Posts Tagged ‘Reviewer- Faye’

The Red Thread

Dawn Farnham

Set against the backdrop of 1830s Singapore where piracy, crime, triads, and tigers are commonplace, this historical romance follows the struggle of two lovers Zhen, a Chinese coolie and triad member, and Charlotte, an 18-year-old Scots woman and sister of Singapores Head of Police. Two cultures bound together by the invisible threads of fate yet separated by cultural diversity.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
I have to admit that I love reading books that are full of culture. Books that describe places that I have never visited and may never visit. So when I heard about The Red Thread, I was instantly curious. Normally I am not a big historical fan but the draw of the vibrant Singaporian landscape drew me into giving this book a try and I am so glad it did. This is a very fascinating and beautiful novel. Dawn Farnham has done a brilliant job at creating an atmosphere in this book with unique writing that truly describes everything for the reader. It is informative and entertaining all at the same time. While the book is slow due to the vivid descriptions, this just makes the book more beautiful and lyrical. I was truly mesmerized by this book and cannot wait to read the next books in this series.

Who was your favourite character and why?
There is a vast array of characters in this book which can seem a bit confusing at times. In one chapter near the beginning, Dawn describes just a small portion of the characters and it takes up a fair few pages. But the main characters are all very interesting and alluring to read about. My favourite character was probably Charlotte. She is new to Singapore, moving to be with her brother and I found her to be a spectacular character. She was curious and interesting to follow throughout the book. I won’t say too much more as I do not wish to spoil it!

Would you recommend this book?
I would and I wouldn’t. It honestly depends who I was talking to. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a slow burner, someone who is willing to put time into a book and allow the beautiful narration to sink over them. However if you’re looking for a book with a fast, exciting plot then I definitely would not recommend this book. The Red Thread is perfect for readers who like to be truly transported.

One Sentence Summary (Verdict)
A beautiful, exotic and wonderfully written novel that will capture your heart.

The Red Thread is currently free on Amazon. You can get a copy by clicking here.

Publisher: Monsoon Books
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
Genre: Historical
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by Publisher
Challenge: None
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Fire Lines

Cara Thurlbourn

When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
It’s been a while since I last read a fantasy book but when I heard about this one, I was instantly intrigued. It sounded very interesting – and fortunately it was! From the very beginning I found myself quite addicted to this book and found it pretty difficult to move on. Fortunately this book was also an easy read, the descriptions were written so well that images of the world filled my brain. I connected with the characters and could not wait to find out what would happen and where the book would take us. It’s not a truly complex fantasy novel but that was absolutely perfect for me. This made it easier to imagine and read, it allowed the characters to take full control of the story, which is something I absolutely love in books.

Who was your favourite character and why?
This is actually a bit of a tough choice for me but I think my ultimate favourite character was Tsam. I can’t quite put my finger on why except that I was instantly drawn to him and his protective nature. He felt like a safety net in the book. It’s hard to describe but I just felt safe whenever he was there. Second to Tsam would obviously be Emi. She was such a strong, powerful character. She goes through so much in the book and has lived a hellish life but she takes it all in and doesn’t let her weaknesses or her history define her. She is definitely a very interesting and unique character.

Would you recommend this book?
Definitely. I am certain that this book might not be for everyone but if you love fantasy and YA, mystery and adventure then you should definitely make sure that you read this book. It’s vivid and vibrant, taking you on a truly exotic adventure. I loved the lay of the land that Cara has come up with in this book, I loved the different creatures and beings that we meet throughout the book too. So if you’re looking for a book with all of these elements, then don’t miss this one.

One Sentence Summary (Verdict)
A vivid, vibrant, easy and addictive read that will pull you in from the first sentence.

Publisher: Bewick Press
Publication Date: September 2017
Format: eBook
Pages: 300
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by Author
Challenge: None
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My Digger is Bigger

Lou Kuenzler (Author), Dan Taylor (Illustrator)

Rex Rhino roars along in his digger, Charlie Cheetah zooms by in his super-fast motor, and Holly Hornet whizzes right up to the sky in her jet, as the animals compete to find out whose vehicle is best. But it is little Jack the Gerbil who really wows the crowd with his gravity-defying scooter tricks. A riotous rhyming picture book with a fantastic fold-out finale!

One of my favourite things about working in a library is being one of the first people to open up the boxes with the new books inside and getting a look at the books that have been sent to us. Then if anything grabs my eye, I get to have a quick peek through it. When I saw this book, I was instantly intrigued and found myself diving in. I was expecting it to be a little bit fun perhaps but I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book. It was full of fun and interesting characters, lots of rhyming words and I was absolutely sure that it would be an absolute smashing hit with the kids.

