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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Want to know a secret by Sue Moorcroft

Money, love and family. Which matters most? When Diane Jenner's husband is hurt in a helicopter crash, she discovers a secret that changes her life. And it's all about money, the kind of money the Jenners have never had. James North has money, and he knows it doesn't buy happiness. He's been a rock for his wayward wife and troubled daughter - but that doesn't stop him wanting Diane. James and Diane have something in common: they always put family first. Which means that what happens in the back of James's Mercedes is a really, really bad idea. Or is it?
When two policemen arrive in your kitchen Diane Jenner knew that something had happened to her husband, however little did she know the secrets that were about to be revealed.
This is the first Sue Moorcroft book I have read and as soon as i started the book it drew me in. Secrets are revealed from the start and more secrets are found out throughout the whole book. There are love triangles, heartbreak, greed and jealousy along with a pregnancy, teenage depression and self harm.
The book is not a traditional love story, it is true to life with believable twists and turns throughout the story and leads to the readers feeling for the characters.
There is a twist towards the end of the book which completely changes the course of the book. When I finished the book I was left hoping a second book may be in the pipeline as I want to know what the future will hold for the characters.
I would recommend this book to all, a great read for getting lost in on those long, cold winter nights, the type of book you pick up to read a few pages at night and three hours later you are still devouring the pages.
Thank you Choclit Publishing and WHSmiths for sending me this book to review.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery. Only Steven's Nan is not convinced her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it's too late. And if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son, he'll do it. So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer.

This is Belinda Bauer's debut novel and she is an author I will definitely be following and look forward to reading more of her work.

Blacklands is a book with a hard hitting storyline - a family who have a unsolved disappearance to deal with. Billy was a young boy who went missing one day, his disappearance has been connected to a serial killer but the family still have no body to bury. The serial killer is in jail but refuses to admit responsibility and let the family bury their boy.
Steven was Billy's nephew, not even born when Billy disappeared but Steven is determined to find Billy's body and try to relieve some of his nan's trauma. He does the unexpected, contacts
Arnold Avery in prison.
Their communications are brief and cryptic - the guards who sensor the mail see no problems with it and when Steven's mother intercepts the post, she assumes it is from Steven's girlfriend.

I will not speak anymore about the storyline as I hate to ruin it for any readers but this book will stay with me for a long time. I felt momentarily uncomfortable reading some of the book especially when Arnold realised that SL was a young boy but the story also had a way of enticing me and I had to find out what happened.
Belinda Bauer has successfully seen the story from both sides - the family of missing Billy, especially Steven, wanting to solve the mystery for his nan, spending hours each weekend digging the moors for the body, and Arnold Avery, who is in prison, but is intrigued by the letters SL sends him.

As I have previously said, I was uncomfortable reading parts of the book, however Belinda does not write a traditional 'child-killer' story. She has thought and described perfectly the tale of the two sides, writes about the atmosphere in the prison, in the home of Steven and his family and also on the moor.

Although the subject of this book may initially put people off reading this book, I would urge you to read this book for yourself, when I think you will see past the storyline and recognise what a stunning debut novel Belinda Bauer has written.

Thank you to Ben Willis from Transworld Publishers for sending me this book to review.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Speed Reading Book by Tony Buzan

To survive in this fast-moving, ever-changing world we all have to move fast and think fast to keep up. With so much to do and less and less time to do it, our free time is an increasingly precious commodity. So, if there was a simple way to save hours, days or even months of your time, you'd probably want to know about it right? Well there is, and it's Speed Reading. Imagine the time you could save, and all the amazing new information you could consume, if you were able to read at speeds of over 1000 words per-minute. And we don't mean just simple skim-reading, but also properly and completely comprehending, understanding and retaining the information you've read. This fully revised and updated edition of the powerful book from the world-renowned authority Tony Buzan, will show you exactly how you can quickly start to read at amazing speeds. Speed Reading is simple to follow, easy to understand and fun too. You'll find out how fast your reading speed is now and then discover how you could be reading dramatically faster in no time. And you won't just improve your reading speed, but your concentration and comprehension levels will soar too. The techniques in the book are ideal for teachers, students or executives indeed, anyone who wants to improve the speed, comprehension and quality of their reading. The benefits of speed reading are numerous, no matter where or why you read. You'll be able to zip through whole novels in one sitting; you'll speed through newspapers and magazines in minutes; you'll be the envy of your colleagues as you consume and understand business reports in record time. Speed Reading will revolutionise the way you read. You'll save days, weeks even months of your precious time; you'll learn more efficiently and quickly; and you'll be left marvelling at your new-found speed-reading abilities.
As a Open University student I was intrigued when i received this book to review. There is plenty of reading to do and I have tried different techniques to speed reading but was interested to read other suggestions.
The book is split into four sections and begins with an introduction which explains how we may have been taught to read and also how and why Tony Buzan has developed his techniques.
The book recommends it is used as a course manual and explains the initial assessment and the different sections and techniques included in the book. however, after looking through and reading sections of the book it does seem like it is the first part of larger course - suggesting you read other books by him for further techniques and methods that could be used.
The techniques seems like it will take some time master and therefore I am unsure whether this will be a technique I look further into until my current course finishes next summer.
Thank you to Michael from My School Run forum for sending me this book to review.

