Interview and Book Review: The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Wacky Bee Books

Pages: 32

Release Date: April 4th 2017

Summary:

Two children and their imaginations set sail from their living room on a voyage around the world! Read along as they spy an extraordinary array of characters doing even more extraordinary things…? With bright, fresh illustrations and a playful style, this rhyming book, based on the classic Edward Lear poem The Owl and the Pussycat, is a wonderfully quirky adventure.

Review:

This is a fun and inventive take on the popular nonsense poem The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear. I love that it’s written and illustrated by a mother and daughter team – it’s so cool to do things like that in a family!

I read this with Little Moore as soon as it came through the door, and he’s had it before bed several times too. The gentle rhyming and pastel colour scheme mean it works great as a bedtime book.

In this book, the owl and pussycat are two dressed up children who are having an imaginative playtime with a cardboard box. They meet lots of colourful and quirky characters on their journey and Little Moore loved pointing at all the different creatures. It’s a fun one to read aloud and I’m sure it’ll become a favourite with Little Moore as he grows older.

The illustrations are really beautiful and perfectly capture the words of the story and bring it to life. I loved the colour scheme – it’s different to a lot of the more cartoony coloured books on his shelves and that makes this one stand out.

This is a really great addition to Little Moore’s shelves and I hope you’ll check it out!

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Interview

I’m super excited to have author of The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat on the blog today for an interview. Welcome Coral!

  1. What made you want to write a book based on The Owl & The Pussycat?

Charlotte – my daughter and the illustrator of Owl and Pussycat – suggested it as she loves the poem.

  1. Are you a big fan of the poem?

I love the poem, too, and have done since childhood. It creates wonderful and wacky images, and has an enchanting musicality.

  1. Are there any other nonsense poems you’re particularly fond of?

The Jumblies is my all time favourite.

  1. Would you rather go to sea with an owl or a pussycat?

Great question. I suppose it would depend on whether I wanted the benefit of wisdom or the protection of an expert scrapper!

  1. What would you take to sea with you? Honey? Money? Or something else?

Perhaps it would be good to have a flare gun.

  1. What’s your favourite picture book?

I have many favourites, it’s impossible to choose, but Where the Wild Things Are is glorious!

  1. What’s the hardest thing about writing a picture book?

Getting the unity of vision to work, between writer and illustrator, is the hardest part. It was very easy to work with Charlotte!

And a few quick fire questions to end with:

 

  1. What are you reading now?

The Other Half Lives, by Sophie Hannah

  1. Favourite book as a child?

The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

  1. Favourite writing drink/snack?

Chocolate or nuts (or both)

  1. 5 desert island books?

The Bible, of course.

The complete works of Shakespeare, goes without saying.

Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy – it was my first encounter with romance

The Understudy, David Nichols – makes me laugh out loud

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres – makes me laugh, cry and luxuriate in the wonderful landscape.

  1. Favourite place to read?

In the bath, or on a beach.

  1. Any hidden talents?

I love football, and can still score the odd goal.

  1. What fictional world would you love to live in?

I’d love to be a companion to one of Jane Austen’s heroines. I’m sure it would give me great amusement.

Thanks to Coral for joining me here today! You can find out more about Coral and Charlotte and follow the blog tour below.


About the Author

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I have worked as a poet and performer for many years and I’m proud to have my work featured in Favourite Poets (Hodder). I have three published poetry collections of my own and have contributed to more than 150 anthologies. I am also one of the writers of the popular Cbeebies programmes ‘Poetry Pie’ and ‘The Rhyme Rocket’. I have given workshops in some fairly unusual venues as well…the grandest of which being Buckingham Palace!

Website: http://www.coralrumble.co.uk/

About the Illustrator

charlottepic

I was thrilled and proud when my picture book The Adventures of the Owl & the Pussycat was highly commended for the Macmillan Children’s Prize in 2010. Since then I have gone on to illustrate many other picture books and I enjoy making the occasional card too. When I’m not in my studio I’m usually outside running or playing referee to my two kids.

