Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Supertato Hap-pea Ever After: A World Book Day Book by Sue Hendra

Supertato Hap-pea Ever After: A World Book Day Book by Sue Hendra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A super world book day book from the Sue Hendra's crime fighting superhero - Supertato! Supertato is back and facing his nemesis in a new adventure!

I grabbed this while out doing the weekly shop today as I thought my kids at school would enjoy sharing this.

I have seen the full length books of these out and about, they always look great fun and something I think the kids would enjoy.

There is trouble in the supermarket, the veggies can't get to sleep and don't know what to do. Suddenly Supertato arrives. I am not going to tell you what happens as the story is so short and it would be a shame to spoil it for you. It is a short but fun book, I wasn't sure about it at first, it didn't seem to be too entertaining, however the kids will enjoy the small amount of toilet humour in it and I enjoyed the ending as it was humourous for adults.

The illustrations are great in the book and it is full of colour, I know this book will be a huge hit with the kids. For a pound you really can't go wrong, if you have stubborn boys who dislike reading, try them on this. It is short enough to keep them interested, has toilet humour and superheros, what else could they possibly want??!

Monday, 28 March 2016

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick blog post

Today it is my stop on the House of Shadows blog tour and I have been lucky enough to receive a post from 
Nicola Cornick‏, I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. Please don't forget to check out the other stops on this tour. 

A bit about the book: 

London, 1662:
There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.
‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed – ‘
He replied instantly. ‘It will’.

Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day: 
Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.

Intrigued, and determined to find out more about the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s only hope is that uncovering the truth about the past will lead her to Ben.

Why did you choose to write about Elizabeth Stuart, why she deserves to be recognised?

Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, has an impossibly romantic name and a history that was both tragic and picturesque, but she was also a strong and influential leader at a time when women in history were frequently excluded from power. I wanted to bring her story out of the shadows and celebrate all she achieved.

Born a Scottish princess in 1596, Elizabeth was the only daughter of James VI and I and came to England as a child when her father inherited the throne of England from Queen Elizabeth I. James had two sons; the role of the daughter was to be charming, preferably beautiful and above all, marriageable. Elizabeth fulfilled this part admirably. She was married to a German prince at the age of sixteen to secure a Protestant alliance and went to live in Heidelberg Castle, on the Rhine.

Yet there was another side to Elizabeth’s life. Her husband was defeated in battle and she and her young family were forced to flee into exile to escape the enemy. She was seven months pregnant during the flight and rode for mile after mile through the snows of winter without complaint. Frederick died young and Elizabeth assumed centre stage, fighting to regain her sons’ patrimony. She was a stateswoman, involved in international politics and diplomacy as well as being an influential cultural figure.

Certainly Elizabeth’s story has inspired me to look below the surface to find the strong and gallant woman beneath. It is this story I explore in my book House of Shadows. It’s the tale of the beautiful princess but also the Elizabeth who has been hidden; the woman who was a diplomat, a leader and an icon and who was also the founder of Britain’s Hanoverian dynasty.

About the author:
Nicola Cornick studied History at the University of London and has a Masters degree in Public History from Ruskin College Oxford. She acts as a history consultant for TV and radio and gives talks on local history and creative writing. Nicola also volunteers as a guide and historian for the National Trust at Ashdown House, where House of Shadows is based. Her award-winning novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into 26 languages. She lives in Oxfordshire.

This book is out now so make sure you grab a copy. You can do that here

Friday, 25 March 2016

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred SpiritsKindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.'
'Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?'

If you broke Elena's heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she's expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she's not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

This is a short story, which has been released for world book day. I am a sucker for a short story and being Rainbow Rowell, I knew I had to get hold of a copy. I bought this and finished it in the same day.

I don't like Star Wars (Think I may have seen one of the films once?!) A was a little worried that I wouldn't enjoy this story, however it made no difference to me if I liked it or had seen it, which was great. Star Wars I feel was a back story and the reason all the characters met up, but it was much more than that.

Elena, Troy and Gabe are queuing for the opening of the new Star Wars film, they are an unlikely threesome, however you get to know all of them in their own ways. I found it humourous in places and really loved the story about the line, and that there was only the three of them. I loved how the characters were developed even though it was short, it didn't feel rushed.

