Sunday, 29 September 2013

Liebster Award

I was really pleased that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Sheli over at Sheli Reads!

So what is the Liebster Award?

The idea behind the award is to give new and upcoming bloggers the opportunity to build their community and get to know one another. It’s the perfect way to meet new people and let them find out some interesting facts about you.

Here’s some rules:
1. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer;
2. Nominate some other bloggers!
3. Let them know!

These are the questions I was asked:

1. If you could be any fictional character who would you be?

Becky Bloomwood, I already feel like I am her half the time. 

2. What is your favourite film/TV adaptation?

The notebook, it's a wonderful film and it doesn't matter how many times I watch it, I always end up in tears. 

3. What was your favourite book as a child?

My favourite book as a child has to be 'Katy Laura and the Dream boat' by Elizabeth Foster I still have it today!

4. Do you read any non-fiction? If so, what topic do you read about?

I read a lot of travel books, I have shelves of travel books on my bookshelf. I have the travel bug and frequently browse these trying to decide where to visit next. 

5. What book are you going to read next?

I think I am going to read Tempting Fate, it has been on my TBR pile a long time!

6. What has been your favourite book of 2013 so far?

Hmmm this is a tough one as I have read so many great books so far this year. I think though A Tap on the Window - Linwood Barclay might top it. 

7. Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Hmm I am unsure of this as I have never thought about it before... I think maybe Reese Witherspoon. Don't ask why!

8. Can you read in more than one language?

Basic French, but not enough to read a book. 

9. Which author would you recommend readers follow on Twitter for entertainment purposes?

Lindsey Kelk

10. What book is at the top of your Christmas wishlist?

This is another tricky question! I think though 'Just for Christmas'

Ok, now for my questions.

1. What book have you had on yourself for what feels like years but never got round to reading?
2. Which book would you recommend everyone to read at least once in their life?
3. Who is your favourite book character?
4. If you could only ever read one more book what would you choose? 
5. How many books do you have on your TBR pile?
6. Which book that features travel has made you want to visit that place?
7. Where do you love to read?
8. Have you ever started a book and not finished it? If so what was it?
9. If you could have any book made into a film what would it be?
10. Would you ever attempt to write a book?

My nominations are:

This chick reads Thischichreads

Erin Erin's Choice

Margaret Bleach House Library

Laura lauraslittlebookblog

Fabulous Book Fiend Fabulous Book Fiend

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Blog Tour - Sir Princess Petra's Talent - Diane Mae Robinson

Diane Mae Robinson's Book Blog Tour 2013

Sir Princess Petra's Talent book 2

Back Cover:

'Sir Princess Petra has already proven she is a kind and noble knight. This, however, does not please the king and queen---they want her to behave like a princess and forget this silly knight nonsense of hers!

But when the king writes a new rule in the royal rule book that requires her to attend Talent School and acquire a princess talent certificate or suffer the spell of the royal magician, Petra, reluctantly, agrees to go. But who could have guessed what Sir Princess Petra’s Talent would be?'


This was my second experience of Sir Princess Petra and I had enjoyed reading about this princess who would rather be a knight. The class of children I had read this too loved the book too. 

So when I was offered the chance to be part of the blog tour for book 2 I jumped at the chance. This begins with a brief explanation of who princess Petra is, I feel this is useful as the children I was reading the book too were able to be reminded of her previous adventure. As well as children who had not heard her story before were able to 'catch up' before her next adventure. 

Princess Petra is enjoying being a knight, she has a dragon that she has befriended and life is good, that is until the day when the king tells her she needs to go to get a talent for princesses. This does not go down well with princess Petra as she feels that her skills of being a knight are much better than any talent she could ever gain from some school! 

In the end she attends but she doesn't attend smoothly and tries to get out of it anyway possible. When she arrives at the school she is introduced to king Asterman and he asks what talent she would like to learn. Again princess Petra tries to make his life as difficult as possible by choosing talents that the king feels are not suitable for her. 

