Challenge Participant


Thursday, 26 June 2014

My First Sticker Activity Books

ABC Sticker Activities - My First Sticker Activity BookToddlers will enjoy learning their alphabet with this exciting sticker activity book. With 80 pages of activities and over 250 photographic stickers, this bumper ABC sticker activity book will keep toddlers occupied for hours - it's full of alphabet fun!

Baby Animals Sticker Activities - My First Sticker Activity Book
Toddlers will learn all about baby animals in this adorable sticker activity book. With 80 pages of activities and over 200 photographic stickers, this bumper baby animals activity book will keep toddlers occupied for hours - it's full of learning fun!

Farm Sticker Activities - My First Sticker Activity Book

Toddlers will learn all about the farm in this exciting sticker activity book. With 80 pages of activities and over 200 photographic stickers, this bumper farm activity book will keep toddlers occupied for hours - it's full of learning fun!

These books are fantastic activity books for young children. They are great to have put away for rainy day activities, to get out at times when you are trying to encourage relaxed and quiet play, while waiting for an appointment or even travelling on planes, trains or just as a little gift. Nearly every child loves stickers!

There are many 'My first sticker activity books' within the range - as well of those shown above there is an ABC activity book. The books are perfect for young children. Each book contains a range of activity styles: counting activities; match the pairs; spot the differences; colouring pictures, complete the pictures and lots of stickers to add to pages. 

I would recommend these books for age 3 years + although some children may enjoy them with adult support slightly earlier.

The  books are bold colours and clear pictures. They are similar in design graphically to other books from Little Tiger Press like 100 first animals. They are fantastic for young children and educational as well as fun to explore.

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger Press, for sending me the books to review.

You're the one that I want by Giovanna Fletcher

You're the One That I Want

This is a new novel from the author of Billy and Me about love and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had. And that's the problem. Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen[unk] And would he be right? Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...Praise for Billy and Me: "A gorgeous, gloriously romantic read with buckets of charm - I absolutely loved it!". (Jill Mansell). "A sweet and sparkling debut from a lovely lady. Sure to be a hit". (Carole Matthews). "Only the most hard-hearted could fail to root for Sophie as she falls for A-lister Billy and must take on the mad, bad world of showbiz. This sweet debut reminded me of Last Night at Chateau Marmont". (Louise Candlish). "Wonderfully warm & cosy. The perfect comfort read to curl-up with and enjoy". (Ali McNamara). "If you're looking for a romantic read and a summer treat that'll take you on a journey and leave you feeling like you've made a new friend, you'll love Billy and Me". (Vanessa Greene). "Warm and romantic, this charming read will certainly brighten up your day". (Closer). "This is one juicy read". (Now). "Tons of charm and genuine warmth". (Star Magazine). Actress and freelance journalist, Giovanna is married to Tom Fletcher from McFly. She grew up in Essex with her Italian dad Mario, mum Kim, big sister Giorgina and little brother Mario, and spent most of her childhood talking to herself (it seems no one wanted to listen) or reading books. Giovanna is a firm believer in the power of magpies and positive energy. Her debut novel, Billy and Me, is also published by Penguin.

This book has cleverly been written from two points of view; that of Maddy and Ben. The story begins with Maddy walking down the aisle to marry her fiance, Robert Miles, but her eyes drift towards the best man, Ben Gilbert, to who she still also loved. The book is about their childhood and growing up, going off to university and the relationships between the three of them. I loved reading the story from two points of view - it added depth to the story and also saw it from the male/female point of view, a style that Giovanna has cracked fantastically.

I did enjoy  the book, it felt a completely different style of book from Giovanna's first book, Billy and me, but I still enjoyed it. The emotions that I went through while reading this book was almost full circle - there were times that I wanted to shout at both boys to open their eyes and realise what their own emotions really were.  It is not a straight forward love triangle - the story is so much more than that and add into it flashbacks to school life in the 1980/90s and music and it was a great book.

The final outcome of the book for me was the right one and I hope other readers feel the same way too - I recommend it to all to read this summer.

I found myself loosing hours reading this book - it kept me hooked and wanting to read just a little more each night.  The storyline was totally believable and I am sure that there are a number of Maddy, Ben and Robert's around the country.

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

Call the Vet by Anna Birch

Call the Vet: Farmers, Dramas and Disasters - My First Year as a Country Vet

When fresh-faced, newly qualified vet Anna arrives in the seemingly sleepy Dorset village of Ebbourne, little does she know that this tiny rural community is about to change her life. Straight in at the deep end, Anna faces two tricky calvings, an emergency call-out to a frightened mare, lots of mad cats (and mad cat women) and one enormous dog with an injured leg and a threatening bark. Spirited and determined, Anna quickly finds her feet and falls in love with rural life, including Ebbourne's eccentric characters and their animals. Disasters, dramas, farmers and friendship - and not to mention a whirlwind romance with a local Wildlife Trust worker - this warm and witty memoir offers a window into what working with animals and country life is really all about.

I seem to be going through a phase of reading books/memoirs written by professionals about their career's; midwives; nurses and now vets! Anna Birch fits into this category, a vet and farmer's wife, who has written a book about her first year as a qualified vet, moving to a new area and hitting the ground running working in a busy vet's surgery where clients are both domestic and farm animals. It is based in Dorset, a picturesque location full of animals whose exploits are included within this book.

