Review of This is my Rock by David Lucas

30.03.2015
17:28

rock 1

This is my Rock is the story of a goat who does not want to share. The goat has his own rock and doesn’t want to share it with anyone. He spends all of his time making sure that everyone knows that it is his rock and no one else can go there. However, when he is finally alone he realises that it is not so much fun being on your own.

This is a lovely picture book about sharing and friendship. It is a joy to read and we loved the bright, warm colours and beautiful, vivid illustrations. Below is a picture of one of our favourite scenes from the book.

rock 2

Thank you to Flying Eye Books for sending us a copy to review.

Review of The Beloved by Alison Rattle

23.03.2015
09:18

Beloved

I have loved Alison Rattle’s last two books (The Quietness and The Madness), so I was really looking forward to reading her latest book The Beloved.

Alice Angel lives with her family at Lions House in Bridgwater, but life is not filled with happiness for her. She is treated cruelly by her mother who has disliked her from birth and straps her to a bed at night. She is much closer to her father, but he struggles to see the nasty things that his wife does to their daughter. Alice longs to get away and live happily and a chance encounter with a strange man plants the seed for a plan of escape in her mind.

The man that Alice sees is Henry Prince, known as the Beloved to his followers. However, there is more to Henry Prince than Alice realises and she soon starts to feel that the man she thought was her saviour is keeping her as much of a prisoner as her mother had. I felt so sorry for Alice who only wants somewhere to be happy. I was also torn over my thought about Alice’s brother Eli; on one hand I thought he was very selfish, but part of me also thought that he did love Alice but was also blinkered when it came to his mother.

This is a dark, intriguing story that is as terrifying as it is mesmerising to read. I was hooked from the very first page and read this in one sitting.

5 stars

Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending us a copy to review.

Review of Deadly Election by Lindsey Davis

18.03.2015
08:26

Deadly Election cover

Imagine, if you will living, in the Rome of AD 89. The city is divided into the usual areas: those dwellings and shops for the wealthy and the grubby, poorly maintained tenements for those less fortunate. Although belonging to the former, Flavia Albia, an Informer, chooses to live amongst the latter, the better to gather the information she needs to earn a living. She is an unusual lady. By the tenets of the age, she should be married, staying at home and caring for her husband and household. Flavia, however, is a free spirit. Born in London, she was adopted by a rich auctioneer and his wife and returned with them to be educated in Rome. And become a part of the family.

On this particularly hot day in July, she has been left in charge of one of her father`s auctions as the rest of the family have decamped to the coast to avoid the blazing heat in the city, she discovers that, on one of the chests which are to be auctioned, there is a decomposing body. This is reported to the local Magistrate, Manlius Faustus, to whom she is secretly attracted. Manlius, however, is also embroiled with the local elections. These elections are important as the candidates must be good family men with impeccable reputations and Manlius is representing one of them, S. Vibius Marinus. He has one drawback – his wife has disappeared.

The candidates all have secrets which Manlius asks Flavia to root out. It comes to light that they are all as bad as one another and one of them may have been the prime mover behind the demise of the body in the chest. Manlius and Flavia have to work hard to discover both the identity of the body and the reality behind the candidates` façades in order to find the murderer.

With a wealth of characters, emotive atmosphere and comedic episodes, this a romp through the summer of Ad 89 in Imperial Rome on the trail of the good and the true as well as the evil and the noxious. An amusing,delightful, escapist read with plenty of excitement and a touch of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to those who love drama and suspense!

Reviewed by Liz.

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

Review of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

16.03.2015
13:24

sisterhood cover

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place follows the lives of seven school girls living at a St Etheldreda’s School for Girls in Ely in the Victorian era. The girls are Smooth Kitty, Disgraceful Mary Jane, Pocked Louise, Stout Alice, Dull Martha, Dour Elinor and Dear Roberta.

When their headmistress and her brother die suddenly at the dinner table, the girls realise that if anyone finds out they will all be separated. So, they hatch an elaborate plan to bury the deceased in the vegetable garden and pretend that life is normal. They do just this, but things don’t go smoothly and while Pocked Louise is the schools resident Sherlock Holmes, determined to find out who the murderer is, the others must convince an ever increasing stream on visitors that their headmistress is still alive and well.

The book starts at quite a gentle speed, but becomes really fast paced in the second half. I loved the mystery aspect and I must admit that I didn’t guess who the murderer really was. My favourite characters were Smooth Kitty and Pocked Louise.
I really enjoyed this book and the fantastic cast of characters.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour: Guest Post by DB Nielsen – Author of Scroll: Keepers of Genesis II

13.03.2015
08:05

DENISE AUTHOR PHOTO

I am delighted to welcome DB Nielsen to Bookbabblers today, as part of the blog tour for Scroll.

Book Boyfriends, Supernaturally Hot Guys
Keepers of Genesis, by DB Nielsen is a gripping new epic adventure series perfect for fans of Twilight and A Discovery of Witches. A magical blend of romance, fantasy and fascinating ancient history, this captivating four-part series is already enthralling a legion of young adult readers and crossover fiction fans alike. The second part, SCROLL, publishes this week.

There’s something irresistible about book boyfriends – you can take them to bed, get under the covers, slip beneath the sheets, and let their words seduce you… And they’re even hotter when brought to life onscreen.
A book boyfriend for those readers who may live on a different planet to the rest of us, is a fictional character in a book that you would gladly risk everything – life, limb, bucket loads of teasing – to kiss, hug, hold hands with, wake up beside, stare crazily at (even after it gets to be super weird and stalkerish), follow to the ends of the earth and beyond (even if it gets to be super weird and stalkerish!), marry, elope with, and weep uncontrollably at their downfall or death.
So here’s my list of supernaturally hot guys (including supernatural ones):

1. Westley from “The Princess Bride”. Look, this film is a cult classic but I love to watch it for the character of Westley. He starts out as a farm boy “poor and perfect” with eyes “like the sea after a storm”. He goes off to seek his fortune but is captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts and put to death. But Westley doesn’t let death stop him from “true love” and his hotness increases as he is intelligent, resourceful, a masterful strategist, skilful swordsman and dashing hero. And when he says, “As you wish” there’s not a female in the audience who wouldn’t want to swap places with Princess Buttercup.
bt 1

2. Dean Winchester from the “Supernatural” TV series. What can I say? He’s hot. He’s the bad boy with a heart and lots of soul. He’s a hunter who kills the vampires, shape shifters, demons and gets rid of the ghosts – and he can protect me any day from all the things that go bump in the night (unless it’s in my bedroom!)
bt 2

3. Kyle Rhys from “Terminator”. Another classic cult movie but Rhys is the hero who travels back in time and risks everything, even dies, for love of the woman he hasn’t even met but fallen in love with through a photo and tales about her. One night is all it takes to create lasting memories and a love that lasts a lifetime. That’s what I call romantic…
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4. Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights”. There’s something about this Byronic hero-villain that mirrors the idea of “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. His obsession with Catherine borders on madness but it’s hard to go past a line like “How can I live without my soul?” and not feel his pain. He totally reinvents himself for her – moving from the poor waif child from the Liverpool slums to become educated and affluent – but is devastated to find she has married another man in his absence. Despite this, he loves her to his death, believing they are soulmates and will be reunited in the afterlife (only mental images available!).

5. Aragorn from “The Lord of the Rings”. Whilst he is the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor, this tormented soul bears the burden of his heritage and the betrayal of his ancestors. Yet Aragorn is a good man – honourable, courageous, noble, dignified, and so forth. He learns to be a better man and is supported by Arwen, his Elven soulmate, transcending boundaries of race to be with her.
bt 5

6. And let me just sneak in Legolas here. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a gorgeous Elven archer and prince of the forest? Have you seen the films? Drool-worthy!
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7. Mr Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice”. Do I really need to explain my choice here? Arrogant, proud and prejudiced, Darcy is able to change through the challenges posed by Elizabeth Bennet. He is the ideal gentleman – and who wouldn’t want to be “mistress of Pemberley”? (yet again, only mental images available! I’m sure you may have your own favourite – take your pick)

8. Duke Orsino from “Twelfth Night”. Okay, I know this is a little out there but he was one of the first book boyfriends I had. What I loved about this guy was that he was in love with love to begin with – and didn’t even know what love was. He thought he was in love with one girl (based on her looks – age-old story) then realised that he was attracted to someone else (unfortunately, he fell in love with a girl disguised as a guy, based on their common interests and intellect, and felt incredibly torn by the challenge to his sexuality) – luckily for him, it all works out in the end and he is able to marry the right woman (what can I say, only mental images available again!)

