A Christmas Carol – By Charles Dickens Adapted By Dave McCluskey, Narrated By Liam Scott- @demccluskey1 #Audible Version #Christmas #AChristmasCarol #ChristmasReads #Classics #ChristmasClassics

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted By Dave McCluskey
Narrated By Liam Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I have a review of the audio version (available on Audible) of a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Thanks to Dave McCluskey for gifting me a free code to access this for honest review purposes. To listen to this for yourselves, I have a link after the review…

a Christmas Carol By Dave McCluskey pic

Blurb

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life. 

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions? 

Review

There are many re-tellings of A Christmas Carol and I am sure you know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 spirits visiting him, but this has been done differently. It is in rhyme.
Each time a new version is produced, I admit, I have reservations, but listen, even though with an air of trepidation and hope that whatever is produced is done well and does the original text by Charles Dickens justice. This one is surprisingly done well. At just over an hour long (bearing in mind the book itself is actually surprisingly short), this is easy to fit into anyone’s day for some family entertainment for Christmas.

The piano music in the beginning sets the atmosphere and is pitch perfect. It has been adapted well by Dave McCluskey, who has clearly paid attention well to the original as it is all very recognisable. This is re-written in quite a bit of rhyme to it and is easy to listen to and makes this accessible to many ages, which brings me onto the narrator. Liam Scott narrates all the parts well, bringing atmosphere and all the characters to life with some good voice acting. From his opening lines and then throughout, he has a good, strong rhythm, heard with all the pronouncing of the words, sometimes emphasising certain words. The rhythm that is set brings good pace and interestingly sounds between being Shakespearean in some places and Pantomime in others places.
Throughout the story, Liam Scott reads this iconic Christmas tale with conviction. Each character is brought to life by Liam Scott by the different voices he does, Ebenezer Scrooge sounds his age and the ghosts sound haunting enough. There is also some humour in this tale of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Still to Come.

This is overall a pretty good adaptation and may become part of people’s ways of listening to this well-known story and for those who have not yet read or listened to the original text, then this may encourage people to do that too.

To listen click on the link that will take you to Audible – Amazon – A Christmas Carol

#BookReview By Lou – Every Day In December By Kitty Wilson @KittyWilson23 @0neMoreChapter_ #ChristmasRead #Christmas #December #EveryDayInDecember #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanceFiction

Every Day In December
By Kitty Wilson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Follow two lives, each with their ups and downs within them each day in December. A poignant romance for Christmas. Check out the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Every Day In December

Blurb

Every Day In DecemberTwo people. One month to fall in love.

Belle Wilde loves December. Yes, she’s just lost her job and Christmas is not a good time to find yourself ‘financially challenged’. And yes, her parents are still going on about the fact that she really should have it all together by now. But Belle believes that in December, magic can happen.

Rory Walters hates December. Whilst it looks like his life is together, he’s still reeling from a winter’s night five years ago when his life changed forever. Now back at home, he’s certain that this will be yet another Christmas to endure rather than enjoy.

But as midnight on December 31st draws closer, Belle and Rory’s time together is coming to an end. With a little help from a Christmas miracle could Belle find the one thing she really wants underneath the mistletoe?

Review

Each chapter leads readers into each day in December and into the main characters – Belle and Rory’s lives. Belle has fallen on hard times, which leads her into a different path in life. This is only the surface of her life. Going deeper in, she has had rough upbringing. She has far, far got her life sorted.
Rory’s life is also not going so well either and he has a lot going on, yet he seems destined to be with Belle, even if it is a slow-burner of a romance.

Belle shows that she has a passion for Shakespeare in inspires others as she talks about him to students and shows just how very relevant he still is, through the themes that he wrote about, which are still universal today.

There is also the equation of Belle’s God-daughter whom she has a close relationship with  and this brings a lighter dynamic to the story.

The book is also poignant about December and how the closer you get to Christmas holidays, the harder it can feel in if something bad has happened in your life. There are ups and downs that the main characters have to overcome.

There is some Christmas cheer to be found amongst the poignancy of Every Day in December.

#BookReview of The Call of the Penguins By Hazel Prior @HazelPriorBooks @TransworldBooks #Christmasread #CallOfThePenguins #Fiction #Wildlife #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #GeneralFiction

The Call of the Penguins
By Hazel Prior

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the author of Away with the Penguins - Call of the Penguins is out this Autumn

The Call of the Penguins will have you wanting to whisk yourself to them in a heartbeat!
Thanks to publisher – Transworld Books for gifting me a copy to review. Find out more in the blurb and my full review below.

