Thursday, 30 September 2010
As soon as I opened this book I wanted to run and grab some felt tips or pencil crayons and get colouring. There are so many different activities in this book; shapes to turn into pictures, pictures to colour and backgrounds to add doodles to. There are activities for all ages, with some pages being suitable for youngsters and adults, the art student or doodler. I was pleased to see that there were some of the intricate colouring pictures included (with the striking black outlines and backgrounds) which will look great coloured in bold colours. There was also an advent calendar double spread which included 25 small pictures to colour in the countdown to Christmas.
There are also many different styles of drawing - the modern, stylistic reindeer's, modern shadow trees. childlike images, whimsical, sketchy outlines and the modern take on the nativity scene.
There are a wide range of images, Father Christmas, Nativity, Snowflakes, Stockings etc but also less Christmassy designs - traffic jams with trees strapped to them, creatures hiding in the snow and town scenes.
I was also impressed with the weight of paper used in the production of the book. It appears to be of a heavy weight which should prevent ink bleeding through to the other side and ruining the picture.
I loved this book and will be using pages to entertain my children over the festive period, and I am sure I will join them in this activity as there were many pages that caught my eye. I will be looking at other books in this range as ideas for presents for children.
Thank you to Amy at Usborne for sending me this book to review.
There are six double pages: Christmas is coming, Decorating the tree, Ready for Santa, Santa in his sleigh, Santa on the roof and Opening presents. Each double page picture has a large picture with many individual details labelled. There are many children included within the pictures and they are from many ethnicity.
This book would be an ideal gift for a child celebrating their first Christmas or for a slightly older child who is beginning to understand more about the festive period and begins to learn words. I like these books as they encourage children to learn new vocabulary and be able to vocalise their thoughts. As a mum who has a child with speech difficulties, I personally like these books as they have lots of elements in the pictures which can be talked about with the child, encouraging them to speak.
Thank you to Amy from Usborne for sending me this book to review.
I did enjoy the story - a girl who had the dream job on a television programme alongside one of her best friends. However, due to a lapse in judgement, Jessie looses everything - her dream job, which led to a decline in income meaning she looses her home and along with it her boyfriend, friends and lifestyle.
The story continues as she is forced to return to her childhood home, now inhabited by her stepmother and stepsisters - usually only seen at the annual memorial of her father. However, Jessie earns her keep by doing household chores and takes stoke of her life. after a hard hitting realisation that her ex-boyfriend, Sam, does not wish to rekindle their relationship, she takes stoke of her life and along with new friend, step sister Sharon, she finds a job, which leads her to finding another job through an old friend.
The story continues predictably with another turn of fortune and leaves Jessie looking at her life and working out what is important.
The book has many similarities to Cinderella and is right to be compared to a modern day Cinderella - there is the evil step-mother and the two wicked stepsisters, although they do change by the end of the book and Jessie who is left slaving at home while the step family are out at work.
Although i thought the story was a good one, I was not so keen on the authors style of writing. It was slow in places and i found myself wanting to skip pages to get to the next part. I also predicted how the story would progress. However, I did enjoy the modern day Cinderella twist to the story.
Thank you to Charlotte Allen of Harper Collins for sending me the book to review.
Monday, 27 September 2010
The cover of this book is brightly coloured and would attract the attention of a youngster within a display. The story is just as good, bright, bold pictures with doodle details to pictures. The pictures are simple but striking.
The message of the story is to look beyond the physical characteristics of a person and see their inner beauty and talents.
In whole this is a great book who I would recommend to parents of children under 5 years.
Thank you to Michael from MyChild forum for sending me the book to review.
Saturday, 18 September 2010
I really enjoyed this book. When i started it, I didn't think it was going to be a book I would be shouting to every one to read but now i have finished it and I am - read it!!! It has something for everyone - a gorgeous hero, Killian, a feisty heroine, Jess, and a stepfather who is doing everything he can to swindle Jess out of her inheritance. The result is an adventure she never imagined being a part of.
The story also has a historical part to it which i found very interesting. It is based on the first trading voyage of the Swedish East India Company to China and it was obvious the author had done alot of research to ensure correct details were included. It was a time and subject I have not read about before and i found it an interesting backdrop to the story.
There are many themes throughout the story including adventure, fueding, passion and betrayal. I really enjoyed the story and kept getting lost within the story, wanting to continue reading to see how teh story developed. The characters drew me into the story and i really cared for their journey throughout the story.
In brief, i recommend this book to all historical book fans and ensure you have put by a day to read it as you won't want to put it down once you have started it!
