Thursday, 9 July 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | Across The Water by Ingrid Alexandra

[This post contains affiliate links. If you click to buy anything through a link on this page, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.]

Across The Water by Ingrid Alexandra - 4/5 

Blurb: In a remote, boat-only access house, Liz Dawson's lifeline to the real world is her window, where she watches the people who live in the three identical houses that sit side by side across the creek. But it's the middle house Liz finds herself drawn to most: the beautiful young mother, Delilah Waters and her baby.

When Dee and her baby go missing, last seen by the murky waters of Myall Lake, it is a suspected murder-suicide. After all, it's no secret that Dee Waters never wanted children. She wasn't coping with the baby. Everyone in the town believes she leapt to her death, taking her child with her. Everyone except Liz.

Wrestling with her own demons, Liz risks everything to uncover a truth that becomes more complex with every twist. Of all people, Liz knows that just because someone is a reluctant mother, it doesn't mean they don't love their child. And it doesn't mean they're capable of murder... Does it?

Review: Liz has briefly moved to a secluded area in Australia with her husband Adam after his father dies and they need to sell his house. The house stands on one side of a creek, with three other houses on the other side; one belonging to Dee, Rob and their baby Ruby, one is Erica and Samir's and the third is Zac's, who works in the local bar.

Liz passes the time in the evening, whilst her husband is commuting to Sydney for work, by looking across the creek at the goings-on of the houses she sees. She becomes familiar with these people then one day, Dee and baby Ruby go missing. But what has Liz seen? What does she know?

It took me a while to get into this and it took to almost halfway into the book to finally get somewhere but when it did, I was hooked. We learn that Dee is struggling with being a mother as it's never what she wanted and Erica is struggling with the loss of four babies.

We are given little breadcrumbs of information throughout the book and I felt desperate to read on to put all the pieces together. You suspect so many people of Dee and Ruby's disappearance and the ending was great. I did end up guessing a little of it but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | You Are Positively Awesome by Stacie Swift

[This post contains affiliate links. If you click through to buy anything through a link on this page, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.]

You Are Positively Awesome by Stacie Swift - 5/5  
Blurb: A pocket pick-me-up from an Instagram sensation

Everyone weathers difficult days; sometimes, people just wake up needing a bit of a boost and a reminder that nobody really has it together all the time. This is a book for all those days - a rainbow of good vibes, full of self-care prompts and words to live by. Even though deep down people know it's okay not to be okay, everyone needs a bit of a reminder from time to time.

Whether it's an affirmation to raise a smile, practical tips on upping self-care, or space to create a pie chart of 'Things That Help On Tough Days', this book combines colourful illustrations with useful words of support for everyone, even at their unsparkiest. 

Review: This is a really cute, positive, upbeat and encouraging book.

It doesn't translate fully into Kindle format given that, in print format, it would have little activity bits to fill in for you to look back on and give yourself a boost. I would definitely be interested in purchasing a physical copy to fill in!

The positivity is by the bucketful in this book and Stacie writes beautifully. It's so uplifting and I feel like it would be one of those books you'd gift to a friend for their birthday or Christmas. It focuses so much on feeling positive about yourself, remembering that you are loved, acknowledging that it is okay not to be okay and that people's lives that we see on social media aren't always sunshine and rainbows.

It's a reminder that self-care isn't selfish, take time for yourself, say "no" more and just be kind.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

I Am Not A Label by Cerrie Burnell | Children's Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links. If you click through to buy anything through a link on this page, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.]

Wow. Every parent needs a copy of this book on their children's bookcase.

Cerrie Burnell (you may remember her from CBeebies) has put together stories of 34 artists, thinkers, athletes and activists with disabilities - past and present.

The foreword by Cerrie herself is wonderful. She explains that being born with one hand (and even having a hook at one point) meant that she never saw protagonists or heroines that were like her in any children's book that she read. The aim of this book is to introduce children to people who have disabilities but have managed to do amazing things.

My son C was delighted to see Beethoven on the first page because he is absolutely obsessed with composers. I often joke that they'd be his specialist Mastermind subject.

We learn about all types of disabilities, whether they are visible or hidden like being blind like Stevie Wonder, having autism like Temple Grandin and having spina bifida like Catalina Devantas.

It opened up a lot of conversation between C and myself. He had a lot of questions and was eager to learn more. 

It is a wonderfully educational book and I especially loved that they included a transgender person and mentioned about one person having relationships with both men and women. 

The glossary at the end is brilliant for easily explaining words that children may never have heard before such as cis-gender and fibromyalgia.

An absolutely fantastic compilation of stories featuring some of the most brilliant people. The illustrations are lovely too. We will know most, if not all, of the people included in this book but the way they have been drawn is stunning.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Poo In The Zoo: The Great Poo Mystery by Steve Smallman | Children's Book Review

[Ad/Gifted: We received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

My children, like many others I assume, love a bit of toilet humour. Anything to do with poop especially, and they will be in fits of laughter.

Poo In The Zoo: The Great Poo Mystery had C and E (and even me at some points!) laughing at both the language and the pictures.

Blurb: SPLAT PATTER PLOP! Zookeeper Bob's super-duper pooper scooper has disappeared and the POO is piling UP! Is this a DOO-DOO disaster?

Or can Arabella Slater - Poo Investigator - save the day?

Review: This is the second book in the series but we haven't read the original, Poo in the Zoo, yet. After reading this one though, we will definitely be adding it to our bookshelf!

Zookeeper Bob McGrew has a little robot named Robbie that helps pick up all the poo that all the animals at the zoo leave behind - basically a little poop hoover!

One morning though, Bob wakes up, he can't find Robbie Robot and there is poo all over the zoo! What on earth has happened?

He enlists the help of Arabella Slater, PI (Poo Investigator) to help crack the case. 

This wonderful rhyming book is packed with poo jokes and beautiful illustrations (even if they do all contain poo!) and both my 7 year old and 5 year old found it absolutely hilarious. They especially loved the tales of what Arabella had gotten up to in the past.

We love the 'Dinosaur That Pooped...' books so if your little ones enjoy those, they will love Poo In The Zoo: The Great Poo Mystery!

This book will be published by Little Tiger on 9th July and can be purchased at bookstores for £6.99.