Challenge Participant


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

MO-BOT Cameron

Asha's new school is insane. Everyone has giant robots that launch out of their mobile phones! She's only been there five minutes when the school bully challenges her to a fight. So now it's not just about figuring out who's cool and who isn't. She has to learn to pilot her Mo-bot. And fast. But while Asha gets to grips with her Mo-bot's moves and customises her DMC, she's being watched...Her piloting skills are about to be put to the ultimate test, and there's nothing her new friends can do to help. This title presents thrilling titanic battles from the DFC Library.

When i received this book, i was unsure of if I would enjoy it. I requested it from thinking it was a different book, something my children watched on one of the kids channels. However, when i started reading it I was pleasantly surprised.
The book is a comic strip and begins with the character starting at a new school. All pupils at the school have huge 'mo-bots' which pupils control through their mobile phones!
When i see comic books I immediately think they are male orientated, however this book is definitely more female orientated. The characters are all female. The books also covers two important topics, starting a new school where the other pupils all seem to know each other and also the issues of groups of girls competing against each other - or girls having to prove themselves before they are accepted into the group.
The comic strips throughout the book are great illustrations, with the main characters standing out from the dullened background. The characters all have a modern edge to them, with their clothes and hairstyles being current.
This is the first book in the series and the comic strip does include explanations about the 'mo-bots' and how the pupils battle each other.

I think this book is a great new style which will attract girls aged 9+ who do not enjoy reading long stories - they will love these comic strips. My daughter was interested to look through the book and will be reading it after me. A great introduction into the childrens fiction market.

Thank you to Michael for again sending me this book.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Wild Things - Jo Carnegie

When an A-list film set descends on the quiet village of Churchminster, so begins the village's most scandalous year...Meet the glamorous cast of Wild Things! Sophia - the leading lady who gets what she wants. And she wants...Jed - the village's gorgeous gardener, living with devoted girlfriend...Camilla - sweet-natured and desperate for a baby, unlike her sister...Calypso - fiercely ambitious, and unimpressed by the penetrating gaze of...Rafe - dashing leading man, who quickly wins over Calypso's grandmother...Clementine - whose only desire is for Churchminster to win 'Britain's Best Village'!

When Hollywood descends on a small rural villaage in the running for Best Britsh Village you can expect trouble. Handsome leading men, flirty leading lady and the villagers of Churchminster are all in a flap, however add to this someone sabotaging all the hard work the 'garden party' (the committee for the best village team) have been working at and you know it will end in tears.
i loved this book - i have read all three of the Churchminster books and i have to say they are getting better and better. i had many a late night reading those extra few pages! This is the best book so far.
there are many secrets and problems to be solved and revealled throughout the book and although i thought i had them worked out, jo carnegie had done a great job in confusing me!
i would recommend this to all, along with naked truths and country pursuits.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Ultimate Puzzle Challenge: Pencil Frenzy - Helene Hovanec

This title is part of a fantastic series featuring problem-solving games for seven-to-nine-year-olds. It includes fun puzzles, like picture crosswords, fill-in-the-grid challenges, spot the difference and other brain-teasers. It is aimed at children aged 7 to 10. Kids will have a blast taking this challenge! Helene Hovanec, whose books have become a huge success, has created another fantastic series featuring problem-solving games for seven-to-nine-year-olds. "Pencil Frenzy" includes loads of fun puzzles, like picture crosswords, fill-in-the-grid challenges, spot the difference, riddles, code breaking and other brainteasers. Like Hovanec's other books, this has an educational slant that will be popular with parents and teachers, but kids will love it too.

I was interested to have a good look at this book when it arrived, especially as my daughter (age 8) loves puzzles. There are a great range of puzzles in this book - fill in the missing letters, mazes, memory, observation puzzles word searches and opposites. some of the puzzles are educational.
Although i thought the book was a good buy, i was disappointed that some of the puzzles are 'Americanised', with puzzles including American spellings or American colloquialisms, which i think could be confusing for the target audience (age 7-9 years).

