Orphanage Girls Come Home has friendship amongst dark themes. Find out more in the blurb and what I thought in my review below.
London, 1910 When Amy is chosen to be a part of a programme to resettling displaced children in Canada, her life changes overnight. Her great sadness is having to say goodbye to Ruth and Ellen, the friends who became family to her during the dark days at the orphanage. As she steps on board the ship to Montreal, the promise of a new life lies ahead. But during the long crossing, Amy discovers a terrifying secret.
Canada, 1919 As the decades pass, Amy’s Canadian experience is far from the life she imagined. She always kept Ruth’s address to hand – longing to return to London and reunite with her dear friends. With the world at war, it seems an impossible dream . . .
Life has its challenges for Ruth, she has it tougher than most, even though she then tries to make a new life for herself. The setting is Bethnal Green in the Edwardian era. The streets are dangerous! She comes across many people when she breaks away from the orphanage, meets some good people, but the police are on the hunt to return her from whence she came, meaning she needs to hide. She knows she needs to try and hold out until she is of a certain age when she can be left alone and all threat of a return to the orphanage has gone. Meanwhile, her friends are on a resettlement programme to start new lives in Montreal and the opportunity isn’t all that’s cracked up to be. You really feel for her, so far away from what she once knew and the friends she had made in Ruth and Ellen.
The Orphanage Girls Come Home isn’t all as sweet and nice as the title sounds. This streets and the orphanage itself has many dark corners within them. The book has some grit in its themes. There’s abuse and more that goes on throughout the book. Throughout the emotional grimness, however there are glimmers of hope as not all people are bad. There are some who care.
Time passes and it is 1919. The First World War is occurring and things change again. This brings a change in thoughts and some focus on Amy, one of Ruth’s friends from decades ago, and her experiences. It brings trepidation and hope that these, one time friends will be reunited. The question is how and when will that be possible and after such a long time, what that would be like, to see someone after such a long time and in a changing world…
Wood paints the scenes vividly and pulls you into the streets and characters lives to enthrall and show strength through different, sometimes harrowing, life circumstances as well as adding warmth, without it being saccharin.
The Bad Neighbour is a psychological thriller and today I am closing the blog tour with a review, thanks to publisher – Hobeck Books for inviting me and for the book, in-exchange of an honest review, which can be found below the blurb.
By the author of Silenced, BBNYA (Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award) SEMI-FINALIST 2022!
In March 2020, the Covid pandemic hits the sleepy English village of Brampton. At the start of lockdown, social climber and local busybody Tara Sanderson sets up a community group to help vulnerable residents through the crisis. Elderly Elspeth Chambers, her longstanding neighbour and friend, accepts Tara’s offer to buy food and collect medicine for her.
But it isn’t long before neighbourliness and community spirit turn sour. Tensions arise when Tara becomes jealous of Elspeth’s emerging friendship with Ashley Kahn, a recent arrival in Wilton Close. Suspecting there is more to Tara’s hostility toward them than meets the eye, Ashley and Elspeth start to uncover their neighbour’s long-buried secrets…
Everybody needs good neighbours, right? Tara Sanderson is one of those neighbours. This is what we are led to believe. She does everything right, helping those who are most vulnerable with their food shopping and medication collecting, she even set up a group to help in the darkest of times when the country locked down for Covid. The setting for showing goodwill and kindness couldn’t be more perfect and seemed the perfect time for Tara to do her bit for the community in-which she lives. What could possibly go wrong?
Tara’s neighbour really leans on her goodwill a lot and perhaps a little much. Ashley Kahn arrives on the close and becomes more friendly with Elspeth, the lady she is helping, a bit more than she would like to see and lots changes. Jennie Ensor captures the mood and atmosphere well, both when Tara is being that good neighbour and when she turns into the type of neighbour anyone would regret having in their vicinity – a bad neighbour.
It is an interesting read to see altruism turn into something else because there’s more to Tara than meets the eye and things twist as secrets emerge. The book becomes more gripping as tensions rise as people’s patience fray at the edges and the more secrets and opinions and attitudes are uncovered.
The Bad Neighbour is a dark psychological read that people will be able to relate to in one way or another and will have you gripped from beginning to end.
An Italian Island Summer is Sue Moorcroft’s latest book and there is a lot to it in a beautiful setting to warm your heart and take you deep into character’s, less uncomplicated lives. Find out more in the blurb and full review below as part of Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour for Avon Books, who I thank for a copy of the book.
Will one summer in Sicily change her life for ever?
After her marriage falls apart, Ursula Quinn is offered the chance to spend the summer working at a hotel on a beautiful island off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Excited by a new adventure, she sets off at once.
At Residenza dei Tringali, Ursula receives a warm welcome from everyone except Alfio, son of the Tringali family. He gave up his life in Barcelona to help his mother Agata with the ailing business, and is frustrated with Ursula’s interference – and she in turn is less than impressed with his attitude. As they spend more time together, though, they begin to see each other in a different light.
But what with Ursula’s ex-husband on her tail, family secrets surfacing and an unexpected offer that makes Alfio question his whole life, there’s plenty to distract them from one another. Can she face her past and he his future, and together make the most of their Sicilian summer?
A failed relationship, physical and psychological issues are in the offering for Sue Moorcroft’s latest book. Fear not, there is plenty of opportunity to basque in the sun on An Italian Island Summer, even through the trials and tribulations that life throws at the characters.
