#BookReview by Lou – Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival @TomPercivalsays @KidsBloomsbury #ChildrensBook #KS1 #Parents #Families #Preschool #Positivity

Tilda Tries Again
By Tom Percival

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Entertaining, fabulously illustrated well-told positive story that is great for pre-school, reception and primary 1 classes and for parents/carers etc to read and have fun with their children; as well as it having a deeper message that promotes positive wellbeing. This is a book worth getting excited about. Find out more in the blurb and my review.
Thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for gifting me this book.

Tilda Tries Again

Blurb

Be open, be honest, be you! Big Bright Feelings for little people.

Tilda’s world is just as she likes it . . . until one day, it turns completely UPSIDE DOWN. All of a sudden, everything is topsy-turvy, and nothing feels right. Things that were once easy now seem incredibly challenging.

Can Tilda discover a new way to approach her problems and believe in herself?

Bold, bright and empowering, this is an inspiring story about coping with difficult situations. It’s the ideal book for helping children to build resilience and embrace a ‘can do’ approach to life.

Tom Percival’s Big Bright Feelings series is the perfect springboard for conversations about mental and emotional health, positive self-image, building self-confidence and managing feelings.

Review

Tilda Tries AgainIt’s bright, bold and greatly positive for young children. Not every day is going to be just as your children would want it to go, it isn’t possible and Tilda shows not only that, but that they can overcome that bad day and things can become brighter again. Tilda has her friends and toys and all is well with her world, but suddenly nothing feels right and for her, her whole world is turned upside down (literally, in the depiction). The pictures are all terrifically illustrated. They illustrate the narrative perfectly as children can follow both and it is a real attention grabber. The use in dramatic pictures and draining the colour out of the time when she is having a bad day, and bringing it back into full colour, when things get better only further, visually helps with the understanding of how she is feeling, when she is sad and happy. It captures children and their moods and interests very well.

 It is positive, entertaining and such a well-written story that children will relate to. What is so good is that Tilda brushes herself down and decides to try again. It also refrains from it being a sob story or self-centred story. It does in a fun way, promote reslience and that there will be a better day. It could also have a positive impact on children in a way that may just make them feel good inside and out and ready to try again, as Tilda does.

It’s well written for young children, with short sharp sentences, perfect for preschool and reception or primary 1 classes as fun and discussions can come out of this book. Parents/carers etc can also have so much fun reading this to their children and whatsmore is that it is properly positive and can also be used as a bedtime story, or just curling up having a quiet time together.

#Bookreview by Lou of Thick and Thin by Upasa Borah @CherryPublishi2 #UpasaBorah #YoungAdult #YA

Thick and Thin
By Upasa Borah

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Older young adults/teens and 20 somethings will discover characters in Raumah who have issues to overcome and there is also some lust and a lot of fists flying and other elements of action with family ties, romance and discovery. Find out more in the blurb and review.
Thanks to Cherry Publishing for gifting me the book to review

Thick and Thin

Blurb

In Raumah, a city where wealth and familial ties rule all, the four Kings of Raumah walk a path seemingly paved in gold.
Duante, the protector. Strong, amiable and desperate to keep his loved ones out of harm’s way.
Drayden, the golden boy. Smart and resourceful, heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire.
Shohei, the celebrity. Delicate but determined, this fabulous fashion icon is the darling of Raumah.
Aqil, the prodigy. Truly gifted and academically dominant, but is it earned or is it his family ties that are the key to his successes?

Everything on the surface seems picture perfect, but dark secrets lie hidden behind the
frame. When Duante’s past comes calling, the Kings’ world is thrown into chaos.
Faced with the ghosts of his bloody past, Duante’s hard-earned freedom is put in jeopardy, just as Shohei’s love is put to the test. Drayden’s ruthless determination is usually his strength, but this time, will it blind him to what’s right? Can Aqil, the trailblazing son of the Faiz family, face his fears, before the fire burns him alive?
Facing their fears is no easy task, will they bow under the pressure or come out stronger than ever?

Themes: Family Ties, Friendship, Love, Lust, Identity, Self Discovery, Self Acceptance
Genre: Action – Romance, Queer Young Adult Fiction

 

Review

Thick and ThinThick and Thin gets off to a strong start. There’s Duante, the protector, Drayden, the golden boy and heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire and Shohei, the celebrity who is a fashion icon. It’s identifiable to Young Adults. Loki also pops up.

The chapters present themselves as Acts, which adds some intrigue as does the four kings and the characters surrounding them. That makes it sound almost fantastical, but really there are  just some average lives too, with pop culture and bookish references, such as Justin Timberlake and Harry Potter. It also has powerful messages about bullies and handling them.