Website: http://charlottecookeillustration.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charlottecooke

Follow the Tour

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Monday 1st May

An Awfully Big Adventure

 

Tuesday 2nd May

Emma’s Bookery

 

Wednesday 3rd May

Luna’s Little Library

 

Thursday 4th May

Maia and a Little Moore

Sew Many Books

 

Friday 5th May

Live Otherwise

Library Girl and Book Boy

 

Saturday 6th May

Get Kids into Books

OBC Mini Book Reviewers

 

Sunday 7th May

A Little But A Lot

Varietat

 

Monday 8th May

Mum Friendly

Book Monsters

 

Tuesday 9th May

Tales of Yesterday

Wonderfully Bookish

 

Wednesday 10th May

Sam’s Book Corner

V Family Fun

 

Thursday 11th May

Acorn Books

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

 

Friday 12th May

Big Book Little Book

Fiction Fascination

 

Saturday 13th May

Linda’s Book Bag

Me, Him, The Dog and a Baby

 

Sunday 14th May

Rhino Reads

Readaraptor

 

Book Review: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane (Caroline Baxter)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Big Sunshine Books

Pages: 32

Release Date: March 8th 2017

Summary:

Join Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. Together Jane and Rose have exciting adventures and form a perfect team, delivering their passengers safely to destinations as far afield as Alaska and Australia. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with ‘lean, mean flying machine’ Mighty Mitch. Can she still get the Queen to her party on time? Featuring a clever and courageous heroine, this action-packed rhyming story celebrates ‘Girl Power’ and shows what you can achieve if you work together. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for take-off!

Review:

One of my secret favourite things about having a baby is reading picture books again – I loved them as a child, loved as a teen reading them to my baby sisters, and now I love them as an adult reading them to my own baby. It’s great to revisit all the classics I loved when I was younger and to come across new favourites too.

Pilot Jane has lots of exciting adventures with her pink plane Rose. But on the day of an important flight, Rose is sick and Jane has to team up with Mighty Mitch, a plane who doesn’t think girls make good pilots. But she proves him wrong and they work together to fly safely.

The illustrations in the book are gorgeous. I love Jane – she’s got a beautiful, cheeky little face that just makes me smile and want to like her. Rose is a very pretty plane, though I have to say I wasn’t too keen on her being pink: I was worried it played into the whole ‘girls like pink’ stereotype. I guess you could see it like that, or you can see it as, hey, girls can be awesome pilots and also like pink. Still, the colours are bright and fun enough to hold Little Moore’s attention for a while and I’m sure he’ll appreciate the story when he’s older.

There’s a lovely message of girl power here that I’m happy to read to my son and would love to read to a daughter if I ever have one. It doesn’t fall into the trap of putting boys down to raise girls up either: after working together with Mitch and coming to understand each other they even change their song from ‘Girl power forever‘ to ‘Girl – and boy – power forever‘ which I really appreciated.

This is a fun, colourful story with a great rhyming scheme and an even greater message. It’s definitely one that’ll be going on Little Moore’s shelves for when he’s older.

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About the Author

CB Author pic

Caroline Baxter lives in Oxford with her husband and two young children. From an early age she always had her nose in a book – and now does so for a living! Caroline grew up in South Wales and, after graduating with a BA in English Literature from Cardiff University, held a variety of management roles at UK universities including, most recently, at the University of Oxford. The Bear Cub Bakers, her first book, was written while on maternity leave with her daughter. Her second book,Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, was published recently on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). Caroline loves travelling, yoga, baking (and eating) cake, dogs, days out and snuggling up with a good story.

