Saturday, 31 October 2015

Need a Halloween audio book? Look no further!!! It's Free!

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to share this great novella in audio format with you. I am really excited about it. If you love Dracula (Who doesn't at this time of year?) Then you will want to listen to this prequel and the best thing about it? For the time being it's free! Right, well I am not sure what else you are waiting for. If you want to download this - all you need is an audible account, scroll to the bottom and click where it says here. Anyway let's find out a bit more of what it is about. 

An Audible Original Drama
by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, dramatised for audio by Robin Brooks for Audible Originals


Directed by Fiona McAlpine for Audible Originals
Dramatised for audio by Robin Brooks

A masterpiece of erotic Gothic horror – encompassing mystery, suspense, forbidden lust, violence and lots of blood.

A brand new audiobook adaptation of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic gothic novella, Carmilla - starring Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey), David Tennant (Doctor Who and Broadchurch) and Phoebe Fox (Life in Squares and The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death) - is available to download for free on from 28 October.

One of the very first vampire thrillers, this audio adaptation follows eighteen year-old Laura (Leslie) as she recounts the story of her mysterious, intriguing and beautiful house-guest Carmilla (Fox), who is stranded in the forest after a carriage accident and taken in by Laura’s widowed father.

The girls develop a friendship which turns into a passionate meeting of souls.  A relationship of vampire and prey, the story is told through Laura’s eyes as she is drawn further into Carmilla’s terrifying world of pleasure and pain: “Without knowing it, I was now in a pretty advanced stage of the strangest illness under which mortal ever suffered…”

With a mysterious plague ravaging the local population of young women, General Spielsdorf, Laura’s neighbour, tells of how his daughter was preyed upon by a vampire who had an uncanny resemblance to Carmilla.

Rose Leslie, who voices Laura, says, “I’ve always been attracted to beautiful storytelling, which was one of the main reasons that drew me to this project. Being a gothic horror, everything, particularly the emotional elements of the story are, by definition, explored in the extreme. That level of heightened emotion was really exciting to play, and being an audiobook, it allows your imagination to really go wild.”

Phoebe Fox says of playing Carmilla, “The idea of playing a vampire was very tantalizing. As someone who always gets cast as the goody two shoes character, it was great to have a crack at someone so dark. I’ve definitely a taste for it now!

Carmilla has been dramatised by Robin Brooks, an actor, dramatist and author who has been working as a playwright for over 25 years. He has adapted various works for audio and radio, including those of James Joyce, Terry Pratchett and Philip Larkin. Carmilla was directed by Fiona McAlpine of Allegra Productions for Audible Originals, a radio drama producer and director who also abridges books and stories for radio, including work with Stephen Fry. Her works appear regularly on BBC Radio’s Afternoon Play.

Cast List
Carmilla – Phoebe Fox
Laura – Rose Leslie
Dr Hesselius – David Tennant
Father – James Wilby
General Spielsdorf – David Horovitch
Milady – Lucy Robinson
Madame Perrodon – Susan Wooldridge
Katherine – Hannah Genesius
Beppo, Doctor, Labourer – Michael Shelford
Little Laura – Kitty Peterkin
Maria – Mia Hall

Download Carmilla for free at Audible from 28 October 2015 - here

Friday, 30 October 2015

Hungry Roscoe by David J. Plant

Hungry RoscoeHungry Roscoe by David J. Plant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Roscoe is a hungry raccoon and he's fed up with eating rotten junk out of the bins. What he wouldn't give for a lovely bit of fish or some fresh, juicy fruit and where better to find food than at the zoo! An excellent idea. Except for the grumpy zookeeper who's intent on keeping Roscoe OUT. But Roscoe's determined to eat, and sure enough he's come up with a plan to disguise himself as a zoo animal . . . What could possibly go wrong? Join in the mayhem in this hilarious picture book from new talent David J Plant.

When this arrived for me to share with my class, I thought it would be a book that they would like. I wasn't wrong.

