Book reviews, Children’s fiction, Comedy, YA fiction

The Purple-Bellied Parrot by William Fagus – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

Discover … The power of the ‘HhhuuuUUTTT!

’Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions? Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do. It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

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MY REVIEW

Oh my, this broke my heart a little.

It’s the story of the Purple Bellied Parrot. His sad life life in cages where he can only just spread his wings, let alone fly.

Even the Spuggies (house sparrows) laugh at him, but he wants more, he wants his best life and so the adventure begins.

I love the humour in this, it will make you laugh out loud at times, but then there is sadness too, that will cause tears…..his poor little foot for a start!

Will the little parrot reach Brazeel? Will he have friends to talk to? Will he learn how to sing?

Beautifully written and full of emotion too. It really will appeal to all ages young and old…..plenty of poopy moments too. The handy notes at the back of the book explain the birds, language and slang.

Brilliant, funny, moving and thought provoking, one to rival Johnathan Livingstone Seagull. I loved it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2NABN3n

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The publicity-shy William Fagus lives in a remote location in an upturned fishing smack with a parrot and sundry antique musical instruments and carpentry tools.

The redoubtable Mrs Lush, his cleaning lady and confidant, is his most frequent visitor.

William Fagus’s biography, of uncertain origin and dubious veracity, is available here: http://www.williamfagus.com/fagus_biog.html

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Book reviews, Children’s fiction, YA fiction

The Three Hares, The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder & David Ross – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her a thousand years into China’s past. With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.

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MY REVIEW 

Sara is 14 years old, living in Beijing and attends the International School. Her Granny Tang lives in an apartment nearby, so she visits regularly but as a 14 year old, she’s a little bored of her stories……but will the knowledge in these tales be useful ?

Sara starts to see things, are they daydreams? Or can she see a world beyond? 

This is a marvellous adventure tale, yes it’s young adult fiction, but it’s so well written and will appeal to any age. There’s Chinese history, art, culture and even a mention of Harry Potter. A little reminder too, that our elders have a lot to offer and deserve our respect. I love the two timelines and how they link……will the first hare get her answers? Charming, twisty and very engaging…..

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
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Author Details

Scott Lauder was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Having taught in Greece, Japan, and England, he now lives with his wife and four cats in the UAE where he teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and drinking good coffee. His other books include The Right Thing, A Single Shot, and The Boy-King Tutankhamun.

David Scott Ross has traveled and taught throughout Asia since he first moved there in 1987. He currently teaches in upstate NY, where he lives with his wife and two sons. When David is not writing or teaching, he dreams about becoming a chef, a rock star, maybe an actor, but probably not all at once. At present, he is wrapping up two projects: Pastimes, encounters with a Stone Age people, and Dim, a detective novel.

 

Book reviews, Children’s fiction

Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When orphans vanish from their beds across Victorian London, twelve-year-old demystifier Hemlock Jones and her companion, Edward, take the case!

This time, the trail will lead them from their Baker Street home, along lost rivers and into the heart of the city, to face exotic enemies and a charming man with dark plans…

Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans is the second of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, the award-winning series of detective adventures for children and adults.
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MY REVIEW 

What a fun read….

Hemlock Jones and her friend, Edward live at 211b Baker Street, she is a demystifier. Due to her exceptional observational skills, she has helped the police on a difficult case before…..but her neighbour Sherlock got most of the credit!

She is a young girl, but certainly knows her own mind.

When 11 orphans disappear from an orphanage she offers her skills to the police….can she find out where these poor boys have gone? Is there a link to the digging of the new London Underground tunnels?

With sewers, rats and the odd pirate, this is an entertaining adventure with a strong female character and a great story that’s ideal for young readers. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Caroline Vincent and Bits about Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here

 

https://amzn.to/2WK2R3e

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Justin Carroll is an author who balances his love of comic books and games with a passion for martial arts and musicals.

Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, when not writing, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things.

Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards with “Careful What You Wish For” (Wyvern Publishing) and placed in the top twenty of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge twice.

December 2012 saw the birth of Justin Carroll’s first novel: Everything’s Cool – a dark, psychological thriller.