Yet again this is a wonderful story for boys and girls of all ages. I feel that younger children would enjoy this being read to them, there are some 'tricky' words for younger children, however this gives an ideal opportunity to discuss these. 

The story is a wonderful one to get round stereotyping of princesses and how they are meant to behave and act. Boys as well as girls will enjoy this story. 

From a teachers point of view I enjoyed reading this story to my class, there are many adjectives used in the book and this helped the children to understand what an adjective is and how it is used. We were then able to create a lesson based on adjectives and describing a character. There are a few illustrations in the book but not too many, when the children came to drawing and describing Princess Petra they were all different as they didn't have many images to go by. I liked this as it helped them to develop their imagination. Something that in today's society seems to be lacking some what. It is also a good book as it encourages children to not judge things on first view, they think that a princess should be a certain way, this is completely different to how she is in the book. 

I would like to thank Diane for sending me this copy to review and for being part of her blog tour. 

About the Author:

Diane lives in a small hilltop castle nestled amongst a very old and magical forest. In this mystical forest, all the fantasy creatures one can imagine live and audition for parts in the author’s next book.

Diane has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature. The author teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children, and is a tutor at the Creative Writing Institute. She also works full time at a dental office.

The author’s first book in this series, Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, has won two prestigious awards: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (literary arts), a Purple Dragonfly Book Award, and The Reader’s Choice Award..
Sir Princess Petra’s Talent – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, is the second book in this fantasy/adventure children’s chapter book series. Diane is currently writing book three.

 Author’s website at:

Author’s Blog

Before book one was accepted for a traditional publishing contract, the book received 27 rejections from traditional publishers. Next came a near-contract, then a contract that  failed to produce the book, and finally a contract that did produce the book.

When the author isn’t writing, she is reading, riding her horse, playing with her dogs, tending her enormous flower beds, or walking in her forest. The forest surrounding her house has been her biggest inspiration in writing fantasy children’s books. Diane walks amongst the giant trees and her imagination soars thinking of all the magical creatures that surely dwell there.

Author’s website at:

Author’s Blog

Ways to contact Diane:

Twitter - @DianeMaeRobinso
Amazon Author Page -

Friday, 27 September 2013

Lowcountry Bombshell - Susan M Boyer

Lowcountry Bombshell blog tour:

Publication date: 3rd September 2013
Henery Press


'Private Investigator Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s—and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers. 

Before Liz can open a case file, Calista’s life coach is executed. Suspicious characters swarm around Calista like mosquitoes on a sultry lowcountry evening: her certifiable mother, a fake aunt, her control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, her peculiar housekeeper, and an obsessed ex-husband. Liz digs in to find a motive for murder, but she’s besieged with distractions. Her ex has marriage and babies on his mind. Her too-sexy partner engages in a campaign of repeat seduction. Mamma needs help with Daddy’s devotion to bad habits. And a gang of wild hogs is running loose on Stella Maris. 

With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.'

My Review:

I give this book 4*  out of 5*

This is the first book I have read by Susan M Boyes, I didn’t know that this was the second in the series of her books, however that didn’t actually matter, this can be read as a stand alone, however it does then make you want to go back and read her first as it is so good. 

This story is about Liz Talbot, a private investigator and when she thinks the ghost of Marilyn Monroe has turned up on her door one night she is adamant that she will help her. But when Calista McQueen’s life begins to mirror Marilyn’s she feels she needs to act quickly as the anniversary of her death is just around the corner. 

We learn about how Calista McQueen’s life is so close to Marilyn’s it’s scary, even down to who she married, Liz Talbots brother works in the police and thinks Calista is crazy, especially as when he say her she had dressed up in a disguise so he didn’t think she looked like her. 

One thing I needed to get my head around was Colleen, she was a high school friend of Liz’s but is dead, and she has come back to help her friend. I don’t know if she features in the previous Liz Talbot story (I’m guessing she does) and this may have made more sense if I had read the previous novel, however once I had worked out who she was it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book and she has a very important part of this book. 

