NaNoWriMo, rambling

#ramblings #NaNoWriMo2018 To NaNo or not to NaNo? #amwriting #writerslife #NaNo #kidsbirthdays #HarryPotter #cake

So it’s the 31st October which only means one thing, tomorrow is November. Now that’s a good thing in a few ways, I can (finally) put the heating on, my twins celebrate their birthday which is very important when you’re going to be eight, it’s Black Friday when I can waste an enormous amount of time looking at ‘deals’ online that I can’t afford, I have to decorate a cake for said birthday which is never simple and it is the start of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.

The aim of NaNo, for those who don’t know, is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. If that sounds easy then I will assume that you are not a writer, as it is not all that easy. Although saying that, I have attempted it twice and have completed it both times, the second time in a slightly insane 14 days.

Doing NaNo has taught me a few things about myself. Perhaps the most interesting for me was that I do not like losing, I was going to finish NaNo and there was no other option. I was not going to fail. Now if you told me that you’d tried NaNo and had managed any words at all but had not reached 50K then I would never think that you had failed, but for me, I think of it as a failure. But that puts a lot of pressure on me and that is something that I really don’t need.

For this year’s NaNo, I have planned to start a new book that is completely different to anything that I have tried to write before. I’m quite excited about it although I am continuing my panster streak and haven’t done any planning. I’ve done a bit of research and my two main characters have names but that’s it. How I wish that I could be a planner but it is not something that I seem to be able to do.

So you might be wondering why I’m writing a blog post entitled To NaNo or not to NaNo. And that is because I am really worried that this year I won’t finish it. As well as normal life I am also going to be having major surgery towards the end of the month. Now maybe after that, I will be spending a lot of time resting and so I might be able to write, but it is quite possible that my brain won’t quite be in the right frame of mind to write anything that makes sense. Last time that I had a general anaesthetic it took me a good week to feel like I’d got over it, the minor procedure that I had was irrelevant.

But before I have the operation I need to get my life sorted for me being out of action for possibly a good few months. As a single parent, this is a scary prospect. I am determinedly independent and do not like asking for help. I have been trying to teach my children to do some simple household tasks, like using the washing machine or loading the dishwasher. The later of these is not going well, it seems that almost eight year olds are just not committed to stacking a dishwasher in the best way possible and cannot understand why plates need to be facing the same direction, for example.

Our dog, Dotty, and last years cake.

 

But the question is whether in nineteen days I can write 50,000 words, get the house clean and sorted, arrange for the animals to be looked for while I’m out of action, organise a birthday party, get birthday presents wrapped and sorted (for the actual day which is five days after the operation) and, perhaps most importantly of all, decorate a cake in a Harry Potter theme.

Time will tell but please wish me luck!!!

4*, blog tours, book review, Children's books

#BlogTour #BookReview The Beedog by Addie Broussard @rararesources @TwoUmbrellasPls #KidsBook #insects #wasp #TheBeedog

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My Review:

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what The Beedog was going to be like, I knew that it is a book aimed at 4-8 year olds and that it encourages science and nature learning, yet it appeared to be about a funny bee that lived on a beach.

I found the book slightly confusing at first, I thought that it must have been translated into English but as the author is from the United States I don’t know whether that is the case. But it did read a bit like that.

It’s set in Portugal and we follow Manny and Cora as they go to the beach to build a sandcastle, but while they are there they notice a curious insect. I know quite a lot about nature but I had never heard of the sand wasp, it was a totally new one for me and so I learnt something as well as my children which is great. I love that there’s information about the insect and links to a website with more information about them. Very clever to tell a story about an insect that I expect most people have never heard of.

It’s a bit unfortunate that the reading of this book came only a few days after my daughter was stung by a wasp and had an allergic reaction, so she was put off the story because of that! But if it hadn’t been for that I think that it would have gone down really well with my 7 year olds, although it is quite picture book like which might put off some of the older readers. Talking of pictures, I really loved the illustrations, they’re bright and clear and, most importantly, fun.

