#Review of Star Child – The Healing Stone by Vacen Taylor @VacenTaylor #rararesources #kidslit #fantasy #children’sbooks

Star Child – The Healing Stone
By Vacen Taylor
Rated 4 stars ****

I have been invited by blog tour organiser – Rachel Gilbey, to return to the Age of Akra in the Starchild series, to review Starchild – The Healing Stone. I am pleased to present my review on this, the final day of the blog tour.

The Healing Stone Full Tour Banner

About the Author

The Healing Stone Vacen Passport SizeVacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

The Healing Stone - 9781922200204-Front

 Blurb

A riveting ice adventure full of incredible challenges, bravery and friendship.

When they escape the attacking forces, Mai, Akra, Kalin know they must find a way to purge the evil of the dark peddle that has consumed Long.  But as the news of the Underworld king spreads, gloom and fear begin to sweep over the lands.

The children must face a dangerous adventure across the ice to reach the healing stone. Once they reach the stone they must face the truth.

Have they made the journey in time to save Long ⸺ or is he lost to the Underworld forever?

Review

On this quest, Mai is chosen to take the journey to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts. The journey by boat is trecherous, but there is hope that the Ice Queen will help and can heal Long from his wounds. She will, however take much convincing if she is to be won round to help. There is also a crowd to be pleased and a tournament to be won.

There are memories and some of them good, such as Mai’s birthday when thoughtbankers brought her kind gifts.

As for Long, he is in a dark place indeed, but Amual wants to rescue him.

Within the book is magic and powers to be able to morph and many other creatures.

The book is moody and the setting is icy and freezing cold, but cutting through is some softer, kinder and warmer elements of characters trying to help each other.

There’s a mission to accomplish and being a Starchild has its burdens and there are dangers that must be faced if the healing stone is to be used to try to get the poison that is within Long. There are Waterclaspers to be saved.

There is enough to capture children’s imaginations and to transport them to different worlds and to think about friendship and being on a journey to accomplish things. There is enough character development from book to book in this series, as well as world building for children to follow.

The final chapter of this book, gives a hint as to what to expect and what type of land/world the Starchild will enter into next.

Social Media Links

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Review of The Cockatoo From Timbuktu by William A.E. Ford – Travel around the world with the Cockatoo @williamaeford #RamileMImac #Kidslit #NewBook #Education #Geography #Learning #Review #Schools #Libraries #readingforpleasure

The Cockatoo From Timbuktu
By William A.E. Ford
Illustrated by Ramile M. Imac
Rated: 5 stars *****

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 Favorite Children’s Sci-Fi / Fantasy 2019 Award. ‘The Cockatoo from Timbuktu’ is William’s second published picture book.  Timothy Mean 2 is currently in production. 

William welcomes enquiries from agents and publishers.

I am pleased to be returning to the work of William AE Ford to review his latest book – The Cockatoo From Timbucktu. A book where children have fun with the story, as well as taking in the educational elements in an inspired and fun way. This book would be great for schools, libraries or in the home. Read further to find out why…

The Cockatoo From Timbucktu

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…. Read further to find out why….

Blurb

Join Kian the cockatoo on his adventures around the world!

Can a childhood song about a shining star help him find his way home?

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China to New York City wonders of the world are explored delightfully in this epic journey!

Review

William has done it again! After sending children on an interactive, rhyming time travelling adventure with Timothy Mean and his Time Machine, he now sends them on a world adventure with a lost cockatoo who just wants to go home to be reunited with his mum and dad.

William A.E. Ford has shown again that his books are a valuable tool for the home, libraries and schools.

I have read it to quite a number of children and they love it. They love the illustrations, the story and the repetitive nature of the beginning of each page because they quickly grasp that they can become so involved in the story of saying those lines out loud (in unison if it is a class). The children love that they can trace with their finger across the map to follow the trail, Kian the cockatoo went. They also really like getting to know a bit about the world. I also had someone holding an atlas to show each country whilst going through the story, there are many things classes can do with this terrific story.

