Challenge Participant


Monday, 31 December 2012

Horrid Henry's Fearsome Four by Francesca Simon

Horrid Henry's Fearsome Four - Horrid Henry
Full colour bind-up gift book of four Horrid Henry Early Reader stories - including Horrid Henry's Birthday Party, Horrid Henry's Underpants, Horrid Henry's Nits and Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend. Early Readers - your child's stepping stone from picture books to reading books.

My children have always loved Horrid Henry and we have the whole series of book and seen the television programmes many times. When my son began to want to read independently, he wanted to try the Horrid Henry book but, at the time, were too complicated for him. I then found the Early Readers series of Horrid Henry books which have been brought down a reading level and are perfect for children wanting to read more 'grown up' books (with chapters). Many of the early reader books in the past have been uninspiring and boring for children, outdated and poor stories, however these books are fantastic! My son loves reading them and even though he reads the original books, he still likes to come back to the Early Readers,

This book contains four Early Reader titles: Horrid Henry's Birthday Party, Horrid Henry's Underpants; Horrid Henry's Nits and Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend. Each of these stories have been included in the original Horrid Henry books but have been revamped for Early Readers. They are still accompanied by Tony Ross's fantastic illustrations which are in colour and are the perfect accompaniment to the stories, giving children a 'hint' on the story while they are reading.

I would highly recommend this book as a fantastic gift for any Horrid Henry fan who is beginning to gain confidence in reading or for younger children who enjoy sharing a story.

Thank you to the publishers, Orion Children's Books, for sending me the book to review.

Horrid Henry's Annual 2013 - Francesca Simon

Horrid Henry Annual 2013
Horrid Henry's most action-packed Annual yet. Featuring brand new material from Francesca Simon, this is a fun-packed compilation of quizzes, puzzles, jokes, activities, extracts, and much more. All delivered with Henry's hallmark humour and Tony Ross' distinctive illustrations. A perfectly horrid gift!

Horrid Henry is the world's greatest zombie vampire werewolf hunter and he is back with his 2013 annual, full of puzzles, stories and games to keep other hunters entertained for hours!

I would say that this book is suitable for the older Horrid Henry fans, due to the theme, however the puzzles and quizzes are more suitable for the younger fans. The stories are all taken from the very popular series of books written by Francesca Simon - unfortunately there was no new material which would of been the icing on the cake for this annual!

This book will keep Horrid Henry fans occupied for some time however the older HH fans will probably skip through it seeing material they have seen in previous publications.

Thank you to the publishers, Orion Children's Books, for sending me the book to review.

Deadly 60 2013 annual

Deadly Annual 2013 - Deadly! 1
A year packed full of adventure in the first ever DEADLY Annual! Containing brand new material from Steve Backshall, this is a fierce, fun and fact-filled compilation of quizzes, puzzles and activities featuring deadly animals from around the world.

This is the first annual for Deadly 60 fans and it has been definitely worth waiting for. It is packed full of photographs, quizzes and puzzles,  and has some great 'how to draw' step by step instructions.

It has lots of facts and figures about some of the 60 deadly animals that Steve Backshall and his team travel the world to see and will ensure your child is top of the class when they get back to school because I am sure that it is a book which a child will keep picking up and dipping into over the festive period.

I received this book from the publishers, Orion Children's Books, for review.

Deadly Diaries - Steve Backshall (Deadly 60)

Deadly Diaries - Steve Backshall's Deadly Series

In his first ever Deadly Diaries Steve Backshall shares what it means to him to film the world's most endangered species. Learn how it feels to have a blue whale silently power past you in crystal clear Indian Ocean waters or to dangle beneath a helicopter in order to be dropped onto a crocodile nest while the mother crocodile is still there! The book will be broken down programme by programme, starting with a globe from the Deadly graphics highlighting the location and including facts, pictures, experiences and extended diary pieces. This is Deadly 60 as you've never seen it before.

The book promises an incredible and unique personal insight into life on location with the Deadly team and the book definitely delivers this. Regular viewers of the popular Deadly 60 programme will be able to 'hear' Steve Backshall throughout this book as he takes readers through many of the challenges and triumphs he has experienced while trying to 'visit' 60 deadly animals from around the world. 

