Thursday, 29 December 2016

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | 'The New Teacher' by Dominique Demers (****)

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am delighted to welcome you to another children's book feature, and yet again I am going to be featuring another gorgeous story published by Alma Books... The New Teacher!

The New Teacher is a wonderful story about a class of children, who one day, get a brand new teacher who is (to say the least) a little bit different... enter Miss Charlotte, the teacher who talks to a rock and wears a dress with boots and brings a wheelbarrow of cooked spaghetti to class... This is an utterly enchanting, gorgeously illustrated book with marvellous characters and the perfect combination of hilarious and heartwarming moments.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

This book is the first in the series of Mademoiselle Charlotte's Advenutures where the main character keep on changing her identity and delight all children. In the first book she is a teacher, then she will be a librarian, after that a football coach, a minister and so on. Mademoiselle Charlotte is a modern Mary Poppins. The series has been very popular in Canada where it's adapted on television.

Mademoiselle Charlotte, the new teacher, is not like the others: she wears a large hat and a crumpled dress that make her look like a scarecrow, and she talks to a rock. The children think she is crazy at first, but soon realize she makes school more fun than ever, getting them to measure the room with cooked spaghetti in maths class, telling fascinating stories about a gorilla and even taking the pupils on at football.

The first book in Dominique Demers's popular series, The New Teacher, brilliantly illustrated by Tony Ross, is an entertaining, imaginative and inspiring book that will make you wish you had a teacher just like Mademoiselle Charlotte.

What I loved about this book was the constant action, adventure and excitement - the perfect combination for kids who need to get a bit more confident with their reading. The characters are all fabulous and extremely likeable - especially the eccentric and lovable Miss Charlotte. She jumped right out of the page and into my heart. Kids will love to read about the exciting lessons Miss Charlotte cooks up, such as demonstrating how people in the Medieval times used to eat, and measuring the classroom with cooked spaghetti. 

Although I whizzed through this book, I loved it throughout and found the mystery concerning who Miss Charlotte was, and where she came from, to be thoroughly gripping and intriguing. My favourite parts of the book were the illustrations by Tony Ross, which were wonderful and really made the story come alive. I also loved the description of the stories that Miss Charlotte would tell - these parts were so exciting to read and it depicted so well the magical power of storytelling, especially with children! The ending of the story was so well thought-out and bittersweet and, like any good book, left me wanting more!

Overall I really enjoyed The New Teacher and I think it is one of my favourite Alma titles I have read so far! So thank you very much for sending this title to me, Alma Books :)

The New Teacher is recommended for children aged six and upwards, but I think it would make a brilliant bedtime story to be read to kids younger than six also <3

Check out Dominique Demers here:

Check out Alma's brilliant selection of children's books here:

Until next time :)

Monday, 26 December 2016

BOOK REVIEW | 'What Light' by Jay Asher (****)

Hello readers, and happy Saturday! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and are chilling out after the Big Day yesterday! 

Today I have a 4* review of a suitably festive book for you... What Light by the fantastic author Jay Asher. I have wanted to read something by Jay Asher for a while; I have heard so many good things. Therefore when Macmillan and MyKindaBook sent me a copy of his latest read, What Light, I was delighted!

I was sent What Light in exchange for an honest review :)

What Light is a magical Christmas YA read about Sierra, a High Schooler who as long as she can remember, has spent Christmas after Christmas at her parents' Christmas tree farm in California. Packing up after Thanksgiving and not returning until Christmas day, the holiday season for Sierra has always meant leaving her two best friends, Rachel and Elizabeth, for a warmer climate, online school, and her best friend in California, Heather. This Christmas seems to be going the same as any other, until Sierra meets Caleb, and then her whole world begins to change...

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

What Light is a light, romantic, contemporary Christmas story that is perfect for reading with a hot chocolate while snuggled under your duvet this holiday. While it wasn't the most moving or thought-provoking, the novel had the perfect setting which allowed me to get totally immersed in the story. I've never been to a Christmas tree farm and I know next to nothing about them, so I enjoyed learning about Sierra and her parents' work on the farm, and about their life in California in general.

