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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

First Frost by James Henry

It's Denton, 1981. Britain is in recession, the IRA is becoming increasingly active and the country's on alert for an outbreak of rabies. Detective Sergeant Jack Frost is working under his mentor and inspiration DI Bert Williams, and coping badly with his increasingly strained marriage. Probably not helped by the fact that he never goes home...Superintendent Stanley Mullett has been at Denton for only six months, and is desperately trying to restore order within the chronically depleted ranks, while refurbishing the dilapidated Eagle Lane HQ. But DI Williams is nowhere to be seen, and DI Allen has failed to return from his walking holiday. So when a 12-year-old girl goes missing from a department store changing room, Mullet has no option but to put DS Frost in charge of the investigation.

I am a great fan of the television programme, Frost, however when reading the R.D. Wingfield books I was not so keen, although I think that this was because I had seen the TV dramatisation first, it took away the element of surprise and solving of the crime. When I saw this book, I was intrigued as to learning about Frost's earlier life.

This book is actually written by two authors: James Gurbutt and Henry Sutton and has been approved by R.D. Wingfield's son Phil Wingfield.

Frost is a Detective Sergeant, Mullett has just been promoted to Superintendent and Frost is joined by DC Arthur Hanlon and newspaper journalist Sandy Longford is chasing stories, all popular characters which are in RD Wingfield's orginal books.

The book starts with the disappearance of a school girl, Julie Hudson, from a department store, who's mother is beaten and left for dead and her father disappears. There is also the death of a police officer just weeks away from retirement and a blind man who is found dead in Denton Canal. With a suspected Rabies case in the area, a young child is hospitalised but the truth is even more severe. In true Frost style, the investigations are not done by the book, and with Mullett breathing down his neck, he is determined to solve the cases and even at this early stage of his career, his wife is left behind.

A good read, a great insight into life before Frost becomes an Inspector. The authors have managed to include regular and popular characters from R D Wingfield's books and the television series.

I would recommend this book to all Frost fans or lovers of crime fiction.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Royal Wedding Doodles by Katy Jackson

This is a dazzling doodle book that ties in wonderfully with the upcoming Royal wedding, capturing all the excitement and anticipation surrounding the event. From designing the dress and adding the accessories to finishing the flowers and completing the cake, there are many pretty pictures to complete and colour. Scrapbook pages are included, for sticking in mementos from the Royal wedding, to create a record of Kate and William's happy day to treasure forever.

I admit, I am looking forward to watching the Royal Wedding next Friday. As I mentioned on an earlier post, in the past I have collected books relating to the Royal Family and I have been enjoying looking at the range of books celebrating William and Catherine's upcoming nuptials.

When I was offered this book to review, I was looking forward to seeing how it would be approached.

This book has been produced by Buster Books and is perfect for young girls everywhere. The book has the feel of a wedding diary or scrapbook starting with designing an invitation, compiling a wedding list, writing your guest list, designing hats for the female guests, buttonholes for the bridegroom, the wedding dress, the cake, the wedding breakfast top table and menu. There are also places to add pictures from William and Kate's actual day. There are also spaces to add ideas about the honeymoon, postcards and the married couples new home.

It is a great idea, giving children the opportunity to design their own wedding as well as celebrate and record the actual day. Full of partly drawn pictures and frames to add your own thoughts, ideas and sketches, this will keep children occupied for hours!

I loved this book, great idea, great content and plenty of ideas given, while leaving actual details for the children to decide upon.

Thank you to Buster Books and O'Mara Limited for sending me the book to review.

The Amazing Terry Jones Presents his Incredible Animal Tales

A dog who cannot understand why he is not allowed to practice medicine. A fox who runs a circus of trained chickens. A flea who thinks he is the manager of a chain of mega-stores. A skunk who falls madly in love with a bear. All are characters in a fantastic new collection of tales for children of all ages. Hysterical fun for children and parents from the speaker of 'the

funniest line ever uttered in film history' - "He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

A great book for children to share with others. Written by Terry Jones, a scriptwriter and member of the Monty Python team.

