The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara #PublicationDay #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara. Natalia is the author and Lauren is the illustrator for The Bandit Queen. My thanks to Puffin Books for inviting me to read a copy of this book via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own.

It is published by Puffin Books in Hardback today, its available from Amazon UK.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by Natalia and Lauren you can read my review HERE and buy a copy HERE

Synopsis:

“O Bandit Queen!” the bandits cried. 
“Little horror! Poison weed!
We’ll give you everything a queen could ever need…”

The bandits give their queen treasure, tigers, mischief and mayhem. But sometimes a little girl needs something more…

A book about finding family in unexpected places, from the creators of Hortense and the Shadow.

My Thoughts:

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The Bandits are a mad bunch getting up to all sorts of things such as pinching forks, shouting and crashing about until three in the morning. On one trip the Bandits steal things from an Orphan School, in one box is a baby. They care for her, spoil her, give her their version of an education and make her their Bandit Queen. She grows tired of their childish behaviour and goes to get a proper education, she then realises she misses her bunch of Bandits and they also miss her.

This is a fun read with rhyming sentences that would be great to be read out loud. At the beginning of the story there are a few onomatopoeia words, ideal for engaging a child when being read to, or for that child to sound out.

The story is engaging and while the Bandits are quite naughty they are also fun. At the end of the book there is almost a cliffhanger of sorts, it could be the end or there is the clue that there could be more to come. I like this as it is a way to encourage a child to think about what could happen next, giving them a chance to develop their own imaginative story.

The pictures in this book are fabulous, they are detailed and are relevant to each part of the story and are bright and vivid in their colour, while still holding a slightly whimsical style.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by the O’Hara sisters and while that is a different style of book it does have some similarities, rhyming verse, good illustrations and a storyline that would appeal to young readers.

This is a book that I as and adult enjoyed and think would definitely appeal to readers from around 5 and up, perfect to be read aloud and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Natalia O’Hara (Author) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

Lauren O’Hara (Illustrator) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross @HodderBooks #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross. This is a book aimed at a YA or Teen reader and is a retelling of the Beauty and The Beast Story. My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for my eBook that I recieved via NetGalley. This book is avaliable in paperback, hardback and eBook format and available from AMAZON UK

I just love the cover of this book…..

Synopsis:

A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.

My Thoughts:

Beauty and the Beast is a story many are aware of from film, musical and animation. Leife Shallcross has retold the story from the perspective of the Beast himself.

There are various things that remain a constant from the various versions of this classic children’s story. A man cursed to live his day as a beast until he finds someone who loves him for what is on the inside rather than what we see on the out. There are also the gardens, the magic and for all bibliophiles THE LIBRARY……….

While this is a very good read and sticks to my memories of the story I read as a child, I did find there where parts that did feel a little bit repetitive. Now as an adult it may be that I am being overly picky with a book aimed at younger readers, so I am now wondering if this is actually a way of showing a younger reader the time that the two characters spend together in each others company, building up a friendship and also the trust.

I did like this story and from the point of view of the Beast, it gave this character a chance to say his piece and express his feeling and thoughts as well as expressing the hope that Isabeau (Beauty) is the one to break the curse.

As well as the Beast and Isabeau’s story there is also the story of the family that Isabeau left behind while she stays with the Beast. I did really enjoy this section of the story as it went into how the family left behind had to deal with this change to the family, and adjustments to be made.

This is a book that I do think younger readers and also early Teens would enjoy. It is the perfect story for readers who like the traditional “once upon a time…happily ever after” fairy tale.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : #HemlockJones & The Angel of Death by Justin Carroll @WriterJustinC @annecater #BookReview

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I am absolutely over the moon to have had the opportunity to read “hemlock Jones & The Angel Of Death” by Justin Carroll.  My thanks to Justin and Anne at Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and also a spot on the tour. Get your own copy from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Ten doors down from the home of a world famous ‘consulting detective’ lives twelve-year-old Hemlock Jones, and her recently arrived housemate and unwitting companion, Edward Whitlow. Hired to ‘demystify’ the mystery of a man’s murder by a terrifying angelic spectre, Hemlock and Edward’s investigations will lead them all over Victorian London, uncovering bizarre and deadly foes, figures from Hemlock’s hidden past, and a plot to take over the city… Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death is the first of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, a series of detective adventures for children and adults, set in Victorian London.