Although the book is a memoir of her first year as a qualified vet it reads as a novel - although written in the first person. I really like this style of writing. The book is a great read and includes lots of veterinary work, but this does not over power the book as it is well balanced with day to day life and Anna's struggle to be accepted by the farmers as a female vet as capable as the old hands she is working alongside. There were times of sadness throughout the book but this was well balanced with humour and joy of daily life.

I am hoping that this is the first book in a new series of books as I want to read more about Anna's life. I am sure that comparisons will be made to James Herriott's veterinary memoirs but this one more than stands strong against it.

Thank you to the publishers, Virgin Books (Ebury Publishing), for sending me the book to review.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

How to Catch a Star

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of world-renowned illustrator Oliver Jeffers' debut picture book, the much-loved How to Catch a Star! The publication of How to Catch a Star in 2004 heralded the arrival of a captivating new talent on the picture book scene. Now beloved by children all over the world, the book has achieved huge critical and commercial success. Oliver and HarperCollins are proud to mark the anniversary in style with this exquisite gift edition, including a letter from the author and previously unpublished drawings - a book that no Oliver Jeffers fan will want to be without!

This book has been re-released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this, Oliver Jefffer's debut picture book, being published. As it is a celebration and this is a hard back, flyleaf cover, book, it is the sort of book that I would buy for a special occasion - the birth of a baby, their first birthday or their christening/naming ceremony, as I think it is something that could be kept on their special shelf to look at with peers or to pass on to their own children.

The book is made extra special by including a note from the author, Oliver Jeffers, explaining his thought process when planning this book - another special addition to this book. 

The story is told with few words on each page and most of the page being dominated by Oliver Jeffers' unique style of illustration - I believe that this book will be suitable for slightly older children, as the illustrations are not the usual bold, bright colour blocks with definite pictures of identifiable components, and the story although simple does have some, not run of the mill, objects in which I think would suit slightly older children. However, in reality I think it is one of those books that can be read again and again and something different noted in it each time.

I do think the illustrations are beautiful and would make great prints to go on any wall - they are so specific to Jeffers, I haven't seen any similar.

This is a book that would make the perfect present for any child.

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

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate

A delicious new story about Love Monster, the only monster in Cutesville, from phenomenal, award-winning picture book talent Rachel Bright! When Love Monster finds a mystery box of chocolates at his door, he can't believe his luck. But he's soon thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil. Should he keep the chocolates for himself? Or risk the perils of sharing his good fortune with his friends? This super-funny-rumbly-tummy-sherbert-explosion of a story shows that when faced with the selection box of life, following your heart will bring you the best treats of all.

 I LOVED this book !!!!! It was fantastic from the front cover right through to the end. The front cover is metallic and shiny gold and shows an adorable little love monster. The story inside is one of those that has a hidden meaning - one of those things that you want to teach children, that they need to learn, but you don't want to just tell them and hope they remember, so what is better that having a book who's story will stay with them and remind them of it years later.

I also liked the writing style of the author. As I was reading it, it was reminding me of a children's  television programme I watched as a child. "This monster ... (Hello Love monster)........ But ... wait! What was this?" I can't think what it reminds me of, but I know it was a television programme. If anyone can remember, please comment below and put me out of my misery or lost memories!

Although this book is aimed at young children it is the sort of book that I would give to my husband, along with my last chocolate, as a little gift to show him how much I love him (I must stop getting so soppy on my blog!. It is one of those books that will mean so much to lots of different ages.

I hope you can tell that I loved it and I want to buy lots of copies for all those people who I would give my last chocolate to (because I love them not because I always share chocolates you understand) and also to my children and my nieces and nephews who I want to teach to do this extra special thing to show others how much they love them (including of course their mum or auntie!)

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

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

The Little Beach Street Bakery

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes ...And people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life ...And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

This has to be my favourite Jenny Colgan book so far - set in Cornwall I was able to transport myself away from everyday life and imagine the tranquil setting and beautiful scenery.

Reading the title, readers would be forgiven for believing that this book is about a Bakery on Little Beach Street and although the main character, Polly Waterford, does open a bakery, this is only a small part of the story. I believe that the story is much more than this. Polly moves away from her old life, her ex partner and her business which has gone down the pan, and moves to Cornwall, remote and scenic. However, what Polly does not realise is that there are many unspoken rules about living in Polbearne and Polly upsets a number of villagers before she becomes accepted by villagers and puts Polbearne back onto the map.

There are a number of great characters in the book but I must admit, the most adorable was the little puffin, Neil, which Polly nursed back to health. I also liked the fishermen Jayden and Tarnie, and Huckle, the American Bee-Keeper, all of whom had their own stories which were entwined within Polly's.

At the end of the book there are a number of recipes which have been mentioned in the story - I love this extra material from Jenny. By the time you have finished the book you are left hungry from reading about all of the gorgeous sounding food that Jenny makes.

