A Better Place by Alyson Marsh – A Comforting and Positive Book For Young People Dealing With Grief #ChildrensBooks #YA #parents #edutwitter #HandlingGrief #ABetterPlace

A Better Place
By Alyson Marsh
Rated: 4 ****

I first of all I would like to say thank you to Alyson Marsh who gifted me a copy for review of this book that, for young people (and perhaps even some adults may find it useful, even though the layout, the language and activities is very much geared for young people) provides comfort during times of grief and could help people to talk about their feelings and their memories. It is true to say that death is inevitable, sometimes it is natural causes and sometimes it is not, but it is a universal truth that we all live and we all die and yet death, grief, how to deal with it, is, unusually, for something that isn’t uncommon and yet is rarely talked about. This book brings hope, comfort and can really aid young people in a positive, healthy manner in coping with their personal grief.

I have my review and then at the bottom a little blurb and bit about the author.

A BetterPlace

Review

I came across the children’s book – A Better Place by Alyson Marsh on Twitter and immediately wanted to review it because at all times, especially now, children and teenagers may need comforting and may need something extra to help them through grief. This book does that. It is a book with spaces to write and draw on and you can express yourself, or of course if you find it in a library, or want to be able to use those pages over and over again, they are easy to replicate on some blank paper. It comes with a meaningful story that I think children and teenagers will find useful as well, whether they are looking at this book themselves or with an adult. This isn’t a heavy book at all, it oozes with comfort and brings with it a positivity and a sense that things will be okay again. It’s a beautiful book full of colour and hope and that can truly help young people through grief. Each page has only a few sentences on it. It’s one that provokes discussion and thoughts that can help.

Meet Thora, she lost her daddy at sea. From the first page, realistic emotions she felt are written about, such as lost, confusion, helplessness and wondering what she can do. Then there’s some positivity in the “Better Place”. There’s pages of memories of the things that her daddy used to love to do, where he used to love to be. It’s joyfulness through the pain and sadness of grief. It shows children and teens of all ages that even though times can be tough, it’s okay to feel sad and it’s okay to smile as you remember happier times.

There are a few pages that encourage you to draw your loved one who you have lost and your memories of them.  There is also a lined page where children can write about the good times with your loved one.  You are also encouraged by the end of the book to stick a photo of your lost loved one. Readers will also notice a robin on each page. It is used effectively as a symbol of comfort.

I like that there are big, bright, bold pictures and few words on each page as well as small activities young people can do, either by themselves or with someone.
My only quibble is the text font that is chosen, of all the writing is joined up, that I find a bit baffling as it makes, what is otherwise such an accessible book, perhaps a little more challenging to read yourself if you aren’t a confident reader or have just learnt how to read. So, confident readers could read it, for younger readers, they will need assistance. It is however healthy to read a book together, especially this book. Otherwise, this is a book that I do recommend because I’ve been through a lot of grief in my time (and I’m still relatively young), and from personal experience, I can say that remembering good memories and doing something positive in memory of them definitely help with the moving on process and is healthy and I believe that this book can help as part of this process and allows young people to see this and shows them what they can do.

The Blurb  and About The Author

A Better Place is dedicated to Michael Wild Snr.
13 years ago Alyson Marsh lost her dear father and began to imagine where he could be and what the place that he had passed on to could be like. After over 20 years of teaching Art in secondary school and two daughters later, she decided to put her thoughts down on paper as she wanted the book to have a very personal feel to it. A Better Place was created to support anyone who has lost someone special in their lives.
Readers can discover more about the author inside the book.

A Jewel In The Sands of Time – A Freddie Malone Adventure by Clive Mantle – A fast-paced Egyptian Adventure @MantleClive #review #childrensbooks #kidslit #YA #Adventure

A Jewel in the Sands of Time
A Freddie Malone Adventure
By Clive Mantle
Rated: 5 stars *****

After being highly impressed by The Treasure At the Top of The World – the debut novel of the Freddie Malone Adventure series, I thought I would review the second – A Jewel in the Sands of Time. I will say that they are stand-alone books, although feature the same character throughout them and there are mentions of the previous adventure in Nepal. A third will also be published, not sure when. This is a series that is really worth following, with interesting facts after the story that consolodates what is read in the story really well. There are likable characters and enough fictional adventure that weaves through facts and all is at a great pace.
Clive Mantle is a People’s Book Prize winner.
The book is great for upper primary school and lower high school age groups.
Take a look at who Clive Mantle is, the blurb and full review below. 

