#BookReview: The Pets at Primrose Cottage: Part One A Place to Hide by Sheila Norton #MPBooks

A lovely start to this four part novel featuring animals.

Advertisements

The Pets at Primrose Cottage part oneTitle: The Pets at Primrose Cottage: Part One A Place to Hide

Author: Sheila Norton

Publisher: Ebury Digital

Genre: Contemporary

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description:  Emma Nightingale needs a place to hide away. Pursued by the demons left by her ex-boyfriend, she takes refuge in quiet Crickleford, a sleepy town in Dartmoor, where she can lay low.
Life in Crickleford is quiet and peaceful, but it won’t be for long if people discover the truth about Emma’s past. Not wanting to make too much of a fuss, she ends up lying about why she’s there – she’s looking after some cats, she says – then suddenly the town’s new ‘pet-sitter’ is in high demand!
While looking after an Alsatian, Emma finds all attention is on her, and the handsome young reporter from the local paper takes an interest in her story…

My Review:  I really enjoyed getting into this story. ‘The Pets at Primrose Cottage’ is a lighthearted contemporary book that will be released whole in a few months but at the moment has been split into four parts with ‘Part one: A Place to Hide’ being a great introduction to the tale. Emma needs a place to get away from her old life and heads into the small town of Crickleford where she hopes to start a new life, away from anyone who might know her. But in a small town where people talk, can she really leave her old life behind?

I really enjoyed the last serialised book I read by Sheila Norton which was ‘The Vets at Hope Green’ so I was more than happy when the publisher asked me if I’d like to read this one. It was easy to get into the story right away with Emma narrating her tale. I enjoyed reading about the small town atmosphere and what it was like to be a new person there and I immediately warmed to Emma’s character as I could see myself feeling out of place in a small sleepy town too.

Once Emma settles in as a lodger with a family it’s not long before she is asked to take care of some animals. Through doing this we’re introduced to more characters and I love how much focus there was on some of the pets. A particular alsatian was really well portrayed and I loved the way Sheila Norton’s books can focus so much on the animals and yet still be about the human characters too. All of the human characters are well thought out, just like the setting, I could instantly see everything in my mind and really enjoyed getting into this story.

This first part is only a snapshot of what is happening in the story but it ends in a brilliant way that keeps you eager to read more. I’ll definitely be reading all four parts and can’t wait for the next one already which will be ‘Part two: New Beginnings’. If you don’t enjoy having to wait for all four parts to be released or prefer them all in one book then you’ll have to wait until February/March to get your hands on the full story but I can certainly recommend this series already based on what I’ve read.

As I said, I enjoyed Norton’s ‘The Vets at Hope Green’ already, but in this book, there’s something about the mystery surrounding Emma’s past and her being an outsider to a small town that makes this book even more appealing, to me, than ‘The Vets at Hope Green’. Although this book already has an air of predictability to it, being a lighthearted romantic contemporary story, this didn’t bother me as there’s still so much of Emma’s past to be revealed and I can’t wait to see what else will happen with the animals in the next part of the story!

-Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy.


What do you think of this introductory part to the novel?  Have you read any books by Sheila Norton before?  Let me know I’d love to hear what you think 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

#BookReview: Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield #MPBooks

Hilarious start to a brilliant book series!

Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans book coverTitle: Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans

Author/Illustrator: Gary Northfield

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle grade/Older Children’s fiction, Humour

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description: So you think you know ZEBRAS, do you?  They’re handsome, eat lots of grass, and um…are always getting eaten by lions.  Let’s face it, they’re a little bit boring and stupid, too.  But a tussle with a grumpy gladiator can soon change a zebra…So cheer on our stripy hero, Julius, as he scraps for survival in history’s deadliest theatre: THE COLOSSEUM!  Just don’t call him a horse! (or Debra…)

My Review:  This book is so hilarious and just so silly but with a brilliant story too! ‘Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans’ is the first book in the Julius Zebra series with the second and third books being ‘Bundle with the Britons’ and ‘Entangled with the Egyptians’. This book is where the adventures of Julius begins. Having been forced to go to the lake with his mother and his brother Brutus, Julius wants nothing more than to leave the stinky place and go home. But when a stampede of animals runs from the lake Julius finds himself alone, with a very annoying warthog, and together they have to escape both a lion and the Romans who are after them.

