Archive for April, 2013

Dr Dog

Babette Cole

dr dogMeet Doctor Dog, he’s the Gumboyle family’s favourite pet and their very own trusty physician. When Doctor Dog jets off to a medical conference in Brazil the Guimboyles decide they can’t survive without him and so he returns to rescue them from all sorts of ailments: itchy nits, tickly tonsils and worms to name but a few. . .

I have enjoyed a few of Babette Cole’s stories and when my youngest picked this up in the library I was quite happy to add it to our pile of books to borrow. However the girls decided that we had to read it in the library then and there, so we did and it attracted some comments from other library users too. This is a book that can’t fail to induce an opinion!

The story is about the Gumboyle family whose pet dog is also their doctor. This is of huge benefit to them as they are not the most hygienic or healthiest of families! Dr Dog has to treat them for such complaints as smokers cough, head lice and worms as well as tonsillitis, ear ache and tummy ache. He givens good advice and shows the family pictures (drawn in a childlike style) of what is happening in their insides as a result of their lack of cleanliness or their illnesses. It’s a great way to get a conversation going about health and hygiene. “Never scratch your bum and suck your thumb” has got us talking about lots of things, as well as raising giggles from the girls.

Dr Dog warns the family of that bad things will befall them if they don’t change their ways. I am sure none of them really thought that Grandad Gumboyle’s excessive wind would blow the roof off their house though. The illustration for this also causes much merriment as Grandad sails through the air on his toilet as the ruined roof lies beneath him. It may not be what happens to most people but it does make a point!

Unsurprisingly after all this Dr Dog has to have time off for stress – brilliant.

Verdict:This is an irreverent and amusing look at health issues that can affect children and families. It has been well loved for the three weeks it has been in the house!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Red Fox
Publication Date: February 1996
Format: Picture book
Pages: 40
Genre: Humour, Health
Age: Early readers
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Amity and Sorrow

Peggy Riley

amity and sorrow coverIn the wake of a suspicious fire, Amaranth gathers her children and flees from the fundamentalist cult in which her children were born and raised. Now she is on the run with only her barely aged teenage daughters, Amity and Sorrow, neither of whom have seen the outside world, to help her. After four days of driving Amaranth crashes the car, leaving the family stranded at a gas station, hungry and terrified.
Rescue comes in the unlikely form of a downtrodden farmer, a man who offers sanctuary when the women need it most. However while Amity blossoms in this new world, free from her father’s tyranny, Sorrow will do anything to get back home. Although Amaranth herself is beginning to understand the nature of the man she has left, she needs the answer to one question; what happened to the other wives and children.

This has been one of the hardest reviews to write. I’ve started, deleted and started again. I ignored, re-scheduled and stared at a blank computer screen but enough is enough. I will attempt to express the complicated feeling I have for Amity and Sorrow.

I have to confess that had I not been offered this book to review, If I had simply seen Amity and Sorrow in a book shop, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.

For me reading is escapism, an indulgence and a pleasure. I am all about the “Happily Ever After”. I admit that I avoid books that are likely to be too heavy, books that depict abuse, or books that are likely to make me feel too uncomfortable. God, Sex and Farming… To say that I was reading outside of my comfort zone would be an understatement!

Although I found the subject matter explored within Amity and Sorrow uncomfortable and harrowing, this book was so much more. I never felt as though Riley sensationalized her subject matter, three women escaping from a polygamist religious cult, to make a quick buck. But, much like the characters it introduces, this is a modest book, understated but no less heart wrenching.

Amity and Sorrow is told from the women’s 3rd person perspective as they find themselves attempting to acclimatize to their new, alien like, surroundings and make sense of their place within the world without the strict rules of their home or the guidance of their “Father God”. The present day narrative is seamlessly interspersed with flashbacks which take us in a reverse chronological journey, through the events that led to the decision to escape and beyond to the circumstances in which Amaranth first became involved with her husband and cult leader. Each flashback adds another layer to the quiet horror of the women’s story.

I found the ending distressing and unsettling, nevertheless it was completely right for the story. Riley has too much respect for her characters and their journey to belittle their traumas and their achievements or to tie up the book with a pretty bow, and a fantasy happy ever after. Instead she offers the reader a glimmer of hope and new beginnings, but ultimately leaves the reader with more questions than answers.

