#BookHaul: Walker Books (2nd haul) November 2017 #MPBooks

An amazing bookhaul in time for a special birthday! 😍


Some of you may know that it’s my birthday tomorrow.  I’m not sure what I’ll be doing for my birthday on this blog yet, I’m not sure if I’ll do much at all to be honest as I really haven’t planned anything but I’m sure I’ll come up with something if it’s even just a poem.  In the meantime, what a wonderful present I got in the post yesterday from Walker Books.  It’s more books!  There’s two books that I’ve been sent and as usual I’m going to review them here as soon as I can.  But in the meantime feast your eyes on these lovely books and tell me if you’re thinking of reading them (or have already!)…

The first is this beautiful book:

Walker November 2017 City of Bones
This book looks sooo good! (ignore the scuffed corner 😮 )

The Mortal Instruments (Book 1): City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – The tenth anniversary of Cassandra Clare’s phenomenal City of Bones demands a luxe new edition. The pride of any fan’s collection, City of Bones now has new cover art, over thirty interior illustrations, and six new full-page colour portraits of everyone’s favourite characters! This beautifully crafted collector’s item also includes a new piece written by Cassandra Clare. A perfect gift for the Shadowhunter fan in your life.  This is the book where Clary Fray first discovered the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. The book where she first met Jace Wayland, the best Shadowhunter of his generation. The book that started it all.

That book sounds amazing but there’s another special book I got, at least it’s like a birthday gift for me!…

Walker November 2017 Julius Zebra
It’s the first Julius Zebra book! ‘Rumble with the Romans’! 😀 😀 😀

Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield – 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…)

Having come to the Julius Zebra series from the second book and read both ‘Bundle with the Britons’ and ‘Entagled with the Egyptians’ I’m so excited to be able to read the first book that started my love of this funny series!  I also hear there’s going to be a fourth book in the series too, set in Ancient Greece! 😮  I’m making a prediction of that cover being green (seeing as we’ve got a yellow, red, and blue cover already :P)

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books before or plan to, or even look forward to my reviews  😍

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#BookReview: Football School Season 2: Where Football Explains the World by Alex Bellos, Ben Lyttleton & Spike Gerrell #MPBooks

A book that’s fun to read regardless of whether you enjoy the sport or not.

Football School book coverTitle: Football School Season 2: Where Football Explains the World

Authors: Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton

Illustrator: Spike Gerrell

Publisher: Walker Books

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Description: At Football School, EVERY lesson is about football.  This book is packed with true stories, real science and fascinating facts.  Find the answers to all these questions: What is a Vomitory?  Why are footballs NOT round?  Where do goalkeepers let in chickens?  What can we learn from dinosaur poo?

My Review: This is such a fun book for any football fan but it will also spark an interest in those that aren’t! ‘Football School Season 2’ is the follow up book to ‘Football School season 1’ although you don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this one.

Aimed at kids this hardback book is filled with lots of fun facts and illustrations all centred around football but done in a very fun and unique way. Because this is football school the book starts with an introduction and a timetable set out like a school timetable with subjects such as biology, maths and art. These subjects are actually chapters in the book and I really like the fun way this book is arranged. The whole book has a slight ‘Horrible Histories’ sort of feel to it as there are illustrations throughout that are silly, the facts you learn along the way are sometimes a little weird and icky (especially the first chapter on urine!), and there are funny jokes throughout.

The authors introduce themselves in a fun way.

Although the book feels fun to read there are lots of interesting facts to learn which makes this much more interesting than just any funny book. The first chapter for example teaches kids about urine, which might seem weird and slightly off putting but I’m impressed with how the biology of the urinary system is explained to kids and found some of the extra football related urine facts really interesting. Every chapter ends with a quiz to see if you remember what you’ve learned, with answers to the questions found at the back of the book.

A new feature in this book which wasn’t in the original is the after school club. This is like a mini lesson but focuses more in techniques that kids can really try out to improve their balance, mind, health (with some great smoothie recipes), relaxation techniques, and even exercises to improve your feet, some of which I’m going to try out (even as an adult) as they seem to be very useful in stretching ligaments and improving muscles and balance.

Fun illustrations throughout the text 🙂

The illustrations in this book are what make this so fun. All the illustrations are in shades of black and white but are just fun to look at. They are very funny and along with the funny facts you just can’t help but laugh at some of the things you see. What is also fun is the fact that each page has illustrations throughout and it breaks up the text making it easy and more fun to read, and I love the fact that the authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton are drawn throughout the book adding their own humour and fun jokes at the start of each lesson.