I loved the story line in the book, I liked the characters and everything about it. I am so glad I grabbed a copy, my only negative was the length of it. I could have easily enjoyed a full length novel of this. If you haven't managed to get a copy yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Teacher: A shocking and compelling new crime thriller – NOT for the faint-hearted! by Katerina Diamond Blog Tour

The Teacher: A shocking and compelling new crime thriller – NOT for the faint-hearted!The Teacher: A shocking and compelling new crime thriller – NOT for the faint-hearted! by Katerina Diamond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …


The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

When I heard there was a shocking new thriller doing the rounds I knew I wanted to read it, I love a good thriller and I was lucky enough to get a spot on the blog tour, so thank you Avon for that.

I had really high hopes for this and couldn't wait to start reading it, from the very first few pages I was hooked, desperate to continue to keep reading and find out what had really happened to the headmaster of the school. However after the first couple of chapters I found it a bit tricky to keep up with what was going on as a lot of characters were introduced and I couldn't really work out what was happening. The story was split with chapters jumping from past and present, which when you read just on weekends and evenings can be difficult to follow.

Detective Adrian Miles has been given a new partner, DS Imogen Grey, they have both messed up previous cases and have been teamed together to try and crack a case. Bodies are turning up everywhere, they are chasing a serial killer, who is torturing his victims. The question is who is it and how/if these bodies are connected? Did the victims know each other? Everyone seems to be hiding a secret.

I found the book to be more crime than thriller, there were thriller elements within, some scenes were graphic as the headline stakes, however I have read similar scenes in books such as those by James Patterson.

This story is very much like a jigsaw and I think if you give the book time initially then you would enjoy this book a lot, you do need to concentrate throughout as little parts are revealed the further you get into it. Once I got to grips with the characters and the plot I enjoyed the story, I'm not sure I loved it and think the book did have some flaws but overall it was an entertaining read, one that I wanted to get to the end of.

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

Monday, 21 March 2016

You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson

You Sent Me a LetterYou Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At 2 a.m. on the morning of her fortieth birthday, Sophie wakes to find an intruder in her bedroom. The stranger hands Sophie a letter and issues an threat: open the letter at her party that evening, in front of family and friends, at exactly 8 p.m., or those she loves will be in grave danger.

What can the letter possibly contain?

This will be no ordinary party; Sophie is not the only person keeping a secret about the evening ahead. When the clock strikes eight, the course of several people's lives will be altered for ever.

A well balanced good short story, a quick read that moves along at a gallop building tension and the main character Sophie's panic with every page.

Alone in her flat while her boyfriend Marc is away Sophie is visited by a stranger in the middle of the night who delivers a letter to her and threatens her family and friends if she does not follow instructions to read this out at 8pm the following day, the day of her 40th birthday party. Truly terrified this man will make good his promise that harm will come to her family and friends if she does not comply she is left to let the events of the day of her birthday play out before her with little or no control over the outcome.

We are then taken on the suspense building journey of Sophie's birthday and how events unfold; a day that truly seems to last a lifetime before she has to open the letter in front of all her friends and family.

It kept me guessing almost to the end when I did guess who was doing this but plenty of red herrings along the way to keep you off the scent. Her boyfriend Marc was the most obvious candidate with his controlling and secretive personality but you'll have to read it yourself to find out if he was the one out for revenge or not. I must admit I did find it frustrating that Sophie didn't feel tempted to just open the letter but then of course there would be no story! I do think that in the real world she would have.

Great use of suspense and tension building, a good page turner, very entertaining and worth the read - I give this a well deserved 4 stars for the genius marketing and a book that delivered on so many levels.

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

Friday, 18 March 2016

Look at Me by Sarah Duguid

Look at MeLook at Me by Sarah Duguid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lizzy's mother died two years ago, leaving a family bereft by her absence and a house still filled with her things. Then, one day, Lizzy finds a letter from a stranger to her father, and discovers he has another child. Lizzy invites her into their world in an act of outraged defiance. Almost immediately, she realises her mistake.

This was an easy read as it was quite short and moved along with good pace. Not really a book that you could easily pop into a genre category as it had elements of a psychological thriller that could have been developed more but it was also about relationships, family dynamics and secrets.

