Book Review

Reading Challenge Update – February

I can’t believe that’s another month gone already! I just ticked a couple more books of my challenges this month – it was more a month of catching up on reviews and reading for relaxation than picking challenge books this month. The books I did read for the challenges this month though are all firm favourites of mine.

The Island – Victoria Hislop

This was my choice for the “read a book inspired by a place in a movie you’ve watched and enjoyed.” I am pushing things a bit here because I chose the setting of Crete taken from the “In-Betweeners” film, which I didn’t love, but the location was beautiful and I have been meaning to reread The Island for a while to refresh my memory before reading One August Night.

The Embroidered Book – Kate Heartfield

This little beauty is my selection for “a book with a magical element.” To be honest, I could have chosen any number of books off my shelf for this prompt as magical books are my “go to,” but I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of this gorgeous book by the publisher as part of the blog tour, so I just had to include it. You can read my full review HERE.

Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

I choose this as my “book that makes me happy.” I read this during a power cut in aftermath of Storm Eunice when I really needed a comfort read. I first read this book years ago, and have been meaning to re-read it for ages to jog my memory before diving into the rest of the trilogy, and honestly, I had forgotten how much I loved it.

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E Frankl

This was my “book that is a memoir” selection, and is a book that was recommended to me years ago, but that for some reason I had never got round to reading. I am only halfway through, so I will share more in next month’s round-up, but for now I can just say that it is a very powerful book.

OTHER BOOKS READ THIS MONTH:

The Millionaire Murders by Rachel McLean

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn (read review HERE)

The Stone Monkey by Jeffrey Deaver

Rock Paper Killers by Alexia Mason (review coming soon)

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (review coming soon)

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchinson

Sparks and Shadow – Ceara Nobles (review coming soon)

In case you would like a reminder, here are the challenges that I am following.

Book Review

Gilded – Marissa Meyer

It’s time for another of my long overdue reviews for a book received through NetGalley. Many thanks to Faber and Faber for providing me with a copy of Marissa Meyer’s fabulous fairy tale retelling, Gilded.

BLURB:

Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller’s daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.

Or so everyone believes.

When one of Serilda’s outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn’t meant to be part of the bargain.

Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.

REVIEW:

For some reason, Gilded took me a long time to read, although I am unsure why because it has literally everything that I love in a book included within its pages. I am glad that I stuck with it though as it is a fascinating take on the classic Rumpelstiltskin tale. 

Marissa Meyer is an author who I have long intended to read, but for some reason have never got around to. I am glad that I chose Gilded as the book to discover her writing with. I love anything to do with the Wild Hunt, and Meyer’s version of the Erlking and his Court is positively chilling. I think it is quite possibly one of my favourite takes on the mythology of the Hunt. Meyer’s rich descriptions of the Hunt and the secrets behind the castle they have claimed as their own make for a captivating read.

I do hope a sequel is released very soon, because the end left me hanging right on the very edge of a cliff, with one foot dangling in the air! In the meantime, I now have three of Marissa Meyer’s other books lined up on my Kindle to keep me going.

Book Review

The Leviathan – Rosie Andrews

Today I have a wonderfully atmospheric book to share with you all in the form of The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews. Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for my copy of the book which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

The most beguiling debut of 2022, perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and The Binding.
She is awake…

Norfolk, 1643. With civil war tearing England apart, reluctant soldier Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who accuses a new servant of improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas returns home, his father is insensible, felled by a stroke, and their new servant is in prison, facing charges of witchcraft.

Thomas prides himself on being a rational, modern man, but as he unravels the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers not a tale of superstition but something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.

Something has awoken, and now it will not rest.

Richly researched, incredibly atmospheric, and deliciously unsettling, The Leviathan is set in England during a time of political turbulence and religious zealotry. It is a tale of family and loyalty, superstition and sacrifice, but most of all it is a spellbinding story of impossible things.

REVIEW:

In The Leviathan, Rosie Andrews has created a wonderfully rich book with the feel of a classic gothic horror. The story unfolds in the mid 1600s with shorter chapters from the early 1700s offering a tantalising glimpse of something dark and dangerous imprisoned in Thomas’s attic.

I have a fascination with the witch-hunters and trials of British history which is why this book appealed. However, The Leviathan is so much more than your average book about witch trials. There is a great attention to detail throughout the book, and the truth behind the darkness that Thomas must face is beautifully crafted.

