Book Review: What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

A few weeks ago I signed up with NetGalley to read and review the latest new book releases. Over the weekend I was checking out the latest releases when I happened across What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday. This is the latest book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks and knew I had to request it.

The kids were over the moon when my request was accepted. Bedtime couldn’t come soon enough on Monday so we could read it.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday by Julia Donaldson  and Lydia Monks

“One fine day, in the middle of May, The ladybird went on holiday.”

Those two bad men, Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh, are back! They may be in the city instead of the farm, but they haven’t changed their thieving ways. In fact, they’ve got even more ambitious. They’re planning to steal a monkey from the zoo and use it to steal the Queen’s crown. It’s a pity for them that a certain crime-busting ladybird is holidaying in the very same city – and she’s got a good idea that will ensure the dastardly pair won’t get away with it!

With a whole host of noisy new zoo-animal characters to meet and even a cameo from the Queen, What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday, from stellar picture book partnership Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, is a sure-fire hit.

Our Thoughts

The book is everything you would expect from a Julia Donaldson book. It’s fun for adults and children alike. We all had a fantastic, if noisy time, making the different animal noises and catching up with the ladybird’s antics.

We are huge Julia Donaldson fans in this house and as usual she hits the mark with this wonderful follow up to What the Ladybird Heard and What the Ladybird Heard Next. The fabulous illustrations are by Lydia Monks and complement the book perfectly.

This book will be joining our Julia Donaldson collection as soon as it’s available.

Thank you to Netgalley, Macmillan Children’s Books and Julia Donaldson for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday is available from 29 May 2017 and priced at £11.99

My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall

Title: My Sister and Other Liars

Author: Ruth Dugdall

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Page Count: 364

 

Synopsis

Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.

Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.

Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself.

The brain is not like the body: it does not let go so easily and is harder to control, and as I drift to sleep it takes me elsewhere, to the place of all my nightmares.

Review

After reading this book I can safely say that the subject matter is not for the faint hearted. The topics include self harm, eating disorders and crimes of a sexual nature.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ruth Dugdall and although the story is a little uncomfortable at times, it made for compulsive reading.

The book focuses on Sam, a patient in a specialist hospital dealing with eating disorders. We follow her story as she works with her therapist on the run up to her review hearing.

Sam believes she deserves to die due to events in her past and her doctor is trying to get her to open up. The story is set in the present, although we share Sam’s memories from the past as she talks to her doctor.

We hear about her sister and how she was attacked on Sam’s 16th birthday and left with disabilities. We are also introduced to her parents and a few other characters.

I felt the some of the characters were a little unbelievable, such as why a 16 year old was taking on the role of PI to find out who attacked her sister. Surely the police would have done a much better job than they appeared to have done.

I’ll admit to figuring out some of the secrets before they were written but the identity of the attacker eluded me almost until the end.

If you can bring yourself to read this dark and gritty thriller then I would highly recommend it

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Presidential Shift by C G Cooper

Presidential Shift by C G CooperTitle: Presidential Shift (Book IV of the Corps Justice Series)

Author: C G Cooper

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 174

 

Synopsis

The vice president killed…
The first lady attacked…
A president on the edge…

Cal Stokes, former Marine and owner of Stokes Security International (SSI), has had a busy year. Trying to calm his inner demons and forget the tragic loss of his men, Cal dives headlong into his work, taking the battle to the enemy. Now the president needs his help to uncover a leak in his administration and start the long road to cleaning up Washington, and wrestling power back from corrupt officials who threaten to plunge the American government further into the abyss. Will Cal uncover the truth before it’s too late?

Most Americans have no idea the level of corruption that exists within their own country.

Review

Presidential Shift is the fourth book in the Corps Justice series and although this is the first book I’ve read by C G Cooper, it definitely won’t be my last. I’ve already downloaded the first three books of the series as my interest was piqued by some of the existing relationships within this book. They had obviously been developed in previous book and I want to know more. That said, it is still possible to read this book as a standalone without it impeding the flow.

There were a couple of areas where I began to feel a little bit lost, especially with some of the Marine references – Semper Gumby anyone? Fortunately I was reading on my Kindle and was easily able to use the capabilities to find out what they were talking about and continue with the story.

The book pretty fast moving, steadily picking up the pace right until the end. Although, I must admit that I had my suspicions about who was behind everything from very early on. I did begin to doubt myself before finding out I was, in fact correct in my assumptions. It may be because I have a bit of craving for US political dramas at the minute. Whatever the reason, there were still lots of twists and turns.

My only issue is that by the end of the story I still had a couple of unanswered questions. Hopefully, the characters will pop up in future stories and their stories will develop further.

Although I had my suspicions, a main plot detail about one of the characters wasn’t mentioned until right at the end. Personally, I don’t think it would have ruined the ending. In fact I think it may have thrown me off the scent.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

The Spookshow by Tim McGregor

The Spookshow by Tim McGregorTitle: The Spookshow (Spookshow #1)

Author: Tim McGregor

Genre: Paranormal

Page Count: 114

 

Synopsis

Life used to be normal for Billie Culpepper. Drab even. That all that changed after an accident left her in a coma for three days. That’s when the spookshow really began, when Billie realized that she could see the dead.