9. Thor and Loki. Sorry, I can’t decide between them and both Chris Hemsworth in the role of Thor (whom I can imagine playing the role of St. John Rivers) and Tom Hiddleston in the role of Loki are uber-hot! And both are gods, so what more can I say?
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10. Henry DeTamble in “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. I loved this book and there’s no better endorsement than stating it made me cry. Henry isn’t your conventional hero – there’s nothing extraordinary about him except his genetic disorder that leads to time travel – but it’s his love for Claire that is so beautiful and heartbreaking; a romance that is all of his lifetime and hers and beyond. And his letter to Claire at the end is truly moving … and, for me, that’s the power of words, as it can make you fall in love with the most unconventional heroes…
Whether or not you have found your favourite supernaturally hot guy, there’s someone out there between the covers of a good book for everyone … but just keep your hands off mine!
SCROLL: KEEPERS OF GENESIS II by DB Nielsen is published on 12th March www.dbnielsen.com @db_nielsen

SCROLL JACKET JPEG

Scroll down to read an extract from the book:
Extract from SCROLL (Keepers of Genesis II) by D B Nielsen

It was almost as if I had conjured him up from my imagination,
knowing that I was in desperate need of a protector within this gypsy
encampment as I was sure the fortune-teller’s voice was loud enough to
carry to the other Romany tents nearby and call them forth – it was loud
enough to wake the dead.
Finn’s eyes flashed a warning as he came to stand between me and
the old gypsy woman, dwarfing her tiny form. But it was not enough to
intimidate her as she continued to berate me. If anything, her speech
picked up in pace and tone, sharpening to slithers of ice.
Finn began to talk with her, his dulcet voice clearly audible to me,
even over her screeching. But it sounded strangely unlike his voice, and
it took me almost a full minute to realise what was so different.
Finn was speaking Romany.
He was speaking a language that no outsider could possibly know
or learn. For the Roma, their dialects were a closely guarded secret; a
powerful language. They believed it held great magic. They did not give their power or magic away. And they would not allow an outsider to trespass on their domain.
But, of course, Finn did know it. Fluently.
His speech was not the botched attempts to converse in someone
else’s tongue – unlike my exchanges in French. He knew it idiomatically and it trickled from his tongue smoothly and fluidly. His hands moved in an intricate dance of gestures as he spoke, sketching the dramatic way in which the gypsies punctuated their sentences.
And the fortune-teller replied in a spate of words too fast for me to
even guess at their meaning.
It might have been entertaining if I hadn’t already known what they
were arguing about. Still, it was like watching a prize-fight between
two well-matched combatants.
But then I heard a word that I did know and understand, issuing
forth from between the old gypsy woman’s thin lips.
She fairly spat the word at Finn.
‘Emim!’
Fearful One.
Finn paused in his speech. Then, not even bothering to turn and face
me, he threw over his shoulder in English, ‘Saffron, get out!’
His voice, harsh and angry, brooked no opposition and I found
myself making for the tent flap and, seconds later, dashing past the
Romany encampment following the path of the Seine, the fortuneteller’s
curse still resounding in my head.
She had called Finn “Emim”, confirming my worst fears and
suspicions. He was the enemy. In the back of my mind, I had already
known this – but even now I didn’t want to believe it. I’d convinced
myself that he wasn’t like the others. There was something different
about him. He wasn’t like his “brothers”.
I moved quickly and quietly behind the crowd so as not to attract
attention in my agitated state. People were striding past me in the
opposite direction, laughing and joking, heading towards the gypsy’s
tent for a scrying.
I had only just passed the last gypsy caravan, pausing briefly to look
back before stepping out into the fitful light of the streetlamps when
Finn moved out of the shadow of the fortune-teller’s tent. He lifted his
head to the cool night air as if sniffing my scent like a wolf. His eyes
roved past the line of colourful tents with their hanging lanterns, skimming lightly over the figures of the tourists and locals who were seeking entertainment, moving between them, tracking me down.
Peering through the gloom, they came to rest on me.
I could not believe the strength of his vision, that he could see me in
such dim light. But his eyes narrowed perceptibly and he seemed to
bare his teeth in anticipation as he sighted his prey.
I took to my heels in fright.
I had something of a head start – there was a good distance between
him and me and a tide of obstacles in between. Or so I thought.
But it did not matter.
I had known as soon as I had begun to flee from his monstrous
figure that he would easily catch me up. I had seen him move at great
speed before – there was no way I was capable of outrunning him. I
don’t even know why I bothered to try. I did not even dare to imagine
what he might do to me once he did catch me up.
But I was soon to find out.
I supposed that I expected him to strangle me. Even if he did need
my help to find the second part of the map, I had discovered something
that was never meant to be known – something about his past he wished