If this is what Rosie Andrews has written as her debut, I can’t wait to see what she has to offer us next.

Guest Posts

Book Review Log Book – Jennifer Gilmour

I am delighted to be welcoming the lovely Jennifer Gilmour back to my blog today with something a little different to her previous books. I will be telling you all about her Book Review Log Book in just a moment, but first let me hand you over to Jennifer who has kindly written a guest post on using creativity to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

GUEST POST:

I have always been a creative person but never had the opportunity to use it for something important. It meant that after school and college I didn’t really tap into my creative side that often, it was no longer needed to create art, write stories or even act.

When I was at University I ended up entering an abusive relationship and I was in that relationship for several years. Abuse is progressive but looking back I can see the subtle signs that lead to the control he had over me. He controlled my work life and sadly I gave up my studies at University, there were many factors to this but the fact I worked at the same place didn’t help. Things changed when I had children and we had to work different shifts, I was relieved as it offered space however after every shift I would arrive home to an interrogation. Things got worse when he found out I had given work colleagues a life after their shift as it was on my way home, he would refuse to sit in the car for 24 hours because they had sat in his seat. Eventually I reduced my working hours to just 4 hours a week and had hardly any money.

At the time a friend of mine was expecting and as a gift I decided to make a nappy cake, I was always creative so I thought I would give it a go. It followed with a friend of hers asking if I could make one for her for a fee, that’s when I opened up my first business and this was the key to my freedom. Despite why I set up the business it offered me the opportunity to be creative and I had so much enjoyment from this. At the beginning stages of a business you do everything and I enjoyed putting together graphics of my work.

The business gave me a focus and an excuse to be in the dining room away from him on an evening. I started networking with people online and grew my Facebook page to 4,000 likes in just over a year. I went to craft fairs and didn’t care that he wasn’t going to support me by looking after the children, I took them with me and juggled it all.

When I finally fled the relationship and moved back to my home town I spent time figuring out how I was going to go forward with my life. I was lucky enough to access support and I went onto a recovery programme called The Recovery Toolkit. This was a big turning point for me because I not only had all the tools to live my new life but I also discovered how common domestic abuse is (1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men). That was the moment I knew I needed to help raise awareness of domestic abuse and that was the start of my writing journey.

My first book was all about educating through a form of entertainment, Isolation Junction, because I knew I had to reach into people’s lives without the jargon. My creativity streak came back and I started to build my own website and raise awareness in different ways.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and each year I try to do something different, I’ve done an Instagram challenge, last year I lit Hull City Centre purple and this year I am tweeting each day what I have learnt since leaving. You can find me on Twitter and most social platforms as: @JenLGilmour.

At this point you are probably wondering how my latest publication ‘Book Review Log Book’ fits in with raising awareness. The book itself is a journal style and right at the back there is a nod to my domestic abuse publications and advocacy. It’s small but it’s still there, sometimes we don’t need to be blunt about it but subtle. In terms of awareness, it could reach more readers so you never know how one book can roll onto reading another.

I don’t think I will ever stop being creative in raising awareness of domestic abuse, TikTok has been my latest go to platform to express my lived experiences. I feel that it not only helps others but it helps me personally because even several years later I am still working my way through the triggers, flashbacks and loss. I am building my life up and I share my journey openly online.

BLURB:

Keep a track of your reading progress and your book reviews in one place:

  • Reading Goals
  • To Be Read List
  • Book Release Dates
  • Word Cloud
  • Your Reviews
  • Your Notes

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase Link

REVIEW:

Now, I snapped up a copy of this book the second I heard about it, and I am so glad I did. Of course, like any good notebook and journal hoarder, I am now too scared to write in it in case I spoil it. But, with enough space for a year’s worth of reviews, and a handy release date calendar, I have decided that this is going to be my “go to” book log for 2022. I even have new pens specifically for the purpose. It is a fab book with a wonderfully clear layout, and would make the perfect Christmas present for that special bookworm in your life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media.

Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards)
UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards)

Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Amazon Profile

Goodreads Profile

Huffington Post Profile

Guest Posts

The Punishment – Paul Clayton

As part of the blog tour for his book, The Punishment, I am joined by Paul Clayton as he proves he is a man after my own heart with a passion for reading past his bedtime. Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to talk to us, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

BLURB:

What do you do when you are an ex-soap star down on your luck and running out of money?

