Choo-Choo Peekaboo Children’s Book

We were sent Choo-Choo Peekaboo to review, illustrated by Gareth Lucas and published by Little Tiger. Perfect for children aged 1 to 4 years this fun board book with flaps is an engaging adventure story.

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Zebra is trying to paint but his hilarious animal friends are causing chaos! Lift the flaps to discover bouncing baboons, roller-skating rabbits, dirt biking salmations and even space-sheep in a spaceship!

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Choo-Choo Peekaboo is funny and colourful throughout with fantastic illustrations, alliterative action, creative chaos, and a medley of motion with vehicles with added vroom! Poor Zebra just can’t catch a break and paint in peace. Can he find a solution?

Gareth Lucas

Gareth Lucas is an award-winning illustrator and designer living in his hometown of Essex! Having worked on a variety of projects, Lucas enjoys children’s book illustrating the most. In 2016 Lucas was the winner of the Sainsbury’s Childrens Book Awards for Peekaboo A to Z.

Gareth Lucas - Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy thought Choo-Choo Peekaboo was a really funny book, giggling all the way through and trying to lift the flaps too soon! She has asked to re-read this book several times over the last week or two. Izzy has even taken it to bed to look through herself. Overall we think this a fantastic book.

Have you heard of either of Gareth Lucas’ Peekaboo flap books?

The Path Keeper Book Tour

I received The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds, the first book of the Indigo Chronicles to review. A mixture of fantasy and historical romance, I simply couldn’t put this book down!

The Path Keeper Book Cover

This book does come with a mental health trigger warning and contains sexual scenes. These will resonate with older teens (15+) and adults alike.

Mental health & sexual scenes warning.

The Path Keeper

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London, she misses her old life in Spain and struggles to get over her past. Then she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story., not now or ever. Ella doesn’t realise that Zac’s secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic. The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

I absolutely loved The Path Keeper and will definitely be looking out for the rest of the Indigo Chronicles. N.J Simmonds writing just flows so well, piecing the story together bit by bit so you just can’t put the book down! Zac and Ella are such interesting characters with so much going on with each of them both in the present and the past. I’m not the greatest fan of romances but this is just so different.

N.J Simmonds

N J Simmonds Author

Natali Drake writes under the pen name of N.J. Simmonds and has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications. In 2015 she cofounded the online magazine The Glass House Girls and is a regular contributor. Originally from north London, she now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

The Amber Maze By Christopher Bowden – Blog Tour

I’ve been reading The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden which I was sent in exchange for my honest review.

The Amber Maze Cover

The Amber Maze

A mysterious key found down the side of an antique chair in a Dorset cottage begins a search for answers. Hugh Mullion is determined to unlock the secrets of this unknown. No one knows how long the key has been there or what it opens but Hugh begins to investigate for himself.

During his search for answers, Hugh unlocks the secrets of a troubled life of a talented artist. Destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late, suppressed by a dark secret he could never escape.

The mysterious trail takes Huge from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960’s Camden Town where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.

Christopher Bowden

Christopher Bowden is the author of six novels, each with a colour theme and lives in South London. The Amber Maze is his most recent novel, published in September 2018. His previous books have been praised by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derok Jacobi, an Shena Mackay.

My Thoughts

The Amber Maze draws you in from the start with the mysterious key being found. Bit by bit secrets quickly unravel throughout the story in an enchanting way. I loved the idea of a secret at the heart of The Amber Maze and was pleased the secret wasn’t spoilt until the very end. I had hoped for a slightly different outcome although this may be more due to my preference for thrillers! Overall I did enjoy The Amber Maze, it is definitely a page turn for mystery lovers. I love the colour theme idea behind Christopher Bowden’s novels, especially The Purple Shadow. I will definitely have to

The Amber Maze Blog Tour

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour posts!

Crochet Learn It. Love It. Book Review

I received Crochet Learn It. Love It. By Tracey Todhunter to review. As most of my readers already know I love crochet, so I couldn’t wait to review this book. I have to say before I explain any further, if you are looking for a comprehensive beginners guide to crochet then this is definitely it!

Crochet Learn It. Love It

Crochet Learn It. Love It.

The book contains a mix of essential crochet skills, patterns, tricks and tips to ease you into a life of learning and loving crochet!

Chapter 1 – Essential Skills

Essential Skills covers everything you need to know starting with different yarn types and weight. I was pleased to see a Ball Band explanation, something I haven’t seen anywhere else before. With different types of hooks available, basic accessories and even luxury accessories explained, any beginner is sure to feel knowledgeable.

Essential Crochet Skills

This handy book shows you all the essentials from holding and tensioning the yarn via various methods. It also shows you how to hold the hook, make a slip knot, foundation chain, count chains, work into chains and fasten off. All explained in great detail, accompanied by photos making it easy for any beginner to learn Crochet.