In this book, the animals all have different things that they use to compete with their friends. Rhino’s digger is bigger but the Cheetah’s car is faster. I thought this was wonderfully clever and brilliant. It showed that we’re all different and unique and have our own things and talents that make us the “best” and which make us who we are. It does this by using animals that are all different and I just found it so fascinating and I hope that it helps to show to children that everyone is different but that doesn’t make any one less worthy.

Alongside a fantastic rhyme that flows really well, this book is full of bright vibrant pictures and a lot of things happen on each page which is perfect for keeping the children entertained. I am positive that this is a book that would be read over and over again and one that would be quite fun to share with your little one as well. I feel that it is the perfect book to inspire both girls and boys and I am just absolutely positive that this book will be a big hit with the young children who can then go off and play with their toy trucks and cars – as I am sure my niece would!

Verdict: A fun, rhyming, interesting and fascinating picture book which will capture the children’s imagination and inspire them to be better and play together.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library Copy
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The Lie

C. L. Taylor

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
Initially I loved it. This had me hooked from the very beginning. I listened to this on audiobook and I don’t know if this added to the atmosphere but what I do know is that the atmosphere of this book is so intense and incredible. The book jumps between past and present and always leaves one time era on a cliffhanger before jumping to the next time era. It was a very clever trick to keep the reader turning the page – both metaphorically and literally! I was also gutted when my car journey was over and the audiobook had to be paused for a short while, always eager to return to the story. This is a very well written thriller that has a very intriguing twist at the end. It is the first C. L. Taylor book that I have read but it will not be the last.

Who was your favourite character and why?
Sorry to be boring with you all guys but as usual my favourite character was our main protagonist; Jane. She was just such an interesting character and it was so fascinating to read about how she was five years and how she was now. I absolutely loved how protective she was of animals and how much she cared about the new people in her life as well. I did get a bit disgruntled that she didn’t talk to Will about everything but I also know that when you’re hiding something, it’s probably not easy to just bring it all out into the open. I loved how much she had grown between her past self and her future self but also how much she progressed throughout the book as well. She was definitely and strong and fascinating character to have at the forefront of this book.

Would you recommend this book?
Absolutely. It is an incredible read that will truly hook you from the beginning and will, hopefully, shock you to your core by the end of it too. It’s the type of book that drip feeds you information and leaves you guessing before the big reveal. But even then because we had past and present, there was still more to occur. It was truly wonderful and everything you could wish for with a twisty, heart-racing and addictive thriller. So if you’re looking for a book that is full of vibrant characters, has a dark heart and an ultimate reveal at the end, then you should definitely make sure you read this book.

One sentence summary (Verdict)
An addictive, fast-paced, heart-wrenching thriller read that will have you reaching for the tissues as well as feeling pure hope and happiness too. A whirlwind of a read that you really do not want to miss.
Verdict: A very entertaining, fun and quick read that celebrates diversity and being a little bit different.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 461
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library Copy
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One Button Benny

Alan Windram (Author), Chloe Holwill-Hunter (Illustrator)

One Button Benny is a story about heroes and the unlikely places you find them. With strikingly beautiful retro-style illustrations by Chloe Holwill-Hunter. This colourful, fun tale for three-to six-year-olds, sees loveable robot Benny becoming a surprising hero when the hairy, scary collectors try to take over his planet.

Benny has always been different. An outcast. He can’t do the cool things that all of his robot friends can do. All he has is one button that he is not allowed to use except in an EMERGENCY. He doesn’t know what it does. But all of his friends can do amazing things with THEIR buttons. Thus they tease Benny a lot and treat him differently, often poking fun at how boring he is. I felt very sorry for Benny but I loved that he still tried to find ways of using his emergency only button within the book.

But then a REAL emergency happens and while all the other robots flee, Benny finally gets to press his button! And it is the coolest button of ALL the robots. Within moments the robots all apologise and all decide that they want to be Benny’s friend and Benny feels welcome and happy. He’s not just ordinary after all, he’s EXTRA-ordinary.

This book had a very “ugly duckling” feel to it but I did not mind this at all as I just really loved the book. I loved the way the words were easy to say out loud, I loved all of the amazing illustrations by the ever talented Chloe Holwill-Hunter and how they related so well to the story as well. I loved how all of the robots looked different from each other and were all really unique and yet how despite that it still managed to reflect our world really well.

