New Books!

Hello my wonderful readers.

So yesterday I made a real effort and read quite a lot of my current Christmas read but then I got distracted by teaching, Christmas lights, Costa and decorating our Christmas tree. I have almost finished Christmas at the Beach Hut though and so far I adore it. I love it so much, I bought my best friend a copy to read over the Christmas period and my mom is going to borrow mine when I am finished. I really hope the ending is good now, otherwise I will be disappointed and so will the people I have recommended it to. In hindsight I should have waited till I finished the book before I went around telling people to read it but I am so excited about it that I just could not help myself. Does anybody else get this feeling about a book?

I have finally finished my Christmas present buying and have bought quite a lot of books for people. However, I also have a confession, I also bought myself some new books. I just could not stop myself. I only bought two purely because my bank balance could not cope with anymore hits. So here are my new books:-

Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin

Firestorm is very excited about this book as you can see in the picture below. I must admit I agree with him. I have read all of the A Song of Ice and Fire series so far and I am extremely impatient for the next book The Winds of Winter. I am also slightly annoyed with this new book Fire and Blood because I can not help but think Martin, could have spent his time finishing The Winds of Winter but I will not let that put me off from reading and hopefully enjoying Fire and Blood.

I’ll Keep you Safe by Peter May

Is the second book I bought. I read The Blackhouse by Peter May this year, it was a free book with Apple Books and I read it on my phone. It was shortly after reading a whole book on my iPhone that I decided a Kindle was probably a good idea, mainly for my poor eyes. I loved his style of writing and was instantly hooked, so when I saw this book for half price on the Waterstones I put it in my basket.

So here are my new books, all ready for me to start reading in 2019. It is certainly looking like a good year for reading.

I would love to hear what you think of my new books or even if you have any book plans for 2019.

Lady Book Dragon.

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Christmas Distractions

So dear readers I have a confession. Sadly my Christmas reading has slowed down and I am rather worried I will not get through my Christmas reading list!

Basically there are a few reasons for this. Firstly work has started to get hectic and has taken over somewhat. I am a professional musician and Christmas is the busiest time of year for me, days off become quite scarce and any spare time I have, I have been using for Christmas prep or sleep.

The second reason is I have got distracted by a non-Christmas book which I started reading on my Kindle in November. Now I only read my Kindle in the mornings and in any gaps I have between work but the Kindle has taken over somewhat because the book is so good. I just cannot put it down. The book is Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher. I watched the TV series they did of it quite a few years ago starring Joanna Lumley and I loved it so was thrilled to start reading the book, although I was not expecting it to be quite so long. However I do not mind as big books are always my favourite types of books to read.

Thirdly, I do a lot of my reading before bed and sadly because I am so tired I keep dozing off.

Hopefully I will get back on track with the reading, as I would be really upset not to get all my Christmas books read.

I hope everyone’s Christmas reading and prep is going well.

Lady Book Dragon.

Review 18: Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo

Coming Home by Michael Morgurgo

Illustrated by Kerry Hyndman

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About the Author

Michael Morpurgo has written over 130 books, many of them award winning. His best known work is War Horse which has also been turned into a stage play and a film. In 2003 he was made Children’s Laureate. He set up a charity with his wife called Farms for City Children and in 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his charitable work. In 2017 he was awarded a Knighthood for his charitable work and literature.

About the Illustrator

Hyndman has a degree in fine art from Newcastle University and an MA in Illustration from Kingston University. She now works as a freelance illustrator and map maker based in London. Hyndman is also an associate lecturer in Illustration at Goldsmiths University.

Blurb

A plucky little robin sets out on an epic journey. Through dark forests, driving rain, clapping thunder and flashing lightning. Across frozen wastes, huge mountains and stormy seas he flies. And all the while he’s dreaming of home. Of her. But will he ever get there?

Review

Another book off my Christmas reading list. This is my accidental find as I was trying to find another book called Coming Home but forgot the author’s name and so just typed in the title and this came up. I am so pleased I did find it as it was a beautiful book to read.

A very quick read for me but enjoyable, and the illustrations were excellent. This book is all about a robin’s flight home, through perilous conditions but all he thinks about is getting home to his mate.

This book is very short, even for a children’s book and to be honest a little scary, I was very worried about the little robin especially when he was attacked. I am not entirely sure a child would enjoy it in some places, unless they are made of stronger stuff than I.

The story is fast paced and Morpurgo’s use of language is simple but perfectly descriptive and rolls along. It made me want to say it out loud, it was so full of drama and had a rhythm to it, which is probably why I read it so quickly. I went back through it when I had finished it to truly enjoy and look at the illustrations. My favourite illustration is below, the details of the birds are just stunning, I would happily have it framed on my wall.

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At the end of the story there is a list of facts about Scandinavian robins, this list is brilliant! I never even knew there were Scandinavian robins, let alone their migrating habits and that they are almost identical to our own English robins. 

This book I rated 4 stars out of 5, it did not get the full 5 because it was just too short for me! I wanted more about the little robin. I leave you with another of my favourite pages. A beautiful read for both children and adults.

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Lady Book Dragon.