to keep secret, and not just from me. So I fled, dashing past market
stalls and buskers, dodging tourists and onlookers, retreating from the
noise and laughter of the markets with Finn in furiously hot pursuit.
I put on a burst of speed as I neared the ice rink, believing that I
could hear him closing in behind me with every stride. My breath was
coming out in short, sharp wheezes; momentarily steaming in the
wintry night air.
It was then that I realised that Finn was no longer behind me.
He had eased into a lope, effortlessly keeping abreast of me. Pace
for pace. His graceful strides did not even produce a puff of breath from
between his lips – lips that were, in my mind, pulled back in a snarl.
He deliberately did not close the gap between us.
He was toying with me, allowing me to believe that if I could reach
the ice rink, I could reach safety. He was allowing me to lead him to a
dead end where he would easily catch me up and have me at his mercy.
Gasping, I exerted greater energy, feeling my heart pumping fit to
burst; its beat a litany accompanying the rhythm of my stride. ust a little more, I tried to convince myself. Another few metres or so.
But my legs were slowly turning to jelly as I ran out of stamina.
I could not go much further.
It was useless.
I reached the colonnades of the Hôtel de Ville and collapsed against
one of its stone columns. His hand came down hard upon my shoulder
and twisted me around to face him.
I noticed, as if from a great distance, the minutest details – how his
eyes were now a turbulent midnight blue, how a lock of his overlong
dark hair artfully flopped down on his forehead, that his shirt was
slightly open exposing the hollow of his throat where I could see the
blood beneath his pale skin throbbing wildly. I noticed, too, the
expression on his face.
It was as wild and savage as the ocean in a tempest.
My sides were burning from the run, I was heaving great gasps of
air as if I was drowning for breath.
He did not even have the decency to look winded. He barely looked
like he had been working out.
It did not occur to me then that I could have called out for Gabriel’s
assistance. I was in no fit state of mind.
But then, neither was Finn.
We stood in the shadow of the Hôtel de Ville where there was
enough privacy for a couple to be intimate. But from the look in Finn’s
eye I gathered that was the last thing on his mind.
I waited for him to ring my neck.
He had his arm above me and his body pressed against my length to
ensure I could not escape.
‘You needn’t bother,’ I said, pushing against his taut chest, ‘I’m not
about to run away. I doubt I’d get to take three steps before you caught
up with me again.’
He did not budge. His eyes were harrowing, intense, violent.
I had never seen him in the grip of such strong, passionate emotions
that they fairly seethed within him. I had only ever observed his
indifference and despair. This Finn was new to me. And new to him,
too, from what I could judge.
I swallowed hard.
‘There were seven lanterns–’ I tried to explain, but he cut me off.
‘The Roma are not to be trusted. They are as treacherous, cunning
and black-hearted as devils.’
He obviously didn’t see the irony of his statement.
‘But–’
Again, I got no further.
He lifted his hand and, just briefly, I wondered if he was about to
strike me.
I should have been afraid. I should have protested. Perhaps fought
him. But I simply stood there, refusing to flinch.
He gripped my jaw, tilting my head up to face him. His touch was
not rough or cruel. It was, in fact, unexpectedly gentle for one who
looked so murderous. He stood there staring at me for what seemed like
an eternity, his hand still upon my jaw, brushing against my exposed
throat. I began to wish he’d just get it over with. Kill me and be done
with it.
‘Bloody hell! Finn, say something. Do something. If you’re going to
kill me, just do it, just get it over with–’
I stopped speaking then because he made me.
He did not strike me. He did not strangle me.
Instead, he did something entirely unexpected.
It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. When he finally
released me, I was breathing too hard and too fast – as if I had been
chased by him all over again. My lips felt bruised and I tasted the
metallic sting of blood. My eyes had widened till they were huge hazel
saucers in my too pale face. And I looked at him with wide-eyed
surprise as if seeing him for the very first time.
He grabbed my arm then and half-dragged me, half-marched me to
the edge of the steps of the Hôtel de Ville, overlooking the ice rink. In
the distance, I could make out Gabriel’s wheat coloured head where he
stood towering above the mere mortals surrounding him.
Finn thrust me forward so violently that I almost slipped upon the
icy steps of the town hall as he withdrew his hand from my arm. Then
he turned abruptly and strode away, not bothering to look back at me
once as he departed, knowing very well that my gaze was locked on his
retreating form. I stood still on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville, a small figure against
the impressive stone colonnades that adorned the town hall, scrutinising
Finn as he was swallowed by the tide of humanity that separated him
from me.
It was several minutes before I regained my composure. And
several more after that for my breathing and heart rate to decrease and
return to normal.
Gingerly touching my swollen bottom lip in wonderment, I
suddenly realised I had not even thought to pull away from his close
embrace … nor had I wanted to.