Included within the book are 16 stories and 11 Wonders of the Animal Kingdom. The stories are funny and different to many children's stories about animals. I loved the story entitled 'The elephant who had no trousers' about an elephant who, when he heard the Queen was to visit, wanted to have a pair of trousers, but no-one had enough fabric, until he spoke to the Weaver Ants who made him some trousers using leaves from the Baobab Tree. All was fine until the queen didn't visit until many weeks later when the leaves had turned golden and as the queen arrived the leaves fell off!!

The stories will catch the imagination of older children, age 7-9, as I feel that the stories are more complicated than many children's stories. It is a lovely book that would make a great gift and one which will be treasured for a long time, one which will be constantly chosen for a bedtime story.

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

The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly

The sparkling follow-up to A Weekend with Mr Darcy from Victoria Connelly -- set to become the Richard Curtis of the chick-lit world! The circus has come to town! Die-hard romantic, Kay Ashton, uses her inheritance to open a B&B in the seaside town of Lyme Regis and is dumbstruck when the cast and crew of a new production of Persuasion descend, needing a place to stay. Kay can't believe her luck -- especially when she realises that heart throb actor Oli Wade Owen will be sleeping under her very own roof! Meanwhile, co-star Gemma Reilly is worried that her acting isn't up to scratch, despite landing a plum role. She finds a sympathetic ear in shy producer, Adam Craig, who is as baffled by the film world as she is. Kay thinks the two are meant for each other and can't resist a spot of matchmaking. Then, when Oli turns his trademark charm on Kay, it seems that she has found her real-life hero. But do heroes really exist? Featuring a cast of characters that could have stepped out of a Jane Austen novel, this is the perfect read for fans of Katie Fforde and Alexandra Potter.
Book details
PublisherAVON, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

I absolutely loved Victoria Connelly's first Jane Austen inspired book, A Weekend With Mr Darcy, and have been looking forward to this book since I finished it. I was not disappointed. This is another Jane Austen inspired book, set in Lyme Regis where Persuasion was set.

Following the death of both her mother, and Peggy Sullivan, an old lady who was in the same nursing home as her mother and a dear old lady that she enjoyed reading Jane Austen books to, Kay was astonished to discover she had inherited all of Peggy's effects. Leaving an office job she didn't enjoy, Kay decided to follow her dream and move to Lyme Regis to concentrate on her passion, art, and especially creating illustrations to accompany Pride and Prejudice. Buying a Bed and Breakfast in Lyme Regis with her inheritance gives her a home, an income and the ability to draw in Jane Austen country. A film company are filming Persuasion nearby, and following a leaking pipe in the casts hotel, some of the crew end up at Kay's B&B. There are possible relationships blossoming but who will Kay go out with - Producer Adam or Lead Actor Oli Wade Oweb.

This was a great read, with great characters. I would love to stop in Kay's Bed and Breakfast, it sounds like a homely establishment and the views and countryside described by Connelly sounded gorgeous.

I love Connelly's writing style, it has a flowing style, which reads easily. She is descriptive, without being overly so, funny and romantic. A perfect book to loose yourself in.

There is a hint of a secret halfway through the book and I guessed it there and then and later found it to be true, it didn't ruin the story for me and I still hoped that all would end good in the end - however, i won't reveal if it came true, you need to read the book to find out.

As I hope you can tell, I really enjoyed this book. A great read for Jane Austen fans or just a lover of a good old chick lit book. I, for one, can not wait until Connelly releases the third in this trilogy of Jane Austen inspired novels.

Thank you to Avon for sending me this book to review.