Call of the PenguinsA delightfully feel-good new novel from the No. 1 bestselling author of Away With the Penguins – sure to become a firm favourite with readers!

At eighty-seven, Veronica McCreedy thinks her days of travelling the world are behind her. But when she’s invited to take part in a TV nature documentary that will take her across the globe filming her beloved penguins, she leaps at the prospect of a new adventure . . .

 

Review

'Penguins represent bravery, determination and resilience'

Set, initially in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, The Call of the Penguins has charm and warmth and that call for a new adventure for Veronica McCreedy. The book is warm but tackles worldly issues within its cosyness of the penguins. There’s a new colony of penguins being introduced as well as updates on the penguins in the Antarctic. This brings a fresh and brings a new slant to human and animal stories.

The chapters are split between Veronica, Patrick and Terry. Readers get to know their trials and tribulations of life, such as family, health, relationship issues and more… It makes for an interesting read as they take you into the heart of the animal or at least penguin kingdom, as well as their own lives that have their ups and downs as do the penguins. In saying that, it does have a feel-good factor that will give you a cuddly warming feel, without being sappy as it deals with some of what can be found in hard-hitting headlines about the environment and conservation. Veronica McCreedy, although is trying to do something good in conserving penguins, isn’t without attracting her own headlines of controversy to a point.

This is a rather enjoyable book with all the adventures you’ll go on and the characters you’ll meet along the way as you cosy up from the cold winter days.

'The perfect fireside read' Trisha Ashley, 2021

 

#BookReview By Lou – Celebrations At The Chateau By Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #Christmas #CelebrationsAtTheChateau

Celebrations At The Chateau
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Celebrations at the Chateau is coming soon

A cosy feel good novel set in France, Celebrations At The Chateau is a book that entertains. Thanks to    Take a look at the blurb and then my full review below…

Celebrations at the Chateau

Blurb

'Another gem from Jo Thomas' Kate Fforde 2021A wonderfully romantic, feel-good new novel set in a French château over the most magical time of the year! From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse.

When their grandfather dies, Fliss and her sisters are astonished to inherit a French château! Travelling to Normandy to visit the beautiful if faded house, they excitedly make plans over delicious crêpes and local cider in the town nearby.

But they soon discover the château needs major work, a huge tax bill is due . . . and there’s a sitting tenant, Madame Charlotte Cadieux, to whom they owe a monthly allowance!

Unable to sell but strapped for cash, Fliss determines to spruce up the elegant old rooms and open a B&B. But why are Jacques – Madame’s grandson and the mayor – and the other townsfolk so hostile? How did Fliss’ grandfather come to own the place anyway? And will Jacques and Fliss be able to put their differences aside to save the château?

It seems like nothing but trouble. But as the old year gives way to the new, it could be a new beginning for them all . . .

Inspired by Escape to the Chateau, this is a cosy and uplifting novel to curl up with, from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

Review

There’s work to be done and a chateau to save in this feel-good book. Fliss and her sisters have a large task on their hands in France. They end up with a chateau that needs doing up. They also need to decide what to do about a sit-in tenant they were not expecting. It very much makes me think of channel 4 series – Escape to the Chateau in many ways in that it needs so many reparations. It’s such a huge undertaking to save it. It’s entertaining to see what unfolds, but hardship also hits them as a huge bill arrives. The locals are not pleasant and are far from welcoming to these new incomers. It shows how society can be towards new people, or at least, part of it. It’s a big undertaking and one that makes for a fun story to escape into.

It’s lovely reading about the renovations as they get underway and all the food and drinks that wash over the book, creating the cosy factor with interesting characters.

