All posts filed under: Fiction Books

Book Review – The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale Hardcover: 318 pages Author: Margaret Atwood Illustrations by: Anna and Elena Balbusso Published by The Folio Society 2012 – Second printing 2017 RRP £38.95 An Adult Fictional Book – Classic Dystopian Themed Novel/Speculative Fiction OVERVIEW The Handmaid’s Tale has been in print for over 30 years so this review is more an evaluation of the second printing 2017 by The Folio Society, London, which includes some fabulous illustrations and is introduced by the author. As with most dystopian themed classics, this too, is chillingly prophetic. In this strange world, the narrator, Offred is a Handmaid in service to the Republic of Gilead (a country that stands in the place of what was the USA) in a future near. Gilead is built around a single goal: the control of reproduction. Political subjugation creates a society in which women are treated as subhuman. The Wives, Handmaids (and the Marthas) serve their husbands, the military Commanders and their households in one way or another. The state tackles the problem of the decrease in birth rates by …

Book Review – A Dangerous Crossing

A Dangerous Crossing Author Rachel Rhys Published by Doubleday Release date 23 March 2017 RRP 12.99 (Hardback) An Adult Fictional Book – Crime Thriller OVERVIEW Set in 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII, and young, Lily Shepherd takes an ocean liner journey from England to Australia. Compelled to get away from the dark shadows of near past events, her plan is to live in Sydney working in domestic service for a couple of years. Once aboard the good ship Orontes Lily makes her friendships and acquaintances with a small band of people almost straightaway. As a single woman, travelling alone, Lily is thrown into new experiences. Early in the voyage she suffers a bout of sickness, and is home sick at times, especially as news filters through of Germany’s growing aggression. Lily is cliquey with certain people. Her attentions go to a couple from the first-class deck to whom there is much gossip and scandal attached. The pair load luxury upon her. In the meantime, she is having flashbacks, she’s trying to cope with …

A Miscellany of MAGICAL BEASTS by Simon Holland – Book Review

A Miscellany of MAGICAL BEASTS by Simon Holland. Illustration contributions by Gary Blithe – David Demaret – Nelson Evergreen – John Howe – Mike Love – Kev Walker – Helen Ward – David Wyatt ISBN 978-1-4088-8195-8 Published by Bloomsbury in Hardcover – Release date 20 October 2016 RRP £14.99 A Children’s Picture Book (Hardback) Overview: This recently released children’s title from Bloomsbury is an authentic collection of mystical beasts from fairy tale worlds, ancient myths, and magical storybook greats. Simon Holland (the author) introduces (in chapters) a creature each time. His passion for the subject is infectious and the information he shares is well researched, paragraphs are not too word laden. The art contributions show fantastical creatures, and their surrounds, using a variety of illustrative styles. There are Giants and Trolls, Unicorns, Griffins and Werewolves. There’s Pegasus (from the Greek myths) and Dragons of course. 20 creatures altogether, plus a page of Elvish spells and tricks and another of Magical Words. The mechanics of the book’s presentation include fold-out pieces which achieves the dimensions of that …

Children’s Picture Books by Tom McLaughlin

I have added a new review of a picture book called Up, Up and Away by Tom McLaughlin, it joins a previously published review of The Cloudspotter by the same author. CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO READ BOTH REVIEWS   ISBN 978-1-4088-5496-9 The Cloudspotter Author – Tom McLaughlin Published by Bloomsbury in hardback – Release date 18 June 2015 RRP £10.99 A Picture StoryBook for children aged up to … Source: Children’s Picture Books by Tom McLaughlin

Book Review GIRL vs BOY BAND by Harmony Jones

Girl vs Boy Band THE RIGHT TRACK Author – Harmony Jones Published by Bloomsbury in Paperback – Release date 02 June 2016 RRP £6.99 A Children’s Fictional Book – for 12 + years Overview: The first title in the Girl vs Boy Band series. Lark is twelve and music is her world. Lark secretly writes songs and is always keeping look out for ideas for new lyrics. Mum, Donna, is a music producer and divorced from dad, a session musician, who lives away. The boy band from England, called Abbey Road, are Donna’s new proteges who come to live, study and work alongside Lark and Donna in their LA home. Lark is excited at first, but things do not run smoothly with the boys Comment and Guide: Lark is very much the central character and author, Harmony Jones, makes the most of the idea of this young girl being right in the thick of what is deemed as an artistically enriched, glamorous lifestyle. Thus appealing to the adolescent readers who may imagine their idols being …

Event 2 #HarryPotterBookNight (a Night of Spells)

