#Tuesdaybookblog Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford #bookreview

My Mini Review

Time Travelling with a Hamster is just as good as the title suggests. It’s fun, action packed and comes highly recommended by my 11-year-old daughter!

Time travel is something I’ve always struggled to get my head around – the flaws in any possible method and the repercussions of what you change in the past altering the future. This book deals with all aspects of time travel perfectly. Despite being aimed at the middle-grade audience, anyone can enjoy the book and I recommend it with almost as much enthusiasm as my daughter.

Al is a great protagonist, one I’m sure all children will be able to relate to. He does act rash, speak without thinking and get himself in difficult situations, but he learns from his mistakes and becomes a better person for them. Another standout character in the book is Al’s Grandfather, Byron.

The book deals with serious issues like loss and the difficulties encountered with a new step family. These issues are well handled, but I did not like the idea of a twelve-year-old sneaking out the house at midnight and stealing a moped etc. Still, if taken in fun, this is a true adventure story and I’m sure every child will enjoy it.

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I love the teaser line ‘My dad died twice. But only the second time was my fault.’ Who could resist reading on to find out more.

I rated this book 4.5 stars.

My daughter gave it a whole-hearted 5 stars. She asked me what could have been done differently to warrant 5 stars from me. I’m not really sure, I suppose it’s the little niggles as a parent that have held me back. Maybe you should read the book and let me know what you think.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads

“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve. The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”

When Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine, he finds that going back to the 1980s requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, burglary, and setting his school on fire. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…

Goodreads book link

My Top 10 reads of 2017 #greatreads #booklove #amreading

I’m surprised to say I beat my reading challenge target on Goodreads. I read 34 books throughout 2017, my target was 30. I read 33 in 2016, so I think I’ve found a good reading level for me, but I might aim a little higher in 2018. I plan to be more organised in my reading next year, finishing a few trilogies I’ve started etc. But I’ll post about that later. Right now, I’d like to share my Top 10 Reads of 2017…

My kids have recommended a few books this year, which have been really addictive. It’s hard to choose between them, so I’ve selected two…

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver.

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I love wolves, have done since I read Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. This book has emotion, excitement, adventure and friendship. It has been enjoyed by three generations of my family, so don’t let the fact its a children’s book put you off. I haven’t reviewed this book on my blog yet, but it is a 5 star read.

The Iron Trial By Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

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Again I haven’t reviewed this book yet, but it’s an amazing read and my first try of both these authors. I highly recommend this unputdownable 5 star book.

I tried a couple of historical fiction novels this year and I was so impressed with IREX by Carl Rackman, which I read when I was a reviewer on Rosie Amber’s book review team.

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This book really draws you into the Victorian era and the mystery elements keeps you intrigued right to the end. I was sad this book had to end at all. Here’s my review.

I also tried Urban Fantasy for the first time and loved…

Eleonore by Faith Rivens

This was another 5 star read, here’s my review. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed changing my usual fantasy genre. I highly recommend this demon hunting, kick-ass heroine’s story.

Two of my stand out fantasy reads in 2017 were…

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This was my book club choice and I loved it. Here’s the link to my original review. I loved this magical book and I’m jealous of Naomi Novik’s story telling skills.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab

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I was taken by surprise by this novel. I loved the characters and can’t wait to read the rest of this series in 2018. I plan to share my review of the series then. It was another 5 star read.

I have listened to a few audiobooks in 2017 and two that really stand out are;

Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek

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The premise of this book really drew me in and I couldn’t stop listening. I may not have been over the moon with the ending, but it was still a great book and a 5 star read. Here’s my review.

The Breakdown by B A Paris

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This book was another addictive listen, with plenty of twists and shocks. You feel as unsure of whom to trust as the main character, Cass, and I loved the ending. A must read, and I hope to share my review of it early in 2018.

I have read a few writing guides this year. Again it was hard to choose between them, but I’ve selected two favourites…

The Writer’s Lexicon by Kathy Steinemann

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This book is a great editing companion. I found it really helpful in helping me focus on over used and redundant words, with plenty of helpful word alternatives. Here’s my review.

Overwhelmed Writer’s Rescue by Colleen M Story

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A great book to help you re-evaluate your life and focus on what matters. There is so much in this book to help you find more time to write. Here’s my review.

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So looking back at my reading in 2017 I’m impressed that I managed to read so many books considering I’ve published my second novel, The Lost Sentinel, edited a third and wrote 40k of another during NaNoWriMo.