I have never been down to Cornwall but reading this book I would love to visit the area as it sounds idyllic - peaceful but beautiful, although I don't like the idea of being cut off from mainland when the sea comes in but to others I can see it as being the perfect place for them.

I really loved this latest book from Jenny Colgan and I am looking forward to her next release.

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

Horrid Henry's Wedding (Early Reader) by Francesca Simon

Horrid Henry's Wedding (Early Reader) - Horrid Henry Early Reader

Prissy Polly is getting married to Pimply Paul, and Henry and Peter have to be pageboys. In green satin knickerbockers. Ugh. Wormy worm Peter can't wait, of course. But Henry decides that if he has to be part of it, he can at least make sure that this is the most horrible wedding ...ever. 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.

Perfect for young fans of Horrid Henry who are beginning to enjoy chapter books or are beginning to read books themselves. This book was orginally published in 'Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy'.

As with all Early Reader books in the Orion Children's Books series, the story is split into manageable chapters and the text is split up with the fantastic illustrations by Tony Ross, which capture the cheekiness of Henry perfectly.

They are great to share at bedtime or a quiet time during the day and are a great stepping stone from picture books to 'grown up' children's books.

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

Ice Creams at Carringtons by Alexandra Brown

Ice Creams at Carrington's

The third book in the delightful series set in Carrington's Department Store. Georgie Hart and Carrington's Department Store have got the world at their feet. Since a reality TV series put them both on the map, life has been amazing! Carrington's profits are in the pink, Georgie has carved herself a place in the nation's heart and her romance with Tom, the store's boss, has finally blossomed. Now summertime has come to Mulberry-on -Sea and Georgie is in great demand. The town is holding a big summer festival and she and her mates from Carrington's are planning on making sure that Mulberry puts on the show of its life! But Georgie is about to get the offer of a lifetime - one that is just too good to turn down and something that will test her loyalties to their limits...Will Georgie be able to pull off it off once again, or has her luck finally run out?

I would love to live in Mulberry-on-sea, it sounds like a fun town to live in and with Carrington's Department Store at its heart, a real traditional town. Carrington's has lots of history but is also very much a part of modern day life due to a reality show series being filmed there in the last book. 

Georgie Hart used to be on the designer bags section but following an appearance in the reality series, she has now become a personal shopper and her department has gone from strength to strength, as has her personal life as she is in a relationship with Carrington's owner. Her best friend is Sam, who owns the cake shop within Carrington's, and a mother of twin girls.

This is the third book in Alexandra Brown's series about the seaside department store and this one is based more on the community outside of the store. A festival is taking place in Mulberry-on-sea and Georgie wants to make sure that Carrington's is well represented there - not only does she want to prove to her partner that she can do this, but also his mum who has dropped anchor in the town for the festival. 

The festival sounds like an event I would of loved to have visited - lots of fun for young and old and a celebration of Mulberry-On-Sea and its history. however, as is often the case, behind the scenes of the festival there are disagreements, arguments and cat fights - however these disputes end up affecting the festival, is it really Georgie's future mother in law who is to blame??

I really enjoyed leaving Mulberry-On-Sea and following Georgie on her travels and also on finding out more about other characters within the book. Alexandra Brown has tackled issues in this book and I think it adds depth to the book. 

I think this book should be the book for the summer - slip it into holiday luggage or take it in the garden to while away the afternoon.

I am already looking forward to the next installment of life at Carringtons, although I have seen that Alexandra Brown is writing a  three-book series , all set in the fictional picture-postcard village of Tindledale, with the first one entitled The Great Christmas Knit Off, which I also look forward to reading soon.

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

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Worcester Literary Festival - Romantic Novelist's Panel

Yesterday I spent a great afternoon in Worcester town centre at the Worcester Literary Festival. The festival takes place over 9 days (20-29 June) and starts with the Poet Laureate Competition and Young Writers’ Awards. The festival this year has the theme of the World War in celebration of the centenary.  

I first visited the Authors fayre which was held in the beautiful Guildhall where local authors were promoting their books. I met Sheryl Browne and had a great chat - I will be reviewing two of her titles very soon on this blog.

Photograph taken by Linda Bromyard
The Romantic Novelist's Panel was held in the lovely St Swithun’s Institute. The panel was chaired by Alison May, a local author, who has written a novella and short stories. Christina Courtenay, Liz Harris and Sue Moorcroft were on the panel, all of whom have released a number of books, novella's and short stories and are all published by Choc Lit. It was a fun filled session with Alison May leading her fellow authors through a number of pre-planned questions before taking questions from the audience. This was filled with concern and expectation as the microphone was passed up and down the line, getting tangled and threatening to strangle Sue Moorcroft or Liz Harris, before being switched off and discarded!  Questions included how the author's got their first publishing deals, planned their books, writing routines, editing queries and the importance of reviews. 

The chat was informal and interesting. The audience was about 20, but was filled with fellow writers, members of the Romantic Novelist Association and bloggers, and therefore the questions were offering advice to many of the audience, who were trying to get their books published. Many anecdoctes were told and the audience were given an insight into the life of a published author along with their struggles to get that first deal. Who knew that Liz Harris worked on Sunset Strip, Christina Courtenay grew up in Sweden and also lived in Japan and Sue Moorcroft did not get on with her English teachers at school, could not get on to a secretarial course and was told that she would never see Sue Moorcroft on the spine of a published book. It was a great event and it ended with tea and cake, although I didn't stay for cake!