My Thoughts:

Hemlock Jones lives at 211B Baker Street with landlady Mrs. Figgins.  Hemlock is a “demystifier“, she takes the mystery out of a problem and works to solve it.  Edward Whitlow discovers Hemlock’s demystifying talents when he comes to lodge at the same house. When Hemlock takes on a case Edward becomes her unwitting side kick.

This is an absolutely brilliant read.  References are made to the other more well-known “Consulting Detective” and the Doctor just down the road, (I dare not mention their names as it would result in a rather serious scowl or a telling off from Hemlock). In a similar style to the previously mentioned but with twists and turns, Hemlock and Whitlow (12 years old), are determined in their own crime busting escapades.  The fearless Hemlock is undeterred in her quest, with the somewhat quite sweet and willing  Whitlow, they manage to get involved in a rather intriguing investigation.  It is exciting and fast paced,  with steam punk elements in a Victorian London setting, what is there not to love.  It has all the essential ingredients, good goodies, good baddies, deductions, suspense and it is all wrapped around a wonderful story line with characters that are engaging and fun. It had me hooked right from the out set and kept me hooked till the end.

Now I know this is aimed at children from around 8 years and up, and they will love it, but you know what, never mind the children, this grown up loved it loads 🙂  This is a book I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND to younger readers and for big kids (adults) too.  A fun-filled Victorian action adventure packed, steam punk, sleuthing, deductive, murder and mystery.  I really am looking forward to reading more in what I think will be a really exciting series and I am really impatient now for the next instalment.

About the Author:

Justin Carroll

  Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin Carroll wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, in between writing and moonlighting in marketing for a multinational financial services company, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things. Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards.  Follow Justin on his Website or on Twitter.

See the thoughts of other book bloggers on the tour

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Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share or two.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this wonderful book, I am positive that you will not be disappointed 🙂 xx

#BlogTour #Trolls Here Come The Trolls & Day Of The Trolls by @RonButlinMakar Illustrator @SKARPHEDON @BCKidsBooks @BirlinnBooks @scottishbktrust @LoveBooksGroup

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Here Come the Trolls” and also “Day of The Trolls” by Ron Butlin and illustrated by James Hutcheson.  Available for purchase in paperback.  My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group for a spot on this tour.


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Synopsis:

Through gaps in the roof we didn’t repair

through cracks in the walls we pretended weren’t there…

…the trolls have come creeping

while we were all sleeping.

Trolls on your chair, trolls in your bed –

is anything worse than a troll on your head?

What happens when your house is invaded by trolls – mischievous creatures who do nothing but cause havoc and mayhem? Find out in this zany and charming book which tells you how to get rid of them for good and make your house a troll-free zone!

My Thoughts:

This is a fun book aimed for children around 3-7 years old.  Ron has created some very roguish characters that take over a house.  Then explains how to get them out.  This is a book to be read aloud, emphasising the whirls, the fizzes, the whizzes to engage a younger listener.  This is a fun story showing the humorous antics of the “snot dribbling, fart ripping and boot clumping” Trolls.

The illustrations are funny and fit wonderfully with the story being told.  Each one seems to be a little different and you can work out who is who when mentioned in the story.

A great little 32 page book, colourful, funny and perfect for being read aloud.  Perfect for young and old readers 🙂 I loved the Trolls with their antics, chaos and mayhem.  I am now off to Troll Proof my house!


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Synopsis:

It’s the Day of the Trolls: Fart-Fart and all the trolls are back! Join them in the shopping mall where they go wild, causing havoc as they overrun the place. But when they follow sign saying All Trolls – This Way, things turn out very differently to what Flycatcher, Bumscratcher, SnotFace, Squeer and the rest of them expected …

My Thoughts:

Day of the Trolls.  What happens when the Trolls have a day out?  Well chaos and mayhem ensue of course.

In this story we get to meet some of the other characters, as well as discovering what they eat and also how rude they actually are.  Again a read aloud book for best results. This one takes the rudeness a little bit further with the roguish antics of the Trolls, and I think children will love listening to what happens when the Trolls are out on the loose.  I am not sure how I feel about Trolls burping in your face, but the fart power I know will get a lot sniggering and giggling from an audience who are both young and old.

