Picture Book Review: The Santa Thief by Alane Adams #ChildrensBooks #Review

santathiefTitle: The Santa Thief
Author: Alane Adams
Series: N/a
Format: Digital ARC, 32 pages
Publication Details: November 7th 2017 by Sparkpress
Genre(s): Children’s Picture Book
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

bookdepo

It’s winter in Girard, Pennsylvania and the pond is completely frozen over–ready for a young boy to go skating!–but Georgie’s ice skates are too small. All Georgie wants for Christmas is a new pair of skates. But times are tough in 1920s Pennsylvania, and he gets the disappointing news Santa might not come this year.

Follow Georgie as he decides to take matters into his own hands and steals Santa’s identity–and discovers what Christmas is all about. The Santa Thief is a heartwarming tale of boyhood set in 1920s Pennsylvania for children ages 4-8.

 

Review

 

The Santa Thief was a nice little story about a boy who is told that Santa won’t be coming this year. It’s set in the 1920s, and times are hard for Georgie’s family who would like nothing more than to buy him a new pair of ice skates, but they just can’t afford it, so Georgie decides that he’ll just have to be Santa himself!

I thought this book was written well and the illustrations were lovely, and I’m sure it will capture the heart of very young children, but I was a little disappointed by it. I didn’t find it that heartwarming or imaginative which is something I look for in festive stories.

However, The Santa Thief has a nice moral which I’m sure will be a hit with parents over the Christmas period. Worth a read.

unicorn rating 3

 

 

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Blog Tour: The Twelve Days of Elfin by Melanie Chambers

Welcome to my spot on the ‘Twelve Days of Elfin’ blog tour!

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About the Book

Twelve Days of Elfin Cover

Publication date:  November 21st 2017 by Clink Street Publishing
Genre(s): Children’s; Christmas

This is the story of a little boy who becomes friends with an elf; soon they are best friends!

The elf and the boy go on adventures together, creating wonderful magical things that every child would love to experience.

Keep the magic of Christmas alive for your little ones with this delightfully festive story by author and mum Melanie Chambers, to help create magical times together, with lots of fun and happy memories, for parents and children everywhere.

 

Goodreads // Amazon

Excerpt

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My Thoughts

The Twelve Days of Elfin is a charming little book that’s on a big mission – to bring parents and children together this Christmas by sharing quality time reading, baking and crafting.

I love the idea and the structure of this book which you can read over twelve nights during December. It follows Ruben and his new best friend Elfin who encourages him to get well and truly into the spirit of Christmas. Each section is followed by a simple recipe, or instructions on how to make whatever Elfin and Ruben have that day. What a great idea!

The only small criticism I have is that it felt a little bit amateurish to me, with regards to the storytelling and the illustrations, but saying that, I think it just added to the simple charm of it.

Twelve Days of Elfin is a lovely little book will without doubt bring parents and children even closer at Christmastime, encouraging wholesome family interaction and festive cheer.

 

 

Meet the Author

Tweelve Days - Melanie Chambers Author Pic

Melanie Chambers was born in Bristol, and had a troubled childhood. She was only diagnosed with dyslexia a few years ago on a British Sign Language course.

Melanie has been inspired by her own children to write books for that age group, due to their limitless imaginations. With her younger daughter also being an arts and crafts fan, and with Christmas being a favourite holiday it made sense to combine them into a her first book – The Twelve Days of Elfin.

 

 

You can follow Melanie on:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/melanie.chambers.948

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rjchambers2009

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/teacup18/

Thanks to Rachel at Authoright for arranging this tour. If you’d like me to promote your book, please get in touch via the email on my contacts page 🙂

This Week in Books 29.11.17 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

I’ve finally got back into reading after enjoying some time off and lots of TV bingeing. I also missed last week’s post, so I have more books than usual to share, which is nice!

Now:

Carnivalesque ~ Neil Jordan

Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman

Then:

Heir of Locksley ~ N.B Dixon

The Santa Thief ~ Alane Adams

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky ~ Holly Martin

Yuletide Homicide ~ Jennifer David Hesse

I loved Heir Of Locksley and look forward to the next book, The Santa Thief was a cute little picture book set in the 1920s, Christmas Under a Starlit Sky was nice enough, but not as good as I was expecting (or the first book), and Yuletide Homicide was a fun, unique little mystery.

