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#BookReview: No, Nancy, No! by Alice Tait #MPBooks

No, Nancy, No! book cover Title: No, Nancy, No!

Author/Illustrator: Alice Tait

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Flap Book

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Description: Watch out London, Nancy, coming!

At Buckingham Palace Nancy and Roger discover a lost teddy bear, and the chase is on across the sights of the city to find the children who dropped it!  But little Nancy just can’t help creating a spot of mischief along the way…

Help Nancy spot the children and discover the sights of London!  With flaps to lift, a fold-out map and plenty of surprises throughout, this is a wonderfully interactive story for the whole family.

My Review: This is a very fun flap book that children and I’m sure adults would love to look at. Nancy and her friend, Roger (the dog) spend a day in London sightseeing while trying to track down the two children who dropped their teddy bear. But Nancy can’t help but get up to some mischief while there, mischief that has Roger calling out “No, Nancy, No!”

The first page of the book.

The book is a hardback around A4 in size (a bit wider but a bit shorter) filled with thick glossy pages which show the story really well. Each page opens showing Nancy and Roger at a new location with lots of different details to see in the pictures. Each double page though has at least one flap which when turned shows what mischief Nancy gets up to.

An example of Nancy’s mischief!

The images are really fun. There’s a lot of detail in them and I found myself intrigued. At times it felt like looking at a ‘Where’s Wally?’ book, with so many different things to spot while reading along with the story. The illustrations are also fun as there are some recurring characters that show up in each double page.

Fun and detailed pictures with lots to see.

The story is predictable but also has a nice ending. Despite Nancy’s behaviour she does a good thing and although I guessed the ending of the tale some kids might not and it makes this a very fun book to read. I did enjoy this book when reading it and I think it has a real appeal for kids. The whole story is fun and the flaps are a real bonus, including a special ‘flap’ near the ending which I enjoyed but wasn’t prepared for. The book is also great as it really does a good job of showing off some of the London landmarks, something which could be extra fun for kids who might be visiting the capital.  Overall a really fun book which will really keep you entertained for a long time.

Fun flaps and still lots of detailed pictures.

-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

Do you enjoy a flap book?  Let me know in the comments. 

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#Poetry: Life With You #MPBooks

Bouquet on floor
Image from

I really don’t want to comment on this poem here.  I’d rather you read it first and then tell me what you think.  I’d really like some opinions on this, it’s inspired by a daily prompt.

Life With You

I knew your pain as you did mine,
A kindred soul, love divine.
I wept, I shared all my fears,
You held me tight through all the tears.
Felt our hearts were true, entwined,
Our broken pasts were all behind.

I finally see through;
New life with you.

Together we made fresh new start,
Vowed to never be apart.
Happiness, peace, at last inside,
When we joined, husband, bride.
Pact, a promise we did seal,
For our lives, true ideal.

I finally see through;
New life with you.

Days and months becoming years,
Came the laughter, came the sneers.
Nothing ever done too right,
Always ready for a fight.
Talking in a monotone,
Left at home all alone.

I finally see through;
New life with you.

I knew your pain as you gave mine,
A blacked soul, love a brine.
I wept, realised all my fears,
You held me tight, caused all my tears.
Felt your heart untrue, I pined,
My broken past left me blind.

I finally see through;
Life: illusion with you.

This poem took me some time to write as it came from an emotional place.  Please let me know what you think of it.

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#BookReview: King of the Sky by Nicola Davies & Laura Carlin #MPBooks

King of the Sky book coverTitle: King of the Sky

Author: Nicola Davies

Illustrator: Laura Carlin

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description: Starting a new life in a new country, a young boy feels lost and alone – till he meets an old man who keeps racing pigeons.  Together they pin their dreams on a race across Europe and the special bird they hope can win it: King of the Sky.

This is a moving story about the meaning of home which will touch and inspire people of all ages.