For Daniel Maple, a chance meeting in a nightclub presents him with an offer he finds hard to refuse…

But crime makes you pay.

And someone, somewhere, wants you punished.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Punishment Cover

GUEST POST:

Reading in bed came from the fact with as a child I hated the moment Mum turned the light out. For a long time, I had to have a little purple night light in the corner of the room, but even that allowed corners of darkness to creep into the bedroom, so I would stretch out a chapter or two for as long as I could. It’s still the place where I do most of my reading. There is always a book by my bedside and it’s most likely to be a thriller or a mystery. The well-written ones do nothing for my sleep. Each chapter ending with a question or a problem makes me want to read on and solve it.

I can never forget the night when reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, I was approaching the end of the chapter and about to place the book on my bedside table and head into slumber when I read the sentence that changes your perception everything you have read so far. I gasped aloud, and after a quick dash to the loo, it was another three chapters and a very late night. Sometimes I don’t know when to give up and my partner will find me dozing with a Kindle that has fallen to the floor at the side of the bed, but in the main. I will set myself a certain number of chapters to read and hope that I make it.

When it came to writing my first fiction, the idea of keeping somebody up late at night by the nature of the story I told was foremost in my mind. It’s been immensely gratifying to receive messages from readers castigating me for the fact that they stayed up till 3 AM last night in order to finish “The Punishment”. It’s a page turner, hopefully thrilling, clever, and funny. (but that’s for you to make up your mind) It’s the sort of book I love to take to the beach. Something that keeps me glued to the pages. One thing that is important to us as actors as we tell stories that our audience are engaged. You can feel a room of people who are listening. It’s a warm feeling. A supportive cocoon of concentration.

When I became an author, this was the relationship with my audience I thought I would miss. Readers take the books into their own world, at their own speed, and in their own way. 

And yet, to know that a story of twists and turns, of double-cross and disaster has made people gasp and laugh across the world is more exciting than I can say.

Creating the world of “The Punishment” and taking the little pinch of truth on which it’s based, sprinkling it with mixed moments of my life and whipping it up into a confection that I hope people want to finish in one go has been the greatest of fun. For to me, that’s what stories are. Fun. A ticket to a world that someone has created just for me. That reaches out and brings the audience closer.

And just as someone says in ‘The Punishment” – “If this were your problem, what would you do?”

I hope you take the time to find out.

Paul Clayton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Punishment - Paul (91) - Full ResolutionClayton is an actor best known for his appearances as Ian Chapman in five series of the awardwinning Channel 4 comedy Peep Show and as Graham in two series of the BAFTA winning comedy Him and Her. Other credits include Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Holby City as well as This is Alan Partridge, Doctor Who, The Crown, Vera, Wolf. He is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His previous books are So You Want To Be A Corporate Actor? and The Working Actor and he is a regular columnist in The Stage.

He is a proud patron of Grimm and Co, the children’s literacy charity, based in his home town of Rotherham.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Instagram

GIVEAWAY:

Win 5 x E-copies of The Punishment (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE

Thanks again to Paul for taking the time to talk to us today. For more information on The Punishment, make sure you visit the other blogs taking part on this tour.

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Book Review

Wunderkids: Wakefield Manor – Jacqueline Sylvester

Back in August last year, I was lucky enough to discover the first book in the Wunderkids series and I loved it. You can read my review here. Now, I am excited to be telling you all about the book’s sequel.

BLURB:

No peace for the mad.
No glue for the broken.
No shelter for the hunted.

Nikka Mason may have escaped the clutches of Wildwood Academy, but she now finds herself in Mexico, entangled in a more grand, and far more dangerous, web. 

Imprisoned in his childhood home, Izaya Wakefield is forced to face his demons and family secrets. Secrets that hold the key to destroying Wildwood Academy. Secrets that might also destroy him.

As the pair try to make their way back to each other, the decisions they make will determine not just their fate but each others future too. 

In the sensational second book in the Wunderkids series and follow-up to acclaimed Wildwood Academy, Wakefield Manor will take both Nikka and Izaya to the brink, where gilded lies and uncovered truths make their paths more twisted than ever . 

44415262

PURCHASE LINKS:

You can find out more about this book, and purchase a copy here.

REVIEW:

Picking up almost instantly from the conclusion of Wildwood Academy, I found that I was instantly gripped by the events of Wakfield Manor. Where Wildwood Academy was a slow burning, scene setting start to the series to a certain extent, there is none of that with Wakefield Manor, and you are thrown straight in to the action and the new dangers that Nikka and her friends now find themselves in.

