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CaroleHeidi (Shropshire)

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Gumwrappers and goggles: The tale of a jet
Gumwrappers and goggles: The tale of a jet
by Winifred Barnum Newman
Edition: Unknown Binding

4.0 out of 5 stars Charming and fun, 24 Mar. 2015
Ever since our copy of the lovely reprint of Gumrappers and Goggles arrived in the post I have had the niggling feeling that I read it when I was little. I couldn’t remember the story exactly but it was familiar and the characters had that ‘old friend’ sort of feeling about them. It is entirely possible, being an ’88 baby, that I did – I’m sure copies of it will have been around as I was growing up – but if I didn’t then the fact that it felt so reassuring from the get-go can only be a good thing.

Originally published in 1982 and back again now, Gumwrappers and Goggles is a brilliant book. The balance of words to pictures is just right for Tori (aged 5½ years) – she can have a good go at reading it herself with a little help or it makes a good story to sit down and share together.

I love little TJ the jet – he is a very sweet character that Tori really engaged with. His development through the story is easy and natural as Amelia the fairy encourages him to find the magic inside himself and let his confidence shine through when it matters the most.

Every page of the book is illustrated either in full colour or with black and white sketches so there is plenty to talk about when you are reading together. The characters are charming and glowing with personality – even the sunshine has its own character as he watches TJ go about his days. Little things like this bring the story to life and add an extra sparkle to the pages – you can tell the author really cares about the story and the characters in it.

With a lovely message about believing in yourself and fighting for what you love, Gumwrappers and Goggles is just as relevant and fun for kids now as it was when it first hit the shelves in 1982.

Leeds Monopoly Board Game
Leeds Monopoly Board Game

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Leeds locals, 10 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Leeds Monopoly Board Game (Toy)
Great fun to play if you are familiar with Leeds and even if you aren't. All the fun of the classic game with a Yorkshire twist :)

Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and racy too!, 10 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Spice (Kindle Edition)
When I read the blurb of Spice I knew immediately that I wanted to read it. It had potential to be really fun and also to be a bit less flimsy than a lot of erotic fiction where the characters don’t require personalities and the story is literally just ‘let’s have sex’. Don’t get me wrong, this story is quite a lot of ‘let’s have sex’ but there’s a structure and a bit more of a point to it than in many examples of erotica I have read.

The story follows Jess who is a fairly normal young woman – attractive but not crazy super model hot – with all the typical hangups about her body and life and her boyfriend Max – again, a normal kind of guy – attractive but not unrealistically so. They are not married but the prospect isn’t off the cards, they’re in a stable, long-term relationship and when Jess gets given the blog assignment they are a realistic combination of excited and nervous about the prospect. It’s a big step deciding to put your sex life on the internet for all the world (and your mother!!) to read, especially if it’s going to start wandering into the world of kinky.

The balance between Jess ‘researching’ each item on the list by talking to people who are into whatever it is created a great build-up to each one and let her explore her feelings on each topic. Some she was immediately excited by and looked forward to trying, others made her apprehensive – this made her easy to relate to as a character. I’m sure most of us would experience similar emotions when faced with her situation – I particularly liked the scene where she had to buy sex toys from a sex shop and had the downright fear and embarrassment that she was being judged on her purchases. I get that when I’m buying the food shop in a supermarket never mind if I was having to buy multi-coloured cock rings and a porn film!

The story kept its realism by there being a couple of things on the list that Jess and Max weren’t keen on – they tried stuff out and decided it wasn’t for them and in at least one case just flat out refused to do it because they just didn’t want to at all. Again, this gave them a bit of depth as characters and built their relationship as they talked things through.

There was a bit of conflict and drama at the end so the story felt complete and didn’t get flat and boring like some erotic fiction can when there’s nothing but sex scene after sex scene. The story was simple but satisfying and felt like it had a point which was great.

The sex itself was well written and raunchy without being ridiculous or weird – it’s a pretty steamy ride and there is A LOT of sex. Unsurprising with such a long list to get through in a fortnight, really. ;)

I don’t often give out five star reviews to erotic fiction – but Spice had that sparkle that so many others lack. It had a personality and it left me smiling at the end – and not in a ‘thank heavens that’s over’ kind of way.

Hoppa Lightweight Shopping Trolley With Click-On/ Off Wheels and Easy Grab Handle Luggage Cart, 60 cm, 47 Liters, Leopard
Hoppa Lightweight Shopping Trolley With Click-On/ Off Wheels and Easy Grab Handle Luggage Cart, 60 cm, 47 Liters, Leopard

4.0 out of 5 stars Really useful now I don't have a pushchair for my shopping!, 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Feels sturdy enough and can hold everything I need it to. It is nice and light which is great - even my three year old can pull it along when it is full. Love the design, too.

Babyrascals Large Bath Toy Bag (Baby Product) 50cm x 30cm approx
Babyrascals Large Bath Toy Bag (Baby Product) 50cm x 30cm approx
Offered by Danmark - Babyrascals Official Outlet
Price: £15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fantastic size for our kids huge amount of toys but I just can't make it stay on the wall after on sucker was crumpled badly in transit.