And the dead could see her.

Now, they won’t leave her alone.

Accompanying two friends through a haunted house, Billie uncovers a terrible secret that brings, not only the police, but the homicide detective responsible for putting her into the hospital in the first place. He’s also the one man she sworn to stay away from.

Generations of teenagers and thrill-seekers had stomped in and out of the murder house over the decades.

Review

I picked this book up for free from Amazon (as I do many of my books) as the blerb drew me in. I’m glad it did, despite it being outside my usual choice of book.

Considering I usually avoid anything remotely spooky like the plague, I found this book more physic fiction than out and out horror. The story was scary enough to give you a chill without the nightmare scenario. All in all there was a great balance on that front.

It’s eventful and fast paced and I actually enjoyed it more than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not without it’s flaws. There appears to be a backstory between the main character, Billie, and the detective which gets a little confusing. I couldn’t help feeling as if I’d missed a crucial part of the story. However, I have since found out that this is the topic of the second book.

It’s as if this book is there to catch your attention and the following books in the series elaborate on the things you have learnt. I’m not sure I’m completely hooked with this series, but am willing to give the next book, Welcome to the Spookshow, a try.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Execution is Everything by Nick Warren

Execution is Everything by Nick WarrenTitleExecution Is Everything: A Jon Kaine Short Thriller

Author: Nick Warren

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 120

 

Synopsis

When you have 10 seconds to live, Execution Is Everything.

Dr. Jon Kaine has flown into New York to commit a crime, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the late-night bar he hides out in, the gang that runs it, and the beautiful woman who follows him inside.

Kaine is a psychologist – more used to business pitches than bar fights – but as the night descends into violence he’s forced to put his skills to darker use.

Submission. Affirmation. Respect. Three weapons in the ancient art of manipulating people.

Review

I completely devoured this book. I read it in one day as I couldn’t put it down.

I love the character development, especially the main protagonist. They are totally engaging and believable and extremely well developed for a book of this length.

The story is packed with plenty of tension and is totally different from anything I’ve read for a long time. I especially loved the psychology aspects within the plot, it adds something to the whole story. It was interesting to see how it’s possible to ‘outwit’ people just by knowing how they will react in certain situations.

It definitely left me wanting more and I’ve signed up for parts 2 and 3 so will update my review when I’ve read them.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

TitleFangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 460

 

Synopsis

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)

Review

Fangirl is a book by another new to me author. I’d read loads of reviews and the majority of people have raved about it. All I can say is I don’t think they were my kind of people.

I definitely had high expectations about this book and to be honest, at best it was OK. I’m not the within the target demographic of the book so this may go some way to explaining my disappointment.

There is no real plot to speak and the ending is somewhat abrupt. I would have preferred a little more if I’m honest. It felt as if I was reading about a small snapshot of Cath’s life without a beginning or an end.

I really didn’t like the references to Harry Potter or the fanfiction scattered through the book. If I’m honest I skimmed over the whole Simon/Baz fan fiction as I found I didn’t care in the slightest about it. Did it affect my reading pleasure? No, I don’t actually think it did, in fact I didn’t actually see the point of it.

So what kept me reading? Most definitely the relationships between the characters. I especially loved the growing relationship between Cath and Reagan. At times I actually found myself caring about the characters and truly wanted to know how things worked out between everyone.

I don’t regret reading Fangirl, but I may think twice before picking up any of Rainbow Rowell’s young adult books in future – they just aren’t for me.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

The Fairytale Box – TSG BookClub Box

I finally managed to collect my latest subscription box from The Stationery Geekette earlier this week after several visits to the Post Office.

This month the theme was fairytales and the book Emma chose was The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millward Hargarave.  The book blew me away before I even began reading. Every page is decorated with drawings and cartography markings and it looks amazing. There are also maps of the island inside the front and back covers. All in all the book looks beautiful.

Anyway, onto the rest of the items in the box. This month we have an amazing smelling was melt from Westroad Witches Wax Cauldron.

There was also a Happily Ever After tag from MTB Creations which I love. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it yet but it definitely will be finding a good use as it’s beautiful.

Next up we have a fairytale keyring. Mine is a cute little fairy/sprite.

Finally we have some stickers from LGD Designs on Facebook

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Debbie x

*Disclaimer: This is a totally unbiased review of a product I purchased myself. I am in no way affiliated with Emma-Louise Smith or The Stationery Geekette*

Betrayal by Tim Tigner

Title: Betrayal

Author: Tim Tigner

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 306

Synopsis

WHAT WOULD YOU DO
if you awoke after a mission . . .
in an Iranian hospital . . .
as the only survivor . . .
of a terrorist attack?

FBI AGENT Odysseus Carr is about to find out.

But should Odi trust the man who saved him . . .
or the man who sent him . . .
or none of the above?

Presumed dead after a staged terrorist attack, FBI Agent Odysseus Carr is running for his life with the doctor who rescued him. Meanwhile, the same power players who sent Odi to his death are now manipulating an FBI profiler into blindly tracking him down. She’s not just their best, she’s also his sister.

