#Bookreview by Lou of #ChildrensBook – The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale By Ben Miller @ActualBenMiller @simonschusterUK

The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale
By Ben Miller
Rated: 5 stars *****

Enchanting, mystical within a lot of fun mixed in with meaningful, relatable relationships between siblings that need a boost. There is also trepidation within several fairytales and the real world and all together it makes The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale so compelling for children.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for accepting my request to review.
Please read on to discover more about the author, the blurb and full review of The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale and a little about The Night I Met Father Christmas.

About the Author

Ben Miller is an actor, director, and comedian, best known for writing and starring in The Armstrong and Miller Show and his role as Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick, Bough, in Johnny English Strikes Back.  Other recent big screen roles include What We Did On Our Holiday with Billy Connolly, and the much-loved Paddington 2 with, well, Paddington. On television, he is best known for the crime comedy drama Death In Paradise which has been a big hit worldwide.

The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale

Blurb

Following the breakout successes of The Night I Met Father Christmas and The Boy Who Made the World Disappear, get ready for the brilliant NEW novel from actor, comedian and bestselling author Ben Miller. Featuring beautiful illustrations from Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

Lana loves stories. Especially the ones she and her brother, Harrison, share in their make-believe games. But when Harrison decides he’s too grown-up to play with Lana she finds herself feeling lonely. Until something magical happens…
 
Hidden in the strange new supermarket in town, Lana discovers a portal to a fairytale world! But these aren’t the happy-ever-after fairytales that Lana knows, they are darker and more dangerous, and the characters need Lana’s help to defeat an evil witch. But she can’t do it alone. Can she convince Harrison to believe in stories again and journey to the world with her. . .  before it’s too late?

This is a story about stories, but it’s also about a brother and a sister finding their way back to each other through the power of imagination. 

The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale

Review

The Day I Fell into a Fairytale plunges you right into that world. What an incredibly good start it has with a possible molehill. I say possible because it isn’t just an ordinary molehill. There’s an energy within the words chosen and how they are written that builds faster and faster as the molehill grows and grows until you fall into a fantastic, enchanting fairytale land with Lana.

Lana lives in Little Hilcot and has a brother – Harrison, whom she views as a bit too serious since being in senior school and hitting the books to study oxbow lakes, Archimedes and more, when all she wants to do is go on adventures. Later she needs to go to Grimms, a supermarket, with her family and buys a book of fairytales, which become a bedtime story. The fact that this becomes a peculiar version of fairytales where art is almost imitating life, like a character seeming to be a person she has seen before, makes this even more curious. It turns out that Lana hasn’t ever heard of the fairy tales, some of which you can read about within the book itself.

It is magical and mystical and a lot of fun as readers land into fairytales with banquets of the most delicious food and a tuneful robin, where the adventure really begins. It’s so easy to get lost in this book, as I put on my childhood brain. If you’ve been brought up on fairytales, they are all so recognisable within this story. It shows real thought and cleverness to bring them all together in a way that doesn’t rip them off or seem disingenuous. It’s impressive! You’ll meet the likes of Rumplestiltskin, Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and more of the Grimm’s fairy tales all spun together in a compelling tale that sweeps between that land and also the reality of the real world.

Look out for all the lovely illustrations of climbing roses and all that you could ever want in a pick ‘n’ mix and more… It just all adds to the fun of this beautiful, curious book that is so well written and hits the spot! There are twists and danger and mild trepidation as some characters are put into danger as good and evil exists.
There are expressed emotions and brotherly and sisterly care that is shown with warmth that children will also be able to relate to. It also demonstrates through story-telling that books, especially fairytales can ignite imaginations and a lot of new fun and adventures can be explored, even from the most normal, everyday places as the story goes between home, supermarket and the realm of imagination, created from a book of Grimm fairytales.

The Night I Met Father Christmas

I had an extract of The Night I Met Father Christmas too. It takes place in the North Pole with entrepreneurial elf – Grimm Grimmsson in his shoe factory and goes onto tell the story of the main character – Torvil Christmas. He is not a kind elf, but something magical happens through various events, again drawing on timeless classics and fairytales, things change.