It's a Dog's Life - Michael Morpurgo and Patrick Benson

Lula always likes me to go with her to the end of the lane. She loves a bit of a cuddle and a lick or two before the school bus comes. 'Oh Russ', she whispers. 'A horse. It's all I want for my birthday.' And I'm thinking - 'Scuse me, but what's so great about a horse? Isn't a dog good enough.' Michael's story is an energetic romp through a dog's busy day on a farm. Russ, the sheepdog, herds sheep and cows and plots against Tigger, the farm cat. He covers Lula, his master's daughter, with lots of slobbery licks but when she gets a special birthday present, he worries that she might love it more than him...

This book is a gorgeous book - beautiful pictures which look hand drawn, any of which would look at home on the walls of a farmhouse. I would have this book as a special book to share with the chidlren at quiet or bed time.
The story is about a trusty farm dog written as if the dog is telling the story. It introduces the reader to farm life, the herding and shearing of sheep. It also, i think, gives a message about remembering to include old friends, when new friends appear.
i really enjoyed reading this book and i think Michael Morpurgo, along with Patrick Benson, have written a lovely story which will be loved by children of all ages.
Thank you to Michael from my child forum ( for sending this book to me.

Mini Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) thought motherhood would be a breeze and that having a daughter was a dream come true - a shopping friend for life! But it's trickier than she thought - two-year-old Minnie has a quite different approach to shopping. She can create havoc everywhere from Harrods to Harvey Nicks to her own christening. She hires taxis at random, her favourite word is 'Mine', and she's even started bidding for designer bags on eBay. On top of everything else, there's a big financial crisis. People are having to Cut Back - including all of Becky's personal shopping clients - and she and Luke are still living with Becky's Mum and Dad. To cheer everyone up, Becky decides to throw a surprise birthday party - on a budget - but then things become really complicated. Who will end up on the naughty step, who will get a gold star and will Becky's secret wishes come true?

Becky Bloomwood is back, along with her two year old daughter! Armed with credit cards and designer outfits, they both love hitting the shops together although Minnie's favorite line appears to be 'MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE'!
Sophie Kinsella has done it again, a great read which i devoured in a few days. In this latest installment in the Becky Bloomwood series Kinsella covers current topics in her own style. With one of the major banks collapsing, the population are all tightening their belts but Becky sees a spot in the market and provides a service for all her customers who need all the new seasons must haves but can't let their husbands see them bring their new purchases home.
Kinsella also addresses the use of 'super nannies' who are flooding TV screens when Luke contacts one to see Minnie, it ends up with it being Becky who has the issues.
Becky also decides to organise a party for Luke's upcoming birthday and as usual it is full of mad cap ideas and very expensive tastes.It looks like the party will be a disaster, with many family and friends distancing themselves from the plans following arguments until a face from the past appears and makes a very generous offer. Her lies are getting worse, however she always manages to get out any tricky situation she finds herself i.

I really enjoyed this book and found it one which i read very quickly. The plot had many similarities to previous books but i liked that. Becky Bloomwood may be older, however she still has the same morals and traits and these are being passed on to her daughter. as i previously mentioned many of the subjects addressed in the book are current to the world today and will be ones suffered by the readers.
If you are an existing lover of or a new reader of Sophie Kinsella, pick this book. It will have you laughing out loud, shouting at her to act her age, or hiding behind a cushion when she is telling the weirdest lie you will love it!
Thank you to Transworld Publishers for sending me an advance copy.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Horrid Henry Rocks - Francesca Simon

Four new stories: Horrid Henry's Invasion - Horrid Henry and Perfect Peter keep invading each other's rooms. Moody Margaret's Sleepover - Moody Margaret invites all the members of the Secret Club for a sleepover, with catastrophic results. Horrid Henry's Autobiography - Miss Battle-Axe's class all have to write their autobiographies, the best to be published in the local paper. Horrid Henry Rocks - Horrid Henry wants to go to the Killerboy Rats concert while his family want to go to the Daffy and her Dancing Daisies concert.

