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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Dress Up Kate by Georgie Fearns

Dress Up Kate

The perfect sticker book for aspiring princesses everywhere! Style the most glamorous royal of the moment, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in beautiful outfits for every occasion; from a country walk at Balmoral, to the wedding of the century or a jolly jubilee. Mix and match the stickers to create your own fabulous looks, and add accessories and fun items to the backgrounds to complete the scenes in your own unique way.

When I was younger I loved the paper doll books where you could change the clothes of a doll form to suit any occasion. This book is the next step along, with reusable stickers allowing young girls to play lady in waiting to the new Princess of Cambridge and choose her outfits for a wide range of occasions.

The book has eleven different occasions for the princess to dress for, from her wedding day to a Hollywood  launch and then back to Anglesey for a lifeboat launch. 

Although I do not think that the pictures of the royals are life-like they are great settings for the main lady, Princess Catherine. There are stickers for each page, and although there is no choice of outfit, there are plenty of oppurtunities to customise outfits with accessories. I would say that a  perfect accompaniement to this book would be a pack of adhesive jewels in different colours as every girl needs a little bling to make an outfit her own!

A great gift for any royal fan or fashionista. It would be a great book to get out on a rainy day over those long summer holidays which are not too far away.

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

Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley

Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues

When Tansy Poole inherits a run-down shoe shop tucked away in the village of Sticklepond, 'Cinderella's Slippers' is born -- providing the footwear to make any fairytale wedding come true! Carrying everything a bride would want to walk down the aisle in, Tansy's shop soon expands to carry shoe-themed wedding favours, bridesmaid gifts and even delicious chocolate shoes. It's the dream destination for any shoe-lover! If only everything in her personal life could be as heavenly -- but with a fiance trying to make her fit into a size 8 wedding dress, not to mention the recent discovery of disturbing family revelations, Tansy takes refuge in the shop's success. But one man isn't thrilled by the stream of customers hot-footing it to Cinderella's Slippers! Actor Ivo Hawksley, resident of the cottage next to the shop, is troubled by a dark secret in his past and has come to Sticklepond to nurse his own broken heart. However, Ivo realises that he and Tansy have a link in their past and soon, they both find out how secrets shared can make a very strong bond indeed! Forget the Jimmy Choos, Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues is the only accessory you need for spring 2012!

When I heard about this book I was immediately looking forward to reading it. Now I have, I was definitely not disappointed. 

When I pick up a Trisha Ashley novel, I know what I am expecting  - a great read, an easy read and a memorable read!! And this book did not disappoint!!!

Trisha Ashley has picked two of a women's favourite items - chocolate and shoes and written a fantastic book to marry the two together. 

For fans of Trisha's earlier books there is a return to Sticklepond and mentions of characters from previous books. A fantastic return to the village, however you don't need to have read any of the previous books to read this one - however I am sure that any new readers will want to seek out Trisha's back catalogue to find out more from the village.  

The story focuses on Tansy who inherits her aunt's wedding shoes shop, which Tansy rejuvenates and creates a fantastic shoe shop mixing chic new designs as well as including her vintage shoe collection. However the shop sells all shoe related ephemera and I would love to visit this shop myself!

The characters are believable and all have a fantastic story to tell. I was immediately drawn to Tansy and enjoyed following her journey from the city to her successfully achieving her goal of opening 'Cinderella's Slippers'. I also enjoyed Bella's story, Tansy's assistant in the shop. 

 The book has an ending which could be continued in a future book and I really hope that Trisha includes these characters in a future return to Sticklepond. 

The book finishes with three recipes from Trisha and coupled with the delicious sounding treats throughout the book, it is definitely not a book to be read while you are hungry!

In summary, I would recommend this book is a fantastic read and should be slipped into any holiday luggage this summer!