As well as written word books, they can be purchased as audiobooks too.

#BookReview by Lou of The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley @MsAmeliaHenley @HQstories @RandomTTours #TheLifeWeAlmostHad

The Life We Almost Had
By Amelia Henley
Rated: 5 stars *****

Amelia Henley Banner

Romance can be beautiful and come when you least expect it, but can bring so many twists and turns. Elegantly written, this romantic fiction bring uplifting and heartwarming to despair and heartache all with a large pinch of hope and courage that is quite the page-turner as it becomes ever more absorbing and an addictive read.

Thanks to HQ Stories and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for providing such an elegant and gorgeous physical copy of The Life We Almost Had.
Read further for the blurb and full review.

The Life We Almost Had Cover

Blurb

This is not a typical love story, but it’s our love story.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever.

Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences.
 
Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…

A beautiful and emotional love story that asks, how far would you go for a second chance at first love? Perfect for fans of The Man Who Didn’t Call and Miss You.

The Life We Almost Had cover with flowers.jpg

Review

Each chapter takes readers to Anna, Adam and Oliver in this beautiful, purposeful, romantic story of life.

Anna and Adam meet in unconventional circumstances, when love strikes.
It shows in a believable, honest way how relationships can break-down, but gives a kind of hope that second chances can occur.

Ann was supposed to have gotten married, but was dumped only two weeks before and can’t help but look up her ex-fiance’s Facebook Page. Nell, her best friend, is a wise soul, who tries to help her out with this compulsion, in urging her to unfriend him and taking her mind off things in the best ways possible, until an incident, whilst swimming. It’s all written with the upmost believeability and with so much that women, who have experienced having a bad relationship experience, will be able to relate to. The water scene is also descriptive that you can totally imagine what it would be like in a difficult situation. What happens next, is when Adam comes in, being all brave and handsomely masculine, with a romantic idealism. It’s enough for even the most confident of swimmers to not mind being in challenging circumstances; not when the chivalrous Adam is about anyway.

A holiday romance that is so spontaneous that it captures and wraps you up with love as the conversation of Anna and Adam as they click together are just sublime, about life, university and the truth of not being a high flyer, which in itself is so refreshing and dreams, such as Anna wishing she was a writer and Adam wanted to travel.

It’s so incredibly heartwarming and uplifiting and Adam is sure to be the man of every woman’s dreams.

It isn’t all plain-sailing though as unknown things like the possibility of endemetriosis starts to show and so does some of the stress and tension that it can cause in a relationship. Being unable to conceive is a hard-hitting subject, that is written with such realism, but altogether with the strife, heartbreak and the romance intertwined, makes rooting for this couple easy, as the likeable groundwork to Anna’s and Adam’s personalities has already been done, earlier in the book. The way the effect of this issue affects both men and women is balanced so well and adds an understanding to the book, that endemetriosis emotionally affects both in a couple. It’s a pleasingly mature way of observing this in the writing as it would be so easy to write from just a female perspective. It is also, surprisingly thought-provoking at how couples can feel and can end up.

There’s a twist to the tale and things take a heartbreaking turn for Adam, which makes for a story of so much hope as he becomes unwell and it becomes even more of a page-turner, with a change of pace and urgency to continue.
The way scientists look at patients and the way partner’s do is highlighted well, with the contrast of the cold, hard medical experiement to push whatever boundary and the warmth, human touch of a partner who see a human-being much more. It’s strong and again, honest. This in turn, introduces Oliver Chapman and also hynotherapy for Anna.

There’s a spiralling, unravelling that appears in Anna’s and Adam’s lives in unconventional ways, that then made, my memory anyway, cast back to the swirling water near the beginning, whether it was intentional or not, it’s cleverly written. RIght to the end, it’s an enthralling book that is heartwarming and uplifting and this will sustain any reader through what becomes utter despair and heartbreaking for the characters.

It is so worth reading the utterly heartbreaking author’s note at the end to understand why this book was written and to know why there is such a sense of heartbreak within this wonderful book that covers just about every single emotion.

