#BookReview: The Teenage Guide to Friends by Nicola Morgan #MPBooks

A great guide book for teenagers and pre-teens (and even some adults!)


The Teenage Guide to Friends book coverTitle: The Teenage Guide to Friends

Author: Nicola Morgan

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Teen, Non-fiction, Advice/Self-help

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Description: Friendships and peer groups can cause problems and upsets in your teenage years.  People can be confusing – until you understand how different personality traits, stresses and emotions affect their behaviour.  Yours too!

The Teenage Guide to Friends is for anyone who wants to know how friendship works, and what to do when they don’t.  In this book you’ll find advice on how to make and keep friends, as well as positive strategies to help you through the tough times and make you feel more confident.

My Review:  This is such a great book, I wish I’d had this to read when I was a teenager at school. Everyone when they are teenagers go through a lot of changes and so much can happen when friendship is involved. Some of us worry about making friends, while others worry about being pressurised by friends or even bullied a little by them. Whatever the problems, this book is a great source of information on all things to do with friends and friendships.

The book is separated into four parts, the first is all about friends and covers details such as what toxic friends can be and crucially information about online friends like those found through social media. The second part is all about how to make friends. The third section is about empathy which is important in friendship and understand how others behave and the fourth section, which is also the largest, covers behaviour and personality.

It was easy to read this book right away and I really enjoyed it, even now as an adult, as it covered simple things such as how open or closed you appear to people on a daily basis, something which I hadn’t realised can affect how people react to you when you initially meet them. The way the book is written is really helpful as it never feels like an adult preaching advice but instead it feels as if a friend is offering advice on how things can be and how you could react in a certain situation.

Although each of the sections is really informative and helpful, especially when discussing social media (something which wasn’t an issue yet when I was at school) I mostly enjoyed the last section of the book as it gave a real insight into certain personality and behaviour types including my own. This section covered a variety of things from how introverted and extroverted you are to how anxious you are or whether you are a person who handles stress and other things well. I also liked the focus on the unfortunate, but entirely possible, darker personality types you can meet. The book not only explained what sort of people you may meet but also how you can interact with them if they treat you badly, or whether it’s better to avoid them.

Every section of the book has a quiz or quizzes which helps you realise how you act or what sort of person you are. At the end of the book there is quite a large section of resources which contains so many different websites and interesting articles and studies, but rather than just stating these in alphabetical order, Nicola Morgan has taken the time to explain what the resources are and why they might be useful. There is also an index at the back of the book.

I really enjoyed this book and wish it was available when I was at school. Whether it would help someone like me who was shy and very introverted to make new friends is not guaranteed, but it would have helped me to see how my behaviour or reactions to people might make it hard to make friends and it would have also helped me to understand how some other people’s reactions weren’t anything to do with me, which overall would have given me greater confidence, I think, while at school. I think any teenagers will benefit from this book and even those a little younger who are starting to feel the pressure of school and their peers. Even as an adult I found parts of it very useful as some of the basic issues around friendships are relevant even as an adult. This is a great book I can really recommend.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

Do you enjoy help guides like this one?  Is this a book you’d like to pick up for yourself or someone else?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also soon find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester #MPBooks

An emotional and very interesting novel with a Japanese setting.

Yuki Means HappinessTitle: Yuki Means Happiness

Author: Alison Jean Lester

Publisher: John Murray

Genre: Contemporary, Cultural

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Description: Diana is young and uneasy in a new relationship when she leaves America and moves halfway around the world to Tokyo seeking adventure. In Japan she takes a job as a nanny to two-year-old Yuki Yoshimura and sets about adapting to a routine of English practice, ballet and swimming lessons, and Japanese cooking.

But as Diana becomes increasingly attached to Yuki she also becomes aware that everything in the Yoshimura household isn’t as it first seemed. Before long, she must ask herself if she is brave enough to put everything on the line for the child under her care, confronting her own demons at every step of the way.

Yuki Means Happiness is a rich and powerfully illuminating portrait of the intense relationship between a young woman and her small charge, as well as one woman’s journey to discover her true self.