Told by the main character Lizzie a struggling actress it follows what happens when she discovers that she has a sister she knew nothing about after she discovers a letter from Eunice (her half-sister) written to her father Julian. She confronts him and is determined to contact Eunice much to the dismay of her father and her brother Ig who prefer to let 'sleeping dogs lie'.

Once she has made contact things seem to move on at a pace when Eunice wants to meet Lizzie and finally worms her way into staying at the family home when she splits with her husband Mike. Things then appear to take a more sinister turn (this is when I believed it might be a psychological thriller) when Eunice seems to 'take over' in the house, making herself indispensable, poking into Lizzie's mothers things, putting her stamp on everything. This was such a good opportunity to develop the psychological thriller angle but it didn't happen.

We learn of Lizzy's past, Julian's love of her mother and a little about Ig her brother. Ig's character is not really developed and I felt that Lizzy's relationship with 'the director' was a bit weird. Certainly that we never learn his name is strange and makes her relationship with him appear to be very unnatural almost creepy.

Eunice appears to be neurotic and controlling, one moment appearing naive and childlike the next manipulative and scheming and I got the feeling that she was not to be trusted. In the beginning the family appear to welcome her into their home but little by little she starts to manipulate and control them.

With Lizzy having lost her mother only a few years before we see the whole family are still trying to process their grief and this really allows Eunice to gain a foothold as she slowly takes over almost without anyone really noticing - except Lizzy. When Eunice suggests clearing out some of Lizzy's mothers things that's the last straw for Lizzy and she just wants Eunice out of their lives.

I felt that the ending of the story lacked punch, I was expecting much more. I felt that Eunice arrival and her effect on the family forced them to move on after the death of the mother but Eunice character was under developed, we knew little about her apart from her being their half sister, nothing of her marriage and why she left Mike in the first place, why he took her back when she left Julian's or anything about her mother's relationship with Lizzy's father Julian.

All the characters had flaws and defects which made this fractured family work but I just felt there was something missing and the ending was not strong enough and for that reason I have given this 3 stars.

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

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood

Hooray for Hoppy!Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engaging book about springtime and the senses from the Booktrust award-winning illustrator ofWOW! Said The Owl, a first book of colours, and TIP TAP Went The Crab, a first book of counting.

When Hoppy the rabbit wakes up on the first day of spring, he discovers a world full of wonderful things! But after he's sniffed the fresh air, listened to the singing birds and tasted the fresh green grass, he starts to feel a little lonely. And so he finds a way to wake up his friends so they can enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of spring all together.

Hooray for Hoppy by Tim Hopgood is a bold and beautiful introduction to the senses includes an activity spread to help children learn all about the way they can use their senses to interact with the world around them, whilst the stunning artwork has a retro charm that will appeal to all ages.

This story is about a little bunny called Hoppy, he is waiting for spring and he can't understand why it isn't yet. Every morning he looks out of his hole, hoping that today maybe the day, after a few days he doesn't know what is happening, until one day he thinks spring may have actually arrived and goes on a hunt to check.

This is a cute little story that covers the 5 senses through beautiful illustration and language. This takes the audience on a journey into spring and when is is sure it finally has arrived and cannot understand where every one else is, decides he needs to do something about it.

The children I read this too were a group of 6 and 7 year olds, they really enjoyed this even though they are very secure with their senses. They did enjoys discussing elements of spring and how they knew it had arrived. At the end of the story the book recaps the senses, as a teacher I enjoyed using this as reflection and comprehension for the children. We then referred back to the text to find the answers and use the pictures to aid their answers.

I think this book would be great for introducing spring and the senses to younger children, I would also be interested in discovering this author to see if they have done the other seasons through a book. I also liked this book as the language within it would be suitable for a younger reader to attempt on their own, this has been a great addition to the classroom book corner.

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

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Colour Obstacle Rush 2016 Please Donate

Some of you may know that just over 2 years ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. 

This was a massive shock as I was young, fit and what I thought relatively healthy. I spent the best part of a month in hospital while they ran various tests and reports. Finally after having a biopsy I got the diagnosis and started my journey on the road to recovery. 

It was a tough few months/year and finally I feel I have begun to get back to myself.  I went back to work to a job that I loved and I have begun to live my life again. I don't want to dwell on it and I am not making a post for sympathy, I just want to be able to give something back. 