I don’t know what 2018 will hold, but I’m looking forward to immersing myself in more fantasy books and following more review blogs to build up my TBR shelf even more.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

#Tuesdaybookblog The Great Escape – Megan Rix #childrensbook #bookreview

Title: The Great Escape

Author: Megan Rix

Genre: Children’s book 9+

Published: 2012

Pages: 208

I received a copy from my daughter who really wanted me to read it.

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Blurb:

Robert and Lucy Edwards love their pets more than anything, but the threat of the Second World War forces them to flee to Devon – leaving their animals behind. As the air-raid sirens sound, the animals are sent to be put down. But Buster, Tiger and Rose make a daring escape. With danger at every turn, can the trio make it across the country – and cheat death for a second time?

First Impressions:

The Great Escape is a brilliant read for children. It’s packed with little facts and details about World War II, but as it all forms naturally within the story it doesn’t appear like learning at all. The author handled difficult topics like evacuations & mass animal destruction with great skill.

Characters:

Robert and Lucy and their pets were well drawn characters and I really enjoyed following their story.

Style:

I enjoyed all the interesting bits of history that the author cleverly wove into the story. Winston Churchill even turned up for a few pages as he adopted Tiger the cat and named him Jock (my daughter had learnt about this in school so it was a great way of reinforcing facts).

However, I didn’t like how the author switched between different character viewpoints within scenes. I haven’t read many childrens’ books to know if this is normal practice, and it may just be the writer in me nitpicking. It did not spoil the story in any way.

Recommend this book to:

It is a perfect learning device for children showing them how it was to live though the start of World War II. It should be recommended reading in all junior schools. Children and animal lovers will enjoy this tale.

Final thoughts:

I found this story emotional and enjoyed it a lot. I would like to thank my daughter for introducing me to this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#TuesdayBookBlog #review of Fire, Bed and Bone – Henrietta Branford #childrensbooks

My Rating 5 out of 5.

Pages 136.

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Blurb from the front cover, which makes an interesting change.

‘A revolt is brewing. The year is 1381 and unrest is spreading like plague. England’s peasants are ready to rise against their unjust landlords. The violent upheaval will affect everyone – even dogs, like the old hunting bitch through whose eyes, ears and nose these dramatic events are revealed.’

Children’s book – I’d say 9+ but the book doesn’t state. I would be happy for my 9 year old to read it, and I think my son (11) would enjoy it too (in fact my son read ‘White Wolf’ by Henrietta Branford a couple of years ago and said it was one of his favourite books).

My daughter bought Fire, Bed and Bone at her school fair. She said she really liked the cover and the blurb and that’s why she picked it out of loads of other books. I decided to read a page or two just to see if it was suitable, but I couldn’t stop reading. I read the book in a couple of evenings, though around page 100 it almost became too emotional to read (that might just be me as I’m a sucker for an animal story).

This book is brilliantly written. I was immediately drawn into the world of ‘old dog’ as she is affectionately called by her owners. But she is not old and has two litters through the story, proving herself a  fiercely protective and loving mother. She is also devoted to her owners Rufus and Comfort, and their children. I loved her voice and all the little details that she as a dog notices about people and the world around her. I was not surprised to read Henrietta Branford grew up in The New Forest, England (a place close to my heart) and that she learnt a great deal from her father about animals from a shooting and fishing perspective.

It’s a short, wonderful read, and I recommend it to everyone.

I can’t wait for both my children (and my husband) to read it and see what they think. It will be an interesting experiment, something we haven’t had the chance to do as a family before. I look forward to updating this post with their opinions, I only hope they love Fire, Bed and Bone as much as me.

 

Dog on a Train by Kate Prendergast #Bookreview

Book blurb – Boy is late for his train. Rushing out of the house, he drops his favourite hat. Luckily, Dog is there to pick it up. But will Dog catch Boy in time? Follow the plucky Dog on this wordless adventure through the streets and rush-hour crowds. Charming and humorous. Dog on a Train is a book to delight dog lovers and tired commuters alike.

This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book published 1st October 2015. The story is told through illustrations only and that is part of its charm. Toddlers and young children can interpret the story through the pictures. It is a perfect introduction to story telling, and can help children prepare for school where the first books they bring home to read with their parents are picture only books.

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I rate the book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend to anyone with young children. It would also make a beautiful gift.

Buy now on Amazon UK