The book follows Steve and his team through Ethiopia, Alaska, Great Britain, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Florida. Each country has its own chapter and is packed full of facts. The chapters are full of animals which live in that country and is a fantastic book for these facts alone - the facts are all written with children in mind and in a way that is easy to understand, to use in school projects or to use as a starting point for researching an animal. However, there are also Steve's diary entries with descriptions of the happenings in that country on his search, what he has seen, what the team did and who, if any, was invited along to help with the research (experts etc). 

The book also gives away some of the secrets of the show, with insight into the technology used to film the animals and also the challenges faced by the team when they visit each continent of the world - each very different and all having their own difficulties to throw at the team.

This is a fantastic book for animal lovers of all ages and I am sure it will be popular with children, teenagers and also many adults who want to learn more about these animals. It would make a perfect gift but would also be a great addition to any school library - primary or secondary.

Thank you to the publishers, Orion Children's  Books, for sending me the book to review.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Guest Post - Carole Matthews

Today I am host to Carole Matthews on her blog tour for her new release With Love at Christmas, a fantastic read by Matthew's which focuses on a topic which I am sure is a headache suffered in many households over the festive period, family gatherings! Carole has given a further insight into her thoughts on this subject and I am delighted to welcome her to my blog:

Keeping Everyone Happy at Christmas

Not everyone is as mad on Christmas as the heroine of my latest book, With Love at Christmas. Juliet Joyce is Christmas crazy and all she wants is for her family to be happy and to be around her for the festive holiday.
      But, as Juliet discovers, it’s just not that easy. I think it’s something that every woman will empathise with. We all knock ourselves out trying to hold everything together while whipping up the perfect Christmas for everyone.
      But it’s tricky, isn’t it? At Christmas emotions seem to be amplified and spending time hot-housed with family members who you might not normally see for such undiluted periods of time can certainly be challenging!
      It’s also difficult to accommodate changing roles and relationships in a family. Who goes where for Christmas is always a thorny issue. If you’re married with children of your own, do you insist on Christmas day at home or do you split your time between in-laws? It’s easier if everyone appreciates that the family has to evolve. Sometimes we get set into Christmas rituals that are really hard to break without upsetting someone.
      If parents have split, it’s a terrible time of year for carving up time with the children. The squabble about who gets the kids on Christmas day can go on all year round if you’re not careful!
      Just remember that it’s supposed to be a fun, relaxing time. No, really, it is! You can’t keep everyone happy, just accept that and you won’t get too frazzled. You can’t possibly cater for all generations and both young and old will probably appreciate some time on their own. Perhaps take the youngsters out for a bike ride while the grandparents have a snooze. Or give in and let the teens lock themselves away with the computer for an hour.
      Factor in some ‘me’ time before Christmas. Take five minutes to curl up with a book, a nice glass of something and some ‘Mum’s Only’ chocolate, so that you’re less stressed when the big day arrives.  There are some great Christmassy reads around to get you in the mood. Plus you must make sure that you read, With Love at Christmas, then whatever Christmas throws at your family, you can be safe in the knowledge that it won’t ever be as bad as the Joyces’! At least I hope not!

Thank you Carole for including me within your blog tour and I hope that your Christmas is a calm and relaxed occasion and that your book is in many people's stocking on Christmas day. With Love at Christmas is a fantastic read and I will be reviewing it on this blog very soon.

Monday, 19 November 2012

101+ things to do with glitter by Momtaz Begum-Hussain

101 Things to Do with Glitter
There is something magical about glitter. It reminds one of fairy dust or of disco balls, or of the dazzling dresses worn by film stars. Glitter comes in a rainbow of colours and types from the classic glitter well-loved by children to glittery fabrics to spray-on glitter and edible glitter! This book contains over 101 projects that you can create: shimmery fashion, glistening items for the home, shiny gifts and even twinkling food! Not only will you learn a little about how glitter is made and the many types of glitter, but the author also offers tips and techniques for using glitter - and cleaning it up! Projects created by the author and contributors from across the world will inspire readers to add their own touches and release that creative urge that lurks somewhere within us all. The projects range from t-shirts, shoes and tote-bags to lipgloss, bath salts and soaps, to chocolate truffles, glittery jam and iced biscuits and so many more. All, of course, using the right glitter for the job! A book for all ages.