My Review:  This book is a surprisingly emotional read, filled with both heartwarming moments and many darker moments too. Diana is a nurse and having previously helped a Japanese couple with their newborn baby when they were staying in America, she jumps at the chance to travel to Japan and become a nanny for the same couple a few years later. But while there, Diana realises that things are no longer as they were with the couple and worries about Yuki, the little girl she’s promised to look after.

The story is written in the first person and takes place in the nineties with Diana recounting the story of her time with Yuki. I’ll be honest in saying I wasn’t sure I’d get into the book at first, although I had high hopes having read the description, but this is definitely a book that gets better the further you read on. Diana’s story of her time in Japan appears simple at first. She instantly gets attached to Yuki and loves looking after her while getting to know the Japanese culture. But as time goes on the story starts to take a darker edge and it’s at this point that I really began to enjoy this book.

I loved the way the story unfolded, everything seemed fine but then certain circumstances changed all of a sudden and the atmosphere of the story changed too. As Diana learns more about Yuki’s family, the darker the story becomes. Along with dealing with looking after Yuki and the issues surrounding the family, the story of Diana’s own personal experiences both in the past and in Japan, especially the Japanese culture and the more unpleasant aspects of being a woman in modern Japan take on an interesting edge and influence how she feels about her job as a nanny. At times Diana is brutally honest about her past and it gave her character more depth which was good.

The book has a lot about Japanese culture and I loved reading these parts as it really gave me a sense of what it would be like to go to Japan, something I’ve wanted to do for years now. A lot of the ‘tourist’ side of Japan is included but I also loved the more in depth and honest accounts of what Japan is really like in areas where tourists don’t go, and what day to day life is like. The book really had me absorbed in the modern culture of Japan and it left me with mixed feelings about the place, particularly when it comes to women and legal issues.

The ending is very satisfying and made me a little emotional, but in a good way. There is very little use of any swearing, but the f and s words have been used. While there is nothing really offensive in the book, no actual sex or anything violent, Diana is honest about things like sexuality and sex and there are other moments that make you feel a little shocked too.

I’d recommend this book, although it took me a bit of time to really enjoy it, I really got into the story towards the end and the honesty around Japanese culture and things Diana goes through with the Yuki’s family are a very insightful and interesting read.
-Thanks to Bookbridgr and the publisher for a free copy.

Does this sound like a book you’d like to read?  Do you enjoy books wit cultural themes?  Please let me know I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also soon find me in these places: 

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#BookHaul: Bookbridgr September 2017 & Extra Walker Book #MPBooks

A completely random selection of books! Do any spark your interest?

I’m now officially accepted as a bookbridgr blogger and have received my first ever book post from them which is so exciting! 😀  There are quite a few interesting books available but I chose two which just happened to arrive on the same day even though I didn’t request them on the same day!  I also received a book from Walker Books which was late in being printed.  Check them all out and let me know if any interest you? 🙂

First the Bookbridgr books:

Two completely different books!

The French Exchange whale and Other Rejected Book Ideas by Cal King –  It’s said that everyone has a book inside them. Cal King doesn’t have just one though; he’s bursting with ideas for everything from children’s books to (in his mind) prize-winning novels.  Unfortunately for Cal, his ideas are all a bit silly. However, refusing to be deterred by rejections from publishers and agents (or the laughter of his girlfriend) he managed to secure a meeting at a top publisher and arrived at their London offices with a head full of dreams and a folder full of concepts.  At the end of the meeting (during which the editor seemed to have the most terrible cough) it was gently suggested that Cal compile his pitches into a collection of ‘terrible book ideas’ for the joke book market. Slightly hurt by this suggestion, but driven by a desperate and all-consuming need for approval, he agreed. And here it is . .

Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester –  Diana is young and uneasy in a new relationship when she leaves America and moves halfway around the world to Tokyo seeking adventure. In Japan she takes a job as a nanny to two-year-old Yuki Yoshimura and sets about adapting to a routine of English practice, ballet and swimming lessons, and Japanese cooking.  But as Diana becomes increasingly attached to Yuki she also becomes aware that everything in the Yoshimura household isn’t as it first seemed. Before long, she must ask herself if she is brave enough to put everything on the line for the child under her care, confronting her own demons at every step of the way.

