Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic

The Violinist's Apprentice Isabella Mancini 3 *#Review @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks @AuthorMancini @IsabellaManci10 #TimeSlip #historical #fantasy #Italy #17thCentury #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs @rararesources


#TheViolinistsApprentice

A dark journey through time.

It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch.  How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

#TheViolinistsApprentice Image Credit Isabella Mancini

My Thoughts…

An original plot that involves timeslip from the 21st-century present day to 17th century Italy. The story centres around Clementina, a young girl who is naive and impressionable. A fusion between timeslip and fantasy in a contemporary and historical setting, it does require you to open your mind, to magic, time travel.

It takes a while, to set the scene, as the book is mainly told from Clementina’s point of view. Some chapters introduce a strange mystical woman. In Clementina’s contemporary school there is a rather creepy man, who is instigating the quest for objects, from the seven wonders of the world. There is a tenuous connection with twenty-first-century environmental problems.

I like the story’s themes, and the timeslip into 17th century Italy, but the plot seems overly complex and it’s hard to follow all the elements, as written, even though you understand the reason for them. The writing is vivid and descriptive, but the author’s vision and fantasy world need to be clearer to the reader.

#IsabellaMancini

Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books.  She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

Previous books by Olga Swan:

An Englishwoman in America, From Paradis to Perdition, Pensioners in Paradis, The Mazurek Express, Lamplight, Vichyssoise, 3rd Degree Murder.

Twitter Facebook Facebook Group: Books, Music and the Past Amazon page for Isabella Mancini Amazon page for Olga Swan

Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of An Englishwoman in America (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Magic

Wild Sky Lexi Rees 4*#Review @lexi_rees #TheRelicHunters @rararesources #kidlit #childrensbooks #magic #adventure #fantasy #BlogBlitz #BookReview

After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.

But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.

Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?

Not everyone is who they appear to be

And time is running out …

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second book in the Relic Hunters series takes Finn and Aria, and some new friends, on a quest to find the air relic. Aria needs to hone her powers and rally her clan to achieve this aim. Careful world-building peppered with adrenaline-fueled action scenes take the children to the farthest reaches of the world. Their enemies are many, and a dangerous pact threatens to thwart their quest. Who can they trust? Will they succeed?

Aimed at children who can read alone, this story, with its lovely illustrations, also makes a good book for parents to read to their younger children. The concept of right and wrong, good versus evil and brave children will appeal to adults too, I enjoyed this part of the adventure and found the easy writing style immersive, and the characters relatable.

Although the adventure is complete, and this story can be read as a standalone, the overall quest is interesting, and I suggest you read Eternal Seas, the start of the series, first. The link to my review of this is below.

#LexiRees

Lexi Rees writes action-packed adventures for children. The first book in The Relic Hunters Series, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently longlisted for a Chanticleer award.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children, and as well as an active programme of school visits and other events, she has published a Creative Writing Skills workbook, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities. 

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats. https://twitter.com/lexi_rees In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

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Read my review of book 1 in The Relic Hunters

Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Magic

Eternal Seas Lexi Rees 4*#Review #TheRelicHunters #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Fantasy #Adventure #Magic

Such a small parcel shouldn’t cause experienced smugglers much trouble, but this parcel is far from normal.

Lost and scared after a violent storm, Finn and his sister, Aria, take shelter on a remote island. They discover the parcel contains a relic belonging to a long-forgotten people. Locked inside are powers which will change their lives, and the world, forever.

As Finn realises his connection to the relic, a vision strikes him – but what does it mean? Who should they trust? And if they decide to follow their hearts rather than their orders, will they manage to deliver the relic in one piece?

Chased across the seas as they try to solve the mysteries within the parcel, the fate of this ancient people depends on them. Finn and Aria must choose between what is right and what is easy – and time is running out …

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A quest to restore magic to the world. Finn and Aria, are caught up in an exciting and sometimes terrifying adventure to find their destiny, save their clans, and challenge the Earth Lord. Narrated in the first person by Finn, this is an exciting, action-packed tale of good and evil, family and mystical beings and events.

I love the main characters, they are realistic and full of courage, inquisitiveness and spirit. The storyline is traditional, the banishment of magic from the world, and the power of the natural elements, but it is retold in a contemporary way and will appeal to children and their adults. Perfect for reading alone, or together, there are lovely illustrations even in the ebook version. I look forward to reading the next instalment.

Posted in Book Spotlight, Fantasy, Noir

Vile – Keith Crawford #BookSpotlight @keithcrawford77 @LoveBooksTours #LoveBooksTours #Fantasy #Noir @littlwonder

Elianor Paine is a Magistrate of the Peace in the Kingdom of Trist and a republican secret agent. She has 6 days to subvert her investigation, supplant war-hero Lord Vile, then coerce his adult children to start a revolution before her masters discover the truth and have her killed. Just how far is she willing to go? And can she change the world without changing herself?

Amazon UK

Keith Crawford is a retired Navy Officer, a disabled veteran, a Doctor of Law & Economics, a barrister, a stay-at-home Dad, and a writer. He has written for collections of scholarly works, academic journals, and newspapers including The Economist. He has had more than thirty plays recorded or produced for stage, been listed in a variety of short story competitions (in spite of his hatred of short stories), and runs a radio production company, www.littlewonder.website, which regularly runs competitions promoted by the BBC to help find, develop and encourage new writers.