Again a book aimed at younger readers from 3 up to grandparents:)


About the Author:

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With a reputation as an international prize-winning novelist, Ron Butlin has also been Edinburgh’s Poet-Laureate.
Before becoming a writer he was a lyricist with a pop band, a footman attending embassy receptions and weekend house parties, a barnacle-scraper on the Thames and a male model.
He has published almost twenty books including novels, short stories, and poetry as well a novel and an illustrated book of verse for children.
His work has been widely translated and twice been awarded a Best Foreign Novel prize. His most recent novel, Ghost Moon, was nominated for the highly prestigious international IMPAC Award 2016. Ron has 3 new books coming out in 2017. See his Goodreads blog for details.
You can follow Ron on Twitter ~ Website 
About the Illustrator:

James Hutcheson is Creative Director at Birlinn. He has been designing books, book jackets and album covers for many years. Based in Edinburgh UK, working as an illustrator, typographer, cartoonist and graphic designer James’ portfolio includes album covers for artists as diverse as Steve Winwood, The Incredible String Band and the mighty Phil Cunningham.

You can follow James on Twitter @SKARPHEDON.

 

⇓ See thoughts of other book bloggers on the tour 

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Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Better still go an buy a copy of these books xx

#BookReview The Niggle by Peta Rainford ( @PetaRainford ) : #ChristmasBooksForChildren

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I am so pleased to share this book with you today.  I was fortunate to win this as part of a giveaway on the lovely Linda’s Book Bag blog.  I would like to say a huge “THANK YOU” to both Linda and Peta for this wonderful book.  I thought it would be a perfect addition to my #ChristmasBooksForChildren tag.

Synopsis:

The Niggle tells the story of Joe Jackson, a little boy who has never felt fear. Until the day a miniature monster swims in his ear! The monster is the Niggle, a tiny terror, who whispers worries in Joe’s head and makes him afraid. Will Joe Jackson let the Niggle win? Or will he learn to overcome his fears? The Niggle, through humour and rhyme, tells young children that it’s OK to feel fear. In fact, you can’t be brave if you don’t. A colourful, rhyming picture book for 5-8 year olds.

My thoughts:

Meet Joe, he has never had to experience fear, has never had to think about it.  That is until he has an accident and the Niggle creeps in his ear.  The Niggle does just as its name suggests, it niggles away at Joe’s confidence and stops him doing the things he has enjoyed.  Niggle brings fear and makes Joe afraid.

I loved this story, it is one of those stories that just has to be read out loud, it is a rhyming tale that I think children will love.  It does have a message about how fear can stop you doing things, but also there is a positive aspect to it as well.  It also has a nice touch humour in it as well  There is a good balance and  the nasty Niggle does not have it all his own way, so it ends on a good note.  This book is written and illustrated by Peta and she has matched words and pictures very nicely, they complement each other.

I would definitely recommend this book for children in the 5-8 year age range.  A good book to sit and read with them.

About the Author:

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Peta Rainford is the Isle of Wight-based writer and illustrator of the children’s picture books, ‘Hairy Fairy’, ‘Jamie and the Joke Factory’, ‘Isabella, Rotten Speller’, ‘Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland’ and ‘The Niggle’. Peta produces colourful, funny (often rhyming) picture books, which aim to challenge, entertain and tease young readers. Her stories, often set in fantastical, imagined lands, feature witches, fairies, elves and all manner of animals – some of them made out of letters! Her writing heroes include (in no particular order) Roald Dahl, Lauren Child, Oliver Jeffers, Lewis Carroll and Julia Donaldson. She is a big fan of rhyme, jokes, puns and general silliness. Peta loves to go out and about and meet her readers, particularly through library and school visits. She thinks children are the best source of ideas for children’s books! Peta grew up on the Isle of Wight so long ago she can remember dancing to the Bay City Rollers and buying crisps from the school tuck shop for 2½p. As a child she loved words, she loved painting and drawing too, but she had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She studied English at York University and then worked in London as a business journalist and editor for 14 years. During this time she also studied fine art at Central St Martin’s, but she still had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. It was only when she moved back to the Isle of Wight (now balancing the roles of freelance writer and mum), that Peta decided to write and illustrate her first book for children. It was a revelation to her: a way of combining picture making with her love of words – not to mention an outlet for her awful jokes. It may have taken more than four decades, but finally, Peta knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