I read the book with a love-hate attitude towards most of the characters. Like family, no matter how much you fight or how much they frustrate you there are underlying threads of love and affection, which keep you rooting for them and in this case kept me turning the page.

While I applaud Amaranth for her strength of character for removing her daughters from a harmful situation, and I could even begin understand how she got herself entangled within the polygamous cult, I had the most issues with her decisions made following their escape. At times I felt like reaching into the pages of the book and shaking her, and saying ‘look at your daughters, see how they are still hurting, look at the dangers that surround them still.’ In retrospect I can see that she was in survival mode, doing the best she could in a undoubtedly difficult situation, while still broken and healing herself.

But then I guess that that is the difference between a good book and a great one. That very fact that over a month after finishing, I am remembering, and analyzing, and questioning and still wishing for that happily ever after.

There is no doubt that Amity and Sorrow is beautifully and sensitively written. The imagery memorable, easily transporting you into the dust and heat and hardship of rural Oklahoma, the pacing is perfect and the narrative borders are poetic.

Verdict: While it is unlikely that I will ever re read Amity and Sorrow I have no doubts that I will be buying Peggy Riley’s next novel.

Reviewed by Caroline

If you are intrigued by Peggy Riley’s debut don’t forget to pop back on the 18th of April when we will be taking part in the blog tour and hosting an INTERNATIONAL giveaway for a signed hardback!

Publisher: Tinder Press
Publication Date: March 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 284
Genre: Fiction, Cults
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Belonging

Karen Ann Hopkins

belongingRose became Amish so she could be with Noah, but is this where she really belongs?
‘I left everything I knew behind. but it was worth it. He was worth it’.
No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren’t even allowed to see each other. Not until I’ve proven myself.
If I can find a way to make it work, we’ll be Rose & Noah, together forever.
But not everybody believes this is where I belong’.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Temptation’(read my review here), Karen Ann Hopkin’s first book that introduces us to Rose and Noah and their blossoming young love with all it’s trials. In fact for Rose and Noah they have suffered and are suffering more trials than your average young couple as Rose is ‘English’ and Noah is Amish. Rose and Noah meet when Rose is new to the area, they fall quickly and hard for each other but face much opposition both from Rose’s protective family and Noah’s very traditional Amish community. At the end of Temptation we leave Rose and Noah in love and prepared to make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to be together. And to make this a possibility, Rose decides to join the Amish community.

I was very pleased to receive an advanced reader copy of ‘Belonging’ and pretty much devoured the book over a couple of days. Without wanting to give too much from the first book away, Noah is recovering from an accident and Rose has made a commitment to be part of the Amish community, leaving her father and brothers and moving in with an Amish family in order to learn their ways and to show them how much she is prepared to work to prove her love and commitment to Noah.

Rose’s dad and brother, whilst not happy with her decision gave their blessing, secretly safe they believe, in the knowledge that Rose will get a shock and come to her senses and not last more than a couple of weeks. Rose meanwhile is on a steep learning curve having been told that she will not be allowed to court Noah until she has become a member of the Amish church and that this will not happen until she’s had ample opportunity and time to learn their ways and become more like them.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Amish in this book. With Rose living with them, this community is where the story is mostly set and we get to read about all their activities; their services, feasts and different occasions. All the while Rose is fighting against her natural and very ‘English’ ways and desires and trying to fit in with the Amish as best as she can.

Rose makes begins to make friends among the girls and she begins to realise that not all Amish girls are sweet and innocent… Also she still has to deal with Ella Weaver who wants shot of Rose as she is interested in Noah for herself.

Noah meanwhile, is watching Rose and worrying about how she is settling, behaving and stressing over who she is becoming friends with and what sort of influence they will be. He soon finds out when the boys meet up with the girls in the middle of the night in the woods after a sleepover sneak out. As secrets are shared Rose discovers that while the Amish may project a particular image of purity and high moral standards, in fact there is a lot more going on that she realised and that one of her friends in particular has suffered horribly within the community.

Rose is coping with an awful lot considering her still very young years and is finding the change in lifestyle tough, especially as she misses her father and brothers. However she perseveres and eventually is able to join the church and is allowed to officially court Noah. But that doesn’t mean their happy ending is in sight. There is a lot more to happen to Rose and Noah yet.

