Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review of Super Fred by Tony Gilbert & Illustrated by Pippa Cornell



Synopsis:

Fred is an unusual monster. After leaving scare school he realises that he doesn't want to scare little boys and girls. How can he show his face in Monster Land now? Everyone will laugh at him! Then he meets a little boy called Dale, who comes up with an unexpected plan.

Review:


Super FredSuper Fred by Tony Gilbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic children's book for boys and girls aged 0 to 11. I loved it!

Fred is a wonderful character. He has just graduated from scare school, but realises that scaring is not for him. I loved this gentle monster. His heart is kind and good.

Dale is a human boy, and Fred's first scare after leaving school. I loved this character's compassion. His plan to help Fred is quite clever!

I loved this little story about a monster who doesn't want to be scary. Not every monster has a wish to frighten others or be bad. Fred is one such monster. The author has written this story with a rhyming pattern that flows beautifully and rolls off the tongue. I would love to read this out loud to a youngster, because the cadence just lends itself to being spoken. Unfortunately, my two oldest nephews are a bit too old for this story, and my two youngest nephews live too far away. However, this doesn't stop me from reading books like these, because I like to read them. I was also impressed with the illustrations. The artist, Pippa Cornell, has complimented the story with some deliciously cute drawings. They describe the story very well for those children who cannot read. These could also allow a child to create their own story, if they so desire.

Tony Gilbert has written a fantastic tale of friendship and caring. I love his writing style, which also flows wonderfully. I have read one other book by this author, and I look forward to reading many more of them.

I highly recommend this book to children aged 0 to 11 years and to adults who, like me, love children's or young adult books. - Lynn Worton

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review of Flee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn



Synopsis:

When Lillian and Audrey hatch a plot to escape from Tranquil Meadows Nursing Home, “borrow” a car, and spend their hastily planned vacation time driving to destinations west, they aren’t fully aware of the challenges they will face. All they know is that the warm days of August call to them, and the need to escape the daily routines and humiliations of nursing home life has become overwhelming. But their trip is almost over before it begins, until they meet up with the unsuspecting Rayne, a young hitchhiker. As Lillian and Audrey try to take back the control that time and dementia has taken from them, Rayne realizes the truth of their situation. But it’s too late – he has fallen under the spell of these two funny, brave women and is willing to be a part of their adventure, wherever it leads them.

Review:


Flee, Fly, FlownFlee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is not my usual genre of book, and when I was first approached about reading this story, I was going to turn it down. However, after reading the synopsis and thinking about it, I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did, because I LOVED it!

Lillian is a wonderful lady. I loved this feisty octogenarian. I could imagine her as a younger woman with a backbone of steel and a penchant for taking risks. I began to cheer her on, as she embarked on an amazing adventure with her friend Audrey, and a young man called Rayne.

Audrey is also a wonderful character. She is a woman who has not had an easy life, though her mousy demeanor hides her adventurous spirit. Her trusting nature is one thing I loved about her. She is probably the best friend anyone could have, as her loyalty is given to so few.

I started to read this book, expecting it to be a comedic adventure. How wrong I was! This book took me on an amazing adventure with two strong females struck down by a disease that has stripped them of freedom and dignity. I struggled to put this book down, and even then, it was grudgingly when I had to.

Lillan and Audrey, in their "sane" moments, realise that there is more to life than watching TV and taking pills in a nursing home, and plot an escape to have a holiday from the constant, unwanted attention of the well meaning nurses. Their minds, dulled by the disease at times, are incredibly sharp and curious when lucid. This made for some humorous events, including the scene where Rayne was recruited to drive the two ladies from Ottawa to British Columbia. Their journey is full of anecdotes of the lives they once had, which brought these characters to life in my minds eye. Rayne is a troubled young man, but his empathy and sensitivity towards the two older women was very touching. I liked this young man. He is kind, considerate and, although a bit selfish at times, caring. I found the ending to be a bit bittersweet, but I will find that this story will stay with me for some time to come.

Alzheimer's is a disease that, thankfully, has not affected my family. Yet. However, this story has opened my eyes to how people affected by this disease are basically prisoners to it. They have no idea that they are sick, and when the episode has cleared, there is no recollection of their behaviour or actions. However, when they are "normal", they find themselves confined or too drugged to understand. Putting a person with Alzheimer's into a home is a hard decision for a family. However, some people cannot look after their family member/s the way they need, so a home is the only option. Although I have great sympathy for the families affected, I also feel for the person afflicted by the disease. It can't be easy to find yourself in a place that can restrict your freedom, and make you feel like you have no dignity left.

Janet Hepburn has written a fantastic debut novel. I love her writing style, and the flow was wonderful. She has dealt with the subject of Alzheimer's with sensitivity and care. I would definitely read more of this author's books in the future.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you know someone with Alzheimer's or not. - Lynn Worton

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Apart from Love by Uvi Poznansky on audio.

Click on the pic to pick up your copy from Audible.Com

Here is the details....