What Light is wonderfully written, and really put me in the Christmas spirit. The descriptions are flawless and really evoke the cosiness and magic of the season. My favourite character was undoubtedly Heather and found her to be kind, hilarious and most importantly realistic. She was a loyal friend to Sierra however still had her flaws, which is always important for characters in YA.

The only problem I had with this book were the characters. To be honest, the only character I liked in this book was Heather, I found everyone else to be pretty tedious. Sierra held that pretty irritating and unrealistic YA trope that all the guys seem to be obsessed with her and this is what causes the main conflict of the novel Sierra was very quick to ditch her friends in favour of this guy she had only just met, and as soon as her friends forgave her all they could talk about was Sierra's new love interest. In fact, I'm pretty sure this book would fail the Bechdel Test (a test which asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man). As a fourteen year old I would have considered this irrelevant, or probably not even noticed this, but I have read too much feminist theory at university to know when a book relies on a guy for the plot to develop. I think I would have given this book 5*s if I found out a bit more about Sierra, other than what she looks for in a guy.

Despite this, I did enjoy this book and it was a pleasant quick-read that engaged my imagination and kept me turning the pages. I loved the main themes of family, forgiveness and love and thought that Asher successfully portrayed in his story what Christmas is really about.

I would thoroughly recommend that you pick up What Light for your holiday reading!

Check out Jay Asher here:

Merry Christmas everyone! Until next time :)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | 'The Night Before Christmas' by Rose Collins (****)

Hello everyone, and happy Thursday! I can only apologise that I haven't posted in a few weeks - the end of term at uni was hectic, what with essays, Christmas parties, dinners and saying goodbye to friends! throughout the busyness admittedly I have somewhat neglected my blog and my review TBR pile... however I am determined that amongst the revision and essay writing that, unfortunately, is due to characterise my winter break, I will catch up on my blogging and reading and hopefully in the new year bring you a whole lot of new posts! 

But before we talk about the new year, let's talk about CHRISTMAS! This year I have been lucky enough to have the time to really get in the Christmas spirit; I have been a regular visitor at the Manchester Christmas Markets, I have been to a couple of Christmas dinners with friends, and also saw The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre. However, if you're not quite feeling all Christmassy yet, hopefully this post will inspire you! Today I am going to be reviewing Rose Collins' take on the classic Christmas tale, The Night Before Christmas, based on the classic by Clement Clarke Moore with an animal twist- as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, 
Not even a … BEAR ? 

Clement Clarke Moore's much loved poem is brought beautifully to life in this gorgeous picture book with a twist- as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve. 

Share the Christmas magic and experience a whole new retelling of the timeless Christmas classic. 

With beautifully illustrated pages, The Night Before Christmas is the perfect gift for any child.

A PDF copy of The Night Before Christmas was kindly sent to me by NurseryBox Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Night Before Christmas is a gorgeously illustrated, fun, Christmassy read that evokes the classic tale with a brand new twist. Every single page in the book is carefully curated with wonderful details, and not too much writing and colours that call to mind a classic, cosy Christmas. The dazzling bright colours will hold the attention of a very young reader, and for an older child the snowy scenes are particularly beautiful and contrast well with the cosy images inside the house.

This is a perfect story to read with your children, and can easily be an interactive experience. The page with Santa's reindeers has the name of all the reindeers labelled so you can name them with your child, and the use of rhyme makes for a fun reading practice for slightly older readers.

I loved this book and it is definitely a classic your kids will love this Christmas. This book is recommended for under 5s, but every child will definitely enjoy this story featuring bears, reindeers and Santa Clause. 

Check out The Night Before Christmas here -

Amazon link-

Barnes&Noble link-

Goodreads link-

Until next time :)

Thursday, 1 December 2016

QI BLOG TOUR | Top Ten Literary Facts!

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am very excited to be on blog tour, to celebrate a book that would make a marvellous Christmas present for your loved ones... the latest QI book: 1,342 QI Facts To leave you Flabbergasted written by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin and Anne Miller.