The Railway Rabbits Fern and the Dancing Hare by Geogie Adams

Meet the Railway Rabbits! Join the irrepressible Longears family as they get in and out of scrapes, meet new friends, and perform daring rescues. But Burdock the buzzard and the terrifying Red Dragon, are always on the lookout for naughty rabbits who stray too far from home...When timid Fern finds a shiny hare-shaped brooch, she's sure there's something special about it. Wisher is too, and together they set off to uncover the mystery. Heartwarming, hilarious, with Anna Currey's charming illustrations, this is a brilliant new animal adventure series from a best selling children's author.

A lovely story for children about a family of rabbits who were going on an adventure to meet their grandparents and stay the night in their burrow. To get to their burrow, they had to cross a big field and get to the castle, a journey which could lead them into the path of many predators.

The story tells of their adventure to their grandparents, an ancient folklore and Fern's determination to find the dancing hare.

The story was well told and accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Anna Currey. The illustrations were pencil sketches and made me think of peter rabbit and watership down, real rabbits, not cartoony.

Animal lovers will love this series of books. This is the third in the series, but there are three more planned for release in the next few months.

I would recommend this for readers age 7+ although it is a perfect book for adults to share a chapter with younger children at bedtime.

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

Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

Ever dreamed of starting over? Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that - Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she's made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe. It should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?

The story contains a number of themes: the main being that of Issy, who is made redundant and decides to follow her dream of opening her own cake shop/cafe. There is also Pearl, a single mum, who lives in an area of the city which is undesirable, and wants to make a better life for her son where ever possible. Grampa Joe, lives in a care home but who wants to pass his knowledge onto Issy, and then there is Catherine, wife of a city high flier, who originally wanted the cafe site for her own business, but her husband wants a divorce and tells her to find her a job to support herself with, with tail between her legs, she approaches Issy. There are also potential love interests for Issy, the bank manager who has stepped in to become a father figure to his young brother, after their parents death and Graeme - a slimeball!

Many chapters of the book starts with a cake recipe, and they all sound delicious. Each recipe is written by Grampa Joe, in his own unique style.

I love the front cover - it is a stunning cover, with foiled highlights and cupcakes galore - it depicts the story very well. I would love to have the Cupcake Cafe as a local business near me, I am sure the atmosphere is warm and welcoming and a setting for many a relaxed afternoon.

The writing style was easy to follow and I devoured the chapters quickly. However, I was not a fan of Jenny Colgan in the past, but really liked the sound of this book. If i am honest, I am not won over by the author, but the book was an easy read, one which could be devoured on a beach or over a summer weekend.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Olivia Paints a Mural by Ian Falconer

We have seen Olivia the Magnificent and Olivia as a ballerina, but now, in typical Olivia style, she is exploring her artistic side in this sweet and charming board book.

Olivia is a pig who has a TV series on NickJr and Milkshake (Channel 5).

This is a board book with chunky pages and bright, colourful pictures. There is quite a lot of story on each page and although this is a board book, it is recommended for children age 3+.

The story tells the story of Olivia, who visits an art gallery and on her return home decides to paint. A trip to the supermarket introduces her to murals - which Olivia wants to paint when she gets home, but she starts small, on the advice of her mother, and paints a family portrait.

I think this book is a rather complicated story for 3 year old to follow, however if they are a fan of the TV series they may enjoy it. However, as i have never seen the programme I think this book is complicated, however a lovely book for children to look at the pictures.

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

The Lost Gardens by Philip Osment and Michael Foreman (Collins Big Cat Drama)

Stumbling upon a hidden and forgotten garden, three young friends find themselves transported to World War One, and caught up in the shocking truth of young soldiers sent to fight for their country. Beautifully illustrated by Kate Greenaway winner Michael Foreman, this thought-provoking play helps to bring the First World War into modern day. * Diamond/Band 17 books offer more complex, underlying themes to give opportunities for children to understand causes and points of view. * A playscript * Curriculum Links: History: What was it like to live here in the past?

Another interesting book from the Collins Big Cat series. This book is from the Drama range and is a play, with seven characters. The drama could be read as a role play with six children playing the children's role and an adult playing the old lady. It includes plenty of history, the first world war and tells the story of a young soldier called Albert, within the story and is a great text for school.