My Review:  This is an interesting and very relevant book but I’m not sure if it’s one children will enjoy as much as adults. It’s a hardback book around A4 in size but in landscape rather than portrait. Inside there are thick but matt pages of both illustrations and text. The story is told by the boy, an Italian immigrant, who has recently moved to a mining town in the UK. The boy is lonely and everywhere he looks around him makes him feel like he doesn’t belong in this country. But a kind old neighbour who owns racing pigeons becomes friends with the boy and gives him a pigeon of his own, one he names ‘Re Del Cielo’ (King of the Sky).

Simple images and text.

It’s hard not to give away the whole plot of the story, and I won’t, but through racing the pigeon the boy learns to feel like he belongs in this country despite being an immigrant. The message of the book is very relevant to today’s world with lots of immigration into this and many other countries. The book is in fact endorsed by Amnesty International because of its message of belonging and having a right to a home. I don’t mind the message in this book at all, I think it’s very relevant to our times and as the daughter of immigrants I feel it needs to be told. But the book never appealed to me to re-read it, there’s just something about the look of the pictures that felt a little too depressing.

Simple pastel-like illustrations

The illustrations all look like pastel drawings and they depict the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the mining town (a place that didn’t feel like home to the boy) very well. But I just never warmed to these images and I’m not sure if children would either. Some of the pictures are simple and some have interesting extra details in outlines but I feel like the last image, especially at the end of the story where it ends on a happy note could have had more colour or been brighter to reflect this happiness.

More illustrations of the book 🙂

To me this is an important book for kids to read. The message is very important to get across but it feels more like a book to discuss at school rather than one kids would choose to read. It’s just my personal opinion but this book wouldn’t have stood out for me to read when I was younger.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

Do you like the illustrations in this book?  What about the message of belonging?  Would you buy this?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please check me out in these places too 🙂 :

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E-reader and books

Paper or Digital? #MPBooks

E-reader and books
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Paper or digital? That’s what I’d like to talk about today. The rise of digital books has really brought more people into reading and made it easier for us to read on the go with a simple and light e-reader holding a whole array of books at the touch of a finger. But are digital books really that good? Do you prefer them to the physically written word? Or is there a place for both in our worlds today?

My experience of digital books is actually pretty short compared to others. I’ve always had a passion for books but for years the word ‘book’ meant a physical object made of paper which I’d get by walking into a local bookstore or public library. I never really warmed to the idea of a digital book, it seemed a fun concept but nothing, in my mind, could replace a physical weighty tome of delicious smelling paper and print.

But something changed when I found a book I was interested in reading but I couldn’t get hold of the physical copy. I was desperate to read this book and took the plunge and got the digital version instead. Reading in digital felt weird at first. I couldn’t get used to the small size of the e-reader or the lack of that wonderful papery smell (I’m a bit of a book-sniffer!). But as time went on, and the story I read unfolded, I found myself engrossed in the words of the text. When I’d finally finished reading it I was amazed at how emotionally affected I was by the fiction I’d read. It was every bit as exciting and gut-wrenching as it would have been if I’d read a paper copy.

Thus began a love of both the physical print and the digital. I always found physical books, both paper and hardbacks more pleasing to read, but I no longer saw digital as ‘worse’. Searching for digital books brought me into the online world of books, somewhere I’d never really been before. Until then my life and association with books was firmly where I could go and physically take them home with me then and there. But digital books led me to a new world and one I’m happy I entered.

As a newbie to this new land I became obsessed with finding new books.  It was easy to buy and download the digital tomes and I found myself searching, more and more, for free or discounted books.  My e-reader grew ‘fat’ with new releases and I became a little click-happy with my mouse at NetGalley too, requesting far too many books for the time I had to read. Digital books didn’t take up the same shelf space as physical books so it was easy to end up with too many ARCs (advanced reading copies) without noticing them sitting in the corner of the shelf every day.