I just loved this second book. From a kidnap, and misunderstanding between Rose and Noah, new relationships and creepy dealings with creepy Levi Zook which actually put Rose’s life in danger, I don’t want to give too many spoilers away but there is a lot going on and I couldn’t put the book down.

verdict: I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next chapter in Rose and Noah’s story.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Received from author
Challenge: None
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Wild Boy

wild boy coverLondon, 1841
A boy covered in hair, raised as a monster, condemned to life in a travelling freak show.
A boy with extraordinary powers of observation and detection.
A boy accused of murder; on the run; hungry for the truth.
BEHOLD THE SAVAGE SPECTACLE OF WILD BOY!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, take your seats. The show is about to begin.

Wild Boy is an extremely likeable character, and I found myself rooting for him from the off. Abandoned, psychologically abused, beaten, socially isolated and enslaved to a travelling freak show, my heart broke for him. But, despite what life has repeatedly taught him, he maintains his optimism and hopes for a better life. His sense of fairness, of right and wrong and his humour shines through the grime and sordidness of his environment.

An undelivered letter, the wrong place, the wrong time and our diamond in the rough finds himself falsely accused of murder and running for his life. With only his amazing skills of observation and deduction, and a reluctant partnership with his “arch enemy” Clarissa, a flamed haired, lock picking acrobat, Wild Boy must find the real culprit and clear his name.

The feisty characters and non-stop action, the Holmes like deduction and macabre Victorian backdrop, the secret passages and mad scientists – I loved every minute of this middle grade mystery and I really hope that this first of many adventures with Wild boy and “circus fiend” Clarissa.

Verdict: Fantastic middle grade mystery

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 301
Genre: Mystery, Historical fiction
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Leyland Perree

We are delighted to welcome Leyland Perree to Self Published Sunday to talk about his children’s book, The Great Reef Race.

Leyland author photoLeyland Perree is a freelance children’s’ author. His illustrated picture books include Frog on the Log, The Goat that Gloats and Toad’s Road Code, all of which have achieved international success.
The Great Reef Race is his first book by Ghostly Publishing, and his first collaboration with illustrator Stuart McGhee, who, we’re happy to say, survived the ordeal
Leyland’s inspirations and ideas stem from a childhood love of rhyme and imaginative storytelling from the likes of Dr. Seuss and Spike Milligan.
Leyland lives in Devon with his wife and son.

Tell us about your book?
It’s about an annual underwater race that takes place on and around a reef. The story features many different humorous and colourful sea-creatures bought to life through Stuart McGhee’s unique illustrations. The story itself is written in verse (which I tend to fall naturally into – again, a throwback to my love of Dr. Seuss and Julia Donaldson). The two central characters, Eel and Ock, are (for me) reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise, but the real show-stealer has to be a certain sea-snail – I shall say no more!
The Great Reef Race is published by Ghostly Publishing, and is available from their online bookshop. You can also pick it up from Amazon and Waterstones.

What was your inspiration for The Great Reef Race?
All three of my previous children’s books contain a moral of some sort. For my next book I wanted to tackle the notion of working together to achieve great things, so I began to think about creatures that could have different skill-sets. I settled on an octopus (many limbs, but potentially clumsy) and an eel (no limbs at all, but fast and agile). How could they help one another? I had an idea about them collecting clams from the seabed, and a title came to me: “The Great Clam Caper”. But after that I was fairly stumped and struggled to find a starting point. Still, I liked the title and began to bounce a few others around of much the same ilk. “The Great Reef Race” came quickly and naturally, as did the first verse;

“Far beneath the ocean waves
And in the underwater caves
Exciting news was spreading fast:
‘The Great Reef Race is here at last!’

After that, the rest rolled along nicely without many bumps and ruts. The moral, incidentally, of this one is that playing fair and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
“The Great Clam Caper” may still happen. In fact, I know it will. Some ideas I have fade with the passing of time. Some, like that one, remain vivid in my mind. For now though, it’s in the bank for another day.

