#Bookreview by Lou of an enchanting #ChildrensBook – The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson @sophieinspace @Usborne

The Castle of Tangled Magic
by Sophie Anderson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has another enchanting tale – The Castle of Tangled Magic. It enchants with its richly depicted castle and magical land that provides excellent escapism.

Thanks to Usborne and Sophie Anderson for allowing me to write a review and for providing an e-copy of the book.

Follow further down to the blurb, review and links.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Blurb

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

The Castle of Tangled Magic, the new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Review

Castle Mila, built from wood around 500 years ago near the shore of a lake, sounds like so many children’s dream of a castle with it’s majestic stature and hidden passageways and secrets. The writing is amazingly imaginative, in the way Sophie Anderson has captured the castle and takes readers on a tour around it, up each of the stairs to the different rooms and domes, along with Olia. There is so much to feast the eyes upon and to delight and bring a touch of magic to children’s imaginations. It’s all rather splendid. She is also wanting to find some magic, so seeks out an older member of the family – Babusya, who informs about the mysterious Sun Dome that could have magic, but is locked. The mysteriousness that builds is fascinating and enchanting.

There’s great charm and excitement that captures the heart. The ideas of olde of leaving salt as offerings for spirits, such as domovoi (a spirit, in this case a fox who protects) and of the changes of the wind are explored through Babusya. As other family members appear, there is a lovely family cosyiness element, which is heartwarming, as is the talk of ancestry.

There’s a storm, which seems to make looking for a key even more pressing, a gripping, treacherous adventure ensues and there is a lot at stake – the family and the castle to protect from the ferociousness of the weather.

The story continues onwards with Feliks, the domovoi, into a mystical, rather surreal land – The Land of Forbidden Magic, where there the descriptions add to the surrealism as Koshka, a gorgeous cat, is met and a conversation ensues about the witch Nania and Chenomor’s magic. Another unexpected quest occurs as the land and spirits need to be saved. With lots of danger and many different encounters and riddles to solve, it pulls readers further in deeper as the quest becomes increasingly treacherous and on top of that Castle Mila itself needs saving.
Sophie Anderson creates so much for readers to grasp onto and root for in this pacy adventure, that also has an almighty twist.

Throughout, there are lovely illustrations, depicting the story well. At the end there is also “Olia’s Glossary”, which children will benefit well from, to enhance their understanding of the story as there are some words, that may be unfamiliar.

Links

Website: www.sophieandersonauthor.com

Twitter: @sophieinspace

#Bookreview by Lou of The Beast and The Bethany by Jack Meggitt Phillips @MeggittPhillips @IsabelleFollath @egmontbooksuk @The_WriteReads #ChildrensBooks #MiddleGrade #kidslit

The Beast And The Bethany
By Jack Meggitt Phillips
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
Rated: 5 stars *****

Fun and totally grossed out with this absolutely terrific children’s book that has heart and warmth!
It’s being made into a big budget Hollywood Movie with Warner Brothers already and I can see how it can lend itself terrifically well to the big screen.

I’ve been one of the lucky people to get my hands on a copy of the book to review and it gives me great pleasure to share with you.

The Beast And The Bethany is one of the biggest middle-grade children’s books to be published this year, with a film going to be made of it, this is the perfect chance to get your hands on the book first. Excited? It’s worth getting excited about. It was published 3rd September. Today is my blog tour slot for the tour and I have a review for this treat of a book thanks to Egmont Books, who sent me a proof physical copy out after the proof of the e-book. Thanks to the Write Reads for inviting me onto the blog tour.
Follow onwards to the Synopsis, Review, Buy Links and about the film and About the Author and Illustrator…. before the Beast captures you… Eek!!!

Synopsis

The most exciting new children’s book of 2020 and a modern classic in the making.The Beast and the Bethany has all the classic macabre humour of Roald Dahl with the warmth and charm ofDespicable Me, finished off with a gleeful bite of Little Shop of Horrors! This book should be on every little monster’s birthday and Christmas list.