I love crafting and you can always tell when I have been 'playing' as there is glitter everywhere! Therefore when I saw this book I knew it was one I needed.

The book is published by Vivays Publishers and having seen a number of Vivay's books I am really impressed with their style. The photographs play a big part within the book and they are often full page pictures which show the finished project at its best.

The book begins with a look at the nation's love affair with glitter through the ages, dating back to ancient Greece, Egypt and the Romans, through to the present day and a look into the future. It also includes an interesting look into what glitter actually is and how it is made and also the types of glitter available on the market today. The book lists 24 different types of glitter. There is a useful section entitled Glitter SOS which includes great advice on how to apply glitter and also how to tidy glitter away - one that I will be reading, digesting and utilising in the run up to the festive period and all those cards to make!

There is also a section entitled 'Capturing Inspiration' which would be perfect for any budding fashionistas or students, giving ideas about keeping a sketchbook for inspiration or samples as well as mood boards or virtual images. There is a double on basic materials in a craft stash and another on special materials.There are a number of master it! pages which break down, into easy, manageable steps which talk you through each stage of basic techniques which are used in many of the projects used later on in the book. These include techniques such as making your own glitter card and foam, using Angelina fibres, clay, applique, decoupage to name but a few.

The rest of the book includes many project ideas which are categorised into sections entitled: Fashion and Accessories; Homes and Interiors; Gifts and Food; and Card and Papercraft. The projects are accompanied by fantastic photographs which show them at their best. Each project has a list of 'ingredients' needed from Crafty Stash, along with the type of glitter suited best to the project. The project is split into easy step by step instructions which are simple to follow and comprehensible while also being complete, leaving nothing to 'guess'. There are top tips for ways to adapt the project using different or reclaimed materials, ways to decorate your home using the finished pieces or alternatives to the finished project shown. There is also a note on each page called 'Glitter 101+' which give additional help or guidance on a part of the technique. The book finishes off with lots of templates which are used in the projects in the book.

I really enjoyed looking through the book and I think that this book includes gift ideas for just about any occasion and anybody. There are ideas which the children could do, with some supervision, and make their own gifts for others. Other projects could be inspiration for crafty ideas to while away the long winter nights.  The book will make you look at anything you see in a different light - with a sparkle of glitter things can be turned from the dull and boring to the sparkly and fantastic!!

This would make a great gift for a crafter of any age - I am considering giving this to my daughter for Christmas, she is only 10 years old, but is a budding crafter and loves glitter. However, I would also feel able to buy this book for some of my friends as glitter is loved by (most) women!

I received this book from the publishers, Vivays Publishers, in return for an honest review.

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Midwife's Here by Linda Farley

The Midwife's Here: The Enchanting True Story of One of Britain's Longest Serving Midwives
The Sunday Times bestseller 'Delivering my first baby is a memory that will stay with me forever. Just feeling the warmth of a newborn head in your hands, that new life, there's honestly nothing like it...I've since brought more than 2,200 babies into the world, and I still tingle with excitement every time.' It's the summer of 1968 and St Mary's Maternity Hospital in Manchester is a place from a bygone age. It is filled with starched white hats and full skirts, steaming laundries and milk kitchens, strict curfews and bellowed commands. It is a time of homebirths, swaddling and dangerous anaesthetics. It was this world that Linda Fairley entered as a trainee midwife aged just 19 years old. From the moment Linda delivered her first baby - racing across rain-splattered Manchester street on her trusty moped in the dead of night - Linda knew she'd found her vocation. 'The midwife's here!' they always exclaimed, joined in their joyful chorus by relieved husbands, mothers, grandmothers and whoever else had found themselves in close proximity to a woman about to give birth. Under the strict supervision of community midwife Mrs Tattershall, Linda's gruellingly long days were spent on overcrowded wards pinning Terry nappies, making up bottles and sterilizing bedpans - and above all helping women in need. Her life was a succession of emergencies, successes and tragedies: a never-ending chain of actions which made all the difference between life and death. There was Mrs Petty who gave birth in heartbreaking poverty; Mrs Drew who confided to Linda that the triplets she was carrying were not in fact her husband's; and Muriel Turner, whose dangerously premature baby boy survived - against all the odds. Forty years later Linda's passion for midwifery burns as bright as ever as she is now celebrated as one of Britain's longest-serving midwives, still holding the lives of mothers and children in her own two hands. Rich in period detail and told with a good dose of Manchester humour, The Midwife's Here! is the extraordinary, heartwarming tale of a truly inspiring woman.