About the Author

About the Author

Clive Mantle photoClive Mantle, Born in Barnet, is a well-loved British Actor and has been for nearly 40 years. As a boy in the 1960s, he sang with St. John’s College Choir, Cambridge, went to the National Youth Theatre and trained at RADA in the 1970’s and has been a fixture on stage and screen ever since.
Clive Mantle is best known for playing Little John in Robin of Sherwood, Greatjon Umber in Game of Thrones, Mike Barratt in Casualty and on stage as Tommy Cooper, and Lennie in Of Mice and Men. His voice is also well known from his work on over 180 audio books, and voicing animated characters, including Gator in Thomas the Tank Engine.
He is an avid reader and has been ever since his parents handed him Stig of the Dump. His favourite children’s book are the Noggin the Nog sagas by Oliver Postgate and he has a passion for walking in the Wiltshire Countryside. Clive Mantle’s inspiration to write what is the first in the series of Freddie Malone adventures came during a trek to the Everest Base Camp for the charity Hope and Homes for Children. He has since returned to the Himalayas and completed the Annapurna circuit. Everest has been his passion since childhood, when his Father enthused him with its many tales. Years later, he realised a lifetime’s ambition and set foot on the mountain himself, and the magnificence of the experience is with him everyday. 

A Jewel in the Sands of Time cover.jpg

Blurb

When the mysterious map given to him by his eccentric Uncle Patrick sweeps Freddie into another astonishing ��me-travelling adventure, he finds himself in ancient Egypt – and discovers a terrible plot against the boy king, Tutankhamun.
Join Freddie, his best friend Connor, and their feisty new neighbour, Ruby, as a dangerous figure threatens to foil their
efforts to save the young king. — A compelling tale of time travel, epic adventure and unsolved mysteries in ancient Egypt.

Review

Travel to Egypt and meet a Collector, studying a mysterious gemstone. The Collector wants to turn back time to steal a priceless artifact and a precious, legendary elixir to prolong his life.

The book reunites Freddie and Connor after their Nelpalese adventure, as they decide on Egypt as their next destination from the magical map Freddie got for his birthday in book 1. Suddenly, after a bit of research and looking at the map, it starts to split and sounds and scenes of Egypt start to emerge. Near the beginning of the book, there’s a lovely map and the poem IF by Rudyard Kipling. These also fit very well as an essential piece in the actual story in a very meaningful way, which I like, so worth remembering.

Time travel is involved as Freddie travels back in time to 1328 BC. Clive Mantle has done it again and managed to create absorbing and captivating settings and atmospheres. Freddie ends up watching charioteers and learns what about what they used to do. It’s written well in a way that isn’t too graphic, but just enough to give older children and younger teens a flavour of what happened. It’s good because it’s a bit about Egypt that isn’t always talked about when kids learn about the country.

Freddie re-counts to Conner about meeting Tutankhamun and how he was a King from the age of 9. This is the great thing about this book, children, as well as having fun with the adventure are going to be inadvertently picking up useful bits of history from it as they go along, in the most relaxed way as Clive tells of kings and lords and The Valley of the Kings, tombs and some plunderings, all in this action-packed adventure.

Freddie and Connor have another issue to deal with in their new found friend Ruby as in excitement Freddie blurted all about his secret map to her.

Back in Egypt there’s treachery afoot as a feast is coming to end and the fact Freddie went home with a Scarab and needs to return to Kha’s dynasty. There are portals and further adventure. Freddy also finds things that he doesn’t find palatable (and nor would anyone) like servants and slaves.

At home, there are bullies to contend with and standing up to them. The solidifying of new friendships is a heartwarming part in the book. Like in the first, bullying and tackling it is written sensitively, realistically and well. There’s enough to show kids that things will be alright and you won’t be left alone and friends back you. The aftermath is also realistic with all manner of thoughts spinning round Connor’s head. Clive Mantle has a talent for exploring issues like bullying when his characters are in Britain and the adventure and what occurs in another country very well in a way that children will understand and can also get excited by.

Like in The Treasure at the Top of the World, there is, after the story, a part called “Authors Notes: The Facts Behind the Story”, where readers can find out more info about, in this case, Egypt and Tutankhamun and Ay and other people mentioned within the book as well as the tombs, the temple complex and workers, bartering, language etc. It’s fascinating stuff and a great way of showing the facts that back up the story and introducing children and young adults to this period in Egyptian history.

The Cauldron of Life by Caroline Logan @bearpuffbooks @cranachanbooks #Lovebookstours @lovebooksgroup #CoverReveal #BlogTour

The Cauldron of Life
by Caroline Logan

Today is an exciting Cover Reveal Day for Scottish author Caroline Logan’s young adult book – The Cauldron of Life, published by Cranachan Books.
In my opinion it looks magical and full of mystique, from the font to the wolf. It’s certanly eye-catching. Take a further look to see the cover for this new book in full and also for further details about the blurb, the publishing date and about Caroline Logan.
Thank you for the invite to be part of the blog tour.