I am not a runner and never have been, I did though want to do something to support the charity and research for treatment. When I stumbled across Colour Obstacle Rush in Brighton I thought this sounded perfect. It is a run but only 5K, which is broken up with obstacles. I have decided to give it ago, if it was easy there would be no point in raising money for the charity! 

So on the 30th April 2016 I will be 'rushing' for Lymphoma, along with a few of my friends. We hope to raise awareness of the cancer and help support them with their treatment. 

If you feel you are able to and would like to sponsor me and a few others please follow the Virgin Money Giving page below. 

If you are still reading this, thank you. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Noisy London by Marion Billet

Noisy LondonNoisy London by Marion Billet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's time to visit London - what a noisy city! Watch out for the beeping double deckle buses. Mind the gap on the tube and hear Big Ben chime the hour. Find out who's roaring at the Natural History Museum and listen to the monkeys chitter chatter as ZSL London Zoo. Finish off the day with a royal visit to Buckingham Palace: remember to look out for the naughty crown jewel thief on every page!

Noisy London has six sounds to listen to, including a genuine Big Ben chime and 'mind the gap' recording. Young children will love pressing the noises as they discover the sights in this hustling, bustling book about London.

With tons of detail and things to spot, this beautifully illustrated sound book by Marion Billet is a must-have for children visiting noisy London Town!

When I was sent this to review I was so excited to share it with my class. It arrived over half term so before I took it to school I shared it with my best friends son, who is 2. He absolutely loved this book.

This story takes you on a tour of London, to the zoo, Covent Garden, on the tube and to Buckingham Palace. The text is short and it would encourage those just starting out reading to pick this up independently. The book is inviting to young readers and I also enjoyed reading it.

The pages are made from board which is perfect for little people as they are sturdy and easy for a toddler to use. He also loved the noisy buttons and sat attentively while I read the book to him and wanted to press the buttons when I showed him the picture.

When I took it to school the children are 6 and 7, so a lot older than the toddler who enjoyed the story. The children commented on the illustration of the book and they really liked that it was bright and colourful. They also liked the fact that the story had rhyme in. Although they enjoyed the book, they did comment on the fact they thought it would be better and more enjoyed by children under five, due to the nature of the book and the sounds.

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

Friday, 11 March 2016

#paperhaul subscription box review

Today is a slightly different review, I have been very lucky to be able to get hold of #paperhaul subscription box and I have reviewed this for you. 

#Paperhaul is a monthly subscription box from craftycreatives, which is designed for lovers of all kinds of paper and snail mail. This subscription box is £10 a month (plus postage), Crafty Creatives will send you a lovely box full of awesome paper and paper products, such as cards, postcards, stickers, and craft papers. Each month they have a different theme – February box's theme was dorkface.  

I have reviewed a few subscription boxes in the past including a book themed one and beauty boxes. I was over the moon when this arrived on my doorstep, I love sending cards and letters so this seemed ideal for me. When you purchase these boxes you are also donating to charity- postpals, which is a really lovely gesture. 

So lets see what is in the box...

3x small note cards with envelopes 
1x blank note book
3x small gift tags
1x dork face tape
2x postcards 
1x large greeting card

The postcards, gift tags, note cards and greetings cards are all made from thick, high quality card, the envelopes are also wonderful quality. The double sided craft paper is also very high quality, and has a lovely texture to it. The dork face tape is lovely, I have never had a roll of it before and I am looking forward to using it. 

This is the dork face tape, it is so cute and I can't wait to get started with using this. It is going to be perfect for adding to envelopes and parcels. I am not sure how much is on the roll but I think it will last quite a while as I will only be using a little bit. 

These are the two post cards which came in the box this month, I love them so much. They are made from high quality card and on the back there is the #paperhaul info along with the theme for this month - dork face. I particularly love the quotes on the front. I can't wait to use these. 

This is the blank note book along with the three gift tags. I love the little note book, it could be used for keeping notes or I'll probably be using it to keep little sketches and drawings in. The gift tags are so sweet and are going to be perfect for adding to small gifts. 

These are the 3 little note cards, they are made again of high quality card, like the other contents in this box. They are a prefect size for sending a little 'happymail' or a thank you note. I am so pleased they come with the envelopes too. I am looking forward to using them. 