I really enjoyed this book. There seems to have been an influx of midwife and nurse true stories into the market this year, and I for one, have enjoyed reading them all. This book is no exception. Linda Fairley starts on her nursing journey and through a number of events begins to doubt that nursing is for her, however an opportunity to work in the maternity department arrives and she has found her vocation in life!
The book has times of sadness, many times of happiness and also times of humour - especially when a young father gets upset when a male daughter examines his pregnant wife and Linda realises that he has no idea how this baby will be bought into the world!
This book is a great read for social historians as it charts the social history of young families but also the changes in maternity life - mums would give birth at home, the move to birthing in hospital, the discouragement to breast feed, husbands being shut out of the delivery room to name but a few.
I really enjoyed this book and I hope that Linda Fairley writes a second book to tell more about her midwife journey - this book finishes not long after she has qualified and I am sure she has plenty more stories to tell.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.

Horrid Henry Tricks and Treats by Francesca Simon

Horrid Henry Tricks and Treats - Horrid Henry Early Reader
Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. A red Early Reader is the next step on your reading journey. It's Halloween. With a bag full of tricks and the best costume in town, Henry can't wait to go trick or treating. But, oh the shame! Surely Mum doesn't expect him to go out with Peter dressed as a fluffy pink bunny?

Another fantastic Early Reader book from Orion Kids and Francesca Simon. Horrid Henry Tricks and Treats is one of the stories from Horrid Henry and the Bogey Babysitter, and has been put into a format perfect for young children who are beginning to gain confidence in reading alone or reading 'proper' books (with chapters).

Horrid Henry is a firm favourite in my house, he is forever getting into mischief and is often compared to his brother, Perfect Peter. This is another fantastic story about Henry, written by Francesca Simon and contains the fantastic colourful illustrations by Tony Ross who can depict the mischief and chaos caused by Henry at any moment.

Although this book has a Hallowe'en theme, it is a story which can be enjoyed at anytime of the year and will be loved by children of all ages.

I received this book from the publishers, Orion Kids. Thank you to them for sending me the copy to review.

Beautiful: A Beautiful Girl. An Evil Man. One Inspiring True Story of Couragel by Katie Piper

Beautiful: A Beautiful Girl. An Evil Man. One Inspiring True Story of Courage
I heard a horrible screaming sound, like an animal being slaughtered ...then I realised it was me.' When Katie Piper was 24, her life was near perfect. Young and beautiful, she was well on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a model. But then she met Daniel Lynch on Facebook and her world quickly turned into a nightmare ...After being held captive and brutally raped by her new boyfriend, Katie was subjected to a vicious acid attack. Within seconds, this bright and bubbly girl could feel her looks and the life she loved melting away. Beautiful is the moving true story of how one young woman had her mind, body and spirit cruelly snatched from her and how she inspired millions with her fight to get them back.

I had never heard of Katie Piper when she was an up and coming model, however her life changed in 2008 when her boyfriend arranged for a vicious attack to be carried out and Katie had acid thrown in her face. She suffered horrific injuries however she battled through many operations and this book tells of her life before the attack and the road to recovery to begin to repair the damage from the horrific attack.

This book was a very true and frank account of Katie's experience and there are some parts which are very hard to read. At many points during the book, I found myself very close to tears but at many parts during the book I was amazed by the courage and bravery of Katie during her journey to recovery.

Writing this book must of bought back many difficult memories to Katie and I must commend her on the courage she showed throughout it.  The book starts at the beginning and tells of childhood and her entrance into the world of modelling before the attack. Following the attack was a lengthy stay in hospital and even now she is still in and out of hospital for operations, many of which are not for cosmetic reasons but for medical reasons.