Follow the Cockatoo and also see if you can find the ladybird that follows on. Children have fun doing that. The Cockatoo starts off at a zoo with thoughts of home and travels through countries such as Antarctica, Australia, China, India, UK, USA, Africa, all in perfect and wonderful rhyme within this beautifully illustrated book. Each page is fully illustrated and perfect for children at home and within libraries and school classes.

This book has all the emotions and lots of fun. There is the sadness and loneliness of being lost and then lots of fun in-between. The book is also heartwarming and lovely. New books and new authors are exciting and this is one author in-particular that children from 3 to 6 years olds will enjoy.

This book is great for reading for pleasure and also for doing a bit of basic Geography with children and for talking about emotions and also for literacy – talking about the noticeable poetic rhyming.

The book also has a beautifully illustrated map before the story begins, showing where the cockatoo goes to and the animals it meets in each country. Children have fun following the dotted line around the world map. Each page thereafter takes each country individually and shows the main landmarks and animals around the world as part of the story.

There is a page of Fun Facts at the back of the book about cockatoos and Timbuktu, all very well laid out and easy to read and understand, to feed those curious minds of children.

I would like to thank William A.E. Ford for surprising me with his latest book. I had previously reviewed Timothy Mean and his Time Machine and he donated to the library I currently lead. He surprised me with the Cockatoo from Timbuktu for the library.

* My review is non-biased. I am once again impressed. It’s a very good book.

 

Review of The Hidden Spaceship By Serena Lane Ferrari – Go on an Exciting Outer Space Mission to Help Planet Earth #SerenaLaneFerrari #Kidslit #environment #space #schools #readingforpleasure #libraries #readingrocks #savetheplanet #savetheplanetbooks #Review

The Hidden Spaceship
By Serena Lane Ferrari
Rated: 4.5 stars

About the Author

Serena Lane Ferrari is a mother and an English teacher. She writes books for young children that have the future of our planet at their heart. She passionately believes that children are our last chance to help improve our ecosystems, find solutions to major climate problems and to save the planet. She also believes passionately in the importance of reading to children from an early age, so do hope that my books help engage children (and parents!) and inspire them to believe in a better future.

Click for Website Link: Website

 

The Hidden Spaceship cover

Blurb

When Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship, an out-of-this-world adventure begins. The friends have a very special mission – to help the Earth’s eco-system. They must go on a daunting journey on another planet, find a treasure chest, and complete their quest. What secret does the treasure chest hold?

Review

The book starts with a fun song, just to get readers ready for their adventure.  Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship and enter it, thus beginning their adventure to a distant planet.
The illustrations are big, bright and bold throughout, to capture children’s attention. They meet an alien on the planet that shows what humans are doing to the planet. It shows just enough for young children to understand, but not to terrify them.
The story with the intrepid explorers continues as they begin a quest the Ualalumpa (alien) has sent them on…. The treasure is something more magical and wonderful than what readers would expect and it certainly isn’t your usual gold or jewels.

This book would inspire children in the ways that they could help save Earth in a way that they understand and in a really fun way. The mix of fact and story all weaved together is great, alongside the pictures filling the page.

This would be a great asset to a personal book collection or library or school as it is pleasurable to read and has an educational element as in it has meaning and some thought-provoking pages that could be good for stimulating conversation.

At the back there is an important note from the author about how she is passionate about both our eco-system and in young children reading for pleasure. There is also a sneek-peek about her next book.

I recommend this book because it promotes reading for pleasure and in a really fun way, promotes the environment without being preachy and instead being more of an adventure. It is a book that children can have a lovely time with as they get a good story and gain a bit of knowledge at the same time.
I can say that already children and their parents/caregivers are already enjoying it.

*Thank you for donating a copy to the community library in Scotland that I currently lead and for leaving a lovely message inside.

*This review is unbiased.