The Cauldron of Life Ebook Cover (1)

Blurb

Join the journey; discover your destiny.

Harris has been captured by the Faerie Queen and Ailsa must journey once again into the heart of Eilanmòr to rescue him.

But Ailsa is struggling with her newfound magic and the revelations about her real identity. Is the Faerie Queen Ailsa’s mother? Is everything she believed about her past a lie?

Meanwhile, a war is brewing between Heaven and Hell, with the world as the battleground. The lines between good and evil are blurring, and Ailsa must decide where she stands.

Publication date: 1st October 2020

978-1-911279-52-5 The Cauldron of Life Paperback
978-1-911279-53-2 The Cauldron of Life ebook

About the Author

The Cauldron of Life author picCaroline is a high school biology teacher who lives in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland, with her fiancé. Before moving there, she lived and worked in Spain, Tenerife, Sri Lanka and other places in Scotland. She graduated from The University of Glasgow with a bachelor’s degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology. In her spare time, she tries to ski and paddleboard, though she is happiest with a good book and a cup of tea.

Caroline Logan is a writer of Young Adult Fantasy. Her debut novel, The Stone of Destiny, is the first in The Four Treasures series, and the much-anticipated, The Cauldron of Life, will be the second.

Instagram: @bearpuffbooks

Twitter:     @bearpuffbooks

 

Love books Logo Blog Tours

 

Review of The Nexus Mirror @nemichaelbooks #NexusMirror #Fantasy #Sci-Fi #Review #YA #NewBook

The Nexus Mirror
By N.E. Michael
Rated: 3.5 stars

It is with thanks to the author – Noah Michael for getting in touch with me via my blog asking if I could review his fantasy/sci-fi book. So today, I am pleased to be now publishing my review of this book that will take you through a world and time of many creatures and also one that highlights some contemporary issues too, even though this is set far in the distant future.

About the Author

Noah Michael, is the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. He has two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and is currently a student in medical school. He is all about following dreams, and so despite his busy schedule, he never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from his current series, he has two other worlds in his head just waiting to be built, and can’t wait to share them with you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!

Social media links:

Twitter handle: @nemichaelbooks

Nexus Mirror cover

Blurb


Thirteen tribes. Two hundred years of war. One girl, with the key to ending it all.

Ever since his father’s mysterious murder, Raiden has been having visions of beings with extraordinary powers which he sketched into comics. The man responsible for the murder, billionaire Jimmy Roko, controls the world from his lofty, impenetrable Silver Tower. Compared to Roko’s vast army of robotic creatures and soldiers, Raiden is helpless. At least he was, until the magical heroes from his comics came knocking at his doorstep…

Forced away from everything he’d ever known, Raiden is thrown into a war filled with mystical beasts and terrible demons, super-powered heroes and futuristic battle-drones, ancient portals and daring new worlds. The fate of the universe rests in Raiden’s hands as he fights against Jimmy Roko and the Chief of Shadows to protect a young girl named Sarah, the last surviving Surger, who possesses the key to the ultimate weapon.

Review

There are topical subjects, fights, a student to protect and war wounds amongst this book of humans and other creatures, some whom are almost human.

Enter a world some time in the future. Not everyone is human!
There are a whole array of other creatures. Raidens, being one type. Raiden Williams, who is a teacher and one with a bit of an attitude at times, one that some guys have with their smirking. It’s a pity as can’t immediately decide whether I like him or not.
Sarah is one of his brightest pupils. Alia and Bella are orphans trying to get by, which makes for an interesting story with some of the social aspects surrounding that.

The book covers bullying, the devastating consequences and the impact. The tone of Alia and those who are the bullies is just right as is the raw emotion. This is a book that would perhaps inspire young adult readers to think about actions having consequences. It’s good and thoughtful.

Alia is a detective, seeking answers as to what happened to Hunter, whether it was murder or suicide.

Hospitals is also a theme within this book as Bella suffers a stroke. The hospital is well described as being very futuristic.

Meet the Enlai. A tribe of people who are almost human and who learn to try to master their emotions and are Readers. There are topical elements to them too as they are asked about changing their DNA to extend their lives and the consequences to this.

What is real and what is in Alia’s subconscious is something that readers have to work out, as does this brave character.

Marcus is the most powerful Reader, which makes for interesting characterisation.