Follow the Tour

Pilot Banner1Monday 13th March

Chouett

Tuesday 14th March

The Writing Garnet

Wednesday 15th March

An Awfully Big Adventure

Thursday 16th March

Linda’s Book Blog

Friday 17th March

Tales of Yesterday

Saturday 18th March

Big Book Little Book

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Sunday 19th March

Get Kids Into Books

Nayu’s Reading Corner

Monday 20th March

Emma’s Bookery

Tuesday 21st March

Readaraptor

Wednesday 22nd March

Fiction Fascination

Thursday 23rd March

Wonderfully Bookish

Friday 24th March

A Little But A Lot

Saturday 25th March

Sam’s Book Corner

Chrissi Reads

Sunday 26th March

Minerva Reads

Maia and a Little Moore

Book Review: Baker Street Academy – Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond (Sam Hearn)

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 126

Release Date: October 6th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

John Watson has barely settled into his new school, Baker Street Academy, when his teacher announces a trip to one of London’s top museums, home to the world’s most famous jewel. But it’s been stolen! When police catch the thief it seems the case is closed. Can Sherlock Holmes uncover the mystery behind this extraordinary gem?

Review:

I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Sherlock fan, but I know of him, of course. I read The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was younger and I’ve seen various adaptations too. But when this was pitched to me as a middle grade graphic novel of Sherlock and Watson in school, it sounded too fun to resist.

John Watson is the new kid at Baker Street Academy, but he soon finds friends in the mysterious and super smart Sherlock Holmes and confident Martha Hudson, and an enemy in James Moriarty. When a school trip to a museum ends in a heist, the trio set out to expose the thief and recover the famous stolen jewel.

I loved the style of the story, the way it’s pieced together through different media: John’s narration and blog entries, drawings and speech bubbles, news reports and school notices. It made the storytelling really varied and exciting. The art was spot on: it really captured the characters traits in their facial expressions and  brought the story to life.

While this is for younger readers, I felt there were little nods to older readers there too, with lots of Sherlock references that adults could enjoy even if the kids might not get them all. It was fun to see the characters in a different kind of setting, and I liked that Martha was part of the team too, not just Sherlock  and Watson. The mystery was interesting and actually had me fooled with its red herring, so I was very impressed by that! It’s a complex mystery but not so much that younger readers can’t get their heads around it.

This is a fast paced, fun and really visual story, and one that’s sure to entertain younger and older reader alike. A must read for any budding young detectives, especially ones with Sherlock fans for parents!

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About the Author

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Follow the Tour

BSA-BLOG-TOUR-03 (1)

Tour Schedule

Monday 23rd January

Book Lover Jo

Emma’s Bookery

Tuesday 24th January

Middle Grade Strikes Back

Kirstyes

Wednesday 25th January

Maia and a Little Moore

Mum Friendly

Thursday 26th January

Library Girl and Book Boy

Fiction Fascination

Friday 27th January

Big Book Little Book

An Awfully Big Adventure

Saturday 28th January

This Fleeting Dream

Serendipity Reviews

Sunday 29th January

Read Rant Review

Tales of Yesterday

Wing Jones Photo Tour

Today on the blog I’m super excited to be hosting a stop on the Wing Jones photo blog tour.

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!

So without further ado, here is my photo and caption:

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As a proud Grisha fangirl, imagine my glee when lovely  Nina Douglas asked me to chair an event with Leigh Bardugo. I was SO nervous but Leigh was so charming and gracious and glamorous—we had so much fun. I still am grateful to everyone who came to that event! I’ve been lucky enough to chair lots of events since then, but my first event will always be dear in my heart. This event led to invitations to chair other events, and now I consider event chairing part of my job. I love it and feel very lucky that I get the opportunity to talk to so many amazing writers.

About Wing Jones

For fans of David Levithan, Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones from Waterstones, HiveAmazon or from you local bookshop.

About Katherine Webber

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention.

You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites or check out her website www.kwebberwrites.com

Lost and Found Blog Tour: More of Me by Kathryn Evans

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Usbourne Publishing

Pages: 336

Release Date: February 1st 2016

Summary:

Teva’s life seems normal: school, friends, boyfriend. But at home she hides an impossible secret. Eleven other Tevas.

Because once a year, Teva separates into two, leaving a younger version of herself stuck at the same age, in the same house… watching the new Teva live the life that she’d been living. But as her seventeenth birthday rolls around, Teva is determined not to let it happen again. She’s going to fight for her future. Even if that means fighting herself.

