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The Alphabet For Life by Fran Norris

Summary:

An alphabet book with a difference! Who said A is for Apple? Why not A is for Acceptance?! Let’s learn the alphabet using words that will inspire and empower everyone to thrive in life! Packed with fun illustrations and thoughtful quotes and themes, The Alphabet For Life is a unique children’s book the whole family can enjoy and learn from for a lifetime.


Author Information

Fran Norris is a mother of two living in Devon. Like most parents, her daily life largely involves coming up with creative approaches to making the good-for-you stuff enjoyable and appealing to children. She believes that education should nurture our natural curiosity and empower each individual to reach their fullest potential. Inspired by the playful way children approach any task, from brushing their teeth to eating toast, Fran is convinced that fun should be at the core of all learning.

As a former scientist, Fran approaches life as a wonderful experiment and loves to question everything. Her children provide a never-ending source of mystery and challenges to be solved. Creating THE ALPHABET OF LIFE reconnected Fran with her love of drawing and painting, encouraging her to work as an illustrator now.


What I Thought

What a wonderful take on the alphabet. With vividly coloured illustrations, quotes that illustrate the concepts, and a host of words that should be in every person’s vocabulary. This could be used with pre-school children to explore concepts such as courage, kindness etc. I even learnt a new word for U and I’ve recently read a whole book about I. 

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Authoright for a gifted copy for the purposes of honest review. 

Angel Mage by Garth Nix – Blog Tour Book Review

Angel Mage, the new fantasy novel from Garth Nix, is a bit of an enigma. A cross between adult and young adult, a stand-alone but with potential for further works in the world. 
5 points of view from 5 seemingly late teenage characters. And the one we hear from most is the villain – Liliath. Usually we root for the one we spend most time with but can you do that when their ultimate goal – fuelled by love – may lead to destruction? 
An impressive new magic system with the ability to call on the power of angels and with magic comes with real cost for those using it. For a specific group of people, taking advantage of angelic healing will have a very extreme and opposite effect. 
Female musketeers in a female dominated world. And boy has the world been thought through. For me this is a book that needs reading more than once. A story where nuance is found in re-exploring the carefully crafted worldbuilding and one that challenges the reader to find the character they identify most with. 
This does lead to a more meandering plot which ramps up in velocity nearer the end of the book. 
One thing that took me out of the story was a continuity error in the first part of the book where the gender of an angel is discussed and then confused. Yes, I’m one of those pedants who notices things like that. I do see more and more errors slipping into to traditionally published books. I wonder if the pressure to publish more quickly to meet demand has an impact on the smaller details. 
There is much to like about Angel Mage but I do see reader opinion being divisive. For me this was a good story but I have to admit to preferring the Sabriel series with its sarcastic cat a little more.  You can check out the rest of the blog spots happening this month to see what others thought. 

Wonderland Blog Tour – Book Review

Good morning and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for this anthology of work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 
I think most people are somewhat familiar with the original stories. My first introduction to Alice, I’m fairly sure, was via the Disney animated film, and to be honest I’m not convinced if I’ve even fully read the original stories. I really must rectify that soon (would love a MinaLima to design an edition btw). The genre bending children’s fantasy, has definite horrific aspects and many a joke has been made about what Carroll was on when he wrote these tales. They are a true classic, and have been a springboard for many a spin off or retelling both on film, and on the page. 
The majority of the works in this anthology are short stories although these are bookended by two poems by Jane Yolen. The second of which I preferred. Some of the tales may be better appreciated by people who are familiar with the originals but despite this most can stand alone. 
I was only familiar with 3 of the 20 names associated and so I had the pleasure of being introduced to other authors, some of whose other work I am now likely to seek out as a result. 
There is something for everyone in here, but as with most short story collections perhaps not everything will be for everyone. Stories that although are well written, don’t quite make that connection. There’s historical, contemporary and futuristic tales in fantasy, science fiction, horror, historical and more. Topics such as capitalism and child abuse are discovered. Not be shelved in the children’s section next to the original. And most of the characters from Hatter to Cheshire, The Jabberwock, and even the more obscure Walrus, appear in one form or another across these tales. For me there were many more hits than misses and I will mention a few of the hits next. 
First up is the author I was most familiar with – MR Carey with There Were No Birds to Fly. The tonal similarity with his other works was apparent. That apocalyptic creepiness. Oddly this was the least recognisable in terms of its connection to the original, until the very end. Carey shows that being inspired by something can still lead to a highly original story. 
Next was Genevieve Cogman. I was aware of her and have her Invisible Library series waiting on my TBR. Her tale The White Queen’s Pawn had a wry and dark humour, and a be careful what you wish for moral. I definitely plan to bump her tales up the list. 
And the stand out for me was Cavan Scott’s Dream Girl. I won’t mention the genre as that is sort of a spoiler in itself but it was perfection. It reminded me of  the Wizard of Oz/Wicked retelling and I would love to be able to read a longer work based on what this becomes at the end of the story. 
Thank you to Titan for the gifted review copy and to editors Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane for bringing this together. Do check out the rest of the blog tour stops to see which stories stood out to everyone else. 

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