This is a wonderful book jam-packed full of facts that you can share around the dinner table at Christmas lunch this year to impress your family, or just to brush up on your general knowledge. Whether you're a fan of the programme or not, 1,342 QI Facts To leave you Flabbergasted is a fascinating, entertaining and relatively easy read for people of any age!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

The sock-blasting, jaw-dropping, side-swiping phenomenon that is QI serves up a sparkling new selection of 1,342 facts to leave you flabbergasted.

Trees sleep at night.

Google searches for 'How to put on a condom' peak at 10.28pm.

There is no word for time in any Aboriginal language.

Scotland has 421 words for snow.

Emoji is the fastest growing language in history.

Astronauts wear belts to stop their trousers falling up.

The name Donald means 'ruler of the world'.

Tanks are exempt from London's Congestion charge.

The anti-spam industry is worth more than the spam industry.

Florida has more bear hunters than bears.

Selfies kill more people than sharks.

Two-thirds of deaths in the world go unrecorded.

On each anniversary of its landing on Mars, the Curiosity rover hums 'Happy Birthday' to itself.

Nostalgia was classified as a disease by the Royal College of Physicians until 1899.

1 in 3 children pretend to believe in Santa Claus to keep their parents happy.

Black coffee drinkers are more likely to be psychopaths.

When you blush so does the lining of your stomach.

Quidditch, Digestive biscuits and overdrafts were all invented in Edinburgh.

The world's only Cornish pasty museum is in Mexico.

Nobody knows why the Oscars are called the Oscars.

Las Vegas hosts an awards ceremony for people who make awards.

In 2015, America's 'National Hero Dog Award' was won by a cat.

A group of unicorns is called a blessing.

If there are any facts you don't believe, or if you want to know more about them, all the sources can be found on

And if that amount of facts wasn't enough to tickle your tastebuds, today I am delighted to have Anne Miller on the blog, to share with us her top ten favourite literary facts!

As I type this, my keyboard is wedged onto the last remaining bit of space on my desk. Even though I regularly try to clear it, the space is constantly being colonised by books. Personally, I think this is a marvelous state of affairs but when the piles get too high they become a health and safety hazard so some of them have to head back to the QI office library.

We are just about to start work on the next series of QI which will be themed around the letter O so books about otters, owls and oranges are beginning to appear and are stacked neatly next to a volume of the second edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (from ‘Moul-Ovum’).

I also have a pile of books from researching our BBC Radio 4 programme The Museum of Curiosity including Dave Goulson’s beautiful nature books A Sting in the Tale and A Buzz in the Meadow, Tony Robinson’s autobiography No Cunning Plan and Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum – the poems of Aemilia Lanyer. Our edition is from 1993 but it was originally published in 1611.

There’s also a few novels, although they’re usually in my bag as I like reading on the tube and have almost perfected the rush hour balancing act of being able to hold onto a bar and turn pages at the same time. Finally, to my right, is a stack of newly-delivered finished copies of 1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted. The book is bursting with facts, which are linked together one to the next. I think they’re all flabbergasting but I have a soft spot for the literary facts. Here are some of my favourites:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is how the author Stieg Larsson imagined Pippi Longstocking as an adult.

The Oompa-Loompas were originally called Whipple-Scrumpets.

The video game Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic world where you get rewarded for returning library books.

In his lifetime, Edgar Allan Poe’s bestselling book was a textbook about seashells.

Charlotte Brontë’s school report said she ‘writes indifferently’ and ‘knows nothing of grammar, geography, history or accomplishments’. 

In the seven years Wordsworth was Poet Laureate, he didn’t write a single
line of poetry. 

Man Group,
sponsors of the Booker Prize, were once responsible for supplying the Royal Navy’s rum ration. 

The Norwegian version
of the Mr Men book Mr Bump is called Herr Dumpidump.

There’s a bookshop in Tokyo that only stocks one book at a time. 

The earliest known book of manners advises: ‘Do not attack your enemy while he is squatting

to defecate.’ 

Thank you so much, Anne, for appearing on my blog and for sharing with us these facts!

1,342 QI Facts to leave you flabbergasted is available from Amazon and Waterstones at price £9.99!

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the stops on the tour <3

Until next time :)