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan…

The Bethany and the Beast

Review

Ebenezer Tweezer is an age you can only ever imagine. He has 1 week to go until his 512th birthday. Has he the wrinkles of an old man? No, not him. He looks around 20 years old… I figure a lot of adults now reading this are wondering what his beauty secrets are and a lot of children having fun and in awe of his age. He lives in the most amazing house with a rare parrot. He then goes to an orphanage where he meets Bethany, who has some pretty gross habits. Children who like Roald Dahl, will really enjoy this book. Still, Ebenezer wants to adopt her from Miss Fizzlewick. She’s a handful and what she can’t do with superglue and chilli powder isn’t worth knowing!
I think many children will find some pretty grossed-out humour in this book. Bethany is pretty obnoxious. Then… There’s The Beast to contend with. Ebenezer has gone to great lengths to get the beast what it wants, including the Titanic. Now a child, who unfortunately may not be to its taste after-all and what can be done to remedy it. Readers will have to find out why not in the book…

Ultimately, Ebeneezer needs to change Bethany, so she becomes less of an obnoxious brat. The beast has also promised a very special potion to Ebenezer in return.

There are some parts that children may find thought-provoking and could be good for discussion, such as what it may feel like getting older and also transformation in behaviours, including that of the beast. The book has a heart and soul to it with a certain, unexpected warmth.

Ultimately this book will have children wrinkling their noses and perhaps being vocally disgusted at where things like the worms are, laughing so much at the humour and wanting to run from the beast. I reckon this is an absolutely terrific book for reading for pleasure at home and in the classroom. It’ll certainly be a book that lots of fun can be had from anyone who reads it.

Book to Film Link

Buy Link

About the Author and Illustrator

Jack Meggitt Phillips is an incredibly exciting new talent. He is an author, scriptwriter and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading PG Wodehouse novels.

Isabelle Follath is an illustrator who has worked in advertising, fashion magazines and book publishing, but her true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. She also loves drinking an alarming amount of coffee, learning new crafts and looking for the perfect greenish-gold colour. Isabellelives in Zurich, Switzerland.

#BookReview by Lou – of charming #ChildrensBook – The Butterfly Inside by Serena Lane Ferrari #readingrocks #edutwitter #minibeasts #Kidslit

The Butterfly Inside
By Serena Lane Ferrari
Illustrated By Georgia Vallicelli
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am delighted to present my review of The Butterfly Inside. This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will benefit so many young children up to at least age 5, and whisk them away on a great imaginative journey they are certain to relate to in this charming modern fairytale that will sit well in any nursery and primary school bookshelves. It is also great for reading for pleasure at home too.

I thank Serena Ferrari for posting a copy of her book to me.

The Butterfly Inside cover

Blurb

One young elf. One big dream.

Every night Oliver dreams of becoming a butterfly. He wants to fly and flutter around the forest with all the other butterflies.

The butterfly within him, trapped in the prison of his elf body, is battling to come out. Despite Crow’s laughing, Oliver has many friends that support him in finding his power and path to trasformation.

Can Oliver hold onto his dream and become a Butterfly?
Follow his journey in this magical modern fairytale to find out.

Review

What child doesn’t wish they could be something else other than human? I know I certainly did. Oliver is an elf who wishes he was a butterfly. He takes a walk and tries to find the materials he needs to turn himself into a butterfly, meeting all sorts of creatures along the way who try to help in this charming story, that ends with beautiful colouring in pages.

The book encourages imagination, problem-solving, friendship, fun and teamwork.

I simply love the character and humour within this essentially, heartwarming book. The illustrations are bold and accompany the story very well. It’s full of positivity and optimism and fun that will brighten any child’s story-time.

For families, this is a beautiful book to share together, that children are sure to delight in.