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

Caliban's Cave - Poems by Judith Nicholls (Collins Big Cat Poetry)

An atmospheric collection of new poems about the sea and earth by poet Judith Nicholls, beautifully illustrated by Judy Musselle. * Emerald/Band 15 books provide a widening range of genres including science fiction and biography, prompting more ways to respond to texts. * Text type: A poetry book

A book of 28 poems by Judith Nicholls. The poems are all about the beach, the countryside and the weather. The poems are all accompanied by lovely illustrations by Judy Musselle which accompany the poems beautifully. The poems are of varying lengths and will provide much to talk about with children after reading them.

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

Code Making, Code Breaking by Richard Platt (Collins Big Cat)

What are codes for and who uses them? How do you make a code, how do you break a code? If you think only spies and soldiers use codes, you're wrong! Find out how codes have been used throughout history, from Ancient Egypt through to the Cold War in this enthralling non-fiction book by award-winning author, Richard Platt. * Emerald/Band 15 books provide a widening range of genres including science fiction and biography, prompting more ways to respond to texts. * Text type: A non-chronological report

Another fantastic, informative and interesting read in the Collins Big Cat range. Broken into three sections, this book educates the reader in: codes; making and breaking codes; and unbroken codes and forgotten languages.

The book starts by making the reader realise that codes are used everyday for a variety of reasons. It discusses code making through the ages; using smoke, flags and Morse code. Making a code includes the Greek warriors who had messages in code on his belt, romans shifting letters, using invisible ink and how to make it, to name but a few. The last section includes ancient markings and script discovered from civilisations gone by.

The book is really interesting and certainly made me want to learn to more about this topic. Some of the ideas could be used today - something to keep children occupied during long holidays.

Another great book from Collins Big Cat, which although it is part of their reading scheme would make a great entry into any library.

Thank you to Michael from The School Forum for sending me the book to review.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Benjamin Zephaniah: My Story (Collins Big Cat, Diamond/Band 17)

Find out what it's like to be a famous poet, author and performer in this autobiography by Benjamin Zephaniah. Learn what it was like growing up in a house of seven children, meeting Nelson Mandela and how he sets about writing poetry, all told through his own voice and accompanied by artwork from Kate Greenaway winning illustrator Victor Ambrus. * Diamond/Band 17 books offer more complex, underlying themes to give opportunities for children to understand causes and points of view. * An autobiography * A timeline on pages 54 and 55 presents the key events in Benjamin Zephaniah's life chronologically, allowing plenty of recapping and further discussion. * Curriculum Links: Citizenship: Living in a diverse world
This type of book by Collins Big Cat are the ones which I think they do really well. Autobiographies of influential people, written in a way that children will enjoy. Benjamin Zephaniah is a black poet, another influential person from the twentieth century I have never heard of but have been introduced to via Collins Big Cat. The book includes both photographs and drawings of Benjamin. It also contains a comprehensible timeline and glossary to enable children to understand completely. The book is one of the Collins Big Cat reading scheme books (Diamond band 17), however it is really interesting and informative non fiction book, a biography, which covers a number of topics, including his parents move from Jamaica to England, his early life in Birmingham, his school days, his trips to Jamaica and his introduction into the world of Dub Poetry (a dubbed version of a track, and then removal of the music) and a poet's life. there are many original photographs in the book, but also a number of illustrations which accompany the narrative beautifully. The narrative tells the history and the story of Benjamin Zephaniah's life in great detail and in words that a child would understand. This book would make a great entry into a school library or for budding poets of any age. Thank you to Michael from The School Run Forum for sending me the book to review.

The Grunt and the Grouch - Freaky Funfair by Tracey Corderoy

The Grunt and The Grouch are two of the most disgusting and badly-behaved trolls in the world - and the most fun! They keep bogies and ear wax in jars, and they never, ever have a bath! This hilarious series of three-in-one storybooks will bring out the troll in all girls and boys! Buckle up with The Grunt and The Grouch as they dare each other to go on the loop-the-loop at the fair, help themselves to one of the museum's dinosaur bones for Grotbag's dinner, and fall out so badly that they have to split the house in two.