I really enjoyed chatting to and listening to all four authors speak but I also had a great time meeting with old and new friends who also attended. Morton Gray and Ellie Swoop, who I had met at a previous year's Worcester Literary Festival, were there and they introduced me to more of their author friends: Janice Preston who was very excited because she had received printed copies of her debut novel, Mary and the Marquis, published by Mills and Boon on 1 August 2014 and I was lucky enough to have a copy to review soon on my blog; Elizabeth HanburyGeorgia Hill and O'Dwyer Author. It was really good to chat to these authors and I was shocked to be asked if I would review books with a little heat to them - it appears that American editors and reviewers do not like any mention of romantic liaisons!

I am looking forward to next years festival already and I hope that Alison May will be organising a similar event again. 

Reading Rocks! campaign by Little Tiger Press

Little Tiger Press are again running their popular Reading Rocks campaign this summer. The campaign celebrates some of Little Tiger Press's best picture books by introducing them to both children and their parents. It introduces not only LIttle Tiger Press's authors, but also the illustrators who have created these characters. The stories aim to spark the reader's imagination. The main aim of the campaign is to make their summer reading rock!

The books included in the 2014 campaign are: Why? by Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes; Mighty Mo by Alison Brown;  Harry and the Monster by Sue Mongredien and Nick East; Abigail by Catherine Rayner; Train by Judi Abbot (published August 2014) and Little Puppy Lost by Holly Webb and Rebecca Harry (published August 2014).

The campaign is accompanied by a website which includes activities that can be printed or downloaded, an audio book download and videos from the authors, along with activities for the books included in the 2013 campaign.

This is a great campaign which is also being supported by independent bookshops and major retailers across the country so keep an eye out for activities and sessions being held across the country as authors and illustrators will be also be at some events towards the end of the summer.

The campaign includes activities which assist children in engaging with the selected stories, while  also encourage children to discover the delights of their local bookshop.

The publishers will also be rolling out a huge PR campaign, alongside a blog tour, competitions and then website: So watch this space!!

Harry and the Monster by Sue Mongredien and Nick East

Harry and the Monster

A warm, funny story by Sue Mongredien (The Secret Mermaid and Kitten Club) and illustrated by Nick East (Who's For Dinner and Goodnight Digger), Harry and the Monster is the perfect picture book for children worried about nighttime monsters or bad dreams! One night, a monster stomps into Harry's dreams. The next day, Harry is scared to go to sleep. "If he comes back, just imagine him with pink pants on his head," suggests Mum. "He won't be scary then!" Can Mum's clever plan possibly work?

Sue Mongredien is one of my favourite children's authors, she writes so many different types of books, and I am sure there is something for every age  up to ten years of age within her bibliography. This is a great book for under 5's and tackles that common problem - how to get rid of those scary monster's under the bed!

It was a great story, one which will make children laugh and also hopefully forget all those thoughts about hidden monsters. It has laugh out loud moments and will, I am sure, become a firm favourite. 

I also loved Nick East's fantastic illustrations, his monster is scary but also funny. I think he is one of those that would try and hide in the corner behind a cushion, but a quick glance of that purple fur poking out would out him every time.

This book is part of the reading rocks campaign

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger Press, for sending me the book to review.

Mighty Mo by Alison Brown

Mighty Mo

At the Golden Dodo Zoo, Mo the raccoon is bored, bored, bored. There must be something amazing he can do! It certainly isn't making ice-creams or blowing up balloons...But when Big Ron the robber starts causing trouble, it's up to mighty Mo to save the day! This hilarious story about an unlikely hero will appeal to any child with a sense of adventure. Keep your little superhero entertained with these bright, lively illustrations from the talented Alison Brown (Eddie and Dog) - perfect for fans of Claire Freedman's Superkid.

I can not think of another children's book that I have read where the main character is a racoon - and now there is 'Mighty Mo'. He lives in Golden Dodo Zoo where rhinos skate on ice, gorillas bake spectacular cakes and where one small raccoon causes chaos! 

This is a fun story who's central character is a raccoon who does everything in a whirlwind! The story is one which children will love and the illustrations which accompany it are also drawn by Alison Brown and they are fun, colourful and capture the cheekiness and chaos that Mo takes with him everywhere.

This book is part of the Little Tiger Press's Reading Rocks campaign. 

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger Press, for sending me the book to review.

Why? by Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes


Archie is a rhino with a LOT of questions. He wants to know everything: "Why glue is so sticky? Why do dropped things go SMASH?" If only finding out was a little less messy...Everybody's much-loved rhino returns in this brand-new sequel to No! from the wonderful Tracey Corderoy (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam and The Little White Owl) and award-winning Tim Warnes (I Don't Want to Go to Bed). Brimming with gorgeous illustrations, this warm, funny book is guaranteed to become a firm favourite. A must for all families with curious toddlers who just love to ask "WHY?"