The book is about identity and trying to accept who you are and makes me hopeful that people will become happy in their own skin. There’s also friendships embraced and characters like Aquil who just want to be included in plans. This is so relatable for the Young Adult audience with its powerful themes.
It also delves into darker sides of society, such as gun culture. I think there is a lot that young adults will find thought-provoking and some they may debate.
There is also part where Aquil has got powerful family ties who are influential, for readers to see if Aquil is working on own steam or if the family has a hand in things, such as a scholarship reward.

There is the occassional bit of humour of the teenage/young adult life. There is also a lot of that teenage angst, as well as a film of sadness going across it.

There is teenage lust amongst a couple of the characters, who pine after each other at certain points and some elements of self-discovery and mostly it is done well. 

As much as it isn’t quite the page-turner, it is something that young adults can get their teeth into and to see who comes out of it all well. This would be good for older teens and 20 somethings.

About the Author

Upasa Borah (also known by her pen name glassEyed) is a 21 year old dreamer from a land of rivers and hills, called Assam, in India. Aside from writing stories, she dabbles in poetry and performance art. She is a spoken word poet who has been active in the slam poetry circuit in Delhi, as well as in her hometown, as a
featured performer, organiser and judge. A believer of magic and collector of stories, she loves
meeting new people and finding inspiration and muses in the mundane.

 

#BookReview by Lou – The Wild World Handbook – Habitats by Andrea Debbink #AndreaDebbink @quirkbooks #MiddleGrade #ChildrensNonFiction #ChildrensNature

The Wild World Handbook – Habitats
by Andrea Debbink

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great for Middlegrade with facts and STEAM activities. Thanks to Quirk Books for gifting me a copy to give an honest review on.
Follow down to the blurb and my full review of The Wild World Handbook…

The Wildhandbook

Blurb

Packed with real-life tales of adventure, breathtaking illustrations, and practical tips, this handbook is an inspiring guide for the next generation of climate activists, conservationists, and nature lovers.

 

The first book in a middle grade series for young environmental activists and nature lovers, The Wild World Handbook offers a roadmap for change and an invitation to explore the outdoors, alongside surprising facts and hands-on STEAM activities. Featuring nine habitats from around the globe, each section includes diverse biographies of outdoor adventurers, scientists, and artists who used their passion and skills to become bold allies for Earth’s natural diversity and resiliency.

Inside you will find:
   • Nine Amazing Habitats • Eighteen Inspiring Biographies • Nine Kid-Friendly DIY Activities
   • Nine Fun Field Trips • And much more!

Review

The Wild World Handbook is great for Middlegrade. It is comprehensive, without being overly complicated, but allows them to have an adventure and “meet” people, different aspects of nature and fits right into encouraging children to care for the environment and to learn about it. Children can explore:-

Mountains, Forests, Deserts, Polar Lands, Oceans, Freshwater. Cities, Rainforests, Grasslands

The WildhandbookThis book whisks children into introductions to each are of earth and takes them to  the past, present and a small bit into the future of planet earth. So, children are introduced to each of the areas mentioned above, via quick, sharp, easy to follow facts, bold and sharp.

There are interactive elements to map out their own expeditions, do some artwork, plant a tree, find the stars, make a desert biome and more…

“Meet” people from a mountaineer to a naturalist to animals to trees and other plants and more…

There are questions about what they have read, so their knowledge and understanding all tally’s up.

It also takes a nod to those (which is refreshing), who played their part in helping to do good, not just in the present, but in the past, something that isn’t talked about much these days. It’s positive as it refrains from making sweeping generalisations and shows the young, that people older than them (including their parents) did do good stuff to help the environment too. It talks about what children can do too. So, it balances understanding what is in each area with what people have done, in both destruction and to save the earth as it balances out the positives and brings pages of fun to it too.

It is better than some books out there as it does balance positivity between the negativity, lots of fun as well as the serious. 

This book could easily be used at home, as part of a school eco-group or a Girlguiding or Scouting group such as Brownies and Cubs. It has scope for a lot of activities and it shows this area of study can be positive and it can be fun.

 

#BookReview by Lou – Zoey The Smart Donkey by Sugandha Arora Illustrated by Soumyajit Dasgupta @sugandhaaiesec #ChildrensBook #PictureBook #Families

Zoey The Smart Donkey
by Sugandha Arora
Illustrated by Soumyajit Dasgupta

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cute, short and rhyming for your little ones, Zoey The Donkey is available now. Thanks to Sughanda Arora for inviting me to review and gifting me a copy of the book. Discover more in the blurb and review below.

