Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough | Review

Book Synopsis

‘Incredibly insightful, funny and poignant’ Helen Sedgwick

I get up. I go to work. I spend the whole day waiting for the words on my screen to make sense. In the commuter broth of the carriage home, tears run in hot lines to my jaw and for a minute or so, I let them.

Nothing has turned out quite how Rhona Beech thought: she’s been swapping one so-so job for another on an annual basis . . . and now her nine-year relationship has ended abruptly. When her lukewarm efforts to adjust to the changes in her life are thrown entirely up in the air by some unwelcome news, Rhona has to think again.

Her sardonic, funny, poignant attempts to find an answer to the questions she’s facing are helped by a cast of friends, strangers and trained professionals. Funny and tender, Keep Walking, Rhona Beech is a beautifully written and brilliantly observant satire on relationships, friendship and life

Previously published as Head for the Edge, Keep Walking by Cargo Publishing.

My Thoughts

I am always slightly uneasy when I look at a book and I ask myself “What ‘type’ of a novel is this?” The answer here is “A gratifying, moving and very comical one,” in more or less equal measures.

Although I would say that “Keep Walking Rhona Beech” is extremely amusing and, at times, positively hilarious, this is qualified by a feeling of great sadness, too. It’s a journey of loss, companionship, love and needing to be happy with your life, with or without a Significant Other. I am sure that most of us could identify with the protagonist, Rhona on some level, at least. I certainly know that I could, so much so that I found myself wanting to help her to break out of her life of monotony and dreariness. “Keep Walking, Rhona Beech” gives out the message that there is a need to be happy with yourself otherwise there may never be a happy ending.

In the novel, the reader is taken on a journey to experience, along with Rhona, her everyday struggles with her current life, as in her purpose, friendships, love and even her very identity. Rhona and her pals are just like the rest of us – likeable, flawed and sometimes perplexing. The journey ranged from the mundane to the downright outrageous that had the effect, at times, that I was Rhona. There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me, however, it was always convincing, credible and extremely worthwhile. 

I enjoyed “Keep Walking, Rhona Beech” so much and I’m hoping to read more by Kate Tough soon…

[Thanks to #NetGalley, Little, Brown Book Group UK and the author, Kate Tough, for my free ARC of #KeepWalkingRhonaBeech in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook | Review

Book Synopsis

HOPE is our children’s window for a better tomorrow. In terms of resilience and well-being, hope is a critically important predictor of success. This creative story from the best-selling author of My Mouth is a Volcano!, and Bubble Gum Brain, reminds children that dark clouds can be temporary and asking for help is always okay. We all have times when we need to borrow a little hope from someone else.

When your clouds get too dark,
and too heavy to push away,
Reach out and ask,
“Can I borrow some light?”
“I’m having a really bad day.”

It’s always okay to admit to yourself,
“I just can’t do it today.”
Everyone needs somebody sometimes,
to help them find their way.”

Sometimes the dark clouds overhead seem too heavy and you feel like giving up. Little candle knows all about this. Bad grades, blasted on social media, worried about making the team, and wondering who her real friends are—so many hard things to deal with! All she can see is darkness. But her story begins to change when someone notices she needs a boost of hope. As little candle is reminded she has purpose and her own unique gifts, and that she isn’t the only one with dark clouds, her dim light begins to shine brighter.

This hopeful story emphasizes for children (and adults) the many different ways to ask for help, and their ability to be a hope builder for others, too.

Advance Praise

A Flicker of Hope is a much-needed resource for our times. As an international speaker on resilience, mental health, and suicide prevention, I have noticed diverse populations struggling with how best to reach out when times get tough. This book gives readers both the language and mindset of how we can build caring communities everywhere. Together we can build the emotional intelligence needed to create a more supportive world.~ Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, Psychologist and Mental Health Advocate.

My Thoughts

This is a lovely book primarily intended for children about never giving up hope no matter how dark things may seem. The main message of the story is characterised by a candle whose light is very dim and gradually becoming dimmer. The candle receives some help from another very bright candle who gives it more light, or in other words, hope.

The book gives a clear message about asking for help, finding the courage to keep on going and to never give up. It shows that it is possible to push away the dark clouds that are only visible to you and no one else. “A Flicker of Hope” shows the reader that hope is very important, no matter what your own personal dark clouds might be, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression or loss. Beautifully written and illustrated very nicely, this book enhances  that message.

This is a great little book for both adults and children and one I would definitely recommend.

[Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for a free ARC of #AFlickerOfHope in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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Ada Lovelace by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Zafouko Yamamoto | Review

Book Synopsis

This board book version of Ada Lovelace—an international bestseller from the beloved Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to the world’s first computer programmer.