Overall, The Beedog is a fun book for younger children. We enjoyed looking at it but I think that it would be best for children up to the age of six. It is an educational book that will make the child excited about a strange insect and hopefully they will want to learn more about it. A clever idea.

I received a copy of The Beedog by Addie Broussard to review, I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

abroussard-beedog-cover-print-v2The Beedog: An Insect Discovery in Portugal

An award-winning picture book that will get little ones excited about science.

While building a unique sandcastle, Cora and Manny spot a rather curious insect.
Soon, the little scientists keep a watchful eye on the insect’s movements, while learning about the natural environment along the way.

A great book for STEM education and home-school projects or just curious little ones who love science. Book extras include fun, printable activities related to science learning and research.

About the Author:

twoumbrellas-addie-profile-02 Addie is an avid traveler, and once went on a solo journey to fifteen countries in one year. When she encounters something unique, she writes about it. Her first published picture book, The Beedog, is about a curious insect that she found in southern Portugal.

Addie began her writing journey when she was just nine years old, with a book called Doggienauts. That book has been updated and is set for publication in 2018. Addie is originally from the United States and is currently a full-time traveler. Home is where her suitcase is.

Illustrator Bio, Joyeeta Neogi

Joyeeta is a children’s book illustrator who has worked with international authors and publishers. Her engagement with worldwide clients and multicultural themes has allowed her to create captivating original animal and child characters. Her art captures the expressions, movements and vibrancy of life within simple compositions to bring the author’s story to life. In her free time, Joyeeta is busy with painting and music. She loves to paint in oil and acrylic, and has also developed a passion for watercolor.

Social Media Links –

https://www.pinterest.com.mx/twoumbrellas0254/pins/

https://www.instagram.com/twoumbrellasplease/

https://twitter.com/TwoUmbrellasPls   

https://www.facebook.com/TwoUmbrellasPlease

Book resources at https://twoumbrellasplease.com

You can buy The Beedog from Amazon US and Amazon UK

4*, blog tours, book review, Children's books

#BlogTour #BookReview #Kidsbook Stripey Enid by Natasha Lea. @beercottbooks @NatashaLea1

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My Review:

Stripey Enid is a funny little book, it feels more like a leaflet when you look at it but once you open it you will find a lovely little book.

The story is very simple, we are all different and that we are all ok just as we are. This is such an important message to teach our children and it is presented in a really clear and simple way which will work well for young readers.

My daughter aged seven read it and felt that it was too babyish for her, probably simply because of the size of the font used as she now wants smaller writing that’s more grown up. But it did get us talking about how we are different and how that makes us more interesting.

I’m not really sure what age Stripey Enid is aimed at as it would seem at first glance that it is aimed at four and under but there are parts, like where the child can list five of their good points, that seem aimed at older children. I think that in reality all young children will get something out of reading Stripey Enid, and it is a great way of starting conversations about how we are all different.

Thank you to the publisher, Beercott Books, for a copy of Stripey Enid by Natasha Lea. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

stripeyenidcover‘Believe in yourself, for you are unique!’

In this ever-changing world our children are bombarded with ‘image’ driven ideals of what is accepted as normal, or what we should aspire to be.

The reality is we are all unique and should be proud of it.

Stripey Enid has no colour or creed, she is just a friend. Using simple verse and interactive tasks, she aims to help your child understand that it is good to be unique, and that being yourself is all you need to be.

About The Author:

natashaleaIt was over 10 years ago, during a marketing exercise to promote a new theatre company whilst studying Performing Arts, that the idea of Stripey Enid came to Natasha.

Even back then, Stripey was seen to be different, something to challenge the norm, ask questions of people.

The idea of writing a book was never the intention but a natural progression on from the poems Natasha used to create for friends and family for birthdays & special occasions.