This book is aimed at kids but I’m sure some adults will enjoy looking at this too. It would be perfect for any football fans but it’s also a book I think some non-football fans might enjoy. As somebody who doesn’t follow football I can say that I’ve found it really fun and interesting to read and it’s certainly made me a little more interested in the sport.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

Do you enjoy football?  What about this book?  Is this a book you think you might like reading?  Let me know your thoughts, I love hearing from you 🙂  Don’t forget you can also find me in these places: 

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#BookHaul: Walker Books November 2017 #MPBooks

A wonderful Christmassy book haul filled with all sorts of goodies including some Harry Potter related books!

(Before you start reading the main post – WordPress admin is giving me a bit of trouble today, not letting me create links or edit images, so I had to create this post and fix the missing bits in the standard editor.  I’m not used to it and the blog post took almost twice as long to write up than usual.  Has anyone else noticed any issues with the admin editor or do you not use it?)  Anyway on to today’s post:

A few days ago I received this wonderful bundle of books from Walker Books, even more Christmas goodies are in this haul, to go with the Christmassy books in last month’s book haul, along with a bunch of books that would make great presents any time of year!  I’ll be reviewing them here throughout this month and next, so I hope you like the look of these books, let me know which ones interest you.   Here’s the collection in no particular order 😀 :

Some great picture books and a hardback story book on myths!

Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares – Red and Lulu make their nest in a beautiful evergreen tree.  It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cosy in the cold months.  But one day Red and Lulu are separated.  It will take a miracle for them to find each other again.  Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles…

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor & Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland & Jeffrey Alan Love – The gods of the Vikings come to life as never before in this extraordinary illustrated anthology.  Dramatic, enthralling and atmospheric tales based on the Scandinavian myth cycle tell of Odin with his one eye, Thor with his mighty hammer and Loki, the red haired, shape-shifting trickster.

Penguin Problems by Jory John & Lane Smith – Little Penguin has problems: his beak is cold; there’s snow everywhere; the water smells salty; he waddles; he looks the same as everybody else.  No – it’s not easy being a penguin!

A couple of books that stood out in this book haul – literally.  A pop-up book and a big A3 sized hardback about cities.

Two very different books but both equally stunning!

World of Cities by Lily Murray & James Brown – Climb Paris’s Eiffel tower, explore Cairo’s ancient pyramids, wander the busy streets of New Delhi and see the lights of Shanghai in this whirlwind, large format tour of the world’s most beautiful cities.

The Christmas Story: An Exquisite Pop-up retelling by Robert Sabuda – The Nativity is brought to life by master pop-up artist Robert Sabuda in six gorgeously imagined, white and gold 3-D scenes, making this a Christmas gift book to treasure.

And for Harry Potter fans:

Some amazing books with plenty of stunning images and fun things to see.

J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Collection – This pack is the ultimate insider’s guide to the eight Harry Potter films and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  People and places, creatures and artifacts and all are explored in these interactive compendia through inserts, detailed character profiles and fascinating insights into the making of the films.

I’ll be reviewing the collection as well as an in-depth review of each book over the next month or so.  Hope you enjoyed a look at this book haul, don’t forget to tell me which books interest you 🙂

Did any of the books above interest you?  Have you recently got your own book post/haul you’d love to share?  Let me know all your thoughts, I love hearing from you 🙂  Don’t forget you can also find me in these places: 

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#Book Review: The Wonderling by Mira Bartók #MPBooks

A beautiful and magical fantasy tale for all ages!

The Wonderling book coverTitle: The Wonderling

Author: Mira Bartók

Illustrator: Mira Bartók

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle grade/ older children’s fiction, fantasy

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Description: Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, run by the evil Miss carbuncle, a cunning villainess, who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer.
For the Wonderling, an innocent one-eared “groundling” – a mix of fox and boy – the Home is all he has ever known.  But when unexpected courage leads him to protect a young bird groundling, Trinket, from being bullied, she in return gives him two incredible gifts: a real name – Arthur, like the good king in the old stories – and a best friend.
With the help of an ingenious invention by Trinket, the two friends escape from the Home and embark on an extraordinary quest into the wider world and down the path of Arthur’s true destiny.

With its shimmering language and richly imagined plot, The Wonderling is a spellbinding adventure that will leave readers with a head full of wonder and a heart full of song.

My Review:  This is such a beautiful and magical tale, it’s the perfect story to read no matter how old you are. ‘The Wonderling’ follows the story of Number thirteen, a very shy one eared half-fox half-human boy who lives at Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. The orphanage is an unpleasant place, there is no space for the young groundlings (the half-animal half-humans) to have fun, and poor Number Thirteen is so shy and alone that he doesn’t have any friends or even a proper name. But one day he’s forced to do something brave, an act that begins his journey to his destiny.

