Everybody in the kingdom is supporting the brave knight Leo in his battle against his fearsome dragons. They try lots of different things to help him defeat them but eventually Leo realises that the most important thing to do is to believe in himself. This beautifully illustrated book with a poignant and uplifting rhyming story encourages children to persevere and find strength in the face of adversity, even when it seems that nothing is working. Written by Gill White for her son Leo who suffers from Ohtahara Syndrome, an extremely rare form of epilepsy, and beautifully illustrated by Fife artist Gilli B, this story has been positively received by parents of children with complex needs, by care workers and medical staff and by parents of healthy young children who love the book simply as an adventure story. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to CHAS (Children’s Hospices across Scotland).
I received a copy of this book from author and Fledgling Press in return for an honest review.
This is an inspirational book, created by a mother for her son, who has to fight his internal dragons every day. It’s hard to read this book without tears falling, the struggle is hard, for such a small child, but as often happens, Leo is stronger than anyone believed he would be.
This story has relevance for children facing illness, but will also appeal to children as a storybook, with a powerful message about the support of others, but ultimately, the will to win is internal and within the individual.
The illustrations are colourful and reflect the text well. Despite, the poignancy, the book’s ethos is positive and uplifting, and speaks of a child’s courage to overcome illness, with their own positive outlook and the support of family.
There are some ways to reinforce the sensory aspect of the book at the end of the story. which make the story interactive and interesting.
Lottie Sparkles is a little girl who loves everything sparkly, mainly clothes. Anything plain or dirty is a disgrace in Lottie s mind! When Lottie is sent to spend time with her lovely grandparents in the countryside, she is furious because that essentially means smelly animals, lots of puddles and hard work! But what she certainly didn’t count on was coming face to face with a magical object.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
I love a book which features animals and magic, and this one has both. Lottie is a young girl, who lives in the city with her professional parents and nanny, She is used to material comfort, and everything in her life is clean and ordered. With a love of sparkly things especially clothes, she views two weeks with her grandparents in the countryside with disdain and trepidation.
This is a story about trying out new experiences, realising that material possessions are not the most important things in life and finding magic in simple things.
I read the digital version of the story, and the illustrations are lovely, complementing the text well. The story is simple to read but uses words that stretch a child’s understanding and vocabulary.
The magical element makes the story special and teaches Lottie an important lesson. The characters are lovely. especially the animals and the story has a fairytale quality with a positive ending.
The author loves everything sparkly and glittery but hopefully, she says, she is not a diva like Lottie from her book. Aside from all the glitz and glamour, she is a collector of magical books, tea sets, movies and a huge fan of chocolate. She has two little girls also known as “The Little Book-Fairies” with a BIG imagination.
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Harry is a mischievous young dog,
adored by his family, Dad and Mum, Maisie (8) and Max (5). When the family
leave him on his own he creates chaos. Dad demands, “That bad dog must
go!” Alone and sad in bed that evening, Max asks, “Can anyone
help?” How will the Thunkies respond to his call?
I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review
The family dog or dogs are an integral part of many households, but dogs are pack animals, and many integration problems arise from the dog being unclear about their role in the family.
This beautifully illustrated and cleverly written picture book uses a team of cartoon characters, each with a specific role to help educate a family about their dog’s behaviour when they leave him home alone.
The story is fun to read for adults and their children, and the advice is delivered in bite-size amounts. Using illustrations and short written paragraphs, making the narrative easy to understand.
I like the positive ethos of this story, which reinforces the idea, that things are not always perfect the first time. Sometimes, you have to work at understanding how someone thinks before you can live or work together in harmony.
A well written and engagingly illustrated picture book. Delivers advice in a fun, easy to understand way, about living with our animal friends. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Jerry Rhodes’ life-long research and teaching is the inspiration behind ‘Home Alone Harry’, this first book in a series for children featuring the cartoon characters, Thunkies®. After completing his degree and teacher training at Oxford University, Jerry’s career as a school-master was cut short by polio. He changed course to a management career in industry, discovered his talents for creativity, and formed his worldwide consultancy to collaborate with international organisations. A special project with Philips led to the discovery of ‘Thinking-Intentions’, to which he has now given the playful name, Thunkies®. Jerry writes his books from his weather-beaten old farmhouse in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.
Rachael Messiter, a Dog Listener, uses the approach
known as Amichien® Bonding pioneered by Jan Fennell. Rachael has her own
practice, Talking Paws, based in Staffordshire. Previously she lived with
wolves for close on two years in Colorado, USA, to learn how packs work. She
has identified a group of issues that dog owners experience that are due to the
well-meaning but flawed behaviours of owners, rather than ‘nuisance’ dogs. How
to properly avoid and resolve such troublesome issues will be the theme of each
book in the series Thunkies® love Dogs.
Nicky Hill is an illustrator and storyteller from
Winterbourne near Bristol. Her artwork is featured throughout the Thunkies®
Love Dogs books, bringing a bright, vibrant style that captures the
imagination. A great lover of animals both wild and domestic, Nicky also
illustrates and writes her own series of books about ‘The Wotton Pack’; a group
of inquisitive pooches who spend their days and nights having many adventures.
She currently lives with her own pack of three dogs in Wotton-under-Edge, a
small town in Gloucestershire, where she also co-runs the shop called ‘The
This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…
Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.
Fern and her best friends call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).
As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.
In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?
This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award
Cosy up with the new novel in the Pudding Pantry series, full of love, laughter, kisses under the mistletoe, and plenty of delicious pudding!
The first snow is falling over Primrose Farm, the mince pies are warming, and Rachel can’t wait to share a kiss under the mistletoe with her gorgeous new flame, Tom.
