My own blog, reviewing the books I have recently read, either purchased or kindly sent to me to review. All books I have received are marked as such in the blog. I am NOT Sarah Broadhurst who works for The Bookseller and Lovereading. My other review blog is http://sarah-sarahreviews.blogspot.com/
Today I am very pleased to welcome the author Holly Webb to my blog. I have read many of Holly's previous books, most of which have been animal based but this week she is launching a new series of books about the character called Maisie Hitchins who wants to be a detective. The books are set in Victorian London, and are illustrated by Marion Lindsay.
I asked Holly what her inspiration was for this new series of books:
I don’t currently have my own blog, so being asked to write
a blog post is quite scary! I have endless admiration for people who do this on
a daily basis – I’ve never even managed to keep a diary, except as an enforced
Christmas holiday project in the top year of Juniors. Even then it was a
struggle, as a child I infinitely preferred reading to writing.
That’s one of the lovely things for me about writing the
Maisie Hitchins books. I feel as though I’ve gone back to the ten-year-old me
who had discovered Sherlock Holmes, and then Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion
detective novels. I had all the Sherlock Holmes books as a child, and I found
them fascinating. (My favourite story was The
Adventure of the Speckled Band, which I thought was amazingly clever,
although I’ve since found out that the main plot point is impossible, sadly.) I
devoured mysteries, and still do, and I’d always had a secret hankering to
write them. I was sure that I would love doing it, as I’d read so many…
It’s a lot harder than it looks, is all I can say. I have
enormously enjoyed writing the first three Maisie Hitchins books, but the
mystery element (obviously) adds a huge layer of complication and general
deceitfulness to the plotting. Thank goodness for editors who spot the large
holes before publication. If any large holes are found now, I take all
responsibility, but actually I think I’d rather you didn’t tell me, as I might
Another fabulous thing about Maisie for me is that the books
are set in the past. I really hope that children who enjoy Maisie’s adventures
might go on eventually to reading the Sherlock Holmes books – they opened up an
amazing world for me, as I’m sure they were the first fiction from another era
that I’d read (apart from Enid Blyton). I loved the setting almost as much as
the plots. With the Rose and Lily books I have some experience
writing fantastical novels set in a slightly alternative (quite a lot
alternative, really, as they’re full of magic) London, but the Maisie books are the first
books where I’m attempting an accurate historical setting. I love doing this –
although it can be very frustrating. I spent quite a long time trawling the
internet for the first book, trying to find out what sort of cash register (if
any) a late nineteenth-century butcher’s shop would have. I find this sort of
thing fascinating, and you really can while away hours with it. And the best
bit, you’re still working! Thank you for visiting my blog today. I have enjoyed the first book in this new series and will be reviewing it on my blog soon.
Dirty Bertie is 10 years old this year - Stripes Publishing is celebrating 10 years of one of the most mischievous troublemakers ever! Bertie delights children with his crazy plans, madcap ideas, and of course, disgusting habits. An expert in all things yukky, there's nothing Bertie likes more than to be surrounded by worms, fleas, bogeys, burps and suspicious smells..... and if his enthusiastic young readers are anything to go by, he's not alone!
Created by one of the UK's foremost children's illustrators, David Roberts, Bertie is the star of two picture books 'Dirty Bertie' and 'Pooh! Is that you Bertie?' as well as a fabulously funny young fiction spin-off series, established in 2006. The Bertie Brand has proved hugely popular, with series sales of over 400,000 copies to date.
I have reviewed a number of Dirty Bertie books on this blog: Pirate, Pong, Snow, Ouch, and Fangs. They are fantastic books for children, especially boys, although girls are big fans too. Perfect for children who are growing in confidence reading alone, one step on from Early Readers. Chapter books which are ideal in length for a child to read a chapter a night or to be shared with younger children during story time, introducing the ideas of chapters.
Why not introduce a child to the world of Dirty Bertie and help celebrate ten years in print for Dirty Bertie! Ideal for fans of Horrid Henry and Just William.