Wakefield Manor follows a split story line with chapters being split between Nikka and Izaya. Although Nikka’s story was the more action packed, I found myself drawn more to Izaya’s story, trapped in Wakefield Manor with his sinister uncle. The two different storylines balance each other well though, as you are thrown from the instant threat of danger to the underlying feeling of menace and back again.

Alongside the action and intrigue, Wakefield Manor is also laced with heartbreaking betrayals from every angle, and the the changing dynamics between the characters as more and more lies and deception come to light is fascinating.

I am already itching to get my hands on book three, to find out just what else these poor teens will have to deal with!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

16599005Jacqueline has had a colourful and dual life thus far; she’s lived in a refugee camp in Sweden, a castle in France, a village in Germany, and spent her formative years in between Los Angeles, London and New York. As a result, she speaks four languages. In 4th grade she won her school’s poetry contest and she has not stopped writing since. She has written in many forms ranging from poetry to screenwriting, from prose to copywriting, and on one occasion a viral jingle.

Jacqueline has a Bachelors in English Literature from the University Of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University Of London. After graduating she wrote her first novel and began writing (and selling) cartoon screenplays. The two years she spent in an arts boarding school in the woods have inspired the particular world described in debut novel Wunderkids. She lives in London with her husband, her excessive YA collection and a hyper husky named Laika.

 

Book Review

The Sentinel’s Reign – Suzanne Rogerson

It is time for part two of the blog tour bonanza for Suzanne Rogerson’s Silent Seas Chronicles, and today I can tell you all about book two of the series, The Sentinel’s Reign. Thanks again to Suzanne and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

The Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

The Sentinel's Reign ebook complete

PURCHASE LINK:

Purchase here

REVIEW:

I want to write this review without repeating too much of what I said about The Lost Sentinel, but I do have to make mention of Suzanne’s beautiful world building and character development again. Her vivid descriptions make me wish I could pay a visit to the Silent Sea and meet the inhabitants of Kalaya and Stone Haven in person.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters better this time around, and really understanding what made some of them tick, finding out why they acted the way they did. For more than one this meant a major change of opinion about them, and my favourite characters were constantly changing. I found my emotions wildly bouncing from joy, to heartbreak, to triumph and everything in between as the story unfolded around them, and lives were changed forever.

Throughout this book, the tension continually builds and builds before reaching a dramatic conclusion, and just when you think a resolution has been reached, Suzanne unleashes a huge cliffhanger that sent me scurrying for book three (more on that in a few days).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author photo 2018 (2)

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Bookbub

For more information on this, and the first book in the series, make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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Book Review

The Lost Sentinel – Suzanne Rogerson

Today marks the start of a trilogy of reviews coming up over the next few days for Suzanne Rogerson’s brilliant Silent Seas Chronicles. Many thanks to Suzanne, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of this blogging bonanza, and for providing me with copies of the books.

BLURB:

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.

Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for the new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed in their quest, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?

THE LOST SENTINEL COVER

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase here

For the duration of the blog tour all books in the Silent Sea Chronicles series are 99p.

REVIEW:

The Lost Sentinel starts with a prologue that gives an instant sense of peril and I knew straightaway that this would be a book that I would not be able to put down. I am a big fan of prologues in books anyway, but this grabbed my attention and sucked me straight in to the magical land of Kalaya.

Suzanne Rogerson is a skilled world builder and I found that I was totally immersed in the story, the real world just falling away from me. This is exactly why fantasy is my favourite genre, but it is rare that a world absorbs me to the extent that the Silent Seas did.

The Lost Sentinel is a rich storyline told from various viewpoints, and as I tried to work out how these would all intertwine over the course of the books, I found I was asking more and more questions, and reading faster and faster. It is the sort of book that you want to read slowly so it doesn’t end, but at the same time you can’t help but race through.

Among the many characters, there were many that I loved, but special mention has to go to honourable Brogan, sweet little Beliss, and dedicated Farrell. There were also characters I loved to hate but I will leave you to discover them for yourselves.

As soon as I read the last page, I had to move straight on to book two. There was no way I could wait to find out what was going to happen next!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author photo 2018 (2)

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Bookbub

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part, and head back over here on 30th June for the next instalment.