Friday, 17 September 2010
I have read a number of Catherine Ryan Hyde's previous books and I have been looking forward to her new release for many months.
The book is split into sections, each section being written from the point of view of one of two people: Vida (the heart recipient) and Richard (the donors husband).The book is written in a journal form and has short chapters within each section. The book is an easy read and I found myself getting lost in the story as the book progressed.
The book starts with Vida as a very ill young lady, who receives the call that everyone on the donor register dreams of, that an organ is available and maybe a match. Following the operation, which was a success, we are introduced to Richard who emails his mother in law talking about his dead wife and trying to decide about wanting to know about the donors his dead wife has saved.
The story follows Richard as he makes the decision, against his mother in laws advice, to visit Vida. As soon as they meet Vida thinks she has fallen in love with him and tries to get to know him more, although Richard is very admirable, and confused, and decides to stay away.
Vida recovers from the operation and starts to live life, wanting to get away from her mothers protective clutches and explore.
Without wanting to give any of the story away I loved the ending of the book. I liked the adventure Vida went on, her trip with her elderly friend and her driver and the following trip which she had to complete for her closure on a part of her life.
There were some interesting subjects addressed in the book, especially on the subject of organ donation and cellular memory. I am not normally interested in the subject of life after death or communication via psychics but I found this book to be sensitively written and completely different. Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote this story using details from a friends heartbreaking memories of waiting for a donor heart for her daughter who was never given this life changing opportunity. The story is not about Richard communicating with her dead wife but Vida having memories of things she had never done or seen in her life - but had the donor?? where is this beautiful scene that she can see when her eyes are closed.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend this to all fans of women's fiction everywhere and fans of Catherine Ryan Hyde's previous books who love a great read!
Thank you to Ben Willis from Transworld Publishers for sending me a copy of this book to review.
I have read many of Sinead Moriarty's books and I can honestly say this is my favourite of her books so far. This book is a great read.
The story is about Ava, her husband and two daughters, along with her father who is twice widowed and living with them temporarily, while his new appartment is finished. The story starts as a basic story of family life but soon turns to a more storyline when her eldest daughter, Ali, is dumped by her boyfriend, leading her to develop a serious illness, anorexia.
I was surprised that this was not mentioned on the book as it is a great read for showing how this cruel illness affects not only the sufferer but also the whole family and their struggle to treat her in the family home before admitting her to a eating disorder clinic, where Ali stays for several weeks and it is a time of great sadness for her after friendships are formed.
Although the story is of a serious illness, there are times of humour surrounding Ava's father and his Polish girlfriend and also Ava's other daughter, Sarah and her continual spray tanning and adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in modern times.
I found this book a great read and wanted to continue to read until i had finished. the chapters are quite short and these lend themselves to an easy read. The topics within the book are of a serious nature but as I said above, there were also times to laugh with the characters aswell as cry with them too.
If you are a fan of Sinead Moriarty's books I would recommend this to you all.
Thank you to Penguin Books for sending me a copy to review.
I have never been interested in horses and horse riding and was therefore unsure about this book. It has been written by Pippa Funnell, Olympic Medallist, and champion rider. However, I really enjoyed the story.
The book is based around Tilly, a young girl, adopted while young who arrived at her foster parents with an unusual bracelet, a plaited braid of horse hair. She has always had an interest in horses but has never been able to ride. However, when out with her mum, she rescues a runaway horse and when the owner of a local livery yard arrives to rescue the horse, she offers Tilly the opportunity to visit the yard and help with the horses. Tilly accepts the offer and is soon found to have a bond and trust with the horses.
The book included some useful information about looking after and grooming horses and included in the back of the book are Pippa's top tips. There are also a number of websites mentioned in the book which will be popular with young horse lovers.
I would recommend this to children everywhere who have a love for horses - a great encouragement to young readers everywhere to get into reading books as this is just one title in a number of books written by Pippa Funnell.
Thank you to Nina Douglas of Orion Books for sending me the book to review.
I was a great fan of history when i was at school, however I could never get interested in the Greeks. I think it was all the long and complicated names. Anyway, I really tried to clear my head of all these negative thoughts before I sat and read this book.
My children and I are all big fans of Horrid Henry's and when I received this book to review I was intrigued to find out if Francesca Simon could write other books as well as Horrid Henry, he is a hard act to follow! Well my answer is a YES!!!
What happens when you get out of bed the wrong side?? Kate found out on her first day at school - she got up late, couldn't find her uniform, had to go to school in dirty, too small clothes and was in a class taught by a gorilla and given snakes, snails and spiders for dinner.
