'. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She's perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that's what she tells herself.
Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she's doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy's grip on the world.
When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don't realise they need to be saved?
An irresistible story of love, memory and the power of friendship that readers of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Lido will adore.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008281809 
I really enjoyed Sophie's debut novel, it was an easy read that I devoured in a weekend. It is one of those books that makes you laugh out loud and the cast of characters are all believable and ones which I could identify as being part of my circle of friends. I really liked the writing class scenes, giving me an insight into the literary world. I am already looking forward to Sophie's next book.
The publishers, Avon Books, have given me an extract to share with my blog readers …...

Heading towards Camden Town, I decided to avoid the markets and the tourists by calling in the York and Albany for a drink. If you feel drunk and you drink, it makes you feel less drunk, like homeopathy. But I realised it was exactly the kind of place that Kitty might be going to for lunch. A bit further on, just off Delancey Street, is the Edinboro Castle, a place she would never set foot in, so I walked on and went into the bar, swinging my heavy Tesco bag. It was so dark it was like being momentarily blinded.

I took my wine out into the glare of the beer garden and sat at a table all to myself under a silver birch where I could think up a plan with no distractions.

A shadow fell over me. ‘Is this seat taken?’

‘Yes,’ I said automatically. Looking up, I saw a guy wearing a bright orange Nike sweatshirt and faded jeans. He had messy dark hair but, despite being unshaven, he had a friendly, open face with straight dark eyebrows and clear grey eyes. Realising I was being ‘difficult’, as my parents liked to put it, I quickly apologised. ‘Sorry, that was rude.’ Suddenly, having company wasn’t such a bad idea, even if it was with a stranger. ‘No. Help yourself.’

‘Cheers.’ He smiled, sat down and put his lager in front of him.

His smile looked like the smile of a man who has had an easy life, which is a good foundation for a warm character. People who have an easy life assume the best and tend to be generous and optimistic – I haven’t Googled this or anything; it’s just my opinion, based on experience.

Thank you to Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour in return for an honest review.