Roscoe is a raccoon, who is very hungry, he spends most of his time searching for food around the town and is very fed up that he is never getting anything to eat except for the odd few scraps. He is looking thin and is so unhappy, one day he has a great idea - the animals in the zoo get fed all the time, so all Roscoe needs to do is get the zoo keeper to believe he is one of the animals at feeding time.

This is a very funny story about the identities Roscoe takes on throughout the book. The children loved it, they also found the ending very funny. - I won't mention exactly what happens as to not spoil it for you. This does come with a slight message - perseverance.

The book is illustrated beautifully, the text is easy to read - something that slightly older readers could enjoy on their own.

The cover is very sturdy, my only negative and it is mine rather than the children's is that I thought the quality of the paper was not a good as it could have been. Having high quality paper in books in a school for me is key, the books get read a lot and to make sure they last it is important the paper is of good quality so if I would change something it would only be that.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Flying Bath by Julia Donaldson

The Flying BathThe Flying Bath by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When everyone has left the house in the morning, the bath toys spring into action and head off on exciting adventures in their magical flying bath! From giving a muddy piglet a shower to putting out a fire for a frightened baboon, they have water at the ready for any emergency - but they're always home for the children's bathtime at the end of the day. The simple rhyming speech-bubble text is great to read aloud, and perfect for developing reading confidence. Richly detailed, sumptuous artwork completes this irresistible book for young readers.

This is another picture book by the very popular Julia Donaldson. When this arrived on my doorstep to share with my KS1 class I couldn't wait. They love to have stories read to them, but especially love a Donaldson book.

This is a very cute story about a bunch of animals who set out to help others. When the family leave the house in the morning, the little bath critters get straight on the phone to find out who needs their help first. The bath ends up going on a journey across the world helping animals in need.

I really liked this aspect of the book, every new page the bath was somewhere new, this really excited the children too, they liked to guess where it was going next and who they were going to help. The illustrations were truly wonderful too.

The children, once the story had ended loved it and said they would read it again and again. It really excited them and they said they would give it 5*, however from an adult's point of view, I personally didn't think it was as good as some as Donaldson's previous books. Saying that, they can't all be as good as The Gruffalo or What the Ladybird Heard.

If you like Donaldson's books, this is certainly one to add to your collection, however I don't think it will be as big as her earlier stories. I have decided to award 5* as that was the opinion of the children and they are the ones who get the true enjoyment from it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

The Tea Planter's WifeThe Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dinah Jefferies' unforgettable new novel, The Tea Planter's Wife is a haunting, tender portrait of a woman forced to choose between her duty as a wife and her instinct as a mother...

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London.

Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It's a place filled with clues to the past - locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult...

Gwen soon falls pregnant and her husband is overjoyed, but she has little time to celebrate. In the delivery room the new mother is faced with a terrible choice, one she knows no one in her upper class set will understand - least of all Laurence. Forced to bury a secret at the heart of her marriage, Gwen is more isolated than ever. When the time comes, how will her husband ever understand what she has done?

The Tea Planter's Wife is a story of guilt, betrayal and untold secrets vividly and entrancingly set in colonial era Ceylon.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, right from the start I knew I was going to like it and it didn't disappoint. Beautiful descriptive writing evoking images of a an exotic Ceylon and the tensions between two castes the Sinhalese and the minority group Tamils which form the backdrop of this sensitively written story.

The story begins with the arrival of 19 year old Gwen Hooper in Ceylon eager to join her new husband Laurence and start her life as a married woman and mistress of his tea plantation. Full of excitement and anticipation, very much in love with her husband, Gwen soon realises that Laurence is not the same person she married in England. He appears secretive, distant and constantly working he does not spend much time with her at all. With all the pressures of running the household, language and custom barriers Gwen feels lonely and abandoned in this strange new land. She constantly gets herself into trouble when, because of ignorance of customs and behaviours, she reacts to things that happen around her. Gwen follows her heart rather than what is socially acceptable and this causes problems in the household. She is also jealous of one of Laurence's American female friends Caroline; believing that there is a chemistry between them Gwen convinces herself they are having an affair. This obsession carries itself through the story and Gwen makes some very silly mistakes because of it.