Another fantastic book by Tracey Corderoy about the grunt and the grouch, two revolting trolls.

The book contains three stories:Freaky Funfair; Dino Disaster and Mine! Each story just the right length to share at bedtime or for story time. The book is aimed at 5-8 years, early readers and the language and style is perfect for that age. The story content will engage young boys completely - bogies, grime and not washing! The story contains many pencil drawings throughout the pages and although they are disgusting creatures, I think they are really quite cute!

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

Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton

Despite her fascination with Jack the Ripper, Detective Constable Lacey Flint has never worked a big case or seen a dead body up close. Until now...As she leaves a south London estate one night, she is horrified to find a woman has been viciously stabbed, right next to Lacey's car. Thrown headlong into her first murder hunt, Lacey's quiet life changes overnight. Then Lacey receives a familiar hand-delivered letter, written in red blood, and it is clear the police have a Ripper copycat on their hands. Lacey must be the bait if they are to prevent a second, brutal murder. But can this inexperienced DC outwit a killer whose infamous role model has never been found?...

The first S J Bolton book i have read, and i have found a new crime author i like! The book had me gripped from the first chapter where Lacey Flint finds a woman by Lacey's parked car, who has been stabbed and is bleeding to death.

The crimes that follow appear to have links to the historical crimes of Jack The Ripper - I normally do not like books that are linked to real crimes but I loved this book. It was high impact, fast moving, cleverly written and urging you to carry on reading just one more chapter!

The police team who are to investigate this crime, appear to not trust each other, which lead to problems with the investigation but there is a need by Lacey to solve the crime.

The book is full of twists and turns and I really enjoyed S J Bolton's writing style. Although the story is grisly in places, i did not find the writing and descriptions too gruesome. I hope DC Lacey Flint is a character who Bolton visits again soon.

I would recommend this to any crime lovers out there.

I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine program.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Kate and Wills Up The Aisle by Alison Jackson

Alison Jackson presents a humorous folio of photographs to reveal all about the royal wedding between Kate and Wills, the most anticipated nuptials to come out of Britain since Charles and Diana, providing a glimpse into all the events we have imagined but never thought we would see. This largely chronological retelling of the romance of Wills and Kate and the run-up to the Royal Wedding will include pictures of the genealogical background of the two sides and details of the early days of their courtship right through to the wedding itself. There is the endless waiting for Kate - the ring-gazing, gym regime, deportment and daily wash and blow. Then there is Wills' preparations for the proposal and practice for the public announcement, not to mention the fun of the wedding preparations; drawing up the guest list, designing the menus and picking the wedding dress, while a variety of celebrity guests - including Elton John, the Beckham's and Lady Gaga - choose and try on their outfits for the special day. Our whistle-stop tour of the royal romance shows what everyone wishes they could see and gives us answers to questions like: How did blushing student Wills chat up Kate? How did Kate learn the tricks of the trade she needed to bag Wills and become Queen material? Ever wondered what actually happened when Wills proposed in the African bush? As for the happy couple's loved ones, how does poor old Charles feel about being upstaged by his young son with Diana's eyes and smile? We have the stag and hen nights; the arrival of the gifts from heads of states from around the world; and, of course, the shots of the The Big Day" that you simply won't see anywhere else.

A behind the scenes, tongue in cheek look at Kate and Wills life together, their wedding day and reception.

Alison Jackson has a reputation for risque photographs and these certain don't disappoint. Those pictures you would love to see, but know you won't of the reception, the hen and stag nights and when the middleton's meet the royals.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the official photographs of the big day (I have books on Charles and Diana and Andrew and Sarah's wedding days in the loft), but this book was a great stop gap until the papers are full of the real thing!