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

The Frightened Kitten by Holly Webb

The Frightened Kitten

When Gemma's best friend moves away, Gemma feels like she'll never be able to replace her. To cheer her up, her parents get her a kitten - a gorgeous tortoiseshell who she calls Gypsy. Gypsy quickly settles into her new home, and can't wait to go out for the first time and explore. But little does she know that a neighbour's two cats are determined to scare off the new arrival, and soon poor little Gypsy is frightened to go out at all. Will Gemma be able to find a way to help her beloved kitten?

For fans of kittens and cats, Holly Webb's new book is the book for you! 

This is another fantastic book from Holly Webb. Young readers will be able to confidently read this book alone or with others. 

The story is one that I am sure many young children will love. The chance to own a new kitten and some of the problems/issues that a new kitten could entail.

A great story with beautifully drawn sketches to accompany it.

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

The Secret Puppy

The Secret Puppy

When Daisy arrives at the farm campsite where her family are spending her summer holiday, she knows she's going to have the best time ever. Especially when she finds out the farm dog has just had puppies! Daisy can't help falling in love with Barney, the smallest of the litter of German Shepherd pups. Barney takes to the friendly new girl who sneaks her food and smuggles him into her sleeping bag at night, and soon the pair are inseparable. Daisy longs to take Barney home with her. Will she find a way to persuade Mum and Dad to let her keep him?

Holly Webb returns again with a another great read for animal lovers this summer. 

My daughter and I both love the Holly Webb books. They are a perfect for confident readers who want a story about animals to read. The stories are all happy stories and have a feelgood factor about them. 

The story is intermingled with beautiful pencil sketches to accompany the story perfect.

I would recommend this book as a perfect gift for any confident reader who has a love for dogs.

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

Friday, 1 June 2012

White Wedding by Milly Johnson

White Wedding

It's the day they've always dreamed about. But will it turn out to be a nightmare ...? Bel is in the midst of planning her perfect wedding when disaster strikes and everything she thought she knew is turned on its head. Can she hold it all together and, with the help of her friends, and a mysterious man she meets unexpectedly, turn disaster into triumph? Bel's friend, ice-cream parlour owner Violet, is engaged to Glyn, who is besotted by her although Violet fell out of love with him long ago. But however trapped she feels in the relationship, she can't quite say the words, 'I don't want to marry you anymore.' Then, just when she's about to give up and resign herself to married life, she finds love in the most surprising of places. Will duty rule her heart or will she allow herself to be swept off her feet? Max was planning a quick registry office do with her fiance Stuart until she sees a TV programme about traveller brides and becomes determined to have the most extravagantly glitzy wedding ever. But in all the excitement has she lost sight of what's really important? Does she want the wedding more than she wants the groom? And as all three friends find the dress of their dreams at the White Wedding bridal shop, its owner, the lovely Freya, guarantees that her gowns will bring them happiness - though maybe not quite in the way they expected ...

Wedding season is definitely at the height of the season right now and this book is a great one to read during these months. However, a word of caution, if you are the bride, maybe read it after you have tied the knot!

The book follows three women, who are due to get married and the book is split into each of their individual story, although each women is in each others story, providing an intertwining story throughout the three forthcoming weddings. The three characters met in Freya's wedding shop, White Wedding, and became firm friends, helping each other through the coming months.

Reading this book reminded me of my time spent wedding dress shopping and although I would love to say that I wish I could have visited Freya's White Wedding shop to choose my dress, on the other hand I am quite glad that I didn't as I was so glad my wedding went to plan!

As with all of Milly Johnson's fabulous back catalogue, this book has strong female  characters, who have a great story to tell, and believable stories, although if this all happened to the customers of one shop, I don't think the shop would be in business long as they would gain a reputation very quickly!

If you want a great book to read on the beach this summer or to relax in the garden over a long (Jubilee or Bank Holiday weekend) this is the book for you! A great read for lovers of chick lit anywhere.

Thank you to the publishers, Simon and Schuster, for sending me the book to review.