When Gwen falls pregnant and gives birth to twins she has to make a terrible choice to give up her daughter to save her marriage which almost costs her sanity as a result. Racked with guilt she has to try and carry on for her son Hugh in the hope that she can keep her secret safe.

There's little point in my going any further as it would reveal too much but suffice it to say that it covers family secrets, deceit, grief, racial tension and violence which all makes for a gripping read. I did guess some of the secrets but still enjoyed how the author wove these into the novel leading to the climax.

Good characterisation in this novel; the vivacious Fran Gwen's cousin, the mysterious Savi the Indian artist, the spoilt petulant Verity Laurences' sister, Christina the object of Gwens' jealousy, Naveena the ayah who was Laurences' nanny, and references to Caroline Laurences' first wife. As the story unfolds these characters come to life and their own personalities and stories come out to intertwine with Gwens' and set the plot on its' pacy course.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would give it 4 stars, not a 5 only because I did guess the ending.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 25.10.15

This week was the last week before half term and I am so pleased. It has been a really busy half term and I have been looking forward to chilling. I have a few things planned for the following week but I am also hoping to get a lot of reading time in. 

Books I have read this week:
Can You Keep A Secret - Sophie Kinsella audio book
You can find all the reviews for the books I have read coming up in the next couple of weeks so look out for that. I would love to know what you have been reading this week so please let me know in the comments below. 

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Twelve Dates of Christmas - The Complete Novel by Lisa Dickenson

The Twelve Dates of Christmas - The Complete Novel by Lisa Dickenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At thirty, Claudia's life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life - and Christmas - alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing's for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .

This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it's a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what's been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

I reviewed this book back last year, here was my review:

I first discovered Dickenson earlier this year, when I had the opportunity to read You had me at Merlot. I absolutely loved it and so when I got asked if I would like to read The Twelve Dates of Christmas I jumped at the chance.

This story follows Claudia who is bored with her job and has had little luck in love. The story begins with her on a date her boyfriend Seth. In true Dickenson style the first few pages are a leaves Claudia realising Seth is no longer for her and she should move on. As the month of December progresses so does the number of dates Claudia goes on. Each one as entertaining as the one before.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas is certainly a Christmas tale that you need in your life this Christmas, it has everything out could want from a book. There is everything in a chick lit, romance, Christmas and humour. I raced through this book, just as I did with Dickenson' s previous story.

I loved how I didn't know what was going to hand and when I thought I finally knew. There was another twist in the tale. There was so much reference to Christmas in the book and the descriptions were perfect, this is something I loved! I was able to transport myself to December in October which I loved.

I have now read both f Dickenson' s novels and would like to read more from her. She is. Brilliant author and if hi have not yet discovered he yet, this is the time to now!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino

The Cow Who Climbed a TreeThe Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tina isn't like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit, that everything is possible. But her sisters aren't convinced - and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her . . . and soon discover a world of surprises!

When this arrived on my door step to read with my class I couldn't wait to take it to them. When I choose to share it with them they were instantly giggling. The sight of a cow hanging off a tree had them in stitches, they couldn't wait to find out the story.

Tina the cow always has wonderful ideas and wants to try them out. Her sisters think she is silly and as a cow can't do that. Throughout the story Tina does try to change her sisters point of view and eventually she manages it.

During the story the children all sat there in silence just waiting to see what would happen next. They made comments about the book and all said that this was the type of story they would want to hear again, either by reading themselves or have it read to them.

I felt thrilled I had the chance to share this wonderful picture book with them and would be keen to read more from Merino. It was a joy to read that left you feeling warm and fuzzy. The illustrations are beautiful too. All the children agreed this deserved 5*.

The children came up with an adjective to describe how they felt about this story, you can see this picture of this below. I read this to class of year 2 children, they were 6 and 7. This book would be suitable for children younger too.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Weekly wrap up 18/10/15

This week has been another manic one (when is it never?) I have had quite a lot of personal family issues going on and so it has been a relatively slow reading week, however yesterday I participated in Dewey's 24 hours read-a-thon, this is actually still going to make sure you check out my post later today to see how I got on. You can also check out any mini challenges I managed to do on the previous post. 