Francesca Simon has done it again - Horrid Henry Rocks is another fantastic book containing four stories which will capture childrens' imagination and attention. Horrid Henry, Perfect Peter and Moody Margaret are all included in some of the stories along with their other friends and school friends.
Horrid Henry wants revenge on perfect Peter when he looses access to the computer in Horrid Henry's Invasion, Horrid Henry gets stuck at one of Moody Margaret sleepovers, Horrid Henry ends up sucking up to Moody Margaret in Horrid Henry's Autobiography and finally in Horrid Henry Rocks, Horrid Henry ends up being chosen to go on stage at a youngsters stage show and then get evicted by security when he sings rock music on stage, before being given VIP tickets to the gig he really wanted to go to.
I would thoroughly recommend this to all Horrid Henry fans, i know when my two chidlren see the book, they will be fighting over who reads it first.
Well done Francesca Simon - a great read for children and adults alike!!!
thank you to Michael from My Child forum ( for sending me the book.

The Distant Hours - Kate Morton

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Millderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond. In the grand and glorious Millderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie's mother. She discovers the joys of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers. Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother's riddle, she, too, is drawn to Millderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Millderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it...

I am a great fan of Kate Morton’s previous books and was excited when I received a copy of the manuscript of her new book, The Distant Hours.
The book has two distinct storylines which intertwine throughout the book. The first, being in the present, told by Edie and the other being from the past, centring around the life of the Blythe family.
The book begins with a letter, which had been lost in the post, being delivered to Edie’s mother some 40 years late. Edie was surprised to discover her mum had been evacuated to Milderhurst and billeted with the Blythe family; however her mum seemed unwilling to tell her anymore about the time.
After leaving her mother and returning to her own flat, Edie began to think about what her mother had told her and has hazy memories about visiting Milderhurst in her childhood.
A chance work meeting and a busy motorway sent Edie on a diversion which led her to a small village, Milderhurst. She had the feeling she had been there before, she spends the night and arranges a guided tour with one of the sisters to Milderhurst castle to investigate further, having had the feeling she had been there before.
As Edie leaves the village the following day, she has with more questions and starts to investigate further when she gets home. Has she been there before? Why won’t her mum answer her questions? Who was the mysterious Mr Cavill? Who and what was the real story behind the Mud Man.
Following her father’s admittance to hospital and subsequent bed rest at home in which he also read ‘The true history of the mud man’, he encourages Edie to help him investigate the truth behind the story. Edie is further helped when, out of the blue, she is contacted by a publisher who tells her that the Blythe sisters have asked for her personally to write a foreword for the republication of the book. Another visit to Milderhurst leads Edie to answering her questions and finding the real story behind the Mud Man. Edie has to decide what to announce to the world and what should stay within the family. However, before Edie can discuss the matter with the family, another tragedy happens to decide Edie’s mind.
I really enjoyed this book and liked the way two stories were told throughout the book. The story of the Blythe sisters was intriguing and each chapter developed their story further, giving insight into their backgrounds. As the book continued, secrets were revealed in both the past and to Edie. The modern day story was another interesting story, exploring the story of the relationships between Edie, her mother and father. It also told of the twin sisters, both looking after their sister but also protecting her from the world, in case she revealed something about their past.
The book has been split into many sections, each with small, manageable chapters, which were easily devoured. Throughout the book I found myself guessing what each secret was and who was involved and although I was able to unravel some of the secrets, others were a shock to discover.
The cover depicts exactly how I how imagine Milderhurst to look when you stood at those imposing gates.
I would recommend this book to all Morton fans. I would like to thank pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this to review.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

World of Football by Michael Hurley

A brand new series offering high interest facts, statistics, photographs and features covering the 2010 World Cup and great World Cup stars and moments up to the present day. Includes information on the teams taking part in the 2010 World Cup. Provides comprehensive coverage of the World Cup and its place in soccer's history and future.

this book has been kindly sent to myself and my son by Michael from the My Child forum (
the book contains many large, high quality photographs of many players, both past and present.
There are a number of sections/chapters to the book which explain the history of both the game of football and also the introduction of the world cup to the world,football around the world, explaining both the english premiership as well as the USA major league soccer, womens football and football fans around the world. There are many interesting facts within the text and touches on many topics and would be a great book for anyone interested in football and wants a general guide to the history of the game, leaving them many oppurtunities to further research specific topics later. There is also a useful section in the back which details the markings on a football pitch, aswell as descriptions of the main five positions a footballer may play in.

there is a comprehensive glossary at the end of the book and a couple of suggestions of books for further reading and websites.