His second novel, Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death, is a Young Adult novel and the first in a series featuring Hemlock Jones, the fiery 12-year-old demystifier whose brain easily equals and surpasses that of the famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. “Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death” won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Wishing Shelf Awards.

Now, Justin has published the second book in the Hemlock Jones Chronicles: Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans, perfect for all fans of 10 years and above of adventurous detective mysteries!

 

Justin Carroll on Social Media:

 

Author website: ​www.justin-carroll.com/

Twitter: ​​https://twitter.com/WriterJustinC

Facebook: ​​https://www.facebook.com/JustinCarrollAuthor/ 

Amazon: ​​https://author.to/JustinCarroll

GoodReads:​​https://www.goodreads.com/JustinCarroll

Book reviews, Children’s fiction, Classic Fiction

The Burning Hill by A.D. Flint – Book Review. @brazil_thriller @Unbound_Digital @annecater #TheBurningHill

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have killed him but, miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected brain aneurysm that soon would have killed him. 

Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice, and the favela kid that fired the bullet is a victim of injustice. Named Vilson, the teenage kid is in a corner with corrupt cops and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood. Jake was at his best in combat, he is not so great at being a civilian. His career was destroyed by a compulsion to fly in the face of authority, and Brazil was meant to be a clean break. But anger is never far from the surface, and it drives him into Vilson’s brutal world, intent on getting him out. If he can just save Vilson, maybe he can finally purge some of his own demons. 

With a turf war erupting between drug gangs and corrupt cops for control of Vilson’s favela, fear stalks every narrow alleyway. And anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there. But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela, belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy. When Jake rescues Vilson from execution on the Burning Hill and spirits him away from the favela, Vilson is convinced that he is finally on the path to his destiny, having clung to a promise made to him in childhood. 

When it turns to dust he becomes someone else, something else. From timid kid to vengeful killer, he becomes known as the Ghost when he returns to the superstitious favela. Jake refuses to give up on a kid seemingly beyond saving and, in a final conflict on the Burning Hill, he is faced with a choice that could push him to the dark edges of society forever. The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and one man’s compulsion to get justice at any cost.
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MY REVIEW

Set in the favelas of Brazil, this is the tale of Vilson, a young man, abandoned by his mother as a small child with his elder brother, Gabriel. 

The boys are chased by cops, shots are fired and Vilson survives, with only his friend Babão.

Jake, a soldier, hiding in Brazil from an unjust court-martial, trying to blend in and disappear.

One night, Vilson and Babão rob Jake at gunpoint but the gun goes off by accident. Jake survives, but the gunshot had actually saved his life, as doctors found an aneurysm which could have killed him any time.

The boys run away from the scene, but get chased by cops and Babão is shot…..a lawyer witnesses this but the cops send her away.

Vilson returns to their shack, to await Babão’s return….but a local gang leader visits him and wants his money…..or else.

Can Eliane, the lawyer, convince Jake, the boys need his help….

This is an incredible novel, it tells of the harsh life of these street children in deprived areas of the favelas in Brazil. Not only do they have to deal with the everyday struggle, they have death squads, roaming the streets to kill the children to get them off the street and the gangs fighting to keep control. They live in constant fear.

The characters are so well written, I had every sympathy for Vilson, a victim of circumstances. Jake, while disgraced In the UK, he really cares about the situation here and tries his best to help and the corrupt cop Nogueira is just abhorrent.

You really do get emotionally involved in this tale and that’s all credit to A.D. Flint’s creative, immersive writing. A tale of dreams, belief and justice. Absolutely stunning.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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The idea for the story came from a robbery the author saw when he lived in Brazil that had a link with the massacre of street children outside a Rio church years earlier. What played out in the aftermath of the robbery on live TV news was an embodiment of the desperation of life at the bottom of the heap, and shocked a society inured to everyday violence.

The story also explores how the fusion of religions like Candomblé and Umbanda with Catholicism can create powerful beliefs.

The author now lives on the south coast of England with his Brazilian wife, two boys and an excitable dog. His next novel is about a cult, set in Guyana, where he previously worked in the sugar industry.