If only it was all comfort and joy . . . The arrival of Tom’s ex brings an unwelcome chill to the farm. And despite Master Baker Mum Jill’s valiant efforts, the new pudding pantry business is feeling the pinch.
With a spoonful of festive spirit, a cupful of goodwill with friends, and her messy, wonderful family by her side, can Rachel make this a Christmas to remember?
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – One More Chapter in return for an honest review.
The Northumberland setting is perfect for a festive edition of the pudding pantry. It is idyllic in many ways, but this story serves up a healthy portion of real life, with its picture-postcard Christmassy setting, and lovely comforting puddings.
After finding friendship can turn to romance Rachel and Tom are hoping for some festive romance, but farming is hard particularly in the winter months, and the pudding pantry is not making enough money now the tourists have gone home. Long hours and financial worries, mean romance is low down on the list, and even time together is hard to find.
The reappearance of ex-partners ramps up the tension, and make a happy ever after for Rachel and Tom further away than ever. The strong relationship between Rachel and her mother, grandmother and young daughter is the foundation of this story and makes it such a pleasure to read.
The festive touches are lovely and coupled with the twelve, simple but delicious-sounding recipes, you can visualise Christmastime at Primose Farm.so well.
Resourcefulness and romance triumph in the perfect ending.
The Fourth Bake of Christmas
Blackberry and Apple Jam Sponge Pudding – Grandma Isabel’s Recipe, circa 1946 This handwritten poem had always been tucked into the Baking Bible as a loose-leaf next to a recipe of Rachel’s grandmother’s:
Autumn days, the sky a blue haze. Blackberry picking, Hedgerows thick with brambles, Watch out for the prickles. Purple-stained fingers and mouths, Ripe dark berries sweet with juice, Baskets laden. Ready for home, pass on to Mum, With crumbles, jams and puddings to come!
100g/4oz self-raising flour
Pinch of salt 100g/4oz caster sugar
100g/4oz butter 2 eggs, beaten
2tbsp whole milk
45ml/3tbsp homemade or good quality Blackberry and Apple Jam
(or another flavour if you prefer)
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs a little at a time with a spoonful of flour, beating well until eggs are mixed in. Fold in remaining flour alternately with the milk. Grease and base-line a pudding basin, add the jam to the bottom. Spoon over the pudding mix up to ¾ full. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper, and secure with string. Using extra string to make a handle for ease of removal. Steam for 1 ½ to 2 hours in a covered pan of boiling water, keeping water topped up to halfway up the pudding bowl sides, until a wooden skewer comes out clean at centre. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before turning out.
Delicious with custard or cream.
Caroline Roberts lives in the wonderful Northumberland countryside with her husband and credits the sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her as inspiration for her writing. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of love, loss and family, which explore how beautiful and sometimes complex love can be. A slice of cake, glass of bubbly and a cup of tea would make her day – preferably served with friends! She believes in striving for your dreams, which led her to a publishing deal after many years of writing.
Return to Porthmellow Harbour in this gorgeous festive romance.
Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…
But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.
So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.
Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
Christmas the time for family, friends, and memorable presents. Scarlett’s Christmas present last year resonates, but not in a good way. It revealed a family secret, and her family is still reeling from its impact.
She comes to Porthmellow Harbour to stay with her sister Ellie, and find some answers. Full of angst and family drama, this story follows Ellie and Scarlett as they both seek the happiness they deserve. The plot is full of clues, but like all good mysteries, most of these lead to nothing. It is poignant and sometimes humorous and full of romantic moments, It keeps you turning the pages, in anticipation right to the end, which is uplifting, whilst remaining believable.
The characters are full of flaws and so human, most of them are likeable, with one notable exception. This is a story of family, forgiveness and the importance of honesty.
The romance is gentle and full of conflicts, but both sisters have to learn to trust and accept, even the men of their dreams have flaws.
All the family drama plays out, in a lovely Cornish coastal setting, and the excitement and uniqueness of a pagan style festival.
A lovely, Cornish Christmas tale that leaves you feeling festive.
Phillipa Ashley is the author of a string of Amazon Top 10 and Bookseller Heatseekers N best-selling Cornish novels. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist.
She also writes rom coms as Ashley Croft and steamy romance as Pippa Croft.
She lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves falling off surfboards and following Poldark around in a camper van.
Her latest release is A Perfect Cornish Summer is out now and is an Amazon Top 15 and Heatseekers number 1 best seller.
It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!
Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes
really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to
organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.
Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter,
Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch
and volunteer with Viola.
With the sparks between them hotter than the
chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their
feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves
trapped together in more ways than one…
I received a copy of this book from 0ne More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
If you enjoyed Covent Garden in the Snow last year, this standalone book featuring some of the lovely characters is worth reading. Viola is a viola player, she is best friends with Tilly, and always willing to help out. Her meeting with Nate is unexpected, and the only high spot in a fraught journey to a morning rehearsal at Covent Garden. The chemistry simmers from their first encounter, but before you get too starry-eyed, be prepared for a very rocky road to true love, which even at the end seems unlikely to have a festive happy ending.
Viola and Nate are easy to like characters, and Grace is heartbreakingly lovely a mini adult, but so vulnerable, you want a happy ending for her, more than the adults.
Full of fun, festive cheer and poignancy, this book is guaranteed to give you a Christmassy feeling. The London setting at Christmas softens its hard edges, as everyone is touched with Christmas spirit, The orchestra, and the nativity play, provide plenty of interest and add to the story’s atmosphere.
The romance is sweet but the conflicts are real and demand that Viola and Nate risk their happiness for Grace’s. The ending is tender and makes you believe in love. A beautifully written Christmas tale, with a fairytale ending.
Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way
she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands
and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as
it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills
penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches,
sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.
best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules
Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes
Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, ‘Notting Hill in the Snow‘ is the latest.