As a child, Ada had a big imagination and a talent for mathematics. She grew up in a noble household in England, where she dedicated herself to studying. Her work with the famous inventor, Charles Babbage, on a very early kind of computer made her the world’s first computer programmer. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating mathematician, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

Little People, BIG DREAMSis a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

My Thoughts

This is a non-fiction book about the life of Ada Lovelace. Part of the series, ‘Little People, BIG DREAMS’, “Ada Lovelace” is the tenth book and the first one I’ve read.

Ada’s mum liked maths and her dad liked poetry and when she was still very small, Ada and her mum had to go and live with Ada’s Grandma and her cat. Encouraged by her mum, Ada, too, liked maths and problem-solving and, much later, she meets inventor, Charles Babbage. They worked together developing a machine that led to the computer as we know it today.

The wonderful illustrations in “Ada Lovelace” really complement the text and I am sure both adults and small children will delight in this book as much as I did!

[Thanks to #NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group for my ARC of #AdaLovelace in exchange for an honest review.]  

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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Baby Bird by Andrew Gibbs | Review

Book Synopsis

“All birds are born to fly,” thinks Baby Bird, watching the other hatchlings leave the nest. “I suppose it’s now or never…” But one of Baby’s wings is twisted and shrunken and not at all like the other one. Instead of flying, Baby plummets to the ground. There, Baby makes a new friend, and learns that sometimes you have to find unexpected ways to achieve your dreams. A moving story about the power of friendship and the importance of accepting yourself just the way you are, this lovely watercolor picture book shows how friends can help you overcome difficulty.

My Thoughts

A delightful and adorable tale illustrated with eye-catching watercolour. A little bird is trying to learn how to fly. But one of Baby Bird’s wings is twisted and shrunken and not at all like the other one. Instead of flying, Baby plummets to the ground. Baby Bird meets another bird, Cooter, who helps Bird accept that, even if you can’t fly, you can still get around and enjoy life!  

“Baby Bird” by Andrew Gibbs is a sweet tale about friendship and acceptance which is also an important reminder for both adults and children. I really enjoyed reading ”Baby Bird.” The lovely illustrations will keep young children engaged in the story and it is a fantastic bed-time story for them.

{Thank you to #NetGalley and Quarto Publishing for the free copy of #BabyBird and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender | Review

Book Synopsis

Description

“…an intriguing, enchantingly rendered real fairy tale.” – Kirkus Reviews 

Elsie and Frances feel sad for adults who simply can’t see the magic in the forests around them. If only they could see what we see. 

In 1918, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffith photographed fairies in their garden, in the small village of Cottingley (Yorkshire). Without expecting it, many people paid attention—including renowned writer and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the story, narrated by Elsie herself, of the true events that led to the Cottingley Fairies becoming a international phenomenon.

My Thoughts

This wonderful book fully deserves its gorgeous five stars! If you didn’t believe in fairies before you read this magical children’s book, then you will afterwards.

Based on true events, it tells the story of cousins Frances and Elsie who live in Cottingley, Yorkshire and their encounter with fairies in their garden.

The beautiful illustrations in “The Cottingley Fairies” outclass many I’ve seen in other fairy stories. There is even some background provided in the back of the book that explains the origins of the tale.

Any small child would be delighted to have this as their bed-time story and I know that I would have done.

My heartfelt applause to the author, Ana Sender for writing this sweet little book.

{Thank you to #NetGalley, North South Books and Ana Sender for the free copy of #TheCottingleyFairies and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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AYA and PAPAYA Meet the Big Little Creatures by MQ | Review

Book Synopsis

Join Aya and Papaya on their latest adventures in MQ’s second bright and fun children’s picture book!

Morning has broken and as the sun peaks through her window, Aya gently opens her eyes and gives Papaya an enormous hug. Jumping out of bed and pulling back the curtains, a big smile spreads across her face. Today will be a great day because Aya’s best friend, Samy, is coming to play!

Aya and Samy, with Papaya and Bamboo, decide to go on an adventure to the big castle at the end of the garden. But first, they must be brave and make their way past the big little creatures that live in the garden. As their journey progresses, Aya and Samy learn an important lesson about bravery and being kind.

You can read MQ’s other AYA and PAPAYA adventures, AYA and PAPAYA Find Happiness, also available from Amazon and Apple’s iBooks Store.

My Thoughts

A delightful, sweet tale with colourful and vibrant illustrations. Aya and her friend Samy along with their respective look-alike dolls, Papaya and Bamboo are going to play together. Their adventure leads them outside into the garden where their imaginations start to run awry. The theme for children in “AYA and PAPAYA Meet the Big Little Creatures” is that things may not be as scary as originally thought and that fears shouldn’t prevent anyone from enjoying their adventures. There is an additional message in the story about treating nature with respect which is also an important reminder for both adults and children.

A fantastic bed-time story for the little ones!

{Thank you to #NetGalley, Troubador Publishing and the author for the free copy of #AyaAndPapayaMeetTheBigLittleCreatures and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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