And here is the book from Walker Books:

Just look how beautiful this book is! 🙂

The Wonderling by Mira Bartók  – In this extraordinary novel with its deft nod to Dickenson heroes and rogues comes the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.

What do you think of all these different books?  Are you interested in reading any?  Please let me know in the comments below I’d love to hear from you!  Come check me out in these places too 🙂 : 

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#BookReview: Where’s Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford #MPBooks

A fun collection of Where’s Wally books with some extras.

Where's Wally The Totally Essential Travel Collection book coverTitle: Where’s Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection

Author/Illustrator: Martin Handford

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Fun Activity book

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Description: Just what you’ve been waiting for…All the wondrous Wally worlds in one! Seven sensational classic Where’s Wally? books packed into a handy travel-sized edition. Wherever you’re going, however you’re travelling – join the spectacular search for Wally and be sure to send a postcard to all of your friends!

My Review: I really love Where’s Wally? Although I never had all the books in my collection, I grew up with them and loved searching for all the hidden extras you could find. Now, to celebrate 30 years of Where’s Wally, seven great books have been packed into this handy travel sized set which is perfect for those who either didn’t have all the books already or just want to keep them all in one place! The book is about A5 in size with semi-hardback covers and a material elastic band that can close the entire book so nothing spills out if you do take this book on your travels.

The first page of the book

Inside the front and back covers (slotted into a gap in the covers) there are some postcards you can to colour in, six in total, which feature a section of a random Where’s Wally scenes. The postcards are great and nicely detailed so will take some time (but not too much time) to colour in. The postcards are also thick which means pens will work as well as pencils for colouring in but what’s fun is that they also feature a short checklist of a few things to find on the front of the post card itself, which can be fun for both the person colouring in the postcard to find and the person receiving it!

The first page folded out to show you things to search.

The seven books inside this travel collection are: Where’s Wally?, Where’s Wally Now?, Where’s Wally? The Fantastic Journey, Where’s Wally? In Hollywood, Where’s Wally? The Wonder Book, The Great Picture Hunt and Where’s Wally? The Incredible Paper Chase.
All seven books are in this travel collection complete and I’m amazed at how they all fit in together but it’s cleverly done. Each book has an extra folded page at the start which unfolds to show a checklist of things to find in each scene. This is only half the checklist you usually find in a Where’s Wally book so the other half of the checklist is folded on the last page of the book. I’ve shown photos of how this is done. The folded pages are easy to spot in the book and basically mark where each book begins so it’s easy to find.

Another fun page of things to find 🙂

Each page of a Where’s Wally book is of course smaller than the original books but are nice glossy and quite thick pages with clear and colourful images. I have good near vision so I didn’t have any trouble spotting even the smallest of objects however I will warn you that if you don’t want to strain your eyes it might be harder for some to spot the little things such as Woof’s bone, a key, etc. The checklist text may also be a little too small for some people to read.

I love this travel collection as I never had every Where’s Wally book in my collection. There are so many amazing pages to look at and I just love the way that just one Where’s Wally page can keep you looking for hours as there’s so many funny things happening in ever corner of each page!

Some extra postcards to colour in!

I’d definitely recommend this to any Where’s Wally fan, but also to those who have never tried the books before. The full price of ten UK pounds for seven books is amazing considering how much each book costs individually and the added bonus of the six postcards plus having all the books in one place makes this a great buy for everyone.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

Do you love Where’s Wally/Waldo books?  Have you read any in the collection, or would you enjoy this travel collection?  Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.  Come check me out in these places too 🙂 : 

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#BookHaul: Walker Books September 2017 #MPBooks

Travelling took a lot more out of me than I thought and I’ve been under the weather recently so I’m sorry for the late posts, but I’m finally feeling better and will be posting regularly from now on.  I need to catch up with all your messages and everything elsesoon, but for now here’s a book haul!

