Review of The Hurrican Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

06.03.2015
09:27

hurricane sisters

This is the first book by Dorothea Benton Frank that I have read and I really enjoyed it.

The Hurricane Sisters begins with 80 year old Maisie celebrating her birthday with her family. Maisie and her boyfriend Skipper, daughter Liz and her husband Clayton and their children Ashley and Ivy all get together to celebrate.

As hurricane season takes force, Maisie, Liz and Ashley are forced to confront major problems in their lives which risk spiralling out of control. Liz’s job is something she loves but finds draining and she longs for more support from Clayton, Maisie must deal with sudden illness in a loved one and Ashley’s infatuation with a well known politician takes an unexpected turn. I enjoyed the way that the plot weaves between each character and the various issues that they face.

My favourite aspect of the book was the setting. South Carolina is on my list of places to visit and I loved reading about Sullivan’s Island. The characters are vivid and instantly came to life for me, Maisie being my favourite and one whom made me laugh out loud with her matter of fact advice and her 65 year old boyfriend.

This is a great read which covers a number of serious issues. I will certainly be on the look out for more books by this author.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

UKYA Book Blogger Winners

01.03.2015
10:06
Hello All!
Today I am here to announce the winners of the UKYA Book Blogger Awards!
Before I do so, however, I just want to send out a quick thank you to every single person who nominated and voted.
I also want to take another minute to thank all of the wonderful bloggers who helped out.
Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
George @ George Lester Writes
Luna @ Luna’s Little Library
Michelle @ Tales of Yesterday
Jessica @ Jessica’s Rainbow Inspiration
Priya @ Priya Piggle
Sarah @ Book Babblers
Mandy @ BookWorm
Sofia @ The Reading Fangirl
Sam @ The Little Munchkin Reader

But now onto what you’re all really here for…
Best Feature Prettiest Blog Best Blog Design Best Co-op Team Best on Instagram Best on Twitter Best Booktuber Sweetest Blogger Most Fun Blogger Best Overseas Blogger Welcoming Committee Friendliest Blogger Most Enthusiastic Most Passionate Best Oldtimer Best Growing Blogger Best Newcomer Best Male Blogger Best Female Blogger Best Adult Blogger Best Teen Blogger

But, before we leave it at that, I also want to highlight the runner ups! Some of the categories were so close so I thought it would be nice for everyone to see who came second and third (but unfortunately, I don’t have any graphics for the runners up).

Best Feature
2nd Place – British Books Challenge – Fluttering Butterflies
3rd Place – Showcase Sunday – Books, Biscuits and Tea

Prettiest Blog
2nd Place – Stacey – Pretty Books
3rd Place – Jess – Jess Hearts Books

Best Blog Design
Joint 2nd Place – Carly – Writing from the Tub
Joint 2nd Place – Michelle – Fluttering Butterflies
3rd Place – Ruby – Feed Me Books Now

Best Team / Co-op Blog
2nd PlaceBig Book Little Book
3rd PlaceSerendipity Reviews

Best on Instagram
2nd Place – Stacey – Pretty Books
3rd Place – Lucy – Lucy The Reader

Best on Twitter
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
3rd Place – Cait – The Cait Files

Best Booktuber
2nd Place – Sarah – Sarah Churchill
3rd PlaceBookish Brits

Sweetest Blogger
2nd Place – Luna – Luna’s Little Library
3rd Place – Jess – Jess Hearts Books

Most-Fun Blogger
2nd Place – Hawwa – It was Lovely Reading You
3rd Place – George – George Lester Writes

Best Overseas Blogger
2nd Place – Jamie – Perpetual Pageturner
3rd Place – Kat – Cuddlebuggery

Welcoming Committee
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
Joint 3rd Place – Debbie – Snuggling on the Sofa
Joint 3rd Place – Faye – A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Friendliest Blogger
2nd Place – Luna – Luna’s Little Library
3rd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah

Most Enthusiastic
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
3rd Place – Jesse – Books 4 Teens

Most Passionate
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
3rd Place – Michelle – Fluttering Butterflies

Best Oldtimer
2nd Place – Amber – The Mile Long Bookshelf
3rd Place – Sophie – So Many Books, So Little Time

Best Growing Blogger
2nd Place – Charli – To Another World
3rd Place – Laura – Bookish Treasures

Best Newcomer
2nd Place – Sofia – The Reading Fangirl
3rd Place – Paige – The Book Carousel

Best Male Blogger
2nd Place – Jesse – Books 4 Teens
3rd Place – George – George Lester Writes

Best Female Blogger
2nd Place – Debbie – Snuggling on the Sofa
3rd Place – Carly – Writing from the Tub

Best Adult Blogger
2nd Place – Carly – Writing From the Tub
3rd Place – Viv – Serendipity Reviews

Best Teen Blogger
2nd Place – Amber – The Mile Long Bookshelf
3rd Place – Georgia – The Bibliomaniac

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL.