I started reading this series from the second book and have really loved it but going back to this first book I was a little worried that I might not find it as funny as the later ones, as sometimes happens when you enter a series in the middle. However I shouldn’t have been worried, this book had me laughing from the first pages ad it’s fun to see how Julius, a zebra from Africa, ends up battling Roman gladiators.

Very funny and silly images throughout the text.

The book is pure humour and a very daft/silly humour which I just love. It has a very British humour, even down to the characters saying things like ‘Cor!’ and it feels like some classic British comedies where there’s a lot of silliness and slapstick involved. The book also has a Horrible Histories feel to it seeing as Julius is a zebra in the times when the Romans were a powerful nation. As the story unfolds there are lots of illustrations to go along with the text. These pictures have to be read along side the text, they make up part of the story and something about this style of book is just so appealing and I really enjoy it.

The illustrations are hilarious and there’s just something I find instantly funny about Julius, his friends and those eyes! Every pictures is silly and I’ll admit I laughed aloud on more than one occasion from the pictures alone! The pictures are all black and white. The ending of the story is a satisfying one, in fact it is my favourite ending of any Julius Zebra book (so far) given what Julius does. The book has a proper conclusion but also an epilogue which leads nicely into the second book ‘Bundle with the Britons’.

Fun images tell the story as well as the text.

One thing I really love about this book is the setting and the fact that it’s a bit of a historical lesson in Romans too. There is a glossary at the back of the book explaining some of the Roman terms and words that you read in the text as well as a fun lesson on how to count in roman Numerals and of course Cornelius is always explaining facts within the story.

I can’t recommend this book enough, and in fact the entire series. I have definitely become a fan of Julius Zebra and can’t wait for every adventure he goes on. It’s a wonderfully funny book which plenty of kids will love, but it’s also a bit educational too. I also think a fair few adults will enjoy this story too.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this book and the series?  Do you enjoy humorous books or do you prefer more serious ones?  Talk to me in the comments box below, I love hearing from you 🙂  You can also follow me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

#BookReview: Silly Billy by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

A great children’s book tackling the subject of worries, with a surreal twist.

Silly BillyTitle: Silly Billy

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description: Billy is a bit of a WORRIER.  He WORRIES so much, he can’t sleep.  Luckily Grandma knows just what he needs to help him overcome his fears – And once Billy learns Grandma’s secret, he finds he never has to WORRY again.

My Review:  This is a great book for kids who naturally worry a lot. Billy worries about a lot of things, hats, shoes and clouds to name a few. Billy feels silly but then he speaks to his Grandma and she tells him a special secret. The paperback is roughly A4 in size, though wider, and is filled with thick glossy pages of colourful illustrations.

Very simple image to start the story.

I like this book and the message it has, especially because Billy’s cure for his worries is something so simple and that has been used for generations in South America. I don’t really want to spoil the story by telling you what Billy uses to stop worrying but it’s a clever and simple thing. The story of ‘Silly Billy’ is generally very simple and although Billy is ‘cured’ of his worrying in the middle of the book, the tale isn’t over and there’s something funny that happens towards the end. The ending of the story is satisfying and I like the fact that there’s a message encouraging kids to share this ‘cure’ for their worries and the fact that it’s so easy for kids to make themselves.

The images in the story are quite simple and yet tell the story very well. I like the pictures of Billy’s worries, they have a slightly surreal feel to them such as shoes walking themselves out of the window. I also love how colourful some of the characters on the last pages are, it fits well with the colours on the book cover.

Fun colourful images alongside monotone worries with surreal twists.

Overall this is a great book for kids especially those that worry about a lot of things, and a great book for adults to read to kids if they want to discuss any worries kids might have.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne Collection).


