Thanks to Valley Press and Random T. Tours I have a review on a book reminiscent of the film Sliding Doors. So, slide down to discover the blurb and the review of this well constructed debut novel.
Kathryn Johnson’s life is at a standstill. Stuck in a lacklustre marriage, the spark that once burned so brightly within her has since been snuffed out by the monotony of the everyday.
Returning to England after many years of living in Ireland, she is shocked to discover a familiar face on the side of the road one dark and stormy night. But a person can’t just reappear like that. Not when they’ve been dead for twenty years.
Uncovering long-buried memories of first love and its devastating loss, Kathryn returns to the past to see if she can rewrite her present. But love divided by time is a complicated equation to solve.
There’s a dreamy beginning as you enter Kathryn’s life in the prologue and then a startling revelation that is sure to reawaken your senses with a jolt, before slipping into the first chapter to see more of her life as it pierces with grief before swinging you into 1992 and there’s Ed and his love of horses and the racing fixtures. There’s also the life, culture and music of Liverpool, the 90’s films like Top Gun and Ed and Kat’s love blossoming. The party and drugs scenes, however are also in full flow. In fact, The Beatles had a song called Within You, Without You. It is worth a listen to, perhaps after reading this book. It interestingly does in some respects marry up to the book. I don’t know if this is what the author had in mind or the film Sliding Doors, or both, but this works pretty well.
It is an intense read, but quite compelling as you see her life in the past and present. It is quite sliding doors in a sense. This is what makes it compelling as you really need to get to the end to work it all out and what truly happened and also to find if and how lives work out. Investing time and required concentration in their lives certainly is worth it as you go through all the twists and turns and pangs of nostalgia throughout.
The Garnett Girls is a terrific debut! It is easy to lose yourself as you enter this family’s complex lives. Discover the blurb and full review below.
Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.
When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.
Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.
Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.
Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.
And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…
The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.
Set between Venice, The Isle of Wight and London, the lives of the Garnett Girls unfolds, swirling and captivating from the moment the book is open. After an exquisite prologue, then sweep into the opening chapter in captivating Venice, where Imogen, a playwright and is interested in Russia when it had Tsars, before it became a Communist state, is, with her imminent fiancé, William. You quickly learn how she and her mother, Margo used to holiday with all the busyness of the fun things to do, I rather like that! The book is intriguing from the start as Margo loves Italy and yet never took her daughters – Rachel (married to Gabriel) Imogen (engaged to William in Venice) and Sasha (married to Phil, doesn’t appreciate the arts and instead went into medicine, travelling to set up medical crises centres around the world with a charity). There’s also their father – Richard, who’s a dark character as secrets and truths come to light about him.Margo is heading for 60. She also dwells a bit on her age and how she will soon have a bus pass. I must say, what a privilege and better than the other things you read about that happens as you age.
It quickly becomes apparent that this family is complex in so many ways, from the decisions they make, past and present to their relationships between each other and others.
This sweeping story is attention grabbing from the beginning and remains ever curious all the way through to the end. It is a highly accomplished debut novel that is easy to lose yourself in.
Thanks to HQ for gifting me the book in exchange of an honest review.
Dirty Little Secret is gritty, entertaining and packs a twisty punch. It’s a great police procedural debut novel. Find out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks to the publisher – Hobeck Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me to book.
March 1987 Ossett, West Yorkshire A town of flower shows, Maypole parades and Sunday football games. Behind all the closed doors and drawn curtains live hidden truths and shameful lies.
A body is found WDC Louise Miller’s first case as detective in her hometown is hampered by the sexism and misogyny of small-town policing. Her four years on the force in Manchester have prepared her for this. Along with ally WPC Elizabeth Hines, the pair work the case together.
What truths lie hidden? As their inquiries deepen, the towns secrets reveal even darker truths that could lead to the identity of the killer. But when a second girl goes missing, Louise realises that some secrets should stay hidden.
