My #BrilliantBooks January 2019

I’ve always loved to read, have been brought up around books and have passed on this love of books and reading to our daughter. And there’s the key. For the past (almost) decade, I haven’t made the time to read, always putting some else’s needs first (rightly or wrongly – there’s a discussion for a separate blog post!).

But I took up reading again and it gave me the idea to share the books that I’ve loved. This won’t be a full-on review, just a personal view of why I enjoyed the book.

My #BrilliantBooks January 2019 review The Woman at Number 24

My take on ‘The Woman at Number 24’ by Juliet Ashton

I’ve mentioned before how I steer away from ‘chick lit’ beach-type reads and I would class this in that genre but there was something that lured me into this one as it sat on the library ‘all donations gratefully received’ shelf.

As I started reading, I wondered if I would regret my purchase because of the Notting Hill setting (I’m not sure how cheesey you can get?!) and the main character being the divorcee of the man who lives in the flat below.

Thankfully though, the author builds up the ex Leo’s ‘darling’ character so effectively that you want to slap him, frankly.

That aside, the deeper tales of deceit, of being true to yourself, of caring, building trust and respecting others’ feelings/opinions kept me reading.

No spoilers here but I got dewey-eyed over a hedgehog can didn’t predict the pitter patter of tiny feet. Not for ‘her’ in any case!

There’s nothing worse (for me) than a fluffy ‘they all lived happily ever after’ ending. While this doesn’t ‘quite’ fit that bill, it comes very close. But as yo know, I don’t post reviews of books that I don’t enjoy. That said, I was looking forward to moving on the next in my TBR pile…

This post contains affiliate links meaning that if you buy something from the link, i will get a few pennies but it won’t cost you a penny more!

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7 reasons to be a bookworm

7 Reasons to be a Bookworm Reading Imagination Hobby

I’ve always loved reading and remember my Mum, my sister and myself each having a book on the go when I was younger. And I’m still a very happy bookworm. More so this last year because of my book reading challenge.

I’d forgotten how nice it is to get lost in a book.  In fact it’s my idea of bliss.  So much that I’ve been making sure I read every day.

7 Reasons to be a Bookworm Reading Imagination Hobby

It’s so much fun being a bookworm and here’s why:

You’ve got an amazing hobby…

…a hobby that opens up a whole world of imagination and discussion

There’s always something to read, even if you’ve read it before!  I’ll never be lost with my Jane Austen collection.

If you’re a parent, you’re showing your child the wonder of reading a book.

You can shut yourself away from the world and relax (at least mentally).

No-one need ever be stuck for a gift idea again!

Reading gives your eyes a rest from the screens that we’re surrounded by every day in modern living.

But there are some side-effects too…

Any bookworm will likely tell you that they’d rather enjoy a good book than take part in a conversation any day.  Unless it’s a discussion about a bookclub read!

…which tends to make them ever so slightly unsociable!

Reading a gripping book?  Then say goodbye to sleep, household chores and normal life in general until it’s finished!

You get that ‘lost’ feeling when you’ve finished a really good book and have to re-connect with real life.

You can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t understand you love of reading.  Shame really, but books come first…

Are you a bookworm?  Can you think of any other reasons?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks!

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5 reasons to use your library (and 5 reasons not to!)

5 Reasons to use your Library

I set myself a little book reading challenge this year and I’ve exceeded my own expectations!  We’re now in November and I’m set to read 2 more books before the year’s out, making me 3 over my goal!  I’m really pleased with this because in simple terms, it means that I’ve rekindled an old habit and hobby of reading actual books.

My ‘want to read’ virtual pile

When I come across one that lures me in online, when I’ve seen one recommended by someone else online or in real-life, or if there’s one to read for one of the book clubs I take part in, I pop it in my GoodReads ‘want to read’ virtual pile and then I add it to Amazon to my ‘save for later’ pile.  You could say I’m getting a little obsessed with reading again and that the reading bug has bitten.  Which is great!

