#BookReview By Lou of The Keepers of The Arkle By Tommy Ellis @TommyEllis14 #MiddleGrade #ChapterBook #Fantasy #Adventure

The Keepers of The Arkle
By Tommy Ellis

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sometimes it’s good to try something new and different with a child, to feed into their imagination and widen their choice of books. The middle-grade book – The Keepers of the Arkle does exactly that. The author has previously written a middle-grade book previously called The Puddle People that’s adventurous with a touch of science. He also has novellas for adults, such as The Midas Cat.nNow he is back with a second book for children aged 9/10 years olds plus . Discover the blurb and review below.

Twelve-year-old Kevin Latimer is being followed. Whenever his adoptive parents move him to a different part of the country, weird old Mrs Warwick always shows up in the same town.
The morning he sees the old woman pull a wooden nose from her bag, he’s intrigued. When it sneezes, though, his life changes forever.
Follow Kevin and his best friend, Megan Davies, as they uncover a shadowy world of immortal pensioners, corrupt authority figures, and a secret that could bring down the monarchy and start a civil war.

Set in Wales, Kevin Latimer, aged 12 is the character children are going on an adventure with to discover what the Arkle is, and then also join his best friend – Megan Davies. As they read, children will pick up some little nuggets of knowledge along the way. Fictionalised books that have a historical reference or person named, if the child enjoys it, tend to remember it for a lifetime, in my humble experience.

The short chapters give it a fast pace with plenty to explore in a mysterious, fantastical world where pensioners are immortal and a clockwork head is so magical, it can talk. It all started with a sneeze and life changed for the 2 best friends, all in 52 pages. This makes it involving for children who want a new adventure and a good size for those wanting a quick read or can be used to encourage reluctant readers.

Reading further, it gets a bit darker. All is not well in this world, with conspiracy rife and corrupt authorities are around. There’s also a secret to uncover that could be deadly. There’s a lot at stake to keep children on tender-hooks as they explore and intrigue and intensity heightens. It’ll certainly keep children entertained and full of adventure.

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#Review By Lou of Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas @Jo_Thomas01 @TransWorldBooks #Christmas #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction @alisonbarrow #KirstyDunseath

Keeping A Christmas Promise
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Keeping A Christmas Promise is the latest festive offering by Jo Thomas to whisk readers off on an adventure of a lifetime with lifelong friends to keep a very important promise. This is one of the best books I’ve read by Jo Thomas yet! Discover the blurb and my review below, thanks to Alison Barrow and Kirsty Dunseath at Transworld Books.

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A Christmas to remember for a friend they’ll never forget

Four friends
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure
They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas?

‘A deliciously festive treat bursting with Icelandic flavour, adventure and romance’ RUTH JONES

‘Sparkling, romantic, magical – and delicious’ MILLY JOHNSON

‘Heart-warming, moving and romantic, with a beautiful setting – what could be better?’ KATIE FFORDE

Review

Bucketlists, they make us think of our mortality, what’s important to us and what new experiences we should try in our lives. They make us get out there and instead of only existing, they can turn life into a rich tapestry of adventure that also brings excitement and an air of optimism.

4 friends created a bucket list 25 years ago. Their friendship stood the test of time and they still have that zest for adventure. There’s poignancy, which really comes across as one of the friends has died, so they are now living out her wish – to see the Northern Lights in Iceland at Christmas time. I loved that real care and loyalty to their now dead friend, to carry out her wish in her memory. It oozes warmth amongst heartbreak and the genuine determination they have to do this.

There is a lot of Christmas fun to be had with spreading a bit of joy and mucking in with an Icelandic community to ensure this, after some rather serious danger due to an avalanche, putting everyone and everything at risk.

It’s a very endearing book that will warm anyone’s heart and soul and show the way of true and everlasting friendship and some romance along the way.

#Reviews of #CrimeFiction , #ContemporaryFiction and #Adventure #Fantasy #ChildrensBooks #PictureBooks where proceeds go to #charities. @HobeckBooks #D20Authors @TinyTreeBooks #Christmas #ReadingCommunity

I have reviewed a number of books where publishers/authors have donated proceeds to various charities. Some, a percentage, others the entire lot. I’ve decided to compile a list with links to the original reviews, extracts, which also have blurbs within them, where you can find out more info.

There are both adult and children’s books.

Discover twisty crime fiction, recipes, communities, adventures, mythical creatures, sensory experiences through reading.

Charities highlighted are The Trussell Trust, Streetreads (homelessness), Marine Conservation Society. Feel free to take a look at these very different books… some may surprise you.

Cooking The Books is published by Hobeck Books who specialise in crime books. This book is part story, part cookbook. It comprises of excellent, twisty short stories of every genre of crime and a favourite recipe from most authors published by this Indy publisher.

 All proceeds go to The Trussell Trust.

Link  to my review – Cooking The Books


UnLocked is by a group of authors who call themselves D20. You can find out who they are in my link to the full blog post, which this time includes an extract of 2 stories from the collection. They are atmospheric stories about ordinary people doing ordinary, but very necessary jobs.

All profits go to The Trussell Trust

Link to more info and extracts UnLocked

The Dark Side of Christmas is by various authors published by Hobeck Books.
Expect the unexpected in these tightly twisted stories. Expect the unexpected and open if you dare!

Blurb (no link this time)
From ghostly skatings on thin ice, echoes of peppermint creams and the joys of being a secret Santa, to rebellious turkeys, deserted offices, spiteful colleagues and yuletide loneliness – these stories touch on strength of spirit, with the odd splash of blood and gore.

All royalties from the sale of this book go to Streetreads, a charitable initiative that encourages reading and creativity amongst the homeless in Scotland.

Setsuko and the Song of the Sea By Fiona Barker about marine life and the jewels of the sea. She befriends a whale. Will Setsuko become a real life mermaid?
A book for 5 plus to enjoy.

10% of the net profits from each book will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society

My review link: Setsuko and the Song of the Sea

Leo And The Lightning Dragons By Gill White is a sensory story full of bravery, friendship and dragons. It is perfect for children in SEN and any child universally aged between 4-6 year olds.
It is based on a real child – Leo, whom at the time of publishing was battling a rare form of epilepsy. It s a hopeful, optimistic story for children.
Proceeds go to CHAS – Children’s Hospices Across Scotland.

I originally reviewed in 2019, see link below. I have an update on Leo.

The publisher – Fledgling Press has now informed me and would like me to inform you all that ‘Sadly, Leo has lost his fight in the Spring of 2022 but we continue to support the fantastic work that CHAS does with families’.

My review link: Leo And The Lightning Dragons

#Review By Lou of The Christmas Holiday By Phillipa Ashley @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #ChristmasReads #Snow #Christmas

The Christmas Holiday
By Phillipa Ashley

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Cosy up to The Christmas Holiday, oozing with festive spirit and romance. Thanks to Avon Books UK for the review copy. Below is the blurb and my review.

Blurb

Krystle didn’t have a normal childhood and longed for warm family Christmases with presents under the tree. Now she makes sure everyone else has the perfect Christmas she never had, bringing beautiful decorations to cheer as many people as possible.

With her festive business booming, she decides to celebrate by renting a secluded house in the Lakes, with a plan to make this the ultimate yuletide getaway.

But fate immediately throws a spanner in the works in the form of a broken-down car, a flooded river and Max; a man who despises Christmas.

Krystle becomes determined to show Max the joys of the holiday. She won’t take no for an answer.

Can she melt Max’s Grinch-like heart? And can he show her that life doesn’t need to go to plan to take you somewhere magical…

Let Sunday Times bestseller Phillipa Ashley whisk you away to the Lakes this Christmas, with a story full of unexpected romance, second chances, snowflakes and starlight! Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Karen Swan and Heidi Swain.

Review

Being transported to the Lake District at Christmas is a delight! This book oozies Christmas, especially with Krystle trying so hard to make everything absolutely perfect. Max, on the flip side is that classic grinch, who Krystle feels the need and desire to win over. If you like the HBO movies, this book would hit the spot. There is warmth and all the spirit of Christmas within these pages.
The supporting cast are strong and lead interesting lives too.
The message within the book about life not always going to plan is a strong one and brings that heartwarming feel that’s lovely for this time of year.
This takes readers on a trip through lovely scenery, Christmas atmosphere and second chances in life as well as making it a time to feel more complete and reconcile memories and heal from times of old.
It is a book of pure festive escapism!

 

A White Christmas on Winter St. By Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #ChristmasReads #Christmas #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Snow

A White Christmas on Winter St.
By Sue Moorcroft 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Feeling Christmassy yet? Whether yes, or no, A White Christmas on Winter St. is just the ticket/book to transport you there and into Middledip, a recurring place in Sue Moorcroft’s contemporary fiction tales. Join the snow furry down to the blurb and my review, containing my thoughts on the book.

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73F9387B-67D1-4EC3-9220-8B7C408ADE84Blurb

When Sky Terran returns to the village of Middledip after losing the job she loves, she anticipates a quiet Christmas getting used to her new life. However, the annual street decoration competition is coming up and this year, the residents of Winter Street are determined to win.

As she is pulled into the preparations, Sky quickly grows to love the quirky, tight-knit community she is now part of. Including the extremely handsome Daz, who soon becomes more than just a friendly neighbour.

But when Daz’s ex turns up determined to win him back and it seems he might not be the man Sky thought he was, she remembers how much allowing people into her life – and heart – can hurt. As the snow falls, will she and Daz find a way through – and help win a Christmas victory for Winter Street?

A gorgeously festive novel about love, family and the power of forgiveness from Sunday Times bestseller Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Phillipa Ashley.

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Review

It is always a treat to return to Middledip to find out what is going on and meeting the people within it. This time, the focus is on Sky Terran. She has returned to Middledip, having fond memories of the time when she was fostered by Nan Heather. Now, all grown up, she had a job that she leaves, to become a landlord/landlady, for reasons you’ll discover in the book.

As Sky moves back into Middledip, discovering Corner House and unearthing it’s treasures in the undergrowth, she also goes exploring and finds friends new and old, that are rather moving, but will Nan Heather still be there?

Amongst the cosy Christmas vibe that makes it easy to cosy up against the wintry weather elements, there’s some serious and passionate conversations amongst the people in Middledip, including  wildlife and trees. There are also personal challenges that affect characters directly and indirectly to varying degrees to face and deal with. They are sure to keep readers involved in this community, to see if they’re overcome. There’s a romance brewing, but will it reach sizzling point?

This is a Christmas book that’s a joy to unwrap and emerge in Middledip to discover what everyone is doing in the lead up to this Christmas. There’s much to entertain and intrigue as well as giving that cosy, heartwarming feeling, even on the coldest of days.

#BookReview By Lou of Cooking the Books #ChristmasAnthology By #HobeckAuthors @HobeckBooks #Christmas #Shortstories with #Recipes #Charity #TrussellTrust

Cooking The Books
By Hobeck Authors

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Cooking is Criminal when it comes to Cooking The Books By various authors who are published by Hobeck Books have banded together to create short stories, covering every type of crime fiction, with their favourite recipes, all in one fun and twisty anthology this Christmas. Essentially a crime and cookbook all rolled into one.
ALL PROCEEDS GO TO THE TRUSSELL TRUST (find out more about this charity after my review)
Follow down to the blurb and my review below…

Thanks first to Hobeck Books for inviting me to review on this last day of the blog tour and for the book. 

Blurb

If an army marches on its stomach, what do crime fiction authors do? Here’s your answer, an exclusive collection of recipes from the Hobeck Books authors team served with a dash of brilliant flash fiction too…

If you love a dribble of ketchup or a drizzle of raspberry jus with your fiction, then this is the cookery book for you.


Discover the delights of mouth-watering Maltese rabbit pasta and luscious lamb in coffee. Or dare to sample chicken wings more deadly than a game of chilli roulette.

Then there’s the story of how a midnight cheese, cucumber and salad cream sandwich helped launch Hobeck itself.


This collection guarantees stomach rumbles and belly roils, and all proceeds help others through the Trussell Trust and their network of foodbanks across the UK.

Review

Put in a mixing bowl – Hobeck Authors and Publishers, a spoonful of each sub-category of crime fiction, throw in some recipes people can create real meals from, stir vigorously and bake at a high heat and what is produced is –
Cooking The Books, full of twist tales full of crime and mayhem and authors favourite recipes you can make at home or wherever you may be

There are introductions to each type of crime fiction before each twisty, entertaining
Each introduction is written in recipe form!

Then enter each twisty story, one by one and solve the crime!

Then get busy in the kitchen as at the end of every story is a real recipe you can make from home. The recipes are the authors favourites. I, myself have found a couple I’m definitely going to cook.

There is also an interesting and exquisite foreword by author – RC Brigstock that is sure to get readers in the mood for many types of crime this Christmas.

So, get  your killer kitchen utensils out and bind together with a great dollop of crime fiction to solve the crimes, and with the enticing recipes, you can have the added bonus of eating along the way.

Remember too, this publisher – Hobeck Books is giving back. They are donating All Proceeds to The Trussell Trust that helps those in need with food.

Links to The Trussell Trust   and     Hobeck Books