This book is a great read and is  one which hard hitting and emotional but also very inspiring.  I think Katie is a real role model for people everywhere!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The 1980s Bumper Activity Book by Mel Elliott

1980s Bumper Activity Book: 52 Grown Up Projects That Look Back to the Future
The 1980s Bumper Activity Book is a brilliantly unique art and craft book for all those '80s-obsessed people in the world.And last time we checked there were absolutely millions of them! Stuffed to the gills with hugely quirky and fun things to do, the 1980s Bumper Activity Book contains easy peasy instructions to creating and making your own favourite art and design projects. Packed within its glorious technicolour pages are 52 awesome things to create, including: paper dolls of iconic 1980s celebrities; WHAM! glove puppets; funky ties and T-shirts; a 'Pong' duvet cover; 3D glasses ...and even how to bake your very own 'Pac Man' cake! So, don't be a dipstick, step back in time to the decade no one wants to forget with the best 1980s Bumper Activity Book in the world ...EVER! Word count: 15,000

A great gift idea for anyone who was a teenager growing up in the 1980's. Just flicking through the book was like a trip down memory lane, with pictures of Dusty Bin, PAC-Man, Super Mario Brothers, and Magnum PI.

There are 52 different activities to try included in this book which use many different media - cross stitch, paper dolls, Lego, colouring pictures and t shirt transfers.

There are some great ideas in this book and although it is based on the 1980s, and may not be something that will match current  trends,the techniques can be adapted to modern day trends. A great idea for a fun stocking filler this Christmas but not sure how many people will actually make the items included.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.

The Fashion Resource Book, Research for design by Thames and Hudson

The Fashion Resource Book: Research for Design
Interviews with leading contemporary designers, including Paul Smith, Stephen Jones, and Maria Cornejo and education professionals, including Willie Walters, Course Director at Central St Martins, Andrew Groves from the University of Westminster and a Foreword by Shelley Fox, the Donna Karan Professor of Fashion, Director of the MFA Fashion Design and Society Program at Parsons, New York, will enable all readers both to understand the vital role of research and to discover the techniques the designers have adapted for themselves, while a richly illustrated profile of the major themes of fashion is both a highly original resource and a mine of information about each theme for readers to draw on in their own research.

As stated in Shelley Fox's foreword 'This invaluable book' and for any current or prospective fashion student, this book will make a great resource to have to hand.
The book starts at the very beginning - the research process as described by many of the world's fashion designers before looking into the inspiration of many different styles of clothing, including sportswear, uniforms and heritage. The third section of the book are filled with case studies of many designers. 

The book is filled with plenty of inspiration, lots of beautiful photographs and illustrations which encompass the history of fashion. It is a well researched and informatively written text which will suit fashion students of all ages.

It would make a great gift for fashion students but would be just as well received as a coffee table book to pick up and dip into at any time for inspiration or to loose yourself in.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine programme.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach
Every love story has a dangerous twist. Tamia Challey is horrified when her husband, Scott, is accused of something terrible - but when she discovers who his accuser is, everything goes into freefall. Backed into a corner and unsure what to think, Tamia is forced to choose who she instinctively believes. But this choice has dire consequences for all concerned, especially when matters take a tragic turn. Then a stranger arrives in town to sprinkle rose petals in the sea in memory of her lost loved one. This stranger carries with her shocking truths that will change the lives of everyone she meets, and will once again force Tamia to make some devastating choices...

When I pick up a Dorothy Koomson book, I know that I am getting a brilliant read. Koomson has 'invented' a new genre, emotional thrillers, and her books are a roller coaster of emotions which always have a very clever twist at the end, one which the reader can never predict, but one which finishes the story perfectly, every time!

This book is a fantastic read, one which had me hooked from page one and left me wanting to read just one more chapter each night. Koomson's chapters are written from the point of view of one of the three main characters in the book; Tamia, Beatrix and Fleur. There are many different topics touched upon in this book and I found that Koomson tackled each one with sensitivity and I feel that they were all linked into the storyline effortlessly.

The story starts with a usual evening at the Challey household, until the doorbell rings. The police enter and arrest her husband. It is not until the next day that Tamia finds out what her husband has been charged with and that is when her life crumbles. The story gathers pace throughout the book and all is not as it seems. It is a typical Koomson and even though some twists can be guessed, there is no way I saw the ending coming - it hits with a punch and I was no way disappointed at the end, other than there is at least another 12 months wait until Koomson's next release.

