Monday, December 10, 2018

Bookish - Hedgehog Howdedo

Heya Lovelies,

If you have a little person to buy a gift for this year please do consider a book. As any parent of small people can attest they will get read at least a million times! (Plus so much better than a present that makes loud noises when you trip over it at 3am.)

Lynley Dodd has weaved her magic again with Hedgehog Howdedo.

This delightful board book is so cute and the rhyme scheme so perfect and the language so pared back I was halfway through before I even realised it was a counting book. Some counting books are about counting and not much more but this one has so much charm. I could feel myself smiling as I read it and it feels like an absolute treasure of a book.

I have a little person in my life (niece) fairly newly arrived and I'm sure her big brother would read her this book - question is can I part with my copy? I might have to go and buy another.

Dodd at her wonderful best.
(The link has an author photo - Dodd is very different than I imagined, in my head she was a 'soft/ squishy' grandmotherly look with a million animals and a patchwork coat!)

Details - Penguin Random House, December 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

love you more than some 'bold as brass' hedgehogs owning the woodpile xxx

Monday, December 3, 2018

Bookish - Bright Young Dead

Kia ora Koutou,

I must confess I rather like a good murder mystery. I have been a watcher of Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders for some time. (I feel like such a grandma typing that sentence!) However, I haven't read murder mysteries before. I have picked up a couple of Agatha Christies at op-shops so there is hope.

This meant I came to Jessica Fellowes Bright Young Dead with a very open mind.

The book is set in the 1920s and focusses around the 'bright young things' as they emerge into and claim ownership of the glamorous new ways of their time. The upstairs/ downstairs roles are highlighted and Louisa Cannon the maid and often-chaperone finds these worlds are both colliding and pulling her to make a choice between dutiful maid and a woman who cannot accept the murderer is really guilty.

Alongside the drama that unfolds with the murder of a dinner party guest is the infamous Alice Diamond and her forty thieves - all women and the police's attempts to trap the queen of the ring. Dancing, jazz music, secrets, lies and threats all lie in the way of unravelling the mystery.

A real whodunnit and not an obvious answer - surprises right to the end. I also enjoyed the insights into the lives of women in this era. Longing for independence and emancipation but very much reliant on others giving them the benefit of the doubt and opportunity to prove themselves.

Nice to curl up and read with chocolate and a cup of tea and some jazz playing somewhere in the background.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $34.99

love you more than a bolt of cloth hidden under a bustle xxx

Monday, November 26, 2018

Bookish - the next person you meet in heaven

Heya Readers,

It's getting to the Christmas Season and I'm trying to make the most of times where I'm sitting waiting for dance rehearsals to finish or just snatching moments here and there. Last year and this year I've kept a record of all the books I've read cover to cover. (Or finished reading if I started last year!). In this list I count longer non-fiction, novels, YA novels and children's novels but not picture books.

My list currently sits at about 40. So I feel like that's pretty good for a year where I've been studying part time, working part time and being a parent and partner.

Mitch Albom's book the next person you meet in heaven (the lowercase is how the title is written on the book) is a sequel to his best selling The Five People You Meet in Heaven. 

Now I must confess I haven't read the first book and it didn't matter at all. The narrative stands alone. Although, now that I have read it I'm very keen to read the other.

Albom has a really unique style of writing. It feels almost like spoken poetry. There is an immediacy to it and it lacks long descriptive passages. It is very different in its writing style to anything else I can think of.

I so enjoyed this book. It is brutal and beautiful and heartfelt without being wish-washy emotional. The story follows Annie (who was rescued by Eddie in the first book) on her wedding day and what will be a difficult 24 hours ahead. It is so readable as well. I started it and finished it in a short amount of time because the writing style is so pacey.

I don't want to say anymore about the plot because I do hate spoilers before I have read something. I would just say read it, buy it for someone you know who enjoys reading. Curl up in a cheeky corner somewhere and eat it up.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $34.99 HB

love you more than a dog and girl who both need rescuing xxx

Friday, October 26, 2018

Bookish - Perfect for Presents

Bonjour :-)

How is it that we're already in October?? Today I'm excited to talk about more books by excellent New Zealand writers. These would all make great presents for people in your world. If you buy them from your local bookshop you'll be supporting local and supporting local authors and publishers - triple win! :-)

Oh Boy: A Storybook of Epic NZ Men by Stuart Lipshaw is a wonderful contribution to the the profiles of inspiring people that are popping up at the moment.