Follow Peta on Twitter or visit her wonderful Website DogPigeon.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Age Range: 5 – 8 years
  • Publisher: Dogpigeon Books (13 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995646511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995646513
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy this book 🙂

 

#BookReview : Ronaldo. The Flying Reindeer Academy by Maxine Sylvester @flyingronaldo #ChristmasBooksForChildren

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I am so delighted to be sharing this book with you today.  This is just an adorable picture, how could you not want to go and grab a copy of,  Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, illustrated and written by Maxine Sylvester.  Available in Colour in eBook format.  Also please go and visit Maxine’s Website, it is full of loads of things for children to do, colouring sheets, recipes, games and jokes.

Synopsis:

“MOVE OVER RUDOLPH – RONALDO IS HERE TO STAY!” 

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license and becoming one of Santa’s reindeer, just like his hero, Vixen.

In the first adventure in the Ronaldo series, the second year flying cadets face their toughest ever flying test – The Endurance Challenge. Will Ronaldo be victorious and lift the silver cup? Or will mean brothers Dasher, Comet and Prancer ruin his chance for success?

“This should be a new Christmas classic!” 

“I look forward to reading this book to my kids every year at Christmas. The story is incredibly entertaining and laugh out loud funny, even for parents!” 

“This book has become a part of my family’s holiday traditions!”

My Thoughts:

I had seen a review of this book on a cphilipou123.com (you can see her thoughts here →Christina Phillipou’s Review ), well it was the cover that got my attention, it is just a little bit adorable.

This is a tale of Ronaldo, his dream is to be picked for the “North Pole Reindeer Team”, they are the elite who are handpicked by Santa himself. Part of the training at Flying School is an endurance race, and it actually advice from his granddad that helps Ronaldo.

Not only is the cover adorable, but the pictures inside are of the same standard, they are colourful and very appropriate.  The story itself is one that has a message, I didn’t feel that is was overused and I liked that.

The message is about believing in yourself, imagining yourself doing something and it makes it easier to do whatever is required, being positive.

It is witty and humorous and has a really nice pace to it.

I would definitely recommend this book to young readers.  I felt it was appropriate for the age range of 6-10 years, a great book to read with a child or for them to read themselves.

About the Author:

C16i9NObJbS._SY200_  Maxine Sylvester was born in London, England. She grew up with a passion for Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. She also loved anything Disney and enjoyed drawing the characters.
Maxine’s love of ‘fun’ art grew and she had the privilege of being mentored by cartoonist and caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. She completed further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist and illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.
She has just updated all the illustrations for The Reindeer Flying Academy – they are now all in glorious colour, just in time for Christmas.

Follow Maxine and Ronaldo on : Website Twitter

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3755.0 KB
  • Print Length: 109 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0777JFZQR
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go a buy yourself a copy of this book :0)

November Book Round up. Blog tours, blitz’s & reviews on Me and My Books.

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This month has been a very busy reading month for me.  With a whole range of different genres, authors and publishers. With 25 books read and a guest post as I was unable to read a further book in time, I can say it has been my most busiest month as far as reading goes ever.

So to start with the Blog Tours, I was involved in.

Absolution by P.A.Davies | Scream Blue Murder by Tony. J, Forder | Dark Chapter by Winnie. M Li  |  The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett  | Illusion by Stephanie Elmas  |  Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green  |

There were a number of different Blog Blitz tours as well. 

Wormwood by Larry Enmon  | The Dead Whisper by Emma Clapperton  | Secrets & Fries at The Starlight Dinner by Helen Cox |  Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by Helen. J. Rolfe  | The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali

Books sent to me for my thoughts on them, or that I offered to read.

Dinner At The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers  | The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw   | Living in Italy, The Real Deal by Stef Smulders  | Hit The Road, Jac! by Jacqui Furneaux    |  Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser

NetGalley gave me a chance to start to read books aimed at children, as well as for my usual genres.