I better get working on some reviews ASAP.

Next???

 

I’m tempted to read Little Women which I’ve actually bought for my Nan for Christmas. Shhhhhh! I’ve never been huge on classics, and tried to read it when I was a kid but didn’t stick it out. Maybe I should give it another go? I also have Artemis by Andy Weir to read but I have a feeling I’ll be in the mood for more Christmassy reads…

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments or leave your link.

 

 

Festive Thursday: An Easy Christmas Craft & Recipe Ideas… #FestiveThursday

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Welcome to Festive Thursday where I’m going to be sharing with you all my Christmas endeavours, including the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and any festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.

I’m not really a crafty person and get bored easily, but there is something about Christmas which compels me to make things. Or try to, at least. Here’s what I’ve been making in the last few weeks. They are both easy, and don’t require anything too complicated so if your Christmas spirit is waning, why not give one a go!?

Glitter Tree Decorations

I’ve made these a few times now, and they always come out great – and different every time. They are very simply glitter pony beads placed in cookie cutters and melted down n the oven for around 30-45 minutes, depending on the quality of the beads and how many you use. This year I used little zinc-plated nuts so you can thread them and hang them on your tree. Or in your window. Once cooled they pop out of the moulds pretty easily.

The beads do give off some fumes, so perhaps not suitable if small children are around. Simply use an extractor fan or open the back door for a while. And once your beads are melted, keep the oven on with the door open for a short while and bob’s yer uncle.

Cinnamon Shortbread

I’d never made shortbread before and didn’t realise how easy it is! Like ridiculously. And dangerously. I followed this traditional recipe but added some ginger too. And I made a cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top (simply mix brown sugar with ground cinnamon).

They were seriously delicious and they will be the first thing a make when I get to my parents house tomorrow, too. I think this time I’ll decorate with icing instead.

 Currently Reading

I was really looking forward to Georgette Heyer’s A Christmas Party, but I couldn’t for the life on me get into it so I replaced it with this one, which I’m enjoying and almost finished.

christmasatrosieRosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

 

Recently Watched

I finally gave in and watched Elf…it’s got to be one of the best. I can’t stand Will Ferrell in anything else but he’s great in this! I also watched Gremlins and Home Alone. Christmas films are the best. I’m saving A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Frozen and Santa Claus -the Movie though. They definitely need to be watched with the family. 🙂

Blog Break

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I’ll be taking a break over Christmas and into the New Year. I’ll still be posting & hosting This Week in Books, and will probably do some yearly round-up posts because they’re always fun, but my usual schedule won’t be back in action until January sometime. Thanks for all the comments, shares on Social media and for generally being awesome. 

All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays…etc. I hope you all have a lovely time. And if that’s not possible, at least get through it unscathed 😉 

xmas

 

This Week in Books 21.12.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Hi everyone, happy Wednesday! I going to be taking some time off from the blog over Christmas and New Year. I’m still going to post this Wednesday post each week but the shorter version where I simply share what I’m reading now, then and next. I’ll also no doubt be posting some yearly round-up posts but other than that don’t worry if it gets a bit quiet around here.

Look out for my last festive post tomorrow where I’ll sign off properly. Happy Holidays!

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Now: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky ~ Holly Martin

I’ve only just started this. It’s the second in her ‘A Town Called Christmas’ series.

Then:  Christmas at Rosie Hopkin’s Sweet Shop Jenny Colgan

I enjoyed this heart-warming story. I’ll try and review it before I go off on my Christmas break.

Next: ??? 

I’m not sure again this time. It really depends on my mood. And maybe on what Santa brings me! 🙂

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere #BookReview

thechristmastownTitle: The Christmas Town
Author: Donna VanLiere
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 240 pages
Publication Details: October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): General Fiction; Christmas
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

 

Review

I feel like I was a little bit mislead by the title of this book as I was expecting a story about a lonely woman who is taken in by a crazy town that loves Christmas or something to that effect – you know the type. The Christmas Town wasn’t really that, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The Christmas Town is actually about twenty year old Lauren who has been in and out of foster homes all her life but is now living independently and working at a grocery store. The one thing Lauren wants is a family to spend Christmas with so she puts an ad on the internet.