There is enough in the book to know just where you are in the time frames and as different magical and fantastical characters are met, such as shifters, zombies and super-powered pirates. There is a war to be fought and what was great was that the effects of war is also written about. Even so far into the future, war is not straight forward and there are still consequences that are felt.

There is an unexpected ending, which is touching and also in a sentence, the story is left open for the next book – The Legend of Solis.

There is certainly enough going on in this fantasy world that the N.E. Michael has created for the YA fantasy/sci-fi readers to be engaged in. The book does get off to an interesting start and good pace, then seems to slow down somewhat, before really getting into it and seems to jump a bit and could be a bit tighter in places. It is however worth sticking with because when you do that, you really get stuck into this futuristic world and all that lives there and the pace does pick up, so do give it a really good chance. You may find yourself enjoying it, like I did and wanting to find out how it ends. After all, the premise is good and for a new writer, fans of fantasy will do well in trying Noah’s books out.

I thank the author N.E. Michael for contacting me on my blog and for sending me his book. It’s always such a pleasure and honour to be asked to review.

She Wolf by Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor #SheWolf #Education #Libraries #NewBook #Review #Kidslit #Schools #Adventure #Historical #Vikings #Norse

Review

She Wolf
by Dan Smith
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today I have decided to publish my review of the excellent children’s book – She Wolf by award winning author Dan Smith. This is a book I highly recommend to children and already Dan Smith has quite a following from primary schools. Young teenagers would also like this book too. I hope after reading the review, you will also check Dan Smith out. Below, after my review of She Wolf, you will be able to find a few links to pages within his website. Whether he is a new to you author or one you read a lot of, this book and his website is worth checking out.
For schools, there are also resources to accompany this book (see links below for his website and Twitter).
Dan Smith’s books can be found in many physical and online shops and within libraries.

About the Author

Dan Smith is an  award winning author of adventure stories for younger readers, and thrillers for adults. He loves to hear from readers.

Growing up, he led three lives. In one, he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of my own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say I still live most of the time.

He has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. I’ve even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but now has settled in Newcastle with his wife and two  children to keep him on his toes.

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he always loved stories, he always loved a good adventure, and he always kept writing.

She Wolf

Blurb

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?

Review

Primary schools have rated Dan Smith highly and I can see why. His writing is terrific! It has character and he really understands that writing in historical times can also be relevant and relatable for readers in present times within the themes.
First look at the maps of the journey Ylva will take. There is also much to be learned as below one of the maps is the AD 866 place-name and the modern place name. At the back is an excellent glossary and “Did You Know” section so children can learn a bit more. This is a fictional book that is also excellent for “Reading for Pleasure” or for any reading challenges. I have seen that where this book is in primary schools, children are loving and devouring it. This is a book that all children can get into. With the chapters being short and snappy, this book lends itself so well to school teachers or parents reading it out loud and for individuals to read. This book is also rated by The BookTrust. The book can be bought or borrowed from libraries.

From page 1, there is atmosphere, placing readers right in the centre of Ylva’s life. There’s action and adventure and legends of Thor, Odin and Loki within these wonderfully written pages. This book is for all genders. It deals with bereavement and courage.

Ylva is a young, fierce, independent, strong and brave heroine . Readers will first meet her by a trader’s hut as a lost, orphaned Dane in cold England, with only her dog, Geri now left for company. Her mother has died and her initial reaction is one of revenge. There’s depth to this book, but not too complex for older primary school aged children. The book goes along at an excellent pace, nothing lingers too long.

The characters are intriguing, especially the three-fingered man and there is plenty of snow and wolves within this book. Don’t be fooled by the title “She Wolf”, this is a book to delight both boys and girls alike.

The landscape is harsh and Ylva has to decide who to trust. The question of trust is important and it is a quest with many dangers. There are pearls and people who she has to decide whether to trust or not. She does however decide to trust Cathryn enough, who is a Saxon who offers her shelter.

There are beautiful tender moments too.
This is an emotional book and one, although set in 866AD is relatable, even though the times and some experiences are different.

The end is an unexpected one that will leave readers feeling satisfied.

History and fiction are expertly woven together to create an immersive story with rich descriptions. There’s a real sense of what the atmosphere was like. This feels like it could be made into a film. The story is dark, but an adventure like none-other that has the scope of interesting so many readers looking for a new, original adventure.
Readers who enjoy adventures that conquer adversity with strong characters, vikings, Norse Gods and mythology and who want to explore history would love this brilliant fictional book. Remember to read the glossary to and the “Did You Know” section to expand you understanding of some of the words of the story and your knowledge of the viking period.

Links to Dan Smith’s Website for you to explore:

Twitter:   @DanSmithAuthor

Great books from 2019 – Happy New Year and Happy Reading #HappyNewYear #2019books #2019wrapup #MyYearinBooks #BestBooks #MustReads #amreading #readingforpleasure #books #CrimeFiction #Thriller #FamilySaga #Saga #Historical #Kidslit #YA #NonFiction #Fiction #Fantasy #UpLit #Bookish

Great Books to check out and read from 2019

I have read and reviewed so many books this year. I have decided to follow the trend of compiling an end of year list of what I would consider “The Must Read or Top 2019 Books. The list will be in no particular order, but will be broken down into genre. Here you will find great Children’s Books and Young Adult books, followed by all types of crime fiction; followed by general fictional books; followed by family saga/historical fiction; followed by fantasy; followed by non-fiction/autobiographical/biographical.
Firstly, I would like to say a few thanks:

I am incredibly grateful to everyone however who contacts me through my blog or Twitter, interacts with me, sends me books to review, either personally or through publishing houses. I am grateful for the generosity of authors, publishers and bloggers for sharing my reviews on their social media platforms and websites. I thank publishers and authors for considering me and for giving me the responsibility of reviewing their books. Reviewing someone’s work is something I don’t do lightly. A lot of thought goes into it all and also I am so conscious that what is in my hands at that moment is someone’s hard work and, whether I’ve met the person/people face to face or not, I am always aware of them being human too. I must say that I do love writing my blog and I appreciate every opportunity I have ever had that has come with writing it.

I also thank those authors, publishers and bloggers who have been kind and generous in other ways too, such as help with the community library I currently lead. You know who you are and I am eternally grateful.

Now onto the lists. I hope people find something new, some inspiration or are perhaps reminded that they want to check out a book. The books on the list are all on my blog, so feel free to check out the full reviews. The books can be borrowed from libraries, bought from bookshops and are also e-books on the various e-book platforms.

Children and Young Adult Fiction


Princess Poppy – Please, Please Save the Bees by Janey Louise Jones
Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford
The Hangry Hamster by Grace McCluskey
Leo and the Lightning Dragons by Gill White
Toletis by Rafa Ruiz
The Age of Akra by Vacen Taylor

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keefe (YA)

Crime Fiction , including Thrillers and Political Thrillers

Absolution by Adam Croft
Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

Nothing to Hide by James Oswald
The Poisoned Rock by Robert Daws
Death at the Plague Museum by Lesley Kelly
The Killing Rock by Robert Daws
In Plain Sight by Adam Croft
Sealed with a Death by James Sylvester
Hands Up by Stephen Clark
The Silence of Severance by Wes Markin
A Friend In Deed by G.D. Harper

General Fiction

 


The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami
A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
Let it Snow by Sue Moorcroft
Summer at the Kindness Café by Victoria Walters
Secret Things and Highland Flings by Tracy Corbett
Sunshine and Secrets – The Paradise Cookery School by Daisy James

Family Saga/Historical Fiction

Bobby Girls coverHeady HeightsTime will tell book

Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell
Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F.Frost

Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan

Fantasy

The Blue Salt Road Joanne HarrisThe Old Dragon's Head Coveer

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris (YA and Adult)
The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland

The Longest Farewell by Nula Suchet
Zippy and Me by Ronnie Le Drew
First in the Fight 20 Women Who Made Manchester by Helen Antrobus
The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

I have some books to review already and working on them for 2020.
I’ve plenty of exciting things to be blogging about in 2020 and hopefully many more exciting opportunities will crop up in the future. I will also be publishing brief resumes of great theatre shows from 2018 and 2019, most of which are still running, going to tour nationally in the UK and some of which come back every so often, so could be ones to look out for in the future.
For now, I hope you enjoy what I have for my 2019 resumes and all else that is on my blog. I hope you all had a great Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. Thank you too for following and reading my blog, without such, it wouldn’t exist. I love writing my blog and always grateful to those who give me opportunities to review and to write and to talk to people and to those who read what I write. Thank you!!!!

As I didn’t do this in 2018, here is a quick run down of the best books I read then. 
Fiction – Stealth by Hugh Fraser, Antiques and Alibis by Wendy H. Jones, The Wrong Direction by Liz Treacher, A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.
Non -Fiction – An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe, Charles Dickens by Simon Callow, Fill my Stocking by Alan Titchmarsh.
Young Adult – Tony Plumb and the Moles of Ellodian by J.M. Smith
Children’s books – The Treasure At the Top of The World by Clive Mantle.
Reviews can be found on my blog. Please note the Christmas books are reviewed within one blog post with quick reviews.

Happy New Year 2020

 

Bookmark pic