This book includes the same adorable characters that readers have already met in No! by Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes. Archie is a cute rhinoceros and he asks lots of questions - I am sure parents and carers of young toddlers have also gone through the same stage! Archie's parents take him to the museum where alot of his questions are answered and also makes him so tired he has a nap, but has it answered all of his questions??

This is another fantastic book by the brilliant children's author, Tracey Corderoy, and accompanied by the bold and colourful illustrations by Tim Warnes, who captures the adorable Archie perfectly. I commented on my earlier review of No that I would love to see the character on other products and I still think that this is still a great idea - he is sooooooooo adorable.

This book is a great book to share at story time and I am sure young children will help with shouting out 'Why' by the end of the book. It is perfect for circle time and would make a great gift for a child at a special time.

Why? is part of Little Tiger Press's Reading Rocks campaign. 

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger Press for sending me the book to review.

Love like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

Love Like the Movies (eBook)

When it comes to finding her leading man, will it be Love Actually or Runaway Bride?. Kenzi Shaw knows the plot of her life down to the last line - the career she's building as an up-and-coming marketing exec, the gorgeous fiancé (Bradley) she'll marry in a fairytale wedding, the children they'll raise in her dream home. But when heart-breaking ex Shane comes back into her life, life starts going off the script . . . Shane tries to win Kenzi over by re-enacting all the rom-com movies they used to watch together - Sleepless in Seattle, Bridget Jones's Diary, Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing to name a few. He's just a guy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to trust him again. But has he really changed? Not only is her head in a spin over Shane, but now her job is on the line. And with her perfect sister-in-law showing up every tiny thing Kenzi does wrong, she feels like she's permanently in the corner. Should she risk her sensible life for the chance of a Happy Ever After? One thing's certain, when Shane meets Kenzi (again), she's suddenly not so sure who her leading man is . . . Perfect for fans of From Notting Hill with Love . . . Actually and You Had Me at Hello. Grab some popcorn, hit the sofa and enjoy this feel-good and very funny novel.

This book is one of those books that can be read in one setting - it is fun, light hearted and funny while reminding the reader of ten of the most fantastic romantic comedy films ever made!

Kensington Shaw (Kenzi) has just got engaged and is on her way to her parents, along with her fiance, to show of her engagement ring and to celebrate, however, as always seemed to happen at such times of celebration in Kenzi's life, her friend, Ren, who has became like a second daughter to Kenzi's mum, announces she is pregnant with her first child. Add to this a facebook request from her first love who dropped her in strange circumstances, and Kenzi begins to question her life - did she really have the perfect life? Does she want to marry Bradley? Why has Shane got back in touch? Is she happy in her work

Shane comes into Kenzi's life again through work, with Kenzi trying to win the contract which will keep her job at the ad agency, as there are cost cutting measures being discussed. However, it is not as simple as just giving a good pitch, Shane promises to sign the contract as long as Kenzi re-enacts scenes from their favourite romantic comedies which were:

  1. Sleepless in Seattle
  2. Pretty Woman
  3. Bridget Jone's Diary
  4. 27 Dresses
  5. Dirty Dancing
  6. Sixteen Candles
  7. Love Actually
  8. Say Anything
  9. You've Got Mail
  10. My Best Friend's Wedding
I have heard of most of the films except Sixteen Candles and Say Anything and they are all firm favourites of mine - I would love to have seen Notting Hill in the list though. It was great to read lines from the film throughout the text and i also enjoyed spotting the scenes from the films too. It has definitely made me want to watch the films again. 

The story was a great read. It is full of funny scenes, I especially enjoyed the competitive run on the treadmill in the gym and also the crafty ambush at the paintballing event, followed by the car chase. Although the ten movies do play a part within the story, I do not think it matters if readers are not aware of the story lines as the story has a strong story-line with the film story-lines being additional to the story. It was a believable tale and I would love for someone to try to sweep me off my feet by recreating these famous scenes. I also liked the characters, although some of the characters turned out to be devious - I did not like Ren at the start of the book, seeing her trying to outdo Kenzi at every turn, however my opinion had changed for the better towards the end. 

Thank you to the publishers, Pan, for sending me the book to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the publication. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Blog Tour - Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem.

Today I am pleased to welcome Victoria Van Tiem to my blog. Victoria's debut novel, Love Like the Movies was released yesterday (Thursday 19 June 2014)

In the book Kenzi Shaw, through her job as a marketing executive, must pitch her ideas to a new company, whos contract is vital to keeping her job. All sounds possible until she realises that the person she is presenting her ideas to is her first love. Shane Bennett broke her heart by leaving USA and returning home to the United Kingdom without a real explanation. Shane has a secret clause to add before he will sign the contract, that Kenzie must re-enact scenes from their top ten favourite romantic comedy movies,

Victoria Van Tiem has, very kindly, introduced me to her top comedic actors and actresses who are fantastic leads in romantic comedies, my favourite movie genre, and some of their top movie lines.

ROM-COM SUPPORT - a top five list by Victoria Van Tiem

In LOVE LIKE THE MOVIES, Ellie, Kensington’s sweet best friend, and Tonya, a frenemy at best, play the straight man to Kenzi’s situations and dialogue, helping her to shine as the lead. That’s how comedy works, you need the front man to deliver the line, but just as important, maybe even more so, is the straight man to respond to it. One doesn’t work without the other, but all too often, the delivery man is the only one under the spotlight.
Do you recognize the faces below? They’re in everything and each one is a comedic genius in his or her own right.