Since Dorothy's last book she has moved publishers and is now at Quercus Books. Along with this move, her books have been given a different cover design style, and this one is beautiful, not giving away anything about the storyline but draws you towards it from the bookshelf, willing you to pick it up and read it.

Koomson did a nationwide book tour around the time this book was released and I was lucky enough to get to see her in Birmingham, where she did a question and answer session with one of the Birmingham Central Library team and also invited questions from the audience. It was well worth the hour long journey there and back to see her, Dorothy is a very funny lady and immediately had the audience's attention and interacted with us all throughout the hour long talk. She talked about her first book to have been purchased for dramatisation (although there is alot of change to the storyline which I am not sure she is too happy with) and about her inspiration for books. The audience asked for any hints about her next book, but Dorothy gave nothing away although I could tell there were many audience members who could not wait for it to hit the book shelves next year.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tommy Cooper 'Jus' Like That!' By John Fisher

Tommy Cooper 'jus' Like That!': A Life in Jokes and Pictures
For the first time, Tommy Cooper's biographer, writer and producer, John Fisher, collects between two covers the cream of the comedian's personal archives, with photographs, memorabilia and documents that have never been seen before. Had Cooper kept a scrapbook, this is what he would have produced. Souvenirs from his many stage and television triumphs jostle side by side with candid shots of him at play with his family, many revealing a side to the man the public never really saw. Here is the authentic side of Tommy in the forces, the early show business struggle, the backstage world of his magic, the newspaper coverage of the most recognisable man in Britain, the crazy japes at home with wife Gwen, and so much more. This book, with its brilliant colour images and hilarious text, puts the successive stages of Tommy's life in full context. And if you don't want to follow his life in biographical detail, just sit back and relax by laughing at the many jokes that crowd the pages. They tell their own story!

I am not a fan of Tommy Cooper however I have family members who are fans and this would make a perfect Christmas present for many of them.

This book looks like a Tommy Cooper fan's scrapbook - jam packed full of programme covers, publicity posters, photographs,newspaper clippings, all annotated to include Tommy Coopers thoughts etc at the time.

This would make a great Christmas gift for any Tommy Cooper fans this festive period and will be a walk down memory lane through Tommy's career.

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

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

The Paper Dolls
A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens. A stunning, rhythmical story of childhood, memory and the power of imagination from the author of THE GRUFFALO, and new illustrating talent Rebecca Cobb.

This is the new release by popular children's author Julia Donaldson. I loved this book as soon as I saw the front cover and when I read it, I was even more in love with it.

The story is about a set of paper dolls that a child and her mother made, a lovely tradition in those old fashioned crafts to do on a rainy afternoon. It is a lovely book that will ignite any little (or big) girls imagination and as happens at the end of book, a pastime that can be passed from mother to daughter.

It is written in Julia Donaldson's legendary rhyme and repetition that will soon be imprinted into the readers brain, allowing little ones to join in with the story telling. The illustrations are drawn by Rebecca Cobb and look to be crayon illustrations that add to the nostalgic appeal of the book.

I would recommend this book as the perfect book for a mother and daughter to share and to find themselves a new pastime to while away the hours on a rainy afternoon.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr

The Great Granny Gang
Here comes the fearless granny gang, The youngest eighty-two. They leap down from their granny van, And there's nothing they can't do! A gleeful celebration of why grannies are great! Through wonderfully rhythmical writing and exquisite illustrations, Judith Kerr shows us that there is a lot more to this gang of grey-haired grannies than meets the eye! Full of charm and laugh-out-loud fun, this is a must for every child's bookshelf.

I have found memories of Judith Kerr books, my childhood favourites included 'The Tiger who came to Tea' and when this book arrived on my doormat I was very interested to explore this story too!

The story is written in Kerr's fantastic rhyming prose and is filled with plenty of humour and I am sure that story time will be very interesting while children see which granny looks like their own throughout this hilarious story! While reading the story I was reminded of that group of 'golden oldies' on last year's Britains Got Talent with the gold medallions singing and rapping.

As with previous Kerr books, this story is accompanied by beautifully drawn illustrations, each would make a lovely picture to hang on a child's wall, and together they make this book a beautiful gift to give from  Grandmother to child or vice versa to share at those special story times.

I would recommend this as the perfect Christmas gift to give this Christmas.

