#Review by Lou of -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such good entertainment and fun which is so uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit. 
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2

#Interview by Lou with Backstories Author – Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #ShortStories #Backstories #Charities

Interview with Simon Van Der Velde
Author of Backstories

Today I welcome Bestselling author – Simon Van Der Velde, whose new book, is Backstories for a Q&A session. It is already becoming a success story in itself for this debut short-story teller with his book rapidly reaching Amazon no 1 bestseller – for lit shorts new releases. The book is available now.
What a priveledge to be able to interview him.

Backstories
is a highly original collection of 14 intimate short stories about famous and infamous people who you may know. These tell their stories, fictionalised, but with enough fact so you, the reader, can guess who the narrator is. I rated it 5 stars and was hooked into each story from beginning to end.

You can find out more  Here First, check out what he has to say in his interview/Q&A session with me as we talk about Backstories, Writing, Desert Island Books and Music and Emerging From Lockdown. You can also find buy and social media links and the charities this book supports at the end.

Backstories

What or who inspired you to write short stories and do you have a particular routine to your writing day?

There were always books in our house, so I guess writing is an ambition that goes right back to childhood.  I do love novels too, but sometimes I feel there’s greater power and truth in the shorter form.

Backstories (2)The best ideas come in that fuzzy place between wake and sleep.  Ideally, I roll out of bed and start writing – often in my ‘office kimono’, with those ideas still fresh in my mind.

You are clearly fascinated in the human soul and bearing all, what inspired you to delve into the deeper and sometimes darker corners of life to create your characters?

I’m not much use at parties.  I find the superficial boring. Give me the truth every time.

You have a particular writing style and don’t let on too easily who the narrator is of each of the stories. Was there a particular reason or inspiration for this?

The longer I write, the more I see that a story is a collaboration between reader and writer.  Readers aren’t interested in writers showing off how clever they are, readers want to be engaged – to be an active part of the process, and in Backstories they absolutely are.  Let’s call it an interactive reading experience.

What was your favourite short story in this collection to write and why?

I love the Guitar which was the inspiration for the collection – and Past Time and Jive Talkin – but in the end I think All Over Now is my favourite, probably because it was hell to write and rewrite and throw away and start again over and over and over, but in the end I really feel I did the character justice – and at is what I aim to do – to do justice to these great men and women – and give a human insight into the bad guys too.

In couple of sentences, how would you describe your book?

Let’s call it an interactive reading experience – or as someone said – the thinking person’s masked singer.  Certainly, I’d say it’s the most original book of the year.

Music notesWhat are your top 3 Desert Island books and music?

Waiting for the Barbarians, The Heart of The Matter –
and for music – Springsteen’s Thunder Road
                                 gets me every time

What is your next writing venture?

Backstories II, Backstories Musicians, Backstories Leaders.pen and paper pic

And last question, because let’s face it, it’s hard to avoid…. What is the main thing you are looking forward to getting back to, when it is safe to do so?

A few glasses of decent whisky with friends

Thank you very much to Simon Van Der Velde for giving me the opportunity to interview. It was a pleasure having you on my blog.

Buy and Social Media Links

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

Amazon – Backstories              Audible

Goodreads-Backstories   

BookBub-Backstories

http://www.simonvandervelde.com/

#BookReview by Lou of My Sister Is A Monster, My Brother Is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #MonstrousMe #ChildrensBook

My Sister Is A Monster, My Brother Is A Monster
by Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing with you the next installment of this wonderful series. Each book is complete within themselves and are worth collecting them all for the complete family of them. It is a split-perspective story, so you see both the sister and brother’s point of view. First one and then flip the book over to see the next, in whatever order you like, so it’s a bit like 2 stories for the price of 1 and with all the same excellent characters in both. It’s fun and it encourages a sense of self and empathy. Find out more about the author, the blurb and my full review of this excellent book as you meander down the page. Discover a link to activities that accompany the book after my review.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review. Thanks to the author Natalie Reeves Billing for sending me the book.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (5)Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

My Brother Graphic 1

Blurb

Two Books in 1! The Monstrous Me Collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this book, a brother and sister are convinced the other is a monster. But, are they really? When we look at the story from the other side, we see a very different story.

My sister Cover

    My Brother FINAL cover

Review

This is again, another terrific book that flips 2-ways to tell 2 stories. This time it focuses on the brother and the sister. It, like other books in this collection, has interactive elements of trying to find the Monstrometer as you go along. It adds an extra layer of fun and it is great that there are activities on her Lollipop Lodge website, which you can find just after the review.
Half the book is My Brother Is A Monster and then you flip it over to find My Sister is a Monster, or indeed, vice-versa, which is also fun and quite different.