Judy Greer

Best Known Movies: 13 Going On 30, 27 Dresses, The Wedding Planner, Playing For Keeps, What Women Want, Love & Other Drugs, Elizabeth Town, Love Happens & now stars in the FRAMILY commercials which are weirdly wonderful. 


Judy as Casey, 27 Dresses: He asks if you want a drink. You smile and say, ‘Vodka soda.’ If you already have a drink, you down it. Then there’s some flirting, some interoffice sex, an accidental pregnancy, a shot gun wedding, and a life of bliss. How many times do we have to go over this?

Judy as Penny, The Wedding Planner: Oh no, darnit…I just remembered that I promised my friend’s brother’s godmother that I would help her change her fax cartridge because she’s going out of town tomorrow…on and African safari.

Stanley Tucci

Best known Movies: Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games, Burlesque, Julie & Julia, Easy A, Shall We Dance, Maid In Manhattan, The Pelican Brief, America’s Sweethearts, Swing Vote, It Could Happen To You.
Side note: Would Devil Wears Prada even half as good without Nigel’s compassion for Andy, played by Anne Hathaway, or his quick wit lines? I don’t think so.

Andy: So none of the girls here eat anything?
Stanley as Nigel: Not since two became new four and zero became the new two.
Andy: Well, I'm a six...
Stanley as Nigel: Which is the new fourteen.

Stanley as Nigel: Don't make me feed you to one of the models.

Andy: She hates me, Nigel.
Stanley as Nigel: And that's my problem because... Oh, wait. No, it's not my problem.
Kathryn Hahn

Best known Movies: Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, Were the Millers, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, Wanderlust, How Do You Know, The Holiday, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.
Side note: Kathryn Hahn delivers one of the best Rom-Com lines ever in WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON.
Kathryn as Angelica the bartender: …love you get over in two months, big love you get over in two years, and great love, well great love... changes your life.”

Thomas Lennon

Best known Movies: 17 Again, We’re The Millers, Bad Teacher, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, What’s Your Number?, Le Divorce, That’s What She Said
Side note:  Thomas starred in the short-lived TV series Sean Saves the World and was BRILLIANT.

Thomas as Ned Gold, 17 Again: …I think our hands just made a baby.”


Joan Cusack

Best known Movies: Working Girl, Sixteen Candles, High Fidelity, Runaway Bride, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Raising Helen, My Sister’s Keeper, Toys, Nine Months, Where The Heart Is, Mr. Wrong, Married To The Mob, Runaway Bride

Joan as Peggy Flemming, Runaway Bride:No, I’m not mysterious, I’m weird... Weird and mysterious are two very different things.”

LOVE LIKE THE MOVIES is a contemporary romantic comedy, and just like all Rom-Com’s, it features starring roles.  But Kensington and Shane wouldn’t shine as bright without a little help from their friends. I hope you enjoy their story and getting to know the entire supporting cast.

Victoria x

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today Victoria - I am halfway through the book and my review will follow soon. I am enjoying it so far and I think it would make a great movie too!

Thank you to the publishers, Pan MacMillan, for arranging this blog tour. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Books and the City - Girls on Tour at Waterstones, Birmingham High Street

Yesterday I spent a fantastic evening (along with my husband (photographer, chauffeur and travel companion)) at Waterstones on Birmingham High Street where Books and the City at Simon and Schuster hosted their first Girls on Tour Event in the city. 

Sara Jade Virtue (@BookMinxSJV), Peter Saxton (@TweetingPeter) and the Simon and Schuster team were fantastic hosts, along with Waterstone's staff, were immediately serving fizz and cupcakes before we took our seats and looked in our goodie bags.

I was lucky to find myself sitting behind two fellow bloggers: Kim Nash (@KimtheBookworm) and Kirsty (@minionsofbooks):

The Girls on Tour event bought three fantastic authors to Birmingham and each had their new books to talk about and promote. 

Ali Harris
Ali Harris has just released her third novel, Written in the Stars and often had the audience in hysterics with her anecdotes and insights into her book. I feel I must apologise to her because when she was telling us all about the synopsis for her new release, my husband's mobile wolf whistled at the near perfect moment! My review will be following soon. 

 Paige Toon has recently released her eighth adult novel, entitled Thirteen Weddings I have reviewed on my blog: Thirteen Weddings and I really enjoyed hearing about how she planned her family holidays around the location of her next book - I think we need to keep an eye on twitter to find where her next book will be set! 
Paige Toon

Milly Johnson

And the last author is Milly Johnson who is fantastic - I have previously seen her appear on Come Dine with Me and she is just as she appeared and also how she writes. her personality shines through her books, strong Yorkshire roots and a fantastic sense of humour! Her latest book is out today and is reviewed here: Teashop on the CornerShe spoke passionately about her characters and I really wish I could visit that Teashop on the Corner, even if it is only her mind as it sounds like a beautiful place to visit, eat cake and satisfy my stationary addicition all at the same place! I must admit as I was walking up the stairs in Waterstones (all the way to the fourth floor - I don't do lifts) all i could hear was Milly and fizz bottle corks popping). I could tell then that we were in for a great evening.