Haunt: Dead Wrong Blog Tour – Interview with Curtis Jobling

27.02.2015
09:36

hauntdeadwro_paperback_1471115798_300

I am delighted to welcome Curtis Jobling to Bookbabblers today, as part of the Haunt: Dead Wrong blog tour.

Please tell us a little about yourself
I’m an author and illustrator, and for many years I worked in animation and film. I’ve been lucky enough to work on Wallace & Gromit and The Wrong Trouser, while designing and creating various children’s shows such as Bob the Builder, Frankenstein’s Cat and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion. As much fun as animation is, my first love has to be writing, specifically for middle grade and young adult audiences. My Wereworld series of fantasy horror novels was published by Penguin in the UK and US, while Haunt: Dead Scared came out to much acclaim last year.

Please tell us about Haunt: Dead Wrong
This is the sequel to Dead Scared, and as before is set in my hometown of Warrington. Our heroes, Will and Dougie, have somehow made it through to the summer holidays, and while their friendship is tested – girlfriends and being a ghost are equally challenging conundrums – the two are still thick as thieves. All seems well, but it’s not long before another murder mystery creeps and slithers into their world. Haunt: Dead Wrong is a darkly comic ghost story, where the chuckles and chills sit side by side one another.

What are you working on now?
Currently writing the first novel for World of Warriors, the new game from Mind Candy (Moshi Monsters). That’ll be published this summer by Penguin. I’ve also written the first novel in a new series of middle grade novels for Penguin in the US, Max Helsing & the Thirteenth Curse. That promises to be an absolute riot, a monster mash of horror, adventure and comedy.

What was your journey to publication like?
After becoming so well known as a fantasy writer, being able to dip into the ‘real’ world (albeit with a ghostly main character) has been really refreshing and energising. It’s a different experience writing Haunt as I don’t have to go through the same world building that fantasy requires. With the first book having been released in 2014 it was straightforward for my publishers, Simon & Schuster, to commission me to write a second book. And if it’s as popular as the first? I’d love to return to Will & Dougie’s world a third time too…

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Just do it! I get lots of enquiries from people saying they’d love to write, have an idea for a book etc but just don’t have the time to write. That, of course, is a nonsense. Everybody can find the time to write – it’s a commitment, though, a sacrifice on one’s social life. If you really want to write, get in the habit of writing each day, try and have a word count target, and before you know it things will get easier for you.

@curtisjobling

Look out for our review, which is coming soon.

Review of I Was Here by Gayle Forman

23.02.2015
17:17

i was here cover

Eighteen year old Cody is devastated when her best friend Meg commits suicide. The two have been best friends through school and although they started to drift apart when Meg went to college, Cody cannot believe that she would take her own life.

Cody decides to try and find out just what was so bad in Meg’s life that it would lead her to suicide. In doing so, however, Cody uncovers a side of Meg that she didn’t realise existed and suddenly it seems that the person she thought she knew so well was someone she didn’t know at all. As Cody struggles to comprehend Meg’s decisions, she is also forced to question her own life and must decide what she really wants the future to hold for her.

This is a moving and thought provoking read that will stay with me for a long time. It is sensitively written and gripping to read. Although tragic, I Was Here tackles a difficult subject matter with care and honesty. I will be looking out for more books by Gayle Forman.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

Giveaway and Review of Don’t Chew the Royal Shoe by Kate Leake

20.02.2015
14:16

royal shoe cover

We love picture books with canine characters and were really excited when a copy of Don’t Chew the Royal Shoe arrived.

Chips is a dog unlike any other in the Royal household. The other dogs are obedient and well behaved, but Chips is quite different, he doesn’t like any of the squeaky crown or pony dog toys that he is given and won’t settle until he has a royal shoe nestled between his jaws.