There are then questions for Book Clubs.

I took a read of an excerpt from the next book, I am very intrigued to see how that unfolds too as it gets off to a brilliant start.

The Life We Almost Had BT Poster

#Bookreview of #ChildrensBook – Ben and The Bug by Natalie Reeves Billing – Essential Reading for Our Times @BillingReeves @RandomTTours

Ben and The Bug
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

One of the most important and essential children’s books of our times!
Engaging and sensitive, this book takes children through our times of Covid 19 in a way they will understand and not be scared, but that will assist them to be more aware, through story, facts and a game.
I thank Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for them and Natalie Billing for sending me a copy of the book.

Blurb

When Ben meets Bug at the swing park, they instantly become the best of friends. But when everyone around them gets sick, Ben wonders about the identity of his new playmate.Ben and the Bug is written for families looking for a friendly approach to discussions around Coronavirus.

Ben and the Bug Front Cover

Review

This is an engaging story with one of the most important purposes of our times. Everyone knows about the Corona Virus now, but it can be challenging to remind children or know where to even start with children, when explaining it. In this engaging book that really brings everything down to a child’s level, this book will be an incredibly useful tool for children, child-educators and parents alike, through story and a game.

The game is “Spot the Bug”. On each page there is a bug to find, which will engage children further into the story of Ben and his Auntie Pat.

The book starts in the park. That’s where the bug was first encountered. It’s a fun, yet serious story that shows how a bug can be spread and make people feel unwell. It’s done in a sensible and sensitive way, through fun and bold illustrations and story, that is engaging for children. As well as the story are facts about keeping clean and the bug that all backs up the story and gently informs children. There are more facts at the back of the book as well, that can be brought into any discussion.
The book also shows the bug being sad that it is making people sick and wants to help. It will dissipate any fear factor, even though, of course the bug won’t do that, yet will help children to be able to better understand what is going on, to ease some anxieties, which could also help them to take the situation of Covid 19 more seriously. The book has elements of positivity as it tells of what people are trying to do to make this situation better.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (1).jpgNatalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

#Bookreview by Lou of #ChildrensBook – My Daddy Is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #MonstrousMe #MyDaddyIsAMonster

My Daddy Is A Monster
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

Following from My Mummy’ – Is A Monster, this is another dual perspective book that is thought-provoking for young children.
Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours and Natalie for inviting me onto the blog tour and for a copy of the book.

My Daddy is a monster pic

Blurb

The Monstrous Me collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this second book, ‘My Daddy is a Monster’ a curious little boy is convinced his dad is a monster. But, is he really? When we look through his dad’s eyes, we see a very different story.

Review

One way the book is My Daddy Is A Monster. Turn the book upside down and you get My Kid Is A Monster.
Monsters can hide and daddy turns into a big purple monster. He does all sorts of things like takes away the kids IPad, makes them awful food, drags them to a football match and much more. Then at bedtime, it all turns more positive for the kids as they realise daddy is not a monster after all as he does some really kind things.

On the flip-side the kids are monsters who leave toys lying out, fidget and fight, take daddy’s phone and moan through the football game and more…
When the kids are all tucked up in bed, the perspective changes and both kids and daddy wonder if each other are really monsters.

It’s a story that will make children think and could assist in seeing each other’s perspectives and try to regulate and think about their behaviour. It could enhance certain aspects of growing-up and being respectful and in growing into a more rounded individual. It’s perfect for opening up thoughtful discussions with young children, as well as enjoying the game and story, in a home and education setting.

It’s also beautifully illustrated with a game of “Hunting the Monstrometer” throughout the book.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (1)Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

My Daddy is a Monster BT Poster (1)

#Bookreview by Lou of an enchanting #ChildrensBook – The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson @sophieinspace @Usborne

The Castle of Tangled Magic
by Sophie Anderson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has another enchanting tale – The Castle of Tangled Magic. It enchants with its richly depicted castle and magical land that provides excellent escapism.

Thanks to Usborne and Sophie Anderson for allowing me to write a review and for providing an e-copy of the book.

