Archive for March, 2014

Bookish Brits: Chocolate Book Tag

Chocolate and books! Two of my favourite things combined in one video.

Massive thanks to Faye ( check out her book blog here) who created the tag and invited me to take part.

Posted by Caroline

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Katie Morag and the Birthdays

Mairi Hedderwick

katie moragKatie Morag is desperate for it to be her birthday, but as she soon discovers, there are plenty of other birthdays to be celebrated on Struay both before and after hers. Join Katie Morag and friends for a year on Struay. Celebrate Neilly Beag’s birthday with a celidah and a jig, Liam’s with an April Fool’s joke and the Big Boy Cousins’ with a huge BBQ at the Old Castle. And find out what excitements are in store for Katie Morag and her Two Grandmothers on their special day . . .

This book is about the irrepressible Katie Morag who lives on the Scottish Island of Struay with her family and their birthdays. It interweaves a story through the months of the year as Katie Morag celebrates all the family birthdays and continually asks that on-going question, “When is it my birthday?”. Looking at all these people celebrating in different ways and sharing fun together was a sweet story, and one that every child can relate to.

I enjoyed reading this story to my girls, it is written in months, each page has the month as a heading and the date of the person’s birthday in different colours down the side. Katie Morag’s own birthday has a couple of extra pages too. I also liked the way the book had a calendar at the end that you could put your family birthdays in (or an older child could). It was also a great touch that it had ‘how to make’ pages showing things that Katie Morag had made for her family and how you could do them yourself, my daughter immediately wanted to make the birthday card.

Both of my girls really enjoyed this, they are 4 and 6 years old and it is perfectly pitched for them. This is a fairly long picture book with quite a bit of text and is probably better suited to a child of this age rather than a two year old. Having said that the pictures are fabulous with lots of detail to engage children and bring the story to life, and the birthday theme is obviously one that even younger children will be able to have an understanding of!

Verdict: This was a lovely book, and the little extra’s in it make it something special.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Red Fox
Publication Date: March 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 48
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Retribution Tour: Top Ten Inspirational Authors

Big Book Little Book welcomes Virginia Brasch as she shares her top ten of inspirational authors.
retribution coverAn eye for an eye. Bailey Russell is an assassin on an Artemis Agency assignment that is both business and personal: take out Amir Fahad, the arms dealer, who killed her partner. She’s put together an ideal plan that includes using herself as bait. Grieving the loss of her former partner and her team’s faith in her she vows the only way this mission ends is in death: hers or Fahad’s.
A dangerous web they weave. British Intelligence Operative, Ben Ambrose, is married to his job. And for the past three months that has meant living undercover as part of Fahad’s crew. Three month’s work blown when he feels compelled to risk his life to protect Bailey and her friends from Fahad’s men.
The best laid plans. Bailey’s plan ruined. Ben’s cover blown. Their entire professional lives consist of lies and subterfuge, but there’s one thing Bailey and Ben can’t hide from each other, their growing attraction. Still, each wants to complete their mission at all costs: personal and professional.
Payback’s a bitch and this time her name is Bailey.

Jane Austen
She sweeps us into the past and teaches us that women don’t have to accept the lot that’s handed them. They’re allowed to dream and reach for goals.

Louisa May Alcott
She too won my heart with Jo March and her desire to write and strive for things otherwise denied her gender at the time.

Sandra Brown
I just adore her writing. It can be gritty and real and pull you in easily. What writer doesn’t aspire to that?

Steig Larrson
In Lisbeth Salander, he creates the ultimate outcast, an almost frightening character who becomes a vigilante and seeker of justice.

Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants was such an amazing book. I cried, I loved it, I borrowed it from my mom and read it in a day and then bought a copy for my in laws. She’s a great story teller.

Sherrilyn Kenyon
Her books take place in our world and yet there’s some serious world building going on in her books. She’s a master at it and she makes it look easy. I love Greek Mythology too so that’s an added bonus.

Johanna Lindsey
If you like historicals and you don’t know her name; well you’ve been living under a rock. The amount of research to accurately write a historical boggles my mind and yet she does it well. And often. She should teach a class on being prolific with so many hit titles under her belt.

JK Rowling
She worked as a single mother on welfare while writing the Harry Potter series. She knew what she wanted and she never gave up. She is endlessly inspiring.

Neil Gaiman
“Make Good Art.”

Dean Koontz
For scaring the hell out of me while I was home alone one summer morning and teaching me how powerful words can be. And making me invest in a nightlight.

Post written by Virginia Brasch

author pic braschVirginia Brasch, author of Retribution, the first book in the Artemis Series is making her writing debut. The married Pennsylvania native has an inherited love of books. Virginia was tired of reading stories about helpless damsels in distress and started writing about her own kind of heroine.
She snorts when she laughs, has an unfortunate fondness for karaoke, a growing collection of books, and is drawn always to the sea. She was also once hit in the head by a small sailboat’s boom and tossed overboard. This taught her the importance of expecting the unexpected. She enjoys dirty jokes and swears like a sailor though claims to be “****ing working on it.”
Virginia is an adventurer who lives a wildly exciting life. Afraid to fly, she travels infrequently. She gets excited to spend a night in reading or snuggle up watching a movie with her husband. She likes hanging out with her mom or tentatively venturing out with girlfriends, lured by promises of wine and laughing until it hurts.
She writes suspense with a romantic kick and fully believes heroines should be a bit brash. For more romantic suspense fun, or just for a chat, you can find Virginia on twitter (@Virginia_Brasch), Facebook (, and her website ( She encourages readers to go ahead and be a little bit Brasch.

