Review of Alfie in the Garden by Debi Gliori

18.11.2014
17:19

Alfie cover 2

Debi Gliori is one of our favourite picture book authors and we were thrilled to receive a copy of Alfie in the Garden, which is the first in a new series.

Alfie in the Garden is the story of a little rabbit who loves to play in the garden and imagine that he is in faraway places like the jungle. Alfie pretends to be a lion and an elephant.

The illustrations are stunning and we particularly liked the double page spread of Alfie pretending to be a lion. We also enjoyed spotting all of the other animals that Alfie meets in the garden.

This is a lovely beautifully illustrated book about all of the fun you can have playing in the garden. We can’t wait to read about Alfie’s next adventure, which will be published next year.

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

Review of Coming Home for Christmas by Julia Williams

15.11.2014
12:14

CHFC cover

I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Coming Home for Christmas by Julia Williams today.

I was really excited to see that Julia Williams had written a Christmassy book set in the village of Hope Christmas where some of her previous novels have been set. It was great to be reunited with many of the characters from her previous books and felt like meeting up with old friends.

Cat, Pippa and Marianne are all dreading Christmas. Cat, once a popular tv chef, has been replaced by a younger model and is desperate to rescue her career. However, family life shows no sign of slowing down for her. Marianne is worried about her marriage after her husband’s unstable ex-wife appears back on the scene. Whilst for Pippa, she is trying to look after her family and run a farm as a newly single mum. To make matters worse, when developers start sniffing around the beautiful countryside the residents of Hope Christmas start to wonder what might happen to their beloved village.

Although this novel does follow on from Last Christmas and it was good to know the history of the characters, it would also read well as a standalone book too.

This is a lovely heartwarming festive read that I really enjoyed. 5 stars from me.

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

Review of Snow Day by Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb

12.11.2014
11:24

Snow Day cover

When everyone wakes up to find that it has snowed heavily all night, they are really excited that there is a snow day and no one has to go to school. However, two people trudge through the snow and think that it is a normal day. Danny arrives at school and finds that the only other person there is his least favourite teacher Mr Trapper. Danny thinks it will be the worst day ever, but at break time in the snow covered playground something unexpected happens.

This is a lovely, magical story about friendship that would make a perfect Christmassy read this year.

The illustrations by Rebecca Cobb are fantastic and really bring this wintery read to life.

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

Review ofDinosaur Poo! by Diane and Christyan Fox

10.11.2014
14:09

dinosaur poo

Dinosaur Poo! is a story all about different types of dinosaur poop. There is a velociraptor who decides to find out which is the biggest poo. Could it be a stegosaurus, a triceratops or perhaps a spinosaurus?

This book had us laughing out loud. We particularly the bright, vivid illustrations, rhyming text and the fun flaps to lift up.

A really fun read.

Thank you to Quarto Publishing for sending us a copy to review.

Review of Mountwood School for Ghosts by Toby Ibbotson

05.11.2014
08:52

Mountwood School for Ghosts

Our Halloween read is Mountwood School for Ghosts, a brilliant story by Toby Ibbotson.

Three old ladies called Fredegonda, Drusilla and Goneril who are really Great Hagges and are over 400 years old are shocked at society when reading the paper and decide that they must do something about it. After all, when was the last time they heard of anyone being frightened to death. The Hagges decide that they should start a school for ghosts to teach them how to be truly terrifying and this leads them to the eerie Mountwood Castle.

Daniel and Charlotte are best friends live on Markham Street a place full of large quirky houses and neighbours who they love. When Markham Street is threatened, they decide that they will do anything to help.

I really recommend this book, which is a spooky tale with lots of funny parts and a cast of fantastic characters. I can’t wait to read Toby Ibbotson’s next book.

I love the cover of this book!

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

Red House Children’s Book Award Blog Tour: Megan Rix

04.11.2014
10:12

RHCBA2015

I am delighted to welcome Megan Rix to Bookbabblers today as part of the Red House Children’s Book Award blog tour. Megan’s book The Bomber Dog has been shortlisted in the Young Readers category. Here is Megan’s guestpost…

Megan Rix Photo 1

Canine Creative
By Megan Rix

My two dogs, Traffy and Bella, are in all of my books and not just in the acknowledgements. Bella used to love my husband’s socks and only his socks when she was a pup (how did she know they were his?!) and Buster in ‘The Great Escape’ has a nose for identifying various members of his family’s slippers. Both Traffy and Bella used to howl as pups like Howl does in ‘The Victory Dogs’ and Bella’s love for playing ball is shared by Grey in ‘The Bomber Dog’.

Traffy is nearly 7 now, steady and loving. She comes into our local school with me to listen to children read. Bella’s just turned 4 and full of energy and determination and fun. They are the absolute best of friends and remind me a lot of Molly and Grey from ‘The Bomber Dog.’ At the start of the book Grey and Molly are living in a derelict shed and devoted to each other, so much so that when a bomb strikes a house further along the street resulting in the shed going up in flames Grey risks his life to save his friend.

My days usually start with a long dog walk by the river (with Traffy and Bella often in the river). Sometimes I write in my spare-bedroom office but only one dog can comfortably squeeze in there. Or in the conservatory but the dogs like the door open and it can get a bit cold in the winter! Their favourite place for me to write is on the bed – fortunately I love writing first drafts by hand. They clamber on and within a few minutes are fast asleep and often snoring.

A couple of hours later they’ve woken up and it’s time for me to have a break. This usually involves trying to drink coffee while playing ball with Bella with one hand and tug-tug with Traffy and her favourite toy with the other.