5 Reasons to use your Library

A library lesson learned

One of those ‘on a whim’ reads that lured me in was ‘Perfect Death’ by Helen Fields.  Now, I borrowed this one from our local library and got a bit lazy about renewing it.  So lazy that I found it had been reserved when I went to renew.  Not one to go and buy a book when I’m trying to stick to borrowing, I duly returned it and re-reserved it!  But there are (or were) 4 people in the queue, potentially a 12 week waiting list because you can renew them 3 times, for 3 weeks at a time.  You might think I’m a little crazy and why on earth don’t I just buy it?  Well possibly because I’m a little stubborn and annoyed with myself and also because I’ve got lots of other books on my list to read.  Did I log on to my library account or pop down there in person?  Well no actually…  and this situation got me to thinking about the pros and cons of borrowing from a library:

The books are free! (unless you get a fine!)

You get the feel-good factor of doing something for the community by helping to keep your local library running.  It’s the whole library experience.

The author/publisher still gets their royalties.

The anticipation of your reserved book being ready for collection.

You’re under more pressure to read regularly to avoid the pitfalls I’ve outlined above of having to return your book!

…and 5 reasons not to use your library…

You have to read in a given time-frame which might not always suit because sometimes life just gets in the way.

If it’s reserved, you can’t renew your book (looks shiftily at her feet).

It’s not your book to keep and put on your ‘read’ shelf or to lend to a friend or get the feel-good of giving to a charity shop.

You don’t get the just bought from the bookshop/just delivered to your door fuzziness.

Your reading habit could become a semi-expensive habit!

~

So there are pros and cons but do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa?

What do you think?  I’d love to know!  Please comment below…  thanks 🙂 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

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5 reasons to do a book reading challenge

5 Reasons to do a Book Reading Challenge

So I’ve reached the target in my book reading challenge for the year and it’s not even the end of October yet!  I’m really pleased with myself for many reasons and I’d like to share my 5 reasons for doing a book reading challenge:

5 Reasons to do a Book Reading Challenge

  1. Give your brain a break!  I’ve made a big effort to stop at a certain point in the evenings (and at weekends), turn my screens off and read an actual book.  This is huge for me.  If you’re a fellow blogger reading this, you understand when I say that there’s always something to do and you can never quite switch off.  If you’re not a blogger reading this, trust me, there’s so much more to blogging than typing a post and publishing.  So to at least shifting my brain away from multi-tasking and take my head into another world regularly really makes a difference.
  2. Discovering new genres but not reading stuff you’re not enjoying.  I got the reading bug again back in January when I discovered the facebook group Bookish Mamas.  I loved the first few books we read and the discussions that followed but hit a stumbling block with one of them.  I’m not to going to name the book here but by chapter 3ish I was having to read each paragraph, if not sentence, several times to ‘get’ it.  I wasn’t enjoying it and didn’t see the point, so I didn’t persevere.  I stopped.  I gave up and moved on to something else.  This meant that I was out of synch from the Bookish Mamas.  I tried to short book to see if I could squeeze one in before the next month’s read but like I said, I was out of synch.  But no matter, I carried on regardless along my own reading path!
  3. I haven’t had a glass of wine and chocolate every time I’ve sat down to read (seriously!).  I know this is a cheeky random point to make but actually, it’s a big achievement for me so I’ve slotted it in at number 3 🙂
  4. Use your library instead of buying your books!  One of the Bookish Mamas reads was Kirstin Thomas ‘The Great Alone’.  I was lured to read this book and really wanted to but to be honest, I couldn’t justify buying the book, so I reserved it from my library and have done the same for several of my book challenge reads.  This has egged me on to read more because of the timescale given to read a library book!
  5. Ditch the mini-series and turn the page instead!  I’m up to season 3 (I think) of Game of Thrones and was hooked but since I’ve been reading again, I’d frankly much rather curl up with my book!  And that means less TV, less ‘blue light’, less stimulation for my brain and better sleep.  Note that I didn’t say more but ‘better’!
  6. It’s a win-win!  So number 3 was a bit random…  If you join a book group as part of your challenge, there’s a sense of community and if you don’t, you’re still doing yourself a favour by relaxing with a book!