At the time Natasha was also working with a local Brownie pack and it was this interaction that made her realise that she was an adult in these children’s lives that wasn’t a parent or a teacher but a friend, a unique friendship that benefitted both parties.

Stripey came into being by the pure belief that Natasha had about peer pressure & social demands creating barriers between people, stopping people from seeing others as they truly are.

Stripey Enid by Natasha Lea is out on 16th June 2018 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK or direct from the publisher.

5*, blog tours, book review, Children's books

#BlogTour #BookReview Sarah’s Shadow by @nickjonesauthor and Go To Sleep by Marion Adams @Marion_author @kidsbooks @rararesources

Full Media Full Banner

How exciting, not one but two great children’s books!!

 

Front cover - new size
Sarah’s Shadow by Nick Jones.

 

My Review:

 

Like most parents, I like a kids book with a message, a book that will teach them something without them even realising. Sarah’s Shadow by Nick Jones is just such a book.

Sarah is unhappy because she is being teased at school, so she makes a wish on a shooting star to remove the thing about herself that is getting teased…her shadow. She goes to sleep excited about the next day, but when it comes the reality of life without her shadow isn’t what Sarah expected.

Of course, it all ends well but in the process, Sarah has learnt an important message about being happy with herself as she is.

I really liked this book, it’s well written and I love the illustrations by Si Clark. I’m sure that this book will go down really well with children under the age of six, although I think that children over that age would really enjoy the book, the picture book format would be a turn off for them. Or it certainly would be for my children! Perhaps the author could write a slightly longer version for older children, I would definitely get that for my seven year olds!

This would be a great book for all children, especially those who are perhaps unhappy with something about themselves, or someone who could do with being kinder to others.

Thank you to the publisher, Full Media Ltd, for a copy of Sarah’s Shadow by Nick Jones. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

 

Blurb:

If you could change something about yourself, would you do it? When Sarah Simpkins is teased about her shadow in the school playground, she finds herself wishing she didn’t have one. That night she has the chance to make the wish come true. But will losing her shadow really make her happy?

About the Author:

nickjonesamazonNick Jones is an author based in Cheshire, UK, but originally from Bristol. He has written a series of joke books and an illustrated children’s book. His first joke book, Gagged and Bound, was written during the summer of 2014 and was published by Full Media Ltd later in the year to critical acclaim, garnering positive reviews from numerous book review websites such as Reader’s Favorite and The Bookbag. A follow-up, Gagged and Bound 2, was released a year later and received a similarly positive response, and in 2017 Nick returned with the third instalment. Nick returned with a very different book, Sarah’s Shadow, in December 2017. He has several new books in the pipeline including two picture books and a children’s joke book.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nickjonesauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NickJonesAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickjones.author

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickjonezy/

Sarah’s Shadow by Nick Jones is out now and available to buy from the following links.

https://full-media.co.uk/product/sarahs-shadow-nick-jones

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarahs-Shadow-Nick-Jones/dp/0993079490  

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sarahs-Shadow-Nick-Jones/dp/0993079490 

Go to Sleep - From Amazon

My Review:

As a parent of seven year old twins, I’m still not sure what children have against sleep. I love to sleep and I wish that they did too! One day I will enjoy waking them up very early in the morning but for now, the trick to getting your reluctant child to sleep remains a mystery.

Go To Sleep by Marion Adams tells the story of Tansy the sheep, a typical lamb or finds it hard to fall asleep. With the rest of her flock sleeping Tansy takes the advice of a passing owl that counting sheep will help her to fall asleep. But all doesn’t go to plan and Tansy gets very worried and ends up waking the flock. I’m sure that all parents will identify with the end of Go To Sleep!!

Overall this is a lovely book. The illustrations by Sarah-Leigh Wills are great and it is a sweet little story that will be enjoyed by under fives.

Thank you to the publisher, Full Media Ltd, for a copy of Go To Sleep by Marion Adams. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Tansy the sheep can’t go to sleep. She’s forgotten how to do it! But when she follows the barn owl’s advice and starts counting sheep, she realises that something is wrong … The award-winning bedtime story with a humorous twist that children will love!