 

#Review By Lou #ChildrensBook -The King Who Didn’t Like Snow By Jocelyn Porter Illustrated By Michael S. Kane #JocelynPorter #MichaelSKane #Snow #Christmas

The King Who Didn’t Like Snow
By Jocelyn Porter
Illustrated By Michael S. Kane

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The King Who Didn’t Like Snow is dedicated to Hospital Radio Volunteers in Plymouth and is a picture book, suitable for 0-6 year olds. Thanks for gifting it to me to review. Check out the blurb and my review below…

The King Who Didn't Like Snow

Blurb

King Mark is a higgledy-piggledy king who gets into a pickle every day. “Do something, Bert!” he shouts, and Wizard Bert, with his sidekick, Broderick the bookworm, always saves the day.
When snow falls on Windy Hill Castle, everyone is delighted – except for King Mark! King Mark doesn’t like snow and starts to sulk.
Will Bert and Broderick save the day again? Will King Mark walk into trouble? Do the children of Windy Hill Village have the answer…?
The King Who Didn’t Like Snow is a magical, amusing tale from the imagination of children’s author Jocelyn Porter. The unique illustrations are provided by none other than Michael S Kane, AKA Shaky Kane, the legendary comic artist.

Review

The book is bright and bold in its illustrations and easy to follow. Unusually, the text is also not only pretty big, it’s in bold, making it easy for a story-time curled up together or for children to read by themselves too, when they reach that stage.

The story takes place in a magical land called – Cornovia, where a time-travelling wizard (Bertram Ebenezer Rufus Togtangle) lives with Broderick – a bookworm in a Windy Hill Castle.

There are spells to be cast and a gigantic library, where Broderick goes to and almost forgotten games to discover.

When it snows, King Mark is not a happy man and is rather grumpy about it. The bookworm has and the wizard have an idea to create some fun and change the snow to a different colour.

There’s trying different things, such as toboganning down a hill. There’s also a message of being careful for what you wish for.

The book has some humour in it and also shows libraries off really nicely and in a fun way as well as winter fun, just in time for wintry weather.

#Bookreview by Lou of #Christmas #ChildrensBook – Always Together At Christmas By Sara Sargent #SaraSargent @wunderbooks @randomhousekids

Always Together At Christmas
By Sara Sargent
Rated: 5 stars *****

After reviewing Alone Together, this is an entirely different book in that it is for children and also focusing on something more upbeat, just what children need for Christmas. This is a book which children will see themselves reflected in how they’ve perhaps been living in these times and how Christmas can still be marvellous fun! It is pretty unique in its type and many children will find it reassuring.
It is available to buy now!
I thank Melissa and Elena at Wunderland PR for getting in contact with me to review  and for providing an e-book and so many fun pictures.

Please find the blurb, review and a bit about the author as you scroll down.

Always Together Christmas Tree

About the Author

Sara Sargent is a Senior Executive Editor at Random House Children’s Books. She received her BA from Swarthmore College and her Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University. Sara grew up in Buffalo, New York, and has also called Chicago and New York City home. She has held positions at HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster, Meet the Press, New York Magazine, Hyperion Books for Children, and WBEZ in Chicago. Sara collects Christmas ornaments from all over the world, from every city she visits—her favorite one is a hand-painted pink bauble from the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California. Sara lives in Brooklyn, and this is her first book.
      Always Together At Christmas Cover Pic                    Always Together Author Signing Book

Blurb

Christmas will always mean love.Even if love looks a little different this year. As families and communities come together—and stay apart—in creative ways this holiday season, bring comfort and joy to children with this story about a Christmas just as memorable as those in years past. ALWAYS TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS is the only book of its kind this season which highlights different family traditions and the ways they’re changing in the pandemic: from Santa’s elves practicing social distancing to opening presents via Zoom on Christmas morning. It even includes ideas for new quarantine-appropriate Christmas traditions!Children everywhere will see themselves reflected in the pagesof this bookasitfeatures families of all types in locations that range from sandy beaches to snowy zones. With thesweet and cozy illustrations addingclassic touches, and the uplifting message of togetherness, love and joy, this book is the perfect gift to share with family and friends from across the miles.

Always Together Map Page

Review

The first thing that strikes me is the big, bold illustrations and the short sentence per page. This has curve appeal to young children. It is festive with snowy scenes. It is uplifting and caring and shares a way forward in the spirit of fun. Children will most certainly be able to relate to every scene in the book. It illustrates in an easy to follow map how things could feel different this year, before showing that it will all be okay in the end. Santa will still appear, there can still be a Christmas tree and gifts and new traditions forged.

Always Together Page

The book concludes with some lovely ideas for families to do from the virtual and physical worlds that are designed for some ‘safe’ fun.

This is a beautiful, quick and easy book that parents, teachers, children can all look at and read and relate to in a way that can reassure children who are concerned what Christmas will be like in 2020, in a calm and joyful, hopeful way.

Always Together Believe Page