Which have been my favourites?

Hands-down the best one I’ve read in this challenge and easily one of my best reads ever was ‘The Great Alone’ by Kristin Thomas.  Life literally fitted around me reading this book in 2 weeks-ish.  It’s not a short one either.

The house was more of a mess, tea was regularly fish fingers (well not really but you get my point), I didn’t speak to my family for the duration (again, not quite but humour me!).  If I were to write a review of this book, which I’m not because I’ve never been good at reviews, I’d use words like gripping, tragic, warming, beautiful…  I defy anyone to not enjoy this book.

 

The 2nd favourite one is definitely a tie between Tubing, How to Stop Time, The Secret of Nightingale Wood and This is going to Hurt.  They’re all very different genres which makes it difficult to even justify ‘ranking’ them in my opinion.  Should we even do that when they’re all words of art in their own right and genres?  Tubing was one that I read earlier in the year when I was getting them from Amazon; it was a pre-ordered one that I’d forgotten about and bought on a whim to be honest.  It arrived and I settled down to start it with a list of jobs to do but I still began reading and found it very hard to put down.

 

How to Stop Time was very clever and I loved the historical background and the London setting.  Such an amazing book.

 

The Secret of Nightingale Wood handled depression/post-natal depression through the eyes of a child if I remember (it’s been a while since I read it!) but in any case, it was an easy read, had a good story line, if a little stretched at times and I remember thinking that was one of the best I’ve ever read (then along came The Great Alone).

As for This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay the author deserves a medal for this book.  I agree with the blurb – I laughed out loud, cringed and was drawn in to the unbelievable conditions that the NHS junior doctors worked and still work.  I’m passionate about the NHS in the UK and will defend it to the hilt.  Maybe this was why I got behind the book so much.  Perhaps it’s because it’s in diary form and easy to read.  Whatever the reason, it’s a must-read and I’m so glad I did.  Our library has a rule that you’re not allowed to renew it either because it’s a popular reservation.  I read it within a week!

How about you?  What reason would you give to do a reading challenge?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere  Thanks 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy one of the products featured, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you.

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Meet Kiki from Message in a Bottle ~ personalised book for children

Meet Kiki ~ a friendly, lovable bird from ‘Message in a Bottle’. 

Message in a Bottle personalised book for children adventure journey special child bonding reading learning gift present kiki sunset

She’s relaxing in front of the sunset, thinking about her travels around the world and looking for her next adventure…

Message in a Bottle personalised book for children adventure journey special child bonding reading learning gift present world

But why is she going around the world? 

Because she’s got a very important journey ~ to deliver a message in a bottle to a very special person.  What a very helpful bird she is!

And you can help Kiki by getting involved and getting behind the launch team for Message in a Bottle ~ a personalised book for children.

Over recent weeks I’ve had the privilege of watching Kiki develop from a hand-drawn sketch to the wonderful colourful character that she is now 🙂

ttle personalised book for children adventure journey special child bonding reading learning gift present kiki splash

How can you not love Kiki?

During the launch process, I popped some colouring-in sheets under our little girl’s nose (you can get yours by pledging your support on Kickstarter.

Her eyes lit up and she began to inject some colour into the sheets.  As she coloured, we had a chat about what the sheets were for.

I told her about Kiki’s task and how the little bird was going to get a special message to a very special person.  I love the work in progress here, don’t you?

Message in a Bottle personalised book for children adventure journey special child bonding reading learning gift present work in progress

~

I’ve been excited to be able to show our little girl illustrations by Tuire Siiriainen as the book has been tweaked.  Myself and other members have given great feedback which has enabled the team to bring Message in a Bottle to what you see here on Kickstarter.