The story starts at breakfast time, moving onto school and back home again before heading to bed. It tells of how the brother has the worst eating habits, bully’s his sister at school and then at home, won’t let her play with his toys and messes up the rules and the house. Then at the end, it demonstrates how he does love his sister really and does something courageous for her.
On the flipside, her brother sees his sister as being a monster as she is fussy at breakfast and has rules and then come school, won’t join in any games she thinks she will lose. At home she won’t leave her brother alone and tidies up rather prematurely. After all that, she then gives her brother a lovely homemade gift and shows she does love him after all.

The book is well-rounded and encourages empathy and understanding as children will be able to see through the eyes of both characters and work out how things really are and what is percieved. I has wonderful humour, rhythm and illustrations throughout will easily engage children.
This is a book that is part of a great collection that will be sure to delight children throughout at home and in the classroom. It can be used for both reading for pleasure and in a nursery and young classroom school setting, such as Reception or Primary 1, for fun and for stimulating conversation. 

Link to Activities

www.lollipoplodge.com

My Brother BT Poster

#BookReview of The Unicorn Prince by Luca Simone Lo Piccolo and ArtinAction #ChildrensBook (4-6 yr olds) #Kidslit

The Unicorn Prince by
 Luca Simone Lo Piccolo
and ArtinAction

Rated: 4 stars ****

Enter a magical kingdom of a unicorn prince who learns a valuable lesson from a fairy. With bold illustrations, a story, plus colouring-in pages, this is a delightful book for 4-6 year olds that will give pleasure as well as subtly teach them social lessons. Please note on the book you may see his name as Lo Piccolo Luca Simone.
Follow down to find out more in the blurb and my review. Find out what the second book is called and a buy link.

The Unicorn Prince

Blurb

A fun and valuable tale which encourages kids to celebrate people for who they really are.

The Prince of the Unicorns is the most beautiful unicorn of them all – but he has a problem. He thinks he’s so beautiful and special that he doesn’t want to play with the other unicorns in the kingdom! But with the help of a magical fairy, he might just learn a valuable lesson about vanity and humility which changes his mind forever…

With lovely illustrations and a heartwarming story, this touching children’s book teaches kids a valuable lesson about how a person’s character matters far more than their looks or their status. Encouraging kids to see past vanity and celebrate others for who they truly are, The Unicorn Prince uses an enjoyable story to impart a lesson which they won’t soon forget.

Book details:

  • A Fun and Engaging Story For Children Aged 4-6
  • Teaches Kids a Valuable Lesson About Humility and Not Thinking Too Highly of Oneself
  • Makes a Creative Gift Idea For Christmas, Holidays, Birthdays and Special Occasions
  • Ideal as a Bedtime Story, For Groups, or To Help Your Child Strengthen Their Reading Skills
  • And Much More!

With free bonus coloring pages for your child to bring to life with color, this wonderful tale will quickly become a favorite part of your bookshelf and a story which you find yourselves returning to time and time again.

The Unicorn Prince

Review

Pitched well for 4-6 year olds, the book is bright and eye-catching in its full pages of illustrations. Don’t be put off by the fact it is 48 pages, this isn’t 48 pages full of writing . On each page where the story is being told in a few short sentences, are illustrations and almost uniquely, this alternates with pages with no words, but a full page of an illustration, accompanying also what has just been read, which definitely has a high visual impact. From around page 33 onwards are delightful colouring-in pages that accompany the story very well as they depict some of the story. The colourings are suitable for the age-range and not too intricate, but without being too basic either and there are plenty for children to have fun with.
This makes the book very accessible for children of all abilities and how it is as wide-ranging as 4-6 year olds.
It is sure to motivate those children who are also perhaps reluctant readers when they reach 5 and 6 year olds too. It’s very much a book that children can look at independantly, share with their friends and for the story, share with an adult to read it to them or with them. The story has the elements and types of characters that children will be familiar with many fairytales, but taken to modern times and issues surrounding how society, including children can view themselves and the valuable lessons on a more positive path can be realised, but in a magical and wondrous way, with a unicorn prince and a fairy.

The book tackles themes of loneliness amongst the young and also attitudes of thinking highly of themselves over others. It illustrates very well how the Prince has everything materialistically, but what he doesn’t have is friendship and how this makes him feel. It also shows his snobbery a bit and how he thinks because he is a prince, that he is better and higher than anyone else in society. There is a fairy who shows her power and changes perspectives on the Unicorn Prince and how he is viewed by making the sky dark, thereby diminishing his physical beauty and glow about it, making him seem like all the other unicorns.In amongst all the emotion children will see, there is a change in tide to show a more positive and happy pictures as the Prince Unicorn discovers games and the enjoyment of just playing around and being like the other unicorns.