She Wolf by Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor #SheWolf #Education #Libraries #NewBook #Review #Kidslit #Schools #Adventure #Historical #Vikings #Norse

Review

She Wolf
by Dan Smith
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today I have decided to publish my review of the excellent children’s book – She Wolf by award winning author Dan Smith. This is a book I highly recommend to children and already Dan Smith has quite a following from primary schools. Young teenagers would also like this book too. I hope after reading the review, you will also check Dan Smith out. Below, after my review of She Wolf, you will be able to find a few links to pages within his website. Whether he is a new to you author or one you read a lot of, this book and his website is worth checking out.
For schools, there are also resources to accompany this book (see links below for his website and Twitter).
Dan Smith’s books can be found in many physical and online shops and within libraries.

About the Author

Dan Smith is an  award winning author of adventure stories for younger readers, and thrillers for adults. He loves to hear from readers.

Growing up, he led three lives. In one, he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of my own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say I still live most of the time.

He has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. I’ve even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but now has settled in Newcastle with his wife and two  children to keep him on his toes.

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he always loved stories, he always loved a good adventure, and he always kept writing.

She Wolf

Blurb

Northumbria 866.
Washed ashore on a frozen English beach, Ylva’s survived. She will not cry. She’s meant to be strong. She’s a Viking.

But when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother’s stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge – or is there another way?

Review

Primary schools have rated Dan Smith highly and I can see why. His writing is terrific! It has character and he really understands that writing in historical times can also be relevant and relatable for readers in present times within the themes.
First look at the maps of the journey Ylva will take. There is also much to be learned as below one of the maps is the AD 866 place-name and the modern place name. At the back is an excellent glossary and “Did You Know” section so children can learn a bit more. This is a fictional book that is also excellent for “Reading for Pleasure” or for any reading challenges. I have seen that where this book is in primary schools, children are loving and devouring it. This is a book that all children can get into. With the chapters being short and snappy, this book lends itself so well to school teachers or parents reading it out loud and for individuals to read. This book is also rated by The BookTrust. The book can be bought or borrowed from libraries.

From page 1, there is atmosphere, placing readers right in the centre of Ylva’s life. There’s action and adventure and legends of Thor, Odin and Loki within these wonderfully written pages. This book is for all genders. It deals with bereavement and courage.

Ylva is a young, fierce, independent, strong and brave heroine . Readers will first meet her by a trader’s hut as a lost, orphaned Dane in cold England, with only her dog, Geri now left for company. Her mother has died and her initial reaction is one of revenge. There’s depth to this book, but not too complex for older primary school aged children. The book goes along at an excellent pace, nothing lingers too long.

The characters are intriguing, especially the three-fingered man and there is plenty of snow and wolves within this book. Don’t be fooled by the title “She Wolf”, this is a book to delight both boys and girls alike.

The landscape is harsh and Ylva has to decide who to trust. The question of trust is important and it is a quest with many dangers. There are pearls and people who she has to decide whether to trust or not. She does however decide to trust Cathryn enough, who is a Saxon who offers her shelter.

There are beautiful tender moments too.
This is an emotional book and one, although set in 866AD is relatable, even though the times and some experiences are different.

The end is an unexpected one that will leave readers feeling satisfied.

History and fiction are expertly woven together to create an immersive story with rich descriptions. There’s a real sense of what the atmosphere was like. This feels like it could be made into a film. The story is dark, but an adventure like none-other that has the scope of interesting so many readers looking for a new, original adventure.
Readers who enjoy adventures that conquer adversity with strong characters, vikings, Norse Gods and mythology and who want to explore history would love this brilliant fictional book. Remember to read the glossary to and the “Did You Know” section to expand you understanding of some of the words of the story and your knowledge of the viking period.