An Italian Summer takes readers deep into the lives. Ursula’s life is changing. She is going through a breakup from her husband and the tattoo parlour where she works is closing down, although in heart of hearts, there is a little relief there. She makes some huge decisions and makes the move to an Italian island. A hotel is found, but isn’t doing very well. It’s ran by Agata and her daughter. Her son had been in Spain and now has had to return, so his life is also in a period of change, except the jobs he thought he was required to be returning to are taken already. Cue some tensions. It doesn’t all go swimmingly for Ursula either, with that and her ex-husband not being the type to let go so easily.
Complicated lives in a beautiful setting of small hotels, marinas, eateries makes for good reading. The book draws you into all the atmosphere and sites the picturesque island has to provide, as well as the people on it and arriving on it.
It is a lovely book to sit in the great outdoors to read and enjoy summer sun giving heat to your body as the book warms your heart.
Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements By Jon Chad
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements is a combination of story and fact to help teach and engage in STEM – Science. I have the blurb, thanks to the publisher – First Second Books and then onto my review below.
Step out of your element with Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements, the latest volume of First Second’s nonfiction graphic novel series!
A book of fun chemistry experiments has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Mel can use her knowledge of the periodic table to put an end to a maniacal madman’s evil schemes.
The periodic table helps us quickly understand the 118 elements, those tiny substances that make up everything in the world. By using the periodic table, we can recognize how these building blocks behave, find trends and patterns in the universe, and make predictions about elements that haven’t been discovered yet. Join us in learning about the periodic table, and maybe the next big discovery will be yours!
This could be used as a great resource for science classes and in the home to learn aid learning in a fun way. It makes science a bit more fun, not that this substitutes the usual text books, but is instead a great addition to them. It will be a useful resource in schools and at home. Here’s why:
The book has a story throughout it, but done in a way that also encourages learning of the periodic table and has the necessary facts throughout. It also has a little about exam anxieties and how they can be overcome too. It helps show science in a positive light and would be an asset to classrooms. It could be used as a useful tool to assist learners engage and especially those who struggle in their learning using more traditional methods.
In the home it can be used as an adventurous story that has trepidation in its fun, engaging plot and whilst readers can be enjoying this, they will naturally be soaking up the factual elements too.
If You Read This is a book I do highly recommend you read. It is endearing and tackles big subject matters incredibly well for readers of middle-grade and those moving onto YA. Find out more below in my blurb and my review below… Thanks firstly to Pushkin Press for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
A tender, warmly moving story of grief and self-discovery by the celebrated author of When Life Gives You Mangoes.
When Brie was younger, her mama used to surprise her with treasure hunts around their island town. After she died three years ago, these became Brie’s most cherished memories.
Now, on her twelfth birthday, her mama has another surprise: a series of letters leading Brie on one last treasure hunt.
The first letter guides Brie to a special place.
The next urges her to unlock a secret.
And the last letter will change her life forever.
I think this is a fantastic book for children who are going through grief or want to know more so they can empathise with their friends.
The book gives children hope and some positivity through dark times and the main character – Brie is written so well into what is a challenging theme. She is utterly relatable to any child. She treasures the memories of her mama and the treasure hunts she used to create around where their home island. This is a sensible and mature way of showing that there will always be memories to be cherished and in a way, keep her mama alive in a sense. This isn’t to say Brie, nor the other characters are perfect, they aren’t and this makes the book even more endearing. It shows how things can be messed up and how so much can change. It is great to see how the relationships within the rest of the surviving family also change. It really does give a rounded perspective on the impact on everyone, that a death has on a family.
The letters left behind for Brie to discover, sends her off on quite the twisty adventure of discovery of secrets.
Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! A Recipe for Trouble by Sarah Todd Taylor
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Thanks to Nosy Crow, I have had the opportunity to review Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire. It’s a wonderful play on words and will take children of 9 years plus on an adventurous mystery. Find out more below in the blurb and review below.
Prepare to be whisked away on a scrumptious adventure as France’s newest spy sets off on her first mission!
Alice Éclair, genius baker by day and talented spy by night, is on a dangerous mission aboard France’s most glamorous train, the Sapphire Express. Alice must sneak on board disguised as a pastry chef and discover which passenger is a duplicitous enemy agent. But everyone on the train seems to be hiding something… Armed with only her wits, her whisk and her will to succeed, the pressure is on for Alice to crack the case!
Packed with pastry-fuelled peril and a pinch of Parisian glamour, A Recipe for Trouble launches a delectable new series for 9+ readers from Sarah Todd Taylor, the author of Max the Detective Cat.
I once saw Sarah Todd Taylor do a talk about Max the Detective Cat and just knew it would be fantastic for children, so I was delighted to see I could review her latest book, also for middle-grade readers of 9 years plus – Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! A Recipe for Trouble.
Alice is in a perfect position to be trained as a spy, even though she is 13. She is astounding customers at a Parisian patisserie, so she certainly gets to see much of life as she creates and serves her delightful sweet treats of pastries and croissants.
Alice’s mission is to infiltrate a society gathering in a mansion to retrieve information. Clues then lead her to getting onboard a luxury train (all very Agatha Christie for kids and it works) to complete her mission.
There is the great setting for its pre-war time and enough jeopardy to keep young readers intrigued and to keep those pages turning, with the twists and turns.
It is great to enthral children as they embark on their own holidays and adventures.