Review of The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements

12.03.2015
15:54

The Crimson Ribbon

The Crimson Ribbon is a fascinating story, which begins on May Day in 1646. Ruth Flowers works in the household of Oliver Cromwell and after a brutal incident in the village, she is forced to flee alone to London.

Ruth arrives at the house of Lizzie Poole and her father and is quickly taken under Lizzie’s wing. Ruth is in awe of her new charismatic mistress and soon starts to see her as more than just an employer. I was intrigued by Lizzie’s character and fascinated to see that she was based on the real life figure of Elizabeth Poole.

It is a turbulent period in time at the height of the English Civil War when witches are hunted down and seemingly harmless gossip can spread like wildfire. Clements vividly brings seventeenth century London to life complete with all of its sights, sounds and smells. The Crimson Ribbon is a fast paced book and I found I didn’t want to put it down.

This is an outstanding debut and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

5 stars

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

Review of His Other Life by Beth Thomas

12.03.2015
11:02

his other life cover

I spotted the cover of this book on twitter and was immediately intrigued, so I was delighted to receive a copy to review.

To the outside world, Grace and Adam seem to have a perfect life. They are married and live in a nice house in a desirable area. However, behind closed doors things are very different and almost straight away we find out that they may not be as happily married as everyone thinks. Then, one day Adam goes out to get a takeaway for dinner and just doesn’t come back. As Grace struggles to come to terms with his disappearance, she starts to dig beneath the surface and begins to wonder if she actually knows anything about the man she married.

His Other Life is quite a dark read, but has a lot of funny moments too and I did find myself laughing at some of the things Grace said.

I saw that this book had been compared to The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty and I have to admit that I completely agree – it is a great read for fans of Liane Moriarty. I did find this quite an addictive read and read in two sittings.

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

Review of Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart and Marc Boutavant

11.03.2015
10:56

tiger

We loved Yikes, Stinkysaurus and were thrilled to receive a copy of Pamela Butchart’s latest book.

Never Tickle a Tiger is the hilarious story of Izzy; a little girl who just cannot sit still. Izzy fidgets at home, school and even at parties, so when class 4B go on a trip to the zoo Izzy is super excited and also super fidgety. When her teacher Miss Potterhurst tells her that she must never tickle a tiger, Izzy wonders why. What could really happen after all?

Adults and children alike will laugh out loud at the pandemonium that arises when Izzy decides to tickle a tiger at the zoo. In fact, there is a huge double page spread that unfolds from the book, which shows why you really should never tickle a tiger. This was our favourite part and we loved seeing the reactions of all of the other animals.

This is another fantastic book by Pamela Butchart with stunning illustrations By Marc Boutavant. I cannot wait to read her next book.

5 stars

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

Review of I Love You to the Moon and Back Illustrated by Tim Warnes

09.03.2015
15:32

moon cover

Little Tiger Press have some lovely Mother’s Day titles out, which we will be reviewing this week.

The first is I Love You to the Moon and Back, which is a delightful story that is perfect for bedtime reading. It is the tale of a mummy and baby bear and describes all of the things that they love doing together.

We particularly liked the beautiful illustrations and the colour scheme – it is a dark blue background for each page and gives the book a magical and enchanting feel. The sturdy pages are also perfect when reading to little ones who want to hold the book and turn the pages themselves.

Thank you to Little Tiger Press for sending us a copy to review.

Review of Lili by Wen Dee Tan

08.03.2015
08:56

Lili cover

I am excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Lili by Wen Dee Tan today.

Lili is the story of an ordinary girl with extraordinary hair. Lili’s hair is fiery red and she struggles to make friends. In fact, Lili’s hair is so fiery that she accidently sets fire to things. However, when a group of children are lost it is Lili’s bright hair that guides them to safety and suddenly Lili is seen in a different light.

This is a wonderful story about friendship and overcoming rejection. The illustrations work so well with Lili’s red hair lighting up each page. We particularly liked Lili’s hair being used for cooking and toasting marshmallows. I fell in love with this book and look forward to reading more books from this author.

Thank you to Fat Fox Books for sending us a copy to review.

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