In 2014 he was lecturing at Sciences Po in Paris and negotiating a contract to write a book on banking regulation when he and his wife discovered to their delight that they were due to have their first child. Rather than writing more work that would only be read by his poor students, and then misquoted by politicians, he decided he would do his bit to stick his fingers up at the patriarchy and stay home to look after his own kids rather than the grown-up kids of rich people. Two more children swiftly followed. Keith has discovered that if you recite Stick Man backwards you get the lyrics to AD/DC’s Highway to Hell.

This (looking after the kids, not satanic rites with Stick Man) allowed him to support his wife’s career, which appears to be heading for the stratosphere, and also gave him the space to write about swordfights and explosions. And spaceships. All of which are more fun than banking regulation. As an extension to his work in radio production, he set up his own small press, and his first novel, Vile, is due to be published in December 2019. More novels will swiftly follow, like buses in countries that don’t privatise the bus companies.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Magic

Lottie Sparkles’ Magical Discovery Petra Quelch 4*#Review @AustinMacauley @SparklyWord #rararesources #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Grandparents #Magic #fantasy #family #clothes #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

#LottieSparklesMagicalDiscovery

Who wouldn’t like a magical jacket?

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.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

#LottieSparklesMagicalDiscovery


My Thoughts…

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.

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#PetraQuelch

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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Giveaway to Win 1 x signed copy of Lottie Sparkles’ Magical Adventure
(UK / Europe Only)
Giveaway Click to enter

*Terms and Conditions –UK / Europe entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Animal Friends, Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magic

Kim, Leon, and the Sky Path to Africa Barnaby Allen 4*#Review @leeawrites #KimLeon #SkyPathToAfrica #EasyRead #ESL #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #historical #Adventure #Fantasy @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours #AnimalFiction

#KimLeonandTheSkyPathtoAfrica

Kim and Leon live on a farm in Suffolk, England. Kim is a schoolboy and Leon is his pet donkey. A rainy day encounter leads them on an adventure far away in Africa. Along the way there are dangers, and fears about who can be trusted. There is also the threatening presence of a slave ship, looming in the bay. Barnaby Allen was a teacher of English and history. In this historical fantasy, he beautifully combines suspense with an immersion in history. This book comes with tasks of writing, acting and drawing. This is a simplified version of the original book. It suits especially ESL pupils.

Amazon UK

#RandomThingsTours

I received a copy of this book from Random Things Tours in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I like the writing style of this children’s adventure story. Resembling poetic verse, it is easy to read and presents the story in a reader-friendly format.

The early part of the story, set in rural Suffolk has a traditional feel. It reads as if it was set in a pre-internet age, or even earlier. That would also explain some of the expressions, which are not twenty-first-century politically correct.

The main historical part of the story set in Africa reflects on the slave trade. This is an unusual choice for a children’s book, and parents and teachers should be prepared for children’s questions. The adventure element is charming and the detailed information about life in Africa at that time is interesting to adults too.

Kim goes on a character journey in this story, as much as a fantasy, geographical one. Learning about a different culture, and historic events change his perspective. Leon is a magical donkey, who provides Kim with his opportunity for adventure. His outward gruffness hides a wealth of intelligence and kindness and makes him a wonderful role model for Kim and the book’s readers.

The interactive quality of the book is excellent. The tasks make the children think about what they have heard or read and reinforce elements of the story.

A worthwhile reading book for the children and adults, which is rich in cultural and historical details, but delivered in an exciting, magical way.

#BackCover
#BarnabyAllen

Barnaby Allen was born in Suva Fiji, as his father was working there for the British Crown.  He was introduced to literature by his mother, who liked to recite poetry and had a gift of telling engaging stories. As an adult, Barnaby Allen worked in education in several countries mostly teaching English. He loved to travel, classical music, discussions, current affairs, Pacific affairs, family, good food and board games. Barnaby’s children also had the benefit of Barnaby telling stories to them and making the characters come alive with acting out different roles.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Friday Read, Parenting and Famlies

A Spooky Tale Sue Wickstead 4*#Review @JayJayBus #kidlit #childrensbooks #BlogTour #BookReview #Halloween #school #walking #adventure @rararesources #Awalkwithourteacher #Giveaway

#ASpookyTale

A Spooky Tale – a walk with our teacher

When the teacher decided to take the class out on a walk the children did not want to go … But… What could possibly go wrong? why did the class not feel well? Read the book to find out.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A lovely bright book, which makes full use of children’s imaginations. The original story was written with children in the author’s class at school, and some of the ideas and images are very childlike and will appeal to the intended age group.

I love the map of the walk so you can relate the story to where the children are on the walk. The animal lover in me quaked at whacking a bear, with a stick and throwing stones at the wolf, but apart from that, it was an enjoyable read, for my grandson and I.

Fun, imaginative and perfect as a Halloween book for your little one.

#SueWickstead

I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.

Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.

While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.

The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.

The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.

Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.

There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book, I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.

‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.

But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!

The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

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#GiveawayPrize
Giveaway to Win 1 x Paperback copy of Daisy Daydreams bus rhymes and joke book (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Read my review of daisy Daydream The Nursery Bus