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

Happy Reading!

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

Happy Reading!

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop” by Rebecca Raisin is a lovely, light read. When you have just discovered that you have a husband who is a cheat, what a wonderful way to start life over by going travelling in a camper-van. I thought it was great that Rosie made herself some new friends along the way, as well as earning some money at music and food festivals.

I delighted in this quirky, fun story. There were many laugh-out-loud moments and it was wonderful getting to meet all of the characters, although I did not particularly have a favourite.

I especially loved the idea of owning a pink camper-van like Rosie’s, and a fuchsia pink one at that – so unique and off-the-wall. Also worth a mention are some of the references to delicious culinary delights such as the spotted dick, and the Turkish delight butter-cream cupcakes or some of the more suspect ones like the wheat-grass smoothie or the Dijon tofu.

This fantastic book has left me keen to go touring and travelling and I strongly recommend giving this wonderfully uplifting romantic story a whirl!

{Thank you to #NetGalley and HQ Digital for the free copy of #RosiesTravellingTeaShop and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}



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The Shadow Between Us

The Shadow Between Us by Carol Mason

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Carol Mason, the best-selling author of ’After You Left’ has written an incredibly moving and poignant novel in this slow-burn, very beautiful work of fiction.

Olivia moves to the pretty coastal town of Port Townsend, with her marriage on-the-rocks, and her life in pieces. She doesn’t know if things with her husband Mark are truly over, or quite why the phone call she longs for on her daughter’s birthday will never come.

After joining a letter-writing club held at her local cafe she meets Ned, an ex-soldier badly wounded in Afghanistan. This chance friendship revives unexpected emotions and memories she’d rather forget.

Can Olivia find the courage to confront what she’s hiding from and finally begin to heal the wounds that have torn her life apart?

Liv, as she is known to her husband, is an extremely intriguing character. Regularly displaying a cocktail of emotions, I could still really empathise with her. She could be caring and thoughtful one minute, but then be frank, blunt and very much to-the-point, the next moment. At times she was positively distant and unkind. She was not alone in her attitude and behaviour as some of the other characters in the story shared similar traits such as cafe owner Beth. For me, this added to and complemented this wonderful character-driven story.

THE SHADOW BETWEEN US was a very insightful and thought-provoking read about reflecting on the mistakes we sometimes make and finding hope in second chances. I very much liked the emphasis on letter-writing, reading and quotes from favourite books, running throughout the story.

The dialogue between Olivia and Ned was lovely and liked how they had an almost immediate connection. I was very keen to see how their relationship might develop. I found THE SHADOW BETWEEN US a very enjoyable read, helped by Carol Mason’s beautiful writing which has depth and substance. The ending was very fulfilling although with an unexpected twist. I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

[Thanks to #NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Carol Mason for my ARC of #TheShadowBetweenUs in exchange for an honest review.]



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Rain Town

Rain Town by Andy Donaldson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This novel is a wonderful and exciting debut from author, Andy Donaldson!

The plot was intriguing and exciting and very well paced with no slow parts and I particularly liked the author’s portrayal of the characters. The interaction between the three school-friends, twelve-year-old Stanley Rain, Chloe Scott and Billy Bathurst was a delight. Also worth a mention was the way in which Sidney Rain, (Stanley’s dad,) Bobby Bathurst (father of Billy) and Terry Funk bonded when they all found themselves in the same situation as one another.

As well as being rich in wit and humour, “Rain Town” highlights some important issues for the reader about communication, morals and friendship in the modern world.

I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to both adults and older children and I hope to read more of Andy Donaldson’s novels in the future.

Thanks to #NetGalley, Troubador Publishing, and Andy Donaldson for my ARC of #RainTown in exchange for an honest review.



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