Raising 2 boys means these kind of books are very welcome at our place. (We do have girl books too because we can be inspired by anyone.) This book has a great line up of men who have had a real influence in their chosen fields from artists to inventors, from sportsmen to surgeons there are so many great men to be introduced to. A great book for quick stories with a wide variety of illustrators there is also a real assortment of artistic styles. These kind of stories are great jumping off points for talking about ambition, hard work and resilience. This one stays on the coffee table or nearby at our place for easy grabbing - a perfect book for dipping in and out.

I love that these kind of books push us to realise their are so many great people who are kiwis and are doing/have done great things for Aotearoa and the world.

Super gift for any family in NZ!

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $45.00 HB

Wake Up Bear by Lynley Dodd

As an illustrator and writer Dodd is synonymous with excellent books created for small people. Her feeling for language and stories that last the test of time is so well established. Wake up Bear is a book full of delightful interactions as all the animals try to wake up bear for Spring.

Will anyone succeed in waking up bear or will someone very small offer a little incentive that will get past everyone else's efforts?? Fun, sweet and joyful - as can be expected of Dodd.

Details - Penguin Random House, August 2018 RRP $17.99 PB

Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake's Mighty Ocean Quests by David Hill and Phoebe Morris

The next in this great series of influential New Zealanders. I hadn't appreciated that my littles wouldn't have heard of Sir Peter Blake. This story has all the wonder and joy of a life lived for ocean adventure.

I love that this book includes Blake's death by pirates - not in a gratuitous or violent way - but that it sits with the sorrow of a life cut short. Death by old age seems an acceptable thing in children's books but that can be limiting of the reality that we experience as people. It's good that this book gives a framework to discussions of loss and living onwards. (It includes the lives of Pippa and the children to the present).

My nine year old LOVED the red socks - especially on the elephant in the zoo. Like the others in the series it has a great timeline as well. I can imagine this series will be very enjoyed by small people with particular passions and also by people doing special projects on famous kiwis.

I hope as the series continues (I am assuming it will) that it will include Māori, Pasifika and other cultures. Super pleased to see a woman included and looking forward to more of them too.

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $25.00 HB

Love you more than being inspired on home turf xxx

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bookish - Beautiful Bookish Gifts - middle sized people

Heya peeps,

I feel like I am so looking forward to mid-November when all assignments are done and my TWO day exam is finished. I have this large stack of books piling up for when I have some leisure reading time available to me.

I'm also starting to think about Christmas gifts. I often fall for books as an option especially for little people. I'm going to do a few posts with some line ups of books that have been recently added to the shelves at your local bookshop.

The Wizards of the Once by Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is one of those writers who seems to have a golden touch. Her How to Train Your Dragon books need no introduction. (I also have a real soft spot for her Emily Brown books). Her latest book The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic is filled with adventures and twists and turns and her classic relatable sense of fun and humour. The novel, which she also illustrated, follows Xar and Wish and how they meet again.

Mr 9 has been reading it and giving me feedback, he says 'My favourite bit is when it says the punishment cupboard would like to remind you that ALL MAGIC IS BANNED IN THIS CASTLE. No sprites, no spelling, no cursing, no charming and absolutely no enchanted objects. By order of the queen who will most unfortunately remove your head if you disobey. I like it because Wish is using magic inside the punishment cupboard. This book would be good for 7-11 year olds.'

Details - Hachette NZ, September 2018 RRP $24.99 PB

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson and illustrated by Laura Barrett.

This classic story has been reimagined with the exquisite silhouetted illustrations by Barrett. Printed on concertinaing heavy card the final page becomes a pop-up castle. In the front pocket of the book are little stand up paper-dolls that you can use to reenact the story in the castle at the end. I imagine this would be a very precious gift for any little fairytale and imaginative play loving person. Because of the small pieces and the delicate nature of pop-ups I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 7.