Are you a bit of a worrier like Billy?  What do you think of this book?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

#BookReview: Willy the Champ by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

An interesting book dealing with the subject of bullies in a fun and surreal way.

Willy the ChampTitle: Willy the Champ

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description: Willy is different. He likes to read books and listen to music; he’s no good at sports, although he tries; and wherever he goes he gets laughed at. But when he’s threatened by the horrible Buster Nose he really comes into his own.

My Review:  I’m not sure what to think of this book. I’m not a massive fan of the Willy the Chimp books although I’ve come to enjoy quite a few of them. ‘Willy the Champ’ is a story which seems a bit similar to ‘Willy the Wimp’. The paperback is quite small, around A4 in it’s width (if you hold an A4 sized paper upright) although shorter than A4 in height. It’s filled with thick and glossy pages which themselves have lots of very colourful images.

The story starts by showing us what Willy likes to do, listen to music, read and visit the park with his friend Millie. But Willy isn’t really good at anything that the gorillas are good at. He tries to be sporty, like them, and do what they are good at such as bike racing and football but Willy isn’t like the others. Plenty of kids could easily relate to Willy’s character in this book, I certainly wasn’t the sporty type at school and I can instantly recognise that feeling of not being good at anything the other kids are good at. The story is very short and it seems like Willy won’t be good at anything until he faces a bully called Buster Nose.

Colourful images from the start.

The way Willy deals with Buster Nose is funny and it’s an okay ending to the book, but this just didn’t seem as good a story as other Willy books I’ve read. Any message of standing up to a bully and managing to overcome them in this way seems to be lost a little in this tale and I’m not sure a lot of kids would understand any message the book has, instead enjoying the basic story and pictures more.

I like the illustrations. There are funny and many of the pages have a surreal feel to them such as a gorilla in the park taking a banana for a walk! I do like all the pictures though the way that some of the gorillas look in the pool or Buster Nose himself are a bit strange. The book was originally printed in the 80s though and some of the strange outfits of the gorillas in the books might be due to that.

Very colourful images with interesting surreal things to spot.

Although I like the illustrations, I just didn’t like this story as much as the other Willy books I’ve read and I’m not sure all kids would enjoy this book.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne Collection).


What do you think of this book?  Have you read it before?  Do you like surreal books?  Please let me know all your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also follow My Peacock Books in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

#BookReview: His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones & David Roberts #MPBooks

A fun picture book tackling the issue of new siblings in a different and fun way.

His Royal Tinyness book coverTitle: His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story

Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones

Illustrator: David Roberts

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

Description: Once upon a time there was a Happy Family.  Then, one horrible, NO GOOD day, a new ruler was born…BEHOLD – His Royal Highness King Baby!

My Review:  This is a funny book with a great message and is perfect for any kids with younger siblings who may sometimes feel jealous of the attention they’re getting. ‘His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story’ is about A4 in height although wider than a typical A4 piece of paper. The hardback book comes with a sleeve which has some lovely bronze shiny outlines on the cover. Inside the book is filled with thick matt pages with lots of colourful illustrations and text.

The story is a simple one and is told by the little girl in the book. She starts by telling us how there was once a happy family with a mom, dad, a gerbil and her, a wonderful and perfect princess (her). But then a new ruler, King Baby(her baby brother) was born which meant that the princess was no longer cared for by her parents and left to fend for herself in the world. The story is actually very funny and is entirely from the perspective of the little girl who doesn’t like her new baby brother or the way her parents now look after him so much and seem to not care about her at all. She has to cook for herself, and generally take care of herself all alone while her parents are busy with the baby. However the story isn’t quite as true as it first appears and the illustrations show exactly how ‘true’ the little girl’s story is.

Fun illustrations among the text.

The pictures in this book are very funny. I love the way that they show so much detail about what’s really going on, such as all the heavy shopping that the poor princess has to carry (which is actually just one aubergine in a basket while dad carries bags of shopping!). Although most of the pictures are what is actually happening in the family, some pages show the girl’s own drawings and how she perceives how things are. I really like the style of pictures, there’s something about the way the characters look that I just enjoy and I like the hidden extras in each picture, not only of what is really happening with the girl but all the little extra things in the pictures to spot including the gerbil.