We don’t only go on Liz’s journey to discover who did it and if our look a like does get killed, we also visit Liz on a more personal note and have brief encounters with her love life. The story is written in the first person and flows very well. 

This is a brilliant mystery book, I don’t normally read mystery’s however I am glad I read this, it had me on the edge of my seat with its pacey story line. I enjoyed trying to work out who had done it. This is a must read for any mystery fan, I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but I found it a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I was very pleased to be part of this blog tour and cannot wait for Susan's next book!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson

The GruffaloThe Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake "and "a hungry gruffalo . . . '

As a primary school teacher the Gruffalo is a story that comes up regularly. The children love to listen to the story and it can also be used as an educational tool.

The story is about a little mouse who walks through the forest, along the way he meets many predators. They all want to eat him and suggest they go for a visit at their houses. The little mouse is very clever and warns the predators off by coming up with a creature that he is going to meet. This is the Gruffalo. The little mouse describes the Gruffalo to the animals who in turn disappear, worried that they are going to be in the Gruffalo's belly! This is until the little mouse meets a monster, that looks like the description of the Gruffalo that he created. The little mouse then manages to convince the Gruffalo that he is the smartest animal in the forest and everyone is scared of him.

This is a wonderful tale that teaches children to not judge things by their appearance. There is repetition in the story that the children love to join in with and rhymes. This is a wonderful book to introduce character description to children and for them to create their own monster using description. Children of all ages enjoy reading the Gruffalo, I have used it in classes of 5 - 7 year olds.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Karli Perrin's cover reveal!!!

When Karli contacted me via Twitter and asked if I would like to be part of her cover reveal, I jumped at the chance. This is for Karli's new book which is book 2 of 2 in her April series. This is expected to be released in December 2013.

So here it is the fabulous new cover!

April Fools Synopsis: 

Love. Hate. Fear. Fate. 
All four letter words. 
All consuming.  
Naked to the eye, they have the power to control the heart and destroy the soul. 
April Adams is about to experience them like never before.  
When everything in April's life goes up in smoke, she is faced with some life changing decisions. 
Join April as she continues her journey of love and loss.

Please find the link to April Fools through Goodreads:

Author Bio:

Karli Perrin is a 25 year old English Language & Linguistics graduate from Manchester, England. She has always been a big lover of books and is the author of the 'April' series. She is a big believer of fate and is a sucker for a happy ending. She honestly believes that there is a reason why you are reading this right now (apart from the fact that you are awesome!) Her ultimate goal in life is to live in a house made entirely out of books with her best friend, who also happens to be her fiancé.

...Hogwarts is plan B.

You can contact Karli using these links:

Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream - Abby Clements

Amelia Grey's Fireside DreamAmelia Grey's Fireside Dream by Abby Clements
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Amelia has a dream: toasting chestnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world - a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.

They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they'd anticipated. On top of that, there's Amelia's newly loved-up mum and her tearaway half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with - pushing Amelia and Jack's marriage to breaking point.

Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage's previous owner - and a hidden secret. As Amelia's ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?'

I was so excited when this was sent to me to review. I first discovered Abby Clements earlier this year when I read Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop and I absolutely loved it. I find Abby Clement's books very easy to read and she is very quickly becoming one of my favourite chick lit authors.

Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream is a fantastic addition to Abby's novels and is about Amelia, she is a teacher at a busy inner city school. Amelia is approaching thirty fast and is re-evaluating her life, she realises she wants more from her life. Her husband, Jack and her are looking for a new house and Amelia decides that maybe they should be looking further afield as they would get more for their money.

Jack is unsure at first but begins to come round to Amelia's way of thinking and start to house hunt in Kent.

Life is not plain sailing for them, this story identifies the stress a move can cause and how it can have an effect on your relationship. It also covers natural progression in life, Amelia's friend Suni is pregnant and it is assumed that Amelia won't be too far behind. (She is married, they have a mortgage, moving to a bigger property...)There are ups and downs in the story which keep it fast paced and interesting.