This is a good book for any story-time and as well as reading for pleasure, it can be used to open-up a discussion too. There is also a second book called – The Unicorn Prince and The Fairy Vase.
Buy Link: Amazon

#Bookreview by Lou of #ChildrensBook for 5-7 year olds What The World Needs Now: Bees by Cheryl Rosebush @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

What The World Needs Now: Bees
By Cheryl Rosebush
Illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova
Rated: 5 stars *****

First, I took part in the cover reveal. Now I have even more for you. I am starting off the blog to a review of this wonderful book for 5-7 year olds. It’s a sweet, well illustrated story mixed with facts in various ways that will both entertain and add to children’s knowledge.
Thanks to Freshly Press for supplying me with a copy of the book and to Love Books Group for inviting me to review.
Find out more in the blurb and review and discover more about this intrepid author below.

BeesTour

Blurb

Inside the sprawling forests of Ontario, Canada lives a  friendly black bear named Melly. One of Melly’s favourite  things to do is EAT! And many of the delicious fruits she  snacks on wouldn’t grow without the help of some very  important little forest creatures.

What the World Needs Now: Bees! explores the vital role  busy, busy bees play in helping plants to grow the food  people and animals love to eat.

bees Cover_Final RGB

Review

Bees… We all know how important bees are to the environment and to the human and animal race. This bright and very cute book tells a story as to why in a way that children can follow… Children can follow the black bear – Melly, who is in Ontario, Canada. It is however quite a universal, environmental story.
It is fun and cute to explore with Melly through the forest to the berries she eats onto the flowers she plays in to the friends she meets. Throughout it also tells the story of the busy bees and how they help pollinate flowers and food and why that is important. Children can also learn in little segments, away from the main story, in neat fact boxes, about the bear too. There is minor trepidation when chemical pesticides are used, until natural sprays are used instead. It’s an absolutely great story that is pitched very well for 5-7 year olds. They get a cute story, plus facts along the way and at the back there is a great page about bees from around the world and other wildlife species that can be found in Ontario, Canada.

About the Author

What The World Needs Now -author picI was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me.

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again.

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist.

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

Website: https://www.cherylrosebush.com/

Lou’s #Review of How Do You Make A Rainbow @crowehoho @MacMillanKidsUK #ChildrensBook #KidsLit

How Do You Make A Rainbow
By Caroline Crowe
Rated: 5 stars *****

Beautifully written, this is no ordinary rainbow. This is one that promotes kindness and encourages children to care and not take things for granted. It’s a gloriously enticing book that’s full of joyous positivity and fun!
Perfect for homes and the classroom, it’s a treat of a book, with a story and activities.
Thanks to MacMillan Kids for accepting my request to review.
Please read further for the blurb and full review.

How Do You Make A Rainbow Cover

How do you make a rainbow? This joyful story, written by Caroline Crowe and illustrated by Cally Johnson-Isaacs, shows how to find colour and hope when days seem dim and grey: celebrating love, positivity and the precious relationship between a child and her grandad.

Stuck inside on a cloudy day, a little girl asks her grandad to help her paint a rainbow on the sky. But as Grandad tells her, rainbows aren’t painted on the sky, they grow out of kindness, hope, and helping other people.

How Do You Make a Rainbow? is a reassuring, heart-warming story of colours, kindness, community and nature, that shows that brighter times are always around the corner.

How Do You Make A Rainbow Cover

Review

This book is beautifully written and cute. This is far from any ordinary rainbow. It has colour, but more than that too… This presents ideas of how to paint a rainbow and it is different from what you may imagine… There is a story of  A grand daughter who is curious about the rainbow in the sky, so asks her grandad about how to paint it, but it turns out the rainbow is made out of all different things. The book oozes with love and kindness and of untroubled times. It talks of the symbolism of a rainbow and what it means to them in a lyrical story-form. Grandad talks of how it is hope and kindness and a lot of other things from the natural world thrown into the mix as well as all the people you may know or may meet. It’s all the simple things people take for granted or don’t really think of. It’s incredibly heartwarming. It serves as this cosy reminder to children of what is good and positive around them and promotes kindness and encourages children to look around them and to think of who and what they see and really, properly care. It’s an important message as well as lots of fun for children. It champions who and what is good within the world they live in.

To go with the story is a crafting idea for each idea presented on each page for what makes up a rainbow and encourages children to think of all the things that would make up theirs, so it encourages discussion and also writing.

This book would be great in the home and any primary classroom and library.