Some reviewers haven’t enjoyed this book much, stating that some children wouldn’t enjoy it, but I really have and can see kids enjoying this too although they might need an adult to sit down with them and point out all the little things in the pictures and show kids that the princess isn’t as poor and alone as she thinks. The whole story is about the girl’s imagination, the fact that she says right at the start that she has long flowing hair, when in fact she is wearing yellow tights on her head, shows how the whole story is just a bit of make believe. The ending is funny and has a wonderful message of getting along with younger siblings. I won’t give away the ending but it shows that all is well and kids shouldn’t fear or get upset about having younger brothers or sisters (particularly baby ones) as there’s plenty of good things including the bonus on the last page!

Funny pictures show what’s happening well.

Overall I really liked this book and think it would be great fun for any kids to read. Whether kids ‘get it’ probably depends on how involved an adult is in reading the story with the kids, showing all the fun extras, as well as how creative and imaginative the kids are. I certainly would have enjoyed and understood this book, even as an only child, as I have always been very imaginative and could relate to the girl and her imaginative story telling.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think about this fun way to tackle the subjects of baby brothers and sisters?  Would you enjoy reading a book like this?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

#BookReview: Look What I’ve Got! by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

A powerful and surreal picture book with a really important message.

Look What I've Got! book coverTitle: Look What I’ve Got!

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture book

Feathers:  One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description: Jeremy, it seems, has everything: a new bicycle, a pirate outfit, an enormous bag of lollipops. But he won’t share anything with Sam. Could it be, though, that Sam has something far more valuable? This stunning book is filled with visual jokes and a message to inspire.

My Review:  This is a brilliant book with a clever story which may have been missed on some people. ‘Look What I’ve Got!’ seems like a simple story but there’s a clever message in this story which some kids may need explaining.

The book is a little smaller than A4 in size and is filled with thick glossy and colourful pages. The tale seems quite simple, Sam goes for a walk and during this walk he meets Jeremy who shows off his new bicycle to Sam “Look what I’ve got! I bet you wish you had one.” Jeremy doesn’t let Sam ride his bike, instead he just shows it off. But Sam doesn’t seem bothered. The story continues along this familiar theme, Jeremy constantly showing off what he has but never sharing it with Sam.

The first page of the book

The illustrations are very clever and there is much more to each picture than first appears. The pictures are nice and clear but all the clever little extras you see make this quite a detailed book too. For example there are ears on the wall ‘The walls have ears’ and the drain pipe in the same picture looks like a snowman when you take a few minutes to spot it! All these strange images give the book a really surreal, Dali-like feel and it makes it very fun for both adults and kids to spot all the little things.

The story has a simple end which is satisfying if you understand the message of the tale, but it may be lost on some kids without adults pointing out what this book is really about. I’m not spoiling the actual story of Sam and Jeremy but I don’t feel I’d do justice to how brilliant this book is without saying that it’s all about the power of imagination. Although everywhere Sam goes might seem normal at first, his imagination conjures up all sorts of strange things. The main message of the book is that imagination is far better than all the material things that Jeremy has and it’s this that makes the book such an amazing read and one I’d really recommend.

Fun and clear images with some fun surreal extras.

All the illustrations are great, I especially like the fish images in the park as well as the hidden things in the last page, however there is an image of a park keeper that looks like Adolf Hitler which may shock some people. This book was first published in 1980 though, when I believe Hitler was a more known character among both the adults and kids. Although an Amazon reviewer has pointed out the Hitler reference and complained about it, I believe that it’s simply Sam’s imagination creating a Hitler likeness for the park keeper (what he sees as a very bad/evil man) and if the book had been written today it may have been an image of Voldemort or some other character which kids know to be bad. I still believe this book can be read to kids today, they just need to be told that this park keeper looks like a very bad man from history and they can learn more about it when they are older.

Clever surreal pictures mirror the real ones.