Frog and Mouse by Tracey Corderoy

Frog and Mouse

Frog was bored.There was nothing to do. 'Don't be bored, Frog,' said Mouse. 'We can go to the seaside!' Shy, cautious Frog is gently encouraged to explore his imagination by his more adventurous friend, Mouse as the two friends take a scooter ride, swim in the sea, eat delicious ice cream and even fly to the moon - all from their own home!

I have met Tracey Corderoy a couple of time and I have been lucky enough to read and review a number of her books. Whenever I receive or see a new book by Tracey I am amazed to see the number of different characters, styles and audiences her books reach. 

This book will appeal to her younger audience and is based on two characters: a frog and a mouse who go on an imaginary visit to the seaside. 

With the long summer holidays with us soon I am sure that families everywhere will hear the words 'I'm bored' at least once a day and this book gives a starting point for families to go on many journeys like the one Frog and Mouse go on.

The story is a great one to share at story time or to introduce imagination to young children. The story is told in short, simple sentences and with few words on each page, perfect for young children. Add to this, beautiful illustrations by Anna I. Popescu, which are simple and child friendly but tell the story in their own way 

This book would make a great gift for any young child who wants to spend their time imagining they are somewhere exciting or fantastic every day.

Thank you to the author, Tracey Corderoy, and the publishers, Meadowside Children's Books, for sending me this book to review.

Ninja Meerkats Hollywood Showdown by Gareth P Jones

Hollywood Showdown - Ninja Meerkats Bk. 4

Legend tells of The Clan of the Scorpion, four mighty meerkats who are armed to the teeth with ninja-know-how. They are sworn to protect the world from their longtime nemesis, the Ringmaster...Bruce's favourite Hollywood action star, Vin De Pain, is starring alongside the famous canine actor Soo Me in a sequel to the popular movie "Kung Fu Chihuahua". But there's a new member of the cast - none other than Doris the Dancing Dog, the Ringmaster's faithful hound. Just what is the Ringmaster up to? The Clan jet off to Hollywood ...but they'll need to move faster than the Ringmaster can snap a clapperboard if they're to thwart his evil plans this time...

Those meerkats are back again and where-ever they are, trouble is not far behind them. This time they have hit Hollywood and are trying to protect the world from The Ringmaster.

These books are great for boys who enjoy reading. They are fulfilling a niche in the market for boys and are full of action that will keep readers interested in the book right to the end. 

The books are each a standalone story which could be read in any order or as a one off, however there are mentions in the book of previous adventures the meerkats have had. 

The books would be great for readers to collect - and it would be great if the publishers and/or authors would consider adding a number to the books spine to show the order of these meerkats adventures.

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

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews

Summer Daydreams

What if you had always dreamed of something more ...? Nell McNamara has a happy life: her boyfriend Olly adores her, their four-year-old daughter Petal is the centre of their world and Nell has a steady job in the local chip shop. When the chippy needs a makeover, Nell jumps at the chance to unleash the creativity fizzing inside her. Inspired by what she can achieve - and encouraged by the best friends a girl can have - Nell is determined to try something new. Waving goodbye to the chip shop, she starts up a new business making her own line of must-have handbags, which are soon flying off the shelves! It seems Nell's dreams are finally coming true, but her success doesn't come without a price. Before too long, Nell has to ask herself if it's really possible to have it all ...Full of fun, love and laughter, soak up the sunshine with Summer Daydreams.

I was introduced to Carole Matthews last year through her book, Wrapped up in You, and after reading that I have to say I was hooked and have been looking forward to this new release since then! I was not disappointed and the wait has definitely been worth it.

Handbags - well of course that is a topic that lots of women love to talk and read about and that is one of the themes in this book too. The main character, Nell McNamara (fantastic name!) works in a fish and chip shop and although she loves working there and her work colleague she also loves designing. When the takings in the fish and chip shop start to fall and the owner begins to worry, Nell decides a makeover is needed to and she is the girl with the inspiration! 