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

Bumpalicious by Denise Van Outen

When Denise found out she was expecting Betsy, she went straight out and bought a wide range of titles, from celebrity mumoir to practical guides to eating and exercising properly. But all of these books were missing something - the element of fun! BUMPALICIOUS is much more than just a pregnancy diary - as well as Denise's own personal experiences, you'll also find helpful hints and tips, non-judgemental advice, nutritional and technical advice from food and fitness experts and, above all, a book that encourages you to relax and ENJOY the excitement of pregnancy and the first few months of being a new mum. The road to giving birth may be a bumpy one but it's not all swollen ankles and morning sickness. A frank first-hand account of what to expect when you're expecting, reading BUMPALICIOUS is like sitting down and having a good old natter with Denise, from the comfort of your couch

I loved this book as it felt like I was chatting with Denise about her pregnancy each month. The style of her diary is very similar to her bubbly personality and it was great to read how she really felt through her pregnancy.

The book is split into chapters, where each chapter is a month of pregnancy and includes Denise's diary along with information from Amanda Ursell (nutritionist) and Nicki Waterman (fitness expert).

The book is not the most detailed of pregnancy manuals but is a great accompaniment to those manuals - letting you see that those little niggles and aches and pains and general uncomfortable feelings are suffered by all.

Would make a great gift for mums to be to read or if you want to know how pregnancy really feels, but buy alongside another manual for a detailed explanation and description of pregnancy and medical details.

Thank you to Headline Publishing for this competition prize.

Undercover Aliens (Oli and Skipjack's Tales of Trouble) by Ceci Jenkinson

Cosmic Trouble! Did Grundy Thicket really see a UFO, or was it a flying sheep? Who is the blue blob on Ringo's Hostility Detector? Is Mr Grimble an alien from the planet Quorkidellian? Will Skipjack's brain be sucked out through his ears? Can Oli save the world from the evil Zolborg Naphax? Before these questions are answered -there'll be trouble! This is the sixth book in the hilarious "Tales of Trouble" series.

A great read for boys age 9+ who have wild imaginations and love aliens! A book full of those strange alien names and weird plots that is only available when aliens are included.

The story is about Oli and Skipjack who have a new friend, Ringo, who has moved in near by and says he lived previously in Kalamistan, but the boys don't believe him and when they find his 'mobile phone' which is not a mobile phone they are determined to find out who he really is and what he is doing at their school. Boys being boys, they get into the usual scrapes and are soon trying to save the world from Zolborg Naphax.

Well written, full of great pencil sketches and plenty to stretch any ones imagination.

A great read, recommended to boys and alien lovers everywhere.

Thank you to Faber Kids for sending me this book to review.

Girl on the run by Jane Costello

He's a real catch ...if only she could catch him up Abby Rogers has been on health kicks before - they involve eating one blueberry muffin for breakfast instead of two. But since starting her own business, after watching one too many episodes of The Apprentice, the 28-year-old's waistline has taken even more of a back seat than her long-neglected love life. When Abby is encouraged to join her sporty best friend's running club - by none other than its gorgeous new captain - she finds a mysterious compulsion to exercise. Sadly, her first session doesn't go to plan. Between the obscenely unflattering pink leggings, and the fact that her lungs feel as though they've been set on fire, she vows never to return. Then her colleague Heidi turns up at work and makes a devastating announcement, one that will change her life - and Abby's - forever.

Surprisingly, this is the first Jane Costello book i have read. However, it will definitely not be my last, there are another three i will be searching for soon. She is a popular author and i can definitely see the appeal. Great writing, short, snappy sentences, fast paced plot, funny episodes and an easy read which I devoured quickly.

Abby, the main character, is looking for love. She meets the man of her dreams, however unfortunately, she has backed into his prize possession - his motorbike! Of course, this is typical Abby, in a hurry, trying to do many things at once. Abby runs her own web design company, with a small team behind her, Heidi, Matt and Priya. This team become closer when an announcement is made that one of the team is ill and Abby decides to pledge to run a half marathon to raise money, as well as organise a ball to encourage her business associates to put their hands in their pockets.