Mr Campions Abdication by Mike Ripley  | The Price of Silence by Delores Gordon-Smith  | Three Days a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  | Hortense and the Shadow by O’Hara Sisters  | The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

Finally a few books from my TBR Pile.

Bone by Yrsa Daley Ward   |The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd | Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill
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Finally I received the most amazing Guest Post from Peter Bartram.  Author of “Crampton of The Chronicle” mystery series.  I have rad some of his books in the past, but I just could not squeeze another book into my reading schedule. His post about Ruth Ellis, who was the last woman to be hung in England, has a link into his new book. GuestPost by Peter Bartram.

 

 

 

 

A big ” Thank You” to everyone who has shared, tweeted and commented over the month.  As well as a huge “Thank You” to the authors, tour organiser and publishers.

If you liked this post, or any of the other links to my posts, please give them a like or a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book 🙂

#BookReview : Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe : pub @matadorbooks : @NetGalley : #ChristmasBooksforChildren

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“Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe” by S.L.Browne is available now in eBook and in paperback.  Published by Matador / Troubador Publishing

This is a children’s book recommended for ages 7-9 years.  A science fiction and fantasy read.  This is a book I read for as part of my idea for the books children would like for Christmas.

Synopsis:

In S. L. Browne’s debut children’s book, a small boy called Magnus is whisked away from a dying overheated Earth by his mentor Marlo, only to discover that he belongs to a tribe of aliens known as the Guardians of the Universe living in a different dimension. Marlo, a very ancient and disgruntled wizard, has failed to stop the evil Murdamond from destroying Earth through his unquenchable desire for shiny and beautiful things.

When Magnus arrives on his home planet, he finds that humans have not yet evolved and that dinosaurs still exist. Marlo tells Magnus that he fears that Murdamond will try to move to this new, healthy planet to steal all of its treasures now that he has ruined the old Earth. Upon their arrival in the Deruweld village, they discover that Murdamond has already arrived and he is holding Magnus’ parents hostage in the dungeon of his brand new castle.

Magnus realises he has been tasked with a dangerous and urgent problem to solve. He has to save his home planet, rescue his parents and save the Universe from the ghastly Murdamond and his henchmen. He must use all his wisdom and powers, along with his dinosaur friends and the strange Jewelled Book of the Universe that decides life would be more interesting if it transformed into a girl, in order to defeat Murdamond before it is too late.

Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe is the first book in a fantasy trilogy that takes inspiration from Roald Dahl and Dick King Smith. The book contains dinosaurs, space travel and time travel in a humorous and magical story that will appeal to young readers aged 7-9 years. S. L. Browne’s debut book also contains an important message about climate change.

My Thoughts:

This is an interesting book with some diverse themes running through it.  Magnus is shown how he can travel to alternate universes, though tornado’s with ancient monolith as a portal and the magic book being the key.  On arrival at this other world, he is told to expect a simpler lifestyle where greed and money do not exist, but dinosaurs do!  While here he discovers more about himself and his other abilities.

This is a mish-mash of things, a mix of The Wizard of Oz and a twist of Roald Dahl.  The book looks at the way humans treat the earth, exploring the effects of money, power and greed.  But even in this other world setting there are traces of these and they are getting stronger.  It does sound as if it would be quite heavy reading when the topics include climate change, extinction of animals and power struggles, but it has been done in a basic way, not to simple though. I felt it was a good book to introduce these themes and wrap them around a suitable story.

As I read this, I kept thinking back to the books I read as a child.  Would I like this one ? Yes, actually I think I would have enjoyed it.  My one criticism is that this story did finish a little too abruptly, I didn’t feel that it was finished properly. I am aware of it being part of a series and in my copy, there was a preview of the next book, but it was just a little sudden.

I think this book would appeal to readers of the indicated 7-9 year age range.  An interesting story with a very important message, but done in a very accessible and not over the top sort of way.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and Matador for my copy of this eARC.  I requested it and my views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

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#BookReview :Hortense and the Shadow by @oharasisters : @PuffinBooks @PenguinUKBooks

 

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“Hortense and the Shadow” by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara is available now in hardback or eBook.

