Archive for September, 2011

On The Shelf:

ON THE SHELF: Our version of the meme ‘In My Mailbox’ created by The Story Siren.  Each month we post about all of the books we have added to our book shelves in the preceding month, whether they be bought, borrowed, swapped or received for review.


Fireman Sam Touch and Feel by Various. Board book. Bought.(Caroline)

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’. Picture book. Brought.(Caroline)

If I Were a Cow by Anne Wilkinson.Board book. Bought.(Lesley)

Noddy(x10) by Enid Blyton. Paperback. Bought.(Helen)

That’s not my Tractor by Fiona Watt. Board book. Bought.(Lesley)

The Princess and the Wizard by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. Picture book. Brought(Caroline)

The Very Lazy Ladybird by Isobel Finn and Jack Tickle.Picture book. Bought(Lesley)


Clover by Susan M Coolidge. Kindle. Bought.(Helen)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Paperback. Bought.(Jack)

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K.Rowling. Paperback(Jack)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K.Rowling.Paperback(Jack)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling. Paperback. Bought.(Jack)

The Marvelous book of Magical Horses by Klutz. Paperback. Bought.(Karen)

The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J.K Rowling. Hardback. Bought (Karen)

What Katy did at school by Susan M Coolidge.Kindle. Bought.(Helen)

What Katy did next by  Susan M Coolidge. Kindle. Bought.(Helen)

Young Adult

Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Paperback. Bought.(Caroline)

Henderson Boys: Grey Wolves by Richard Muchmore. Paperback. Bought. (Dan)

Jessie Hears NYC by Keris Stainton. Paperback. Won from Publisher Hachette Children’s Books . (Caroline)

Magus of Stonewylde by Kit Berry. Paperback. Bought .(Caroline and Dan)

Meant to Be by Tiffany King. eBook. Won from blog: Word Spelunking .(Caroline)

Moondance of Stonewylde by Kit Berry.Paperback. Bought. (Dan)

Shadows at Stonewylde by Kit Berry. Hardback. Bought. (Caroline)

Solstice at Stonewylde by Kit Berry.Paperback. Bought.(Dan)

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. Signed Paperback. Won from AuthorJosephine Angelini (Caroline)

You against me by Jenny Downham. Paperback. Bought.(Caroline)


Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter 1st edtion, 1st print. Hardback.Signed. Bought. (Karen)

Chicken’s Mules and two old fools by Victoria Twead. Kindle. Bought.(Lesley)

Deadly Intent by Lynda La Plante. Hardback. Bought. (Karen)

Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid. Paperback. Bought.(Karen)

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Paperback. Bought.(Karen)

Northern Lights by Nora Roberts. Paperback.Bought.(Helen)

One Day by David Nicholls.Paperback.Bought.(Helen)

Organised Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider.Hardcover. Bought. (Lesley)

Pearl of China by Anchee Min. Paperback. Won from publisher Bloomsbury via Twitter.(Caroline)

Remember me? by Sophie Kinsella. Paperback. Bought. (Karen)

Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante. Paperback. Bought.(Karen)

Sowing Secrets by Trish Ashley. Kindle. Bought.(Lesley)

The Case of the Missing Boyfriend by Nick Alexander.Kindle. Bought. (Lesley)
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. Paperback. Bought.(Helen)
The Right Attitude to Rain  by Alexander McCall Smith. Paperback.Bought.(Helen)
The Sound of Laughter by Peter Kay. Hardback. Bought.(Karen)
Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai. Paperback. Bought.(Karen)

61 Hours by Lee Child. Paperback. Bought. (Karen)

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A Perfect Proposal

Katie Fforde

Sophie Apperly has spent her whole life pleasing others– but when she realises her family see her less as indispensable treasure and more as general dogsbody, she decides she’s had enough. So when an old friend offers her the chance of a lifetime, she decides to swap Little England for the Big Apple, and heads off to the land of opportunity.
From the moment Sophie hits the bright lights of Manhattan she’s determined to enjoy every minute of her big adventure. And when fate throws her together with Matilda, a spirited grande dame of New York society who invites her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, she willingly accepts. English-born Matilda is delighted with her new friend – though her grandson Luke, undeniably attractive but infuriatingly arrogant, is anything but welcoming.
When Luke arrives in England a few weeks later, Sophie hardly expects him to seek her out, but Matilda has hatched some complicated plans of her own– and so Luke has a proposal to make…