Be prepared to be transported to the 1980’s, an era captured well by Peace, with its telephone boxes (one which a body is found) and terminology. This is Jonathan Peace’s debut novel and also his main character’s first job in her new location in West Yorkshire – WDC Louise Miller. She had perviously been working in Manchester, so the transfer is quite a change of scene for her. The year is 1987 and the opening date is Friday the 13th, adding a bit of a chill to the spine and even more so with some gruesome murders.
WDC Miller works with WPC Hines, the only other female on this West Yorkshire force. They get a bit of flack from the male officers, but they’re strong women and it’s nothing that they can’t handle. WDC Miller is compassionate, hardworking (since she has to give 110% at the very least) and is full of tenacity. She’s a great character to follow for a series of books.
There is a lot of authenticity to the writing, which immediately draws you in with its style. It’s a bit like Life on Mars like in characterisations which makes it quite entertaining and there are several twists in its grittiness. There are also references to real-life past cases, which adds to the atmosphere and interest in this fast-moving plot where all sorts of secrets begin to unravel, some of which were hidden for quite some time…
I recommend this book and there are more to come from Jonathan Peace.
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Rated 4 1/2 stars
Today I am excited to be on the blog tour for the highly entertaining and fun book – Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. I had good vibes about it just a few pages in…Thanks to Viking Books for gifting me a proof copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. Find out more below in the blurb and full review, as well as what critically acclaimed authors such as Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary say…
Yinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.
She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…
When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?
What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband is so relatable, especially to singletons who are asked that eternal question about a partner. Yinka has many aunties who want to know when she is going to find a man and get married, after all, she is in her 30’s and this seems important to them. It is interesting to see Yinka trying to forge her own life. She is also career driven, until one day, something happens that changes her life plans, which forces her to plan new life-goals.
I was interested to see if Yinka would find a man and there are some very funny steps that are taken in her hunt for one, but I was also engrossed in other aspects of her and the other characters lives too.
It is interesting how organised Yinka is, even in her personal life and the text shows this through well-placed tables and lists. There are also letters pertaining her employment status too. These are very well-conceived and placed and not over-done.
The book is great for cosying up to on a cold day as it is easy to get wrapped up in the story, and yet is as light as a summer breeze, where you can easily sit with it and take in the rays of the sun. It is a feel-good, highly entertaining read that is joyous and fun!
Readers who like Bridget Jones Diary and Shopaholic series in style are sure to enjoy Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. It is just as humorous and a fun debut novel! I highly recommend this book and would be interested to see what comes next from the author -Lizzie Damilola Blackburn.
Today it is my turn to share my review on the blog tour of The Younglings. A spookily good book for Young Adults/Teens in time for Halloween. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the full review… Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me onto the blog tour to review. Thanks to Helena M. Cragg for gifting me the book, the Cadbury’s Dark Milk Chocolate (long since eaten) and the pen (now well used).
Humans have no idea what lurks in the shadows.
Mortals don’t expect to see supernaturals. Their minds rarely consider the possibility, even when it’s staring them right in the face. I was one such person … until I met my estranged father.
Let me introduce myself. The name is Carter. Quinn Carter. A witty, laid-back, regular guy, who just happens to be half-demon.
Finding out Dad is a demon king was like a sucker punch to the gut. Seriously, I’m a total biological freak. Meeting him was the catalyst for my life tail-spinning into a new world—a world where things of legend are real.
The one positive about this whole situation is the friends I have made. Good friends. But they too have secrets … big secrets. They’re not exactly your average individuals. Turns out demons aren’t the only paranormal creatures out there.
I also need to mention a Vampire Ministry, evil stab-worthy demons, and troubled spirits stranded on the spectral plane. As a consequence, life for my friends and me became a tad problematic.
Being heroes in the mortal realm hadn’t been on anybody’s to-do list, but we had no choice in the matter, and things were about to get very interesting.
Once you’ve opened the spookily brooding cover, it is found that the book is cleverly written as from the beginning, readers are practically being directly spoken to and then the story unfolds in third-person from there. This technique is captivating.