Abby's pledge takes her to a running club that her best friend, Jess, goes to - and brings Abby face to face with motorbike man again, along with dishy Doctor Oliver.

There are many little stories along the way, although the main one continues to be that of Abby's half marathon training, intertwined with flirtation, kisses and hidden secrets but I won't reveal anything more here.

As I previously said, I really enjoyed this book and will be searching for Costello's previous titles as I really like her style of writing. The characters are likable, although Dishy Oliver would not be my choice of doctor! Abby, is likable and someone who i would like as a best friend, however hectic her life is, when she pledges to do something she pours heart and soul into it.

A great beach read, or one to relax with in this great weather we have at the moment.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me this book to review.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

One Hundred Years of the British Fire Engine by Neil Wallington

'One Hundred Years Of The British Fire Engine' tells the story of how fire engines developed from early horsedrawn contraptions to today's advanced lifesaving vehicles. Starting with the first motorised fire engine, the 1903 Tottenham Merryweather, it reveals how competition between great British manufacturers including Dennis, Leyland and Bedford fuelled important innovations far beyond their ability to pump firefighting water such as turntable ladders and hydraulic platforms. It gives an account of how fire engines rose to the challenges of World War II and how the post-war period brought both the introduction of standard specifications for engines and the iconic Green Goddess. It also traces the decline of British makers in recent years, as foreign badges became an ever-more familiar sight in fire stations. As well as technical information, 'One Hundred Years Of The British Fire Engine' is full of fascinating facts and stories. Find out why firemen had to hold on tight until the 1930s, which fire service painted their engines yellow and how London taxis played their part during the Blitz. The author, Neil Wallington, had a distinguished thirty-year firefighting career and has written a number of other books, including 'Firemen At War', 'In Case Of Fire' and 'Great Fires Of London'. With many photographs of old fire engines both in preservation and in action, 'One Hundred Years Of The British Fire Engine' will appeal not only to fire service enthusiasts but to anyone interested in vintage vehicles. Its magnificent engines are a lasting monument to British engineering and invention, as well as to the brave firefighters who rode them. About the Author Neil Wallington had a distinguished thirty-year firefighting career and has written a number of books, including 'Firemen At War', 'In Case Of Fire' and 'Great Fires Of London'.

A perfect book for fire engine enthusiasts or firemen who wish to reminisce! The book is full of photographs, both black and white and colour, of fire engines over the past 100 years. The book begins with a concise historical overview of the development of fire engines, starting at the end of the nineteenth century where horse drawn and steam power engines were the order of the day, right up until the present day Volvo machines. Looking through the book is like a trip down memory lane for enthusiasts via the photographs. Neil Wallington has produced a book full of details and facts that will interest historians and fire service enthusiasts busy for hours. There is lots of technical detail included within the book, but does not detract from the history of the engines and the changes within the service as a whole. In the introduction, Wallington has admitted the book is not the definitive history of every make of fire engine but a personal celebration and general overview. It is evident through reading the book that Wallington has done much research and his love for the service is shown throughout the book. I recommend this book as a great gift for fire service enthusiasts and ex fire service personal everywhere. Thank you to Jeremy Mills Publishers Limited for sending me the book to review.

When God was a rabbit by Sarah Winman

WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT is an incredibly exciting debut from an extraordinary new voice in fiction. Spanning four decades, from 1968 onwards, this is the story of a fabulous but flawed family and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it's about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister

Eleanor narrates this story of her life, from pre teens through to adulthood. She has encountered much in her life so far and her highs and lows are discussed in the book. Family and Eleanor's relationship with her family plays a big part in this book. Her relationship with her parents, her gay brother, her best friend Jenny Penny, the relocation to Cornwall and the separation from her best friend, her joy of receiving a rabbit for her birthday which she named God. The book also deals with how the family fit into society, their life in London and their subsequent move to Cornwall are both important places to the family and their move has many effects on the family, especially Eleanor who must leave behind her best friend, although this friendship is rekindled in the later half of the book under very different circumstances.