Sophie comes across at the start of the book as a complete dogsbody who her family take for granted and uses to keep their own lives running. I found her goody two shoes routine quite irritating at the start, even down to her constant keeping busy whilst looking after ‘Evil Uncle Eric’! That aside her character does start to grow on you and I found myself rather enjoying the story as things moved along – which they do so at a swift pace. Whilst in New York, which the overall summary leads you to believe is where most of the book is set but is in fact a relatively short part of the overall story; Sophie has a chance meeting with a rich elderly lady by the name of Matilda and her grandson Luke. Luke is not a particularly likeable character and acts for the most part like a sullen schoolboy, however he does somewhat redeem himself by the end! Matilda on the other hand is a superb character, not to be underestimated and certainly manages to engineer situations in a very clever manner. Sophie starts to come into her own and is an interesting and likeable character as the story unfolds, with a very practical side to her nature which she puts to good use during her excursion around the countryside with Luke!

A few nice touches and turns, round the story off in a clean if somewhat predictable manner.

Verdict: Reasonably predictable in places, your fairly typical ‘girl meets boy’ storyline, it was nonetheless an enjoyable story punctuated with some interesting and humorous characters. Not one I would rush to re-read or necessarily keep though.

Reviewed by Jane

Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: February 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Jane
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle

Exuberantly coloured artwork and favourite animals make this rhythmic story the perfect introduction to looking and learning about colours.

This book about animals and colours was in our ‘Bookstart’ pack that we received earlier this year and it’s my almost 3 year old’s book of the moment. It’s read at least half a dozen times a day and is the book of choice for bed time. I’ve found Joshua on the stairs, ‘reading’ it to himself having memorised much of the text which is very simple rhyming and captures and keeps his attention: ‘Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me’. We can talk about the picture and learn about the colour of the animals but often though, Joshi just can’t wait to get on to the next page and so we keep the flow of the rhyming text going.

My 14 month old loves to listen along to my voice, smiling and laughing as the tone changes and then repeats. He also enjoys pointing and laughing at the pictures. I love Eric Carle’s illustrations, which are large, very fun and brightly coloured.

Verdict: This is a really fun book. It’s great for learning about different animals and colours, but we’ve also enjoyed the rhyming aspect and the fact that Joshua has been learning to ‘read all myself’ due to the simply written text.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: April 1999 (new ed.)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Picture Book
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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The Salt Road

Jane Johnson

The desert lay before them, and the secrets of the amulet…From Tafraout’s magnificent mountainside, Isobel absorbs the heat and romance of the Moroccan vista before her, with mosque and homes scattered far below. But a mere slip sees her tumbling uncontrollably into the arms of handsome rescuer Taïb, who notices her unusual silver amulet, and that her fall has revealed a tiny scroll hidden within. Entranced by the possibilities of its intricate and illegible script, they set out for the Sahara in search of a Tuareg elder to unlock the riddles of its past. Little does Izzy realize that the desert holds the key to more mysteries than the amulet’s. From beneath the beating sun emerges nomadic Princess Mariata, whose stories of tortured love bind her to the precious talisman in Izzy’s hands. She’s battled the sands; she’s found and lost love among its dunes. And where the amulet crosses both their paths, answers to the deepest secrets lie.

The story weaves together to tell the two tales of Mariata and Isabella. These two women have had very contrasting lives, living in different times and countries, where women are treated in hugely different ways and have vastly different expectations. Isabella in the West being, what we would think of, as a strong, independent, ambitious woman and Mariata in the more Eastern lifestyle. Yet Mariata too is a strong, independent and ambitious woman. The outworking of these qualities in their lives and diverse circumstances bring lots of substance to the story.

It is a beautifully written book and describes Morocco and that area of Africa strikingly. It really brought alive the harsh scenery, the dangers that it brings and yet the awe with which it inspires people. I was also struck by the lives of the travelling desert people, not just how tough they have to be but there sense that they belong to themselves and don’t want to be constrained by national boundaries imposed by outsiders, or by religious boundaries imposed by others coming from the East. The traditions that maintain their lifestyle were fascinating, and as I like to learn my history encased in a great story, this book certainly provided that.

This book has drama, romance and intrigue, although I found that I had guessed at some twists in the story before they happened there were one or two things that came as a surprise. Also figuring out what might happen didn’t detract from the reading of it at all, always a sign of a well written book for me.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this, the atmosphere, passion and insight into a different way of life made it a great read. I will be looking out for more work by Jane Johnson.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Genre: Adventure, Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Debut Author
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