Thank you to the publishers,  Harper Collins Children, for sending me this book to review.

Discover London by Jacqui Bailey

Discover London!
This popular London guide has been fully updated for the 2012 Olympics. A lavishly illustrated and comprehensive guide to England's capital city for children - giving its history and geography and recommending the best places to visit from Royal Palaces and parks to museums and galleries. Packed with suggestions for fun days out and making the most of a family visit to London.

This is a great, easy to read, book for children who want to learn about London. Whether it is a school project on either the history of or the tourism of London, this is the perfect book for children aged 7+.

The book begins with the history of London and the time line begins in 50 AD, when the Romans built Londinium and finishes in 2012 when London played host to The Olympic Games. There are lots of facts throughout the book, lots within the text but many have been highlighted in boxes throughout the book.

This is also marketed as a tourism book and the book has all the main sights within London included. The book also cleverly has, for each attraction, details of the closest bus, tube and rail station stop while travelling around the city.

The book has a scrap book feel to it and each page has lots of photos, pictures, text and info boxes on each page and attention is immediately drawn to the double page spreads.

The book focuses not only on tourist hot spots, but includes parks, markets and theatres. There is a section on events held during the year in London and a simplified guide to travelling around the city which I would find very useful, although this information is a little dated talking about travel cards and no mention of Oyster Cards.

I would recommend this book as a great gift for a child who has a visit to London planned or is interested in England's Capital City.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Guest Post - Jane Sanderson, Ravenscliffe Blog Tour

Today I am delighted to welcome Jane Sanderson to my blog, on the launch of her new book, I was interested to find out how she finds inspiration for her books and how  her third book is coming along.

Writing fiction is such a curious pastime. I sit at my desk for long hours, chew my pen, stare out of the window, and make things up. What’s more, the things – or, more specifically, the people – that I invent begin to seem more real than reality; the cast of characters in Netherwood or Ravenscliffe populate my head, and follow me even when I’m not writing, distracting me from the details of daily life so that I end up putting the iron away in the fridge, or driving away from home with my handbag on top of the car.
            At the moment, the publishing cycle being as it is, I’m half way through a third book before my second has quite hit the bookshelves, so therefore I have brand new characters rubbing shoulders with the old. And what I’m finding is just what I found before: some characters are so strong and compelling that they take me by the hand and lead me forwards.
            This is another example of the curious nature of writing fiction. Just because I’m the author, doesn’t mean I always know what to say; however, there’s always a character able to help.  When I wrote Netherwood, for example, I found that Anna Rabinovich could always get me out of a corner. If I was absolutely stuck, or my writing seemed leaden, or a plot line implausible, I would bring Anna in, and she showed me the way. In Ravenscliffe, Lady Henrietta Hoyland fulfilled the same role, along with Amos Sykes. (Interestingly, they were both in Netherwood, but they weren’t nearly so obliging then, for some mysterious reason.) In my latest book, I have a wonderful new character called Ruby Donaldson, who has picked up the baton as chief trouble-shooter. I had a great day’s writing yesterday, and it was all thanks to Ruby.
            Before I became a novelist, I would have scoffed at this. What nonsense, I would have said: a character is only as good as the writer who created it. Of course, to a point, this is true. But at the same time, and just as in real life, some fictional people are bigger personalities than others, with thoughts and ideas that flow more willingly through my fingers and on to the page. These characters take up residence in my head, and when I finally write The End, I endure a brief period of mourning that I’m no longer by their side, watching their every move. It’s one of the reasons that I quickly start work on the next book in the series – I miss the company of my fictional friends. The sooner I’m back in the swing, the better for all of us.
            Right now, they’re calling me back to my half-finished manuscript, where Ruby and Eve Williams – ah, lovely Eve! –  are about to become acquainted. I actually feel excited, as if I’m introducing two of my dear friends to each other for the first time. Hope they like each other. I fell asleep last night thinking about their conversation, and woke up this morning doing the same.
            My poor husband and children are playing second fiddle to a cast of fictional characters, and there’s nothing either they or I can do about it. Oh well. I have to say, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, back to work. 

Thank you very much Jane, for taking time to visit my blog. I will be reading Ravenscliffe very soon and will be including my review here too.

Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson is published as paperback original by Sphere on the 27th September 2012, £6.99