Next week is the last week at school before half term so I am really looking forward to that, I will have a little work I need to catch up on, but I will be spending most of the time doing a bit of reading - finally! I also have a holiday coming up in December so I am planning to get a lot read the too. 

Books I have received this week: 

Books I have read this week:
Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella. I finished this during thr read-a-thon.

I have been listening to an audio book - Can you keep a secret by Sophie Kinsella and I absolutely love it, I read the book a few years ago so it was nice to get back in that world with Emma.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Dewey';s 24 hour read-a-thon updates and mini challenges

Hey I thought I would place all my updates and mini challenges in one place. 

Hour 1
Pages read: 44
Books read: Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella
Total pages and books:

Mini challenge:  Cover Escape

The book I have chosen is Too Hot to Handle by Katie Agnew. The reason I have chosen this is because I didn't manage to get away on holiday this summer and feel in desperate need of some relaxation on a beach. This looks prefect. 

Hour 2
Pages read: 35
Books read: Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella
Total pages and books: 79 pages 

Sorry I have not updated for a while, I had to go and visit a family member in hospital, so hours 3-7 I did not do any reading. I am now back though for the night :)

Mini challenge: Arm Chair Travelling

The book that I would have transport me to would be The Geography of you and me by Jennifer E Smith. This is set in New York in a lift. I would not like to be stuck in a lift there but I would like to return, I have only been once and that was for about 6 hours! 

Hour 8
Pages read: 38
Books read: Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella
Total pages and books: 108 pages

Mini challenge: Scavenger Hunt

Book Scavenger Hunt List

1. Something hard - Corey
2. Something fast - Red flushes
3. Something sweet - Becky Actually
4. Something high -  Flying over
5. Something funny - Becky's Ten turning into Becky's Eleven 

The book that I am STILL reading but almost finished now is Shopaholic to the Rescue. 

During hour 9 I finished Shopaholic to the Rescue. 

Hour 9
Pages read: 14
Books read: The Good Girls - Sara Shepard, Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella
Total pages and books: 122 pages 1 book

I have been rather distracted this hour, hoping the next one will be better. 

Hour 10
Pages read: 14
Books read: The Good Girls - Sara Shepard, Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella
Total pages and books: 134 pages 1 book

Yet again I have read very little, I think I am getting quite tired, I may go to bed, try and read a little there and then get up early to continue. 

Unfortunately I have been asleep a little longer than I expected and I also had a few things to do so I haven't managed to read anything else yet - so far this is the worst read-a-thon I have ever taken part in! 

Hour 23
I have a bit of work to do so I have switched to an audio book - I have almost finished it. It is The Year I Met You - Cecelia Ahern. 

Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon pre post!

This is the first post of the 24 hour read-a-thon, a pre party post to make sure I am ready for the big event! 

So here are my answers to the beginning questions: 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I am in the U.K so my read-a-thon starts in about 15 minutes! 

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I am concentrating on 3 books to begin with, these I have either started or need to read for a book tour. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I am a bit late to the game on snacks I am still in my PJ's! I will have a break at some point and go to the shop for some snacks. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

This is my fourth read-a-thon and I would love it to be the best one yet!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
During the last few I have tried to stay up as last a possible to read, this time I am going to go to be early and then get up early to continue reading. As I am in the U.K my time is later and allows me to do this. 

My Fourth Dewey's 24 hour Readathon info and TBR

I cannot believe that today I am going to be participating in my fourth 24 hour read-a-thon! I remember the very first one I joined in with and I loved it! 

I am going to have a few breaks throughout the day due to my personal life and so during those times I will stop reading for a couple of hours. My husband, however is away for football, he left at 8am this morning and will be due back very late tonight, this is great for me as just when I maybe flagging and perhaps falling asleep he will be there to wake me up.