Apart from Love

Secrets, passion, betrayal… Written with passionate conviction, this story is being recorded by two of its characters: Ben, a twenty-seven years old student, and Anita, a plain-spoken, spunky, uneducated redhead, freshly married to Lenny, his aging father. Behind his back, Ben and Anita find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him.

Here is my review.

Here is the review I did on the book after I read it.
Literary fiction at it's best. 
This is not an easy read, nor a fast one. The reader is immersed in the life and love of a complicated family. The plot is complicated. The theme is one of perspective and in this lies part of the beauty of this novel. The readers perception is formed from multiple point of views. As soon as one perception is formed another take on the reality that is displayed is introduced. 

The above is nice extra topping on literally poetry in motion. The authors ability to economically use words in a fluid descriptive manner is akin to see a master painter start a work of genius on a blank canvas. By the end of the process the observer is left stunned and awed. 

I know this for this is the effect this book had on me. With almost every known emotion exploited and turned topsy- turvy, I stand in awe. 

Now on to the narrators, David Kudler as Ben and Bens' dad did a masterful job in bringing to the fore, for me, what a pathetic man Ben really is. At 27 he never had a job. He blames his folks for everything. He drifts around like a hobo and assumes it is his right that his father keeps looking after him for he is his son. 

Anita came to life with Heather Jane Hogan. She may not be well educated or even brought up well but she has smarts. The real type, the deep type that gives her insight into the human state of being that is actually kind of chilling. The two narrators added so much to the story, amplified it. Made it sharper, made the contrasts that more deep. I absolutely adored this book after I was a bit hesitant to start on it since I could still recall the book pretty well after reading it not that long ago. Absolutely amazing. A must listen. 

WaAr.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review of To The Cider Mill (Draw along with the story) by Danna York



Come to the cider mill where delightful apples and pumpkins await you. Join in by adding your own pictures to the book and begin your journey on becoming an artist.

Review 5*****

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Autumn or Fall (depending on where you live) is a beautiful season, with trees changing colours and the air becoming colder and crisper. I must admit, on a personal note, that I am not overly fond of winter, and wish that we could keep the autumn season for a lot longer. To The Cider Mill is a wonderful children's story come drawing and colouring book.The cider mill comes alive in the fall, so some of the pictures are based on that season and has apples, pumpkins and scarecrows! This is a very difficult book to review, as there is very little in the way of words to read, since it is more of a pictorial journey to a cider mill. Nevertheless, there is an educational element to the book, and engages the young reader in learning how to draw and use colours to express themselves through art. The story can also help a child with their spelling and pronunciation (depending on reading ability). The beautifully drawn pictures are delightful, and children would be able to spend many happy hours colouring them in. There are pages that the author has purposely left blank, so that children could draw pictures in the book by following the directions on top of the page. I love colouring books such as this, even though I am an adult and supposed to have grown out of such childlike (note: not childish) activities. Give me a colouring book and some crayons, and I would happily while away more than a few hours doing something that gives me pleasure.

Danna York has created a fantastic book for children that is educational and fun. Her drawings are lovely and convey a story very well. If she decides to create another picture story book, or even a straight children's story with words, I would happily read it.

I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 to 12 years. This book can be used as a birthday gift or stocking filler at Christmas. Unfortunately, this book is not suitable for Kindle due to the interactivity required by the reader, and is available in print only via the author at this time. - Lynn Worton

Link to the author's Facebook page for those of you who are interested in contacting her.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Say your sorry by Michael Robotham

Click on the pic to get your copy via Amazon.com

Blurb

As per Amazon
 August 14, 2012
My name is Piper Hadley and I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago. 



When Piper and her friend Tash disappeared, there was a huge police search, but they were never found. Now Tash, reaching breaking point at the abuse their captor has inflicted on them, has escaped, promising to come back for Piper. 



Clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and his stalwart companion, ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, force the police to re-open the case after Joe is called in to assess the possible killer of a couple in their own home and finds a connection to the missing girls. But they are racing against time to save Piper from someone with an evil, calculating and twisted mind...

My review

I must admit.  It took me a long time to really get into this book.  Why? Due to the time lapse between the here and now and when the saga begins, illuminated by one of the girls, Pipers' writing. This reminded me so much of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and I hated that book. 
So I read my copy on and off.  Who can blame me? I am a huge Robotham fan so I hoped it would turn out not to run on the same track as The Lovely Bones.

The moment when Robotham made the two time lines merge, I was hooked.  Less graphic than some of his other books.  Less gory and less psychologically potent, this book is more about relationships.  The relationship between Tash and Piper.  Ruiz and our hero.  The town and the girls, the police force and an outsider.  And I loved it.

The book is brilliant and as always well worth the time it takes to read.  So go on.  Get your copy and explore as Joe grows more and more but what and where he ends up is not necessarily part of his plan.  

WaAr.  