The final thing in the box this month is a larger greeting card, once again it is made from high quality card and paper. The edging is really unique as the corners are rounded. I am really going to enjoy writing in this. I think that whoever I send this to is going to love to receive it. 

Crafty Creatives also do other subscription boxes, Crafty Creatives which is a way to learn new crafts or rediscover old ones: these boxes contain everything to make a whole project, this sounds amazing and I think this would be a great box to get. The other subscription box they do is #beadhaul - this is another box that sounds amazing, in here they are themed boxes full of beads, charms and pendants, for all levels of keen jewellery makers. Again this is another box I think I would like to try and one day when I have a little bit more spare time, maybe one I will try. 

I would like to thank Crafty Creatives sent me this #Paperhaul box free of charge for review purposes. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Almost Animals by Hugh Holman

The Almost AnimalsThe Almost Animals by Hugh Holman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gloriously quirky tale about a crocogator searching for acceptance in Elsewhere. Everyone has heard of crocodiles. Everyone has also heard of alligators. But have you heard of a crocogator? How about an orangupanda or a deerkat? Or a rhinuffalo? These, and other marvellously peculiar creatures, are THE AMINALS! They are animals, they are just a bit mixed up. Angle is a crocogator. But she has a problem. She doesn't fit in with the other aminals. The thing is, a crocodile looks rather like an alligator, and an alligator looks rather like a crocodile. So she doesn't really look like an aminal at all. Angle decides that she must leave Nowhere, the cliff-side village of the aminals, and venture into Elsewhere. But does Angle belong anywhere? She must encounter aminals, animals, and even a furry boulder to find out...

When I was contacted by the author about the possibility of reviewing his book I knew my class would love it, so agreed and I am so glad I did. I read this most afternoons for around 10 minutes, so took quite a while to finish but the children loved discussing what had happened previously and make predictions.

This story is about the aminals, these are creatures made from two animals, they live in Nowhere, a place for strange animals to go and live in harmony. Angle is a Crocogator, half crocodile and half alligator. She feels though she looks normal and doesn't belong in Nowhere, she makes it her mission to go and find the animals and live with others like her.

This story is about accepting who you are and not judge everyone on first sight. I read this to a year 2 class and they all got this from the story. They also picked up on the fact that sometimes it may not make you happy to move and live somewhere new. (A case of the grass is always greener.)

This is a really fun book and one that I would recommend to others, the children also have recommend it to other children as they really enjoyed it. They said they would like to read more from this author.

I asked the children to review the book and there were some points they didn't like - They said that they didn't like the illustrations, they were too simple and a little boring. Some of the children said that they thought aspects of the book were a little scary, the baboon part in particular. (Maybe that was just the voice I used to read it in?) They also said they didn't like the way the alligators behaved towards Angle and that they should have accepted her.

So here are the parts of the book they thought were great - They loved the names of the characters, they thought they were fun and had a go at creating their own names for aminals once the book was over. They were pleased that Angle went home and realised she had the perfect home.

So overall they really enjoyed the book and as stated would love to read more about Angle and her friends. They way the story was written was really good. There was a high level of description in the book and words for the children to pick out and try and use in their own writing. They really enjoyed the book and so did I.

I would like to thank the author for sending this in exchange for an honest review. The only reason the book hasn't got 5* is due to the points raised by the children above. They also rated this book.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Cats: An Art Therapy Book by Anastasia Catris

Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Cats: An Art Therapy Book by Anastasia Catris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Misplacing your wallet, forgetting where you parked your car, or getting your friend's birthday wrong: these are just some of the many common memory slips we all experience from time to time. And such cognitive lapses don't just plague the elderly: the most common worry of people over 40 is memory loss.

A recent study by Newcastle University, featured on BBC news, showed that art therapy has greater benefits than puzzles and exercises when it comes to improving memory function. Engaging the brain in new and creative ways may be the key to a sharper 'younger' mind.

Helping to enhance your brain's cognitive function through art therapy techniques, this book contains 30 intricate line drawings of cats and big cats, with space on the opposite page for you to copy the illustration and some helpful hints to start you off. There is also the opportunity to colour in and to create some of your own illustrations as you progress. Gradually becoming more challenging, every page will help to stimulate parts of the brain that are vital for memory retention. With this book you will draw your way to a younger brain.