I am in the U.K and the read-a-thon starts at 1pm my time. That is great as it allows me time to do some school work before it all begins. It also gives me time to run to the shop to stock up on snacks! Out of the 3 other read-a-thon's my most successful one was my very first one. I managed to read about 3 whole books. I would love this one to be just as successful. 

I did put myself forward to host a mini challenge, however I was unsuccessful as so many people wanted to participate. During the day I will try to participate in as many mini challenges as possible as, well it's a bit of fun isn't it. :)

I am going to try and stay up for as long as I can during the read-a-thon, I may not make the full 24 hours, over the pervious read-a-thon's I have realised it is sometimes better to go to bed at a reasonable time and then get up about 6am to continue as where I am the read-a-thon will continue for another 7 hours. 

So here is my TBR. 

I have already started Sophie Kinsella's brand new book - Shopaholic to the Rescue and I really want to finish this today. I also began The Good Girls by Sara Shepard (which seemed like a lifetime ago!) This is another one I want to finish today if possible. So here it is:

Sophie Kinsella - Shopaholic to the Rescue
Sara Shepard - The Good Girls 
Alex Brunkhorst - The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine 

If I finish these books I will be very happy and then I will select from one of my massive unread bookcases! 

Let me know if you are participating in the Read-a-thon today and what you are hoping to achieve. 

Good Luck!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

Pretending to DancePretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When the pretending ends, the lying begins . . . Molly Arnette is good at keeping secrets. As she and her husband try to adopt a baby, she worries that the truth she's kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. Molly ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved. Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a healthy future, she discovers that even she doesn't know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.

This was the first novel by Diane Chamberlain I have read, it won't be my last.

Beautifully written it charts the life of teenager Molly Arnette her father Graham, mother Nora and their extended family all living in Morrison Ridge an idyllic 100 acre compound in Swannanoa in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

The story starts out in San Diego where Molly is grown up and an attorney, married to Aiden who is also a lawyer they are trying to adopt a baby after the loss of their own baby and Molly's hysterectomy. Molly is nervous of revealing her family history and over the course of the novel the reasons why start to fit together. Her husband Aiden does not know her past as she has never felt able to share this with him and he struggles to understand some of her fears over an adoption.

The novel switches from the grown up Molly narrating to the fourteen year old Molly as flashbacks reveal her past and her growing up in the 1990's. So, the scene is set and we see her grow up before our eyes as the story moves on.

We met fourteen year old Molly in the summer holidays and the only one of her 'friends' around is Stacy who she does not know very well but she invites for a sleepover. Stacy is everything that Molly is not and their friendship causes Molly to make some unwise choices that contribute to the feelings of guilt that haunt her after her father dies. Molly's relationship with her father is very strong and like most teenagers, even though her father has MS and is very ill, she believes he will always be around. His death therefore is a great shock to her and her belief that her mother Nora may have had a hand in it is more than she can bear.

Though Diane Chamberlains' skillful writing we experience a mixture of coming of age, highly charged emotional situations, difficult complex family relationships and the unconditional love of a father for his daughter. Her fourteenth year was to her the worst year of her life for many reasons and it takes her more than 20 years to reconcile her past and put her demons behind her before she can move on with her husband and begin a family of her own.

This was such a deeply moving book, I loved the gentle Graham her father who although he suffered greatly he never burdened anyone while he struggled to cope with his degenerative illness. Physically he had no movement other than being able to move his head and yet through the eloquent language and empathy of the writer I felt Graham could move mountains. His affect on those around him was astounding given his disabilities and somehow I was able to read this without pity for him but admiration. The author managed to make the reader feel that the lives of all the family were enriched by him - he was not a burden - that takes great skill as a writer.

I don't want to reveal anything about this book as it really has to be read and although it does tackle a physical disability it is also about great love, hope, growing up, secrets, mistakes and struggles in hearts and minds.