Links to Dan Smith’s Website for you to explore:

Twitter:   @DanSmithAuthor

Review – Leo and the Lightning Dragons – A positive adventure rated 5 stars @FledglingPress @leolightdragons #lovebooksgrouptours #Kidslit #CHAS @SchoolReading #Scotland #UK #SEN #Education #Epilepsy #Charities #Libraries #Picturebook #Christmas

Leo and the Lightning Dragon
By Gill White
Rated: 5 stars *****

It is with thanks to Love Books Tours that I have been invited to review this wonderful, brave and magical book – Leo and the Lightning Dragons. I was delighted to review it and when I read through it before reading it to children, I was even more glad I had the opportunity to do so. It exceeded expectations. It would make a fabulous Christmas gift. This book isn’t however specifically Christmassy so can be bought as an all year round story to add to your child’s or school or library collection. Today I am pleased to be closing this blog tour with my review of Leo and the Lightning Dragons.

leo-dragons-2.jpg

Blurb

Sometimes You Just Need to Have a Little Faith in Yourself!

Everybody in the kingdom is supporting the brave knight Leo in his battle against his fearsome dragons. They try lots of different things to help him defeat them but eventually Leo realises that the most important thing to do is to believe in himself.

 

Leo Lightning dragons cover.jpg

Review

There is a lot more to this short book than meets the eye.

Meet Leo, a very brave boy. Leo does exist beyond this book. This is a lovely picture book for 4 years old to at least 7 years old because children would get different things from it. All proceeds go to the charity – CHAS – Children’s Hospices Around Scotland. You see, Leo in real life has epilepsy and a rare form at that, called Ohtahara Syndrome and sadly it is, despite many treatments, it remains uncontrolled at the point of writing.
Leo is a determined boy who just won’t give up on life. Read the very beginning of the book before the story begins to find out more. This book is however fun and bursting with kindness, friendship, bravery, adventure and positivity.

Meet Leo in this brightly illustrated book. He is a knight in shining armour. His demons are the dragons, not any ordinary dragons for these dragons attack his head within lightning. He isn’t alone though. He has magical friends like witches and a wizard mixing potions to defeat the dragons. The townsfolk protest against the dragons and his parents try to cuddle them away. None of which work, but Leo, well, he is a determined knight in a suit of armour and the dragons can’t get away with it forever. Read this small adventure of this brave knight to see if he can defeat the dragons so they can be gone for good.

The book doesn’t labour over anything. The bright illustrations fill up each page, the text is large and only a few words on each page, so the pace is great for any attention span.

This is a positive and hopeful book. Whether your child has epilepsy or not or is SEN (Special,  Educational Needs)  or not, it is enough to inspire any child to be brave through any illness.

At the back of the book it gives you ideas of where and how to turn this book into a sensory book in very simple ways. They really are worth doing.

I read this book to children who are classified as being SEN and they loved it. They loved it so much that I’ve now read it several times by request and they’ve looked at it many times themselves too. Children who aren’t SEN are also enjoying this book and are getting a lot out of it.
This book has so much scope to it. It can be read as is, or as said before, as a sensory/interactive book and also it can be a conversation/discussion piece within any school (or home).

So what’s not to like? This book is perfect for Christmas and indeed all year round. You get a great story and know that you are contributing to a great cause that supports children’s hospices in Scotland.

Review: In Plain Sight by Adam Croft @AdamCroft #Review #CrimeFiction #Newbook #ReadingCommunity #WritingCommunity #Christmas

In Plain Sight
By Adam Croft
Rated: *****

This isn’t a book just for Christmas. This is a great book for all year round. If you are looking for a crime novel for yourself or as a Christmas present, this is definitely one to consider.

Click below for links to websites to find out more and also where to buy his books:

Adam Croft Website

Partners in Crime

I was first accepted to review Absolution (also on my blog), which is an excellent first part of a new series of books by him. Very excitingly I have now been also asked to review In Plain Sight, which is the ninth book of the ever popular Culverhouse and Knight series. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of this series before, I would say it also works pretty well as a stand-alone book too and it might entice for other readers to explore the series, and indeed his other books further.
*So, today I present you my unbiased review of unputdownable In Plain Sight.