People sometimes ask me if the animals in my books speak and I tell them they don’t. They can communicate perfectly well without words. Anyone who’s ever owned a pet knows that.

Being home alone is never lonely when you have two dog shadows wherever you go. Even when I get up at three in the morning to do some work and creep out of the bedroom so I don’t disturb my sleeping husband Traffy and then Bella will pad down the stairs after me and curl up beside me on the sofa-bed in the conservatory.

They always know when I’m going out for the day because I’m putting on make-up and not wellington boots and they don’t like it. But coming home to be greeted by two exuberant dogs is just the best thing ever. Bella races to grab a toy to give me and Traffy picks up a chew so she can ‘talk’ and my normal dog walking, ball throwing, toy playing, writing routine resumes.

Megan’s website is www.meganrix.com

bomberdog

“The Bomber Dog” has been shortlisted in the younger readers category of the 2015 Red House Children’s Book Award. The Red House Children’s Book Award is the only national children’s book award voted for entirely by children. It is owned and co-ordinated by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, and sponsored by Red House.

Review of Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

31.10.2014
13:07

Little Lies cover

This is the first book by Liane Moriarty that I have read and I absolutely loved it.

Straight away, we find out that something bad has happened at the Pirriwee School trivia night and someone has died. The book then takes the reader on a journey full of twists and turns as we try to guess what happened that fateful night.

The characters were fantastic and even the more minor characters seemed to have strong personalities. I particularly liked the snippets of dialogue in each chapter from the various parents.

Little Lies is a captivating read that is beautifully written and full of suspense. There are some real laugh out loud moments, but also a number of darker ones and Moriarty touches on domestic abuse and violence throughout the novel.

I was glued to the sofa whilst reading this as I was so desperate to find out what happened. This is a fantastic five star read. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

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

Review of Dirty Bertie: Horror! by David Roberts and Alan Macdonald

29.10.2014
14:11

Dirty bertie horror

Dirty Bertie is back.

Horror! is a collection of three hilarious stories where Bertie manages to wreak havoc wherever he goes.

In the first story, Bertie is desperate to watch the latest horror film Return of the Blob Thing at the cinema. So when his dad says that he can go with his granny he is certain that he can convince her to allow him to watch it. However, Bertie didn’t plan on Granny’s new boyfriend Reg coming along too and he is determined to make him as uncomfortable as possible.

In the second story Splodge!, Bertie and his class are off to the local art gallery to see a very famous painting. However, when Bertie manages to escape to the gift shop and buy a water pistol big problems begin. We loved this story, which was our favourite of the three.

The third story is called Grrr! and starts with Bertie trying to figure out how he can find enough money to buy a pirate telescope. He decides that he must find a job and remembers that his friend Darren’s cousin has a paper round. Darren’s cousin Neil agrees to let them deliver papers to two streets in exchange for £1, but when Bertie meets a guard dog things start to go down hill.

A perfect book to read this half term as Halloween approaches.

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

Review of Princess Mirror-Belle and the Dragon Pox by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks

24.10.2014
13:00

princess mirror belle

We love Julia Donaldson’s books and were thrilled to receive a copy of her latest book Princess Mirror-Belle and the Dragon Pox.

Ellen has chicken pox and is covered in spots. When she goes into the bathroom a voice starts speaking from the mirror. The voice has a face that looks identical to Ellen – it is even covered in spots. She says that she is Princess Mirror-Belle and that they both have dragon pox not chicken pox, not only that, but she is sure that she knows a cure. Soon, they’re wreaking havoc in the bathroom with lots of bubble bath. Will it be a cure and will Princess Mirror-Belle take any of the blame for all of the mess that they have made?

This is an enchanting story that we thoroughly enjoyed. It is beautifully illustrated and we absolutely loved the glittery detail on each page.

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

Giveaway and Review of Saving Grace by Jane Green

22.10.2014
10:31

saving grace cover

I always look forward to reading Jane Green’s book and was thrilled to receive a copy of her latest novel Saving Grace.

Grace Chapman seems to have a perfect life. She is married to bestselling author Ted Chapman with a grown up daughter, they live in a beautiful home and she is content with the volunteer work that she does. However, no one really knows about Ted’s terrible mood swings, which leave Grace feeling vulnerable. When their trusted assistant leaves, Grace feels lost and finds normal tasks difficult. So, when plain Beth introduces herself at a charity event and tells them that she is looking for a job it seems like fate. However, just who is Beth and is she really as great as she initially seemed. Soon, Grace feels pushed out by Beth and is forced to question everything about herself with devastating consequences.

Green has vividly brought the characters in this book to life and I felt like I knew Grace by the end of the book. It is quite a dark story in places and does cover some difficult subject material. I really felt for Grace who tried her best for everyone and couldn’t have predicted what was coming. I felt mesmerised by this story and in trying to guess what was happening. Beth does seem too good to be true, especially as she tries to help out Grace as well as Ted.

This is a fantastic and compelling read that had me hooked from the very first page and I did not want to put it down. I also loved the inclusion of a recipe at the end of most chapters. I think this is my favourite book by Jane Green and it is definitely one of my top books this year.

5 stars

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

We have a copy of Saving Grace by Jane Green and a gorgeous scented candle to giveaway. One runner up will also receive a copy of Saving Grace. Open to UK residents only. Giveaway closes 31st October 2014. To enter, please tweet your answer to the following question to @Bookbabblers.

What is the name of Grace’s husband?

SG Candle and Book pic

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