My love of digital books was short lived though. After a few years of reading on screens more than paperbacks, I started to get sick of it. It wasn’t just the beautiful book smell I missed (I mean really, really missed!) but the whole feel of having a book my hands. The view of words printed on paper, paper that could last for hundreds of years, and the way the pages never glared at me, it was something I couldn’t live without. It wasn’t just a want for the physical book but a need. I’ve never been good with screens and after many months of reading screens my eyes started to protest. I’d get headaches and nausea from spending long periods reading digital books, it became tiresome and painful to enjoy what should have been fun.

So today I read very few books digitally. I haven’t put a ban on digital books and can and do choose to still read some in times when I’m not feeling ill. But the fact is that these days I’m back to reading paper or hardbacks (Audio books are a completely different subject). I can feel the book in my hands, read without discomfort. I can smell a book repeatedly (I do this with magazines too – Am I weird!?) and flip all the pages over and over just because I like the sound it makes, and I can also take pictures of my books to stick on instagram.

I haven’t entirely turned my back on digital. I still read the odd NetGalley ARC, but these days if I want to buy a book I’ll stick with the paperback. Am I missing out on some great reads? Possibly, some books are only printed digitally. But the fact is I love a paperback or hardback book.  I can’t get enough of them.  There’s a definite place for digital books in our world and I can see the great benefits they bring to so many, the ease in taking digital copies to work, having hundreds and thousands of books at the touch of a button…

But in the digital versus paper argument I choose paper every time, I always have, I always will. 

Which would you choose? Paper or digital?  Is one really better than the other?

Do you love physical books or are you now a love of digital, or both?  Let me know I’d love to hear from you 🙂   You can find me here too:

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#BookReview: Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Davies & Emily Sutton #MPBooks

Lots book coverTitle: Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth

Author: Nicola Davies

Illustrator: Emily Sutton

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture book/Non-fiction

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Description: How many different kinds of living things are there on Earth?  LOTS and LOTS and LOTS!  And the more you look, the more you discover.

Find out in  this brilliant book how all the living things – including us – are part of a big, beautiful pattern and depend on each other for survival.

My Review:  I really do like this book and was charmed by just the cover! ‘Lots’ is a hardback book which is a little larger than A4 in size. The book begins by asking the question ‘How many different kinds of living things are on our planet?’ with a little girl pictured at the start who will feature throughout the book. We are then introduced to the many different types of living things such as mammals, marine life, mushrooms, etc and the different places they exist such as deserts, etc.

Beautiful illustrations

Along with the basic message that there are lots and lots of different living things out there, there are interesting facts spread throughout the book about some of the different animals or exactly how many species of mushrooms there are (to give a couple of examples). This is interesting enough but what really makes this book stand out for me is the images spread throughout the pages. Every page is just like the front cover, filled with gorgeous and detailed drawings. It’s these illustrations that I really adore not only because there’s a lot of detail in them but they are cute too.
I love the smiling faces of many of the animals and the overall old fashioned feel of the images, it really is very appealing to look at. Not only do the illustrations have that old-fashioned feel to them but they are printed on thick but matt paper making it feel even more like an old fashioned book.

Lovely old fashioned style pictures

The ending of the book has a powerful message about how humans are causing so many things to become extinct, it’s a message that I see in a lot of Nicola Davies’ books. I’ve not always been keen on this message being put into every book as it sometimes doesn’t fit and feels like forcing children to understand conservation but with this book I feel different. Although the message might seem an upsetting one to put in a book it really does fit here and I don’t think it would upset too many kids as the message is sort of positive, about humans needing to look after all the species as we are one of the many species on the planet.

Wonderfully detailed images.

I really like this book and think many kids and even adults might enjoy reading this and studying the images. If nothing else the book is a joy to look at and there’s many different creatures you may not notice from first glance, and if the message of looking after our planet is taught to kids along the way then that’s a positive move too.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

What do you think of this book?  And conservation in general?  Let’s chat in other places too 🙂 :

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Grenfell Tower Wide image

Was #GrenfellTower A Disaster Waiting to Happen? #MPBooks

Grenfell Tower Wide image
Grenfell Tower ablaze – Image from Wikipedia, By Natalie_Oxford –Twitter

In the early hours of Wednesday 14th June a terrible tragedy happened. In one of the richest boroughs of London a fire broke out. The fire was in a tower block of flats and quickly spread, engulfing the entire building in flames. Only a few lower floors were saved from the blaze. Firefighters raced to put out the fire and save those trapped inside but they were against a towering inferno, one that was ablaze for many hours and still smouldering 24 hours before it was finally put out.

