#Review by Lou of #Middlegrade #ChildrensBook – Which Way To Anywhere By Cressida Cowell @CressidaCowell @HodderBooks #HodderChildrensBooks #HachetteChildrensBooks #WhichWayToAnywhere

Which Way To Anywhere
By Cressida Cowell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I’ve a review from a brand new series from Which Way to Anywhere by Cressida Cowell, author known for How to Train Your Dragon and Wizard of Once series and former Children’s Laureate. Fly down to discover the blurb and my review of this adventurous fantasy/sci-fi middle-grade book.

Blurb

From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once comes an out-of-this-world new adventure …

K2 O’Hero is a seemingly ordinary boy – after all, he and his twin sister Izzabird have been sworn to keep their family’s magical history a secret. Not even their infuriating stepsiblings, Theo and Mabel, know that magic exists. They believe K2 to be the most hopeless person they have ever known.

But K2 has a secret gift: he draws maps of worlds that are beyond the wildest of imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers and dark, twisty jungles alive with plants that hunt by the smell of fear. But what K2 doesn’t know, is that the maps he draws are real.

When their baby sister Annipeck is kidnapped, the warring stepsiblings will have to use K2’s gift to find a crossing point into one of those worlds and embark on a daring rescue mission. With a terrible beast and a petrifying robot assassin in their way, they must learn to work together quickly – because the future of their family is at stake …

Review

The cast list that children will meet is great. It instantly captures your attention, but that’s what Cressida Cowell’s writing and imagination does and this book doesn’t disappoint.

There is a magical world with a beast and a robot assassin, trees and plants that aren’t completely how you would assume them to be, as well as a family with magic powers. Amongst the adventure and all the creatures are themes of blended families and ecology. It is a world that has much depth that is quick to emerge into, with its immersive writing style.

The book is dramatic within the forest and intriguing within the lands and characters. It is also full of humorous situations that brings extra entertainment in its twisty, action-packed fantasy/sci-fi world. It is a treat for the senses that is a twisty fast-paced, exciting page-turner. 

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#Review By Lou of Edinburgh Fringe Festival comedy starring Mark Watson – More Banging On About Time And Other Similar Issues @watsoncomedian @edfringe @ARedinburgh #Comedy #MarkWatson #EdFringe2022 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mark Watson – More Banging On About Time And Other Similar Issues

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was kindly invited by Mark Watson to his show – More Banging On About Time And Other Similar Issues.
Please note this has no influence in what I wrote in my review. All opinions are my own and all honest.

Mark Watson is a stand up comedian who has been on many panel shows and an author. It is a Working Progress Show as his audiences become the “guinea pigs” as it were, to try out new material on to then create a polished show later on. There are many comedians who do this and try it out on a willing Edinburgh Fringe Festival audience. The link to book tickets is below, after the review. I thank Mark Watson for the lovely surprise of putting me on his guest list and for the photo op and signing my ticket. All lovely, but I know readers, you’ll be wondering if the show itself is worth booking and putting into your schedules. It absolutely is and here is why…

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The show began a bit more unconventionally than most, but it certainly got the audience in the mood for comedy and that’s when the laughing of everyone began and didn’t end until the show did. Mark Watson easily captures an audience and the day I attended was a sell-out performance.

It’s interesting, the long, long lists that Mark Watson has on his phone that has piqued his interest for various reasons, he may go into that on other shows too. He talked about time and how it is a strange thing and the questions adults ponder and the questions kids ask and expect either adults or the internet to answer. There are many parent jokes, but you don’t have to be one to find them very humorous. I’m not a parent and still was thoroughly entertained. He doesn’t stop there. He talked about WhatsApp groups and what parents ask teachers on Zoom, which was also hilarious, even just the gall of the parents to dare ask certain things.

There is a small degree of self-deprecation to the performance that is a continuous line of joke after relatable joke that leads to a well rounded conclusion. This was a working progress show and I look forward to hopefully attending  the show when it is completely polished and finished.

I highly recommend booking this show. Here is the link

Mark Watson – More Banging On About Time and Similar Issues

 

 

#BookReview By Lou of All About Evie By Matson Taylor – Out Now! @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #EvieEpworth #1972 #AllAboutEvie #BookTwt #MustRead

All About Evie
By Matson Taylor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All About Evie - Matson Taylor

All About Evie is uplifting, incredibly humorous, poignant and a must read for anyone’s tbr list!
This is the second installment from the author who brought us the wonderfully funny and poignant book – The MisEducation Of Evie Epworth 
Check out more in the blurb and then find out about the rest of my review below.
Thanks first to Matson Taylor for arranging a copy to be given to me to review and for 

Blurb

All About Evie CoverTen years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…

Review

Evie is now 26 1/2 years old and now living in London, and if there’s something the author – Matson Taylor does well, it is uplifting opening paragraphs and then sustaining that throughout the rest of a book.