Brownies Christmas Cheer by Caroline Plaisted

Meet Charlie, Katie, Grace, Jamila and Ellie - they're five best friends and they've just joined the Brownies! Christmas is coming, and the Brownies are getting into the spirit of things! With presents to make, festive goodies to bake for the unit Christmas party, and a trip to the local pantomime to look forward to, the girls eagerly set about setting up Christmas Cheer. Now, if only it would snow...
I was a Brownie when I was younger and enjoyed my time spent there, however I was in the Elf six, but reading this book it would appear that the Brownies have been completely modernised since my time there.
This book is the seventh in the series and has a Christmas theme. While reading it, I did find number of current themes and good ideas included within it, thinking of Christmas as a time for giving and also for thinking about people less fortunate then ourselves (shoebox appeal and the people of Haiti) and raising money for charity (singing at a Christmas fayre).
The book also has a modern twist, embracing the subject of inclusion and equality for all with a disabled child and a child who has moved from Poland. I also liked the idea of the Brownies learning a new skill (knitting) and the mums getting involved too, sharing skills and getting together for evenings of knitting.
I think this book was a great read and as others have also said, something different to all the fairy books that are around for this age group. It also gives people an insight into Brownies and I am sure it will interest many young girls into joining the Brownies.
Thank you to Jane at Stripes for sending me the book to review.

Usborne 1001 Things to Spot at Christmas by Alex Frith and Terri Gower

This is a jolly puzzle book stuffed full of Christmas things to find and count. Busy scenes, including Christmas Land, a snowball fight and Santa's workshop, burst with things for children to find, count and talk about. It helps develop vital word and number skills.

These books are like the Where's Wally books for children. Bright, busy pictures, although no where as busy as the Where's Wally picture, with lots of details on each double page spread. Each double spread also has a list of things to find.
The pictures are of a cartoony style but they are still very cleverly drawn and very detailed and children will love spending time looking at the pictures trying to spot the listed items.
This is another great book to give as a gift to a child - they will love searching each picture for all the individual details the book lists.
I recommend this to anyone buying a book for a child this Christmas.
Thank you to Amy at Usborne for sending me this book to review.

Usborne Flap Books Farmyard Tales Christmas by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright

This book is a new edition of this festive favourite. It is another charming tale from Apple Tree Farm as the Boot family prepare for Christmas and Poppy and Sam wonder whether Santa will bring them what they asked for. It offers an interactive reading experience for young children, who will love to lift the robust flaps to find out what Christmas surprises are hiding underneath. It features the cosy illustrations of Stephen Cartwright.

When my children were younger, their favorite books were lift the flap books. They loved listening to the story, turning over the pages looking and waiting for the flaps to lift up. We have also read many of the books about Apple Tree Farm, with Mr and Mrs Boot and their children Poppy and Sam with Rusty the dog.
This book is the latest book in the Apple Tree Farm and it is a great book, perfect for a Christmas present. The pictures are beautiful, colourful and full of interesting detail and with flaps included to add further interest. Being a Christmas story there is also some beautifully foiled details included within the pictures.
I particularly liked reading these books with my children as the stories were good but with not too many words per page, making them perfect for when they were learning to read themselves and we could revisit books they had loved for them to read to me and now my son has been reading some of his old Apple Tree Farm books to me. The first page of the story has many words but the remainder of the pages include shorter sentences, with clear and bold type, perfect for early readers.
This book is a perfect present for a young child who will love the lift the flap concept of the book or for children who are learning to read. I would recommend it to all people who have young people to buy for.
Thank you to Amy at Usborne for sending me the book to review.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Secret Santa, Agent of X.M.A.S by Guy Bass COMP WINNERS

There are four, signed copies of Secret Santa by Guy Bass in my competition and therefore the winners are:
  • iddybooks
  • Mandyjhardy
  • lovely treez
  • Phyllgerry

Please contact me asap by email or twitter with your address and i will get the books in the post to you as soon as possible.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Explore, Dream, Discover ..... by Charlotte Samiec

This is a travel-diary, memory-maker, doodle-pad, brain-engager, boredom-stopper, idea-waker, picture-keeper, captain’s log. A thought-provoker book!