I could also see it being a very special grandparent or auntie/uncle book that would be anticipated each trip. Even without the words there would be much to love about this book for anyone who loved to tell their own stories. Just wonderful.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $29.99 HB

Stories for Kids who Dare to Be Different by Ben Brooks

You may remember the Boys Who Dare to Be Different book I reviewed recently. This one is in the same vein. It highlights is a range of heroes who come from a variety of time periods and cultures and whose life had an influence on others. Some of them had an impact while they were young and others just began their passion while they were young. There is a pleasing variety both geographically and in time periods. I love being introduced to new heroes whose 'sound bite' (one page) stories can be grabbed and shared easily.

I love that the book introduced me to women like Biddy Mason whose generosity and tenacity is inspiring others so many years on. I keep our growing collection of these kind of books under the coffee table and we all grab them now and again and discover a new inspiration.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $39.99 HB

love you more than a great stack of books and a fireplace to read them by xxx

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bookish - For those who care

Hi Again,

More amazing titles from Aotearoa authors who care for conserving our beautiful land.

New Zealand's Great Walks: The Complete Guide by Paul and Shelley Hersey.

This husband and wife team, photographer and writer, have put together a beautiful book of Aotearoa's nine great walks (one is actually a river journey). The book is a testament to their love for the land and the outdoors and opens with a challenge to all who walk the tracks to play their part in defending and protecting the amazing environment we enjoy here. The book includes great information for any walker, cycler, kayaker as well as very detailed descriptions of each walk. Included is a graph of the topography, a map of the walk, highlights and lengths and times for each day as well as plenty of other goodies.

This is a fabulous book for anyone who loves tramping and exploring. Plenty of details to whet the appetite! I can think of quite a few people in my life that would love this for Christmas.

Details - Penguin Random House, September 2018 RRP $45.00

Eco Home by Melinda Williams.

We're hoping to dive into a bit of a renovation project at our place and I'm keen for us to make as little impact as we can environmentally speaking. This book has a wealth of accessible, inspiring and detailed information for anyone who is wanting to make 'greener' choices in their own project. It's not just for builders or renovators though the book also has great info boxes throughout to help give ideas to anyone who would like to just live a little lighter on the planet. It's great to have a book like this written in a NZ context as often international books have things that we cannot source here.

I'm so enjoying all the things I'm learning and I love that there are plenty of photos scattered throughout to keep the inspiration levels high. A perfect gift for anyone whose making lifestyle changes or request your local library to get a copy I'm sure it will get plenty of borrowing.

Details - Penguin Random House, September 2018 RRP $45.00

love you more than treasuring what we have xxx

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Books to Enjoy With a Cup of Tea

Kia ora koutou,

I love having books that I can dip in and out of for a few quiet minutes. Two books that sit near me on the couch for that very purpose are Big Weather: Poems of Wellington and I Am New Zealand: Aotearoa Through My Eyes.

Big Weather is a book of collected poetry that capture the shapes and sounds of our capital city.

The authors range from established poets like Hone Tuwhare to emerging voices on the poetry scene. My husband grew up in Wellington and we have family who live there so it's familiar territory for me. This book would make a great gift for anyone who loves poetry and the land and cityscapes of our capital city. I love how a good poem can completely transport you in a few moments and words to another place.

Details - Penguin Random House, June 2018 RRP $30.00 PB

I Am New Zealand is a book of stunning photography capturing their NZ.

It stemmed from a Nikon photography competition. The book travels from Cape Reinga all the way to Stewart Island and the variety of images is stunning. It's a book that makes me want to travel the length and breadth of my own country. It's a wonderful testament to the beauty of this whenua and the creative ability of those who dwell in it behind the camera lens.

This would make a fantastic gift for anyone and I am so enjoying the way it expands my heart as I linger with different images over a cup of tea and the sound of birdsong. Also all profits from the book are being donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, wins!

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $45.00

It is so good to see books being published in Aotearoa by our own. I think it's especially important to support these kind of books.

Love you more than a cup of tea and birdsong xxx