Verdict: A very entertaining, fun and quick read that celebrates diversity and being a little bit different.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Little Door Books
Publication Date: Jun 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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To Provence, With Love

T. A. Williams
Escape to the south of France with this perfect feel-good summer romance!
Anything is possible…
Struggling writer Faye Carter just can’t believe her luck. She’s off to Provence to write the autobiography of a famous film star and she’ll be staying in the stunning chateau!
So when she meets charming (and completely gorgeous) lavender farmer, Gavin, she knows that she’s made the right choice – even if glamourous, elderly Anabelle seems to be hiding something…
But when the sun is shining, the food is delicious and the air smells of honey, anything seems possible. Will the magic of Provence help Faye finally find a happy-ever-after of her own?.

Exclusive Excerpt
Faye went over and clinked her glass against Miss Beech’s, then Eddie’s, and took a mouthful. She watched as Miss Beech sipped her drink pensively before looking up. ‘Here’s something you can put in the book, Faye. They say alcohol slows the activity of the brain, but every time I drink champagne, my mind’s flooded with memories of so, so many good times.’ She stared down into the wineglass. ‘To be quite honest, I’ve never really liked the stuff that much. Those bubbles always seem to go up my nose, but it’s what it represents, I suppose.’
‘Well, I haven’t had the opportunity to drink enough champagne in my life to develop a special taste for it, but this is gorgeous. By the way, talking of wine, thank you so much for all the food and drink you’ve put in the flat. The fridge is absolutely packed.’ As Miss Beech made a dismissive gesture with her hand, Faye took another mouthful of champagne. It really was excellent. She pulled up an ornate wooden stool and sat down to one side of Miss Beech, directly in front of the fireplace. ‘So, go on then, what’s running through your mind at the moment? What memories has this sip of champagne awakened?’
There was a moment’s silence while Miss Beech reflected on the question and then, to Faye’s surprise, she started giggling like a schoolgirl once more. ‘To be totally honest, Faye, it reminds me of the night I tipped a bucket full of ice into my leading man’s lap in an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills.’
Faye gasped, feeling a fit of the giggles rising up inside her as well. ‘You did what?’ She watched as Miss Beech dissolved into laughter, her whole face flushed with pleasure as the memory returned. ‘It was at the end of a day’s filming of Faded Heart.’ Faye knew this to be one of Miss Beech’s best-known films. ‘All that day we’d been riding around on horses. As I recall, I was trying to show him how the stunt boss had been teaching me to jump onto a moving horse.’ She looked up. ‘We did a lot of our own stunts in those days, not like today – and as I leapt to my feet and stretched out one leg to demonstrate, my foot hit the bucket and … splash!’
Faye was laughing by now. ‘Who was the leading man?’
‘Charlton Heston.’
‘Wow, and what was his reaction? Was he angry?’
Miss Beech shook her head. ‘Not at all. He laughed his head off. Said it cooled him down. He was a good, kind man, was Chuck. Not like some others I could mention.’

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: July 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: None
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The Salvation Project

Stewart Ross
Humanity’s hope of salvation lies within a single laptop…
A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse this pandemic died before their Salvation Project was complete, leaving behind the results of their research in a sealed vault – the Soterion.
122 years have passed. The civilisation of the ‘Long Dead’ is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by brutal tribes of Zeds. Cyrus, Miouda and Sammy flee their burning city with a laptop rescued from the inferno. They believe it contains the key to the Salvation Project. But its batteries are dead, there is no electricity to power it, and murderous Zeds will stop at nothing to get it back…

Today is release day for this fantastic book and we’re here to celebrate it!

This book is the third and final book in the Soterion Mission trilogy and it is a brilliant conclusion to this series. You will not want to miss it!

Pop back on the blog on Monday 26th June for Faye’s review of the book!

About Stewart Ross

Stewart was born in Buckinghamshire and educated in Oxford, Berkhamsted, Exeter, Bristol, and Orlando, Florida. He taught at a variety of institutions in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, the USA, and Britain before becoming a full-time writer in 1989.
With over 300 published titles to his credit, he is now one of Britain’s most popular and versatile authors. His output includes prize-winning books for younger readers, novels, plays, three librettos, a musical, and many widely acclaimed works on history and sport. Several of his books are illustrated with his own photographs.
Stewart also lectures in France and the UK, gives talks, runs workshops, and visits schools. He is an occasional journalist and broadcaster. His brother, Charlie Ross, is the celebrated auctioneer.
In his spare time Stewart enjoys travel, restaurants, sport, theatre, photography, art and music. He lives near Canterbury with his wife Lucy, and – occasionally – his four children and two grandchildren. Each morning he commutes 10 metres to work in a large hut in the garden.