The event was planned for a maximum of 50 guests, and I was told about 40 tickets were sold, It was great to have a small audience as it felt cosy and intimate - no need for microphones and it felt friendly. Sara Jade and Peter were constantly popping up to refill our glasses (Thimble sized as SJ apologised) and offering cupcakes.  The event took the form of a chat between the authors and an editor, Sarah which covered their new books, inspiration and much more, before the floor was open for questions and we learnt that Milly loves serious crime books and would love to write one which would challenge Mo Hayder for a top spot in crime fiction - we also heard that Paige Toon has written a number of chapters for a sci-fi, fantasy novel and how Ali Harris got over her writers block. In all it was a fantastic evening and I really hope that Books in the City return to Birmingham soon for another event.

I would like to thank Simon and Schuster and Waterstones Birmingham High Street for a fantstic evening and also my Husband, Darron Broadhurst, for the great photographs and taking time off work to drive me to Birmingham and also for attending the event. I will never forget the look of relief on his face when the only other man sat down in the audience!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

The Teashop on the Corner

At her beloved husband's funeral, Carla Pride discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her. And his other wife, Julie Pride, is determined to take everything from Carla - her home, her money, and her memories. When Will Linton's business goes bust he at least thinks that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. But Nicole isn't going to stick around with 'a loser' and Will finds himself at rock bottom. Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her 'concerned' daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Then the love of Molly's life walks in through her door - a man who broke Molly's heart into little pieces many years ago. But he says he is dying and wants to spend the time he has left with her. All people in need of a little love and compassion which they find by chance in the stationery and teashop on the corner run by the ever-cheerful Leni, a woman that site developer Shaun McCarthy finds annoying beyond annoying for her ability to remain unrealistically upbeat about everything. But is the world of Leni Merryman as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks in her heart that will soon be shattered unwittingly by her new friends?

I know that when I pick up a Milly Johnson book that I am in for a good read, full of strong women who each have a story to tell and who I will feel I have known for ages by the end of the book. The Teashop on the Corner is no exception - I sped through this book, it was a joy to read and I am proud to be a part of #TeamMilly.

One characteristic of Milly Johnson's books is that she has a cast of many, who all appear to have their own story to tell, but that become entwined within each other's lives effortlessly and the result is a fantastic read!

The Teashop on the Corner begins with Carla attending her husband's funeral - as the ceremony progresses, a woman enters and tells the congregation that actually she is Martin's wife! Molly is a twin, her sister living with her husband and going off on a cruise, leaving Molly to fend off her daughter in law who appears to want her to sell up and move into a residential home and Leni, who I think has set up the perfect business, a cafe which also sells Literary based stationary and goods, which is called The Teashop on the Corner. This teashop becomes a place where people come to get away from their own problames and soon  friendships are made and problems cured.

I have only highlighted the female characters above, but there are also a number of male characters - a wayward teenager from a problem family with a reputation that precedes them and Pavitar Singh, another frequent visitor to the teashop, a top surgeon who has retired and recently widowed.

I don't want to spoil the rest of the story for my blog readers but I really do urge you to pick up this book. It is a great read, one which could be slipped into holiday luggage or put on a tray to read while partake afternoon tea in a garden over the summer. 

I want to find my own local Teashop on the Corner - it sounds like their is a fantastic atmosphere within and that the regulars would welcome newcomers with open arms. I do think though that I would spend a fortune on the merchandise within!

I found myself smiling to myself when I reached for my book, I devoured it on a weekend away and found myself wishing the family to go to sleep so I could return to the Teashop. I was sad to finish this book and I really hope that Milly will revisit these characters in a future book.

I am lucky enough to be meeting Milly tomorrow at a Girls on Tour event and will be asking her them to consider revisiting the teashop soon. I will report back later in the week.

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

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends and my World Cup by Dave Cousins

Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends, and Football

'I play for North Star Galaxy and this is the story of our first season. I don't know how it's going to end - but I hope it will be at the World Cup Finals this summer! I'm going to tell you everything that happens - the truth - however painful that might be.' Charlie loves football. He watches it, memorizes facts about it, and he's even the captain of the local youth team, North Star Galaxy. When Charlie discovers that youth teams are being selected to play in exhibition matches at the World Cup tournament later that year he decides to enter North Star. There's one problem. He's got to prove that North Star deserve a place at the tournament and that's not easy when your team are kind of rubbish at football! This book takes the form of Charlie's competition entry for his team to play a warm-up match at the World Cup - it's crammed with hilarious doodles, true facts, and match reports, and is totally accessible for boys, girls, reluctant readers, and footie-mad kids everywhere!

If I want to ensure that my son will pick up a book to read, give him a book which contains football! Therefore this book is perfect for him.

Charlie Merrick is the team captain of North Star Galaxy and all he ever thinks about is Football. However, he has a problem, all his good team players have left. He also has another problem: he is better in his head at playing football than his feet can actually  manage. However, he is determined to get his team selected to play in the exhibition matches at the tournament. To do this, he must find new, good, players and fast.