Why did you choose to write children’s fiction?
I didn’t, so much as it was an experiment of sorts that turned into something I seem to be fairly good at. As I said, the sideline took off. Now my adult fiction has become the sideline.
How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I always loved rhyme and verse when I was young. The sillier, the better. I guess I just fell into it naturally being a bit of a silly person myself.

What are you currently working on?
The next children’s picture book (Which Witch is Which?) is already written and with Stuart McGhee for illustration. Also written is the third Perree/McGhee collaboration “The Magic Custard Factory”, although I’m still tinkering with the ending of that one.
I’m also working on two children’s novels;
“Captain Mandible and the Deadlings”, is about inept pirates, annoying grandparents, ghosts, time-travel and cats that go “WOOFF!
“Roy and the Magic Wish Machine” (working title) is about a Toyland elf trying to track down a missing Santa Claus.

What inspired you to become a writer?
As a child I loved stories, from the nonsensical rhymes and wacky illustrations of Dr. Seuss to the fantasies of Enid Blyton and the blackly comic books of Roald Dahl. I tried my hand at writing, on-and-off, when I was young, but didn’t really find my confidence with it until I was in my late-teens/early twenties. Around that time I started writing roleplaying adventures to play with friends. Although I struggled to get to grips with the rules of the game for which I was writing, I found I enjoyed the writing aspect immensely. In the end I ditched the game and spent the next six years writing my debut novel; a sizeable tome of something like 287,000 words.
I continued writing adult fiction until the time my son turned one. Having become, at that time, a huge fan of Julia Donaldson, I decided to write a story for my son (and my own amusement). Having never intended to sell it, I decided in the end to “throw it out there” ¬¬– to see what happened. And it just so happens that the “sideline” took off. The Great Reef Race is my current (and fourth) children’s picture book. I still write fiction for adults, and in a way this has now become the sideline. I suspect that the two aspects of my career are destined to orbit each other forever.

What is your writing process?
Having slipped out of a routine for a while, I’m now back to writing three evenings a weeks, plus whatever I can grab inbetween times. I write in my office (spare bedroom) on my PC with the door closed and a hot (or cold) beverage within arm’s reach.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I work full-time and have a six-year old lad, so by the time I’ve got home, spent time with him, put him to bed and eaten, it’s often a good way towards what should be my own bedtime. Then comes writing or writing-related stuff like research, promotion, editing etc which often takes me into the small hours of the morning.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
As humans we can be so quick to compartmentalise things. At the risk of being controversial, I think sometimes writers whip out the old writers block trump card when all that is happening is that they are struggling a bit. More often than not, writing will be a struggle. It’s a deeply personal craft that often won’t flow as freely as you want it to. Now I’ve never experienced writer’s block, and I’ll bet that a good many writers (especially those just starting out) who claim to have had, haven’t either. According to my research, real writer’s block is, apparently, a deeply debilitating and mentally crippling condition that can cause gross anxiety, phobia and an inability to function creatively.
It is perfectly natural to hit a wall, now and again. It’s okay to struggle a bit. It’s not okay to keep banging into that wall like a fly against a windowpane. Try something else. Try going around – or going back. I’ve thrown a good two or three chapters away before now when I reached a dead-end in one of the novels I wrote, because I just couldn’t see a way forward. It wasn’t writer’s block. It was poor management. I lost sight of the horizon, got so caught up in the here-and-now that I allowed the plot to steer itself away from the point I should have been heading towards.
I guess until I experience it for myself, I’ll remain fairly sceptical that such a thing as writer’s block even exists. In the meantime, I’ll struggle a bit.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read “On Writing” by Stephen King. Love him or hate him, the guys knows his stuff. Nothing I can say here will outshine the gems of wisdom in that particular book. So I’m not going to try.

What books have inspired you?
Anything with Dr. Seuss or Julia Donaldson on the cover.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
Henry Hollins and the Dinosaur. I have fond memories of that book.

What are you currently reading?
Dead Game by Claire Kinton.

Just For Fun

If The Great Reef Race was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

Ha ha. Samuel L. Jackson as Ock. Jason Lee as Eel. Steve Buscemi as Mark the Snail.