In the mean time, she befriends a lady who was involved in a car accident which leads her to a charity-run community centre where she is thrust into the melee of a big event.

The Christmas Town is a nice, light read and I enjoyed the story. But it didn’t feel particularly festive which is what disappointed me about it. Lauren was an interesting protagonist but her character was a little bit too plain for me. I would have thought that someone who had been through everything she had would have more depth to her. She felt too simple.

The cast of characters she meets in Grandon are nicely balanced and varied but no one stuck out. I also found it quite farcical in places with all the missed meetings and misunderstandings.

I did however enjoy that the story wasn’t what I had expected from the cover, and liked the feel-good community spirit that was at the heart of it. If you’re looking for a quick, light read but not one that will throw Christmas in your face, give this one a try.

unicorn rating 3

 

Festive Thursday #2: The Christmas lights switch on & Winter Wonderland

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Welcome to Festive Thursday where I’m going to be sharing with you all my Christmas endeavours, including the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and any festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.

The Funtimes

I missed last week’s post because, well, I was just being too festive and didn’t get time to write it. Soz. But on the plus side –  Happy 1st of December!!!

Last week the festivities really started. On Thursday I went to my old town (I moved but it’s still my town, OK) for the Christmas lights switch-on/ opening of the Christmas market. I donned my favourite Christmas jumper, had my first mulled beverage of the year and tried on silly hats – it’s tradition – and it was glorious.

The mulled wine was good, the hog roast was spectacular, but the entertainment was sorely lacking. Unless we somehow missed it all. There were too many people to even see who was turning the lights on but it was certainly someone no one has ever heard of. The giant nutcrackers were a welcome addition to the decorations this year, however.

Despite the wetness of weather, fun was had. Christmas has begun my friends.

Then on Saturday my parents came to visit and we went to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. I LOVE WW! Sure, it can get really busy and annoying, but the atmosphere is always great. And I love that they have so many bands and artists playing for free. Most of them are so-bad-they’re-good, but that just adds to the fun.

icekingdom

This year I actually booked tickets for things for the first time. The Magical Ice Kingdom was definitely impressive and beautiful, but it was a lot smaller/quicker than I expected. The Cirque Berserk modern circus was great though. I went all out and booked us a VIP box which came with champagne and chocolates and my parents loved it. It was a welcome break from sitting in the cold too. Highly recommended.

The Books

Last week I finished two festive reads.

thegirlwhosavedxmasJOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

And:

thechristmastownDonna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My review of the Matt Haig book is here, and the other one will be up on Monday.

The Films

I think it’s important to save certain Christmas films until closer to the time itself, but there are SO many that are good, but wouldn’t be too sacrilege to watch before December.

The ones well and truly off my before December list are Elf, Home Alone, Muppets Christmas Carol & Santa Claus the movie. I’m sure there are more but they are the most important.

Last week I watched Krampus: The Christmas Devil (not the recent one) which was truly terrible, and then The Santa Clause – the one with Tim Allen. I love this film and totally think it gets overlooked! Go watch it and feel the festive wash over you.

In other news, I have done about 60% of my shopping and made a start on the Christmas booze cabinet, but more on that next time. Winning all round.

How have you been preparing for Christmas this week?

Next week – more Christmas market fun, I get crafty…and my attention will turn to FOOD!

This Week in Books 30.11.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday to you all! December tomorrow…Yayyyyy!

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  The Silent Songbird ~ Melanie Dickerson

YA. Castles, a The Little Mermaid retelling – how could I resist!?

Then:  The Christmas Town ~ Donna VanLiere

This was a nice heart-warming story if not a little bit farcical.

Next: ??? 

Hmm, I’m not too sure, either Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin, Pagan Portals: Merlin (see below), or The Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer – it depends on my mood!

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

This is another 2017 title I’m looking forward to. It’s a debut too. 

mercytide

Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Meerkat Press

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

I didn’t buy or borrow any books this week.