Review:

I read the blurb of this book and thought it sounded fantastic, and just a few days later Chelley from Tales of Yesterday got in touch to ask if I’d like to review it for the Lost and Found Blog Tour – I think it was fate! Big thanks to her for arranging a copy for me, as well as this whole tour.

More of Me follows the story of Teva, or rather, the 16 year old version of Teva, as every birthday she splits in two and leaves her younger self left at home while she lives the next year of her life. 16 year old Teva is desperate to keep living her life, but as her 17th birthday approaches and she feels something stirring inside her, she gets more and more desperate.

I was really blown away with this book. It had me hooked from the very beginning and I raced through it, desperate to unravel its mysteries and see if this Teva could really stop the cycle. No spoilers here so you’ll have to read it to find out 😉

I really connected with Teva’s desperation to remain herself. The idea of not having a future, of not being able to make any plans beyond a year of your life is depressing, but at that age is seems doubly bad. Being 16 is all about planning for the future: passing your A levels, choosing a university or apprenticeship or career. Imagine being surrounded by all that and having to play along but knowing that soon you’ll be stuck inside a house with all your younger selves. The image of all these different stages of Teva like ghosts around the house is really haunting.

Part of me thought the Tevas should have more sympathy for each other, but it’s the tension between Teva and Fifteen that really drives a lot of the story. I suppose, even though you know it’s inevitable, you can’t help but resent the person who’s going to take over your life. I did feel for Fifteen though, who lost her boyfriend as well as her freedom, and the new Teva couldn’t keep up that same relationship, proving they weren’t exactly the same person each time.

Although this is a sci-fi/fantasy, there’s plenty of issues that teens can relate to in real life too – Teva’s itchy, scaly skin (I feel her there, having suffered eczema on and off myself) boyfriend jealousies, feelings for a new boy and lots of identity issues

I’ve already started recommending this to people. It’s an outstanding debut and I can’t wait to see what Kathryn writes next.

Copy of an art exhibit

About the Author

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From a back ground in theatre, Kathryn somehow ended up running a fruit farm and raising two children. In addition to writing, Kathryn loves to belly dance, fences competitively and is Finance Co-ordinator for SCBWI British Isles. It took Kathryn fifteen years to get published, her mum says if she were a dog, she’d be a terrier, a hound of tenacity.

Website: https://mrsbung.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mrsbung

About The Lost and Found Tour

What?

5 YA SCBWI debut authors get together for a UK tour.

Who?

Olivia Levez (The Island), Patrice Lawrence (Orangeboy), Kathryn Evans (More of Me), Sue Wallman (Lying About Last Summer), Eugene Lambert (The Sign of One)

Where?

Birmingham Waterstones for the launch event chaired by Chelley Toy!

When?

Saturday, 1st October, 2-4pm

Join us for a discussion of identity, loss, and the darkness inside; of self-discovery, friendship, and hope for a better tomorrow as part of the #LostandFound Book Tour.

Unflinching, clever and honest, our five authors explore what it means to grow up when the cards seem to be constantly stacked against you.

Don’t miss your chance to meet these amazing authors, ask questions, and get your books signed.

Book your tickets here:

https://www.waterstones.com/events/lostandfound-with-kathryn-evans-eugene-lambert-patrice-lawrence-olivia-levez-and-sue-wallman/birmingham

When? Where?
Sat 1st Oct, 2pm Birmingham Waterstones
Thurs 6th Oct, 6pm London Islington Waterstones
Sat 26th Nov Guildford Waterstones
Thurs 1st Dec Liverpool Writeblend
Sunday 22nd January Hampshire Libraries, Petersfield
Sat 4th March Glasgow Waterstones

Blog Tour

Follow the #LostAndFound for fab blog posts and reviews from 12th September – 30th September with some awesome bloggers!

lost-verticalMonday 12th September

Howling Reviews

Wednesday 14th September

YA Under My Skin

Friday 16th September

Tales of Yesterday

Sunday 18th September

The Book Magnet

Tuesday 20th September

The Pewter Wolf

Thursday 22nd September

Bart’s Bookshelf

Saturday 24th September

Dani Reviews Things

Monday 26th September

Chouett

Wednesday 28th September

The Mile Long Bookshelf

Friday 30th September

Maia and a Little Moore

 

 

 

YAShot Guest Post: Rachel McIntyre – Where I Work

Today on the blog, as part of the #YAShot2016 blog tour, I have Rachel McIntyre talking about where she writes.