For schools  and nurseries, especially, there is enough in the story to either have a quiet story-time and/or incorporate it into a mini-beasts project that could create some fascinating discussions and artwork, I’m sure.

You will also find more books by Serena Lane Ferrari after the story, but then keep reading all the way to the very last page (more so if you’re and adult), it is incredibly poignant for what the author has to say…

#BookReview of The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes @jenlynnBarnes @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks @WriteReadsTours #UltimateBlogTour

The Inheritance Games
By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rated: 4 stars ****

 Let the Inheritance Games Commence in this enthralling enigma of a story!

1 school girl, 1 philanthropist, 1 Will, 1 mysterious mansion and a family who are out for what they think should be their inheritance in the games you need to read but don’t want to take part in. There could be consequences!

I thank The Write Reads for inviting me on their Ultimate Blog Tour and for the team at Penguin for sending both an E-book and a physical copy.

Please do read on to find out more about this enthralling book.

Blurb

9780241476178_TheInheritanceGames_COV.inddLet the games begin: an utterly addictive and twisty thriller, full of dark family secrets and deadly stakes. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, Riverdale and Knives Out.

She came from nothing.
Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future. Then an eccentric billionaire dies, and leaves her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything.
Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited: Hawthorne House. It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives – a family hellbent on discovering how Avery got ‘their’ money.

Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all.
Soon Avery is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing. But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

9780241476178_TheInheritanceGames_COV.indd

Review

A teenage school girl, a whole lot of money, a mysterious mansion bequeathed to her in a Will. This is not ordinary young adult story. This is one that leads you into places of enigma. What’s the truth, what’s the lies? Secrets and games are afoot that make for a great YA book indeed. One that will get teens wanting to read. It’s good to see one that isn’t pure fantasy and isn’t pure romance; it has elements of a few genres within it.

Avery Grambs, the smart kid at school also likes games. Fun, innocent made-up ones, is how she found out she liked games. She’s just a normal teenager, well, almost, in these short-sharp chapters that entice you to read on as the story moves quickly into its first part of the mystery.
Tobias Hawthorn has sent a note to Avery, a person to her knowledge, she has never met. Instant worries of scams flee around the conversation.

Imagine being at school thinking of science and statistical information and studying Romeo and Juliet when a mysterious billionaire philanthropist leaves you a mansion in his Will?  That’s what began a whole different type of journey for Avery. She meets the family and the Will is read out, enough to make any reader sit-up and take notice. It is staggeringly jaw-dropping!

James Hawthorn, who prefers to call Avery – Mystery Girl, pops up here and there and seems a bit of an enigma himself, almost as much as why would someone, a stranger to him and his family, inherit what should have been there property from Tobias. There is also Grayson who is convinced that Avery used manipulation to get it…
He is also quite a deep character in his thoughts about money, the world and responsibility.

No one is going to make things easy for Avery. Let the games commence! Riddles, puzzles and secret passageways abound, which is a rather thrilling aspect to the story.

Emily brings a certain thought-provoking aspect to this family’s story in her bravery and also some empathy with her parent’s reactions to her.

Going back to the mansion, the big question that makes turns this book into something of a sinister mystery, is the big question – will everyone survive?
The way the book takes some twists, just at the right moments is great! Just when you think it might all be lost, up comes something else and reels you further into the mansion, that anyone staying there would have to be very brave indeed!
The twists ramp up in scale right to an ultimate page-turning crescendo!

Happy Paperback Publication of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery by Lin Anderson and Donald McKay @Lin_Anderson @Blazespage #BlazeDogDetective #BookReview #Childrensbook #kidslit #mystery #adventure #cozymystery #ReadingforPleasure #ReadingRocks #EduTwitter

Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery
By Lin Anderson and Donald McKay,
Rated 5 stars *****

I am pleased and delighted to be sharing my review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery. This is the first in the series, I am so pleased to share with you, is now available in Waterstones in Paperback, so – Happy Publication!
It’s a terrific, mysterious book for children, with great characters and story and Blaze the Dog, who does actually live up in Skye. It’s a book children can really get totally involved in as the mystery unfolds amongst enchanting scenery and a castle. This is an intriguing read for reading for pleasure at home and in schools.
As you scroll through you will come across links to their pages, various photos, the blurb, my  full review and a buy link.