Author Bio:

MA author pic 2Marion Adams has been writing for as long as she can remember, usually for fun and sometimes for money as well. She started her career as an in-house copywriter with a publisher and now works as a freelance proofreader and editor. It’s her dream job because she’s paid to read all day (and eat dark chocolate). Over the years, she’s written all kinds of things for both adults and children, some serious and some less so, with published work including magazine stories, articles, poems, plays and non-fiction books.

Marion lives in Devon, UK, and when she’s not reading or writing (or eating dark chocolate), she loves going for walks on the wild moors where her picture book Go To Sleep! is set.

Social Media Links:  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marion_author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProofreadMarion/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marionadams_author/?hl=en

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marion-adams-7ab52a71/

Go To Sleep by Marion Adams is out now and available from the links below:

http://full-media.co.uk/product/go-to-sleep-marion-adams/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Go-Sleep-Marion-Adams/dp/0993079474

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Go-Sleep-Marion-Adams/product-reviews/0993079474/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews

 

4*, 4.5*, blog tours, book review, Children's books, reviewed by kids

#BookTour Trolls by Ron Butlin @RonButlinMakar @BCKidsBooks @SKARPHEDON @BirlinnBooks @LoveBooksGroup

TROLLS BLOG TOUR POSTER FINAL VERSION1 (1)

Our Review:

Here Come the Trolls:

Dora aged seven: It is quite funny sometimes but it is a bit not kind which I didn’t really like as they weren’t very nice to the trolls. The pictures are a bit different to other kids books but I do like them, they aren’t that colourful though. The writing is also a bit different but I could read it ok although it was harder to read than normal books. 

I liked the book, there wasn’t a particularly strong storyline to it and there was no message in it as there often are with kids, it is just a book that is purely for fun. And it definitely is fun. The illustrations are great, they are quite simple and as Dora said not very colourful but the expressions on the trolls faces are often amusing and made my children giggle. I think that at seven the book is too young for my children, it would suit ages 2-6 quite well and I’m sure that the story would get lots of laughs from younger children who would enjoy the pictures and the lyrical story.

Day of the Trolls:

Jake aged seven:  It was really gross when the troll farted and when the troll had snot. It was really funny when the granny got thrown to the roof. The pictures were really funny because it looked like it was so weird and silly. I think that boys and girls aged three to five would really like this book.

Dora aged seven: It was quite gross but it was quite funny when the troll picked his nose. I do think that it was quite good and I did like the pictures a bit too. 

I enjoyed reading Day of the Trolls and felt that it was better than the first book as it had a better storyline and more happening in it. It is a funny book and the words and the pictures make it funnier, they go well together. I think that this book would be perfect for children aged 2-6 who I’m sure would find it hilarious to hear about these naughty and rude trolls!

Blurb:

trolls1

Through gaps in the roof we didn’t repair

through cracks in the walls we pretended weren’t there…

…the trolls have come creeping

while we were all sleeping.

Trolls on your chair, trolls in your bed –

is anything worse than a troll on your head?

What happens when your house is invaded by trolls – mischievous creatures who do nothing but cause havoc and mayhem? Find out in this zany and charming book which tells you how to get rid of them for good and make your house a troll-free zone!

trolls2

It’s the Day of the Trolls: Fart-Fart and all the trolls are back! Join them in the shopping mall where they go wild, causing havoc as they overrun the place. But when they follow sign saying All Trolls – This Way, things turn out very differently to what Flycatcher, Bumscratcher, SnotFace, Squeer and the rest of them expected …

About The Author:

Ron Butlin is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer and librettist whose works have been translated into many languages. He regularly gives creative writing workshops in schools, and was Edinburgh Makar from 2008 to 2014.

James Hutcheson is Creative Director at Birlinn. He has been designing books, book jackets and album covers for many years.