It comes as a bit of a surprise to Quinn Carter that he isn’t quite the regular teen he thought he was as he discovers he is half-demon and further still, discovers his friends aren’t as average as he first thought either as some of them have magical powers. Even his best friend Eve isn’t exactly who he thought she was as he discovers she is half-angel. There are also witches and a vampire and ghosts, some even with jobs like Lilth who is a nanny, just not your normal sort… There’s a story there about good versus evil. There’s even a Vampire Ministry and rules to get to know. This book has everything you’d want in a supernatural book, plus there is a mention of historical times and witch trials in the North of England.
This is a great read for teens in the run up to Halloween, or indeed any other time of the year. There is humour within the spooks that would most certainly appeal to teens. It is entertaining and fast-paced so grabs attention quick. It has great, realistic characterisation that teens will be able to identify with. Each character has their own trials and tribulations to overcome, sometimes from within. There are also certain relationships brewing that readers can really get behind. There’s romantic chemistry and fight scenes readers can really get into. Most of the time, characters are easy to root for, sometimes they can be frustrating, but it all goes in with teen behaviours and actions, which gives this book a certain grounding.
It’s a strong debut novel that is very much worth getting your vampire teeth stuck into!
Mini Reviews and Links for Children’s Books, Spanning Across Every Age
I have reviewed a number of excellent children’s books. I have now put them all together in a small collection here for you to hopefully be inspired and try out. You will find the books at Amazon, Waterstones and some Independent Bookshops. Full reviews and extra info can be found by clicking on the relevant links, marked “Here”. I have included books for all ages of children. I have started off with a terrific chapter books and then some books for younger children. I hope this brings some inspiration for what to try next.
Blaze Dog Detective By Lin Anderson
When the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective. After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary. With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.
A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot that has red herrings, can you discover who stole the Fairy Flag in Skye? Blaze is actually a real dog in Skye and you can find out more about the book and see some more cute pics by clicking Here
She Wolf By Dan Smith
Northumbria 866. Washed ashore on a frozen English beach, Ylva’s survived. She will not cry. She’s meant to be strong. She’s a Viking.
But when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother’s stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge – or is there another way?
Quick Review – Primary Schools and Booktrust rate it highly as do I with 5 stars. Immerse yourself in a book that deals with bereavement and courage as you meet Ylva, Locki, Thor and Odin. Discover this immersive and intriguing adventure, which is excellently paced and pitched for older primary aged children. Click Herefor more info about it, plus links to Dan Smith’s website and social media.
Red Snow by Larraine Harrison
Twelve-year-old Megan though she knew everything there was to know about her mother’s death, but she was wrong.
Why will no one tell her what really happened and why has she become her father’s carer?
The boy next door has a dangerous secret that could help Megan, but will she be strong enough to pursue it to the end?
A story of danger, hope and perseverance.
Red Snow is great for 8 or 9 year olds plus. Full of atmosphere and emotion, readers meet 12 year old Megan Townsend who tries to follow her neighbour – Ryan into the woods. It is sinister and intriguing as Megan pursues the truth about her mother and was there a big cat in the woods? It is also about Megan being inquisitive and Ryan’s peculiar habits. It is sympathetically written in a child friendly manner, with themes of being a carer, bereavement, loneliness, friendship, family; with an excellent ending that will see everything resolved. Find out more by clicking Here
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
Bronte Mettlestone has been brought up in a very sensible way by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler. So when her absent parents are killed by pirates and she’s sent on a whirlwind visit to her other ten aunts, she takes it all in her stride. But Bronte’s outwardly sensible nature holds a core of steel and courage, and through her adventures, with water sprites, avalanches, elves and dragons, Bronte shows herself to be the kind of heroine we would all wish to be. This wonderful novel is witty, lively and full of magic and surprises – everything readers young and old could ask for. The kind of novel where you need to make a pot of tea (preferably cloudberry), find a really comfy sofa in front of a roaring fire, and settle in for a magical journey of your own.