Paper, Audio or eBook?
All three are valid formats. My heart lies with paper though.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot

Shower or Bath?
Bath

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Love it

Email or postcard?
Email

the great reef race“Far beneath the ocean waves
And in the underwater caves
Exciting news was spreading fast:
‘The Great Reef Race is here at last!”
When Eel and Ock join a host of other memorable sea-creatures in a thrilling, madcap, splash to the finish line, they soon discover that friendship, fair play and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
Join in the fun as they wriggle, jiggle and giggle their way from page to fun-filled page – like only an Eel and an Octopus can!

The Great Reef Race is available to buy now from Ghostly Publishing (click here to purchase), amazon.co.uk(here), amazon.com (here) and from Waterstones.com(here)

You can learn more about Leyland and his work by visiting his website(here), his Goodreads authors page(here) or by conversing with him on twitter(here)

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Cover Reveal: Strong Enough

I am really looking forward to this debut from self published author Alexis Alexander.

strong enoughWe don’t meet people in life on accident, they are meant to cross our path for a reason; Reece Miller is beginning to understand what that really means.
At the tender age of 17, Reece experienced a trauma that finally left her broken and guarded. Her memories of that night are limited except for the feel and smell of the savior that crossed her path. With no name or even a mental picture of who he was, she has spent the last six years thinking of nothing but him and wondering.
Hardened by life, Reece has built a wall around herself. Unable to understand the feeling of love, let alone what it means to be needed or wanted, she pushes through life hiding; three people cross her path and slowly chip at the vacant shell that is, Reece Miller, one of them being her savior from that awful night.
Will Reece figure out who he is or his reason for being in her life before it’s too late? Or will she lose the one person meant to make her whole again?
A heartfelt tale of learning to trust, believe and love

Strong Enough is scheduled to be published in May.
To learn more about Alexis and her work visit her Facebook page(here).

Posted by Caroline

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Walking Disaster

Jamie McGuire

walking disasterHow much is too much to love?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.
In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. Just when he thought he was invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.
Every story has two sides. In Jamie McGuire’s New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes

Despite a mountainous TBR pile of review books, I could not contain myself, or my grabby hands. As soon as I discovered that the eARC of Walking Disaster was available to request on Netgalley, I was online like a shot, clicking request and crossing every digit and limb. Needless to say I was delighted to have my request accepted.

When I first read Jamie McGuire’s Walking Disaster, I found myself torn. On the one had I loved the hot romance, the bad boy alpha male, whose “relationship history” read like the phonebook, falling for the “good girl” who won’t take any crap. On the other, I found elements of Travis’ behaviour self destructive and at times disturbing; the drinking, the women, the jealousy, the violence (although I would like to clarify now that at no point does he direct that violence at Abby).

The attitudes and the behaviour are not ones that I would tolerate in my own life, nor would I support this kind of relationship among my friends, but when it comes to fiction – pass me my pom-poms. But then that’s kind of the point, it’s fiction, a romantic fantasy -the bad boy redeemed by the one woman he loves – and in my case a guilty reading pleasure.

Walking Disaster is very much a companion novel, in that I don’t think that it can be enjoyed as a novel in it’s own right. The author assumes that you have read Beautiful Disaster, dropping you straight in to the story without setting the scene, or introducing the characters. In some cases events are eluded to but not described or explained.

Despite knowing exactly what was going to happen, I found Walking Disaster to be just as compelling a page-turner as its partner. I enjoyed experiencing the relationship from Travis’s point of view, and many of the behaviours and events I felt uncomfortable with from the first book were less problematic for me approached from Travis’s perspective.

Jamie wraps up the series with a sweet, if perhaps a little far-fetched, epilogue. It was nice to get a glimpse of the couple in the future. To see that they had grown together as a couple and had managed to maintain a relationship after the trauma induced, life changing decision they made at the end of the original book.

Verdict: An absolute treat for Travis Maddox fans, but do not attempt to read this if you haven’t already enjoyed Beautiful Disaster.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 432
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: Mature YA/New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Oh No George

Chris Haughton

oh no georgeGeorge is a dog with all the best intentions. And his owner, Harry, has all the best hopes that George will be a well-behaved dog when he leaves him alone for the day. But when George spies a delicious cake sitting on the kitchen table, his resolve starts to waver. You see, George loves cake. . . . Uh-oh. What to do now? It’s so hard to be a good dog when there are cats to chase and flowers to dig up! What ever will Harry say when he gets back? Chris Haughton’s fetchingly funny story and vibrant, retro illustrations are sure to lure dog lovers of all ages — and anyone who has ever met a temptation too good to resist.