I really couldn't give this book any less than 5 stars for its' bewitching brilliant writing, its poignant messages and its' gentle journey of self discovery, heart wrenching loss and the freedom of forgiveness. Quite simply a beautiful memorable read.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Trouble Is a Friend of MineTrouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sherlock meets The Breakfast Club in this story of a wisecracking girl who meets a weird but brilliant boy and their roller-coaster of a semester that's one part awkward, three parts thrilling, and five parts awesome

After her parents get divorced, high school junior Zoe Webster moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York, determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father insists on. But then she meets Philip Digby--the odd and brilliant and somehow attractive?--Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all centered on his search for the kidnapper of a local teenage girl who may know something about the tragic disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football star dressed like the Hulk, had a serious throw down with a possible religious cult, challenged her controlling father, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown.

For fans of John Green and David Levithan, this is a crime novel where catching the crook isn't the only hook, a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a friendship story where they aren't even sure they like each other, and a debut you won't soon forget.

I think that there will be those that love this book and it will be a success but I'm afraid it really didn't do it for me.

Zoe is meant to be the main character but I felt that she was overshadowed by Digby who this book really seems to be about. Zoe's parents having divorced force her mother to move and her to relocate to a new school Her father is somewhat overbearing and a control freak, he takes control of her choices and is forcing her to go to a new prep school that she doesn't entirely want but she agrees with whatever he suggests. Digby arrives at her house one day with no explanation of who he is and starts asking her some strange questions and believe it or not this eccentric stalker type 16 year old boy and Zoe become friends. Digby is strange to say the least and he hatches a plan with Zoe's help to find a teenager who recently went missing from the same school.

To be honest I found it all a bit too far fetched and unbelievable; here we have a girl who is new to the area and school who forges a relationship with a boy who exhibits manic tendencies, he texts her with random and weird demands ,G4 1550 Bring food' and appears to be just a little unhinged most of the time.

Tromly has obviously watched the Cumberbatch interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and has based the rather empty character of Digby on him. Unfortunately although this works for Sherlock Holmes it does not have the same effect through a 16 year old boy. He simply does not have the maturity to pull this off and for me that left the whole essence of the book just pointless and flat. There were some good attempts at comedy and some of the dialogue was very funny but there was just not enough substance to hold it all together.

The characters were not believable - Zoe was pathetic and needy, Digby was completely unauthentic and the supporting characters were not developed enough for the reader to connect with them. It started off interestingly enough with Zoe standing outside a house full of explosives and wondering how to get back in and I really thought that this was going to be an explosive read. Sadly that was not the case more like a damp squib - it was very slow to begin with and then did pick up a bit but with no real reason (none given by the author) of why a 16 year old seemingly disturbed boy would want to solve a missing person case with no connection to that person (or none that we are told of) the plot and story lacked authenticity.

The other thing that mystified me was how it was possible that Digby had managed to get the support of others, who held him up to be a bit of a character and not the weird person he comes over in the book. He was really quite creepy just 'appearing' in Zoe's room and then getting people to follow her because he said she couldn't look after herself! Really a bit stalkerish (if there is such a word) in my opinion. As this is aimed at YA's I am a bit concerned that this behaviour could be seen as 'normal' - I mean is it acceptable that a young boy can wander around the streets at all times of the day and night spying and breaking into buildings just because he believes he can solve a crime?

In summary the funny parts were entertaining but the rest was really quite boring and lacked depth; I almost gave up and didn't finish the book but did soldier on to the end which in itself was rather lack luster although it has been left for a sequel should Stephanie Tromly think it deserves another book, but if she does I'm afraid I wouldn't want to read it - sorry.

Can't really give this more than 3 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

What the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson

What the Ladybird Heard NextWhat the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once upon a farm lived a ladybird,

And these are the things that she saw and heard

Those crafty robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are out of jail, and they're heading back to the farm with another cunning plan to cause trouble. They've been stealing eggs from the fat red hen, but now they're setting their sights higher and are planning to steal the fat red hen herself! Fortunately the quiet, clever ladybird is on their trail, and she and her farm animal friends have a plan of their own.

Join the cow, the goose, the horse, the sheep, the cat, and everyone's favourite ladybird in this fantastically funny farmyard caper - a much anticipated sequel to the hugely successful What the Ladybird Heard, which has sold over a million copies worldwide.

