Wombat & Wow

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know I loved Daisy May’s Daydream Parade so I was eager to listen to Wombat & Jones. And I wasn’t disappointed. What fun! Again, the author’s BBC CBeebies Radio background is very evident and this is razor sharp.

Young listeners (ages 3-5) will love it but, with my mum hat on, I promise the parents will enjoy it too. No screechy shouty voices here. Just crisp and clear characters with very distinct accents so they’re easy for everyone to distinguish between.

The writing is strong. Who doesn’t love “a wombat called … errr … Wombat”. And “Badger, the giraffe, who wasn’t a badger at all” is bound to make you smile.

There’s a moral, but it’s not overdone, and at 50 minutes it’s perfect for a car journey.

Enjoy 🙂

Blurb

Wombat and Jones are excited to attend the famous Boris Beaker’s banana bread baking class and like many other friends in town they can’t wait to get to work on making scrumptious banana bread. However, there’s just one problem — before class gets underway, Boris discovers that all of the bananas have gone missing!

Boris Beaker and his disappointed students know there is no chance they can make banana bread without this key ingredient, but Wombat isn’t willing to give up that easily. Putting her investigative skills to the test, she gets help from her trusty sidekick — Furlock Jones — and together they attempt to solve The Great Banana Mystery.

Written by author Arran Francis, creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio, Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery is a funny tale about friendship, problem-solving, and teamwork. Simple mistakes and jumping to conclusions can happen after all, but Wombat & Jones try their best to put it right and learn from them. 

https://www.wombatandjones.org/thegreatbananamystery

Author Bio

Arran Francis is the creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio and has worked as an audiobook producer on behalf of MacMillan Audio, Audible and Harper Collins. He launched Wombat and Jones Audio in 2019 with the aim of writing children’s novels to be released exclusively in audiobook format.

The audiobooks for the Daisy May’s Daydream Parade and Wombat & Jones series were released last summer with further books in the series and standalone titles being scheduled for publication in 2020.

Hop on board another bus journey and a giveaway

Since meeting author and primary school teacher Sue Wickstead at an event, and remembering playbuses from my own childhood, I’ve followed the playbus series for a while now.

Glora’s story is, at heart, an old fashioned tale of learning to play together. But to me, this series is much more than the individual plots, it’s about the discussion topics each book opens thanks to the true stories behind the books, from general topics like

  • Where were the playbuses?
  • Why did children need them?
  • Are there any playbuses left today?

To more specific topics

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Daisy Daydreams Bus Rhymes and Jokes (Open to UK Only)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494377/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Blurb

Gloria is a special Playbus. She is painted with bright colours that makes her stand out. Now she is ready for a summer of fun, but will Max enjoy the adventure. Why don’t you join in the fun, too?

Author biography

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place for children to meet and to play.

She is also an award winning author.

To infinity and beyond

I don’t often read sci-fi (except for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is one of my favourite re-reads when I need a laugh), but I do love school based stories, so Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins caught my attention. And I’m very glad it did as I think this is the best MG sci-fi I’ve read. I’m always nervous about saying that as someone always points out “but what about …” so maybe I should add “in years” to cover myself!

I feel the author his nicely bridged the gap between the “Planet Stan” chapter books to a full length sci-fi. BUT I’m surprised this is pitched as YA (the Amazon categories are all for adults), as I feel it sits very comfortably in upper middle grade i.e. for 9-12 year olds.

In fact, my only niggle is the cover. It’s a nice enough design, but it screams YA to me and as I said, I reckon this book is MG not YA. The protagonists are thirteen, so why do they look about eighteen on the cover?

This is a shame, as it’s actually a new cover following re-release (sorry!). If you’re curious here is the original cover. Now, the new cover is waaaaay better, but I think it’s still aiming too much at the YA category.

There are strong Hogwarts parallels, not just in the boarding school setting. For example, it has the classic Harry/ Ron/ Hermione triangle, with each character bringing a different background and their own (mis)beliefs as they team up.

The blurb

It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers. 

Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait. 

Lose yourself in this brilliantly addictive novel as it takes you on a journey through the stars. But be warned – you might be surprised by what you find.

Author Bio

In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.  Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.

Book links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Academy-Hannah-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B0883G654X

US – https://www.amazon.com/Space-Academy-Hannah-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B0883G654X

More Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds

I listen to audiobooks every day while walking the dog, so what could be more appropriate than a book about dogs! I reviewed the first book recently, and enjoyed it although I was a little surprised to find out it was actually about the house hunt process (like an episode of one of those TV series) rather than life in rural Ireland. Book 2 is about settling in and I absolutely LOVED it!

★ same narrator

★ same dry humour

★ more (and more) dogs

I laughed, I worried, and I want more.

Book cover

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 – Still living the dream in rural Ireland

Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?
Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?

Purchase Links 

Here is the audio link. It is available in ebook and paperback, but I haven’t read it in print format. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0844YCGSS/

Author Bio

Author Nick Albert

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Sequel alert: Esme’s Gift

Esme's Gift book cover

Last year, I featured Esme’s Wish so for those of you who enjoyed it, the sequel has just been released. There’s a giveaway if you’re feeling lucky …

Giveaway to Win 3 x pairs of e-books Esme’s Wish & Esme’s Gift (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494373/?

Blurb

Terror was within. Terror was without.
Like her mother, she was at the water’s mercy.

In the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver faces her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift—the power to observe the past—and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends—old and new—travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must face their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places.

Esme’s Gift, the second instalment in the Esme trilogy, is a gripping fantasy adventure for readers 12 years and over.

Fans of Harry Potter will love this book for its similar themes. The genuine friendship of the characters make this book a satisfying read, and hints at a healthy romance in the next book. The conclusion of the trilogy will be greatly anticipated! Sorcha, Goodreads

From dragons diving into volcanoes, Esme and her friends portalling out of art class and deep underwater adventures, Esme’s Gift is quite simply a thrilling and exciting read. Jean, Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Esmes-Gift-Esme-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B0826JWZP4

Author bio

Elizabeth Foster author

I read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago when reading to my own kids reminded me how much I missed getting lost in other worlds. It’s never too late to find and follow your passion! I now have two books published and am about to start writing the third and final story in the Esme series.  My home base is Sydney, where I can often be found running (just kidding – walking) by the water, or scribbling in cafés.

Social media links

Website:  http://www.elizabethfoster.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethFosterAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/e_foster3

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elizabethfoster_/