As Christmas is fast approaching I decided that it was time to have a look at some children’s books, though at first a little unsure of where to start.  Then I had an email via NetGalley for this book, you may call it fate.  I call it magic!

Synopsis:

“Through the dark and wolfish woods, through the white and silent snow, lived a small girl called Hortense. Though kind and brave, she was sad as an owl because of one thing . . . Hortense hated her shadow.” A beautifully illustrated dark fairy tale that will remind you of the fables you read as a child. A treasure not to be missed.

Hortense hated her shadow. Everywhere she went, it went. Everything she did, it did. And every time night fell it grew, tall and dark and crooked.

So Hortense decided: the shadow must go! Only later, alone in the wolfish woods, she learned that a girl without a shadow is far smaller… a fairy tale about light and shadows. 

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful book with a beautiful story.  It has an old story feel to it, when you read the bio of the authors it is obvious that old stories have been a big part of their lives. I was drawn to the artwork originally, the whimsical, delicate pastel illustrations are superb.  They manage to capture the atmosphere of the setting and the story.  The story itself is based on Hortense and her dislike of her shadow, it follows her everywhere, at night turning into a dark, creepy shadow that was scary. She manages to cut the shadow off, but can feel it’s presence, but one night it comes to her rescue.  Hortense realises her shadow is something that is an extension of herself, can make her appear taller, longer and reach further.

This is a book I would love to have read as a child, and would love to have read to my now grown up children.  It is a story with a message, is beautifully written and I loved the illustrations.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for allowing me a copy of this eARC.  My opinions are my own and are unbiased.

About the Authors:

Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairy tales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

Visit their Website or on Twitter

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Age Range: 5 – 7 years
  • Publisher: Puffin (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141374020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141374024
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked this, give it a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book.

The Shield: The Finders Series: Book One by @CJBentleyAuthor #Blogtour #QandA #Review

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I am pleased to be taking part in the Blog Tour for The Shield by author C.J.Bentley The Shield. The release date 18th July 2017 and published by Clink Street Publishing.  The first in a series of books, I am already waiting for more.

A massive thank you to Rachel Gilbey for giving me a spot on this tour, I have enjoyed the journey immensely. I would also like to thank C.J. Bentley for taking the time to answer a few questions, they can be seen below.

MY THOUGHTS:

This book begins in Durham in 1340, with a knight laying injured whilst on a mission of delivering an important letter to King Edward III.  It then switches to 1962, a young girl Peggy and a group of friends find a shield while out exploring in their school summer holidays.

Peggy’s world is going to change, she will have the biggest adventure she could ever have imagined.  The adventure of your wildest dreams is actually going to be a reality. She has a destiny to uphold, a kingdom and a King to help save, a Lady to rescue and all will take place in 1340 England.

Plots, plans and schemes are plentiful in this book, will Peggy be able to complete her destined quest and reunite the shield with its rightful owner ?

As an adult reading this book, I was taken back to my childhood days, summer holidays described in this book are how I used to spend my time, though I never found a shield. Because I was taken back by the story, it made me think about all the books I used to read as a child. If I had been given this one to read I would have been beside myself with excitement.  It really would have appealed to me.

I loved everything about this book, the story was well thought out and executed.  There was no confusion over characters or settings. I think it would be a brilliant book for children to read, as it kept me engrossed as an adult.

Also at the end of the book was a very thoughtful and educational section on the history of York and the Royals at the time.  I think this is a wonderful idea for inclusion, again this section is basic and not overly complicated.

I would recommend this book to readers of Children’s’ fantasy.

BOOK SYNOPSIS:   The Shield

People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again.
A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who’s searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960s, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost – anywhere and at any time – to its original owner?
With the help of a beautiful yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend.
The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward III, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.

About the author:

CJBentley_AuthorPhoto2.jpg  Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has travelled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up  that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.

Website – https://www.cjbentleyonline.co.uk/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CJBentleyAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CJBentleyAuthor

Q and A with the author:

  1. Is this how you spent your summer holidays as a child, fishing that is, rather than time travel ? If so, how much of your childhood is in Peggy ?