I didn't know that Donaldson was going to be bringing out a sequel to What the ladybird heard, however when I was offered the next book to review with my class I jumped at the chance. I was so excited. Donaldson is a brilliant children's author and I love to shard her books with my class.

I took the book into school for them, they were so excited, we reread What the Ladybird heard to have it fresh in our minds, before starting this wonderful edition. When I shared this text with them, I could not believe how glued to the text they were. The children loved it, they also loved spotting the ladybird and the glitter on every page as before.

Once finished we were all disappointed, however this is going to be a firm favourite story for home time. Many of the children have already said they are going to be asking their parents for this one to add to their own library.

I don't want to spoil the book for you, but it follows the same idea as the original, with more laughs along the way. The same characters appear as in What the ladybird heard. Are Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len going to get away with it this time? This is a must to add to your Donaldson collection and I feel so lucky to have been able to share it with my class.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 12 October 2015

One Day On Our Blue Planet . . . in the Savannah by Ella Bailey

One Day On Our Blue Planet . . . in the SavannahOne Day On Our Blue Planet . . . in the Savannah by Ella Bailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From breakfast to dinner, dusk to dawn, children will love spending the day with this curious lion cub.

A new series of children's books focused on the way our young animal friends spend a day begins with a curious lion cub. Minding his mother and playing with his father, this little lion can't help chasing trouble and fun as he explores the little corner of that big blue planet he shares with us. Fans of animals, nature, and ecology will be thrilled by the adventures of our playful lion cub as they learn all about young animals and their homes. Ella Bailey's breathtaking illustrations present biologically and factually accurate depictions of our animal friends, and children will be able to see a bit of themselves in these young animals. All readers will be delighted to learn about the natural world and its inhabitants with this book.

When I took this into school to read to my class they were very excited. I was interested in the book too, as I am always on the lookout for books that I can use in the classroom that are educational.

The first thing that I loved as well as the children was the inside cover. There are beautiful illustrations of all the day time animals that live in the Savannah. This was a great discussion point to use in the classroom with them. Similarly the back cover is similar with all the night time animals. We began to discuss nocturnal and what this means. We also noticed the different types of animals in the Savannah at different times.

This story takes us on a journey of a cub through the first 24 hours of his life. There is good language in the story which children are keen in order to understand.

This is a really great story for teaching about Africa or different types of animals. It would be nice to see this as a series of other types of animals.

I asked the children if they would recommend this book to others, they all said that they would. The said it would be good to read to younger siblings, so they would be able to learn more about lions. They also said it was they type of book that they would like to read again.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Jackie Kabler Guest Post

Today I have been lucky enough to have Jackie Kabler stop by at The Book Corner to share with you a guest post and promote her new novel ' The Dead Dog Day.'

Guest Post - Writing around the world..!

When I first started writing my debut novel, I could only really write in one place - at home, in my little dressing room/office. To be honest, that's still where most of my writing is done. But with deadlines and a rapidly approaching publication date, over the past year I've been forced to expand my writing horizons a little and do it on the move too, otherwise my very lovely editor at Accent Press might not have been quite so lovely to me! Hence, parts of my book The Dead Dog Day were written in some very random places indeed.

The first "out of the office" section was written in one of the most beautiful spots in the world - on a shady terrace outside our hotel room in the Maldives in January. where I gazed out at the Indian Ocean in between paragraphs. (I was also typing with one hand at this point, after an accident and subsequent arm surgery, but that's another story...) In May, the laptop came with me for a long weekend at Lake Garda in Italy, and another terrace, this time overlooking the calm waters of the lake. Thankfully, I have a very tolerant husband who was always happy to head off for a couple of hours of solo swimming or cycling while his wife got down to work.

The well-travelled little computer also joined me on a trip to Japan a few weeks ago. My sister lives there, and while sight-seeing and catching up took up all my time while actually there, the two very long flights were ideal for writing sessions - I managed to get 3,000 words done each way.