Chips is so obsessed with royal shoes that he sneaks off every day and takes one shoe to bury in the garden where he has amassed quite a collection. Even the royal footmen fall victim and are forced to walk around with holey socks on display. When the Queen orders an investigation and Chip’s stash of shoes is uncovered, he is not very popular. However, when his uncanny ability to sniff out a stinky shoe leads to the capture of an intruder Chips is hailed as a hero.

This is a really fun book that we would highly recommend. The bright illustrations really bring this story to life and we completely fell in love with naughty Chips.

Thank you to Scholastic for sending us a copy to review.

We have 1 copy of Don’t Chew the Royal Shoe to giveaway. To enter, please re-tweet this post or leave a comment below. Open to UK residents only. Closes 06/03/2015

Review of Knightmare: Rotten Luck! by Peter Bently

16.02.2015
13:58

rotten luck

I’ve really enjoyed reading the Knightmare series from Stripes publishing and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the fourth instalment Rotten Luck!

Cedric Thatchbottom is a loyal squire to Sir Percy and in Rotten Luck, Cedric accompanies Sir Percy on a visit to celebrate the King’s birthday. However, Sir Percy accidentally volunteers to track down an infamous outlaw known as the Ghost and misses out on most of the birthday celebrations. What makes matters worse is that they must search for this illusive thief in the creepy Grimwood forest and Cedric is certain that his master is not quite as brave as he makes out.

Cedric and Patchcoat the Jester have to put up with Sir Percy’s clumsiness and rivalry with Sir Roland the Rotten again. There are lots of laugh out moments and one very slimy incident with Sir Percy’s dinner that young readers will find very amusing.

This is another fantastic book in this brilliant series. I was laughing throughout and can’t wait to read the next instalment Foul Play!

Thank you to Stripes for sending us a copy to review.

Review of The Suicide Club by Andrew Williams

13.02.2015
08:07

suicide club

It is 1917 and the slaughter of young men in the trenches is in full swing with no victory in sight. Why are so many British soldiers being senselessly ordered to their deaths? What are the politicians and the Army commanders trying to achieve by believing that the Germans are weakening and “one more push” will win us the war? This is the question to which Captain Alexander Innes, a proud Scotsman, has been tasked with finding answers.

A veteran of the trenches and plagued by nightmares, Innes has been working undercover in Belgium and has come to the notice of the Head of the Secret Service known as C (Cumming), who has suspicions that the intelligence received from the Army networks behind the lines is inaccurate. Field Marshall Haig is labouring under the impression that Germany is truly about to surrender and is therefore throwing men at the line, resulting in horrendous losses. C recalls Innes from his Belgian network and seconds him, as a replacement for an officer who has died in mysterious circumstances, to Army General HQ in Montreuil-sur-Mer in France to train the new group of balloonist agents (The Suicide Club) in spycraft while attempting to find the source for the problematic intelligence.

Once settled, he finds that C is not alone in his scepticism, Majors Graham and Marshall , themselves members of GHQ Staff Intelligence, hint obliquely that there is something not quite right. The death of his predecessor, McRae,seems to be the place to start.

Following leads and aided by Major Graham`s adumbrations, Innes becomes obsessed and returns to Belgium where his old spy network unravels fast on his heels. The question is – will he find the agent or agents behind the fictitious reports before all members of the network, including his favourite contact Ramble,are killed by the Germans?

We have all read or seen in films about the horror of trench warfare in WW1 but Andrew Williams activates the sordid, secret, convoluted and dangerous side “spookery” for us – we become furtive and untrusting as we untie the hidden knots. It is a thoroughly riveting read, with an unexpected twist which will immerse you in the backstage workings of all involved, from the Prime Minister to the humblest observer on the street behind enemy lines.

Thoroughly recommended as a marvellous historical thriller.

Reviewed by Liz. Thank you to Hodder for sending us a copy to review.

Review of The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

12.02.2015
10:57

sin eaters daughter

Last month I attended the Scholastic blogger event where I heard Melinda Salisbury talk about her debut novel The Sin Eater’s Daughter. It sounded amazing and I couldn’t wait to start reading it. I am pleased to say that it more than lived up to its expectations and is an fantastic book.