This is a wonderful story for this time of year, I can visually see the story panning out and I feel that I am with Amelia in her house, while renovations are taking place. Abby Clements writes in a way that is smooth and the plot develops smoothly. Although I have a lot I want to say about this book because it is so good, I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

This is a perfect book for anyone who has ever moved, redecorated/renovated or just wants a wonderful story leading up to Christmas. I read this story very quickly and only wish it was longer, I cannot wait to read more from Abby Clements I enjoyed this story immensely and would like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Elle Field's 'Geli Voyante's Hot or Not' Cover Reveal!!!

I have been talking to Elle on Twitter and I was so excited when she asked me if I would like to be part of her cover reveal, I jumped at the chance. Especially as this is my first ever cover reveal!!!

This is an amazing cover for what I expect is going to be an amazing read! I cannot wait to read it myself and urge others who loved 'Kept'. Don't forget to use the #Gelireveal when tweeting about this!!!

I would like to thank Elle for the opportunity to be part of her big reveal. :D

From Elle Field, the author of Kept, Geli Voyante's Hot or Not will be released on October 17th in Kindle and paperback formats. You can add it to your Goodreads shelf today!

'I think I will always be known as the Hot or Not girl, defined by it for the rest of my career. Even my tombstone will read: Angelica “Geli” Voyante, beloved trendsetter. Death? Not Hot.

Yet, it doesn’t sound right. Why won’t anyone realise that there is more to me than this fickle persona I have inadvertently become?'

Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to Theo, the newspaper's very Hot political columnist. She's also getting a little lonely being single.

When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, and other loved ones start to settle down, it's time for Geli to convince Theo that she’s not as shallow as her column suggests and, more importantly, she’s the one for him. Geli should remember though that there are always two sides to every story, and that applies to people too...

The links above are:


Twitter hashtag: #Gelireveal

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Shaggy Dog and the Terrible Itch - David Bedford

Shaggy Dog And The Terrible Itch (Little Tiger Mini Hardbacks)Shaggy Dog And The Terrible Itch by David Bedford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Shaggy Dog has a terrible itch. He scratches and scratches, but the itch just won't go away. He asks Mimi, the poodle to help. "Urgh! Scratch your back, no thank you!" Luckily, Farmer Gertie and Merv from the cafe help him - but still the Itch stays put. In desperation, Shaggy Dog runs into the Poodle Parlour for a good shampoo. Will Shaggy Dog ever get rid of his terrible itch? And if so, where will it go?'

I read this story to my class and I have to say they absolutely love it!

This is about a dog who has a terrible itch and whatever he does, he cannot get rid of it. He tries everything but it's no use. He asks people along the way to help him scratch it, they agree as long as he helps them in some way. Such as washing the dishes, sweeping hair from a salon floor and rounding up sheep. Each time the itch goes for a few moments but then comes back.

Eventually he finds someone who can help him and the itch is gone.

This is a fun story with many other dog characters in it. The children could work out what was going to happen next and they enjoyed joining in with the story.

I would recommend this story for primary KS1 children.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Jersey Kiss - Georgina Troy

A Jersey Kiss Blog Tour:
Publication Date: 16th August 2013
Green Shutter Books


Living in the 'sunny isle' it's hard not to fall in love and even though Bea Phillips is still reeling from a nasty divorce, the loss of her beloved god-mother and inheriting a legacy that includes something mysterious no one seems able to locate, she still has to find a way to fight a court case that threatens to take away everything she owns. The last thing Bea needs is a distraction in the form of surly builder Luke, or old flame Tom.

Will Bea find a way to keep her dream home and maybe fall in love?

And what exactly is, ‘A Jersey Kiss?'

My Review:

4* out of 5*

Bea is left broken hearted when her grandmother passes away, she had been like a mother to her, supporting her through thick and thin even when her marriage broke down; Annabel stood by her. When Annabel died, she left Bea her house as well as The Jersey Kiss, but no one seems to know what The Jersey Kiss is....