Welcome Rachel!

Finding a place to write used to be as tricky a task as finding time to write. When I started ‘Me and Mr J’, I was writing purely for fun; grabbing spare minutes between childcare and work. The same went for a space. I’d set my laptop up on the dining room table in among the piles of ironing-in-waiting and random stacks of toys and try to work.

Fast forward a couple of years, I’ve moved house and finally got a dedicated study just for me and I love it! It’s filled with things I’ve collected over the years, like my vintage glass birds and the snow globes I buy from every new country I visit. And the books…I arranged them all in colour groups because a) I think it looks good and b) it helps me to find them quickly. I’m terrible at remembering titles, but I’m great at visualising the covers. The only downside is the gaps when I lend them out to people and yes, I have chosen books based on the spine colour. But that’s not as bad as it sounds as it’s encouraged me to pick up new reads I might not normally choose. I have overspill bookcases other rooms, but even so, the books do creep onto the floor in here.

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Moving on to my desk…I was a bit unsure about the chair from Dwell, but it’s actually really comfy. I used to get a really bad back from hours hunched over the keyboard and it does seem to have sorted that. I don’t like much clutter on my desk as I find it distracting, but I do have the lovely Minecraft mug my son painted to keep my pens tidy and a disco light, well, just because. I tend to write on my PC more than my laptop as it’s not wifi enabled which has completely halted my online- shopping-not-working tendencies.

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The two coffee tables are trunks that double up as storage where I keep all my notebooks- I still write a lot by hand- and I have a big portable whiteboard stashed away under the sofa but I like to keep all my notes either on paper or on my PC. I’ve tried Post-its on the wall and index cards, but it doesn’t really work for me right now. Maybe I’ll try again in the future.

And that’s where I work! Thank you for coming to visit, Maia.

And thank you for having me Rachel. I have such bookshelf envy now!

Check out my reviews of Rachel’s two fabulous books, Me & Mr Jand The Number One Rule for Girls.

Book Review: Dylan the Doctor (Guy Parker Reeves)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Scholastic

Release Date: August 4th 2016

Summary:

Dylan’s on his way – are you ready to play? DYLAN THE DOCTOR is the first picture book in a series featuring an exuberant stripy dog, who just loves to play. Created by bestselling illustrator Guy Parker-Rees, Dylan is a joyous new character who uses playing and fun to help toddlers explore and understand their world. Today Dylan is playing at being a doctor. He dashes about looking after all of his friends: Purple Puss, Jolly Otter and Titchy Chick. But who will look after poor, tired Doctor Dylan? All his friends, of course! Look out for Dylan’s friend, Dotty Bug, on every page, as she encourages readers to join in with the story.

Review:

I first read this to Little Moore as soon as it popped through our letterbox. He was in a very grumbly mood – possibly teething – but he sat through the whole thing, which I think is a pretty glowing review to start with!

Dylan decides he’s going to be a doctor for the day and helps to tend to his friends various ailments. But looking after everyone takes its toll and Dylan’s friends pull together to look after him too.

I loved the colours in this book. It was really bright, which I think helped keep Little Moore’s attention. I particularly love the design for Dylan, with his almost crayon-like stripy pattern. It’s a great one to read aloud, especially with the ‘Nee-naw’ of the ambulance, which Little Moore loved.

Although I haven’t really used it yet, I loved the idea of Dotty Bug adding extras to the book. She appears on each page and asks little questions to help younger readers join in with the story. I loved this level of interactivity and will definitely use it with Little Moore when he’s older. It’s a great way of involving children and keep them engaged with the story.

This is a charming little story with a great cast of colourful characters, and I’d definitely like to read more of Dylan’s adventures soon!