The books are out now and you can buy Here Come The Trolls here and Day of the Trolls here.

5*, book review, Children's books, christmas, reviewed by kids

#BookReview The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thompson, illustrated by Connor Edwards @AuthorDThompson

 

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The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thompson.

 

My Review:

I think that The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thompson is the first book that I have read that came about thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. I heard about it on a Facebook group and jumped at the chance to review the book, it sounded intriguing and I knew that having a Christmas theme would appeal to my children who are aged seven.

When the book arrived my daughter was especially excited. She did try and read it but found the font quite difficult so soon gave up and asked me to read it to her. The font and the way it is worded means that it isn’t, in my opinion, suitable for a learner reader to read themselves. To fully appreciate the rhyming it is also best read by a confident reader. Even I struggled at times with the book, the font and unexpected words used to help with the rhyming did not suit my dyslexia, but this was minimal and just required more concentration on my part. At 96 pages the book is also quite long, far longer than our usual bedtime story so we spread it over a couple of nights.

The book is a lot of fun. I loved the story and especially loved that Claire, the girl who names Elaine Gale is the leader of the group and the one who helps to defeat Elaine Gale, with Santa’s help of course. Definitely a great book for girl power. The story was great, fun and a bit scary but fast moving and very clever.

I think that this book would be loved by children aged 6+, it is a little scary and it is quite wordy so I don’t think that younger children will appreciate it as much. I’m sure that we will be reading this book for quite a few Christmas’ to come.

Review by Dora aged seven:

I loved the pictures, I didn’t like Elaine Gale because she was mean. I loved the Santa part. I loved the start and I loved the building of the snowman.

Review by Jake aged seven:

I loved the pictures and I loved the book.

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About the Author:

22894527_533128290354859_8553091132211693350_n I’m Danny, a Poet/film maker/musician and all round creative human from Birmingham.

I wrote this book because I love Christmas and I wanted to create something to add to the already rich tapestry of the Christmas festivities. I felt it was really important to tell an original Christmas story that a new generation of readers can claim as their own. I am really proud of what Connor and I have created with this book and I hope you enjoy our work.

 

About the Illustrator:

I’m Connor, a graphic design student and illustrator from Birmingham.

For me the book was an exciting project to work on because its quirky story and writing style really inspired my imagination. As a Christmas story it was unlike anything already available, this refreshing look at the Christmas story gave me a lot to work with. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I loved making it.

The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thomson and illustrated by Connor Edwards is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US or you can buy it directly from the website of The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale.

5*, book review, Children's books

#review The Fox In The Box by @AmandaGeeAuthor illustrated by Lee Holland.

 

thefoxinthebox
The Fox in the Box by Amanda Gee.

 

My Review:

When author Amanda Gee was asking for people to read and review her children’s book, The Fox In The Box I thought that it was probably a bit young for my almost seven year old children, but the cover was so adorable that I couldn’t resist.

And I’m so pleased that I didn’t. We all loved the book, the cute illustrations by Lee Holland work so perfectly with the story, it was fun to read and made my children think about animals and their homes. This really is a wonderful book, it is short but perfect and the rhyming words work really well. The font is clear and easy to read, although my children regularly ask me to read it to them they are both able to read it themselves too.

After reading this book I will definitely be looking out for more from Amanda Gee and I will definitely be buying The Fox in the Box as presents.

Blurb:

When Lydia finds a lost baby fox outside her back door, they set off together to look for his family. But on the way, they discover a terrible disaster is about to overtake their village. Can they stop it…..and will the cub find what he’s looking for?

About the Author:

I have lived in Suffolk all my life and have had a passion for the environment and wildlife for a very long time. In my books for children as well as teaching them about friendship and kindness, I am trying to help educate them about the fantastic world we live in and the amazing animals we share it with.

The Fox In The Box by Amanda Gee and illustrated by Lee Holland is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.