Overall I really do like this book. The message of imagination over material things is so clever and one that many kids these days may benefit from. I also think many kids may relate to Sam, I certainly did as I couldn’t have a wealth of toys when I was younger but my imagination was very strong. A great book both kids and adults will enjoy.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne collection).


What do you think of this book’s message?  What about books with surreal images?  Please let me know any thoughts you may have on this book or anything else.  I love hearing from you 🙂  Don’t forget you can also find me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

#BookReview: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James #MPBooks

An exciting science fiction novel with a thrilling twist!

Title: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Author: Lauren James

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Science fiction, Young adult (teen)

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description:  Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew member on a spaceship bound for a new planet.  She is the loneliest girl in the universe, until she hears that a second spaceship has launch from Earth, with a single passenger on board.  A boy called J.
Their only communication is via email, and the messages take months to transmit, yet Romy finds herself falling in love.  But what does she really know about J?  And what do the strange new messages from Earth mean?  Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

My Review:  Wow! I was so gripped by this novel I read it all in one day! ‘The Loneliest Girl in the Universe’ is a science fiction teen novel but with an amazing psychological thriller twist. Set in the not too distant future, Romy Silvers is the only surviving member of the crew of the Infinity, a spaceship sent by NASA to establish human life on another planet, in another solar system. But when another ship is sent to soon join the Infinity on its mission, Romy gets some unsettling news from Earth, and the only person she can speak to is the mysterious J on the other ship.

The book begins with a page explaining the launch of the Infinity spaceship in 2048, it’s written like a newspaper article and gets you understanding the plot and setting straight away. After that the story begins, almost two decades later. Written in the first person perspective and in the present tense, it was easy to get into this story right away.

Each chapter doesn’t have a number but is instead marked by how many days it’s been since the Infinity left Earth. I have to say I enjoyed the way these chapters were marked and it becomes more and more important to the plot as the story progresses. Romy is a typical teenage girl (although born in space!) with a love of a certain tv show and writing fan fiction among other things and I found it easy to warm to her character right away. I actually found myself relating to her, her feeling of isolation and anxiety, and at times being and doing things that were a bit silly or childish. At the start of the book you get to know Romy’s character and what she goes through day to day, but things soon take a strange and dark turn.

Although this is a science fiction novel, it felt far more like a psychological thriller. At first there are little things that happen in the plot that make you question what is going on, but the further you go into the story the darker everything gets. I don’t want to reveal more of the story but it was very exciting and sinister too. As things get worse and worse for Romy and sinister nightmares haunt her in the dark I found myself feeling so creeped out while reading this. It didn’t help that I was alone in my own house while I was reading and it got dark as the evening settled in. When I stopped reading to go an eat, it left me with a feeling of being on edge, as any good psychological thriller would!

The book is a science fiction novel but the science is not complicated to understand. I’m actually amazed at some of the technology used, like how artificial gravity is made (such a simple explanation), but it’s all explained in an easy to understand way which means that even those who are not so into science fiction novels might enjoy this book.

There is an amazing twist towards the end and it’s nothing I could have ever predicted. There are a few moments when you almost gasp reading the truth of what has happened. I loved the way certain truths were revealed in small bits, always making you question what really happened and leaving you completely surprised when you finally do find out. The ending of the story is good, some reviewers have complained that the ending is a bit short but I think it’s just right. There’s a satisfying ending to the novel but it doesn’t go on and on which I think fits, given the quick pace of the novel overall.

There’s nothing really offensive in the book although there is a couple uses of the f word towards the ending which do fit the situation. The book is set out in short chapters with transcripts and emails and bits of Romy’s fan fiction also included on various pages. I really liked the format of the book on the whole too. I’ve read a review or two that didn’t like the fan fiction part of the story but I think it fits in with both Romy’s character and what she writes about, plus there is a point to it towards the end of the book.

Overall I would really recommend this book. The science fiction element is certainly good but it’s the psychological tension that really grips you and will make you want to read this book to the end!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this exciting story?  Do you like science fiction novels, what about psychological thrillers?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon