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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

Monsters Love Underpants: Book 2

There are prowly monsters howling loudly and drooling monsters from the steamy swamp. There are wild, woolly mountain monsters and spiky, spooky monsters from outer space. And they all have one thing in common - they LOVE underpants!

The aliens stole them, the dinosaurs fought over them, the pirates got rich from them - whatever will monsters do with underpants?

Find out in this, the latest book in the much-loved Underpants series, created by the brilliant Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. The series is published in sixteen languages and has now sold over two million copies worldwide!

This is a fantastic series of books which I adore, let alone the children I share them with. The story is fantastically written, in rhyme and is great for children to listen to, join in with and also to think about. Fantastic discussions and art work can follow the reading of this book and is only limited by the readers iimagination The illustrations add even more to this book - they are so imaginative, and not the least bit scary.

I recommend this book to children of all ages - and it will make a fantastic Christmas gift this year. Add it to your collection or if it is your first introduction to this great collection then buy them all!!

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

Jolly Snowmen - Ned Taylor

Jolly Snowmen

Five little snowmen on a winter's day looked at one another and wondered what to play... 

Count the jolly little snowmen in this adventurous rhyming tale, as one by one they skate, slide and slip away! Featuring tactile 3D snowmen, perfect for little hands. 

I love this series of books - They are great stories told in rhyme and there will be lines which children will soon be reciting as they are read the story. The fantastic thing about this book, and I have seen other adults do the same, is working out how the snowmen disappear through the book - it is an easy process but I have seen many of my friends or relatives also have to look through the book a number of times before they work it out. If adults keep looking at the book, I am sure children will pick them up too.

This would be a great gift to give to children this Christmas period.

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

One Special Christmas by M Christinia Butler and Tina Macnaughton

One Special Christmas

Just in time for Christmas, a brand-new Little Hedgehog book by Little Hedgehog creators M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton. With wonderfully wintry illustrations and soft touch-and-feels throughout One Special Christmas is the perfect festive tale!
It’s Christmas — but poor Santa has a cold! So Little Hedgehog sets out with a sledge full of presents. "Santa’s helper is on the way!" But there are too many presents for one little hedgehog to handle! Perhaps he needs some help from his friends?

This is a perfect book to share with a child in the build up to Christmas. It is full of Christmas cheer and the ideal winter weather - which could be enjoyed, cuddled up together on a Sunday afternoon.

The story is suitable for a slightly older child, 5+, due to the story being longer, but will be enjoyed by children of all ages. The illustrations are beautiful - they are beautifully drawn animals who, although they have a slight cartoony appearance, are beautiful and realistic. There is also an added bonus to this book - it is a 'touch and feel' book. Some of the pages are additionally embellished with a strokable texture - a great addition to the illustrations.

This is a great gift to give this Christmas - something which has a hint of Father Christmas but is about the season of giving and also the power of friendship. 

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

The Twelve Days of Christmas - illustrtated by Britta Teckentrup

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Introduce children to the traditional song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, in this beautiful new book, featuring illustrations by Britta Teckentrup. The peep-through pages reveal each new Christmas gift,  creating a stunning layered effect. A perfect gift for your true love! 
When I choose a book to give somebody, especially a child, as a present I like to choose a book that they can keep, something that would like to pass on to somebody else as an heirloom or maybe just because they loved it themselves. This book ticks all of those boxes, and more besides.

Everyone knows the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and it is a popular song sung in nurseries and schools everywhere. This is a book of that song.  The book starts on the first day of Christmas and continues up to the twelfth day, each days counting down as in the song and it is fantastic as a reminder of those days we are all unsure of.

However, where this book really stands out from all the others that are also the same is the illustrations by the fantastic Britta Teckentrup. They are beautiful and I would love to be able to buy them as Christmas Cards because they are so cute. Britta was born in Hamburg and I think that the style of the cute little characters on the front cover remind me of German folklore. 

Each page has cut out sections which show the twelve days of Christmas as they appear and this is also cleverly done. I love books which have clever ways of revealling more of a picture or design and this one is a real treat. I loved turning each page to see the next reveal and I can imagine children also enjoying the magic that it appears to be. 

I am already writing a list of people who I would like to buy this book for this Christmas as I am sure it is one which will be got out each Christmas period and read/sung again and again. Perfect for a teacher to share with her children at circle time or for a grandparent to share with their grandchildren. I definitely recommend this book highly.

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

Surprise! The Book that Keeps on Giving! (My Little World)

Surprise: The book that keeps on giving

This Christmas board book features a brilliant game of pass-the-parcel – as the gift keeps getting smaller our group of friends discover more and more festive fun, but what will the final surprise be? Featuring cut-out holes on every page, a jolly Christmas rhyme and bright, bold illustrations by Fhiona Galloway, this is the perfect Christmas gift for curious little learners.

What super surprise will the friends find in this colourful Christmas book? Bright artwork, finger-holes and a cheerful rhyming story make learning come alive!

This will make a fantastic Christmas gift to a toddler this year. It is a thick board book, which has ever decreasing cut outs in each page, making it perfect for little fingers. 

The book is full of bright, bold colours and simple cartoon style illustrations by Fhiona Galloway which will capture a young child's attention and accompany the
great words by Jonathan Litton which tells the story in rhyme. 

Although the story told is simple, the book gives so much more than just a story. Each page has things to look at - lots of animals to spot throughout the story and Christmas shapes - without the pages being overpowering.

I will certainly be giving this book to my nephew who is 14 months old for Christmas and can't wait to share it with him.