 

 

Twitter: @brazil_thriller 

Book reviews, Children’s fiction

Timothy Mean And The Time Machine by William A. E. Ford – Children’s Book Review

A slight change of genre for me !

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

2019 READERS FAVORITE BEST SCI-Fi \ FANTASY CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD*

With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible! 

Join Timothy on a magical rhyming adventure as he skips through time and pranks with pirates, gets daring with dragons, and even teases a T-Rex!

“It’s Monday. Hip hip hooray! Where shall we travel in time today?

With Timothy Mean, every day is a rhyme in time!

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MY REVIEW 

Timothy is a bit of a rascal, he’s bored so in his imagination he builds a time machine and has a marvellous adventure every day of the week.

This is a simple rhyming story with an easy cadence and children will love its humour and the pranks he pulls. 

I’ve seen some reviews that feel there should be repercussions for Timothy’s behaviour and Yes they could be seen as naughty but his name is Timothy MEAN….so children will be able to make the link…..or the adult could ! And have a chat after the story..

I found this to be absolutely charming, it’s fun and the illustrations are so bright and full of details….I’ll certainly be getting a hard copy for my granddaughter.

Thank you to The Author for a free copy of Timothy Mean and The Time Machine. This is my honest and unbiased review.

you can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2lyfi3P

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

William has always had a passion for books, writing and story-telling. William’s favourite way to end a cosy evening is to spend time dreaming up and reading bed-time stories to his five wonderful children.

Just one of his many stories, ‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ was inspired by the spark of his children’s colourful imaginations as they tirelessly created unique, laughter filled days from even the most mundane, everyday objects and situations!

Born in England, William currently lives in Oslo, Norway with his wife and five children.

‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ winner of the Readers Favorite Children’s Sci-Fi / Fantasy 2019 Award’ is William’s first published work and he plans to publish more books shortly. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Children’s fiction

Meditation for Children: A Book Of Mindfullness by Shelley Wilson – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Author and meditation tutor Shelley Wilson takes you on a magical journey to a calm and happy place that you and your child will love.

Children of all ages can learn and enjoy the benefits of meditation.

Designed to help access creative abilities through relaxation and imagination, these stories help develop the necessary tools needed at a young age for lifelong healthy habits of managing stress and anxiety while also improving learning skills.

Meditation for Children is a simple way to introduce children to mindfulness through guided visualization. Includes a handy reference guide and instructions.

MY REVIEW 

This is an absolutely charming book, with lovely illustrations by Phaedra Elson.

The beginning has some gentle pointers and a how to guide for parents….

  1. Stories – for anytime, day or night, but perfect for a bedtime routine too
  2. Drawing exercises for children to interpret the story in their own way
  3. Simple breathing exercises 

The stories themselves are all between 2.5 and 3.5 minutes long, and are gentle and magical to encourage the imagination. For bedtime, it’s the. Goodnight, sleep tight or daytime a drawing of the adventure…..

I’m sure this will be calming for both the parent and the child and as I have a granddaughter due in December and this will be one of her first books. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

you can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2ZnqspP

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Shelley Wilson is an English author of motivational self-help titles and young adult fantasy fiction. 

Her sensible side writes non-fiction books to inspire you to be the best you can be, and her cheeky and playful side writes young adult fiction to remind you to nurture that inner teen.

Shelley is a single mum of three, has a crazy black cat called Luna and is obsessed with vampires, Tudor history, and exploring castles. 

She’s tall (5ft 10inches) which seems to surprise people when they meet her. She often hears, “you’re much taller than your profile picture!” (Courtesy of Goodreads)

 

Find her on twitter http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson

Book reviews, Children’s fiction

Toletis by Rafa Ruiz – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The trees are disappearing and the adults don’t care. Toletis, his dog Amenophis and friends Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, lusciously green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed …with some very unusual help? A deep appreciation for nature, art, language, music, friendship, family, the passing of time, old age, loneliness, and the importance of sitting still and reflecting on life, pervade this exquisite story. A must read for 7 to 107 year olds.