Author:Charlotte Samiec
Illustrator:Andrew Pinder
ISBN:978-1-84666-789-3EAN:9 781846 667893
Publish Date:1st February 2010
■Book Size: 202mm x 282mm
■64 pp
■full colour throughout
■foiled title graphic
■sticker sheet
■die-cut games counters
■integral storage pocket
■Ages 7+

This is a fantastic book to give to a child going on holiday! It is a complete log of their travels, their journeys, the information and facts they have learnt, their thoughts and also things for them to think about or imagine at those times when they have lost interest or are bored. Things like designing a comic strip, design and write a postcard and places to keep photographs. The book does not only ask questions about what is seen, but also uses all senses - what can they see, hear, smell, feel and taste.

There are also games to play, a press out dice and counters, a snakes and ladders board, a place for sketches and doodles.

I am really impressed with this book. when i was young I had a holiday fun book, which included a bingo card of what you can spy on your journey to your destination and some games to play but this book is completely different. It is a place for a child to put all their imagination to, a great resource to take back to show relatives, friends or school teachers about what they did on their holiday. I would say this is for children aged 7+ as some of the activities do need some imagination and concentration but I think that children will love completing this over their holiday - especially if you are visiting places of interest or beauty.

Thank you to Lorna at Top That Publishing for sending me this brilliant book to review!

Sticker Funny Faces - Monsters by

Additional Info
ISBN:978-1-84956-238-6EAN:9 781849 562386
Publish Date:10th August 2010
■Book size: 203mm x 203mm
■12 pp text
■Full colour
■Reusable stickers
■Ages 3+

This book is a great one for young children who love making funny faces. The book has thick, sturdy pages (paper not cardboard) and have a coating which make them harder to rip - perfect for young artists who keep changing their mind. There are two pages covered with reusable stickers of noses, mouths, teeth and eyes to added to the many monsters which are on the other 12 pages.
Each page has a different monster with some amusing text and all need their facial features added. Some very amusing creations can be made by your young artists!!

This book will be great for children with creative imagination or those who love stickers, and I personally know that all children love those. I would also think this a great gift for children or one to keep in a cupboard ready for those long holidays or rainy days - it is sure to raise a smile!

I would also recommend this publishing company's website for a place to go to find fun activities - how to draw, competitions and how to cook, to do with your children.

Thank you to Lorna at Top That Publishing for sending me this book to review.

Dirty Bertie: Fangs by Alan Macdonald and David Roberts (Illustrator)

Dirty Bertie - the boy with nose-pickingly disgusting habits - is back for another helping of comic chaos! Join Bertie as he attempts to reveal grumpy Mr Grouch as a vampire, finds himself modelling the latest catwalk fashions and gets a serious scare-cut at the barbers.

This book is the perfect book to get boys into reading! A young boy and his friends getting into mischief. There are three stories within the book, one where they decide that the school caretaker is a real vampire, one where Bertie does not want to go to the barbers for a haircut and persuades his friend to trim it instead and the last being a trip to a department store looking for new shoes and ends up as a model in a fashion show.

The stories are funny and easy to understand, the text is easy to read and I think boys everywhere will enjoy this book. It is also part of a series and so there are plenty of other books to continue your sons new found love for a character!

Thank you to Jane at Stripes books for sending me this to review.

A Winter's Wedding by Sharon Owens

Love in the bleak mid-winter ...Emily loves Dylan. And Dylan loves Emily. Their relationship is rock solid. Everyone says they are meant to be together, it's just a matter of when - not if - Dylan's going to pop the Big Question. There's just one tiny fly in the ointment: Emily hates weddings. Which is fair enough seeing as she was jilted at the altar years ago by Alex, her supposed soul mate. Still, Dylan isn't Alex. He's gorgeous and sexy and scruffy and kind - and more than worth taking a chance on ...But what happens when the ghost of Emily's Christmas past threatens to ruin everything? Can Dylan convince the love of his life he's different and that their wedding day will be remembered for the right reasons? After all, with a sprinkling of snow and a touch of magic in the air, there's nothing quite like a winter's wedding to warm the soul...