I love that Kiki (lovely little Kiki!) is ready for an adventure;

an adventure with an important goal…

Now we’ve got an important goal… to help Kiki get that message delivered.

Help her now!  You can even get a soft toy of Kiki… can you even imagine?…

Message in a Bottle has been produced with love by the very talented team and it’s now live on Kickstarter.  There are lots of different ways to pledge your support for Kiki and the Message in a Bottle book.

Message in a Bottle personalised book for children adventure journey special child bonding reading learning gift present kiki reading

And follow Kiki’s journey with Message in a Bottle across the World Wide Web!

Facebook

And you can spread the word by pinning from my Message in a Bottle board on Pinterest

As they say, ‘don’t delay, get involved today!’

*This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.

~
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Book review : Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Book review Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty friendship bullying murder domestic violence discussion book novel fiction

I felt I could have written an essay on ‘Big Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty
when I’d finished reading it.  An essay about the genius of the themes interwoven through it: bullying, Domestic Violence, friendship.   (I had been rooting for one of the heroines from around halfway through.)  That’s why I loved the discussion points at the end and I’ve never come across this before.  I even discussed them with my hubby who doesn’t really read and had no idea what I was raving on about!   But I felt the need to de-brief myself after this powerful novel.

Admittedly, it wasn’t until a good few chapters in that I felt the novel really took off and I did get a bit impatient with it, due to the focus on the cattiness of the school run: humourous and ironic as it was.  Once the main themes had been introduced though, it really took off and I was hooked, making this a book that was very difficult to put down!

It really was one of those books that left me feeling a bit dazed for the rest of the day while I fully digested it.  In a good way…

~

So tell me, have you read any of Moriarty’s books?  Does this sound like your cup of tea (with biscuit?)

Share in the comments below the link badges!

This post contains affiliate links, so if you decide to buy this book through this blogpost, I earn a few pennies… thank you.

~

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The Library Archives and a Love of Books

Our little girl has a love of books and was really excited to browse the books at her school’s week of hosting the travelling book fair.  She had been promised a new book from us and after a quick perusal of the shelves, made a bee-line for What the Ladybird Heard Next
by Julia Donaldson.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 2

This surprised me a little because she tends to be much more into chapter books than picture books these days.  She even got a new book storage cushion for Christmas!

It must be the very clever rhymes and therefore the rhythm of Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len’s misdemeanours!..

We’ve just recently moved house and joined the local library.  With our little girl enjoying reading so much, we were keen to get registered as soon as possible.

The ‘switch over’ from our old library got me to looking at the history of our old library accounts.  You might call them ‘the archives’.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 1

You can just about barely (!) see in our little girl’s account that she has borrowed 289 books since she joined as a baby.  And that’s not including the books she’s got a home, some of which she has read over and over and over again!

Thankfully, the world of books is still at her fingertips and she loves to go along with us and using the machine to take out and return books.

~

Do you visit your local library very often?  What does your child like best about it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below 🙂 

*This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you happen to purchase something from the link you click, I get to have a little happiness too! 🙂 

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A novel book storage idea

When our little girl unwrapped a cushion from her Grandma and Pop for Christmas, she was really excited… and so was I!

Book cushion a novel book storage idea reading nook library organisation

Having been to a Christmas Fayre, my lovely Mum saw these brilliant cushions that double up as a novel book storage idea!

When our little girl saw that her cousin had a similar cushion, she was even more excited.

When she unwrapped 5 new Rainbow Magic books, she slotted a couple into the little pockets on her new cushion.

What a neat idea!

The cushion now flits between her reading nook and her bed, as do the cats most days.  I’m convinced that the cats enjoy a read when she’s not there!  She’s even been known to take it in the car with her over the Christmas break!