This is a story that takes you on a journey, trying to discover The Jersey  Kiss; as well as trying to sort out a nasty divorce, Simon insists he is entitled to half of Annabel's house as they were together when Bea inherited it. And what story would be complete without a love interest? Bea develops a new love interest to make matters even worse! This has just come at the wrong time, but perhaps its what she needs?

The story had brilliant characters in it, and they are all developed well. I love the fact we know so much about the other characters and get to read about their life's too. Georgina Troy has managed to develop characters that you have a connection with and passion for them. You hate Simon and you are desperate for Bea to sort things out as she is such a likeable character. 

This story is about friendships,  coping and being a strong independent woman. Bea was a likable character and she was developed well, I loved all the different genres within this book, mystery, romance and drama; I can not wait to see what Georgina Troy brings out next!

I love books set abroad as I have a real interest in travel. Jersey is a place I have never been to but after reading about idyllic settings and beautiful surroundings; this is a place I wish to visit in the future.  

About Georgina Troy:

Georgina Troy lives in Jersey near the sea - well, most people do in an island only 9 x 5 miles. She's always wanted to write and being an impossible romantic is always falling in love with heroes both real (hopefully), in fiction (definitely) and those of her own creation (absolutely). 

She's now written two romantic novels based in Jersey, A Jersey Kiss and A Jersey Affair.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Instructions for a heatwave - Maggie O'Farrell

Instructions for a HeatwaveInstructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.'

This was the first Maggie O’Farrell book I have read and when I had the opportunity to review the book I jumped at the chance. The blurb really drew me in, I thought it would be a wonderful mystery to unravel and I couldn’t wait to get started with it.

From not reading a Maggie O’Farrell book before I was unsure what to have expected, I had heard rave reviews about her other books and was hoping I would find a connection with this book.

This story is about Gretta, it is set in London during the heatwave of 1976, she is an Irish woman, who has three grown up children who have all fled the nest, living in various places of the world. She is married to Robert, he regularly goes out for the morning paper, however one morning he never comes back. Gretta begins to worry as time goes on and when she discovers he has taken money and his passport she decides to call her children, as she realises he may not be returning home for some time.

Gretta’s three children are very different. Michael Francis is the eldest, he is a teacher and is married to Claire, they have two children but their marriage is going through a rough patch. Monica is the middle child. She has been married twice and is currently married to antiques dealer Peter, they live in the county, however Monica is a city girl and is not entirely happy with this as she misses the hustle and bustle of London. Peter her husband had also been married before and has children from the marriage, these children hate Monica with a passion and constantly try to make life difficult for her. Monica also despised Peter at times as he will never stand up for her and take her side when it comes to his children. Finally there is Aoife, she is the youngest and considered the ‘problem child’ she is seemed as a disappointment to the rest of the family and a worry. She lives in New York after a disagreement with Monica caused her to flee across the Atlantic, Aoife has struggled for all her life as she has dyslexia and keeps it as an embarrassing secret and finds it hard to commit to anyone because of it.

All three children return home to Gretta to work of the disappearance of their father, however while they are all under the same roof family secrets begin to come out, and we learn more about the past of the family and their relationships.

I did enjoy reading this book, however I felt I had to concentrate 100% while reading as it was very easy to get confused as it jumps from past memories to the present with them all in the house. I felt that although it was interesting reading and finding out about the siblings’ relationships that the actual story line of the missing father was almost forgotten about and this I felt was a shame. This was the main reason I wanted to read this book and the further and further I got into it, I realised it was very different from what I had expected and although the story was good, I felt a little let down by the blurb which to me suggested it was going to be more about finding the missing father and less about the families relationships.

The story was written very well and the characterisation was excellent, the author also had you changing your emotions and about how you feel about each member of the family throughout the book, which I felt was a real skill to do.

I would like to thank #weekendreads for sending me this book, my review has not been effected in anyway because of this.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Book Blogger Test

The rules:

You must answer all of these questions truthfully and once you’ve completed this tag, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer the questions next. 