The main themes of the book are family, friends and the ups and downs of everyday life which has been punctuated by world news - the shooting of John Lennon and 9/11 to name but two.

The story has many highs and lows, times of humour and tears and is a great read which would be a great book for a book club to discuss. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all. It is a quick rad which draws you in.
If you are after action packed, high paced excitement then this book is not for you - but if you want a slow placed, engaging read then this is the book for you! A book full of emotion and reminiscing of times gone by and their effects of a young persons life. An excellent great debut novel from Sarah Winman, an author I am looking forward to reading more from soon (I hope). I received this book from Amazon Vine.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential - Ten Years On by Francine Pascal

It's been ten years since the Wakefield twins graduated from Sweet Valley High, and a lot has happened. For a start, Elizabeth and Jessica have had a falling out of epic proportions, after Jessica committed the ultimate betrayal, and this time it looks like Elizabeth will never be able to forgive her. Suddenly Sweet Valley isn't big enough for the two of them, so Elizabeth has fled to New York to immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious reporter, leaving a guilt-stricken Jessica contemplating the unthinkable: life without her sister. Despite the distance between them, the sisters are never far from each other's thoughts. Jessica longs for forgiveness, but Elizabeth can't forget her twin's duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to get revenge. Always the 'good' twin, the one getting her headstrong sister out of trouble, Elizabeth is now about to turn the tables...

Ten years have passed, but now those Wakefield twins back! However, there are changes, Elzabeth and Todd are no more and Todd now lives with his new girlfriend.......... Jessica Wakefield!

My memories of my early teens include reading lots of Sweet Valley High books, time before my classes library visit was always spent working out who was having which Sweet Valley High book next! Elizabeth and Jessica had a wild and varied school life in Sweet Valley and now they are all grown up, working and living completely different lives to those that they imagined all those years ago.

The book ends with a chapter that includes all the favorites from Sweet Valley High, giving a short description of what their lives are now. Marriages, divorces, deaths and births all feature within this catchup and is nice to see what happened to all the characters from Jess and Elizabeth's school year.

Reading the book sent be back reminiscing to the time spent reading the Sweet Valley High books. In a recent web interview with Francine Pascal I was surprised to read that Francine Pascal did not write all the books herself but had many ghost writers, however she has written this one herself and I enjoyed reading this, the style was still similar to the series.

It was great to catch up with Jessica and Elizabeth, however I do not think that I will be hoping for any more in the series. This book was a great catch up and I enjoyed revisiting the characters but I don't think the appeal is there for me any longer.

Thank you to Arrow Publishing for sending me the book to review.

Cartoon Kid by Jeremy Strong

You’ll never GUESS what Mr Butternut said at school today: 'This is your first day with me and I can see that there is something amazing about you . . . all of you are hiding a BIG SECRET.’ And do you know what it is? We are all SUPERHEROES. I nearly fell off my chair! Then we had to choose our superhero names. I’m Casper the Cartoon Kid, my best friend’s Big Feet Pete and moaning Noella Niblet – she’s the Incredible Sulk! Now we can fight injustice AND Gory and Tory the Vampire Twins. They’ve stolen something that belongs to us and we want it back – WHAM-BAM-JELLY AND-JAM!

The story is one which children everywhere daydream of - becoming a superhero!

Another great read by Jeremy Strong! A book which will appeal to children everywhere, either to read themselves or to share with others. Suitable for children age 7+ (reading age) and will have children laughing out loud at the turn of each page!

The book is interspersed with cartoon strips and cartoon like pictures to accompany the story and the text varies throughout the book along with the story.

I recommend this book as a gift for children age 7+. It will be loved by all and give lots of laughter.

Thank you to Puffin Books for sending me the book to review.