Wednesday, 31 October 2018

New Release Spotlight and Extract: The Step-Sister by Jenny O'Brien

The Step-sister by Jenny O'Brien

When a stranger leaves step-sisters, Victoria and Ness, a half-share in a house in Holland, they think it must be a mistake.

But there's no mistake when Ness goes missing. 
Desperate for the truth, Victoria heads to Holland to find out what happened to her. Has she, as her texts show, embarked on a whirlwind romance? Has someone abducted her or even worse?

But there’s someone watching, and that person wants her dead. 

Can Victoria find out the truth before it’s too late? 

Arriving in Holland with a fractious dog that’s been penned up in a cage for the last hour isn’t the best of ways to arrive in a new country. Pet passports might be a great idea but currently I wish I’d never heard of them. After clearing Customs, I have no time to take in the strange sights. I’m dragged out of the airport, my rucksack slung across my shoulder, Nigel pulling me towards the nearest tree. 
I don’t know all that much about the country outside of a couple of school projects. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that my knowledge of Holland can be summed up in three words. Bicycles, tulips and windmills.  But arriving in the beautiful, flower-festooned Delft, I quickly have to add a whole host of adjectives to my limited knowledge like stunning, breath-taking, quaint and unexpected. Everywhere the tall, narrow buildings are dripping with flowers from an assortment of window-boxes. There are even flowers emblazoning the railings that mark the canal edges. And bicycles. So many bicycles. There are bicycles everywhere and with an assortment of riders.
Nigel mutters to himself but I ignore the grumbles. I’m captivated by the old buildings casting their shadows across the still waterways. I’d never thought to come to Holland. Now I’m annoyed at what I’ve been missing out on all this time.  
The taxi negotiates a bridge before finally pulling up outside a tall, narrow house. I don’t know what to expect but any preconceived ideas are stripped back by the first sight of our inheritance.
 The house is in a stream of other similar structures; all tall, narrow and bordering the canal. But our house, the middle one, holds a hint of neglect under its red brick exterior. Is it the lack of flowers in its derelict window boxes? Or the faded-to-grey paintwork edging the windows? Or is it the fact that all the other properties have the appearance of well-kept and well-loved homes and this one just seems a little tired?
My eyes flash from the taxi meter and back to the house. I can do this, I’ve done a lot worse. It’s only a house, a house that I’m going to put on the market. I shove my fears back where they belong and concentrate on trying to count out the unfamiliar currency while the cab driver unloads my rucksack and dog basket onto the pavement next to Nigel.

 Amazon UK      Amazon US     Amazon DE 

Jenny O'Brien was born in Ireland and, after a brief sojourn in Wales, now resides in Guernsey.
She's an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a RoNA judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She's also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings - two of which you'll always find in her books.

In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You'll be pleased to note she won't be entering Bake-Off.

Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog:

Giveaway - 1st Prize Win an e copy of The Stepsister and crystal, tulip slider necklace , 2 x 2nd Prize – an e-copy of The Stepsister (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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Release Day Halloween Spotlight & Review: Do Bugs Wear Shoes by Addie Broussard and Anthony Puttee

Do Bugs Wear Shoes? By Addie Broussard & Anthony Puttee

A colorful, fun-filled book packed with answers to all your silliest bug questions! 
Learn what happens when a bug goes to space, to school, and to the gym. Find out if bugs have feelings like people do. Discover robot bugs, dancing bugs, bugs that poop and so much more!
Filled with illustrations, photographs and interactive videos, Do Bugs Wear Shoes will have kids laughing and learning as they discover awe-inspiring facts about the insect world. This beautifully designed book is organized into colorful two-page spreads that each focus on a different question, making it easy and fun to read for children and big kids alike.

BOOK EXTRAS include videos and printable worksheets for extended learning. Great for educators and at-home learning.

PLUS, vote on the world’s most beautiful bug!

Recommended for ages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and up.

Don't miss out on the chance to bug out!

I read this book along with my twelve-year-old, 7. klasse/7th-grade son. He's outside the target age for this book, but I was curious to see and hear his reaction. He is a reader and loves fact books and well as novels popular with his age group.

We read the e-book version of this book together using iPads, stopping after each page to have a discussion about not only the written information presented but also the photographs and illustrations too. Both of us laughing at some of the intriguing elements while cringing at some others. Yet the overall reading experience is enlightening and positive.

Divided into a new category each page, the facts are presented as small nuggets of information, backed up with an image to match. Whilst my son enjoyed the book, he particularly loved the facts based on the themes; Space and Antarctica because we live in a cool climate and he enjoys all things to do with the universe. For other children, the broad spectrum of themes running through the book will give even the most sceptical child a positive introduction to all things creepy crawly!

Overall, a wonderful, colourful and fun way for children to learn fascinating facts about insects with useful resources links for parents and teachers to use too. Both of us finished Do Bugs Wear Shoes? learning a fact or two more than we knew before and as a parent, any book which enriches our knowledge base is a winner.

***arc received courtesy of Two Umbrellas Media via Rachel's Random Resources***

Two Umbrellas is an educational publishing company that fuses education and storytelling. We offer books and activities to help parents and educators empower tomorrow’s leaders.
Our founders, Anthony Puttee and Addie Broussard, love to travel. Anthony’s favorite trip was to Antarctica and he has included some of his personal photos in this book. Addie has traveled solo around the world. While in Portugal, she encountered a unique insect, which inspired a children’s book called The Beedog, which was published in 2018. The idea for Do Bugs Wear Shoes came from a playful team meeting on a rooftop in Mexico.

Book resources at