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Book Review

Space Dragons – Robin Bennett

We’re headed back to the world of Middle Grade Fantasy today with the action-packed Space Dragons by Robin Bennett. Many thanks to Robin, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

If Stan Pollux had known he would be spending his summer holidays in the outer reaches of our solar system, he would have put on different underpants.

But when he gets kidnapped by the Planet Dragon Mercury, most things suddenly seem small and insignificant. Stan finds himself in a universe of dragons who had once ruled the skies as gods: Mars, Venus, Saturn and even Uranus way out back. This is shaping up to be the best summer holiday in the history of the cosmos until Stan discovers his stupid sister is missing and that Pluto (AKA Hades) is trying to use her to destroy the Solar System. And it will be all Stan’s fault if he doesn’t get Poppy back.

So, all Stan has to do is learn how to fight like a hero in space armour, defeat the dragon god Hades, rescue his sister and save the world. All before his parents realise she is missing.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Space Dragons instantly struck me as a book that would appeal to so many different children (and adults for that matter), whether they have a fascination with dragons, are a future astronomer, have a passion for mythology, or are just fans of adventure. Add to this the fact that although the main character is a young boy, he has a fiesty little sister who girls will love, and this book really does have something for everyone.

As a Rick Riordan fan and a lover of mythology in general, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this incarnation of the ancient gods. Having the appearance of each dragon reflect that of their namesake planet is just such a clever way of educating children without them even realising, and with each dragon taking to the extreme their individual quirks and foibles, the astronomical information takes on a form that will give kids a point to focus on so it will stick in their memory. Add to this the little facts and snippets of information at the start of each chapter and you have a young scientists dream.

Although this book is clearly aimed at the young market, the language used manages to feel mature enough for adults to also enjoy it, but still perfectly reflects the thought process of an 11 year old boy. Even as an only child I could feel the frustration caused by a careless younger sibling, and by the inability to stand up to the school bully. I think a lot of children will find Stan to be an extremely relatable character.

I loved getting to know each of the dragons, with their complicated family dynamics. Their reunion dinner on Jupiter was a true feast for the imagination, both in terms of the food they eat, and the way they interact with each other. I found I was particularly fond of excitable Mercury and fierce Mars. I even found I developed a soft spot for the hellhound Cerberus.

This book is a thoroughly enjoyable read for all ages, and struck me as the perfect bed time reading, when the young readers could view the night sky as they read, and maybe spot a dragon of their own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Bennett is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children, adults, and everything in between. Listed in the Who’s Who of British Business Excellence at 29, his 2016 documentary “Fantastic Britain”, about the British obsession with fantasy and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, and his first book for young adults, Picus the Thief, won the Writer’s News Indie Published Book of the Year Award in 2012. Robin is also a director at Firefly Press.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

GIVEAWAY:

Win 10 x Hardcover Copies of Space Dragons – UK Only

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of this competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winner’s information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter Here

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in this tour.

Book Review

Birdie and Jude – Phyllis H Moore

Today’s review is for the bittersweet Birdie and Jude by Phyllis H Moore. My thanks go to Phyllis, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.

Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.

In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequalities plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lived are vastly different, they recognise something in the other that forges a friendship.

As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.

There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Judd faces an uncomfortable truth about her own.

PURCHASE LINKS:

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REVIEW:

I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to take in much of what is written in book dedications, especially the longer ones, because I am usually far too eager to start reading the book. That said, something about the dedication in this book caught my eye, and I am so glad that I read it. I was really touched by the author’s words, and it made me curious about what was to come.

Straight off the bat, it felt like there was more to both Birdie and Jude than met the eye. While Birdie seemed feisty and full of life, despite the struggles of old age, you could feel a darkness, a sadness, to her character. In contrast, Jude is quiet and self-conscious, a troubled soul with more than her fair share of secrets. Alongside Birdie and Jude, comes Ollie, Birdie’s faithful canine companion. I absolutely adored the fact that he comes with a fully developed, almost human character himself.

This book has the feel of a coming of age story, as both women come to terms with their pasts and learn to accept their futures. There is a beauty in the gentle friendship that develops between them as they help each other in more ways than either of them realise when they first meet.

What I expected to be a sweet, simple story of friendship touched my heart in ways that I never imagined it would.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels.

The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story, Josephine’s Journals, and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled – A Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colours of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road.

In 2018, she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime – A Meg Miller Cosy Mystery. She has authored one non-fiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her website, http://www.phyllishmoore.com

Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.

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