Basic Stitches

There is a great guide to basic stitches which will help you get started on most projects. To make this easier there is a full explanation on how to understand crochet stitches to help you make sense of your work and pick up on any mistakes, a huge help for any beginner. I remember looking at my first crochet attempts and having no idea what I was looking at or if it was correct. This book puts your mind at ease as you learn making it much more enjoyable.

Basic Stitches

Confidence Building

Crochet Learn It. Love It makes reading patterns and charts a breeze and explains measuring AND adjusting your tension! From joining yarn to working neat stripes, stripes with a difference and shaping your work, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

You’ll find yourself knowing how to finish your work, different blocking methods, tapestry needle stitches, crocheted, slip stitch and conceal crocheted seams enhancing your work. I’ve been crocheting at least 2 years now and I had already learned so much from this book, without even passing this first section!

Quick Start Projects

There are several quick start projects throughout the book. These consist of quick and easy patterns which require little yarn. Each project states the finished size and tension along with the items you’ll need. These are items such as yarns, crochet hook sizes, yarn needles, buttons etc.

There is also a list of abbreviations and techniques used in the pattern along with the page no within the book to help you with stitches. Following pattern notes you can find the pattern itself with photo’s to guide you. Compared to other crochet books I’ve read I genuinely felt that I could try each project. This would have been perfect when I first started out. With such great explanations and notes you are filled with confidence to complete each project. I’ll definitely be making a few of these once I’m done with my current Crochet Projects!

Chapter 2 – Working In The Round

Working In The Round

Moving on to the second section you quickly learn how to work in the round. Learn the foundation ring, magic ring and finger wrap methods to start. This section will quickly show you how to crochet circles and spirals along with a gorgeous ‘sun in the center’ pattern to show off your new crochet skills!

Sun In Circle

Blocks and motifs are great for making various pieces and are also worked in the round. This books explains how to make a plain granny square block, granny motif, granny triangles and granny hexagons. These are useful from cushion covers, blankets, cardigans and more. You will also learn to crochet a circle or flower in a square. There’s a lovely pattern at the end of this section for a granny square cushion similar to the one I recently made too.

Granny Triangle

I love granny squares as they are nice and easy but I decided to try a granny triangle for the first time. I found the pattern easy to follow and can now tick it off my list of things to learn!

Granny Triangle

Learning tubular crochet can make things quite fun. Luckily this book makes it simple to learn with some fab patterns to go with it! This handy guide makes crocheting a beanie or Amigurumi fox a piece of cake

Chapter 3 -Stitch Patterns

Stitch variations really can change crochet, from working into just a front or back loop, extended stitches and alternate loops, this book covers it all. This is something I hadn’t found in my other books either and Tracey Todhunter explains it all so well.

Stitch Patterns

I was surprised to find so many beautiful stitches and patterns to go with each stitch enabling you to create impressive crocheted pieces instantly! It really is quite an extensive list for a beginners guide and will no doubt make falling in love much easier.

Chapter 4 – Finishing Touches

Finishing touches such as buttons, holes, edging stitches and more are explained in great details with some fantastic techniques shared. Whether finishing crochet work or adding a touch of crochet to a pillowcase or similar, you can use these finishing touches to pretty up just about anything!

Finishing Touches

Each section is bursting with enough crochet knowledge that you feel confident taking on new projects. I may not be a complete beginner but I still learned a good few tips and stitches. The patterns throughout are simple to follow and will have you falling in love with crochet in no time!

Chapter 5 – Taking Your Skills Further

The Final chapter shows you a few more advanced skills such as tunisian, broomstick and hairpin crochet. I will be attempting the Tunisian at some point as this guide looks much easier than other’s I’ve looked at. Detailed step by step photos with explanations make each technique seem doable.

Taking Your Skills Further

A Fantastic Guide To Crochet

Honestly, Crochet Learn It. Love It. is a fantastic guide to crochet and makes it so easy to learn, you really will love it! You can learn so much from this fab little book and I know I’ll be using it for reference in future. There are a good few stitches in the book I’ve yet to try. I can’t wait to speed through my current projects and try them.

Driftwood By T.L. Wright – Book Review

I ordered Driftwood to start off my reading challenge this year. T.L. Wright is a lovely lady I occasionally chat to on Twitter and an amazing author! I really couldn’t wait to get started with Driftwood, the front cover is gorgeous!

Driftwood

As part of my reading challenge this year I vowed to read as many books by authors that I chat to as I can. Last year I read Free and What’s Mine by the lovely Fiona Morgan. To start off this year I wanted to begin with Driftwood and I am so pleased I did. This is a book that will no doubt be re-read too which isn’t something I do often!