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About the Author

GUY PARKER-REES

Guy Parker-Rees is one of the UK’s best-loved children’s illustrators. His many successes include GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE (Orchard) and SPOOKYRUMPUS (Orchard). Guy lives in Brighton.

Website: www.guyparkerrees.com 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Guyguyyug

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of the blog tour at the following stops

 

DYLAN-BLOG-BANNER-02Monday 15th August

Chouett

Big Book Little Book

Tuesday 16th August

Powered by Reading

Orchard Book Club’s Mini Reviewers

Wednesday 17th August

The Pewter Wolf

Maia and a Little Moore

Thursday 18th August

Linda’s Book Bag

Fiction Fascination

Friday 19th August

Emma’s Bookery

Winged Reviews

Saturday 20th August

Tales of Yesterday

Get Kids into Books

Sunday 21st August

Library Girl and Book Boy

Acorn Books

Tommy V Cancer Blog Tour Schedule

If you’ve been around Twitter and the internet a bit lately then you might have heard of Tommy V Cancer.

Tommy Donbavand is author to at least 100 children’s books and he is currently battling throat cancer. He’s been blogging about his journey here. You’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way, be it themselves, a relative or a friend.

Because of his cancer, Tommy has had to cancel or postpone a lot of his school visits, which is where a large portion of his income comes from. To try and ease these financial worries so Tommy can focus on treatment and recovery, some lovely bloggers have decided to organise a huge blog tour. This will help promote Tommy’s work and his current situation. There’s opportunities to donate on his website or become a Patron and pledge an amount each month to receive exclusive written content from Tommy.

A huge number of bloggers and vloggers volunteered to be involved in this, which just shows how amazing and supportive the blogging community is. The blog tour schedule is below and I hope you’ll check back here on the 4th June for my post!

Tommy Tour 4

 

Book Review: Crush (Eve Ainsworth)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 336

Release Date: March 3rd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Love hurts … but should it hurt this much? Reeling from her mum’s sudden departure, Anna finds the comfort she needs in her blossoming relationship with Will. He’s handsome and loving, everything Anna has always dreamt of. He’s also moody and unpredictable, pushing her away from her friends, her music. He wants her to be his and his alone. He wants her to be perfect. Anna’s world is closing in. But threatening everything is a dark secret that not even Will can control… Eve Ainsworth’s gripping second novel is a pitch-perfect exploration of love at its most powerful, addictive and destructive.

Review:

This book was such an easy read and I just flew through it. The characters are perfectly written and feel so real, and I think that’s where Eve Ainsworth’s strengths lie. Even the ‘villain’ of the story was just so human, when he could easily have just been the evil and controlling boyfriend, and that’s what really made it for me.

The relationship is an ideal one at first, almost fairy tale like. Anna is just your average girl, and Will is older, cooler and super cute. I can just imagine being in that position and not knowing why this person would even speak to me, let alone take a genuine interest in me. It’s easy to see how Anna gets sucked in.

The relationship develops badly, but it’s not always clear, especially as we see things from Anna’s point of view. It’s subtle things that might now seem so bad on their own, but all add up to make a sinister and controlling relationship: his insistence that she wears her hair down, his comments about her eating and weight that seem caring but are actually manipulative, and the way he slowly isolates her from her friends. Okay, when I say it all like that it does sound awful, but it’s all done so slowly and sneakily, you can see why Anna doesn’t suddenly turn round and dump him for being a jerk.

In between chapters, things are flipped round and we see Will writing to an unknown person. This is where we learn a little more about him, so he’s not just a villain, but an actual person too. He has a difficult home life and some mysteries in his past and while this doesn’t excuse his behaviour, you can see how it leads to it, and perhaps understand him a little better.

The climax was perfectly written: dramatic, but not overly so, and things were so tense I just didn’t want to put it down. I probably read a little too fast because I needed to know what was going to happen – next time I’ll try to take it a little slower!