My answers:

1. bent spines, page corners creased and damaged in the post. 

2. I love spending time reading in bed with cushions around me and a nice mug of tea. 

3. I judge all books by their covers (even though I know the saying but 9 times out of 10 it seems to be right.) I have never read any Jane Austen books or the I read Alice in Wonderland and the BFG for my A - Level English... 

4. I have never cried in a book. 

5. 4, next to my bed. 

6. has to be crisps! Although I hate getting grease on the pages!! 

7. P.S I love you - Cecelia Ahern, Confessions of a shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella, A tap on the window - Linwood Barclay. 


9. I know its only 2 words but - An escape. 

10. I have far too many books and keeping buying them, but hey this is not a secret for a book blogger is it???

I tag:

Louise Wykes @jaustenrulesok 

Victoria Loves Books @arrrgggghhhhhh

Bleachhouselibrary @margaretbmadden

Beckie @Beckiesbookmix

Bronagh McAteer @handwritten 

How to lose a lemur - Frann Preston - Gannon

How to Lose a LemurHow to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'By the much-loved author of The Journey Home and Dinosaur Farm. Everyone knows that once a lemur takes a fancy to you there is not much that can be done about it. While being followed by lemurs one day, a boy tries hiding up a tree (without luck), disguising himself (without success) and even tries to sail off in a boat to get away from them - only to discover the lemurs snorkeling behind him. Eventually,after climbing mountains, taking trains and going through the air in a balloon, he finally thinks that he has lost them. Or has he? In the process, he has managed to get himself lost, and it is only then that he realizes that the cunning lemurs might just be helpful after all...'

I received this book from Goodreads, first reads.

I was so happy when I had found out I was lucky enough to have won this book. I knew it would be exactly the type of book my class would love. I was not wrong!

All the children loved the story, they were engaged throughout and were waiting to find out what was going to happen. They particularly enjoyed the story as the boy travels up mountains across deserts and seas.

The illustrations throughout the book are very good, they are eye catching and detailed.

Once we had finished the story we talked about our favourite part of it and why we liked it. Many of the children loved the part where the lemurs were snorkeling and laughed a lot.

We also talked about any new words we had learnt from the story, this opened a whole new learning session about the book. We identified that lemur was a new word and talked about what one is, the children also talked about different settings in the book such as a desert and that camels are only in hot places. I think this is a very good book to talk about different terrain.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Fortunately, Unfortunately - Michael Foreman

Fortunately, UnfortunatelyFortunately, Unfortunately by Michael Foreman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'When Granny leaves her umbrella behind, Mum asks Milo to take it to her. Along the way, Milo encounters pirates, dinosaurs and aliens as he is swept into a rather unexpected and truly amazing adventure...'

This is a story about a little boy, who heads off to grandma's house because she left her umbrella at their house. Along the way the boy meets many different characters and animals. Throughout the story fortunately and unfortunately are used as they boy comes across things in his path.

I read this to a class of 5 year old's and they loved the story, they were joining in with 'fortunately' and 'unfortunately' and really loved the illustrations. At some points I had to go back to the pictures for the children to view for longer!

The journey to grandma is a magical one, going through time zones (such as dinosaurs) and visiting space, traveling on a boat with pirates and even getting lost in a whale!

There was so much to discuss in this story and I felt it really helped the children with their imagination. At the end we discussed the book and the children spoke about their favourite parts, many of them loved the end with the surprise jewels!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this book - this has not effected my review in any way.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Hidden Cottage - Erica James

The Hidden CottageThe Hidden Cottage by Erica James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'We all hide things, some more than others...

Mia Channing appears to have an enviable life: a beautiful home in the village of Little Pelham, a happy, stable marriage, a job she enjoys and three grown up children to whom she's devoted.

But appearances are deceiving; the truth is that it's all a precarious balancing act. When the family gather for her son's thirtieth birthday, Daisy, her youngest daughter, drops a bombshell in the way only Daisy can. Once again Mia finds herself cast in the role of peacemaker. It's a role she's tired of, particularly since her husband refuses to believe he's responsible for the problems they're facing. Not surprisingly, Mia longs for escape.

For Owen Fletcher, buying the Hidden Cottage was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and provides the perfect escape for him. When Mia meets him, she must decide whether she has the courage to do something for herself for a change. And if she does, can she ever go back to the life of compromise she had before?'

The story is centred on the Channing family and Mia the mother in particular. It starts by introducing the characters and their place in the novel. Mia is the mother of three grown up children with a lovely house and business in a beautiful village in rural England. Her husband Jeff works abroad and comes home at weekends so does not really have much interaction with the family. Mia is close to all her children and acknowledges that Jeff really has only ever connected with Daisy the younger child.

The book really starts to get going when all the family meet for the birthday of Mia’s son Jensen who is thirty. We also learn they all have their own secrets to keep or tell eventually all waiting for the right time to tell them. Daisy choses her brothers birthday to drop her own bombshell probably because she feels safer with all the family present. Jeff’s closeness to Daisy borders on obsession and so when Daisy announces that she is going to move to Australia he does what he always does and tries to manipulate her to change her mind. Daisy has never really been that strong and normally does give in; she battled anorexia which proved to be caused by her father’s obsession and controlling ways although he never acknowledged that it was his fault. Having met Scott and fallen in love with him Daisy feels she has a strength she never had before and although she is nervous of telling the family and in particular Jeff she feels she can cope. All children are afraid of Jeff their father with good reason, Jensen and his father have never seen eye to eye and he gets on much better with Mia, Eliza the middle child has a distant relationship with Jeff and Daisy although the closest to her father feels suffocated by his controlling manner. Jeff is also given to bouts of temper where on occasion he does lose control which makes him quite an unstable/loose cannon character.

The evening of the birthday marks a turning point in all their lives and through Daisy’s admission of needing to get away from Jeff the others in the family realise their own need to break free and release their secrets which they go on to do over time.

Owen Fletcher moves into the village and buys the Hidden Cottage a place he has history with from when he lived in the village as a child. Owen like the other characters in the novel also has secrets in his past which unravel as the story progresses. In a small closely knit village he is an interesting distraction and the subject of much gossip and speculation made more exciting since he is good looking and apparently single. It’s not long before a party of women from the village descend on him to introduce themselves to him dragging Mia along to make up the numbers. Owen is instantly attracted to Mia and from there the story develops giving Mia more to add to her set of secrets and guilt.

Without giving too much away it does have twists that escalate things for everyone and sets the book on a faster paced ending than beginning. Good intertwining of characters keeps this book moving along well and Erica James ability to connect with the reader through her characters makes this a very enjoyable journey. Every character is written into the story well and it is easy to identify with them although it would have been nice for the reader to form conclusions about characters rather than being led to them by Erica James. That said it was a moving and like-able story although a somewhat predictable ending, it has what it promised, secrets, guilt, romance – great holiday read.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

He's the One - Katie Price

He's the OneHe's the One by Katie Price
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Can you ever forget your first love?

Liberty Evans hasn't. She has a beautiful daughter, a successful career as an actress, and she's married to one of Hollywood's most powerful directors.

But behind the glamour, things are not what they seem. Her daughter Brooke is turning into a spoiled teenager, her husband controls everything she does, and Liberty longs for Cory, the man she loved before she became famous.

Unable to live a lie any more, Liberty returns to England with a reluctant Brooke, to start a new life. While her daughter has to cope with a massive lifestyle change, Liberty finds that she cannot get Cory out of her head.

But will he want her any more? Or will she have to accept that her first love belongs to the past?'

I have read all of Katie Price’s books and I must say I felt a little let down by ‘In the Name of Love’ and was hoping that this would not follow suit.