The makeover is just what the shop needed and business is soon booming. As a thank you the boss gives Nell a push to sign up for a course, which unfortunately doesn't work out but does give her the confidence to design what she loves most - handbags. The business soon takes off, but at what cost to Nell and her family.

It really is a great read and Carole has written a book that lots of people will love to read because it is based around handbags, but also it is a story that I think lots of people will identify with. Nell has huge decisions to make: should she start a new business; should she be spending so much time on her new business; how does she feel about her business advisor? 

At times I felt sorry for Nell - she was really trying to do the best for her family but at times family life had to take a back seat while she tried to develop her business but at other times I felt myself wanting to shout at her and tell her to open her eyes to what was happening around her.

The book was soon devoured and I was wanting to read more about Nell and her life at the end. As Carole has done before, she has added a short story on her website and is well worth a read, just sign up to her newsletter on her website here.

I really enjoyed the book and found Nell's journey very interesting and seeing all the obstacles she and her family overcame to get her business off the ground. Carole must of done alot of research for this book and I am sure she had great fun researching handbags in general.

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

The Great Piratical Rumbustification by Margaret Mahy

The Great Piratical Rumbustification

Yo ho ho! Pirate stew, plenty of rum, and a festive flare across the sky can only mean one thing - it's time for a great pirate party! Yo ho ho! All across the city, the pirates are getting restless and long for a party. So when a retired pirate comes to babysit for the Terrapin family, they are in for quite a surprise...From the rumbustious author and artist team of Margaret Mahy, winner of the Carnegle medal, and Quentin Blake, the first Children's Laureate, and best known for his partnership with Roald Dahl, this is a dazzling story which will delight pirate loving boys everywhere.

This book is a great read for young wannabe pirates of all ages. The first thing that I realised about this book was that it is not the normal, run of the mill pirate adventure book. It is not set on the great seas or a pirate ship and is not all 'me ship mates' speak!

This book is set in a city and the main pirate is a babysitter who works for the Mother Goose Baby Sitting Service and uses the homes he sits in to host a fantastic party.

The book is a short read but is jam packed with pirate adventure of a different nature. The book is also full of the signature sketchy illustrations by Quentin Blake who captures the mischief perfectly.

I would recommend this book to any pirate fans who wants something a little different to read.

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

The London Colouring Book by Julian Mosedale

The London Colouring Book

Children will discover the magic and excitement of London with this brilliant new colouring book. From Trafalgar Square to Tower Bridge and Piccadilly Circus to Portobello Road, children will be able to put their own colourful stamp on one of the world's most vibrant cities. The capital will come alive with bright buses and boats, cheery Covent Garden performers, pearly kings and queens, and period patterns. Packed with beautiful and distinctive illustrations featuring a variety of London attractions, this is a book to enchant every child.

As the Jubilee weekend approaches and The Olympics are fast approaching, anything London orientated is very popular at the moment and this book deserves to be up there!

The book is full of purple line drawings ready to be coloured in. The pictures are very cleverly drawn and feature lots of different aspects of London - not just the most famous of London's landmarks. Pictures include:
  • London bridge
  • beef-eaters in a telephone box
  • city of Westminster
  • changing of the guard
  • London zoo
  • the underground
  • nelson's column
  • Peter pan at Kensington gardens
  • Henry VIII at Hampton court palace
  • canal boats at Camden locks
  • Cutty Sark at Greenwich
  • ........ and many more
I especially love the flower power union jack which is also featured in the book. The drawings use a great style - it is not sketchy and it is not of a traditional colouring book style, it is a very modern and clever style and there are lots of individual elements within the picture. Adults, as well as children, will love colouring in this book.

This book will suit the slightly older child (7+) and would make a great gift for anyone making a trip to London anytime. 

Thank you to the publishers, Buster Books, an imprint of Michael O' Mara Books, for sending me this book to review.