I’ve heard great things about 7 Days, Eve Ainsworth’s debut novel last year, and reading Crush has reminded me that I really need to read that first book too. I love the way the dual perspective gives an insight into both sides of the story and allows you to see different sides of each character too. Ainsworth’s characters are so realistic you’ll feel like you’ve met them, and I can’t wait to read 7 Days and whatever she has in store for us next!

4

You can buy Crush by Eve Ainsworth here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

Author Information

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Eve Ainsworth has worked extensively in Child Protection and pastoral care roles, supporting teenagers with emotional and behavioural issues. Her debut novel Seven Days was released in 2015 and has been nominated for a string of awards including the Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, Crush, is out March 2016. She lives in West Sussex. @EveAinsworth

Website: http://eveainsworth.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EveAinsworth

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6574712.Eve_Ainsworth

Tour Schedule

Catch up with rest of the Crush blog tour using the links below:

CRUSH-BLOG-TOUR-03

 Monday 7th March

Snuggling on the Sofa

Bookish Outsider

Tuesday 8th March

The Bibliophile Chronicles

Ali the Dragon Slayer

 Wednesday 9th March

Tales of Yesterday

Literary-ly Obssessed

Thursday 10th March

Writing from the Tub

Serendipity Reviews

Friday 11th March

Eat Read Glam

Mia in Narnia

Saturday 12th March

The Book Moo

An Awful Lot of Reading

Sunday 13th March

Maia and a Little Moore

Powered by Reading

Blog Tour Book Review: Return to the Secret Garden (Holly Webb)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Scholastic UK

Pages: 240

Release Date: October 1st 2015

Summary:

It’s 1939 and a group of children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall. Emmie is far from happy to have been separated from her cat and sent to a huge old mansion. But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house – a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary and a garden. A very secret garden…

Review:

I interviewed Holly Webb on writing a sequel to The Secret Garden a few weeks ago, and it made me really excited to read her book, so of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a review tour!

It must tricky writing a sequel to such a well known classic, and I can see why Webb chooses to focus on a new set of characters rather than picking up where the first book left off. We get a whole new story in the same setting, but also get to find out what happened to our favourite characters too.

We don’t really find out who is who in terms of returning characters until near the end, but they’re not too hard to guess, especially if you’ve recently read the first book as I have. It’s a bit sad to see how times have changed them, but it’s understandable too: they’ve grown up from the children they were in the first book, and have lived through one World War and are enduring a second. If that hadn’t touched them in some unforgettable way then it wouldn’t be very believable.

The new characters share certain traits with the old ones, but have enough of their own differences to let them standalone and have their own story. Like Mary, Emmie is sour and skinny and is used to being alone. It would be easy to dislike such a bad tempered protagonist, but Emmie’s relationship with a stray cat shows that she’s not all mean, and she begins to blossom in the secret garden just as Mary once did.

I really enjoyed the story, especially the Second World War setting, and thought the book was best when it was doing it’s own thing – there were some times when the similarities with the first book were a bit too strong for me, but that could just be because I read the first so recently and its events are still firmly in my mind.

You don’t need to have read the original to enjoy this book, though I would recommend it, as it’s a lovely little story. This book manages to be just as charming and compelling without falling into the trap of being twee, which I thought was a real danger. This is definitely a book for fans of The Secret Garden, and for those who’ve yet to discover it.

4

If you enjoyed this, you might like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

About the Author:

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Holly Webb was one of the World Book Day authors for 2012 and has received high praise for her previous standalone fiction Looking for Bear, A Cat Called Penguin, The Chocolate Dog and A Tiger Tale. She published her 100th book, The Truffle Mouse, in August.

Website: http://www.holly-webb.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HollyKateSkeet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyWebbOfficial

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/887961.Holly_Webb

Follow the Tour

To keep up with the blog tour for the rest of the week and catch up on any you might have missed, check out the tour poster and follow the links below.

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Monday 9th November

Heather Reviews

Tuesday 10th November

Serendipity Reviews

Wednesday 11th November

The Reading Reptile

Thursday 12th November

Life of Kitty

Maia and a Little Moore

Friday 13th November

Tales of Yesterday

Saturday 14th November

The Book Bandit

Sunday 15th November

Kirstyes