Friday Poetry

Another poem I chose because it made me think of Christmas. This one the star that the three wise men followed to see Jesus. The pictures are from my Christmas decorations.

The Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

 

When the blazing sun is gone,

When he nothing shines upon,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

 

Then the traveller in the dark,

Thanks you for your tiny spark,

He could not see which way to go,

If you did not twinkle so.

 

In the dark blue sky you keep,

And often through my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.

 

As your bright and tiny spark,

Lights the travellers in the dark-

Though I know not what you are,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

 

Jane Taylor

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Lady Book Dragon

Review 16: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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About the author

Chris Van Allsburg was born June 1949 and is an American author and illustrator of children’s books. Van Allsburg attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan and majored in sculpture. Van Allsburg started sketching at home and his wife encouraged him to illustrate children’s books, he then went on to write and illustrate his first children’s book The Garden of Abdul Gasazi in 1979. He has won two Caldecott Medals for U.S picture book illustration, both books he also wrote. To date Van Allsburg has written and illustrated about twenty books and has also illustrated children’s books for HarperCollins.

Blurb

Late on Christmas Eve, a boy boards a mysterious train: The Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for a bell from a reindeer’s harness, but this turns out to be a very special gift…

Review

So this book was not on my Christmas reading list but I bought some Christmas presents from Waterstones and this might have slipped in on the order. I know have a problem with buying books but I regret nothing!

This evening after a long day teaching I managed to put a few more Christmas decorations up and I rewarded myself with a mug of tea and this book to read. I was really looking forward to this book as I love the film. I have been singing the soundtrack from the film all evening.

The book is about a little boy who is excitedly waiting on Christmas Eve to see Father Christmas but instead a train pulls up outside his house. This little boy is desperately hoping to hear the sleigh bells even though his friend has told him he will never hear them as Father Christmas does not exist. The little boy gets on the Polar Express to go to the North Pole to see who will be chosen to receive the first Christmas present from Father Christmas.

I enjoyed the story of the book and the significance of the little boy’s chosen gift of the sleigh bell, it made me smile but at the same time it also made me sad. The sadness came because the book shows the truth we all know so well, some people forget the magic of Christmas and lose the wonder. This I hope I never lose, no matter how busy I get at Christmas or how stressed I hope I still see the wonder, magic and beauty of the Christmas season.

The story is a lovely little children’s story and the illustrations are beautiful but I must admit I found the movie more impressive, maybe because I have known the movie longer and always loved it. I also just felt the story was rushed and I wanted the story to be a bit longer and padded out, I just could not seem to gel with the author’s writing style. I give the story 3 out of 5 stars because it made me feel a little blue instead of the warm fuzzy feeling I was after.

Lady Book Dragon

 

Christmas Reading continued

Greetings readers!

How is everyone’s run up to Christmas going so far?

Well I did promise that I would probably add to the Christmas reading list and I have. I have added three new books.

1. Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

This book was half price at Waterstones and as usual I could not resist.

2. Winnie the Pooh Gloom and Doom for Pessimists by A.A Milne

3. The Snowman: a new story inspired by the original tale by Raymond Briggs by Michael Morpurgo

These last two I bought today whilst out shopping in the supermarket. To be honest we went in to look at the Christmas decorations and I spotted The Snowman and picked it up. The Winnie the Pooh book was quite simply because it had Eeyore on the front and he is and will always be, my favourite Winnie the Pooh character. One day I will show you all just how many Eeyore’s I own.

Anyway that is my updated list! Please let me know your thoughts if you have read any of them.

Oh and we decorated our new Christmas tree today as well.

Happy reading.

Lady Book Dragon.

Friday Poetry

So for this week I’ve gone for a Christmas poem to get into the festive spirit. I hope everyone’s Christmas planning is going well. The picture is from my visit to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Christmas

The bells of waiting Advent ring,

The Tortoise stove is lit again

And lamp-oil light across the night

Has caught the streaks of winter rain

In many a stained-glass window sheen

From Crimson Lake to Hooker’s Green.

 

The holly in the windy hedge

And round the Manor House the yew

Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,

The altar, font and arch and pew,

So that the villagers can say

‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

 

Provincial public houses blaze

And Coporation tramcars clang,

On lighted tenements I gaze

Where paper decorations hang,

And bunting in the red Town Hall

Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’.

 

And London shops on Christmas Eve

Are strung with silver bells and flowers

As hurrying clerks the City leave

To pigeon-haunted classic towers,

And marbled clouds go scudding by

The many-steepled London sky.

 

And girls in slacks remember Dad,

And oafish louts remember Mum,

And sleepless children’s hearts are glad,

And Christmas-morning bells say ‘Come!’

Even to shining ones who dwell

Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

 

And is it true? And is it true,

This most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,

A Baby in an ox’s stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a Child on earth for me?

 

And is it true? For if it is,

No loving fingers tying strings

Around those tissued fripperies,

The sweet and silly Christmas things,

Bath salts and inexpensive scent

And hideous tie to kindly meant,

 

No love that in a family dwells,

No carolling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple-shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare-

That God was Man in Palestine

And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.

 

John Betjeman

 

Lady Book Dragon