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

Sunday, 26 October 2014

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings ......Actually by Ali McNamara

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings ... Actually - The Notting Hill Series 3

Movie addict Scarlett O'Brien is finally living the jet-setting life she's dreamed of - but it all hangs by a shiny, golden thread. Flying between London and New York, running two businesses, planning her wedding to handsome fiance, Sean, with best friends Oscar and Maddie - life couldn't be better. But then Scarlett meets paparazzi darling, Gabriella Romero, and life suddenly becomes even more extravagant and glamorous. As she begins to experience the other side to being rich and famous, it's not only Scarlett's perfect wedding that's put in jeopardy, but her whole world. Indulge in all your favourite rom-coms at once with this warm, fun tale of what happens when you really live the glitz and the glamour.

This is the third book in the fantastic series by Ali McNamara about Scarlett O'Brien's life. They are all great reads and could be read as a series, but can also be read as standalone novels too.

It is great catching up with Scarlett again, it is like meeting up with an old friend and having a good gossip. The storyline was a great one for Scarlett and I believe stayed true to her beliefs and values. It was also a chance to catch up with some more of Scarlett's friends, including the flamboyant Oscar and to meet new friends, including some famous faces who just happen to drop in. 

I enjoyed McNamara's descriptions of New York - I think she must of spent some time there exploring and discovering the places where Scarlett would visit.

I recommend this book as another great seasonal book to get lost in and I look forward to reading more of Scarlett's exploits soon.

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

The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

The Christmas Party

Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace. Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself ...Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.

I am a big fan of Carole Matthew's and this is the author's twenty fifth book and I believe Carole is getting better and better with each new release. I believe this book is a different style to her previous books, with theis one set over only three days, with the majority of the book set over the night of the Christmas party.

As with many Christmas parties there is the build up to the party, the initial entrance where everyone is looking at what each other is wearing and then after the meal and the drinks have flowed, starts the real party, with music, dancing and the saying 'what happens at the party, stays at the party' is often applied. This Christmas party is no different and the exploits are from  the directors down to the bottom of the career ladder.

There are some fantastic parts to the book - I especially loved Tyler, the pushy boss who had his comeuppance in the magicians act and his subsequent fall from grace,but I really loved Louise's story, the assistant who stepped out from under the sleazy boss and her romance with Josh- it is a great love story which I really enjoyed reading.

I love Carole's writing style, her short, choppy chapters, which I can pick up and put down when I have a few minutes to read a little more of the book - although I didn't want to put the book down, it was such a good story that I just wanted to keep reading. Carole packs her books full of good stories, lots of individual tales which are interlinked and come together effortless at the end - and this book is no exception, It is full of Christmas cheer alongside real life dramas and 

I heartedly recommend this to any of my blog readers who want a fantastic seasonal read with a little bit of naughtiness and a whole load of humour. 

Thank you to the publishers, Sphere, for sending me the book to review. And Carole - I look forward to the next twenty five books!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Blog Tour - The Seafront Tea Rooms by Vanessa Greene

The Seafront Tea Rooms

The Seafront Tea Rooms is a peaceful hideaway, away from the bustle of the seaside, and in this quiet place a group of women find exactly what they've been searching for. Charismatic journalist Charlotte is on a mission to scope out Britain's best tea rooms. She knows she's found something special in the Seafront Tea Rooms but is it a secret she should share? Kathryn, a single mother whose only sanctuary is the 'Seafront', convinces Charlie to keep the place out of her article by agreeing to join her on her search. Together with another regular, Seraphine, a culture-shocked French au pair with a passion for pastry-making, they travel around the country discovering quaint hideaways and hidden gems. But what none of them expect is for their journey to surprise them with discoveries of a different kind ...Full of romance, tea and cake, The Seafront Tea Rooms is a heart-warming tale about the strength found in true friendship.

I loved this book, it was one that I curled up and read on a cool autumn evening and lost myself in the world of The Seafront Tea Rooms. It is cast of woman - with a strong undercurrent of friendship and sisterly love and all mixed in with lots of cake and cups of tea - what more can one ask for?

The story was one of three woman, with their own history and reasons for visiting The Seafront Tea Rooms but all finding friendship and working together to help each other through their problems.  The tea rooms are in Scarborough but due to a magazine assignment the trio find themselves travelling around the area to visit many other tea rooms and the descriptive writing of Greene makes this a virtual tour with the added accompaniment of a delicious sounding afternoon teas. There are also a number of the recipes mentioned within the story included at the back of the book.

The relationship between the women in the story was fantastic - I wish I could find a local cafe like The Seafront Tea Rooms in Worcester. I would love to sit, people watch and watch the world go by. It would make a fantastic location for a book club or craft group. The women all found the tea rooms by chance and all were taken in by Letty, the owner, the ambience and the friendships that followed. 

There are also relationships within the latter half of the book and I really liked both Euan and Adam, local men who had made their own careers. I also enjoyed the mystery around Seraphine's relationship, it began with little hints here and there but soon grew into a coming of age and change in public perception storyline! Perfect for a sweet, young, fFrenchyoung lady who came to England to gain experience and prepare herself for the adult world.

The story was light hearted throughout but the last quarter of the story takes on a different mood when a long kept secret is revealed, one which I never saw coming but was perfect for the story. I am not going to say anything else about this except that I thought it was a fantastic idea by Greene, and made it a must read book.

Thank you to the publishers, Sphere, for including me in the book tour and sorry for the late post but illness in the house stopped blogging time!