As Odi unravels a devious plot of profound political manipulation and global consequence, the hunted becomes the hunter, and the real terror begins.

Betrayal changes a man . Betrayal makes him worry about things he never worried about before. It makes him worry about things like self - preservation. Ponder motives. And plan his revenge

Review

Betrayal is the second book I’ve read by Tim Tigner, I read Flash back in December, and yet again, I loved it.  The title is very appropriate, just about every character is betrayed, sometimes more than once during the book.

It’s action packed, fast paced political plot keeps you hooked until the end wondering if the main characters make it out in one piece.

The story is unpredictable and almost believable in this current day and age. That said there are a couple of sections that made me go ‘Really??’, before reminding myself it was just a book. Regardless of that I found myself reading ‘one more chapter’ until it was past midnight and I had run out of chapters to read.

I loved the characters, especially the twins Odi and Cassie, and found myself willing them on throughout the book. I also liked the fact that their actions weren’t always what you would have expected from the main characters.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of political/espionage thrillers, although I would advise you hold off on the coffee while drinking!!

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

Fearless by Nicola Clare

Fearless by Nicola ClaireTitleFearless (Scarlet Suffragette, Book 1)

Author: Nicola Claire

Genre: Historical Romance

Page Count: 300

 

Synopsis

Free spirit. Brilliant. A Liability?

Doctor Anna Cassidy has been trained by the best; the former Chief Surgeon for the Auckland Police Force. She knows how to dissect a body. She knows how to treat any ailment. And she knows how to find a cause of death.

But society is not ready for a female surgeon.

Fighting for what she believes in has been ingrained in Anna since she was a young child. But the battles she faces now are not all based on equality. A murderer stalks her fellow Suffragettes and the police inspector in charge of the case could be Anna’s downfall.

Experienced. Dedicated. Something to hide?

Inspector Andrew Kelly holds duty and honour in the highest regard. His role as a detective proves just that; he never stops until justice is served. Love is something he has forsaken, for reasons he’d rather you didn’t know.

But Anna is not a woman a man can ignore.

Fighting his instincts with cold determination is something Kelly has become accustomed to. But a murderer is loose in his adopted city, bringing memories to the fore of a killer who walked in the shadows of Whitechapel, and shining light on a dark past the Inspector is trying hard to forget.

A gritty, twisted, and authentic Victorian romantic suspense, sure to rip you apart… just like old Jack.

My father had insisted a good surgeon empathised with their patients. And distracted themselves from their cadavers.

Review

Firstly I must point out that I’m not generally a lover of historical romances, but Fearless is not your typical romance novel. It’s dark and sinister, with a strong female protagonist and several twists I didn’t expect.

Another thing I didn’t expect from this book was that I was going to love it as much as I did. It’s up there with The Butterfly Garden as one of my top reads of 2017 so far.

I must admit I was drawn to this book mainly due to the Jack the Ripper connection and I wasn’t disappointed.  There are plenty of references to the Ripper throughout the book without it detracting too much from the story at hand.

Like most books I have read recently it has its up and downs. The whole romance situation between Anna and Inspector Kelly reminded me why I don’t like romance novels. However, there is something at the end of the book which give a little substance to the reasoning from one party at least.

I loved the whole Suffragette aspect. It’s something I’m aware of but quite how difficult life was for women in the 1800’s. It definitely makes me extremely thankful for everything they did back then so I could have the life I have.

I’m not sure I’m completely converted to the whole historical romance genre but I’m waiting with baited breath for the next instalment of the Scarlet Suffragette series which is due to be released in April 2017.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

Run Girl by Eva Hudson

Run Girl by Eva HudsonTitle: Run Girl (Ingrid Skyberg FBI Thrillers Book #1)

Author: Eva Hudson

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 174

 

Synopsis

A strange new city, a missing girl, and a race against time.

In Europe to help broker a peace deal between warring African nations, Secretary of State Jayne Whitticker is in the middle of delicate negotiations when her favourite grandchild disappears from Paris.

Special Agent Ingrid Skyberg is hauled out of her FBI training session at Scotland Yard to head the hunt for the 18-year-old girl, who the FBI believe is now in London. The problem is, Ingrid has only one lead, just a few hours to track her down and can’t call in the local cops for assistance for fear the story is leaked to the press.

Will she succeed in her unexpected mission? Or will her failure lead to the collapse of the crucial peace talks?

With so much resting on her decisions and subsequent actions, one thing’s for sure: Ingrid will give everything’s she’s got to find the girl and save the day.

She took a deep breath and straightened her spine. This might be the toughest job of her career, but it was also the most prestigious. She had an opportunity to help

Review

I chose this book as I was looking for something quick and easy to read and this fit the bill perfectly. An added bonus was that it was also interesting with a whole lot packed into its limited pages.

It’s simply written and, being a novella, the author gets to the point almost straight away. The majority of the characters are engaging although the missing teenager did irritate me a little at times.

The characters aren’t too complex. In my opinion, this book sets introduces the characters just enough to hook you. In my opinion it makes you want to read more of the series.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x