This book would be ideal for a child who had began to show an interest in football, however i do think that there is a limit to the amount of information given within the book. i only have a limited knowledge of football (although i am learning as my son has discovered match attack cards and match of the day on a sunday morning) and i was aware of quite a few competitions from around the world not included or football stars which were not included (only three were included and i had heard of only Cristiano Ronaldo), however it would have been difficult to choose which football starts to include. i believe the book could have been extended to include a few more details to give a true reflection of football as a game and not concentrate on 'football stars', which could give the book a shorter shelf life.
I do think this is a great book for children to extend their interest in football and would recommend the book to them, however if you want to know about current football players or a more detailled read than a gerneral overview other books of the market may be better choices.
thank you again to michael for sending me this book.

Stunt Bunny, Showbiz Sensation by Tamsyn Murray

Meet Harriet Houdini, a young rabbit with lots of attitude, as she settles into life with her new family. Never destined to be a boring bunny, Harriet finds herself scouted by the producer of hit TV show Superpets and starts her career on the showbiz ladder. From daring backflips to thrilling escape attempts Harriet really is a Stunt Bunny extraordinaire!

This book is a read suggested for 5+.
THe book starts with a young girl having a new pet rabbit, who likes to escape and have a taste of freedom.
the story includes harriets visit to a pet show and her audition for 'Superpets', which is very similar to the X factor or Britain's got talent.
the book is well written, in a style most 5 year olds will be able to cope with, and is written from the point of view of Harriet Houdini, the rabbit. i thought the story was amusing and would be a story which would grab the attention of young children, who would be able to follow the story and want to know what happens next.
i throughly enjoyed this story, even though i am not the target audience but will be passing it on to my 6 and 8 year old children for them to enjoy too.

Once upon a time Ruby O'Neill lived in her very own ivory tower (a beautiful little cottage) with her very own fairytale prince (her handsome husband Jonathan). She had roses round her door and her friends were never far away - life in her fairytale land was perfect. But grown-up fairy stories don't last forever and one dark night Ruby's life is smashed into a million pieces. With her castle in the air destroyed and her heart broken, she swears she will never love again. Yet guardian angels hide in the strangest places and from Ruby's darkest night, six magical secrets slowly emerge to show her life is for living and that tomorrow is not too late for love. But who is the mysterious stranger who holds the seventh secret, the hardest one to find? And is he the person who holds the ultimate secret, the key to Ruby's frozen heart?

The book starts with the impression that Ruby has the perfect life, great husband, great life, great friends and is having a last minute shopping trip with her friend on Christmas Eve, before going home to wait for her husband's return from work, to decorate the christmas tree which has jsut been delivered by a man Ruby felt some attraction too. However, as in every story, happiness soon turns to tradegy and Ruby's life comes crashing done.
The rest of the book is about Ruby's life after teh tradegy and the emotions and feelings she has to cope with while rebuilding her life and career along with the problems with her parents marriage and her best friends life. each story interweaves with the main story and draws you through the book to find out what happens to them.
The Seven Secrets of Happiness are revealled throughout the book following the sale or gift of each of the unique bags Ruby made and sells in her shop.
i enjoyed this book and found it a great summer read which i could pick up as and when to read a few chapters. the chapters are short and easy to read and the writing style is one which would appeall to many.
the main story line is one which many people can identify with and the book gives everyone who has been in a similar situation the courage and determination to pick themselves up and achieve their dreams.
i would recommend this book to all and hope you enjoy the read!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I Heart Paris - Lindsey Kelk

Angela is in the city of love -- but romance is taking a nose-dive! When Angela Clark's boyfriend Alex suggests a trip to Paris at the same time as hip fashion mag Belle asks her to write a piece, she jumps at the chance. But even as she's falling for the joie de vivre of Paris, someone's conspiring to sabotage her big break. And when she spots Alex having a tete-a-tete with his ex in a local bar, Angela's dreams of Parisian passion all start crashing down around her. With London and her old life only a train journey away, Angela can't decide if should stay and face the music or run away home!