I received an amazing book haul from the kind people at Walker Books.  There’s a whole collection of books this month and I’ll be reviewing them as soon as I can.  Below are the books I received plus a brief description of each.  The Anthony Browne collection is a collection of books sold together so I’ll be reviewing each book individually as well as the set 🙂

Here are all the books and I’d like to add a note that The Anthony Browne collection is in a zip pouch and is filled with an amazing 10 books!:

The Anthony Browne Collection

The Anthony Browne Collection by Anthony Browne – A ten book collection of Anthony Browne’s top selling picture books, including, Willy the Champ, Silly Billy, Willy the Wimp, Willy the Dreamer, Changes, The Tunnel, Through the Magic Mirror, Look What I’ve got!, Piggybook and Willy and the Cloud

A pop-up book, a picture book and a informative book with plenty of pictures:

A picture book, text book and a pop-up book!

Pop-up Shakespeare: The Complete Works by The Reduced Shakespeare company – Interactive spreads with dramatic pop-ups and lift-the-flaps bring to life each of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, Romances and Tragedies. Packed with hilarious jokes and funny facts, this is the Bard’s complete works as they’ve never been seen before.

His royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones & David Roberts  – Once upon a time there was a happy family. Until one horrible no good day when a new ruler was born… A beautiful jacketed hardback with gold foil decoration makes this the perfect gift.

National Theatre: All About Theatre – Described by Benedict Cumberbatch as “a brilliant introduction to theatre”, this fascinating book by the National Theatre shows how plays like War Horse and many others are made

A young adult and a middle grade book:

Reading books!

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James – Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Football School Season 2: Where Football Explains the World by Alex Bellos &Ben Lyttleton – This book is packed with awesome true stories, real science and fascinating facts and will make you laugh loads – and it’s all about football

Are you interested in reading any of these books?  Or are you looking forward to something else?  What do you plan to read this month?  Let me know, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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August 2017 Round-up #MPBooks

August’s highlights and plans for September plus what happened on Saturday 26th.

Busy train station
Image from Pixabay.com

Saturday was not a good day to travel.  I had to join the mad Bank holiday rush of people and decided to opt for the train as the best option for travel.  However it wasn’t a good day, not for a lot of people, especially those that died.

When I got to the train station it turned out all trains were cancelled.  there was an accident on a station further up the track, somebody had been hit by a train.  Later this ‘hit by a train’ announcement changed to ‘fatality’.  Train lines to and from London were eventually re-opened but it took several hours before anyone could travel anywhere.

To add to the travel misery, several train stations are closed for a week for major works and so all trains, even direct ones were extra slow as they all had to use the same few stations (rather than ending at several different London stations as is the norm).

When I finally arrived in Victoria Train Station it was already late and although my journey took me further north out of London, there was an announcement at the station that somebody somewhere on the Brighton line was hit by a train (whether deceased or not I still don’t know) :/

There was at least one more fatality on a train line somewhere towards Southampton on the same day, involving another person hit by a train; and on the roads a major accident on a motorway resulted in at least eight deaths.

Saturday was a bad day for travel in the UK.  It was supposed to be the big Bank holiday getaway, but so many people dying made the day a sombre one.

Smart phone
This isn’t my phone just a picture of one.   Image from Pixabay.com

So that was Saturday, which was a strange day.  Travelling took a lot out of me, I’m not the best traveller, but the more people there are the more ill I feel so I’ve been taking it easy and haven’t done much reading recently.  I’ve got some new an exciting books to read though, which I’ll share with you soon in a Book Haul post.  Unfortunately due to my camera dying last week, I’ve been taking pictures of my latest book haul (plus the insides of picture books) with my phone’s camera…which I’m not very good at so apologies in advance for any images that just look wrong or have shadows or something.


This month I’ve neglected my blog a bit, I haven’t posted as many articles or poetry as I’d hoped due to being away a lot but I hope what I did post was still interesting to some and certainly my most popular post of the month was Does Editing in Books Matter?  If you haven’t already seen it then take a look and add your views I’d love to know what you think 🙂

Tell it to the Moon book coverThe second most popular post is surprising as it’s a review!  This is the first time a review has been one of the top 3 most popular posts of a month but here you are, a review for ‘Tell it to the Moon’ by Siobhan Curham.