A good, old fashioned, love story between Emily and Dylan runs through the book with relationships of those important to Emily also being told. Her parents, her best friend and her work life are all explored within the book, however the focus always remains with Emily and Dylan.

The book starts and ends in Winter, with snow on the ground and the Christmassy atmosphere all around. The rest of the book is the year as it unfolds, Emily finds a new relationship, while the relationship of her best friend breaks down and she is left to cover for her in her role of editor of a national magazine.

I really enjoyed this book, a traditional boy meets girl, girl and boy fall madly in love etc, however there are also many other relationships and life's ups and downs covered within the book.

I was not a real fan of Sharon's previous book, seven secrets of happiness, but found this book a great read and one which i will be recommending to all my friends. I would also recommend it all who would like an easy read for over the Christmassy period to curl up with in front of a roaring fire.

Thank you to Matt at Penguin Books for sending me this book to review.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Win Signed Copy of Secret Santa, Agent of X.M.A.S by Guy Bass

I have previously reviewed this brilliant book ( and the great people at Stripes Books have given me 4 copies of the book, signed by author Guy Bass, to giveaway on my blog.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy:
  1. become a follower of my blog and comment on this post only (1 entry)
  2. tweet about the competition (1 entry) (please include me in the tweet @sbroadhurst) and add a link to the comment below.

Winners will be drawn at 6pm on Tuesday 23rd November 2010.

Thank you to Jane at Stripes books for sending me the books to giveaway.

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell

Kay Scarpetta has been training at the Dover Port Mortuary, mastering the art of 'virtual autopsy' - a groundbreaking procedure that could soon revolutionise forensic science. And it is not too long before these new skills urgently need to be put into practice. A young man drops dead, apparently from a heart condition, eerily close to Scarpetta's home. But when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked inside the cooler. When the revolutionary 3D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen, Scarpetta realizes that this is a case of murder - and that she is fighting a cunning and uniquely cruel enemy. Now it is a race against time to discover who and why before more people die. But that time is running out ...
Book details
PublisherLittle, Brown
Scarpetta is back!! I am an avid Patricia Cornwell fan and as my birthday is in October, top of my list is always the new Cornwell book. This year it was the same although I was lucky enough to receive a copy to review.
The previous few books have lacked something for me and I think it was Scarpetta's own voice. This book has gone back to how Scarpetta was originally told, in Scarpetta's voice, written from her point of view. I must admit I prefer it written like this and opening the book and reading was like putting on a favorite pair of slippers.
The book was a good read and I really enjoyed it, however there was lots of technical jargon and this was difficult to follow. However there is also an insight into Scarpetta's past life, before she became a top forensic pathologist and met Marino and Benton Wesley which I enjoyed, she was able to put right some wrongs in her past which I think was something she needed to do.
The main story is about a young boys murder who was killed in his back yard by nails being hammered into his head while his parents were inside the house and the death of a young man who dropped dead near to Scarpetta's home apparently from a heart condition which just doesn't add up. When Scarpetta returns from Dover Port Mortuary, where she has been training in new techniques of 'virtual autopsy' there is also the disappearance of Fielding, the man Scarpetta left in charge while away. The story which follows is the investigation into the three cases with shocking results.
I won't go into story details any further as I don't want to ruin the story for other readers but I would recommend it to you all, Scarpetta is back and she is as good as ever, with intrigue and suspense built into the story from the word go!
Thank you to Kate Wright-Morris from Colman Getty for sending me the book to review

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I Love Curry by Anjum Anand

In India, a curry is any dish whose sauce is flavoured with a harmonious blend of spices. In this deliciously spicy book, Anjum Anand, recently voted Personality of the Year at the British Curry Awards, presents an eclectic choice of her favourite curries. These include regional dishes, favourite restaurant classics and many original creations - in all, 50 great curries and 25 accompanying dishes. As with all Anjum's recipes, they are written to suit a lighter, healthier way of eating; but every dish bursts with the flavours of India. Some are hot, some are mild, although all can be adjusted to taste. Some are simple one-pot curries while others recreate the multilayered flavours of restaurant classics. Divided into chapters on Fish and Seafood, Poultry and Game, Meat and Vegetable curries, there is a final chapter featuring the usual accompaniments: vegetable side dishes, breads, rice, chutneys and raitas. This will be the essential book for all lovers of Indian food, whether they are confident cooks or novice enthusiasts.

