Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Blog Tour - The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

The Awakening of Miss Prim

Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbours, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside. Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn't suspect that she might find love - nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky, would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery and fireside debate. The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy and the search for happiness.

I really enjoyed this book, it was something fresh and different to most of the books on the market at the moment. When the publicist contacted me she said that they thought it was going to a very popular read and I definitely agree with this, it captured my attention and I just had to keep reading it, until it was finished and I wanted to return to Miss Prim's world just one more time!

I loved Miss Prim's character from the very start of the book. She was an unusual character, a well educated lady, who takes up the post of private librarian to 'The Man in the Wing Chair', intriguing in himself as he is never named but plays a big role in the book. The conversations between the two of them are fantastic - often open to interpretation. Their regular sparring is not in hatred for each other, I think there is a attraction between the pair which plays out in these moments. She travels a great journey through this book, a person journey where she grows in person.  Add to this humourous the children who the man educates and the cast is fantastic. The setting of San Ireneo sounds idyllic and the perfect setting for this book, tucked away where tourists don't visit and the community live in their own little bubble. 

Entwined throughout the book are references to the work of Jane Austen, great philosophers and the authors of the great pieces of literature which populate our history. It will make a great book for literature lovers. 

The book was fantastically written and I think it will appeal to many different  types of readers.  There are parts of the story which are , others which I was left thinking about, contemplating for hours after I put the book down.

I recommend this book to all my blog readers. Thank you to the publishers, Abacus, for sending me the book to review. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom (a colouring book adventure)

Lose yourself in Millie Marotta's animal kingdom....

Illustrator Millie Marotta grew up in rural Wales surrounded by all kinds of plants and animals. She works from her studio by the sea and draws inspiration from the wonderful wildlife around her.

Now you can personalise her beautiful illustrations and create an animal kingdom of your own. From the beetle in need of a colourful, iridescent shell, to the whale waiting for a magnificient ocean home, there is a whole world of fauna and flora to explore. All you need are pens, pencils and a bit of imagination.

Who does not love colouring in?? A pastime which can be enjoyed from all ages - as soon as a child can hold a pencil or crayon, colouring and drawing can be enjoyed, a pastime which has no upper age limit. Colouring books are a staple rainy day activity source and these too can aimed at different ages, from simple, bold outlines to more detailled and intricate designs, there is something for everyone.

This book is full of beautiful, line drawings featuring floral and fauna of many descriptions. There are illustrations with big, open spaces to colour, but also areas which are infilled with intricate patters - many have a 'zentangle' appearance which is a craze flooding the crafting industry at the present time. The book is beautiful to look at while in black and white but will also be fantastic when coloured in. The drawings could be coloured in my a mix of ages, they would make a great family project and I am sure that they would look stunning mounted in a picture frame and hung on the wall.

My only negative on this project, and it is one which I think is evident in all colouring books, is that the pictures are printed on both sides of the page. Dependent on the medium used to colour in the illustrations, the colour may bleed through to the other side - especially if alcohol ink pens are used. 

This is a great book for adults or teenagers who enjoy colouring in. I also think it is a great book to have as a family project on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon or over the Christmas period.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she? In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever. Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating ...

Wow, wow, wow, wow,wow!! I absolutely loved this book!

I first met Clare Mackintosh when I went to went to this year's Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She is the founder and Festival Director and was also in the process of writing her first novel. She is a lovely lady and I was surprised to hear that she had been in the police force for twelve years before leaving in 2011 (she didn't look old enough!). I was, of course, very  interested to read her debut novel and was very pleased to hear that Clare had added me to her advance proof list - thank goodness I had had blogger business cards printed before the festival.

As soon as started reading the book I was hooked. The story is a sad one, a young boy is killed in a hit and run accident and the police investigation does not have many clues to investigate. The team are soon told to close the case due to lack of evidence but a trusty DC keeps going to get justice for Jacob.  What follows is a great story which has so many twists and turns that just when I think I know who was driving the car and what happened on that fateful day, Mackintosh throws something new into the mix and I am again left completely in the dark. These little twists kept me engrossed throughout the whole book and I was sad to see it end. I can't wait for Clare's second book!!

I highly recommend this book to all of my blog readers, lovers of crime fiction or anyone looking for their next book to read. It is one of my top ten books of 2014.

Thank you to the author and publisher for sending me the book to review.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

Monsters Love Underpants: Book 2

There are prowly monsters howling loudly and drooling monsters from the steamy swamp. There are wild, woolly mountain monsters and spiky, spooky monsters from outer space. And they all have one thing in common - they LOVE underpants!