Twitter page links:
For Blaze – Oor Blaze Fae Skye – Blazes Page
For Lin Anderson – Lin Anderson

I thank Lin Anderson for contacting me with the opportunity to review this book and for providing a PDF copy of the book, and the various fun photos of Blaze, which you will see as you scroll further down my blog post. 

About the Author

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels and is now also writing the children’s books – Blaze Dog Detective series. She is also known for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. 

Blurb

When the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective.
After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary.
With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.

Blaze Cover

Review

A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot, I am highly recommending this book for children. Read on to find out more…

blaze fae Skye
Blaze from Skye

This is the first in a brand new detective series for children. Blaze happens to be a real dog in Skye who lives with his wee brother Laoch and their human dad and these are the main characters within this book, in fictional form.

The approach of writing about the dogs is excellent as they are not cartoon-like, they are written much more realistically than that. The instincts and observations of the dogs is cleverly written as they take on this quality that readers will want to get to know more of. There’s a warmth and wisdom in the characterisation that makes them endearing.

I enjoy the fact that readers will get to know the Isle of Skye, Scotland  and then the dogs and then the story pulls you in even deeper into the mystery of the stolen and valuable Fairy Flag.

I love that there is a map of Skye that children can have fun with. I love maps in children’s books. It always, immediately helps to give them a sense of place as the story is set, whether readers have been to the setting, in this case the Isle of Skye, Scotland or not. The writing throughout also gives a beautiful sense of Skye and its magical landmarks.

Blaze and naughty on beach
Blaze and Laoch on beach

Readers quickly find out how Blaze became a detective dog and also meet Granny Beaton (Granny B). She is no ordinary granny at all, riding a motorbike and possessing a crystal ball and has a 10-year-old granddaughter – Rosa from Glasgow.

There is a bit of danger within this story when news unfolds that the Fairy Flag at Dunvegan Castle, where the Chief of Clan McLeod lives,  has been stolen, meaning that the school trip for a summer castle party may be cancelled. There’s a terrific illustration of the castle and its grounds, plotted like a map to explore, that is a brilliantly conceived idea.

Fang is easy to sympathise with as his story unfolds and readers will find out if he knows anything about the Fairy flag or not and about the mysteriously clever crows that appear.

The hunt is on and there is a determination to find the Fairy Flag and who stole it, with secret passageways, a cave, a mysterious boat called The Darkness, there’s excitement, adventure and mild trepidation and team work to try and get the flag back, before it is gone forever. There’s also the distraction of rabbits to chase along the way and a hope that PC Munroe will be able to help. 

blaze and ferry          blaze figures it out

There’s some red herrings here and there, that creates for a great story for keeping readers guessing and gives scope to feel really involved in solving the mystery.

So this book is very much worth transporting yourselves to Skye and joining Blaze with his mischievous, fun brother in Skye, as he tries to solve this mystery.

The book is available now in Waterstones in paperback. 

Click the link to purchase: Waterstones
You will see all the books, top author Lin Anderson has written, including this new children’s book.

Blaze knows all the best walks in Skye and even sometimes comes to the mainland. 
Lin Anderson kindly shared a few. Hover your curser over the photos to find a little more about where Blaze is in each of the locations. 

