28 March 2014

"A Real Page Turner", a review of 'Two Little Dicky Birds'

A psychological thriller revolving around a UK serial killer and the efforts to catch him. The novel is well written and quick to read--I read it in three days--yet a very complex story none-the-less that jumps back and forth between two storylines: one in 2002, after police receive a letter from the serial killer who has stopped for a decade and is giving them four weeks to find him before he resumes; the other is back during the 15 year killing spree in the 70's. The author well handles the difficult task of multiple/intertwined plots in the book.
The format of the novel worked well. Short chapters, each covering a single day, moving back and forth between the two timelines and at times, skipping as much as five years in the older one. This allowed for the story to remain well focused at all times on a primary overall plot and at no time does it veer away from the action. Also, it caused me to continually say "OK, one more chapter" and before I knew it, that would turn into reading a hundred pages. The story is richer and more complex than the run-of-the-mill mystery novel and was a quick, highly engaging read.

By Matthew Arnold
Author of "The Shattered Silence, An Open Universe, and Crossroads" 

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

25 March 2014

Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

About the Books: The Grimmtastic Girls

Book #1

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Grimmtastic Girls: Cinderella Stays LateSummary: The authors of the hit Goddess Girls series put a fun and girly twist on another super-popular theme: fairy tales!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia...

A Grimmtastic girl named Cinderella is starting her first week at Grimm Academy on the wrong foot. Cinda's totally evil stepsisters are out to make her life miserable. The Steps tease Cinda, give her terrible advice about life at the academy, and even make her look bad in front of her new friends, Red, Snow, and Rapunzel! But when Cinda overhears the Steps plotting a villainous deed that could ruin Prince Awesome's ball, Cinda, her new friends, and a pair of magical glass slippers have to stop them--before the last stroke of midnight!

Book #2

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #2: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Red Riding Hood Gets LostSummary: Red Riding Hood might have a terrible sense of direction, but her grimmtastic friends are always there to help!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia...

Red Riding Hood is thrilled to try out for the school play. Acting is her dream, and she's great at it--too bad she has stage fright! After a grimmiserable audition, Red decides to focus on helping her friends Cinda, Snow, and Rapunzel save Grimm Academy from the E.V.I.L. Society. But when Red gets lost in Neverwood forest and runs into Wolfgang, who might be part of E.V.I.L., she needs her magic basket and a grimmazingly dramatic performance to figure out what's going on!

21 March 2014

"...a quick page turning read that encourages kids to think outside of the box."

About the Book

Maisy and the Missing MiceTitle: Maisy and the Missing Mice (The Maisy Files) | Author: Elizabeth Woodrum | Publication Date: September 24, 2013 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 75 | Recommended Ages: 6 to 10

Summary: Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school's mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.

18 March 2014

Candid Reviews of Derek Smith's* Military History Book - 'No Cousin of Mine'

*The author was part of the ground crew of Number 256 Royal Air Force night-fighter squadron serving as part of the Second Tactical Air Force in Western Germany
I don't know Derek, but what I do know is that he has written a brilliant book. I received it yestday morning and by 3pm I had read it. I just couldn't put it down.
Yes I too did my National Service of two years, and ended up at RAF Ahlhorn. I was close to Derek as I worked in the Tech Hanger Library, issuing the maintence manuals for various planes and engines.
National Service was not always a bowl of Cherries, but Derek Smith's book shows plenty of light hearted moments.
Derek I hope you come out with a part two very soon as it will be eagerly awaited.
These sort of books are not too common and this one sets a very high standard.
Ken Newton

14 March 2014

"...well thought through with colorful characters from a variety of backgrounds"

About the Book

The Magician's Doll by M.L.Roble
Title: The Magician's Doll
Author: M.L. Roble 
Publication Date: February 2, 2013
Publisher: Independent 
Pages: 320 
Recommended Ages: 10+


"They are stronger. They are coming. They will arrive!"

Life would be so much better for twelve-year-old Natalie if she and her mother weren’t different; other kids wouldn’t pick on her; she wouldn’t have to get into fights. She would have friends. But Natalie has abilities that set her apart, and despite her very best efforts to have a normal life, her developing “gift” has a way of upending them all. Then one day a big top circus rolls into town bringing with it Beausoleil the Magician, his daughter Louisa, and his mysterious doll. Strange things are afoot with Beausoleil’s arrival, and in his wake, an eerie storm is approaching. Soon Natalie discovers there is more to her world and the people around her than she knew, and that being different is just the tip of the iceberg... The Magician’s Doll sparks readers’ imaginations with a tale of magical discoveries, profound friendships, a fight against evil, and the growth that comes with facing your fears and accepting who you are.

10 March 2014

An explorer's review of John Butler's 'travelogue 'In Search Of Ireland Again'.

"I have just completed my second reading of 'In Search of Ireland Again' and feel I must say how much I have enjoyed doing so. I lived and worked in Ireland (mostly in the north) for a couple of years around 1950 and did quite a bit of exploring and looking around. However, it took your book to show me that I hardly covered the smallest fraction of the place, even geographically let alone all the interesting histories you quoted.
H.V.Morton can rest easy in your continuation of the number of the places to see and enjoy. On my next reading, I intend to use my road - map to identify more accurately just where all these interesting little places fit - it may be that I have actually visited them but can't remember. I just wanted to thank you for bringing back some of my youthful exploits - happy days!! "
Jean Singleton
Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

John Butler is the author of 'In Search Of Ireland Again'.

7 March 2014

"Kids who like dragon stories will love this adventure series"

About the Book

Diego's Dragon Book 1 Spirits of the Sun by Kevin GerardTitle: Diego's Dragon, Book 1: Spirits of the Sun | Author: Kevin Gerard | Publication Date: September 30, 2011 | Publisher: Crying Cougar Press | Pages: 186 | Recommended Ages: 8+

Summary: An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. He shakes his hand and leaves him to his friends. The students crowd around Diego, asking for permission to hold it.

After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead. Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth's connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide.

As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny. In the climactic journey, he frees his people and suffers a terrible loss by guiding Magnifico to their goal.

5 March 2014

"Every story is different, you won't find two similar ones." - Magdalena's goodreads review

"The book contains 30 short stories. Every story is different, you won't find two similar ones. They are interesting and during the read you have no idea how they will end. Stories concern every part of everyday life. They are about ordinary people which we can identify with. In the stories we see that nothing is sure in life and we have to grab the opportunities while we can because only moments later they are gone and we are stuck with regrets or consequences of the wrong choice . The author shows us what people are capable of doing to fulfill their dreams or reach their goals. Every short story is unique. Although the stories are only few pages long they give you something to think about after you're finished. I found it difficult to read one story after another, simply because I was still stuck thinking about the previous one. The stories are especially perfect when you have only a little free time and you want to read something but don't want to disrupt your reading e.g in the middle of the chapter. I really enjoyed reading it." 

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK