Friday, 18 August 2017

Sally Rippin Presents Super Moopers by Fiona Harris and Scott Edgar.


Moopertown is  a new children's series set to entertain young readers.
The first four books that are released in the series are:
Musical Markus, Nervous Nellie, Dramatic Dom, and Giggling Gertie. 
I was sent the first two titles mentioned above, and after reading them, I think that these are great books for readers aged 5-8 years old.
In each book, we are introduced to one resident of Moopertown. 
The characters are all special in their own way, and each one has a trait that is perceived to be a hindrance, but by the end of the story, the trait is what makes them stand out from the others and transforms them to Super Mooper status. 
In the case of Musical Markus, he loves to sing, any time, any place. But his singing isn't popular with everyone in Moopertown, until one day when a baby is comforted by his voice...

The stories send children the important message that we are all different and that we are able to really shine when we believe in ourselves. 

The story line is easy to follow, and the language is suitable for young readers to comprehend. 

The books are released this August through Five Mile, and have an RRP of $12.99 each. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Children's Book Review:  Disney Elena Of Avalor - The Essential Guide

Elena of Avalor is a 16-year-old Crown Princess of the beautiful Kingdom of Avalor. When she turns 20, she will become the Queen. 
But she still has a way to go if she wants to successfully face the magical journey that is ahead!
In this Essential Guide, you will be introduced to all of Elena's friends, and learn about the magical creatures and legends that exist within Avalor.
There are fun facts, true or false questions, and quizzes included too. 
Elena is the first Latina Disney princess, and unlike some of the other Disney princesses, she does not have a love interest. She is focused on becoming Queen and ruling Avalor.
Any Elena of Avalor fan will be delighted to discover the magical world that Elena resides in!
This beautiful hard-covered book was released in early July through DK Australia, and retails for $16.99
For further information on this title, head here

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Beauty & Lace Book Review: The Good Teacher by R.M. Anderson

The Good Teacher is set in the very small farming town of Stony Creek, and whilst there's only thirty or so homes in the town, the characters that reside within them certainly have a lot drama going on!
It all begins when newly-appointed principal of the one primary school, Brock Kelly, arrives and meets Jennifer Booth.
Jennifer is president of the P&C (even though her only child, Madison has long since left the school), and is married to a man named Andy. 
One day, just before a P& C meeting takes place, Jennifer and Brock have unexpected, steamy sex in Brock's office. 
When committee member, Sarah Howard, uncovers what has taken place, the scandal spirals out of control, and there is a lot to lose for all parties involved.

Told through many alternating perspectives, including Brock's, Jennifer's, Madison's and Mack's (Madison's grandfather, a delightful character that was one of my favourites) we gain a real insight into the ramifications of the affair, and the secrets that others within the community have. 

For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Teacher. The first half of the book I could not put down. I was drawn into the story and wanted to know how it would all pan out.
The second half felt a little too dramatic and whilst I couldn't predict how the story would end, it did lose a bit of the spark but was still rather riveting. 

Discalimer: I was sent a copy of The Good Teacher thanks to Beauty & Lace and Harlequin. To see the original review on the Beauty & Lace website, head here

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Book Review: Super Con-Nerd by Oliver Phommavanh (For Young Readers)

Super Con-Nerd is the follow-up story to Con-Nerd, which was released back in 2011, and the main character is Connor, a young boy who thinks he knows all there is to know about being a nerd.
Connor has just started secondary school at Kentsworth High School, which is a selective school for bright students.
Whilst Connor is grateful for the opportunity he has been given, he struggles to adjust to the transition from primary to secondary school.
It doesn't help that his old school friends are coping fine, making new friends and moving on.
Connor loves to draw comic books, but the excessive amount of homework he gets doesn't allow much time for anything fun anymore. 
Everything seems so different this year, leaving Connor to feel like a little fish in a very big pond.
He wants to make his mum proud as he knows she has sacrificed a lot to get him into the school, but will he be able to when he is put up against the super hyper nerds from Kentsworth? 

This book is highly entertaining, and offers a great insight into what it may feel like for children who are in their first year of secondary school and attempting to adjust to the many challenges they are often faced with. 
My 10 year-old daughter really enjoyed this book, saying that it is one of the best books she has ever read!

It was released earlier this year through Penguin Random House Australia. For further info, including where to buy, head here

Monday, 31 July 2017

Book Review (YA novel) - The Impossible Story Of Olive In Love by Tonya Alexandra

I opted to read and review this book as I really liked the sound of it when I read the blurb, even though it isn't a genre that I would usually read.
The main character is 17-year-old Olive, who is burdened with an Irish gypsy curse that makes her invisible to everyone except her one true love. 
Her mother is dead, her father lives in another country. 
She has one sister, Rose, whom she lives with. 
Rose has never seen Olive, but she is a great support, and has sacrificed a lot to make Olive's life as happy as can be.
Olive has a best friend named Felix, who is blind, and she is grateful for his companionship.
But one day she meets Tom, and he sees her for the person she is. 
Can Olive make this relationship with Tom work, or will Olive always feel invisible, even when she can be seen?

I really liked the premise of this story; I was intrigued as I had never read any book that has an invisible character in it, so it was certainly different!
But unfortunately, I wasn't as convinced by it as I wanted to be.
I just couldn't get into Olive's character, and the relationship with Tom felt very rushed and rather fake at times too.
Olive is demanding and quite the drama queen, which I didn't like, though I could see why her personality would be that way, given she can't be seen by anyone and would seek attention in other ways.
I think that the author did a great job of portraying the struggles that an invisible person would face - being isolated a lot, not being able to drive or catch a taxi, or have a normal job. 
The story gelled enough for me to want to keep reading, but I can't say that it was one that will stay with me for long.
Having said that, it is clever and creative, and I think that it would appeal to young/teen readers. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Books For Pre-Schoolers

Silly Lily And The First Day Of Kindergarten by Jedda Robaard 

Silly Lily is a new book series targeted at pre-schoolers as they experience life's 'first' moments. 

In Silly Lily And The First Day Of Kindergarten, Lily is nervous to begin her first day at kindergarten, but she soon plunges herself into all that the day has to offer, including petting the class pet, drawing, and eating all of her snacks. But when she realises that her first day experiences aren't turning out the way she had hoped, Lily sets about putting things right so that her first day of kindergarten can really be a success!

Silly Lily aims to teach young children about what they should expect in certain situations that they are faced with for the first time. It also leads the young reader to recognise what behaviours are acceptable when they are in these circumstances. 

I adore the illustrations in Silly Lily; they are soft watercolour style images depicting Lily and other recurring characters. The thicker pages in this board book make it ideal for younger readers to handle. 

Silly Lily And The First Day Of Kindergarten is released this month through Five Mile Press, with an RRP of $16.99
For further information, head here

Monday, 24 July 2017

Book Review: The Fence by Meredith Jaffe 

Gwen Hill resides with her husband Eric in an idyllic suburban neighbourhood in Rosedale. They were the first home owners in the area, some 54 years ago.
Gwen is a passionate gardener, and has been writing a gardening column for 40 years. 
Her best friend, next-door neighbour Babs Mody, recently passed away from stomach cancer, and when Babs' son Michael announces that he plans to sell the house, Gwen is interested to see who the new residents next door to her on Green Valley Avenue will be.
It isn't long before married couple Francesca 'Frankie' Desmarchelliers and Brandon Boyd shift in, with 4 young children and 2 dogs in tow.
Frankie works full-time whilst Brandon is the house husband. 
They moved to the area to start afresh after problems in their marriage, in the hope that a change of scenery may be beneficial for their relationship.
When they want to erect a fence between their property and next door, they are met with refusal from their neighbours.
Gwen's reasoning behind it is that she has a row of trees that she claims serve as an informal division of the properties that have been there for years, which she has taken excellent care of.
Unable to work out an agreement, the matter is then taken to court on two separate occasions, and the outcome isn't all that satisfying for either party.
As Gwen faces challenges with Eric's health, and Frankie finds herself stressed out trying to juggle her job, the kids, and Brandon, their priorities shift, but the conflict between them continues..
Will they ever be able to see eye-to-eye, or is a neighbourhood war imminent?

I was so enraptured with this book that I finished it within a couple of days. The author has done a remarkable job with this novel. We hear about these sorts of things on the news occasionally, and this is a fantastic portrayal of that neighbourhood drama. 
I was able to feel empathetic towards both of the main female characters, and although I did side more with Gwen, I just couldn't dislike Frankie. 
Even when I didn't agree with her and found her to be quite stubborn and a person who jumped the gun in many situations, I still felt empathy, which I wasn't expecting. Author Meredith Jaffe makes the reader feel like they know so much about each and every character, including the children. They all added a different perspective which I adored.
I give this book top marks as there isn't anything I could fault. Even the cover is gorgeous.
If you haven't read The Fence, then put it on your list pronto!