The story is as great as a horrid henry story and will appeal to both young girls and boys. It is full of great pictures (illustrated by Tony Ross) which tell the story easily. The story is told in 'easy words' and great for an early reader to gain confidence in reading to their peers.
I would recommend this to both boys and girls alike, who may like to listen to the story being read to them or to read to their peers.
This book is in the new 'Early Reader' format. My son has been reading the Horrid Henry books in this format and has been able to read them quite easily - he is a new reader but has found these books great to read and has built up his confidence in reading through these books.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
One night a year, Santa J. Claus delivers presents to the children of the world...but for the rest of the time, he's protecting the world as the top secret agent of the Xtremely Mysterious Agency of Secrets (X.M.A.S.), dishing out his own brand of justice to the world's most dastardly criminals. Santa and his Little Helper, newly qualified X.M.A.S. agent Jingle Bells, are on the trail of Dr Cumulus Nimbus, who's hell-bent on creating a new ice age...and Santa hates snow! Can they stop the evil plot before the world is snowed under?
What does Santa do for the 364 days he is not delivering presents?? Welcome to the world of X.M.A.S and to the new graduates of X.M.A.S academy.
This book is such a great read and I think it will appeal to young boys everywhere. Although the book has Santa Claus as the main character along with S.L.H. (Santa's Little Helper) Jingle, the book is not about Christmas Eve and delivering presents, but about saving the world from the Naughty List, of which Nimbus and the Weathermen, an arch enemy of Santa Claus's who is afraid of chocolate (??), is the top of. Will Santa be able to save the world from their hands??
The book would be suitable for children 9+ due to some of the complicated words involved in the text, along with several acronyms used throughout the book, however younger children would like it to be read to them. There are several pictures within the story, hand drawn pictures which describe the scene well. There are also several annotated diagrams which depict the hi tech vehicles and weapons available to Santa Claus throughout the story which will interest boys everywhere.
More can be found out about Secret Santa on the author, Guy Bass, website - http://www.guybass.com/?page_id=889
I really enjoyed this book and will be reading it to my son who i am sure will absolutely love it too. I hope Guy Bass continues this story and writes another one about Lantern Jack soon.
Thank you to Jane from Stripes Publishing for sending me this book to review.
Monday, 13 September 2010
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Be careful what you wish for ...Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs. Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someones little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. But he's not just tall ...he's a GIANT. In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.
This was a nice story, having many messages within the story. Andi (real name Amandolina) lives in London with her Philippine mum and English father. Andi's half brother lives in The Philippine's with his aunt and uncle. His name is Bernardo and is eight feet tall.Bernardo and Andi's mum left Phillipine when Bernardo was a small baby to work as a nurse in England to cover high medical costs incurred following a mosquito bite which killed her husband and made her very ill in Phillipines.
In The Philippines, Bernardo lives in a village called San Andres, which is has many tiny tremors. Bernardo is seen as a giant, a protector of the village, because teh tremors stopped when Bernardo was born The villagers believe if he leaves, the village will be hit by a large, devastating earthquake. They believe Bernardo to have the spirit of Bernardo Carpio.
The story follows Bernardo and the beliefs of the Phillipine villlage he lives in and his move to England.
I enjoyed this story, it was something different to what is avaliable for children today. I am unsure of the age this book is recommended for but i would guess it to be 9+. The book highlights many issues from the world today but also passes the message about being careful what you wish for. The story also highlights gender inequality, prejudices due to medical problems and bullies and their comeuppance! The story was also funny in places, while in others sincere and true to life. Recommended to all!
Thank you to Michael from http://www.mychild.co.uk/forum/general-discussions/books-and-reading for sending me this book to review.
Sunday, 5 September 2010
Saturday, 4 September 2010
Katherine Roberts is fed up with men. As a lecturer specialising in the works of Jane Austen, she knows that the ideal man only exists within the pages of Pride & Prejudice and that in real life there is no such thing. Determined to go it alone, she finds all the comfort she needs reading her guilty pleasure - regency romances from the pen of Lorna Warwick - with whom she has now struck up an intimate correspondence. Austen fanatic, Robyn Love, is blessed with a name full of romance, but her love life is far from perfect. Stuck in a rut with a bonehead boyfriend, Jace, and a job she can do with her eyes shut - her life has hit a dead end. Robyn would love to escape from it all but wouldn't know where to start. They both decide to attend the annual Jane Austen Conference at sumptuous Purley Hall, overseen by the actress and national treasure, Dame Pamela Harcourt. Robyn is hoping to escape from Jace for the weekend and indulge in her passion for all things Austen. Katherine is hoping that Lorna Warwick will be in attendance and is desperate to meet her new best friend in the flesh. But nothing goes according to plan and Robyn is aghast when Jace insists on accompanying her, whilst Katherine is disappointed to learn that Lorna won't be coming. However, an Austen weekend wouldn't be the same without a little intrigue, and Robyn and Katherine are about to get much more than they bargained for. Because where Jane Austen is concerned, romance is never very far away!