Our little girl chose to spend some of her Christmas money on a Rainbow Magic bookmark, which arrived just after Christmas.

What I love is that our little girl is being so very patient (mostly) because she’s pre-ordered another Rainbow Magic book for delivery in March…

Whereas I… well I haven’t got a lovely book cushion but I have managed to explore our new (to us) library and brought a couple of books home 🙂

To be perfectly honest, I was really disappointed with ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ by Jennifer Worth.  Having devoured a couple of her other books, I had high hopes for this one but just couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters which seemed more like character studies than the interesting insight into history that I was expecting.

So I tried a different genre, recommended to me.  This one is by Liane Moriarty ‘Big Little Lies’ and I am enjoying it.  It’s hard to put down and I’ll hopefully report back in a few weeks 🙂

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Books for children – developing speech and language

books for children to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years main abc pic final edit

I make no secret of my passionate belief that reading books to your children every day helps to develop their speech and language skills.  Right from when our daughter was born and was only just home from hospital as a newborn, I would read her cloth books while she happily kicked and gurgled under her play gym and at feeding time, in fact any time really.  Then she moved on to board books and took her abc’s and her 123’s in her stride.

Fast forward to 5 years later and there is no denying that all of this has stood her in very good stead with her literacy.  While in her first year at school, she has learnt her phonics, learnt to read and write and just recently her teacher told us that she is doing ‘fantastic’ with her spelling.  All of this reading to her and with her in the foundations of her early years can surely be no coincidence…

So, which books are recommended to develop your child’s speech and language skills?

From read-aloud, nursery rhyme and picture books like ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ by Robert Louis Stevenson…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years 1

and books for the late talker like ‘The Einstein Syndrome’ by Thomas Sowell…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years einstein syndrome thomas sowell 1

to books about animals and classic stories like ‘Sammy: The Classroom Guinea Pig’ by Alix Berenzy…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years sammy classroom guinea pig alix berenzy 1

…and let’s not forget the role that letter blocks and flash cards play like ‘Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper: Fun with Words’…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years biff chip kipper flashcards 1

Indeed, we used flashcards when our little bear first started her reading and it helped immensely.  It also helped that we had picked up the flashcards through hubby’s work book club that happened to be the same series that our bear’s class was using – the Biff, Chip and Kipper series from Oxford Reading Tree.  By turning it into a game, our bear had no idea that she was learning!

Of course, along with reading books to and with your child, talking to your child is a great stepping stone to great vocab, literacy and speech.

So tell me, which books did you or do you enjoy reading with your child?  Were/are any of them the same ones that you read as a child?

Share in the comments below the link badges!

~

The Twinkle Diaries

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‘Aprons and Silverspoons’ ~ a must-read!

papery peep aprons and silverspoons mollie moran 1930s kitchen maid

To say that I found this book fascinating is an understatement.  It’s fair to say that I’m intrigued with how people used to live years ago (not all that long ago in this case, in the grand scheme of things).  I love Downton Abbey (though I haven’t seen the whole series, sadly), I love anything and everything Jane Austen related, I love reading/watching well-researched fiction and non-fiction about the class divides and how people used to live.  Way back when I was at school, I have distinct memories of a programme called ‘How We Used to Live’.

This book most certainly did not disappoint.  How times have changed!  Mollie chose to work in domestic service against working in a shop.  The only other option being the Workhouse…  which was most certainly not a good option.  As Moran re-tells, domestic service involved starting at the bottom of the ‘food chain’, literally getting down on hands and needs and scrubbing and scrubbing, and scrubbing some more.  Pretty much from dawn.

While reading this book, I found myself shuddering at the conditions that Moran and her counterparts worked in.  But do you know what really amazed me?  That it was perfectly acceptable and there was relatively little whinging done out loud.  These people just got on with it… working their fingers to the bone!

Do read the book, it’s a very easy to read and goes really well with a nice hot cup of your favourite brew and a cheeky biscuit 😉

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