Pink flower


My last highlight is a poem which I’m so happy it was so popular as it’s a poem I took a lot of time to write and is all about keeping to your true self, your true path no matter how hard it may seem: The Beautiful Path  Please check it out if you haven’t already.  I hope you like it and it motivates you 🙂

Laughing cat

Although those were my popular posts I’d like to shout out my Cats Really do Sell! post which was a bit of silly fun and something I thought anyone who loves cats, or just likes silly clips of cats might enjoy.


So that was my August round-up, of course there was one more post that happened a day or two before August and that was this: A Publisher’s Apology and A Chance to See My Old Blog   As the title suggests it was the apology I’d been waiting for from publisher Austin Macauley and yes…a chance to see my old blog – for those of you who don’t know where I came from 😀 😛 !


So what’s planned for this month?  I have some books to read, and I’m still trying to catch up with a few books I’ve left behind from old hauls.  Apart from that I’ll try to get those articles out.  One good thing is that I’ve stuck to the #MondayMotivation post.  I’m doing at least one post on the first Monday of each month, and I’ll try to do more when I can.

I don’t want to make too many plans as I’m still a bit online/offline at the moment but I hope to get around to visiting a few blogs I’m still behind with as well as some new ones who have followed me who I haven’t yet visited.

How was your August?  Any plans for September and what you might be reading?  Please let me know in the comments box below, I love hearing from you 🙂

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#BookReview: Where’s Wally? The Colouring Collection by Martin Handford #MPBooks

A fun colouring book with plenty of fun things to find!

Where's Wally The Colouring Collection book coverTitle: Where’s Wally? The Colouring Collection

Author/Illustrator: Martin Handford

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Colouring

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My Review: I’ve always loved Where’s Wally? and this colouring book is a great special celebration of 30 years of Where’s Wally. Around A5 in size the book has semi-hardback covers and a handy material elastic strap that helps keep the book from getting scruffy while it’s used on your travels. Inside the pages are crisp white and nice and thick. They are printed double sided but quite thick so colouring with pens might work (I use pencils in this so I can’t comment on the use of pens).

Almost all the pictures are double page spreads and contain sections of Where’s Wally scenes. The entire scene isn’t displayed in this book, it would be too small and fiddly to colour in if it were but it’s amazing how much colouring there is to do in this book. Each page also comes with a piece of the page already coloured in, this includes a border or maybe one or two characters coloured in. It’s hardly anything but is supposed to give you a head start into colouring.
Some of the pages in this book contain small blank sections, such as some photos or parts of book covers. these are blank so you can fill them in yourself which is a fun little extra.

Very detailed pictures with some colour to start you off.

Colouring in as I said I use pencils but I will say that although you can open the spine of this book to lie it almost entirely flat, the area of the images that do go into the spine is a little tricky to colour. It’s not that big a deal, but if you like to colour right down into the spine it is a bit tricky and some of the characters that sit right in the centre of the image might not get coloured in that easily. It’s not very noticeable when you look at a coloured in image though.

What’s fun about this book is that there’s still so much to find within each page. Apart from Wally and his friends there’s little objects that are still visible in each scene and it’s extra fun when colouring in each picture as you really get to see all the little bits of a scene that you might miss when looking at a regular Where’s Wally book.

Some different pages with chances to add your own doodles! 🙂

Inside the back cover there is a folded paper, a little smaller than A5 when folded which unfolds to reveal a dinosaur scene. This poster is 16 times its size to when it’s folded! It’s so much extra colouring and can then be hung on your wall!

I really do love colouring books, I already have several Where’s Wally colouring and activity books and this one is another great addition. Not only is it fun to colour in but there’s so much to find you’ll be having fun for hours, even after colouring in the pictures, finding all the things there are to find. I’d recommend this to anyone of any age, whether a Where’s Wally fan or not. There’s a lot of colouring to do and even if you have all the books already, or a previous Where’s Wally colouring book, it’s always fun to add your own colours and make each image unique!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

Some of my colouring-in-progress 🙂

(The coloured in photo I took of my work is actually a work-in -progress. I hadn’t finished colouring in when I took the picture but wanted to give an idea of how it works with pencils.)

Do you like Where’s Wally/Where’s Waldo books?  What about as a colouring book?  Let me know I’d love to hear from you.  You can also find me in these places 🙂 : 

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