I love this book! I really wish that it had been around when my son was a bit younger. He is a typical boy, who gets into lots of mischief, but deep down really wants to behave and this would have been the perfect book to introduce a discussion into those contrasting feelings to him.

The pictures should really appeal to young ones. Very simple and based around bight oranges and reds they are eye catching and give you lots to talk about without being too distracting or too detailed for young minds. I can really see why this book made the shortlist.

But for me it is the story line that really makes this book. All young children misbehave, they all do silly things. The scrapes that George gets into in the book are something that most young children would consider doing. When George gets ‘found out’ he feels very guilty, in the same way a young child would and then he gets the chance to make things better. This is all done on a level that a child would understand, giving them a chance to explore their own feelings on wanting to do things that they aren’t allowed to do. That George also gets the chance to do it all again the right way shows children that they can do it too and that we all learn eventually.

Verdict: A lovely, engaging picture book. A fantastic starting point for discussions about behaviour with small children.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: Match 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Back to Blackbrick

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

blackbrickWhen Cosmo keeps his promise to go to Blackbrick Abbey, he unlocks the gate to the place his granddad once worked and finds himself in the forgotten corners of a distant past, one that his granddad has, strangely, never really talked about. Here there are new beginnings, memories are just being born, friendships come to life and everything is still possible…

Cosmo loves his Grandad, really honestly, but the only problem is that in his old age he’s gone slightly, how do you put it? well, crazy. So crazy in fact, that he regularly gets into long conversations with a lamp post. The only other problem is that other people have started to realise and ask embarrassing and hard to answer questions. Since Cosmo’s brother Brian died, his world has been slowly crumbling around him and because his mum couldn’t stand not having Brian around she went off to Sydney because there were apparently ‘better business opportunities’ leaving Cosmo to live with his granny and grandad where he enjoyed himself entirely…that was until his granddad started going crazy and losing his memory.

Life’s not so fun when your grandad stops remembering who you are. Cosmo and his gran started getting worried about him when he did a wee in the dishwasher. So they called a care home and they said they will do a memory test tomorrow to see if he can stay at home or will have to got into a care home. Cosmo tries to get his grandad to remember stuff but to no avail.

One day his grandad gives him the key to the south gates of Blackbrick Abbey where he used to work. While unlocking the gate, Cosmo unlocks his Grandad’s forgotten past…

Verdict: Amazing. Nothing else said.

Reviewed by Daisy (11)

Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 227KB
Genre: Time travel, Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy (11)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Hang in There Bozo: The Ruby Redfort Emergency Survival Guide for Some Tricky Predicaments

Lauren child

bozoRuby Redfort: secret agent, detective, thirteen-year-old kid.
And now…survival expert.
It’s not always possible to skip around smelling roses, ’cos sometimes you’re too busy gripping onto the cliff edge by your fingernails. But 99 times out of 100 it’s worth hanging in there bozo: just as things can get worse so too can they get a whole lot better.
In this handy pocket-sized book, Ruby will give you the lowdown on how to survive a bunch of tricky situations. So long as you keep a cool head, buster, you can make it out of there alive…

This book is great for any girl that’s always wanted to be a spy, superhero or even just live in the wild. Lauren Child has packed this book full of survival tips and tricks. Ruby talks (in American English) about times when she’s used Spectrum (her spy agency) gadgets and normal things to help her survive; for example ‘the buckle’. If you’re stranded in the middle of the ocean, just put the breathing buckle in between your teeth and you can breathe under water. Helpful, huh? Or …how to survive in the desert and how to get out of a dull conversation with a boring person.

Find out how Ruby has faced these dangers and got out of them alive and how you can stay out of them. My mum got this on kindle for 79p on World Book Day. It was great value for money. Out of ten I would rate it ten because I’m an adventurous girl, but I still think even girly girls might like it and maybe even some boys may like it! I think it’s probably for 7 to 15 year olds.

Verdict: I love this book and I think every one should have a copy!

Reviewed by Izzy (8)

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 128
Genre: Survival
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (8)
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
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