Most residents were trapped inside the building at the time of the fire, with little chance of escape. With flames and black smoke surrounding them it was difficult if not impossible for many to get out. There were reports of families trapped inside, residents screaming for help, a mother throwing her baby out the window in a desperate attempt to save it. Several days later and the death toll is already at 79 but is expected to be much higher. But why did this terrible tragedy happen? And could it have been prevented?

Nobody yet knows why the fire started, but there is a lot of speculation on the causes. Whether or not they turn out to be true, I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that this tragedy has left a mark on London, and one which has affected me personally. The main issue surrounding the disaster is one of money because the residents of Grenfell Tower were not the rich, well off people living in London. They were from the poorer end of society. Because the families living there were in social housing (subsidized/affordable – whatever you call it in other countries) there’s anger over whether this building’s safety was overlooked, something which would never happen in a rich, multi-million pound set of high-rise apartments. We can’t know for sure anything yet, and I am not accusing anyone or any government body, but the lack of sprinklers and questionable, flammable ‘cladding’ placed on the exterior of the building makes me wonder if the speculation has real truth.

Image from Wikipedia – By Natalie_Oxford – Twitter

The problem with the Grenfell Tower disaster is that it could have been prevented. It seems crazy in this day and age that a basic sprinkler system isn’t built into every tower block but the fact is it wasn’t. Some rumours are saying that even the fire alarms didn’t work. There are questions on this thing called ‘cladding’. I didn’t know what this was until now. It’s a substance that is used to cover the external walls of a building; it may have other uses but the most probable in the case of Grenfell Tower was to improve the appearance of the structure (making it less of an eye-sore in the area). But it’s suspected that the cladding used on Grenfell Tower is the cause for the fire’s quick spread around the building as the substance was flammable.

When I saw this on the news it hit a nerve with me. Not only the harrowing stories of people trapped, choosing to face the smoke inside or trying to throw themselves out of the building in the hopes they survive the fall. What hit home to me was the fact that it shouldn’t matter where these people live, what their income levels are…These were real people, the same as you and I, and they deserved respect and a decent home to live in.  

Grenfell Tower residents are not the ‘scum of society’ like so many depict. It guts me when I hear people referring to the poor as the ‘dregs, wasters and scum’. It’s labels like these that put up barriers, stop us being kind and compassionate to our fellow human beings. Most of the poorer in society, those living in the Grenfell Tower are hardworking individuals, the likes of nurses, carers, cleaners, bus drivers, etc. People we rely on everyday. Syrian immigrants who came to the UK, to avoid being killed in their own country could now be dead inside the charred remains of the tower block.  And many others.  These people are human beings. Regardless of income, everyone has a right to live and feel safe in their homes. They deserve better from the government bodies that house them and the people who call them such names.  So why in a society that is one of the richest in the world were safety precautions not made? Why in this day and age is there still a rich-poor divide akin to the days of Dickens?

This disaster affected me more than the others in London, because it wasn’t a terrorist attack. It was a stupid result of negligence, and it has cost so many people their lives. I’ve had the experience, as a young child, of living in such a building. The thoughts of ‘would I be here if it had happened to me all those years ago?’ keep repeating in my mind. I was lucky. I didn’t spend years living there, it was only as a very young child and I’m lucky to be living under different circumstances now. But I can remember what it was like and now wonder how many other areas of ‘poor’ housing face the same possible disaster? Was Grenfell Tower a warning? Is there another ticking time-bomb elsewhere in this country?  Or around the world?

In relation to the daily prompt meddle

I realise this is a world away from my usual posts but this has affected me deeply, and besides I wanted this blog to be a place I could share any thoughts and veer away from books and art sometimes.  Please do comment if you would like to.  And don’t worry, I’m fine, it’s the people of Grenfell Tower I feel for. 