Retribution is LIVE and available to buy from (here)

To learn more about Retribution and Virginia check out the other stops on the blog tour (here). Alternativley Virginia is active on Facebook (here) and on Twitter (here).

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Lissa Price

EndersSomeone is after Starters like Callie and Michael – teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations -With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?
No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

Lissa plunges us straight back into the action following on from Starters. Callie may have brought down Prime, the organisation putting electronic chips into young people (Starters) so they could be rented out by Enders (the older generation) for their use and pleasure. But she is still not safe; her chip, and those of others, can still be accessed, and as she discovers, their mind and bodies can still be controlled. Callie has an additional problem because her chip has been altered and is the only one who can be used to kill others. She is a hot commodity and The Old Man is still after her.

Callie is desperate to get the chip out of her head, she is worried that Tyler and Michael aren’t safe and she is trying to get over the fallout from her relationship with Brad. On top of all that is the voice she heard that could be her Father, whom she thought had died in the Spore Wars. With so much going on in her head Callie is conflicted but as determined as ever to try and keep everyone safe and to try and win her freedom. But then she meets Hyden and everything changes again as she seems to have found someone to help her in her quest to finally bring down the Old Man. However things, as ever, are more complex than they first appear.

There is no doubt that this book is gripping, the plot races along and there is little time to catch your breath as we go from one revelation , plot twist or piece of action to another. The new characters are well drawn and the old ones further developed, although at times I would have liked a bit more depth on Callie’s feelings this is hard to do when the action just keeps on coming. There was plenty in this that kept me guessing and I really enjoyed Lissa’s ability to create characters or situations that appeared to be one way and then turned out totally differently. I can’t give away any more plot without spoiling it, but I did find the ending satisfying and realistic, especially in the way that not everything was resolved, just like real life!

Again part of the interest in this story was the questions it causes you to think about with the disparity between old and young people, the development of technology and its use and abuse being just some of the issues that are touched on.

Verdict: This was an exciting, action packed conclusion to this story.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: December 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: none
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Bookish Brits: Drummer Girl Buddy Review

Bridget Tyler
16691515It was supposed to be the summer of her life. Instead, 17-year-old Lucy finds her best friend Harper shot dead in an LA swimming pool. How did it come to this? Lucy Gosling is the drummer in Crush, a rock band formed by five London schoolgirls that has just won the UK semi-final of an international talent contest. But when the band lands in Hollywood for the big final, things are not quite as they seem. The band’s lead singer, Harper, has just one thing on her mind – using sex, drugs and rock and roll, not to mention Crush itself, to win back her bad-news ex-boyfriend. Lucy must decide whether she’s playing to Harper’s tune, or setting the rhythm for the rest of the band

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Templar
Publication Date: May 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 361
Genre: Contemporary fiction, friendship
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Cover Reveal: The 100 Society

We are delighted to take part in the cover reveal of The 100 Society by debut author Carla Spradbery.

9781444920093.jpgFor sixth form art student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a hobby; it’s an obsession.
Having convinced her five classmates at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the club: tagging 100 locations around the city with a letter of the alphabet. But, with each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become.
When the local newspaper runs a story on The 100 Society, the group soon catches the attention of a menacing stalker – the Reaper – who seems intent on exposing their secret, teasing Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.
As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels; torn apart by doubt and death of a student, no-one is above suspicion. With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about forever…

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Cinderella: The Real story

Jan Butchett, Sara Volger and Omar Aranda (illustrator)

cinderella the real storyThis title is part of Bug Club, the first whole-school reading programme to combine books with an online reading world to teach today’s children to read. In this Year 6 Red A (NC level 5c) fiction short story collection … Forget all the stories you’ve read about good, kind Cinderella – they are just fairy tales! Onceuponatime Town has been buzzing with gossip since Cinderella’s imprisonment for unspeakable crimes. What has she done? Here, D.I. Whiskers and P.C. Scratch present you with their extraordinary case files

This book is really good it’s really quite the opposite of the normal fairy tale you hear. In this version Cinderella is the baddie and the ugly sisters are the goodies! I don’t want to give away that much, but when her master plan fails she gets other fairy tale baddies to help her!

This book is filed into two detective cases. These files contain newspaper articles, letters and a lot more.
Two mice give their insight every now and again and usually they end up scampering away with their tails between their legs.

Verdict: This book is aimed at anybody who enjoys fairy tales with a twist and enjoys books with bright colours. It’s probably aged for kids between 6 to 12 years of age.

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: eBook
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Borrowed
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