Gloria – The Summer Fun Bus by Sue Wickstead @JayJayBus @rararesources #ChildrensBook #Kidslit #Edutwitter #Review #SummerReads #SummerReading

Gloria – The Summer Fun Bus
by Sue Wickstead
Rated: 4 stars ****

Today I am on a blog tour with Gloria – The Summer Fun Bus is by Sue Wickstead – Award Winning author (and teacher)  of The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Sue Wickstead. She is also an official Patron of Reading.
Gloria, the Summer Fun Bus is a super, vibrant book for children. Summer fun on a Play Bus, what can be better?

She also, according to Twitter, does school visits. Her books, although fictional, do have a factual link to a real school bus.

So come and discover the journey that will entertain your children this summer.
Discover the blurb, my review and then about the author and her social media and purchase links. Thanks to Rachel at Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour.

Gloria TSFB - Interiors - RGB LR for Web00

Blurb

Gloria the Summer Fun Bus
Gloria is a special Playbus.

She is painted with bright colours that makes her stand out. Now she is ready for a summer of fun, but will Max enjoy the adventure.

Why don’t you join in the fun, too?

Review

This is a joyous book full of fun and perfect for reading for pleasure!
Come and join the Play Bus it calls out to children with its vibrant, welcoming cover.
Play buses in various guises have been around awhile now in real life, so this is a great story to introduce children to them or to sit with your child and just have lots of fun, perhaps reminiscing about them, or just generally have a lovely story-time together. It’s action-packed full of wonderful pictures and characters up to all sorts of activities ranging from painting to dressing-up. It could spark the imagination within kids to try something different or re-discover an activity they’ve not done in awhile.

First, the playworker Bridget needs help to re-design a plain old red bus and then she needs customers. Max and his siblings go with their parents. Max is reluctant to join in and is rather naughty. Children will have fun finding out all the activities and what Max does in the end.

All in all it’s a book that is packed full of mischief and fun with an endearing end.

This book is ideal for schools, libraries and reading at home.

About the Author

Play bus Sue picSue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place for children to meet and to play.

Award winning author.

 

Social Media Links –

Website : www.suewickstead.co.uk

Facebook: – Author Page https://www.facebook.com/storiesSue/

Facebook  – Playbus page https://www.facebook.com/BewbushPlaybus/

 

Purchase Links

https://suewickstead.co.uk/shop

www.suewickstead.co.uk

amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gloria-Summer-Fun-Bus-Wickstead/dp/191639230X/

Amazon .com https://www.amazon.com/Gloria-Summer-Fun-Bus-Wickstead/dp/191639230X/

Waterstones https://www.waterstones.com/book/gloria-the-summer-fun-bus/sue-wickstead/9781916392304

Barnes and noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gloria-the-summer-fun-bus-sue-wickstead/1136923441?ean=9781916392304

Follow the rest of the tour

Gloria the Summer Fun Bus Full Tour Banner

Thank you and more to come #bloggers #readingcommunity #writingcommunity

I hope everyone is well. It felt like the right time to show my gratitude again and to say that I never take anything or anyone for granted. Everyone is appreciated and every experience cherished, from seeing comments, reader numbers, the clicks of like, the stagedoor and festival encounters with actors, authors etc (when times were different).

I see that more of you are very kindly following me via my blog and more of you via Twitter too. Every single follow, click of like, message, comment is noticed by me (and I try to reply when I can to comment). Each is lovely and very much appreciated by me. I feel fortunate to have so many lovely people follow and from all different walks of life and from across the world, and to have opportunities from across the UK and other parts of the world to review. It all keeps me inspired to keep my blog going. I don’t benefit from it, except a free review copy of a book here and there and some fabulous connections with people, some, including some bloggers and mostly authors and actors, who I have very fortunate in also meeting in real life and although right now no one is really meeting anyone, they are moments I cherish.