Let your imagination run wild with this book and find out what the Extremely Unfortunate Events of Bronte Mettlestone are. She’s brave and courageous. She has aunts in Scotland and yet she also ends up in many other kingdoms in this wonderfully written book that children will have their imaginations captured by. There are pirates, a strange library and fantastical creatures that is all just so well pitched for children to sweep them along within exciting chapters that exceeded expectations. Find out more by clickingHere
The Treasure at the Top of the Mountain By Clive Mantle
Clive Mantle has said: “I have woven a tale of adventure in the past and present against the wondrous backdrop of Nepal and its people. I am thrilled that the story I wrote for my own son to pass on the flame has now found a wider audience, who will hopefully have their imaginations stimulated as mine was as a young boy”.
In the first of The Adventures of Freddie Malone series, The Treasure at the Top of the World Freddie receives an intriguing and unusual thirteenth birthday present from his Uncle Patrick. The ancient world map goes straight up on his wall, but Freddie fast discovers that the map is much more than just a decorative historic artefact. Freddie, and his best friend, Connor, are soon plunged into a mountainous adventure, on a path that leads to a long buried mystery, pursued by ruthless adversaries who’ll go to any lengths to get what they want.
This is more than just a tale to tell, it’s an impressively written adventure of a lifetime. This a story of (in no particular order) adventure, social and land geography, history, present day, travel and friendship and overcoming bullying. This is a book that will excite, inform and captivate children.
There are relics and treasures to be had, people to meet and a country to explore, all within the safety and comfort of your own home. This is an impressive story with adventure, once you’ve met Freddie Malone, who is celebrating his birthday and his magical present transports him to Nepal to meet mountaineers and more…
There is a lovely map and pictures and additional supporting info after the terrific story.
Find out more by clicking Here
Star Child – The Age of Akra – Book 1 –
There are 5 in the series. I have reviewed 3.
The foreshadowing of a dark future threatens the seven nations. Mai is selected to train with the mysterious elemental master Sah Dohba who will prepare her to become the protector of the desert lands. Her brother Long, steps forward to travel with her as her chaperone to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts.
A chance encounter brings them together with Akra, the Starchild. The trio travels on into a battle with the elements. Sandstorms. Deadly creatures. Starvation. Then a chance meeting with powerful earthfollower, sets them on a new path where they must each find the strength to face a terrifying foe from the Underworld.
This is the beginning of a new children’s fantasy series for children of ages 7+ The cover is exciting with its dragon, suggesting adventure and action. There are 5 in all in this series.
Covering themes such as child rivalry, there is bravery, action, adventure and emotion within these books, all suitable for ages 7/8 plus. Children who like Marvel and Ninjago and dragons and creatures in faraway lands will enjoy this. It’s an excellent series to get stuck into and to spark children’s imaginations. Check out more by clickingHere
Judy Blume books are great and have stood the test of time pretty well. I wrote an article as to why her books are still relevant and to showcase her books. Her books span right across children of all ages. Click for the articleHere
Toletis by Rafa Ruiz
Toletis is another book that is perfect for children of all ages.
Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, luscious green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed… with some very unusual help?
This is a book that provides, within Toletis, a positive role model. He has a deep interest in the natural world and has lots of fun, whilst playing in the world around him. He meets characters like the Treene-weenies and learns Wobbegong language along the way. He also has a great friend in Tutan. There are great illustrations throughout, humour, great storytelling throughout, that this makes perfect reading for those who also like The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates, Storey Treehouse series. Find out much more about this terrific book by clicking Here
Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure By Emma Larkin
Izzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.
Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.
One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…………….
Are you missing out on football? Whether you are or not, this is a great book of sibling rivalry and inspiration. Meet Izzy, she likes football and dreams of playing for her county one day, but doesn’t see how that can happen, until a discovery is made about relative. This is an excellent, positive book of possibilities. Find out more by clickingHere
Geronimo Stilton – Stop Acting Around By Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton is Getting into the movies when he is invited by an old filmmaker friend, director E.J. Sprocket, to visit the set Block Cheddar 4, starring Jack Vole. Convinced that this could make for an interesting article, he brings Thea, Benjamin, and Pandora along. But soon they discover that it’s not all glitz and glamour as strange happenings have been plaguing production, causing the film to go off course. Will Geronimo’s acting career be over before it starts? Is there a MOLE on the set? As E.J. would say, “That’s show business for ya baby!”