After receiving Anastasia's previous colouring books, when I heard she had a new series out I knew I wanted to get these for my collection.

I really enjoy colouring books, I have a stressful job and there is nothing better than sitting down with some pencils and this after a long day. I really enjoyed Anastasia's previous books as there was the right mix between detailed (when I have patience) to less detailed drawings. This is like the previous in that respect.

My favourite animal is a cat so knew I would love this book and I did. The paper in the book is good quality, I only use colouring pencils so I don't know whether you could use sharpies or felt pens on these without it bleeding through. I prefer colouring pencils as it allows me to create tone and variation in colour. This I know does come down to personal preference.

The book is the same size as the others in her collection, they are perfect for slipping in your handbag to accompany you on your commute. They also look wonderful together on my shelves. 

Here is an example of one of the pages from the book. 

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

Sunday, 6 March 2016

My Current Reads

So today I thought I would do a different post, I haven't managed to post on a Sunday for quite a while as I have had such a lot of work to do. As I had some spare time today I thought I may share with you my current reads and I would love to know if you have read any of these. 

The first book that I am reading is The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton. This is a book that I have had on the go for a couple of months now. I think I picked it up with the intention of finishing it, however life distractions happened and since there have been others I want to read. I would like to finish this, however I think I only read about 50 pages so I may have to go back to the beginning now to understand what is going on. From what I can remember it seems quite good so this is one I want to continue. If you have read this please let me know what you thought about it and if it is worth carrying on with. 

The next book I have begun and again only a few pages into is Dumplin' by Julie Murphy. Again I am only around 50 pages into this but I have heard such good things about it I can't wait to continue, I think I really want some time to get into it so I can enjoy all it is worth. I am hoping I pick this up again soon. This is a book that has seemed so popular with everyone who has read it. Let me know if you have read it and what you thought, is it as good as I have heard? 

The final book I am reading at the moment is Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell and this is her short story she has published for World Book Day. Rainbow Rowell is an author I have discovered in recent years, I really loved her book, Attachments which is for adult readers. Saying that I also enjoyed Fangirl and have a couple of her others on my shelf to get to. I am only a couple of pages into this so far but it has got me interested. The only thing I am worried about is the fact it seems to have a Star Wars theme within it and I am not really that interested in Star Wars. Nonetheless I will be continuing with this one and I would like to finish it today if possible. 

Let me know if you have read this and what you thought about it. I would also love to hear what you are all reading this weekend. So please comment below. 

Thanks and happy reading guys. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

13 Minutes13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don't remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this - it wasn't an accident and I wasn't suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I'm sure of it. But that doesn't mean they didn't try to kill me. Does it?

When I first heard about 13 minutes I was intrigued. It sounded like something right up my street, unfortunately I couldn't start it straight away but as I have just been off on half term I thought it would be the ideal time to start. To be honest I read it in a couple of days and I probably would have still have got through it quick even if I had been at work because I can only describe it as epic. This is the first thriller I have read this year that has blown me away, I honestly didn't want to put it down. So lets get back to the book...

Natasha, 16 is pulled from the icy river one morning by a man and his dog, the girl is thought to be dead, her heart stops...for 13 minutes. When she comes round and is asked how this happened, she can't remember. This is a brilliant YA novel that everyone is going to be talking about this year. I have never read anything by Sarah Pinborough before but on the strength of this I would be keen to read her previous novels.

Natasha is a cool kid, always has been and is the type of girl everyone wants to be friends with and actually be. She has had her friends that she has dropped, she decides to revive an old friendship with Becca, Becca never really 'fit' in her group but is flattered she wants to renew her friendship and of course drops her current friend Hannah for her.

Although this book is targeted at the young adult market, I think this is a psychological thriller that everyone would enjoy, Pinborough manages to get into the heads of teenagers and to be honest it makes me thankful that I am no longer a teenager if this is how they behave!

As an adult I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is full of twists and turns, most of which I never saw coming, as soon as I thought I knew what was happening something, I was thrown another curve ball. I would happily recommend this book to everyone, regardless of age. All I would say is make sure you clear your diary for 2 days as you are not going to be able to or want to put this down. It had me racing to the end. The only slight negative I have was the ending itself, I thought it was a bit flat after everything that had happened. I am not sure if it was intentional or the writer ran out of steam, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as it could have been. Then again that is only my opinion and the reason I would give this book 4.5* and not 5*.