I am not a curry eater, however my husband loves them and this will be the ideal present for him.
The book starts with a useful section on the secrets of making a great curry and how to serve a brilliant Indian meal. Anjum Anand describes herself as the Indian who will stand alongside you while you cook a great curry, giving you all the tips you need. She details the process to go through to cook a curry and then how to balance the final dish - if you want to add heat, tame the heat, add sweetness or 'perk' things up.

The recipes, over 50, are split into three sections - the bites, the curry's and the accompaniments. The bites include pakoras and cakes along with chutneys and dips. The curries are further split into vegetable, fish and seafood, poultry and meat and includes favorites like bhunas, madras and rogan josh. The accompaniments include vegetable side dishes, breads and rices and salads and raitas. Each recipe is given an introduction by Anjum in which she gives a quick history of the dish, accompaniments or variations favoured by herself. Many of the recipes are also accompanied by colourful, inspirational photographs of the finished dishes.

The final section is a very important section, a list of ground and whole spices along with Anjum's top ten unusual spices and some websites with further information.

I think this book will be a great present for cooks and curry lovers alike and will be a well used recipe book in no time!

Thank you to Quadrille for sending me the book to review.

Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion

If you have ever dreamed of picking fresh salad leaves for the evening meal, gathering vine-ripened tomatoes or pulling up your own sweet carrots, this is the book for you. Follow in the footsteps of a much loved cook and food writer as she reveals the secrets of rewarding kitchen gardening. Be encouraged by detailed gardening notes that explain how adults and children alike can plant, grow and harvest over 70 different vegetables, herbs and fruit, and try some of the 250 recipes that will transform your fresh produce into delicious meals. Families can learn together with this book, which is, in part, a result of Alexander's work in establishing kitchen gardens in primary schools. Her idea is that children who know how to grow and cook their own food will have an interest in healthy, fresh food for their entire lives. Whether you have a few pots on a balcony or a large plot in a suburban back garden you will find everything you need to get started in this inspiring and eminently useful garden-to-table guide.

This is one big book - it has nearly 750 pages but each page is full of either high quality photography or crammed full of useful information, hints and tips. When my postman bought me the parcel I opened it immediately and was wowed by the gorgeous tactile cover - it reminds me of tradition hessian sacks and is over stitched - a beautiful and unusual book to adorn any kitchen or book shelves.

The book starts with some great sections on getting started and equipment needed in both the garden and kitchen. There is a list of basic equipment along with ideas for further additions to your tool kits if desired. There is also a useful section on both gardening and cooking with children. The author, Stephanie Alexander, has worked in her native Australia to establish kitchen gardens in Australia's primary school and passes on some of her finds to her readers in this section.

The rest of the book is dedicated to Ingredients - in alphabetical order Stephanie details 3 different vegetables, herbs and foods and also includes about 250 recipes which uses these ingredients. On looking through the book there were several ingredients I have never heard of; Amaranth, a leafy vegetable and Myrtle, a shrub, to name but two. Each ingredient has a comprehensive section of its own, including a full page, colour photograph, information with regards to growing it, including soil type, climate, position, water requirements, details how to grow, harvest periods and quantities to plant for a family of four (a very useful section). There are also instructions on growing and harvesting, container planting, because Stephanie is known for advising on gardening in large backyards, in pots on balconies and everything in between. She then discusses preparing and sharing the ingredients when it reaches the kitchen and tips especially for children growing the ingredients. Recipes containing the ingredient follow before the next ingredient is introduced. There are not photographs for every recipe, however there are lots of photographs in the book and they are of a very high quality. The recipes all appear to be straightfoward and look to be good family food ideas.

I would recommend this book as a great gift for both gardeners and cooks and would be loved by all who receive it. It will be a book that will be a resource for many years to come and one which will be frequently delved into. I know my husband has his eye on this book and is looking forward to looking at it in detail.