Having read, and enjoyed, the previous two books about Angela Clark, i was looking forward to reading the latest installment. Angela is still enjoying life in USA and her relationship with Alex, when the oppurtunity arises for her to follow Alex to Paris and bagging the rights for an article in a big magazine about Paris's shopping highs and lows. The daily life of Angela continues with her ups and downs and accidents and hilarities. there is the added complication to the story, the ex girlfriend of Alex who sets her sights on getting him back, but Angela will not let that happen without a fight. The book ends with Angela making a decision about her long term plans and where to settle; be it back in london, in her own appartment or with Alex, the love of her life.

Lindsey Kelk has continued to write in a light hearted way, which encourages you to want to read more, making the book hard to put down. I felt transported back to Paris, the destination of my honeymoon ten years ago, remembering all the happy moments strolling down the streets.

well done Lindsey on the book and i hope Angela will be returning to a book shelf soon!!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Getting Mad, Getting Even - Annie Sanders

Georgie and Flick are a girl's best friend - and secret weapon. Their agency, Domestic Angels, provides invaluable help to armies of harassed women. After years of hard work, Georgie and Flick have built a small but grateful clientele - doing everything from booking the plumber to replacing dead hamsters. Then one evening, they are visited by a pale, nervous-looking woman who makes the strangest request yet. Her husband has combined a take-over with a leg-over. Would Georgie and Flick help her get her own back? It isn't long before word gets out. Inundated with requests from angry wives, Georgie and Flick begin to wonder whether all these men are really as black as they are painted. Meanwhile, the disgruntled husband of a client has rumbled them. It may be that they aren't the only masters of revenge after all...

Iam a great fan of annie sanders and this book was another great read from the duo.
women with busy lives can now get help with all of lifes little problems - the need for an emergency plumber or the feeding of animals with just one phonecall to The Domestic Angels agency. Georgie and Flick have set up the agency for harassed women everywhere and they are soon busy with lots of clients.
as i previously said, i loved this book, a real good summer read to enjoy while relaxing in the garden or on the beach. i was unable to put this book down after i started. i found myself getting drawn into agency life, their clients lives and the problems along the way.
if you want to escape to a world where you can forget all your own problems and enjoy others, this is the book for you!

The Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

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'FOR SALE: a rare opportunity to purchase a beach hut on the spectacular Everdene Sands. "The Shack" has been in the family for fifty years, and was the first to be built on this renowned stretch of golden sand...' Jane Milton doesn't want to sell her beloved beach hut, which has been the heart of so many family holidays and holds so many happy memories. But when her husband dies, leaving her with an overwhelming string of debts, she has no choice but to sell. THE BEACH HUT follows the stories of the people who own the beach huts, families who come to Everdene each year, people who fall in - or out of - love, remembering their pasts, or trying to forget them...Veronica Henry has brilliantly drawn together the comings and goings of life at the beach huts over one long, hot, lazy summer .....

When i picked up The Beach Hut i was expecting a book full of short stories, each story being about one of the beach huts, however, as i continued to read each story through the book i found the individual 'stories' all intertwined with each other.
The setting for The Beach Hut sounds gorgeous, a real British seaside, with a row of colourful beach huts owned by individuals who would spend their holidays living beside the seaside. I was unaware that people would 'live' there for a week, i thought they were glorified changing rooms where the owners would stay in hotels or bed and breakfasts at night.
The characters in the book were from many different lifestyles and each had their own story to tell; alcohol addiction, illicit affairs were just two of the reasons the beach huts were so popular. I felt I was a part of the Everdene community, learning about each family, their way of life and the problems they had and may be hiding.
i love veronica Henry's books and have read a number of her back catalogue and enjoyed this one just as much, however, i found the style of this book to be different from her previous books.
The book is a lovely holiday read and i could see myself sitting on a beach or in the sunshine reading it.

i am now looking forward to veronica Henry's new book being released in October 2o10.