Driftwood

Driftwood begins with a beautifully worded poem that instantly draws you in. This stunning gothic romance is simply amazing. You can’t help but notice T.L Wrights unique style of writing that entrances you.

Several stories cleverly combine into one as we meet each character. Each character has a unique story but one which pulls them all together in an enchantingly haunting way. With several references to certain bands (I won’t give the game away!) cleverly placed I found myself fangirl squealing a bit. Not something that usually happens in all fairness haha!

Driftwood back cover

An Amazing Read

Driftwood is unlike anything I have ever read. You instantly find yourself lost in the words, living and breathing each one which isn’t always the case. It’s been a long time since I came across a book like Driftwood. I honestly can’t wait to read the sequel and any other work written by T.L Wright.

I couldn’t recommend this more if you love a slightly darker and in-depth read. The way it is written is absolutely beautiful, I can’t stress that enough!

I’m now going to be hunting for more books like this as it has helped spur me on with my reading challenge. I have already managed 3 books this month which is great after years of barely picking up a book. It is becoming part of my self-care routine now to read for an hour a day at least.

Have you read anything this year? Does Driftwood sound like a book for you or have you read it before?

Free By Fiona Morgan – Book Review

I’ve read Free by Fiona Morgan* over the last fortnight. Since Izzy started reception I’ve felt less guilty about reading. I’ve always been passionate about reading but with 2 kids I found it hard to make time. Children’s books have been the main reads over the last 8 years! Now I get more me-time I’ve spent my afternoons enjoying a few chapters with a hot chocolate! 

Free By Fiona Morgan

Fiona Morgan is a lovely author who I chat to on Twitter, I wanted to show her some support by giving her books a read. I have her first 2 books which you can buy as paperbacks from Amazon or download on Kindle.

Free & What's Mine by Fiona Morgan

Free

Free is the first book Fiona has written and I have to admit I was a little sad to finish it! It’s one of those books where you get to know the characters so well you actually miss them. 

Ava’s boyfriend Nathan has convinced her she is useless, incapable of being independent in anyway and regularly beats it into her. She seems to push his buttons whatever she says or does and causes Nathan to get angry! After a chance meeting with a guy called Neil who is completely different and so understanding, Ava plucks up the courage to leave Nathan. One day after a beating she calls Neil and makes her escape. 

You can’t leave me!

Leaving an abuser is never easy and Nathan is extremely persistent when it comes to pursuing Ava, causing both Ava and Neil mental anguish. Nathan is adamant Ava is his and she can’t leave him or live without him. The long-buried memories of Neil’s father are brought back in to focus as he helps Ava. Caught up in uncertainty and physical violence, Ava and Neil’s growing tender love is put to the test! 

Perfectly Captured

Fiona captures every angle so perfectly throughout the book and you can’t help but feel the storyline. For someone who has lived with an abuser and witnessed it on several occasions. I’ve seen and heard so many similar stories that Free feels like real life. From thoughts & feelings to actions, everything is spot on. I’m not usually a fan of Romance Thrillers. I prefer thrillers but Free doesn’t go overboard on the romance side and I found myself wanting to see how their relationship developed! 

I’m looking forward to the girls going to school tomorrow so I can start reading What’s Mine! I’ve managed 7 books so far this year and hoping to make it 8. With captivating storylines like Fiona’s, I may even top that!

Fiona Morgan - Author of Free

Do you like romance thrillers? Have you heard of Fiona Morgan’s books before? 

*This is not a sponsored post. 

Night Of The Living Ted – Book Review

Eva read Night of the Living Ted written by Barry Hutchison and illustrated by Lee Cosgrove this week. Aimed at 7-9 years, Eva was sent a copy to review by Stripes publishing. This funny fright for Halloween night is available in paperback on Amazon for £5.99.

Night of the Living Ted - Book Review

Night Of The Living Ted

Night of the Living Ted is the first of a hilarious new series from award-winning author Barry Hutchinson. Lisa-Marie & her step-brother Vernon pop into town in search of a birthday present for their dad. They discover a Create-a-Ted shop offering free Halloween Bears! 

That night the shopkeeper brings the bears to life for nefarious purposes but Vernon’s bear, Grizz doesn’t want to be a slave to humans. Grizz wants to rule the world! Having converted the shopkeeper’s Stuff-U-Lator into a machine for turning living matter into stuffed bears, he begins to prowl the streets. Can the children and Bearvis save themselves and the world from being stuffed?

Eva’s Thoughts

Teddies come to life and Invade the town! When Vernon makes a bear, it ends up coming to life in this funny but spooky story. Suddenly an army of evil teddy bears is on the loose. Perfect for readers who enjoy a good scare, and just in time for Halloween, one of my favourite times of the year.