Thank you to Quadrille Publishing for sending me this book to review.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Emotional Learning Cards

20 cards for stimulating creative exploration. Who are you? Where are you going??
This is a box of 6x6" cards which could be used by anyone who works with groups of people, one to one with people and can be used for any age. The cards have a variety of pictures included. All the pictures are photographs and cover a wide variety of subjects - to name a few: chopsticks on traditional sushi rolling mats, the hollow shells of two abandoned ships, a head sculpted from plastic lizards and plants.On the back of each card is a summary of the artwork along with some questions that could be asked. There is also a handy information sheet included in the box which gives other useful general hints about using the cards.Although the cards say that they can be used with people of all ages I find it difficult to see how Early Years and young primary school children would understand the cards however, i know that young children have their own viewpoint and opinion on things and so teachers may be able to use them. They also give examples of working with them in therapy sessions.I do think these are stunning cards and would be a beautiful resource to use for professionals working with people of all ages.

Thank you to Michael from The School Run for sending me the copy to review.

Monday, 8 November 2010

A Nation of Gardeners by Twigs Way

Ever since man discovered that plants could be eaten, their cultivation has been a necessity. But somewhere along the line it became first an interest and then a pleasure. And as people developed a passion for gardening, so those in the business scented the opportunity to offer anything and everything to aid the amateur and professional horticulturist. How did this happen? Who were the earliest gardening gurus? What were the biggest trends of the 1930s and what happened during the Second World War when the country was urged to dig for victory? All these questions (and more) are answered and illustrated with the glorious, delightful and innocently amusing advertisements and literature that appeared as our passion for gardening has increased as the years have passed.

This is a fun, yet informative book for garden lovers everywhere. There are historical photographs, vintage advertisements, posters and publications along with a wealth of information. The book was full of fascinating facts and will be one I delve into again to gain more information on a pastime that goes back centuries and will remain popular for many years to come.

Gardeners will find looking through this book a nostaglic journey into the past and will interest both horticulturalists and historians alike.

Where did the craze for crazy paving start, why did bedding plants become popular at the turn of the nineteenth century and all those other gardening fads?? All the answers can be found in this book.

Thank you Carlton Books for sending me this book to review.

Marilyn Monroe - The Personal Archives

There is no more recognized actress of the twentieth century than Marilyn Monroe. She starred in some of the greatest films ever made and had relationships with some of the most famous men in the world. Even after death she has continued to be surrounded by interest and controversy. Through over 170 beautiful photographs and approximately 20 rare and removable facsimile documents, "Marilyn Monroe: The Personal Archive" will uncover the private life of the star, revealing her crippling stage fright, insecurity, difficult childhood and her ambition to be the greatest actress the world had ever known.

I have never been a fan of Marilyn Monroe, I have seen pictures of her and believe she was an icon of her time, but have never been one of her followers. However, this book would be a great present for Monroe fans everywhere. There are beautiful photographs of Monroe which accompany the detailed text which describes her well publicised life.
Included within the book are a number of pockets including Facsimile Items - these are a variety of memorabilia including personal letters, scripts, photographs, telegrams and sketches. I think these items add an extra interest to the book, giving fans extra information and insight into the lady who they idolise.
A book Marilyn Monroe fans will adore in their collection and treasure.
Thank you to Carlton Books for sending me a copy to review.

Jerry Hall, My Life In Pictures Curated by Jonathan Phang

Jerry Hall escaped from small-town Texas and was discovered on a St Tropez beach at the age of 16. Within a year she had appeared on the covers of magazines all over the world. A whirlwind life as a top model jetting from Paris to New York to London and all over the world was followed by a four-year affair with Bryan Ferry and then by 20 years married to Mick Jagger, travelling with the Rolling Stones and appearing on stage and screen. Over the years she has been photographed by all the greats and has consistently presented an impeccably glamorous image. She has also managed to maintain a private life without too much intrusion. Curated by Jerry herself, this book is a celebration of her life so far - a fabulous collection of photographs from her earliest modelling days to the present time, including her appearances on rock album covers, TV, film and stage. Works by Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Andy Warhol, David Bailey, Norman Parkinson, Helmut Newton, Karl Lagerfeld, Rankin - and many others - are featured alongside shots of her glamorous life and intimate snapshots of friends and family, Mick Jagger and their children. Interwoven through it all is Jerry's candid narrative, charting the highs and lows of her extraordinary life. Jerry Hall: My Life in Pictures documents the truth behind the image of one the world's most enduring and photographed stars.