The book is quite large for a children’s book, at around 460 pages for the hardback, and contains some beautiful old-fashioned looking illustrations throughout. The hardback I have has an outer sleeve covering an old fashioned style dark green book (beautifully bound), and the sleeve has some beautiful images (like the ones found inside) along with some lovely shiny copper embellishments which can’t be seen easily from the above picture. The book is separated into three parts with each part being given a brief description along with some illustrations. There is also a lovely map at the start of the book which all together gives this book such an old-fashioned and beautiful feel.

The story is so easy to get into and I was enjoying it from the very first page. There is a real adventure feel to this as well as a magical Dickensian vibe. The story is set in the Victorian age, given the way the characters look and the technology they have, but it is firmly a fantasy world where groundlings exist. Number Thirteen, or Arthur as he is later known is such a sweet character, very timid but also with a heart of gold. It was so easy to like him straight away and like many magical children’s stories I think kids will warm to his character straight away. As the story progresses chapters occasionally switch to different characters. The whole story is written in the third person but you sometimes find out what is happening elsewhere in the story. This switch is never confusing and is often very interesting as sometimes characters are not just described by their names but in a more outward way, such as one scene talking about what two birds are doing in a house, mentioning them as birds rather than using character names. It gives the book a very magical feel and an almost movie quality to each scene.

An example of the style of illustration found throughout the book (I didn’t want to include any more images as it would spoil the story to see them)

A lot happens in the story and I really don’t want to spoil it by explaining as it’s really a magical adventure that Arthur and his friend go on. But I will say that this book really kept me reading on and on and it sucked me into this magical world that is so beautifully imagined. The Victorian style world where groundlings exist as well as some magical and powerful creatures is just amazing. The pictures really add to this magic too. All of the pages have some beautiful embellishment, even text only pages have some decoration around the page numbers, and when there is an illustration it wraps beautifully around the text. The pictures have a slight brown/sepia tint to them, with a hint of orange being used in pictures of Number Thirteen. The illustrations are really beautiful, you have to see them to see the beauty. They really enhance some of the images you create in your mind when reading the book and I can’t help but feeling a twinge in my heart when I see a picture of the little fox groundling or of his friend who I can’t help think looks like a very cute Kiwi bird.

The ending of the story is satisfying and it feels like the perfect tale to read at Christmas, as the date is significant in the story. I feel like I’ve been on a magical journey after reading this book and I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was one day turned into a magical movie as it’s just so wonderful a read. I would recommend this to anyone of any age. Of course it is aimed at older children but I doubt anyone older, who enjoys magical fantasy stories (especially ones featuring animals) would be able to resist enjoying this book!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.

What do you think of this magical story?  do you enjoy reading magical/fantasy stories?  What about tales with animals in them?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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October 2017 Round-up #MPBooks

A round-up of October plus plans for November (including a special date) 🙂

Picture of reading in bed
Image from Pexels.com

October was a mixture of good and bad.  Though mostly good I did suffer a rather horrible bout of migraines which left me unable to use anything with screens, like my laptop, phone and e-reader as looking at screens just made the headaches worse.  I think my attempt at reading one of my backlog of NetGalley books (‘Unstoppable: My Life So Far’ by Maria Sharapova) probably made the bout all the worse as I tried to push through and finish reading it so I could review, rather than put it down and listen to my body.  The book is an interesting read for anyone interested in Maria Sharapova or women’s tennis and please take a look at it if you want to by clicking on the link above or any other links in this post (all links open in new tabs).

My Peacock Books Alternate Banner for non wide screen viewDespite the bad I’ve had a lot of good happen this month, with a wide mixture of posts and I tried to do two new things on the blog! :)  Firstly the most popular post of the month was a short discussion post which led to a lot of conversations.  What is Your Trademark? got some great shares online and it was a fun post to discuss what makes our blogs unique.

Pedestrian Pigeons

My second most popular post was a simple photograph.  It was also my first attempt at joining in the weekly photo challenge on wordpress.  It was a lot of fun and I hope you like both this post called Pedestrian Pigeons as well as another photo I’m proud of called Boat vs Swan – just try to find the swan 😉

Pet Show LizardTwo light-hearted poems made it as the 3rd and 4th most popular posts, I don’t think I wrote a dark poem this month.   Elastic Skin was a fun poem I really enjoyed writing and I even used my own photo I’d taken at a Pet Show of this interesting gentleman.  The other popular post was a motivational one called Be Grateful which I hope everyone will enjoy taking the time to read as it holds a good message (which I need to remind myself of sometimes!)