From Netgalley: 

I love Arthurian mythology so I’m really interested in reading this new angle on the wizard and the era he he became a legend of.


merlin

Bestselling author Elen Sentier looks at Merlin in history and mythology and considers his continuing relevance for people today.

Best known as the wizard from the Arthurian stories, Merlin has been written about for well over 1000 years and is considered to be both a magical and historical figure. Over the centuries many people have had relationships with Merlin and in this book the author brings him to life for us once again in yet another way and from yet another perspective.

 

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig #BookReview

thegirlwhosavedxmasTitle: The Girl Who Saved Christmas
Author: Matt Haig
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: November 3rd 2016 by Canongate Books
Genre(s): Children’s; Christmas
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Review

This is the second Christmas Children’s book by  Matt Haig, the first being A Boy Called Christmas (which I haven’t read) so I almost didn’t request this one when I saw it on netgalley – I’m so glad I did. It’s a completely separate story.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a light-hearted tale set in Victorian London. Chimney-sweeper Amelia, once wrote a letter to Father Christmas which was so full of hope it boosted the magic of Christmas. But that was the year the trolls attacked, and almost ruined Christmas. Santa was a little preoccupied.

One year on and poor Amelia’s wish never came true, and her mother died, forcing Amelia to give up her beloved cat, Captain Soot, and enter Mr Creeper’s workhouse. Elsewhere in Elfhelm where Father Christmas is preparing for this years’ journey, but the spirit of Christmas is dwindling. Will the trolls attack again? Will his sleigh fly with such little hope in the air?

There is only one person who can help – the girl with the most Christmas spirit he has ever known, but little does he know that she has spent a year in a filthy workhouse, and is now in a dungeon after trying to escape. Can Amelia get her hope back and help Father Christmas save Christmas once more?

Of course she can!

This book was lots of fun and had a mixture of traditional Christmas tropes such as the sleigh needing hope/spirit to fly and also completely unique ideas which made it a lovely read. I loved the magical world that Haig has built here with the different kind of pixies and trolls in contrast to the bleakness of a Dickens-esque (the man himself even makes an appearance) Victorian London. It feels like an instant Christmas classic to me.

Amelia was a great protagonist with gusto,who never gave up. And I completely fell in love with Captain Soot, of course. The elves and pixies all had their own personalities and stories too, and they brought a lot of fun to the story. But the thing I loved most was definitely the illustrations. The simple pen drawings were amazing.

Haig’s humorous narration also shines through the pages of this story. There is a hint of sadness to his humour, but that’s what makes it so relatable.

unicorn rating 4

 

 

This Week in Books 23.11.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  The Girl Who Saved Christmas ~ Matt Haig

I almost didn’t request this because I haven’t read Haig’s A Boy Called Christmas yet, but I’m so glad I did, it’s lots of fun and completely stands-alone from the other one. 

Then:  The Witches of New York Ami McKay

This one was a struggle tbh. It was written beautifully but I just don’t think I was in the mood for a subtle, slow-paced read. My review will be up later today.

Next: ??? 

Definitely The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere. I’m very excited about this one. 

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

There are already so many amazing-looking books on my 2017 releases wishlist. This is one of them!

royalbastardsarc

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey …

Expected publication: June 6th 2017 by Disney Hyperion

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

Bought: I picked this up in the pound shop of all places. I plan on reading it and then passing it on to my Nan. 

christmasatrosieRosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan’s heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations.

Borrowed: My friend Dora lent me this. It’s another one of Poppy Z. Brite’s that I’ve wanted to read for years. 

drawingbloodNo one could understand the force that rocked cartoonist Robert McGee’s mind, allowing him to slaughter his wife and three-year-old son before hanging himself. Only five-year-old Trevor survived – silent witness to the bloodbath that destroyed his family.

Twenty years later, the same malignant love brought Trevor McGee back to Missing Mile. But this time he wasn’t alone. Hiding from justice with fugitive computer hacker Zach Bosch, Trev opened the door to Birdland. Ready to face the demons. Ready to risk his life again…

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