I think all writers must include some of their experiences within their writing, you have to write about things you know as well as what you can imagine.  As children growing up in the sixties we used to fish for newts and small fish called sticklebacks, jam jars with string handles and nets bought from earlier trips to the seaside in hand.  We were very lucky in that time as children, lots of freedom to roam and play outside during the long summer holidays from school.  A lot of my own experiences are experienced by Peggy, (would that I could have experienced time travel like her). 

  1. What or who sparked you interest in history ?

I have always been interested in history.  I enjoyed reading books about periods of history, “Children of the New Forest” by Captain Marriott being one book I remember enjoying, taking me back in time to the Civil War in England.  Teachers have a huge influence on their pupils, I was lucky to have been taught by some amazing teachers who encouraged my love of reading and my curiosity about history. 

On a visit to Durham Cathedral as a young child I remember pressing my head against the metal bars of a gate leading down stairs to a vault.  A priest who happened to be passing saw me and following a chat he opened the gate and gave quite a few people who had gathered around an impromptu tour of the crypt below and the old roman road leading to the river.  It was a magical experience never forgotten.   

Later, whilst fishing in a local stream myself and a friend found a shield in the silt.  Due to its weight and difficulty in moving it from the silt and there being only two of us we chose to put it back, Peggy chose to pull it free and what happens after is told in “The Shield”.

  1. Who in history would you like to have been able to meet, and why ?

This question is a difficult one to answer as I have so many questions for so many people, a bit like that question, if you could choose six people who would you choose to have to dinner with?   

The obvious person would be Jesus Christ, I have so many questions to ask. 

King Charles the first, again so many questions for this much maligned man. 

Charles Dickens, his legacy being such an insight into the social problems of his time with his books. 

Martin Luther King, his words were the inspiration for a generation, I could go on …. 

I am currently being fascinated by my research on Ibn Batutta for book four in the series, “The Ring”.  He is a little known but fascinating intellect, explorer and traveller, originally from Morocco, who lived during the fourteenth century.  He travelled extensively throughout the Middle East to Africa, Sri Lanka, China, India, The Maldives, in fact probably further than the better known traveller Marco Polo. 

  1. What was your favourite book as a child ?

Again this is such a difficult question to answer because as a child I read extensively and was lucky to have a set of the classics bought as a Christmas present by my parents.  Kidnapped, Children of the New Forest, The Coral Island were all firm favourites but I think the one book, if I have to chose just one, would be “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Graham.  As a year five pupil one of my inspirational teachers, Miss Allen, read from this book on a Friday afternoon.  She was a wonderfully dramatic reader, each character  given a different voice.  She took us to the river bank with Ratty, the middle of the road when Toad fell in love with cars, to Toad Hall and the attempted take over by the weasels, badger who was so very wise.  We all sat enthralled for the last half hour, if we had been especially good during the week and finished our work for her she would extend the reading by another half an hour, what an incentive was that.

  1. I see from your blog you have grandchildren, did you write this book with them in mind as the primary readers, or was writing a book something you always wanted to do?

Yes we have three grandchildren, two girls, now aged fifteen and thirteen and a boy aged eleven.  I have always written short stories, I remember writing one for the eldest when she was two and refusing to wear a beautiful white silk dress which had to be pulled over her head for her Aunts wedding.  I wrote a story for our son to read to her about her being able to wear her favourite blue dinosaur wellies under the dress as a secret thinking this might work.  He read it, it didn’t, she screamed as they held her arms down and forced said dress over her head.  The screams changed to smiles once she caught sight of her mirrored reflection and she became the most photographed person at the wedding, a pretty little one with huge eyes and long curly hair, whirling around in her beautiful dress.

I have always taken notes, a small notebook kept in my handbag and when thoughts occurred hastily added in the book with my observations of human nature.  I spend a lot of time waiting around in airports and they are an excellent source for people watching. 

Our grandchildren visit us in France each summer and having read our way through the saved children’s books we have down here with them I tried to find a story online to read to our grandson, he was nine at the time.  I couldn’t find a story for a nine year old boy that didn’t feature Zombies, vampires or farts, in my mind not good bedtime reading for a nine year old boy.  This was the moment when I decided to write my gathered ideas into story form and having moved to Qatar with my husband’s job, where I decided not to work, I finally had the time to do so.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.