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Liberation of Alice Love - Abby McDonald

Will the real Alice Love please stand up? Alice Love keeps her life running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a simple mistake. But she soon discovers that someone has emptied every penny from her bank account, spending her hard-earned savings on glamorous holidays, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe and leaving Alice with thousands of pounds' worth of debt. With her perfectly-organised world crumbling around her, Alice enlists the help of dashing fraud investigator, Nathan, and sets about clearing her name. But as she unravels the intriguing paper trail, she makes a shocking discovery: her thief is closer to home than she ever imagined. Following the clues from London to Rome and LA, Alice edges deeper into a seductive new world, where honesty might not be the best policy, rules are made to be broken, and the power of a gorgeous cocktail dress shouldn't be underestimated. Perhaps her alter-ego's reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along...But as her little white lies begin to stack up, how far will Alice go to find the truth? And whose life, exactly, is she fighting for?

A person’s worst nightmare is to find your identity has been stolen. What would you do if you found someone had stolen your money, your savings and even your life? This is the situation Alice Love finds herself in when her bank card is declined. She becomes a detective, determined to discover who and why her life has been stolen.
As Alice discovers her 'friend' was responsible for the disappearance of her money, she delves deeper into the mind of her alter ego following the paper trail left behind. The trial takes her to Italy and even a few hours in an Italian Police Station.
Alice slowly begins to think like her alter ego, dress like her and even following her to LA on a possible lead. She finds herself love with the man who has been helping her to find the person and reason her life has been turned upside down.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to all. This was another book I couldn't put down once I had started it. I was completely taken into Alice's life and her determination to find out the answers to all her questions about why it had happened to her and the reasons why. The book is another great summer read and tackles a subject who is getting more and more headlines as people find their bank account wiped out. However, the following story is not about the crime but about the journey of discovery Alice makes and how her life takes a complete turn following Alice's belief in her own worth and career wishes. Alice finds the strength to follow her dreams and stand up to her boss who is preventing her from develop her career in her own way.
I would recommend this to all for a great summer read!! I look forward to reading more books by this up and coming author in the future.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Made at Home by Lisa Stickley is a book i think everyone should have when they move into their own home and want to stamp their own individuality onto it.
the book begins with a comprehensive list of fabrics avaliable and their individual properties, along with some guidance as to their best use. there is also a list of basic equipment required when starting a project along with an additional list of things you may wish to add to the basics.
the book then contains diagrams and written instructions for a number of stitches used throughout the book before moving onto seams, buttonholes and inserting zips. the instructions are all very clear, concise and easy to follow.
the remainder of the book is devoted to many project ideas for items around the home. There are many ideas in the book, many of them old fashioned which are having a comeback in the modern home. Cushions, tea cosies, napkins, cushions and bedspreadss are among the projects which aim to have minimal sewing skils. Each project begins with a introduction, detailling its use in the home or the advantage of having the project in your own home. the instructions are again clear, concise and contain diagrams to further aid the reader. there is also a chapter at the back of the book containing the templates needed to complete the projects.
The projects are easy enough for a beginner to tackle but i also believe the book would be a great aid for the more experienced sewer as the projects could be developed further and a sewer could add their own style to the projects.
I have a basic understanding of sewing techniques but like to have instructions to refer to when tackling anything more complicated that shortening a pair of trousers. The book has inspired me to get my sewing machine out of its dusty corner and try some of the projects, transforming my home into fabric chic! there will soon be no door without a doorstop and my husband will not be allowed to travel without his handmade suit carrier to keep his clothes clean and presentable.
I would like to thank Quadrille for sending me this book to review.