A great coffee table book full of stunning photographs of one of the worlds top models of the last century. While there are plenty of pictures which are brilliant, both colour and timeless black and white stills. there is also lots of reading. A biography of Jerry's life, containing lots of interesting facts from her life. From the early days, leaving her home to travel to France to chase the dream of becoming a model, her life with Mick Jagger, the wedding, the children and her divorce. The book details her work with many top designers and photographers and was very interesting to read about her work with some of the industry's most popular and well respected members.
This book is a great coffee table book, but is also a must for all Jerry Hall fans.
Thank you to Quadrille Books for sending me this book to review.

Inside the Puppet Theatre by Claire Llewellyn and Veronique Leplat

Have you ever seen a puppet show? Now's your chance to go behind the scenes! Take a trip inside the Little Angel Theatre and meet Ronnie the puppeteer. As he takes you on a tour of the theatre, you can meet lots of puppets, find out how they're made and how a show is put on. This colourful non-fiction book brings the world of puppets to life. / Purple/Band 8 books offer developing readers literary language, with some challenging vocabulary. / Text type: An information book. / Pages 22 and 23 show a diagram of the different areas of the puppet theatre, to help children to recap what they have read. / Additional retrieval devices such as a glossary and index can be evaluated for their usefulness as children develop critical reading skills. / Curriculum links: Design and Technology: Puppets; Art and design: People in action
Book details
PublisherCollins Educational
This is one of Collins Big Cat Reading Scheme books, however it is also a very informative little book for children who want to find out what happens inside a puppet theatre. The book has lots of photographs throughout the book depicting the life of a puppeteer.
At the start of the book, the reader is introduced to Ronnie, the puppeteer and he introduces you to his theatre. There is a section on string and rod puppets and also about glove and shadow puppets. Ronnie also talks about making puppets and also about creating the character - how will it move?
Although this is a reading scheme book, as previously said, I found it really interesting. There is also a glossary at the end of the book and a plan for guided reading. Included in this are some great ideas for further research and also general ideas for helping children with guided reading.
Thank you to Michael from The School Run forum for sending me a copy to review.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

11+ Crossword Puzzles (Key Stage 2 English)

New Educational Aid to Stimulate FUN Learning for 11 Plus Exams. Make study for 11 Plus English a pleasure for your child!! Read on and see for yourself Based on the English Key Stage 2 National Curriculum, this new English SKIPS Crossword Puzzle Book is a truly exciting innovation to stimulate your child s appetite and interest, specifically when preparing for 11 plus. The first book is packed with interactive activities relevant to today s exams, and designed to hold the child s interest. The Crossword Puzzle Book will appeal to your child s sense of fun and excitement so that they will want to use the book at any time. This play-to-learn approach helps children to motivate and challenge themselves and to grow in confidence and self-belief, qualities that are the springboard for success. WE MUST NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A CHILD S NATURAL ABILITY, WHICH BLOSSOMS WITH LOVE, SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT.......AND FUN !! Written by practising 11 Plus and SATS Tutors for 8 -11 year olds

My daughter loves puzzles and I think this is an ideal book for her. The puzzles are aimed at children currently at Key Stage 2 level and there are crosswords based on a number of different tools of the English Language. There are puzzles based on nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, synonyms and verbal reasoning at two different levels. Before each set of crosswords there is a section on, for example, what is a noun? noun formation? which would act as a reminder for the child as to what they have previously learnt, followed by a puzzle about noun formation and then a section inviting you to have a go at sentence construction using the nouns from the puzzle.

I really like the idea of the book, a great revision tool for what has already been learnt at school. There are answers in the back of the book for us parents who have forgotten all we learnt at school.

A great book for both children who want to practice their new school and for teachers who want a fun resource for English language lessons.

Thank you to Michael from TheSchoolRun forum for sending me the book to review.

Dinoburps by Ciaran Murtagh

The third hilarious story about caveboy Charlie Flint.It's a hot summer and Charlie creates a tasty fizzy drink for the dinosaurs to enjoy and to keep them cool. But there is an unexpected side-effect: very smelly dinoburps. To start with everyone finds it quite amusing, but the burping continues, even when the dinosaurs stop drinking the pop. No one can get any sleep and there's a horrible smelly fog lingering over Sabreton! It's up to Charlie to make a dangerous journey through the jungle, across the sea and to a volcano to get the remedy. And even worse - with a girl.

Dinosaurs who burp! what a combination. A great book for boys of all ages. I would not say this was a book for early readers. Great for readers who are gaining confidence in reading. I will be giving this to my son who is now reading more confidently on his own and I am sure he will love it.