Twylla lives in a castle in the kingdom of Lormere, but it is not a happy life for she is the Kingdom’s executioner and can kill people with a single touch. She is engaged to the Prince and will one day be Queen, but is feared by most people around her. Only her new guard Lief seems to view her as a real person with feelings, but Twylla knows that falling for a guard would be seen as treason and must keep her distance. However, storm clouds are already brewing and the evil Queen is scheming and plotting against her enemies. These plans will involve Twylla who will be forced to choose between duty and love.

Salisbury’s beautiful writing vividly brings Lormere to life and I could clearly imagine the castle, gardens and terrifying dungeons. The plot is full of twists and turns including a huge twist near to the end which I hadn’t been expecting. I was completely swept away by this captivating book and read it in one sitting as I was desperate to find out what would happen. I can’t wait to read Melinda Salisbury’s next book!

Thank you to Scholastic for sending us a copy to review.

Review of As Good as it Gets? by Fiona Gibson

11.02.2015
10:02

fiona gibson cover

I’m a huge fan of Fiona Gibson and thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for As Good as it Gets?

Charlotte has been happily married to Will and has a teenage daughter Rosie and eleven year old son Ollie. However, things start unravelling when Will loses his job and Rosie is scouted by a modelling agency. Suddenly, Charlotte feels old and tired and starts questioning how happy she really is. When her ex-boyfiriend, and father of Rosie, Fraser appears back on the scene Charlotte starts to think about how different her life could have turned out.

Gibson is so good at bringing characters to life and by the end of this book I felt like I knew the Bristow family. It is full of real life scenarios and issues that many readers will relate with. There are some very funny moments too and Charlotte’s work emails from her boss made me laugh.

This is a fantastic book that I didn’t want to put down. I think it may be my favourite Fiona Gibson book so far. I really liked the cover too.

5 stars

You can follow the blog tour tomorrow at: http://missbookworm23.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you to Avon for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour: Interview with Melinda Salisbury – Author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter

10.02.2015
08:00

sin eaters daughter

I am delighted to welcome Melinda Salisbury to Bookbabblers today. Melinda’s debut novel The Sin Eater’s Daughter is out next month and it is amazing. Here are a few questions that Melinda answered for us…

Please tell us a little about yourself

The Sin Eater’s Daughter is my first novel, so all of this is still very new and exciting to me. I live by the sea on the south coast of the UK, which was a dream of mine from when I was very little, so I spend as much time as I can at the beach. I’m a big fan of medieval history – I hold a Historic Royal Palaces Annual Pass and am in the Richard III society, and I like spending time in ruined old castles a lot. I’m also an absolutely huge Harry Potter fan and proud to belong to Slytherin House.

Please tell us about The Sin Eater’s Daughter and your inspiration for the book

Like many good ideas, it happened in the shower! I was singing away (we all do it, let’s not pretend)and I began to wonder what it would be like to have to do it professionally – not onstage, as a star, but on demand, to a very specific audience. What I had to sing for a king, was taken from my home to do it, and my family’s lives would be at stake if I didn’t? What if I’d originally seen this chance as an escape, only to find it was even worse? What if I was more than a singer, what if I was more icon than person? What if my whole life was designed around me and all I had to do was live to those specification? It escalated quickly, with me playing a really grim game of What If with myself, thinking about religion, and Sin Eating, and freedom, and choices, and from that came this young woman, Twylla.

What are you working on now?

The Sin Eater’s Daughter is the first in a trilogy, so I’m editing my first draft of the second book before I hand it over to my editors for us to work on together. I’m also writing some short stories set in that world, and planning the third book.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Of course, read and write, as often as you can. But my biggest inspiration always comes from travelling and trying new things, so that would be my biggest tip. Go to new places, try new things. It doesn’t have to be a different country, the next town over, or a neighbourhood in your own you’ve never been to. Get out into woods and fields, walk by rivers and canals. Buy food you’ve never eaten, watch films and listen to music outside your comfort zone. Seek out new experiences, step out of your comfort zone. That for me has always been the most inspiring thing, when I look at the world in a new way.

What do you like to do outside of writing?

Travel, of course! I tend to buy second hand clothes when I need them, and keep my food budget down. I save as much as I can and then shop around for cheap, short breaks so I can see as much of the world as possible. I also love doing anything crafty, I make jewellery and love knitting. Photography is another passion, especially of nature and animals.

Thanks, Melinda!

Look out for our review of The Sin Eater’s Daughter, which will be up soon.

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