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Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson

I was attracted to this book because of the cover and blurb on the netgalley website.  I wanted to know more and find out about Lewis, Rhonda and the real life poachers hunting an elusive unicorn.

In many books, unicorns are mythical creatures harnessing unimaginable magic in their horns.  They are pastel coloured or rainbow coloured, but the lovely thing about this book is that they are given more of a realistic presence.  They are huge, bigger than a Clydesdale, but darker coloured.  Their manes remain soft and flowing as in other stories and they have a mystical quality to them.

Lewis, Rhona  and their classmates are staying in Scotland on their school residential.  Lewis struggles with sports and confidence and while waiting for classmates to finish abseiling he believes he sees a unicorn.  His only friend from school Rhona doesn’t believe him but when they go for a walk the next day they discover a horrifying sight.  A huge black unicorn is found dead and they are now fully intrenched in solving the murder of the unicorn.

Lewis and Rhona, both suffering from issues at home with parents, are tied together with a firm bond of friendship. This friendship is tested throughout their adventure but ultimately they form a perfect team in rescuing a herd of unicorns from a real life poacher wanting to sell a unicorn horn.

They are brave, daring and it is clear they have a unique ability to sense and speak with unicorns. They become the chosen Guardians of the Wild Unicorns.
It is a wonderful book to read.  It deals with some issues affecting many children in schools, it promotes the need to protect natural wildlife from poachers and it ends with a clear message to ask questions and be open with your friends so they can be there for you.

I highly recommend this book and will be buying it for my schools.
Published 30 April 2019

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The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth

I have had a lovely afternoon diving deep into unknown worlds with Minnow, Raife and Mercy.  

This book is simply wondrous.  I loved so much about Minnow and the mystery surrounding her silver teeth, the scars along her neck and her superb swimming abilities.  Her bravery, determination and love for her Mamma is intense and it is these qualities that lead her on the dangerous adventure to save her Mamma, Merfins and the Wild Deep from the Wanderers.  
Steeped in folklore, myths and legends, this adventure draws on all we think we believe about sea creatures, real or mythical, and turns it upside down.  Merfin are more than women with glistening, pastel coloured  tails, they are gloriously gorgeous creatures with dark skin and dreadlocks of shimmering colours.  
Minnow feels a sense of belonging with the creatures in the sea and in facing her demons, she discovers more about who she is and where she belongs. She truly meets her fears head on and realises all her mother has taught her through songs, stories and love is true and she must use those memories to guide her and lead her through Vintertide, Darkentide and to Somertide.  
There are wonderful characters throughout the story helping Minnow;
Raife is the unlikely best friend who sticks by Minnow through danger and perhaps life changing events.
Arielka, Minnow’s old wise grandmother, who we feel might also be part of the sea.
Ely and Mercy, Jah Jah and of course, Miyuki.  Miyuki is a husky who is Minnow’s best friend.  What story is complete without a best friend.  
Having read and loved the Harper series, I knew Cerrie Burrell was a talented author but this sets the bar higher now. 
I recommend anyone who loves heroines, adventure and ultimately a happy ending to read this. 
It is a joy from start to finish! 
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Ross Welford

This is my first Ross Welford book and I simply loved it.  It kept me company on a slow train out of London and stayed with me through all the delays.  I was so happy to have such dedicated time to enjoy all this book has to offer.
Georgie has so much heart and love in her and her friendship with Ramzy is brilliant.  Throughout the book you get the impression that neither of them have many other friends and it increases the bond they share.  Ramzy has no filter and asks any questions, which helps them out immensely throughout the story.
So much happens in the book and it is all threaded together in such a marvellous way.  Without spoiling the book, Georgie, Ramzy and the mysterious Dr. Pretorius have a world changing problem to solve and they do this with technology and bravery.  There are dangerous risks, including mutating scorpions, loss of memory and sick dogs to contend with but the fate of the world is depending on our heroes. Can they save all dogs and humans from the deadly virus?
Add in some comical moments with the Dr,, Norman Two-Kids and his shop and the mutating scorpion and it is a wonderful way to spend your day!
Now to go and read Time Travelling with a hamster, The 1000 year old boy, and What not to do if you turn invisible.  My TBR pile grows again.
I am so pleased to have finally discovered the wonder that is Ross Welford.

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To Blog or Not to Blog- Where is the time?

Hello Blogging World!

It has been some time since my last blog and I am, in all honesty, in awe of those who can regularly keep up the reviews, opinions and time to make their blogs amazing. 