About the Author

His 2015 worldwide bestseller Her Last Tomorrow became one of the bestselling books of the year, reaching the top 10 in the overall Amazon Kindle chart and peaking at number 12 in the combined paperback fiction and non-fiction chart.

His Knight & Culverhouse crime thriller series has seen huge popularity worldwide, with his Kempston Hardwick mystery books being adapted as audio plays starring some of the biggest names in British TV.

In 2016, the Knight & Culverhouse Box Set reached storewide number 1 in Canada, knocking J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child off the top spot only weeks after Her Last Tomorrow was also number 1 in Canada. The new edition of Her Last Tomorrow also reached storewide number 1 in Australia over Christmas 2016.

During the summer of 2016, two of Adam’s books hit the USA Today bestseller list only weeks apart, making them two of the most-purchased books in the United States over the summer.

In February 2017, Only The Truth became a worldwide bestseller, reaching storewide number 1 at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, making it the bestselling book in the world at that moment in time. The same day, Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the most widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

In January 2018, Adam’s bestselling book to date, Tell Me I’m Wrong became a worldwide bestseller and quickly went on to outsell Her Last Tomorrow.

Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio 4BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World ServiceThe GuardianThe Huffington PostThe Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.

In March 2018, Adam was conferred as an Honorary Doctor of Arts, the highest academic qualification in the UK, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his services to literature.

Adam presents the regular crime fiction podcast Partners in Crime with fellow bestselling author Robert Daws.

 

In Plain Sight Book Cover

Blurb

A trail of death. A web of corruption. The ultimate betrayal.

A series of armed robberies on local petrol stations leaves Mildenheath CID chasing their tails. But things are about to get a whole lot worse.

When an elderly woman is killed during an armed raid on her jewellery shop, Knight and Culverhouse realise one of their own is involved — a police officer.

With the future of Mildenheath CID at stake and the lives of their loved ones under threat, time is running out — fast.

As they begin to investigate the web of corruption, they discover just how deep it runs — and how close to home. But are they prepared for the truth?

Review

I am really enjoying Adam Croft’s work. This is part of his hugely popular Knight and Culverhouse series (although works well as a stand-alone too). 

Knight and Culverhouse make a great partnership in fighting crime. They are also however quite different from each other. You would certainly know where you are with Culverhouse who tells it how it is. Knight is more the voice of reason in this partnership.

This book is gripping and so well written and is available to buy now. It definitely is worth adding to your crime collection.

Mildenheath is a place having a fairly ordinary day until a BMW pulls up to a petrol station and robs it and then more are robbed as security is rather lax around them and CCTV isn’t exactly helpful. A woman then dies in a jewellers that is raided. Someone has insider information, but the question is by whom and is the person from inside their own police station or not. Makes you think and wonder.
The pace is excellent and makes you want to know what happens next.

There’s more to this book though than the crimes for readers to also get their teeth into. Culverhouse is also under pressure to get results, but there are personal issues to handle too. It really works when there is a crime to solve, but also how readers can really get to know the characters personal lives too. Adam Croft balances it all very well to tell a great layered story.

There’s also the future of Mildenheath CID to consider too as it is at stake. There were plans to have the unit moved to a larger main city team, but had so far managed to not be sucked up and incorporated into this. So, there’s a fight on their hands for the team to stay as they are. This is a clever bit of the story as it happens so often these days with smaller forces being merged into larger ones, whether they want to be or not and it is depicted well here.

Culverhouse could do without the personal problems at this moment in time of trying to work out how to build a relationship with his estranged teenage daughter, as he is also under pressure to get results at work.

There are twists and turns to really keep readers involved and care about how it’s going to end.

I highly recommend this book, even if you haven’t read anything by Adam Croft before, this is one to read. He has written several other books in this series and has even started a new series, so there’s plenty to choose from after you’ve tried out In Plain Sight.

* I give thanks to Joanne and Adam Croft for inviting me to review for you again. It’s an absolute pleasure to do so and I thank you both for sending me a digital copy of In Plain Sight.