I will be back to happier posts soon 🙂  In the meantime you can also find me here:

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Lost Sentinel blog tour schedule

#BlogTour #BookReview: The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson #MPBooks

As part of ‘The Lost Sentinel’ Blog Tour I’m pleased to bring you a review of this great book:

The Lost Sentinel book coverTitle: The Lost Sentinel (Silent Sea Chronicles -Book 1)

Author: Suzanne Rogerson

Publisher: Suzanne Rogerson

Genre: Fantasy

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Description:  The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?

Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.
Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.
On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.
Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?

My Review:  Wow, after reading this book I am emotionally drained…but in a good way.  ‘The Lost Sentinel’ is the first book in the ‘Silent Sea Chronicles’ fantasy series and is an amazing read!

The book starts by introducing us to a young Tei who has the ability to walk the Astral Plane but has a terrifying experience while there.  Nine years later and Tei’s life is shattered when she and her father have to flee their home in order to be safe.  At first the story was easy to get into.  The action surrounding Tei running away and what happens when meeting with Rike and Garrick was exciting to read and I really got into this book right away but as the tale progresses we are introduced to more characters and more viewpoints and the story becomes more complex and interesting.

The book is written in the third person but jumps about between several different characters throughout the story.  Although this was hard to grasp at first, it felt like a movie.  Everyone’s tales are different with most stories happening on the island of Kalaya, but not all.  Each story seems unconnected to anyone else’s at first, but as the plot progresses the connections are revealed and each story is an exciting one on its own.

The plot is really dark.  There’s an undertone of darkness and fear already, with what Tei experienced as a child and the overall fear of being caught, but the whole book really has a dark edge with a lot of death including some key characters which leaves you shocked and  upset and maybe even crying…I actually had to take a breather when reading these moments as it was so unexpected.  But these deaths soon make sense to the plot and I am amazed at how unpredictable and good this book is to read.

Being a darker fantasy read there’s some violence and deaths but very little swearing with a rare few uses of the b words and only one use of the s swear word.  There’s nothing else offensive in this book.  Although the story has a really dark undertone with shocking moments, I really enjoyed it.  I love a dark plot and this book really doesn’t disappoint with shocks and surprises throughout.  I do have one criticism though and it’s a shame as it’s the only reason I give this four rather than five feathers.  As I’ve said the book changes viewpoint often which makes it more exciting and really pushes the overall plot forward, however this viewpoint switching happened too often in the beginning.  While Tei’s storyline was easy to follow and grasp in my mind, as the first chapters were only about her (meaning I got to know her well and the characters she meets), I struggled to remember the other characters and their storylines.  I did have to put down the book for a day as life got in the way, which didn’t help, but getting back into everyone’s stories except Tei’s was hard as I forgot who was who at first.  It wasn’t until I was about a quarter of the way into the book before I really started to enjoy it and solidified all the characters and their individual stories into my mind.

Overall this is an amazing and gripping fantasy read.  It’s a long book but filled with a lot of great action and a perfect fantasy setting ( there are no fantasy type creatures just humans).  The world of Kalaya is rich and dark and I’m amazed at how sucked into the action I was reading this, and how unpredictable and dark the storyline is.  The ending is a satisfying one but the story is far from over, it’s only beginning and sets up questions for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it!
-Thanks to the author for a free copy.


About the Author:

Suzanne Rogerson author photo

Suzanne lives in Middlesex with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Visit Suzanne Rogerson in these places:

Website  Twitter  Facebook  Instagram  Goodreads  Amazon


Buy The Book: Available at Amazon!

It’s been a pleasure taking part in this blog tour.  Please check out these other participating blogs.  Head over to Suzanne Rogerson’s blog everyday for links to each post:

Lost Sentinel blog tour schedule

 Do you enjoy reading fantasy books?  What do you think of this one? Did you enjoy my entry to this blog tour?  Let me know in the comments below 😀

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