Geronimo Stilton books have been around awhile in libraries and book shops and they are nicely still going strong. They are graphic novels, with the story told in a well layed-out and illustrated form and often depict an eye-catching cover, with a good paced plot. Stop Acting Around takes Geronimo (a mouse) on-set of a big movie to meet his favourite actor – Jack Vole and reckons this would make for a great article. All is well until disaster strikes when 10 cans of film are mysteriously destroyed. The book has plenty of action and there is mild trepidation when there’s a rickety bridge to get across a ravine and down an old mine as the mystery continues as to what happened to the film reels and unexpected discoveries.
The Hidden Spaceship by Serena Lane Ferrari
When Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship, an out-of-this-world adventure begins. The friends have a very special mission – to help the Earth’s eco-system. They must go on a daunting journey on another planet, find a treasure chest, and complete their quest. What secret does the treasure chest hold?
There’s a song, a spaceship and humans Amelia and Noah, who embark on an adventure to a distant planet. There’s bright, bold pictures and a great story and characters like the alien Ualalumpa. The book, throughout the story, tells children about the eco-system in a way that is child-friendly and understandable. There are treasures to find that are more magical and wonderful than even gold or jewels. To find out more about this out of this world adventure, please clickHere
The Cockatoo From Timbucktoo By William AE Ford
Join Kian the cockatoo on his adventures around the world!
Can a childhood song about a shining star help him find his way home?
From the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China to New York City wonders of the world are explored delightfully in this epic journey!
William has done it again! After sending children on an interactive, rhyming time travelling adventure with the award winning Timothy Mean and his Time Machine, he now sends them on a world adventure with a lost cockatoo who just wants to go home to be reunited with his mum and dad. Children just love the adventure of flying around the world in a book, the illustrations and the repetitive nature of this book, that makes it so interactive and fun. It is a wonderful and perfect book for these different days, where young children, including the early primary school years, will gain value from. Find out more by clicking Here
The Hangry Hamster by Grace McLuskey
Review and Blurb
Meet Billy. He has a hamster who is hangry and ends up running through London, past a lot of landmarks, which he ends up towering over, like no hamster ever has before. This book is action packed, very funny and brilliantly conceived. It is also about bonding with a pet. Please find out moreHere
Princess Poppy – Fantastic No Plastic By Janey Louise Jones
When Poppy is invited to a beach party by cousin Daisy in Camomile Cove, she has to help clean up the beach first. There is so much plastic refuse. Meanwhile, her puppy Sidney chokes on a discarded bag. Poppy joins the campaign to rid the planet of one use plastic waste and comes up with an enterprising idea. Poppy is her usual energetic and passionate self as she realises everyone can do a little bit to make a big difference.
Princess Poppy is a great story with a really good mix of positive environmental messages and general fun in the characters setting. These are great books for both boys and girls alike. There’s great illustrations by Jennie Poh and humour within this story about looking after the environment. The story takes place when there’s a competition to create a poster to create an object to replace with that from a plastic one. It also shows friendship and keeping earth tidy, as well as having fun with Sidney – a dog with a bundle of energy. Please find out moreHere
Bertie the Buffalo by Wendy H. Jones
Bertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn’t need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.
Inspired by a true story in Scotland, children will meet Bertie and all sorts of animals, including an alpaca along the way as Bertie the Buffalo ends up straying into unfamiliar territories as he finds himself outside of his usual field. The book is about not feeling small, even if you are small in stature, friendship and family, in this beautifully illustrated book that will take children on an adventure and find some kindness along the way. It also is a story with a moral within it. This book has been read by many children, usually for 4 year olds plus, but has been used my middle grade classes up to and including primary 5 too. Find out more by clickingHere