I started my blog to show how we use advent in our family to encourage a love of reading and to enjoy the build-up to Christmas.  I started it in late November and then each (almost) day I would photograph the books we opened that day and share our opinions on them.  It was fun and I loved interacting with twitter and with those who reached out via my blog.  It was a wonderful time!

Now, back to work full time……how do I squeeze it all in?  How do I ensure I am relevant, engaging and attracting to readers?  I have started to do my homework and am reading a lot of blogs and taking notes on what I like, what I think might suit me and ways to move forward.

I read blogs and I enjoy browsing them….but how do I compete in a full bookshop of book bloggers?

I have asked a few popular book bloggers about how they manage work, family and blog commitments.  Responses varied but overall the bloggers said it shouldn’t feel pressured to write, or that will come across to readers.  Passion should be your drive and above all else find a way to ensure you have time to dedicate to it, whether that be weekly or daily.  Someone posted on twitter last week about going easy on yourself as a blogger.  I wholeheartedly related to that post- sometimes I won’t be able to blog, sometimes I will be too tired or have nothing new to say and that is ok. 

All bloggers start somewhere and some go on to become the hugely popular, go to blogs, while others stay current and are read and enjoyed.  I hope to become the latter in the nearest future and perhaps the former in a year or two.  Everyone needs a goal! 

I have decided to set a plan in motion to write on my blog, tweet about it and see how it goes. 
I am not here to compete with the book blogging giants but I am here and that is something!

I plan to return again soon!

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Agatha Oddly….buy this series!

I was given Agatha Oddly,The Secret Key for Christmas and I loved it.  I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read Murder at the Museum before it is published.

I think Agatha is a brilliant character, feisty and determined to get the truth whatever the consequences.  She knows her mind, makes quick decisions and can remember minute details that always come in handy later.   She tends to find trouble wherever  she goes and meets bad guys who try to throw her off course but good always wins!

Agatha is now accepting the trials being set by the Gatekeeper’s Guild and is desperate to gain access to their files about her mother who was also a member.  We learn more and more about Agatha’s mother in this book and more clues pointing to her death not being accidental.  I look forward to Agatha finding the truth about the “accident” which took her mother’s life.

I can’t put the books down once I start them and I tend to live vicariously through Agatha, her friend Liam and new detective ally friend Brianna.  I am nowhere near as brave as this trio and am on the edge of my seat throughout the book, silently cheering them on!

It is an exciting plot, full of twists, turns and surprises.  I am always so pleased when Agatha triumphs over a situation and am in awe of her code breaking skills.  What a fantastic girl!
I wait impatiently now for the third! Brilliant writing Lena Jones….keep them coming!

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Reading Resolutions

Hello All,

Welcome to 2019!  Happy New Year!

I had an email from Scholastic this week asking me if I wanted to make some Reading Resolutions.  Goodreads are also asking if I want to set a reading goal for 2019.

I have been debating setting a Reading Resolution- I haven’t set one in the past. So the main question raised is How would I decide what to set?

Does setting a reading resolution make reading feel too pressurized to be enjoyable?
Would reaching or surpassing my reading goal satisfy my reading appetite?
If I didn’t reach my reading goal would I lose my passion for reading?

I love reading and always have done.  I remember reading and loving books and libraries from a very young age and I am working to create this same love in my work and my home life. 
There are so many websites expressing opinions for and against setting reading resolutions, and many offer suggestions about what makes a good resolution. 

Do I diversify my reading interests?
Do I try a new author?  Genre?
Do I try to manage my TBR pile?
Do I read more classics or tick a list of 100 books to read before you die?

I am very much in the reading for pleasure camp and want to enjoy all the books I read.  Dare I say it, but sometimes I put a book aside after reading part of it.  I believe that I will come back and read it when the time is right.  I wouldn’t want to read a book just to say I’ve read it.  Books are written to be enjoyed. My time spent reading is my get away time, my lose myself in a book time. 

I believe I have answered my own question……I will not be setting a reading resolution or goal of a number of books to read in 2019.  I want to read what I want when I want to! 

Saying that I am, for the first time, going to keep track of what I read, review and tweet about this year.  I have bought myself a lovely notebook from Paperchase and will use it wisely. 
I plan to read widely and voraciously!  But it is not a reading resolution, it is a way of life!

Happy Reading in 2019!  There are some amazing books due to be published this year- enjoy them all!