Billy and Me is a gorgeously romantic debut novel about the redemptive power of love by actress, journalist and blogger Giovanna Fletcher. Sophie May has a secret. One that she's successfully kept for years. It's meant that she's had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop. But then she meets the gorgeous Billy - an actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy's glamorous - but ruthless - world. Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation? Charming, heartwarming and utterly romantic, Billy and Me will completely capture your heart. 'A gorgeous, gloriously romantic read with buckets of charm - I absolutely loved it!' Jill Mansell Actress and freelance journalist, Giovanna is married to Tom Fletcher from McFly. She grew up in Essex with her Italian dad Mario, mum Kim, big sister Giorgina and little brother Mario, and spent most of her childhood talking to herself (it seems no one wanted to listen) or reading books. Giovanna is a firm believer in the power of magpies and positive energy.
This is a fantastic read written by an author as her debut novel. When a famous TV star walks into Tea on the Hill one morning, Sophie does not know who he is, but there is a connection between them both and what follows is a beautiful love story which is hampered by press intrusion. They do end up splitting and it is not until Sophie's close friend dies that they are bought back together, but will they end up back together??? The book is really well written and I found myself devouring chapter after chapter each night until I reached the end. It is lighthearted and a real summery chick lit book which would be perfect to slip into a holiday suitcase to be read beside a pool or read on a lazy weekend. Giovanna is married to Tom Fletcher from McFly but this book should be celebrated as a great debut novel written by Giovanna, an author, who happens to be married to Tom from McFly. I recommend this as a great read - go and buy it now!!! I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.
Jack Marvell's latest stunt is to stay up on a high-wire for thirty days
and nights. Olivia is worried for her father, but very proud of him.
But then the rumours start, claiming that Jack's cheating. Olivia must
give her all to her role in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and also prove to
the world that her father is no fraudster.
This is the sixth book in the series of books by Lyn Gardner in which Olivia, along with her sister Alicia (Eel) attend their grandmother's school, The Swan Academy of Theatre and Dance. I have reviewed the previous five books on my blog and I have really enjoyed following Olivia and Eel's journey through the school, each gaining confidence in their performance skills.
In this book, their father, Jack Marvell is planning another huge test of his endurance and skills. He reminds me of David Blaine. However, someone appears to have decided to sabotage his spectacular as another artiste sets up just down the river. Olivia is getting older and continuing with her studies, supporting her father in his latest stunt while Eel decides she needs to know if she has the potential to become a prima ballerina, but when she gets the answer she has a difficult decision to make.
As with the whole series, Lyn Gardner has created a fantastic cast of
characters within a school environment - think Enid Blyton's Malory
Towers set in a stage school. The stories are believable with characters
facing the same problems that teenagers up and down the country are
facing as friendship groups are pulled apart when boys come on the
This is a fantastic series for children aged 9+. It would appeal to girls and I think boys will also enjoy it if they have a interest in performing arts. The book is part of a series and although reading in order would enable readers to meet the characters and learn their histories, it is not necessary as each book could be read as a standalone story.
The next installment of the series is due for release in July 2013 and I look forward to seeing what Olivia and her friends get up to next.
Thank you to the publishers, Nosy Crow, for sending me the book to review.
What's black and white, and flies faster than the speed of light? The
Space Penguins! They're the ice-cool crew of the spaceship Tunafish.
With their pioneering flying skills and resistance to the deep freeze,
these intergalactic avians are going where no fin has gone before.
Captain T Krill, Rocky Waddle, Fuzz Allgrin and Splash Gordon are on a
mission to explore new planets, rescue alien life, and battle their
former comrade-in-wings: Dark Wader. In Star Attack! the crew of the
Tunafish pick up a distress signal from a cargo craft, there's snow time
to lose. But the Tunafish's daring rescue is canned when the vessel
runs into trouble too. What's been luring spacecraft to their doom? This
hilarious Space Penguin adventure is sure to appeal to young boys. Full
of humour, fishy goings on and adventure this is a fantastic series
that will tickle even reluctant boy readers.