My favourite part is when Vernon & Lisa-Maries mum & dad are turned into a frog and a slug. Vernon & Lisa-Marie need to learn to stop arguing long enough to help battle the beastly teddy bears and save everyone. It’s a really great book that I really enjoyed reading.

Does this sound like the perfect Halloween read for your child?

The Secrets Tree – The Hounds Of Penhallow Hall

The Secrets Tree is the fourth book from The Hounds of Penhallow Hall series. Written by Holly Webb, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft & published by Stripes/ Little Tiger, this mysterious series is aimed at 8-10-year-olds. Eva was kindly sent a copy to review. You can buy paperback copies from Amazon for £5.99.

The Secrets Tree

The Secrets Tree

The Secrets Tree series is perfect for dog-lovers and anyone who desires some mystery and magic! Set in the atmospheric Cornish coastal setting, rich in history an legend…

Polly & rex are in search of a new ghost dog whilst celebrations are in full swing at the stately home. They come across a dog’s head carved in a door down the old stable block. They also wake a terrier called patch, only for him to run away. Polly & rex find him hiding in a hollow tree and find themselves on the trail of an even greater mystery. Inside the tree is a coded message! Can Polly & Rex unravel the mystery of the dog’s young master and his brother?

Eva’s Thoughts

Eva enjoyed reading The Secrets Tree but found it a rather quick read as she has become quite a bookworm! She really loved the story being based around dogs. As Eva has moved on to books such as the Harry Potter series recently, she likes a little more mystery. She thinks children who love mysteries will really enjoy the  Secrets Tree and it will encourage them to love reading mystery series like The Hounds of Penhallow Hall. Having read several books by Holly Webb now, Eva thinks she is a fantastic author and loves discovering some of the 100+ books HollWebb has written.

If you have a mystery-loving reader who also loves dogs then this book is definitely perfect. They will be sure to love the Hounds of Penahllow Hall series. 

Have you heard of the Hounds of Penhallow Hall series before?

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics – Book Review

We received Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics (RRP £8.99) to review. Written by Gemma Coles, this colourful children’s book is inspired by relatable real life class experiences. Izzy loves showing off her ‘yoga’ so I knew she would love this book, Eva also has an interest in gymnastics. We sat down together to find out more about Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack when they joined gymnastics for the first time.

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics

The illustrations by Anthony Charles are simple but effective and the girls found them really fun to look at as we read the story. Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack are superstar gymnastics but the book takes us back to their very first lesson. As most children are when starting a new class, Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack were very nervous.

Feeling Nervous

The other children quickly show their excitement at having new classmates and introduce themselves to Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack. As each child showed off their gymnastic skills Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack still Felt nervous. They soon joined in though with lots of encouragement from coach Gemma Gym. In no time at all they were having so much fun they both forgot to be nervous.

Having Fun

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack soon realise they have special talents of their own just like the rest of their new classmates. They become superstar gymnastics and love going to their gymnastic class each week and learning new skills.

Joining In

The girls really loved this story with its fun illustrations and cool gymnastics throughout. There are so many positive messages throughout the book and I love how encouraging it is for children. Whilst it is about gymnastics the same worries apply to all new situation for children and adults alike.

 

Head Over Heels About Gymnastics

Head over heels about gymnastics also offer a tutorial DVD or App and a book containing everything you need to know about developing a range of essential gymnastics skills. Head over to their website to find out more!

 

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Goats And Random Boys – Book Review

St Grizzle’s school for girl, goats and random boys is written by Karen McCombie and Illustrated by Becka Moor. Published earlier this year by Stripes (An Imprint of Little Tiger Group) is available in paperback for £5.99. Perfect for children aged 7-9 years St Grizzle’s is a hilariously quirky book.

St Grizzle’s Series

St Grizzle's

Eva loves to read books that are funny and a bit quirky and she is currently loving books based around schools. I remember enjoying similar books at her age. We’ve been hunting out new series for her and we were sent St Grizzle’s school for girls, goats and random boys. The title caught Eva’s eye because it had such a silly name.

As soon as Eva had started reading she was giggling away. The main character, Dani is packed off to a strict girls boarding school while her mum heads off to the Antarctic to study penguins bums! St Grizelda’s school for girls turns out to have had a drastic change of teaching style. Dani and her mum realise the school is in chaos with no rules, craziness and a goat!?

Dani feels homesick but has to wait for her mum to make alternative arrangements. Whilst she waits the madness begins to warm Dani’s heart. The quirky characters throughout the story kept giggling throughout the story. She loved Dani and after reading the teaser for the second book in the series she couldn’t wait to read more! She loved the illustrations throughout the book making sure to show me each one. Luckily I have a copy of the second book St Grizzle’s school for girls, ghosts and runaway grannies for her to review next week. Check back to see what Eva thinks of the next book and to find out more yourself!

Do you know a child that would love this book too?