Publisher: Blean Books
Publication Date: June 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 279
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by Author
Challenge: None
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The Devil’s Poetry

Louise Cole

Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.
Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.
Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?
Dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who pays it?
Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.
‘Twisty, suspenseful and occasionally heart-rending, The Devil’s Poetry is a captivating read. I raced through it.” Emma Haughton, Now You See Me

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
As soon as I started reading this book, I was hooked. You can see what I mean by reading this extract here. It is addictive, spooky and thrilling all at once. I was instantly transported into the world of The Devil’s Poetry and just found it very difficult to put the book down. What is more is that as the book continued, what I really loved was the message of how powerful books can be. I have always seen books as an escape from reality but I have also always known how important they are and this book just really captures this so well.

Who was your favourite character and why?
I absolutely loved Callie. She has such a strong and vibrant personality and goes through a lot in the book. She’s the kind of protagonist that I truly love reading about as they make me feel so much better about life in general. Callie is struggling with the world around her as it collapses and yet she’s still heading forward and not letting life drag her down which is truly inspiring. She definitely made this book for me.

Would you recommend this book?
Without a doubt in my mind. I would recommend this to any who loves books. Especially if you love books that are fast-paced, eerie and hard-hitting. This is a YA thriller that will get your heart pumping as you keep turning page after page. It’s got some fantasy elements which really bring this book to another level and I still cannot get over how wonderful it is that this book shows how poweful and important books and reading can be.

One sentence summary (Verdict)
An action-packed thriller that will keep you hooked from the very first page until the very last.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Kindle Press
Publication Date: June 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 250
Genre: Thriller
Age: YA
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Dylan the Shopkeeper

Guy Parker-Rees

DYLAN THE SHOPKEEPER is the second picture book in a series featuring an exuberant stripy dog, who just loves to play. Created by bestselling illustrator Guy Parker-Rees, Dylan is a joyous new character who uses playing and fun to help toddlers explore and understand their world. Today Dylan is playing at being a shopkeeper. It’s all great fun, until his friends, Jolly Otter and Purple Puss, decide they want to be shopkeepers, too! Dylan’s friend, Dotty Bug, also appears on every page, encouraging readers to join in with the story.

Last year the world was introduced to Dylan, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees in his first book, Dylan the Doctor. It was a beautifully wonderful book about a dog and his animal friends enjoying imaginative play as they treated wounds and Dylan became a “doctor” for the day. It was bright, colourful and easy to read. Along with being fun and creative, I absolutely loved that this book invites the reader to join in with the story too, asking them questions on each of the pages.

Fortunately, Dylan the Shopkeeper is just as good as the first book in this series. In this book Dylan finds an old till drawer and so he wants to become a shopkeeper and use his till. The book follows his play as he invites his friends to purchase things from his shop. Things don’t go exactly to plan and it’s all dealt with so brilliantly, just as you would imagine young children would actually behave. Thus allowing the reader to truly immerse themselves in the story.

On top of that, this book is once again full of bright illustrations and full of creative play. It is fun, entertaining and I am certain that it would keep children interested from start to finish. I absolutely loved the story from start to finish and could definitely re-read it over and over – a very important thing for a children’s book as most likely a child will want to read it again and again! It is full of hope, friendship and imagination.

Basically, this is a wonderful picture book that I would definitely recommend and cannot wait to share with my neice!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: Jan 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library
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My Name is Not Refugee

Kate Milner

A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make.

There is something very powerful about picture books. They can sometimes be some of the first books that your child or even you, yourself, will remember reading. I know that I recall strongly my favourite picture book. So it is really wonderful when picture books also start educating children – not about Maths or English or other school subjects – but about different parts of society. If it teaches children that while there are many different walks of life, we’re all human despite our differences in our skin colour, body shape, social background and sexuality, then it’s going to give them a good start to life.

Thus I always love stumbling across picture books that manage this. So when I heard about My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. I needed to read it and see what the book is all about. And it is everything I love about picture books.

It’s entertaining, informative, and full of imagination too. The book follows a child who has to leave home behind and then learn a new language and a new culture and learn not to be terrified of the experience. It asks the reader questions along the way, such as: “What would you pack in your backpack of possessions?” This allows the reader to understand what the other child may be going through. Would they choose their favourite book or their favourite teddy bear if they can’t pack both?

On top of that, Kate hasn’t identified where the child has come from or where they’ve ended up. So it’s a way for refugees of any culture to identify themselves in the book which is absolutely fantastic and is exactly what makes this book so very powerful. It’s inclusive – just as every book should be.

All in all, this is a very powerful, imaginative, and relevant book that is a must read for adults and children alike to understand society further.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: The Bucket List
Publication Date: May 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
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