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MY REVIEW 

Toletis is a young boy with an absolute, all encompassing love of nature. He notices the trees are disappearing, some due to a fire, other due to logging and building a road. So, he and his friends, Claudia and Tutan decide to plant their apple pips to grow more trees.

The adults keep putting obstacles in their way, but the find the perfect spot and soon the magic happens. We meet the treenie-weenies, the souls of the lost trees and the determined thrushes too.

This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It shows the love of nature and what we are doing to destroy it…..it also shows how we could easily repair the damage with love and consideration.

I love the way it shows how we could show our children (and ourselves) a different outlook to life, away from smartphones and TV….just being outside in nature with quiet thoughts and the beauty that surrounds us,  if only you take the time to look. Stunning and perfect for any age.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/31Rwpgx

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rafa Ruiz is a journalist and author who has a staunch commitment to culture, art and the environment. He spent 25 years at Spanish newspaper El País and is a partner-founder of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA). He has written numerous children’s books, and he codirects the Mad is Mad art gallery in Madrid which gives space to up-and-coming artists. He is one of the partner-founders of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA).

 

All social media in Spanish unfortunately:

Twitter: @rafaruiz

his art gallery: @mad_is_mad

 

TOLETIS : by Rafa Ruiz; Illustrated by Elena Hormiga, Translated from Spanish by Ben Dawlatly – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKKBLSO5h4A

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Elena Hormiga is an illustrator with a sense of humour. She studied and worked as an engineer and later turned to illustration.

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Ben Dawlatly took an MA in Hispanic Studies and Translation Theory at UCL. He translates both technical and literary texts. However, his real calling is in fiction and poetry.

 

Praise for Toletis

 

‘A book full of respect for the creativity and open hearts of children… Innocence, freedom and an unspoken sense of safety ooze off the pages… an uplifting, funny and delightful collection of stories ‘ PLAYING BY THE BOOK (UK blog)

‘Our ‘always on’ generation would do themselves a favor by looking out of their own windows and seeing the beauty that Toletis has found.  MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE MONDAY (US blog)

 

‘I love this book for honouring our thoughtful boys.’ WORLDKITLIT (UK blog)

‘Is an absolute must read for both children and adults… A book that is surely destined to become a classic.’ OUTSIDEINWORLD (UK blog)

 

‘If you believe that the best hope we have for a safe, peaceful planet is to teach children to love the environment and one another, then I recommend that you read Toletis with the children in your life.’ GREENWORLD (GREENPEACE MAGAZINE)

 

 

 

Toletis: For Ages Seven to 107 | Green World

https://greenworld.org.uk/article/toletis-ages-seven-107

 

Toletis Review (Rafa Ruiz) (Book) » Inspire Create Educate

https://inspirecreateeducate.co.uk/reviews/toletis-review-rafa-ruiz-book/

 

 

Sadly these teacher videos are in Spanish but the book has been used to teach creative writing in many schools in Spain.

 

Toletis visto por la superclase – YouTube 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnBcVZ1XF7w

 

figuras literarias en Toletis 1 on Vimeo

https://vimeo.com/151243895

 

Toletis is a positive role model for boys

Toletis is a quiet, sensitive and caring boy who isn’t afraid to show his emotions. His character is a perfect antidote to the expectations of a “typical” boy: loud, boisterous and destructive. This is definitely a book for parents who reject the saying “boys will be boys”.

 

The ‘big’ real life stuff

One of the things I love most about Toletis is that it touches on big real life events such as the death of a family member in a wholesome and loving way. Sad events in the book are neither taboo nor overly sad; they are expertly touched upon in a way that is both matter-of-fact and empathetic.

 

Toletis encourages a love of nature

It’s easy to be drawn in by the immersive storytelling and beautiful illustrations. Toletis spends much of the book exploring the hills and valleys around his home, foraging, planting trees and doing all of the things every child should. The book gives just enough detail – the smells, the sounds of the hills are so clear you’re almost there yourself.

Toletis has a good sense of justice

Toletis has a good sense of justice. When trees are cut down to put a wide road through the town, he hatches a plan to stop it. He knows what is wrong in the world and isn’t afraid to step up and change it.