Follow further down to the blurb, review and links.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Blurb

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

The Castle of Tangled Magic, the new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Review

Castle Mila, built from wood around 500 years ago near the shore of a lake, sounds like so many children’s dream of a castle with it’s majestic stature and hidden passageways and secrets. The writing is amazingly imaginative, in the way Sophie Anderson has captured the castle and takes readers on a tour around it, up each of the stairs to the different rooms and domes, along with Olia. There is so much to feast the eyes upon and to delight and bring a touch of magic to children’s imaginations. It’s all rather splendid. She is also wanting to find some magic, so seeks out an older member of the family – Babusya, who informs about the mysterious Sun Dome that could have magic, but is locked. The mysteriousness that builds is fascinating and enchanting.

There’s great charm and excitement that captures the heart. The ideas of olde of leaving salt as offerings for spirits, such as domovoi (a spirit, in this case a fox who protects) and of the changes of the wind are explored through Babusya. As other family members appear, there is a lovely family cosyiness element, which is heartwarming, as is the talk of ancestry.

There’s a storm, which seems to make looking for a key even more pressing, a gripping, treacherous adventure ensues and there is a lot at stake – the family and the castle to protect from the ferociousness of the weather.

The story continues onwards with Feliks, the domovoi, into a mystical, rather surreal land – The Land of Forbidden Magic, where there the descriptions add to the surrealism as Koshka, a gorgeous cat, is met and a conversation ensues about the witch Nania and Chenomor’s magic. Another unexpected quest occurs as the land and spirits need to be saved. With lots of danger and many different encounters and riddles to solve, it pulls readers further in deeper as the quest becomes increasingly treacherous and on top of that Castle Mila itself needs saving.
Sophie Anderson creates so much for readers to grasp onto and root for in this pacy adventure, that also has an almighty twist.

Throughout, there are lovely illustrations, depicting the story well. At the end there is also “Olia’s Glossary”, which children will benefit well from, to enhance their understanding of the story as there are some words, that may be unfamiliar.

Links

Website: www.sophieandersonauthor.com

Twitter: @sophieinspace

#BookReview by Lou – of charming #ChildrensBook – The Butterfly Inside by Serena Lane Ferrari #readingrocks #edutwitter #minibeasts #Kidslit

The Butterfly Inside
By Serena Lane Ferrari
Illustrated By Georgia Vallicelli
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am delighted to present my review of The Butterfly Inside. This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will benefit so many young children up to at least age 5, and whisk them away on a great imaginative journey they are certain to relate to in this charming modern fairytale that will sit well in any nursery and primary school bookshelves. It is also great for reading for pleasure at home too.

I thank Serena Ferrari for posting a copy of her book to me.

The Butterfly Inside cover

Blurb

One young elf. One big dream.

Every night Oliver dreams of becoming a butterfly. He wants to fly and flutter around the forest with all the other butterflies.

The butterfly within him, trapped in the prison of his elf body, is battling to come out. Despite Crow’s laughing, Oliver has many friends that support him in finding his power and path to trasformation.

Can Oliver hold onto his dream and become a Butterfly?
Follow his journey in this magical modern fairytale to find out.

Review

What child doesn’t wish they could be something else other than human? I know I certainly did. Oliver is an elf who wishes he was a butterfly. He takes a walk and tries to find the materials he needs to turn himself into a butterfly, meeting all sorts of creatures along the way who try to help in this charming story, that ends with beautiful colouring in pages.

The book encourages imagination, problem-solving, friendship, fun and teamwork.

I simply love the character and humour within this essentially, heartwarming book. The illustrations are bold and accompany the story very well. It’s full of positivity and optimism and fun that will brighten any child’s story-time.

For families, this is a beautiful book to share together, that children are sure to delight in.

For schools  and nurseries, especially, there is enough in the story to either have a quiet story-time and/or incorporate it into a mini-beasts project that could create some fascinating discussions and artwork, I’m sure.

You will also find more books by Serena Lane Ferrari after the story, but then keep reading all the way to the very last page (more so if you’re and adult), it is incredibly poignant for what the author has to say…