Book Review of Dragon Daily News. Stories of Imagination for Children of All Ages by Gene Twaronite



Synopsis:

“… he heard a strange rumbling noise coming from the kitchen. Then a loud crash. He got there just in time to see a small glacier go right through the kitchen wall, into the living room, and out the front door.” (from “The Glacier That Almost Ate Main Street”)

A glacier that starts in a refrigerator is just one of the weird things that can happen in these twenty-one stories by Highlights for Children author Gene Twaronite. What if you showed up for school one day, but the school wasn’t there? What if words suddenly leapt off the page in the book you’re reading and floated away? What if the jet you’re on is afraid to fly? What if your parents gave you a real live rhino for your birthday? What if a little snake stretched and stretched to become the longest snake in the world? What if dragons really exist somewhere? What if …? Discover the answers to these and other questions. But be careful. Imagination can be a dangerous thing … especially if someone closes the book on you while you’re inside.

While some of these stories were first published in magazines including Highlights for Children and Read (Weekly Reader), many are brand new. So what are you waiting for? Jump right in—have fun with your head! Includes nine original, full-color illustrations not found in the print edition.


Review:


Dragon Daily NewsDragon Daily News by Gene Twaronite
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is a fantastic children's story book, I LOVED it!

When I was first contacted by the author to read this book, I was quite excited. I love stories that get the imagination juices flowing. I am just sorry that due to my rather large reading list, that it has taken me so long to get to read it.

Every single story in this book takes the reader (or listening child) on an amazing adventure. Although I was a little disappointed that the stories were not as long as I would have liked, they are the perfect length to capture, and keep, even the most fidgety youngster enthralled. The author has taken some very ordinary, everyday objects and has woven magical tales around them. There are some fantastic stories in this book, and it is difficult to pick a favourite one. However, I loved the following stories: How to Stuff a Rhino, Dragon Daily News and The Jet Who Wouldn't Fly. Each story in this book has an obstacle that the characters have to overcome, such as fear or bullies, but they also have a message such as asking for help when needed or believing in yourself. I was sorry to come to the end of the book, as these stories were highly entertaining.

Gene Twaronite has written a fantastic children's book that sparked my imagination, never mind a child's. I loved his writing style, which was fast paced enough to keep even the shortest of attention spans hooked; every story flowed wonderfully. I would definitely read more of this author's books in the future.

I highly recommend this book as a bedtime story for youngsters aged 5-7, a read-along for readers aged 7-9 (depending on reading ability) and as a read-alone for readers aged 9-12. I also recommend this book to adults who love reading Young Adult novels or stories. - Lynn Worton

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Book Review of Painting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie



Synopsis:

** FINALIST, THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE, 2013 ** 

PAINTING BY NUMBERS is a dark, surreal PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER that follows one man’s relentless pursuit of a truth buried deep within. 

Day after day, earth scientist Jacob Boyce returns to a 17th century painting which hangs in a Scottish art gallery. By using a series of measurements and calcul
ations, he attempts to decipher a strange mathematical code locked into its canvas.

But as more of the painting’s hidden SECRETS are revealed, his life spirals into chaos, and his world is turned upside down.

The object of his obsession has begun to move.


Review:


Painting by NumbersPainting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

This is a fantastic psychological thriller! I loved it! Unfortunately, due to my rather large reading list, it has taken me a while to get to read it. I am really kicking myself for not reading it sooner!

Jacob Boyce is an interesting character. He is an earth scientist, who has become obsessed with a hidden code in a painting hanging in the Glasgow museum. I liked this character a lot. I found his journey quite interesting, but disturbing at the same time.

I love a good psychological thriller, so when I was offered this book I jumped at the chance to read it. This story captured me from the first page and I struggled to put it down. I admit that this story reminded me slightly of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code", and it pays a slight homage to it. However, the only similarity is the supposedly mathematical code that is hidden in the painting. This code may help explain earthly seismological events, and Jacob Boyce is determined to crack the code. There are a few interesting twists and turns in this story that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story is set in Glasgow, but travels to Spain and then back again. The theory that pictures have hidden codes in them is exciting and disturbing at the same time. Granted, paintings are a great visual record of the world around us, or a weird and wonderful journey into the mind of the artist, but they were the first written language (see cave paintings) and, as such, can carry subliminal messages. People, unfortunately, can also see messages in paintings where there are none; sometimes, a painting is just a painting. Nevertheless, watching and travelling with Jacob on his journey, made me wonder if there is something in our subconscious mind that does "see" codes in everything we interact with on a daily basis. However, our conscious mind has learnt to disregard these codes, and it is only when our subconscious mind overrides it, do we spiral into obsession, depression and paranoia. This story is a visual feast of it's own. The author describes the scenes in such a way that I could picture them with ease. I enjoyed the bus ride scene in Madrid. It was quite entertaining in a scary way. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to been on the bus for real, but then again, I think Jacob didn't want to be there either. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but it gave me a deeper understanding of why things happened the way they did. Other readers may or may not agree with me. However, I leave it up to you to make up your own minds.

To say that this is Tom Gillespie's debut novel, he has written a fantastically dark and suspenseful thriller that delves into man's deepest psyche, and it feels like he's been writing for years. I love his writing style, which was fast paced without being rushed, and the flow was wonderful. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author in the future.

I highly recommend this book if you love Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery or Horror genres. - Lynn Worton

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