My son is a big fan of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates - he loves the style of those books, a great story which is told around cartoon style inserts and interesting random page layouts which break up the story. This book is all of that but also contains match reports and great facts that any football fan will digest with interest.

The story is about football, but also is about friendship, teamwork and perseverance -  important skills to learn when part of a football team. It is perfect for readers age 9+ years, but would also be great for younger readers to read with their peers. 

It also has a bonus added extra - a full colour wall chart for The World  Cup 2014 making it an ideal gift to give this summer.

Perfect for any budding football players or footie fans

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme. 

The Story of the World Cup by Richard Brassey

The Story of the World Cup

This is a colourful history of the World Cup from the author of THE STORY OF THE OLYMPICS. From the first tournament in Uruguay to England's legendary 1966 win and beyond, with red cards, penalty shoot-outs and goals galore, there are fun facts football fans can use to impress their family and friends. This book will delight fans of all ages, and is great value for money at GBP4.99 in full colour. It is perfectly timed to tie in with the World Cup 2014, and it has global potential - every country on Earth follows the World Cup!

At this time of the year there are lots of books, magazines, cards to collect, sticker albums, newspaper supplements all dedicated to one subject - The World Cup. It can be guaranteed that a small number of photographs will be reproduced in a number of the publications, making  them all feel very samey.

This book however is a breath of fresh air! I really like Richard Brassey's books,  having previously reviewed both The Queen and Robin Hood by Brassey. His books are very recognisable - full of lots of historical facts told in children friendly text and full of illustrations. There are no photographs within his books but full of illustrations which are all recognisable.  

The book is perfect for young and older football fans alike. There is reference to the first ever world cup , aongside some of the most historic world cups of recent years. It contains must know facts alongside other more obscure facts which young children will adore.

I would say this book is a fantastic accompaniment to world cup viewing this year.

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

Friday, 6 June 2014

Blog Tour - Michelle Harrison's One Wish

Day 5 of Michelle Harrison’s Fairy Quest

To celebrate the publication of Michelle Harrison’s magical new novel, One Wish, Simon & Schuster Children’s has set up its very own fairy quest. To be in with a chance of winning a Thirteen Treasures goodie bag, all you have to do is visit each of the five blogs in the banner to the right over the course of this week.

Each blog will have one question associated with its content. Take the first letter from the answer of each of those questions to reveal the identity of a character in One Wish. For example…
If the answers each day were Red, Oak, Whisper, Apple and Night, the final answer would be ROWAN.

When you have the name of the character, please send your answer to with the subject header FAIRY QUEST. Entries will close at midnight on Wednesday 11th June.

Ratty's Top Tips on Outwitting Fairies

If you know about fairies – real fairies – you'll know they're trouble.* You might also know a few ways to deal with them, too. The best ways are the old ways, the ones my Pa told me. In case you don't know about them, here they are:

WEAR RED ~ It acts as a camouflage and stops fairies from seeing you (contrary to belief, yellow doesn’t work). But you have to stay quiet, or it breaks the spell. Great if you just want to sneak up on one and make it jump, but not so good if you're in a proper pickle.

RUNNING WATER ~ Any fairies chasing you won't be able to use magic to slow you down, but they can still catch you. The good news is that if there's a spell on you, crossing a river or stream will break it most of the time.

IRON ~ It stinks. To fairies, that is. Not only that, but if it touches them, it burns their skin. A nail in your pocket works a treat. Just be careful how you sit down . . .

SALT ~ It's not just for chips! Same as above, it'll blister a fairy's skin if it comes in contact. Sprinkle it across your window sills to block them getting in.

TURN YOUR CLOTHES INSIDE OUT ~ Never been sure how this works, but they can't harm you if your labels are on the outside. You might get a few strange looks, but it's worth it.

And now for my own personal tips. Heck! I don't share these with just anyone:

HONEY ~ Some fairies are greedy for this. If you're being pestered, you can often distract them by leaving a trail of honey for them to follow . . . either to the jar so they can gorge themselves silly, or to the nearest cat. Take your pick**.

STAY DIRTY ~ Fairies don't mind being grubby (take Turpin, for example) but only if the dirt's their own. They like nice, clean places with fresh air and well-stocked pantries. They dislike lazy humans with dirty houses and smelly clothes because they know the food's likely to be off or in short supply.

RIDDLES ~ Many fairies can't resist a good guessing game. You can often bargain yourself out of trouble if a fairy is unable to guess the answer to a riddle. Just make sure you've got a foolproof one*** because fairies like to win, and they've heard most of them before . . .

*Except Turpin, although even she can be annoying, especially when she chews my hair.

**If you choose the cat option, be prepared for consequences if other fairies find out.

***Yes, of COURSE I have a riddle. Just don't ask me to share it with you – I might need it myself one day . . . 

What colour does Ratty say doesn’t work when outwitting fairies?

The publishers, Simon and Schuster Children's Books have made a fantastic trailer for One Wish and can be seen here: 

There is also a beautiful microsite of Spinney Wicket microsite:

Thank you to the publishers, Simon and Schuster Children's Books and the author, Michelle Harrison for visiting me on this blog tour.