‘He’s the one’ follows Liberty a young girl, thriving to become an actress and working in an Italian restaurant to get by for her and her daughter Brooke. One day a handsome guy comes into the restaurant with his mates, he is American and takes a shine to Liberty. For the next couple of months Liberty and Cory are inseparable, he is then due to return to the States and Liberty must accept this. Things change quickly for Liberty though and she gets the offer of a lifetime and moves to LA with Brooke; Cory remains in the U.K.

The book then splits into part two, this has been fast-forwarded 14 years and then each chapter is dedicated to either Liberty or Brooke, who is now almost 18. I felt at this part in the book the plot really picked up and I began whizzing through the pages. I enjoyed the story and the drama’s that came along with it. (For anyone who has read Katie Price novels before, you will know there are always many dramas!)

I thought the characters were developed well throughout the book, Liberty is perceived to be a generally lovely person, and at times you really feel for her. Brooke begins as a spoilt brat, having all the money she could ever want and getting what she wants, when she wants it. When Liberty drops a bombshell on Brooke she begins to change as a person and you realise she wasn’t once the girl she was in LA. The characters are well liked and I think this helped massively while reading it.

I also thought that this book was a little more down to earth than Katie’s previous books; we see both characters working in a restaurant, something that many of us do and I feel that this allows the reader to connect better to the book. It is nice to read about celebrities and their lives etc, but us mere mortals have to go a long way to be able to connect to it.

The book is an easy, holiday read and not very taxing – just the type of book I enjoy when I am back at work and things become busy. I thought that this was one of Katie Price’s better novels and it was nice to see returning characters. This does not make a difference, however if you have not read her previous novels.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy, this has not affected my review in any way.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Maine - J.Courtney Sullivan

MaineMaine by J. Courtney Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'The Kelleher's beachfront holiday house creaks under a weight of secrets. A place where cocktails follow morning mass and children eavesdrop, it is home to matriarch Alice, who would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, decades before. As summer arrives and the women in Alice's family descend on the shore, it soon becomes clear that these mothers and daughters have been deeply hurt by the people they love the most. But as this fierce, irrational love burns ever brighter, anger builds and painful secrets are unearthed.'

Maine is about different generations of American/Irish women and a daughter – in law, that meet at a beach cottage and a very expensive property in Maine. The story begins by introducing each character, to allow the reader background knowledge on them. This theme continues through the story with it being told through the view of the four women.

This I struggled with as I didn’t find all the women interesting and found myself wanting to skip chapters until I did get to a character that was slightly interesting. The story was written well, but the three stars are down to the characters, I felt I could not connect to them and wasn’t that interested. This made the book a struggle for me to finish and took me a long time to read.

The characters were developed well and the reader is given a lot of information about all of the women. I really wanted to read this book as the blurb sounded so good. I thought it would be my type of book; however I found the story a bit slow, nothing really picked up until towards the end of the story and by then I was a bit bored with it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me the book to read, this has not affected my review in any way.

The Sunflower Sword - Mark Sperring

The Sunflower SwordThe Sunflower Sword by Mark Sperring
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'A charming story in which making friends turns out to be more fun than fighting.

In a land filled with fire and smoke and endless fighting, where knights fight dragons, there lives a little knight who wants to be big like the others, and fight like the others, and have a sword like the others. But his mother won't let him. Instead of a sword, she gets him a sunflower, which, as it turns out, is powerful enough to stop a war.'

The story is about a boy who wants to be a knight and have a sword to slay dragons. His mother gives him a sunflower to act as a sword. He isn’t too sure about this but goes along with it. He meets many different characters along the way, who he helps; such as a witch.

The story is very nice, it teaches children that you can be friends with people who are different, as deep down you are all the same.

I read this to a class of 30 5 year olds this week and they did enjoy the story. They commented on the pictures being really lovely and clear. While reading the story all children were engaged and wanted to know what happened next.

The language in the book in certain areas I thought was too advanced for this age group. There were many words that were out of their vocabulary. I explained these words to the children, however it interrupted the flow of the story.

The story also I felt came to an abrupt end and children were also not ready for it. They expected there to be more.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me the copy to share with my class.