In between trips, my trusty laptop has also been with me for many less glamorous nights in London hotels. I live in Gloucestershire, work in London and work shifts, so often stay over to maximise sleep time. Hence, many a Premier Inn, Ibis and Holiday Inn bedroom has seen me hunched over its desk, tapping away at my keyboard.

I suppose if you really want to write then, you can write anywhere. I wonder where book two will take me?

About Jackie Kabler

She worked as a newspaper reporter and then in television news for twenty years, including nearly a decade on GMTV. She later appeared on BBC and ITV news, presented a property show for Sky, hosted sports shows on Setanta Sports News and worked as a media trainer for the Armed Forces. She is now a presenter on shopping channel QVC and her first novel, The Dead Dog Day, is now available for pre-order on Amazon ahead of its release on 22nd October.

Weekly wrap up - 11/10/15

Books I have received this week:
Death comes first - Hilary Bonner

Books I have read this week:

Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Friday, 9 October 2015

The Fault in our Stars - John Green Audio Book

The Fault in Our Stars

Written by: John Green

Narrated by: Kate Rudd

Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins 

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date:10/01/2012

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Given: 4* Overall, 5* Performance, 4* Story

"A sad love story that will touch you at any age. "

Would you consider the audio edition of The Fault in Our Stars to be better than the print version?
I have never read the book, I have watched the film. I would say this is one of the best YA audio books I have listened to.

What did you like best about this story?
It was entertaining though out, I enjoyed the fact that being ill was not something to be negative about all the time and that there was still fun to be had.

Which character – as performed by Kate Rudd – was your favourite?
I thought Kate Rudd did an amazing job with all characters, especially the male voices.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I felt that I couldn't listen to the book in one sitting as it was quite long, however I feel that I may have had a more emotional pull towards it if I could have done. I felt that the story really grabs you in. Kate Rudd did an amazing job of this. I would actually go out of my way to discover other audio books narrated by her, finding a good narrator can be tough when listening to audio books.

Any additional comments?
I am very pleased I listened to the audio book of The Fault in our Stars, although it is aimed at young adults, do not let that put you off. I think it will touch you whatever age you are. The performance is close to perfect and will leave you feeling very emotional.

 I would like to thank Audible for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Anybody Out There Abridged Compact Disc by Marian Keyes

Anybody Out There Abridged Compact DiscAnybody Out There Abridged Compact Disc by Marian Keyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'I had to go back to New York and try to find him. There was a chance he mightn't be there but I had to give it a go because there was one thing I was certain of: he wasn't here.'

Anna Walsh is officially a wreck. She's covered in bandages and she's lying in her parents' Good Front Room dreaming of leaving Dublin and getting back to New York.

To her friends.

To The Most Fabulous Job in the WorldT.

And most of all, back to her husband, Aiden.

But her family have other ideas (not to mention the usual problems that beset the Walsh sisters). And Aiden, for some reason, seems unwilling to get in touch.

What happened to Anna to send her so far from all that she loves? And what happened to her marriage that her husband won't talk to her?

This was my first Marian Keyes novels that I have read/listened to. I decided that this would be a good audio book to help me on my commute to work. I managed to finish the audio book in a week, which I was pleased about.

This is about Anna, she is a PR girl for a cosmetic company, however has had a bad accident, which has meant she is living back with her mum and cannot work in the beauty industry until she recovers. While she is there, she spends all her time thinking of her husband Aiden and her life in New York with him. During the story, I was convinced because of her accident she couldn't go back until she was well enough, however I didn't once think why didn't she call Aiden or why he wasn't in Ireland with her.

I really got into the story as I drove to and from work and looked forward to the next installment, the narrator was good and the book was funny in parts. Some people I have seen say the audio book misses out a lot from the actual book. I have't read the book and I enjoyed this, it doesn't listen like things have been missed out at all. The story jumps from past to present and you get to read about Anna and Aiden's lives, I enjoyed this as I have not read the other books where the Walsh family are present. This didn't matter though, it read/listened as a stand a lone story.

This audio book takes you though emotions, there are funny elements and sad parts too. This was not your average chick lit book, it is a little deeper than that. I think it would be good to read the book after listening to it and if I get the chance I will.