So there you have it, it is only my opinion but I suggest if you are looking for a twisty thriller look no further, pop this in your basket next time you are out shopping, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

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

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

From the opening chapter you know Grace and Jack are not a normal couple. Deeply manipulative and controlling, Jack seems too perfect and generally if something seems to good to be true it usually is.

Good suspense, especially told in alternate 'past' and 'present' chapters which while building up tension also gave an opportunity for scene setting and characterisation for the reader.

I'm not sure what I felt for Grace, she seemed to be a mix of personalities and conflicts, great strength and sensibilities but also a child like vulnerability which added to the mystique of this novel. Flawed as much as Jack her husband this seemed to bind them together and enabled me to believe in her story, her desire to have a 'normal' loving family and her gullibility that prevented her from being suspicious of Jack from the start.

Jacks power over Grace depended on her absolute love of Milly her Down's sister which Jack exploits at every given opportunity forcing Grace to retreat into a world of his domination which almost breaks her. His ability to preempt her every move to be one step ahead of her destroys her confidence and eventually her spirit until she is driven almost mad with his mind games.

I loved Milly the Down's sister and it was a pity we didn't hear more about her since she proves to be more knowing than the wicked Jack realises and through her strength Grace finally manages to deal with Jack. Since it was essentially Graces' story it was however pitched correctly.

Lots of times when we almost thought she had got away from him in the book or that she has found an ally and then the knowledge that he'd predicted her every move shows good suspense throughout and keeps the reader guessing right up to the end.

Both Jack and Grace were not really 'fleshed' out enough but that did not interfere with the mood or the pace of the story however the reason given for Jack's split personality of being perfect one minute and a cruel sadist the next didn't really seem to sit right for me.

I did read this book in one sitting, it was gripping in places and moved along quickly although the conclusion was predictable it wasn't certain that she was safe until the end. A good enjoyable read and worthy 4 stars - recommended.

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

Tuesday, 1 March 2016




February 24, 2016 – Audible Studios, a production arm of, today announced the release of Golden Globe nominee and Tony Award-Winning actress Scarlett Johansson’s audio interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This vivacious performance of the famously fanciful tale by the star of Lost in Translation, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Girl with a Pearl Earring is now available for download at

Scarlett Johansson was joined in the recording studio by her sister, actress and accomplished audiobook narrator Vanessa Johansson, who served as director of this production. Vanessa has narrated dozens of audiobooks in her own right, and brought her own experience and unique perspective on the art form to the recording process.
 "It was a great pleasure to work alongside my sister, Vanessa, to read aloud the great works of Lewis Carroll,” said Scarlett, who won a Tony Award in 2010 for her performance in A View from the Bridge on Broadway. “Having grown up loving the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and reading many books aloud with Vanessa, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share my love for Alice with an audience. I hope that this recording is enjoyed by not only those who are existing fans of the material, but also by new and curious readers, who may just be discovering Carroll’s work for the first time.”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is such a deliciously whimsical and curious story,” added Vanessa, whose audiobook credits span a variety of categories including children’s books, history, fantasy, biography, fiction, self-development and more. “We had such a blast dialoguing during the recording process, thinking about the characters, and creating an audio world for this book. I hope the joy that we experienced together comes across to listeners.”

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a delightfully peculiar story that really comes alive when performed,” said Audible EVP and Publisher Beth Anderson. “We knew that Scarlett’s distinctive voice and exuberant characterization combined with the vision for the performance she shared with her sister Vanessa would create a recording of surpassing artistry, as befits this magical story. This is a delectable treat for listeners of all ages.”

In addition to Johansson, among the acclaimed performers who have narrated works of literature for Audible are Rosamund Pike, Dan Stevens, James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet and Tim Robbins. In 2013, Audible Studios won its first Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and also won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.

Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content, invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. In 2015, listeners around the world downloaded 1.6 billion hours of audio from Audible; Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books over the course of the year. Two thirds of new Audible members are first-time audiobook buyers.

Watch the trailer here:

Listen here for a sample - Clip 1. 

Clip 2 - 

Visit Audible to download this fantastic version.