 

Blaze 'n Trails
Walks on Skye

#Review of Timothy (and Lucy) Mean and the Time Machine 2 by William AE Ford @williamaeford@marcelo_cinica #kidslit #libraries #Childrensbook #kidslit #edutwitter #primaryrocks

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine 2
(and Lucy)
By William AE Ford
Illustrated by Marcelo Simonetti

Rated: 5 stars *****

I’ve been impressed at the calibre of writing and style that’s been coming from award winning author – William AE Ford before in both Timothy Mean and the Time Machine and The Cockatoo from Timbucktoo and this latest is no exception. This series is perfect for primary school children. I’ve read the previous books to classes to great success as they take children on imaginative adventures through time and space, all in rhyme and with computer graphic like pictures that really stand out. There are ways you can make them interactive stories. They are as good as Julia Donaldson’s books.
There are also resources on his website…. See after the review for links to that and his social media and a bit about William AE Ford.

I thank William AE Ford for surprising me with a copy of the book.

Timothy Mean and His Time Machine 2

Blurb

With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible!

Join Timothy and sister Lucy on a new magical rhyming adventure in this sequel to the Award Winning ‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ children’s picture book.

Mummies, Gladiators, Cavemen, Albert Einstein, Giant Squids, Leonardo Da Vinci and Aliens make an appearance in this exciting, laugh out loud, time travel escapade.

Review

The escapades start when Timothy Mean has had enough of his Mega Space Anti Alien Laser Gun. The thought of tidying his room isn’t much better. Let’s face it, no one likes to actually tidy their room. Timothy has the perfect antedote to that. His time machine that he created in book 1 is ready for more adventures. Do note that they are also stand alone books as well as part of a series.

I love that the lines that children can tag onto and recite about pushing the button of the time machine are still there. What I’ve found is that children love to create their own sound to this too. These are books where educators could get very creative with and still be within a learning and growing capacity, whilst also expanding imaginations of children and creating a love of reading.

Characters throughout history are discovered from Cleopatra in Egypt, Julius Caesar in Rome, Cavemen and wooly mammoth’s during the Ice-Age, Albert Einstein in a classroom in 1909, King Neptune in Atlantis, Leonardo Da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa and then it’s off to the future and up to Mars where Timothy and Lucy see aliens.

It’s a spectacular book that has a terrific range of subjects within it and rhymes wonderfully well. It has enough fun and detail for children of primary school age, to really get into in each page. I whole-heartedly believe it will feed into their curiosity and humour.

This is one that could easily spark conversations in a classroom or school library setting in the most fun ways.

The illustrations again, produced by Marcelo Simonetti that accompany the story, stand out very well and look very exciting in their boldness of colour and style. Each depicts the story very well indeed.

So all in all, I highly recommend this book and others by William AE Ford, who is shaping up to be an exciting author in this section of children’s books. No longer is he a debut author, but one who is now award-winning and produced a few books and is becoming ever more established in the book world. Children are really enjoying his books.

Social Media Links

Website: www.williamaeford.com
Twitter: @williamaeford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

William has always had a passion for books, writing and story-telling.  William’s favourite way to end a cosy evening is to spend time dreaming up and reading bed-time stories to his five wonderful children.

 ‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ and ‘The Cockatoo from Timbuktu’ were inspired by the spark of his children’s colourful imaginations as they tirelessly created unique, laughter filled days from even the most mundane, everyday objects and situations!

Born in England, William  currently lives in Oslo, Norway with his wife and five children.

‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ won the Readers Favourite Children’s Sci-Fi / Fantasy 2019 Award.

‘The Cockatoo from Timbuktu’ is William’s second published picture book. 

Timothy Mean 2 an epic fun-filled, action-packed sequel to the award winning Timothy Mean & The Time Machine has just been released.  

William has been described as an exciting author with his books being in the same calibre as Julia Donaldson. 

“If you are a fan of Julia Donaldson, you will love William A.E. Ford’s books. They are of that calibre. They are packed full of a rhyming story, big and bright illustrations that match the stories and with something that children will take away from them – fun and just enough knowledge along the way. These book are fun to interact with at home, in a library or in school or to curl up with at bedtime. However you like to read books, this is an exciting author I highly recommend” Bookmarks & Stages.


William welcomes enquiries from agents and publishers.