The book starts with Charlie deciding that dinosaurs must be bored drinking only water and so decides to concoct a new drink for them but none he creates is liked by Steggy until he finds a purple flower - crushed, diluted with water and stirred with a liquorice stick. Fantastic, Steggy loves it but then lets out an enormous burp. Soon the town is full of the sounds of dinosaurs burping and the air is full of fog. Charlie must find a cure for the burps - a yellow flower which can only be found on Snapper Mountain. Charlie starts the journey and comes face to face with Sabre Tooth Monkeys and Crocodiles before climbing the mountain which erupts hot boulders! will he manage to get back to Sabreton and cure the dinosaurs from burping??

A book which boys everywhere will enjoy. My only disappointment was the illustrations, pencil sketches which looked very basic. The front cover looks quite attractive and I think if the illustrations inside were of similar quality, they would of looked better.

Thank you to Michael from TheSchoolRun forum for sending me the book to review.

Mr Stink

The second original, touching, twisted, and most of all hilarious novel for children by David Walliams -- beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake. "Mr Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it was correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well!" It all starts when Chloe makes friends with Mr Stink, the local tramp. Yes, he smells a bit. But when it looks like he might be driven out of town, Chloe decides to hide him in the garden shed. Now Chloe's got to make sure no one finds out her secret. And speaking of secrets, there just might be more to Mr Stink than meets the eye! or the nose.

I recently read David Walliams latest release, Billionaire Boy, and loved it and so was really pleased to find Mr Stink appear through my letter box. David Walliams has created a great character and Quentin Blake's illustrations accompany the story really well.

Walliams has written a great book which again gives a great message to readers of all ages - don't judge a person by their appearance.
Mr Stink is a tramp who sits all day on a bench in the town centre, avoided by everyone because ... he smells. Chloe is a school girl and the daughter of a mother who thinks she is extremely posh, wants to be a member of Parliament and looks down her nose at others. There are many secrets in the family and Mr Stink has a way of outing the secrets while making the family reunite and become a loving family once more.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to adults and children alike who want a good story with a strong message included within.

Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me the book to review.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley

Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she's asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible -- the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities. Sculptor, Jude Martland, is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancee and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend. Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid. Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for -- it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!

My first Christmas read of 2010 and I am already excited! Oh how I wish to live in a big house in the country, completely snowed in with Holly to cater for the whole festive period.
I was first introduced to Trisha Ashley through her previous release, Chocolate Wishes and I was soon a fan, so when I heard her next book was due to be released, I was eager for a copy and I was not disappointed. Even the cover is beautiful and Christmassy. The large, country house with the snow glistening on the cover sets the scene perfectly.
Holly is a professional house sitter, who looks after clients houses while they are away. When she is asked by her boss to look after a remote house at Little Mumming over the festive period, it is ideal as Holly, who was bought up by her Strange Baptist grandmother, who celebrated only the religious festival of Christmas, and who has recently died and is also mourning the death of her husband some years ago, also around Christmas, the idea of getting away from the festivities are perfect.
Holly arrives at the house, with her Grandmothers treasured tin full of memories and her diaries, looks forward to a quiet time, however, it does not go to plan, when the owners family all talk about spending the Christmas period at the house, although the owner has disappeared to America on business and to avoid his brother and ex-fiance who spoilt the previous Christmas by getting together. As Christmas draws nearer, and the snow gets worse, more relatives drop into the house along with Jude, the owner, who decides Holly should stay and cater for them all. What is the attraction between Jude and Holly? or Holly and Michael? Will they all stay for the Twelfth Night festivities?
I loved this book. Set in a small country village, with real village community, pulling together when the weather got worse and they were cut off and the winter scenes were great for curling up at night and reading. The story was great, with twists and turns. I really loved the diary entries from Holly's nan at the start of each chapter - this was a story in its own right and I was eager to find out what happened to her as much as Holly. It was a book I could get lost in each night and really wanted to carry on to find out what happened. The characters became friends, although Jude was standoffish to start off with, and then came good - I really wish I could have seen Jude's finished sculpture, it sounded stunning!
I would recommend this book to all who want to get in the Christmassy mood, or want to get lost in a good book over the winter period, but don't read it when you are hungry. The meals Holly cooks all sound delicious. Trisha has added a few recipes to the end of the book which I think i am going to have to try.
A great read, thank you to Charlotte Allen at Harper Collins for sending me a copy to review.