Readers – Get re-acquainted with Evie Epworth! This time, the year is 1972 and she is at work doing a sound check at Broadcasting House in the Women’s Hour studio for a special broadcast of Princess Anne doing an interview.
Her best friend is Caroline, who brought her to London as they’re like sisters. She needs that kind of loving after still having her sparkley career in the morning and it vanishing by the afternoon… Then there’s the matter of her love-life and time is moving on and lots of guys are being picked off the shelf and coupled up, as her internal clock is also ticking away. It has a very entertaining, humorous Bridget Jones vibe, right down to a certain list, that fits well and seems a nice nod to those books/films. It’s a vibe that not everyone pulls off well, but Taylor does in this series and yet keeping originality in the characters and narrative.

Nestled amongst the hilarity, there are moments of poignancy and sadness in family matters, but not deeply depressingly sad, it’s another side of grief and dealing with the deceased belongings, a tender, bittersweet moment that is realistically captured, before moving back to Evie working on a plan of action for her next stage in life (sort of).

There are interesting interludes throughout the book, much like there were in the first book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. This time it is like a bit of a tour around different parts of Scotland and Yorkshire, giving insights into what happened for a person to get to where they are now. It may not sound like this works on paper like this, but in the book it does and flows naturally. The fact there are interludes sort of reminds me of a style in a drama I used to watch. The interludes in this book add much depth and poignancy.

I am absolutely hooked on reading about Evie Epworth and I am sure others will be too. I can’t wait to see what Matson Taylor writes next!

I highly recommend this book.

 

#Bookreview By Lou of One Camel Called Doug By Lu Fraser @_lufraser #SarahWarburton @simonkids_UK #picturebook #RhymingStory #ChildrensBook #BedtimeStory

One Camel Called Doug
By Lu Fraser
Illustrated By Sarah Warburton

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One Camel Called Doug is a rhyming picture book for young readers that I highly recommend. Today I have a review, thanks to Simon & Schuster Kids UK for gifting me a copy. Find out more about it in the blurb and my review below.

One Camel Named Doug

Blurb

A warmly reassuring rhyming story (with a fun counting element!) about how it’s ok to need a little alone time, from the author of the award-winning The Littlest Yak.

Doug the camel is all alone and sometimes he wonders whether one is enough (it makes playing hide and seek terribly tough…). So when at first one, then two, then three, then four more camels turn up (followed by a whole camel herd), Doug delights in the possibilities all these new friends bring. But when Doug is ‘all camelled out’ from all the excitement and it’s time to count down to bedtime, he takes just as much pleasure from the peace of being alone once again.

Lu Fraser’s warm, funny text is a delight to read out loud and is brilliantly illustrated by Sarah Warburton in the first book from this exciting new picture book partnership.

Review

One Camel Called Doug is a funny rhyming story that also involves counting. It starts with one camel, but there may be more, or it could be something else. Doug tries to figure out what he is seeing and how many you need for playing games like hide and seek or going on a bobsleigh or playing football.
It’s bright and vibrant with some hilarity in its illustrations.
It’s a beautiful book that brings camels alive in ways readers will find hilarious and will never have seen before.
Any nursery, library, home could have this in their possession to great effect.
It’s a book I highly recommend!

#Review By Lou of The Rabbit Factor By Antti Tuomainen @antii_tuomainen @OrendaBooks #TheRabbitFactor #NotTheEasterBunny #BlogTour #SoonToBeAMovie #ReadingCommunity #FilmCommunity

The Rabbit Factor
By Antti Tuomainen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

 

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

The Rabbit Factor is going to be a Major Motion Picture starring Steve Carell. This darkly humoured, Scandi-Noir type book is available to read now. Discover more in the blurb and my review below…
I firstly, thank Random T. Tours and Orenda Books for inviting me to review on the blog tour.

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

Blurb

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir; What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.
And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a
triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in
the beauty and random nature of life.

Review

Rabbits are cute and furry, but in this case the rabbit is something quite different in what is a darkly quirky story. Just wait and read the opening paragraph about this rabbit, it’s sure to raise a chuckle.

Mathematics/Math/Maths, however you want to say it, has a universal truth. It makes so much calculable, rock steady, you know where you are with it and nothing changes. Henri Koskinen knows this all too well and appears to have a bit of an obsession with maths, to put it mildly and is an actuary for a Finnish insurance company. It brings Henri and Tuomo Pertila a certainty about life and all the things in their environment around them. I did say, this was quirky. Bear with the book though. You don’t have to be a mathematician to read and enjoy it. It’s not really full of rabbits telling you how to do algebra and even more hard sums. Everything is so precise in Henri’s life and you begin to wonder where is the space for the fun things in life.

An actuary and one as pedantic about life as Henri is, isn’t perhaps anyone’s usual character to be rooting for and although his life views seem pedantic, the Toumainen manages to skillfully steer clear from it becoming frustrating for the reader and instead injects some dry humour.
The book is going to be made into a major motion picture, starring Steve Carrell. I can imagine him well in this film and I think it could be entertaining to watch. The book certainly has a number of twists and even more corners of life to turn into as life paths change accordingly to each milestone and situation. This isn’t always comfortable for Henri as he tries to calculate his way through life and not all calculations, even for a mathematically obsessed actuary as Henri is, can bring that certain steadfast certainty they normally do.

Life changes quite a bit when his job circumstances, and as it goes, inherits an adventure park from his brother. All isn’t what anyone would imagine at all. The circumstances he finds himself in with the park is also rather quirky as is the employees, then there is also the poor financial situation and criminals to contend with. As Henri’s life changes, it sends him into a bit of a spin as no longer is he totally in his own little world that he comfortably inhabited before, but he has to do recalculations of formulas he normally lived by, as he tries to control his life so much in such a pedantic way after chaotic formative years, that is illuminating to enter his mind and life.

Romance also enters Henri’s life as he meets Laura, who is an artist. You can’t help wondering how he will calculate and live that aspect of life through.

Fans of Scandi-Noir and Chris Brookmyre would enjoy this book, which is the first in a series.

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

 

#BookReview By Lou of The Wedding Crasher By Abigail Mann @abigailmann @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #romanticfiction #humour #book #bookblog #BookTwitter #fiction #TheWeddingCrasher #bookrecommendation #RomCom

The Wedding Crasher
By Abigail Mann

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Lonely Fajita and The Sister Surprise PB with text

Lots of humour, romance and a passion for photography is in store for the very entertaining Wedding Crasher by Abigail Mann. This is one of the funniest I have read of this author’s books, so far… Thanks to One Chapter/Harper Collins for inviting me to review. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review below…

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Blurb

The Wedding Crasher coverPoppy got married young. Too young in fact, and she put her dreams aside for love. Fast-forward eight years(ish) and now it’s time to reclaim her life and first love – photography.

What better way to celebrate her new-found freedom than a blissful week alone on an island with just her camera for company. Until her best friend has a catastrophe with the high-profile wedding she’s planning and begs Poppy to help. After all, she owes her.

Poppy doesn’t expect to recognise the groom as an old friend, nor for the bride to get cold feet but what’s a wedding without a little drama. And as the wedding week – yes, week – gets underway, Poppy might find happiness again, just not in the way she expected.

If you love Mhairi McFarlane, Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary, you will love Abigail Mann.

Review

Let the countdown to the wedding begin…
The Wedding Crasher is entertaining from the start. Dare I say it, but this may be one of the most entertaining books from Abigail Mann. It is so enjoyable getting to know Poppy, Lola and Will. The humour all starts in a rather rocky dinghy and some witty chat and repartee.

Poppy it turns out, has a love of photography and teaches it in a school that is teetering on the edge with the eyes of Ofsted on them. Then there’s also the awkward relationship complications between Poppy and Josh. Poppy then ends up involved in taking photos for a wedding that is a week long, including all the build-up to it. It’s high profile and the very rich groom is certainly a kaleidoscope of personality and life. In saying that, Poppy has gumption and inner-strength, especially when it comes to her own relationship with Josh and how that is hitting the rocks.

There are islands – Orwell and the much more glamourous Loxby Island with its Art-Deco designed archticture to explore, with beautiful, idyllic backdrops. The book as whole is just so easy to be swept along by. 

There are also moments focused on the current debates around sport, but you really don’t have to be even remotely a sports fan to get enjoyment from this book as far, far from the dominant part of the book.

The comedic moments keep coming, which is impressive; even when there are serene moments of reflection and emotion, this isn’t lost sight of and put altogether, makes a great mixture for this book.