Today Feb 04, is #HarryPotterBookNight (a Night of Spells) Schools, libraries, bookshops and Community Centres across the world have organised their own events to mark it. The idea behind things is so to pass on the passion for the Harry Potter series of novels to young readers (those who haven’t yet discovered J.K. Rowling’s famous books), so the books continue to play a big part in popular culture. This is the second Harry Potter Book Night to take place, and there will be other ongoing events and activities to get involved in over the coming months. At the first event a favourite spell vote was launched. Here are the results: With over 2700 votes the Expecto patronum spell took first place followed closely by Accio in second place and Wingardium Leviosa in third. Expecto Patronum is key throughout the entire Harry Potter series of books. It first appears in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and is taught to Harry Potter by Professor Lupin. The top ten favourite spells is below. Full of inventiveness and cunning, these famous …

Children’s Picture Books by Tom McLaughlin

    ISBN 978-1-4088-5496-9 The Cloudspotter Author – Tom McLaughlin Published by Bloomsbury in hardback – Release date 18 June 2015 RRP £10.99 A Picture StoryBook for children aged up to 5 years OVERVIEW Franklin is a little guy, who, in his isolation, enjoys getting lost in his imagination when he makes up stories that are centered around the things he interprets out of the cloud formations in his view. We see how he responds socially and emotionally when he has to interact with another; and from then on it becomes a sweet little tale of companionship. COMMENT AND GUIDE The book has all the elements which makes for a good children’s picture story book. Told in 200 words or so using typography which intersperses with the illustrative work of the author using the Courier font. Most of the pages are sky blue and white, with strong colour featuring in an array of pastel tones. Characters are comic book style.       ISBN 978-1-4088-7025-0 UP, UP and AWAY Author – Tom McLaughlin Published by …

Book Review – Death’s Realm. An Anthology by Grey Matter Press

Paperback: 316 pages Publisher: Grey Matter Press (3 Dec. 2014) Language: English ISBN-10: 1940658330 ISBN-13: 978-1940658339 Kindle Edition £2.68 Available in Paperback OVERVIEW 16 authors contribute short stories that fall under the umbrella of Thriller/Horror or somewhere between the two. The subject of each story is ‘DEATH’ – Violence, Blood (in varying condition and quantity), and Gore, features high in this context. Ghosts too, mainly vengeful ones, is the specialism in most cases. There is common link and approach taken to comply with the required structure, and so the cutting edge element is forever present for that reason. Some stories have the quality edge over others but the writing is skilfully clever and imaginative every time. A short bio follows each story which profiles the authors in a few short paragraphs. CONTENT 1. Omniscope by Rhodes Brazos – Short Story is of the ‘trapping’ of victim(s) Writing: well written – Brazos adopts a simplicity that really works in this short story format Death: portrayed in terms of undergoing scientific experimentation (of sorts) 2. Some Other …

Book Review – HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAGPUSS Foreword by Peter Firmin

ISBN 978-1-909397-33—0 Story by Kate Haxell using Illustrations, projects, and written material from the Bagpuss albums. Additional new illustrations by Peter Firmin. Published by Collins & Brown Publication date: 20 February 2014 RRP £11.99 Content a story and activity book on the theme of Bagpuss. The famous cloth cat (Bagpuss) is 40 years old (2014), so the book has been released to mark the occasion and to celebrate a slice of TV history. Introduction Foreword is by Peter Firmin, who, along with the late, Oliver Postgate was the founder of Smallfilms for the BBC. Firmin produced artwork, models and props for Bagpuss in the 1970s. Narrator Postgate also filmed sequences in his signature stop motion style also seen in children’s programmes such as Clangers and Ivor the Engine. Only thirteen Bagpuss episodes were made with the first broadcast in 1974. Bagpuss was repeated many times over the following decades. Range of information 8/10 activities: sewing projects and an embroidery sampler; a recipe for sugar mice; a knitting project (Bagpuss) a board and counter game (repeated …

Book Review – THE QUIRKS in CircuS QuirkuS by Erin Soderberg

ISBN 978-1-4088-4293-5 The Quirks in Circus Quirkus Author – Erin Soderberg Illustrated by Kelly Light – Cover Illustration by Luke Watson Published by Bloomsbury in Paperback – Release date 13 February 2014 RRP £5.99 A Children’s Fictional Book – Aged 7-9 years ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Overview This is the second published book about The Quirk family who possess magical powers. Granny is a fairy, Grandpa can mess with time; Bree Quirk can make people believe what they want to, and Finn (aged 5), is invisible unless he’s chewing gum. Penelope has an imagination that is out of control, while her twin, Molly, seems to be the only Quirk not to have a special power; although her immunity to the magic of the others makes her unique in that sense. There is also a pet monster in the house called Niblet! The Circus of the Dazzling Stars comes to Normal – the family’s hometown, so the Quirk children are learning circus skills when at school. At home however, there is the usual mischievous mayhem going on and ongoing …