I don’t benefit financially as some people occasionally wonder. Book bloggers don’t tend to. I blog because I have grown to love it and hopefully for the benefit for others. That’s the way I live life. Next year will mark 20 years of using my life to volunteer ie all my adult life (I might write something about that next year). I don’t know anymore what it is like not to do volunteer work. Blogging is just an extension of how I feel I can help others. Readers like to know what’s good on the market, what’s coming up and authors need reviews to help get their books known.  I feel so fortunate to be able to write reviews that people seem to read and some people then go and buy or borrow books. It is down to all the readers of my blog and the followers on Twitter that gives me some really fortunate experiences (like the Zoom chat with Fern Britton and the invite to Morecambe and Vice last year). No experience and no person is ever taken for granted. I learnt fast in my teens not to take anything or anyone for granted, not even the hills and fields that are near my house.

I just wanted to take time to say thank you! I have more reviews coming up. Just now I am reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I have other reviews coming before I publish that review…Need to finish the book first, that would be a good idea wouldn’t it?! Look out for Butterflies soon by D.E. McCluskey. I read it in a day because I needed to know how it all ended. I would read The Thursday Murder Club in a day too, I’m sure, except other parts of my life needs tending to today. You’ll have noticed that I have been fortunate in doing a bit for Hobeck Books and Robert Daws. His books are coming this month. I also have my hands on the new The Worst Witch book for those wanting to find out about that for their children.

Anyway, huge thank you and I’ve lots more reviews to come that I’ll be putting in the work for, for you to hopefully be inspired by some good things and hopefully enjoy.

I hope you are all keeping well in these uncertain and different times.
Take care and next review will be in a few days time or so.

 

#Review of The Consequences of Love by Gavanndra Hodge Rated 5 stars @gavanndra @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #NonFiction

The Consequences of Love
By Gavanndra Hodge
Rated: 5 stars *****

This is a moving story of Gavanndra Hodges compelling, emotional, honest account of the strength and bonds that creates sisterly love and how love can devastate a person. The book goes between the 1980s, 1990’s and 2000’s. There is a lot that readers will be familiar with from music to locations to childhood toys. From the start you can almost feel the tender love between Gavanndra and her sister Candy. It is sweet and yet so devastatingly heart-breaking as Candy becomes so unwell from an airborne virus and slips away, the girl who is described as being loving, wilful, funny, curious and so much more.
The numbness of grief and the consequences of not giving time to grieve is layed bare within this brave story, that holds more than, certainly what I ever imagined in this must read book. It is definitely a book that will take readers through many emotions and yet does shed some light and hope and how powerful the psychological make up of our minds can be in this terrifically written book that is a great read.
Within my post here, you will find out more about the author, the blurb and my review.

I give thanks to the publishing company – Michael Joseph – an imprint of Penguin for allowing me to review such a heart-rendering, touching and tender book; and for supplying me with a physical print copy in-exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

About the Author

Gavanndra Hodge has worked in newspapers and magazines for over twenty years, at the Daily Mail, Independent, ES Magazine and Tatler, where she was deputy editor and acting editor. In 2018 she left Tatler and became a freelance writer, contributing to publications including the Sunday Times, The Times, Telegraph and ES Magazine. She writes a column for The Times LUXX Magazine about how to talk to children about difficult subjects, such as privilege, grief and fairness, and has interviewed many high profile people, most recently Michael Caine, Margot Robbie and Carey Mulligan.

The Conseequence of Love

Blurb

Seven-year-old Gavanndra Hodge’s life is a precarious place. Her father is a hairdresser and drug dealer to Chelsea’s most decadent inhabitants; her mother an alcoholic ex-model. So, it is up to Gavanndra to keep her little sister Candy safe.

But when Candy dies suddenly on holiday aged nine, Gavanndra’s family, already so fragile and damaged, implodes.

Now a mother herself, and with only memories of Candy’s awful final moments, Gavanndra embarks on a journey to write her way back to the little girl whose death tore her family apart.

The Consequences of Love is a story of loss and recovery, trauma and memory. It is a joyous and compelling account of the strength of the love between sisters and how nothing is ever truly lost if we are brave enough to return to where we began.