The aliens stole them, the dinosaurs fought over them, the pirates got rich from them - whatever will monsters do with underpants?

Find out in this, the latest book in the much-loved Underpants series, created by the brilliant Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. The series is published in sixteen languages and has now sold over two million copies worldwide!

This is a fantastic series of books which I adore, let alone the children I share them with. The story is fantastically written, in rhyme and is great for children to listen to, join in with and also to think about. Fantastic discussions and art work can follow the reading of this book and is only limited by the readers iimagination The illustrations add even more to this book - they are so imaginative, and not the least bit scary.

I recommend this book to children of all ages - and it will make a fantastic Christmas gift this year. Add it to your collection or if it is your first introduction to this great collection then buy them all!!

Thank you to the publishers, Simon and Schuster Children's Books, for sending me the book to review.

Jolly Snowmen - Ned Taylor

Jolly Snowmen

Five little snowmen on a winter's day looked at one another and wondered what to play... 

Count the jolly little snowmen in this adventurous rhyming tale, as one by one they skate, slide and slip away! Featuring tactile 3D snowmen, perfect for little hands. 

I love this series of books - They are great stories told in rhyme and there will be lines which children will soon be reciting as they are read the story. The fantastic thing about this book, and I have seen other adults do the same, is working out how the snowmen disappear through the book - it is an easy process but I have seen many of my friends or relatives also have to look through the book a number of times before they work it out. If adults keep looking at the book, I am sure children will pick them up too.

This would be a great gift to give to children this Christmas period.

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger, for sending me the book to review.

One Special Christmas by M Christinia Butler and Tina Macnaughton

One Special Christmas

Just in time for Christmas, a brand-new Little Hedgehog book by Little Hedgehog creators M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton. With wonderfully wintry illustrations and soft touch-and-feels throughout One Special Christmas is the perfect festive tale!
It’s Christmas — but poor Santa has a cold! So Little Hedgehog sets out with a sledge full of presents. "Santa’s helper is on the way!" But there are too many presents for one little hedgehog to handle! Perhaps he needs some help from his friends?

This is a perfect book to share with a child in the build up to Christmas. It is full of Christmas cheer and the ideal winter weather - which could be enjoyed, cuddled up together on a Sunday afternoon.

The story is suitable for a slightly older child, 5+, due to the story being longer, but will be enjoyed by children of all ages. The illustrations are beautiful - they are beautifully drawn animals who, although they have a slight cartoony appearance, are beautiful and realistic. There is also an added bonus to this book - it is a 'touch and feel' book. Some of the pages are additionally embellished with a strokable texture - a great addition to the illustrations.

This is a great gift to give this Christmas - something which has a hint of Father Christmas but is about the season of giving and also the power of friendship. 

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger, for sending me the book to review.

The Twelve Days of Christmas - illustrtated by Britta Teckentrup

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Introduce children to the traditional song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, in this beautiful new book, featuring illustrations by Britta Teckentrup. The peep-through pages reveal each new Christmas gift,  creating a stunning layered effect. A perfect gift for your true love! 
When I choose a book to give somebody, especially a child, as a present I like to choose a book that they can keep, something that would like to pass on to somebody else as an heirloom or maybe just because they loved it themselves. This book ticks all of those boxes, and more besides.

Everyone knows the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and it is a popular song sung in nurseries and schools everywhere. This is a book of that song.  The book starts on the first day of Christmas and continues up to the twelfth day, each days counting down as in the song and it is fantastic as a reminder of those days we are all unsure of.

However, where this book really stands out from all the others that are also the same is the illustrations by the fantastic Britta Teckentrup. They are beautiful and I would love to be able to buy them as Christmas Cards because they are so cute. Britta was born in Hamburg and I think that the style of the cute little characters on the front cover remind me of German folklore. 

Each page has cut out sections which show the twelve days of Christmas as they appear and this is also cleverly done. I love books which have clever ways of revealling more of a picture or design and this one is a real treat. I loved turning each page to see the next reveal and I can imagine children also enjoying the magic that it appears to be. 

I am already writing a list of people who I would like to buy this book for this Christmas as I am sure it is one which will be got out each Christmas period and read/sung again and again. Perfect for a teacher to share with her children at circle time or for a grandparent to share with their grandchildren. I definitely recommend this book highly.

Thank you to the publishers, Little Tiger, for sending me this book to review.