The Great Catsby book coverMy book reviews only netted an average view this month, the only stand out review that got more hits than any others was The Great Catsby, an interesting cat version of the classic book.  It’s worth a look at as it’s also a picture book and the images alone are really fun to look at!

This month I gave another book the special ‘Phoenix the Peacock’s Favourite’s Stamp’! This favourites award only goes to what I consider to be the very best ever books:Image of Phoenix the Peacock's favourite stampThere are so many amazing books but I’m very picky about who gets the stamp and so far only two books have received it (this one included).    The Dollmaker of Krakow book coverThe amazing book I deemed worthy is The Dollmaker of Kraków an amazing historical fiction novel with a touch of magical fantasy which makes for heart-warming and heart-wrenching reading.  Although it’s aimed at children, being a middle grade (older children’s) book, it’s very much a book that could be read by any age and isn’t afraid of tackling a difficult subject in Europe’s history: The Holocaust.  It’s a book I’d recommend every single person read, and with Christmas being part of the plot it would make a good Christmas present – the ending being ultimately a positive one.  I’ve now added pictures to the post so if you didn’t see them the first time please take a quick look as the illustrations in side are just beautiful!

Scared Eye

I was brave enough to try my hand at flash fiction this month and more importantly had the courage (or craziness) to publish it here!  Her Presence is only around 300 words long and is a special story for Halloween.  It’s not so much spooky as strange or maybe even silly but I hope you enjoy it.  This was my first ever attempt at such a short story as I’m more used to writing much longer and more descriptive text (as if that wasn’t obvious from the length of my blog posts!)  Let me know what you think 🙂

So what’s in store for November?  Well it’s my birthday right in the middle, on the 13th.  I expect lots of well wishes and cake 😉  I am hoping to do something on this blog for my birthday but I’m not sure if I’ll get anything done.

book pile
Image from Pixabay.com

My tbr pile is very, very long at the moment.  I’ve got a backlog of a lot of books and I’m determined to review as many of these as I can by the end of the year (or by Christmas).  I was considering doing a reading challenge (I’ve given up on reaching my Goodreads goal of 60 books) to push myself but I checked out a couple of them and didn’t like the options.  I then considered creating my own challenge!  Madness or genius?  I can’t yet decide but what do you think?  Do any of you do any reading challenges?

I’m also planning to write some more articles and discussion posts.  Now I know I say that every month but I really have a drive to write about something specific, and you’ll find out what that is this month.

So that’s my October and plans for November?  What are yours?

How was your October?  Did you celebrate Halloween?  Did you read all the books you wanted?  What do you plan to do or read in November?  Let’s chat, I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: The Tunnel by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

An interesting picture book with a fairy tale twist.

The Tunnel book cover Title: The Tunnel

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Once upon a time there lived a brother and a sister who were not at all alike. They fought and argued constantly. One morning they discover a tunnel, which changes them forever.

My Review: This is an interesting children’s story which has more depth than it first appears. A brother and a sister don’t get along and are completely different from each other. While the sister likes to read books alone and stay inside, the brother likes playing football with his friends and spending time outside. One day the siblings are forced to spend time together and then they find a tunnel. The paperback book is around A4 in size and is filled with thick glossy pages of illustrations and some text.

Colourful and clear images.


The story of ‘The Tunnel’ is quite a short one but it’s what happens when the children go through the tunnel that’s so interesting. I don’t want to spoil the story but I will say that the girl, who is afraid of going through the tunnel, is forced to search for her brother when he doesn’t return. The story of the siblings is based around a fairy tale but the book is far more interesting as there’s plenty of reference, though the pictures, to other fairy tales too.

The illustrations are simple at first but get more interesting the further into the story you go. Some of the illustrations are amazing with so many hidden creatures and things to spot, and images that look a little scary. The last few pages have a surreal feel to them and it’s interesting to spot all the other fairy tale images which at first glance you might not notice.

Detailed pictures with lots of interesting things to spot.


The ending of the story is short and simple and to me felt a little abrupt. I was hoping it would be a little more detailed but it’s still a good ending to the story and one which focuses on the siblings getting along. Overall I think kids would enjoy this book for all the pictures. I’m still spotting things hidden among the trees and I’m sure kids and adults would enjoy looking at some of the illustrations. I also think it’s a good book for telling the importance of getting along.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of The Anthony Browne Collection).

Do you like the look of this book? Do you enjoy books based on fairy tales?  Please let me know your thoughts whatever they are, I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also follow me in these places: 

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