Review

Candy (Candida Meander Hodge) died 4th April 1989. This book is about love, loss, grief on a huge scale, dealing with the consequences of the magnitude of grief, identity, drugs and alcohol of dealing with memories and handling life when people fill in the gaps, that have been long since suppressed. This is an emotional read and also one that is perhaps important. As much as there are other people mentioned in the book, like a boyfriend and friends etc, it is ultimately one that focuses your mind on both Gavanndra and Candy Hodge.

It finally becomes about both preserving both sisters. One dead, the other alive and the beginnings a gradual recovery, decades later for the one who is alive. It shows the messiness of life and the need to give time to actually process emotions and to grieve. It’s a brave book that in no way could have been easy to write and to bare so much about life in the past and closer to present times as memories are retrieved about the people she associated with and the way her family was and the emotional pain, that she may have thought she dealt with at the time of the death, but had not as it states her own vices. It becomes apparent that, although there is hope and love as she now has a family of her own, with a husband who is different from her father, that it would have been a lot to deal with, enough to hope that some way, Gavanndra Hodge’s personal life gets that bit better as more time goes on.

It’s also about, perhaps not full recovery, but a merging of the past and present and finding a way to live with them both. There seems to be strings of pain that, like threads that intertwine to create it to run through something, the pain intertwines and feeds through this family and the profound effect Candy’s death had on her, into adulthood and the entire surviving family. There is some optimism and hope provided by Gavanndra Hodge as she tells this life story.

There are however, in 1982,  childhood memories of fun like Enid Blyton books, wobbly teeth and fun with her dad. The type of fun that would make any reader smile and may bring back their own childhood memories. There’s a cutting darkness of her dad being involved in drugs.

Time moves on to 2014 and Gavanndra naturally grows up and has her own children – Hebe and Minna, with an age gap not far from herself and Candy. It is evident that the memories hits hard when her children are playing gleefully around. At this time Gavanndra works for Tatler magazine as a successful Deputy Editor as she tries to work through the past and yet separate it from her present at times. The writing is powerful, it grabs you from the beginning to the end.
The book covers quite a lot and her mother also becomes terribly unwell with cellulitis and sepsis, both that are challenging to deal with and are thankfully becoming more prominent in certain narratives in the news in recent years. Time moves also to 2015 and there is a sentence, that, for me anyway, hits home even more and that is about how every time a phone rings, you wonder if someone else has died. It will feel so uniquely different for everyone, but at the same time, I know how that feels for me, as Gavanndra will for her.

The book highlights some of the great work of Julia Samuel – a psychotherapist who consoled Princes William and Harry after their mother died and is a founder of Child Bereavement UK. This, apart from being nice, fits in with Gavanndra’s personal as well as her ambitious professional life. It is also very interesting to read about the social circles she moves/moved in. 

In 1991 there is a mix of drugs and GCSEs, quite a comparison to later in 2015 when she finally goes for therapy and to try to remember Candy more, the sister who she lost and to release the profoundness and pain of the grief a bit so it becomes more manageable. Reading onwards I hold hope for Gavanndra Hodge that she gets what she is seeking and that her personal life improves as more of what happened to Candy almost tumbles out in some interesting therapies and therapists, except I doubt in reality it did tumble out completely and took time.

There’s a really interesting interview in the last quarter of the book that shines a light on Jan Hodge about the family and tragedies.

The book does ultimately take readers up to 2018 and 2019, where we really get a glimpse into Candy, who seemed vibrant, knew her own mind – bordering on stubborn with and arty flair and friendly and the school reports are fascinating.

This is ultimately a book that is emotional and moving and is very interesting indeed. As much as the years move around a bit from chapter to chapter, it reads very well and does make sense to do this in this instance. It reads like there is a lot of honesty and in the end you cannot but help that there’s some more light in the author’s life to come. There is in a sense, perhaps more to be told, but the focus is excellent. It deals well with what “The Consequences of Love” can be, and yet we all need love and to be loved.