This reminds me of the cult favourite 'Red Dwarf'! I believe this will be a firm favourite of school boys up and down the country and are a great book to get reluctant readers to pick up a book!
There are five main characters, each of whom are introduced at the start of the book with their own little biography. The books are full of humour and I am sure that they will entice a readers imagination - leading to a fascination of space travel and lots of oppurtunity for further reading. Each book sees the space penguins off on an exploration filled with adventure and excitement.
The stories are accompanied by great illustrations by James Davies.
Thank you to the publishers, Stripes Publishing, for sending me the books to review.
I was surprised to find the author was Lucy Courtenay, who's books I have previously included on this blog, being cute animal reads which my daughter has enjoyed. This book is a completely different style of writing and I am sure she will gain lots of male fans through this new series.
When Joe Edmunds makes a wish on an Egyptian amulet, little does he know
that he has volunteered to guide and defend the undead pet inhabitants
of his town! Dumpling the hamster came to a dusty end inside a vacuum
cleaner ...but he suspects that his owner Oliver's parents never
admitted to their son that they were to blame for Dumpling's demise. Now
the hamster needs Joe's help to reveal the truth - but there's a furry
surprise awaiting them at Oliver's house.. (Synopsis of Book 1)
When I saw the synopsis for these books I was unsure about them - I know that my children have gone through that phase of talking about death and I wasn't sure if I wanted to encourage any more of those conversations. However, when I had read these I was pleasantly surprised. Although the books feature a character who is dead, it is not a big part of the story.
Joe has a strange power - when a pet dies in suspicious circumstances, they contact Joe, who sorts out their 'unfinished business' before they rest in peace. I think that these books will be a hit with children aged 7+, those with an inquisitive mind who enjoy finding the answer to their questions. In 'Goldfish from beyond the grave', Fizz needs to know who it was who killed him. Was he eaten by one of the other fish in the tank or did something else happen? Only Joe can find the answer to these questions and until he does, he will keep meeting these undead pets.
It is a good series and it is not necessary to read these books in order as there is a useful 'The story so far' in each book. It would be perfect for children aged 7 years+ who are happy reading chapter books on their own, independently. I think they will attract boys rather than girls but are suitable for either.
The books are accompanied by a website: www.undeadpets.co.uk where readers can meet the characters and play games.
Thank you to the publishers, Stripes Publishing, for sending me the books to review.
Grace has been best friends with Ella and Flick forever. The late-night
chats, shared heartaches and good times have created a bond that has
stood the test of time. When Ella invites them to stay for a week in her
cottage in South Wales, Grace jumps at the chance to see her old
friends. She also hopes that the change of scenery will help her
reconnect with her distant husband. Then Flick arrives; loveable,
bubbly, incorrigible Flick, accompanied by the handsome and charming
Noah. This is going to be one week which will change all their lives
forever...Join Grace, Ella and Flick for a week of love, laughter, tears
and friendship in A Cottage by the Sea
I am a big fan of Carole Matthews and look forward to each new release. This one is a great read for a long holiday weekend, a beach read or one to have in your hand luggage for a long journey.
Set in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, it sounds just the place for a long, lazy week away and when Ella invites her childhood friends for a catchup along with their partners, I am sure that was what she imagined for the week. However, their week was definitely not that! There were arguments and upset before Grace even got there and when Flick arrived with her new boyfriend there were instant attractions between the holiday goers which were not in the plan!
The story was one of friendship and relationships and although I was able to guess one of the relationships that ended the book I was surprised by another. There were many funny scenes within the book and it is definitely one which keeps you entertained throughout. There are twists and turns throughout the storyline but all inkeeping with a great read!
I would recommend this book to all fans of Carole Matthews and fans of women's fiction. When you pick up a Carole Matthew's book you are guaranteed a fantastic read every time!
Thank you to the publishers, Sphere, for sending me the book to review.