When i received this book I couldn't wait to start it. As with many women I love anything Jane Austin!!
The main character of the book is Katherine Roberts, an English Professor, who also writes books about Jane Austen. She is asked to speak at an annual Jane Austen Conference and falls for a male attendee of the course, who has a secret to conceal.
The other main character is that on Robyn who also loves Jane Austen and is attending the convention, looking forward to an weekend spent with other people who love Jane Austen just as much. She has planned the weekend away from her boyfriend, but he has other ideas.
I absolutely loved this book, and read it within two days, which is very quick for me. I enjoyed the story but also loved the insight i had into Jane Austen's novels. Throughout the book there was reference to many of Jane Austen's novels, the television adaptions and also Jane's life. I saw from the authors website that Victoria reread the books and rewatched television adaptions aswell as visiting the places in teh book and from reading the book I could see all the background work the author did, to ensure the book was factually correct.
I also enjoyed this book because when i read this book I could imagine being at the convention, Victoria's language was very descriptive and set teh scene well for the scenes. It was evident that Victoria was enjoying telling the story, aswell as ensuring that the story was a good read and factually correct.
I am looking forward to the next installment from Victoria which was previewed in this book.
I would recommend this book to Jane Austen enthusiasts as it won't disappoint, however i would also recommend it to readers who woud just like a good old love story to curl up with too!
Thank you to Charlotte Allen at Harper Collins for sending me this book.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Lucy spends her days beavering away at her sewing machine, making divine, flamboyant clothes that express all the passion and flair that she cannot, and at night she sits alone with her latest creations, fretting over her struggling business. Her life is one of unfulfilled ambitions and missed opportunities. Then one evening Lucy meets the beautiful, fey and enigmatic Micah, who has an uncanny knack for foretelling fortunes, and manages to convince even the cynical Lucy. So when Micah tells her that her future isn't looking too rosy - in fact she doesn't have one - Lucy embarks on a spree of 'what the hell and why not'. She faces her demons, confronts those that have annoyed her, and takes risks for the first time in her life, convinced that the accident he predicts will befall her. When the day of her prophesied demise comes - and goes - Lucy storms round to challenge Micah, who sheepishly admits he must have got it wrong this time. The appalled and angry Lucy has a hell of a mess to put right now, and demands that Micah help her do some damage control. So begins an edge-of-the-seat, race-against-time to repair Lucy's reckless actions. But halfway through Lucy asks herself if everything is worth mending? Has she inadvertently improved her life just as she thought it was about to end? And why is Micah so reluctant to help her untangle her biggest gaffe of all?
When Lucy Streeter attended a fundraiser with her friend, Tam, who was having struggle conceiving, she was sceptical when a male performer told Tam that she was pregnant. Lucy was so outraged that someone would get Tam's hope's up when Tam had made teh heartbreaking decision to stop trying, however Lucy left with more than she bargained for when Michah told her he saw no future for her, past the following Friday!
As i previously said when reviewing Annie Sanders previous book, I am a great fan of their work (Annie Sanders is actually Annie Ashworth and Meg Sanders), however i was unsure on this book as I, like Lucy am very sceptical with the whole area of psychics and foretune telling in general. As with all Annie Sanders books i was quickly drawn into the story and was able to 'forget' my personal views on the subject.
Lucy's character used the news she had received as a way of changing her life, having a mad morning at the hairdressers, cutting and colouring her hair, wearing clothes she would never normally wear. She used her time to air old grievances with her parents about how her father treated her when she became a teenage mum. The story told of how Lucy dealt with these issues, lived life to teh full - even climbing the church bell tower after a night on the town, silencing the bell with her own jeans
The story is told in Annie Sanders excellent style, and I found myself getting drawn into the story - i wish i could take hold of life like Lucy did and become carefree, looking after those i care for, ironing out any issues which have which have been hanging about not being cleared.
The story does have a twist at the end and i won't spoil it for other readers but it was a great ending with the story ending how i wanted it to end. Although i will admit, i had other twists i though may happen, but i much prefer Annie Sanders ending.
Another book which i recommend to all!!
Thank you to Meg Sanders for sending me a copy to review.