Zoey The Donkey

Blurb

This story is an inspirational journey of Zoey and how she smartly defies the norms to be whom she wants to be. Find out what Zoey chooses to be, if not a donkey…

Review

 It tells a rhyming story about a baby donkey called Zoey, who realises that she just might not be like the other donkeys. She meets a monkey and a magical transformation occurs…

It’s a short book that would be nice for a bedtime story. It is short and quick, with just a few lines per page, with big, bold illustrations, which makes it fun for pre-school children, including babies and toddlers. Before reading it, parents/carers etc could have a guessing game as to what the Donkey could be at the end. Children, more than anything will just have fun with the rhyming and the surprise at the end. It makes for a cute bedtime story, or a quick read in the nursery school library corner.

Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen @KtAllenWriting @OrendaBooks #RandomTTours #JubilantJune #EveryThingHappensForAReason #BlogTour

Everything Happens For A Reason
by Katie Allen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Everything Happens for a Reason cover

 

Firstly I would like to thank Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for the copy of this heart-rendering and moving book. Find out in the blurb and my review about what I actually thought about this pretty unique debut book for this great blog tour.

Blurb

A beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut,
inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong.
Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.
When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now
certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.
Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…
Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.

Review

Everything Happens for a Reason coverFairly uniquely, Everything Happens For A Reason, has no chapters as such and is instead, punctuated with emails from character to character. As much as it felt different to other books that do have chapters, the flow and movement through the book worked well, perhaps because of the timeline within the emails and instead of jarring, like it might do with chapters, in this rare instance, it gives it a stronger sense of a certain amount of reality. The book is a work of fiction but it is inspired by Katie Allen’s own experiences.

There is a  strong belief of “Everything Happens For A Reason” is an interesting concept, that is used in a way to justify and perhaps come to terms with everything, is a theme that is carried throughout the book. Rachel even believes that meeting Lola was for a reason and both are interesting characters and there is the gradual uncovering of Ben Palmer, a guy she saved at Oval, when she was pregnant, months before her baby was stillborn. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, there’s no two ways about it. The grief and the trying to live life feels authentic and pierces through to your heart. On the other-hand it also talks truthfully about how there isn’t always the time to grieve. Most of the characters have their issues they are living with.

There are also moments to smile about. It’s is full of bittersweet moments, such as some thought given to baby groups, such as baby and rhyme (if you’re in Scotland its a little bit like Bookbug), and baby yoga etc. 

I am glad that there are some funny moments. In some ways it lightens the book in a good way and in other ways, it is a brave decision to include it as some people don’t think you should find something funny, when grieving etc, but this shows life in every aspects from friendships to the politics of the day. There’s a particularly humorous analogy about a spider, for example. It shows life and grieving is not a straight line and life presents itself with unexpected moments and a web of people and situations. There’s some moments of pragmatism and others that has a bit of humour, but most of all it is emotional and an aura of it lingers round you after you’ve read it.

This is not a light read by any means, but it is some original storytelling, with a subject matter that is still almost taboo and uncomfortable for some people to talk about. It is a subject matter that is rare in books, if there at all. If you’re wanting something different and meaningful, this is your book.

 

ABOUT KATIE ALLEN

Katie AllenA beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut, inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief.
Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character ’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her
‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband,
children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.

Everything Happens BT Poster

#HappyPublicationDay for Love, Hope by Juliet Ann Conlin @JulietConlin @HodderBooks @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours

Love, Hope is published today and I am celebrating this in-conjunction with Love Books Tours. It sounds a beautiful book full of positivity for the future, even when it doesn’t seem possible. Take a look down to the blurb to find out what its all about.

Love Hope cover

Blurb

An unexpected letter. An unlikely friendship. A chance to start again.

Ever since she first picked up a violin, Hope Sullivan dreamed of going to music college, joining an orchestra and travelling the world with her best friend Janey. But when her parents were killed in a car accident on the way to one of her recitals, she gave it all up to look after her younger sister, Autumn. Ten years later, Janey is living their dream on her own, Autumn is flourishing as a doctor and Hope’s life is smaller and less musical than ever.

Arnold Quince had the happiest of lives – until he lost his beloved wife Marion. Once the life and soul of the village, he withdrew into his grief and pushed all his friends away. Now, five years on, he is sick, lonely and just counting down the years until he can be with Marion again.

When Hope and Arnold are pushed into writing to one another, neither has any idea how much their life is about to change.

Love, Hope Blitz 17th June Insta