 

#Review of Paper Sparrows by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi – A Beautiful book about family, love, civil-war and more #PaperSparrows @EzziAbi @HhouseBooks #Fiction #libraries #readingcommunity #writingcommunity #readingforpleasure

Paper Sparrows
By Nathalie Abi-Ezzi
Rated: 5 stars *****

Thank you to Holland House Books for trusting me and my blog enough to approach me to choose a book to review. I chose 2 and one of them is Paper Sparrows by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi, which is highly praised by The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, Sunday Business Post, The Financial Times and more… The book is definitely, in my humble opinion worthy of such people praising it. It’s a fabulous book that will take you on a journey out of London to Lebanon to Beriuit. It will also take you on a journey of a perhaps, different life, but one that will have some resonance. It is emotive, powerful and yet subtle at the same time about what was going on in 2006. The book was published early March 2020.

About the Author

Nathalie Abi-Ezzi was born in Beirut, and has lived in Lebanon, Austria and the UK.
It was while working on her PhD in English Literature at King’s College London that she realised that she wanted to write her own novels, rather than just analyze other people’s. So, while working variously with an editor, teacher and tutor, she wrote and published several prize-winning short stories and her first novel, A Girl Made of Dust, was widely praised, and was shortlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize and te Author’s Club Best First Novel Award, and was the winner of the liBeraturpreis in 2011.

Blurb

Back to Lebanon – to family, love and war…
Layla, a 19 year old music undergraduate, travels from London back to Lenanon for the summer holidays, only to find that her brother has gone missing. Without a second thought, she sets off to find him in Beirut. On her way, she picks up a stray dog, falls in love with Joe, another student, and sees her country through entirely new eyes. But just as she is beginning to pick up clues about where her brother might be, the July war breaks out and turns everything on its head.

Paper Sparrows

Review

What can I say? Amazing, Must Read, Beautifully written. The author captures music, love, civil war, family strains, compassion, warmth, anger incredibly well. I thought I would take a chance on this book and I am so pleased I did. Discover Layla, her family, the country she grew up in and what happens in her life and to the place she called home, all within this fantastic book. This is one of those books I hope many people read. It is more than what you may initially think it is. It is gently written, but the themes are anything but gentle. This is a book with substance and one I find myself hoping everyone takes a chance like I did and read it.

I cannot help but mention is the wonderful cover art. I absolutely love it, with the sparrow and pattern. It is so fitting for this book as, apart from it being called Paper Sparrow, it is set in London, Lebannon and Beirut. From the outset, this is a beautifully written book . It’s a book I felt caught up in and really hope others try reading this amazing and lovely book. This isn’t to say it is a cosy read. The words may drift easily along, but there is bite in this book as the plot builds and builds. It’s a book I highly recommend.

There is life, music and love in the air with the backdrop of civil-war. The way it is all written and joins together is encapsualting, beautiful and sensual. Wherever you live in the world, there is something that people will find relatable or familiar to what they’ve seen on the news, but written so much more subtly as this is also about the spaces in-between the war, where ordinary civilians lives go on.

19 year old Layla is the main character in this book. She is an under-graduate at the Royal College of Music in London and returns to Lebannon to attend a wedding. Imagine being away from your home country and returning to find things are just not quite the same? Layla did. She has been away for quite some time and people have changed. The book pronounces these changes and the feelings about them empathetically. There are also some wonderful and warm memories from her childhood that she reflects on from time to time, especially music.

Ziad – Layla’s brother goes missing. There’s been the pressure of exams put upon him, on-top of a worrying job-market situation and he may or may not want to take over the pharmacy. Something everyone, the world over can relate to, perhaps not the pressure of taking over a family business, but the rest of it. So, Layla goes on a road trip to Beirut to find him, picking up a stray dog along the way. It sounds trivial, it isn’t. The dog becomes more like a friend and she needs it. There is the desperate worry of what could have become of her brother.

This however is no ordinary story about growing up and life changing, this is a story taking place when there is civil war.
It is so well told and a great demonstration of how life can seem quite average and yet have different challenges from many other western countries as there are checkpoints to contend with, soldiers around and the news of what Hezbollah’s leader will do next and where his army will encroach on. This isn’t also your usual political story either. Find out the effects of civil war and family has on a person and find out where Layla goes and her geographical and life journey here. The book may be fiction, but the conflict in 2006 was very real.

There is something for most readers in this book.