Carry Handle iPad Mini Case, iCrown(TM) Stand Holder Foam Shock Proof for Kids Bumper Protector Defender Case, Compatibale for iPad Mini&iPad Mini with Retina Display, Orange
Carry Handle iPad Mini Case, iCrown(TM) Stand Holder Foam Shock Proof for Kids Bumper Protector Defender Case, Compatibale for iPad Mini&iPad Mini with Retina Display, Orange

4.0 out of 5 stars Fab case for kids, 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great case for protecting our five-year-old's ipad mini. Sturdy but soft and the carry handle is great for stopping her dropping it as she walks around. The bright colour stops us from losing it so much, too!

The Life I Left Behind
The Life I Left Behind
by Colette Mcbeth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.05

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thriller, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Life I Left Behind (Paperback)
I thought I was done with books that involved a narrator who was recently deceased watching over the people they left behind. It was fun in The Lovely Bones but it has been done and done again and the last one I tried (The Dead Wife's Handbook) just bored and annoyed me to the point where I put it down, so when I picked up The Life I Left Behind and realised it had an element of that in it, I was dubious. Thankfully, The Life I Left Behind did it very well and I was neither bored, nor irritated.

The story is told from a couple of narrative perspectives, and only one of those involves a dead person, which means you are constantly seeing different sides of the situation, drip feeding you clues but never revealing so much that you work it out (or at least, I didn't until quite close to the big reveal).

Melody physically survived a vicious attack but mentally closed herself off from life afterwards believing that everything she believed in couldn't be trusted after someone she considered a friend almost killed her. If she could be so horribly wrong about that, how could she trust herself with anything else? Then Eve is murdered in the same way and dumped in exactly the same place and suddenly everything is wrong again.

It doesn't feel right that the same man would do it over again.

The Life I Left Behind kept me on my toes and I raced through it once I got started. I didn't want to stop - I loved how human the characters were, I could relate to them and desperately wanted there to be a happy ending for Melody and at least justice for Eve.

A real page turner, filled with little details that built up the world around the characters beautifully, I enjoyed The Life I Left Behind immensely although I will confess to having to read the ending twice. I'm just not sure if what I thought happened, happened, or if I'm misreading it or reading too much into it. I don't want to leave spoilers and I can't really explain myself without doing that. I'll just have to wait for a friend to read it so I can talk about it with them without spoiling anything!

My Rating: 5/5*

The Bully and the Shrimp
The Bully and the Shrimp
by Catherine Allison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.52

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book to broach the topic of bullying, 16 Jan. 2015
The Bully and The Shrimp is a great book for children about to start school as well as those already attending.

It sensitively and entertainingly broaches the ever-constant issue of bullying in a way that is accessible to young children and covers all the emotions felt by both the person being bullied and the bully themselves.

Cleverly illustrated half as Noah Shrimpton’s diary showing his emotions with doodles as well as words, The Bully and The Shrimp gives you plenty to talk about with your child as you share it together.

The story is written from the perspective of the child being bullied but we found it was very useful and effective to read with Tori on a day when she had been very overbearing with Arthur and their friends. It helped her see how sometimes she can slip from a bit bossy into the edge of bullying territory and it showed her how she might be making the other people feel. It is very hard to explain to a five year old how their ‘playing’ might upset other people but The Bully and The Shrimp did it brilliantly. At one point, Connor grabs and takes Noah’s pencil crayons – something Tori had done to Arthur that day – and when she read how that made Noah feel upset and cross she said ‘Is that why Arthur didn’t want to play with me anymore?’ It was a gentle prod towards helping her see how her own actions can affect other people.

I can see it being a brilliant resource for all parents of children at school – it is fun to share and shares an important message without being accusatory or judging anyone. There are extra resources at the back for the grown ups to help if your child is being bullied which is a nice touch and helps lift it from ‘just a picture book’ to a real helpful tool.

A great book even if there are no bullying issues around anyone reading, The Bully and The Shrimp is a great example of the power books can have to help people. A great addition to our shelves that I am sure will be called upon again and again as Tori and Arthur go through school.

Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon
Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon
by Jules Bass
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Cute story with a nice message, 16 Jan. 2015
I am a big fan of dragons and this is something I try to encourage in Tori and Arthur too, so when they were given a copy of this book I was quite excited to share it with them.

The story is quite straight forward but still exciting with the threat of the dragons eating the knights and then the fear that Herb is going to be fed to the castle alligators later on. It kept Arthur’s attention throughout, despite being quite wordy in places – I think this is partly down to Debbie Harter’s illustrations. Even when he had to listen to lots of words, there was enough in the pictures to keep him focused and entertained.

There are obvious morals being put across in the story, such as tolerance for others and the topic of vegetarianism is brought up in a way that is easily accessible to children without being judgemental or preachy. (In fact, the whole book is officially approved by The Vegetarian Society!!)

I particularly liked that it didn’t condemn either the meat-eaters or the vegetarians in the story – neither was made to change their dietary habits (beyond an agreement to not eat all the Princesses and Knights – wild boar were still on the menu though!) and the end resolution was formed through respect and agreeing to disagree by finding a compromise. Peace and harmony was found not through anybody being defeated, eaten or bullied into changing but through talking things through and accepting that everybody is different.

A great book that is good to share and a bit different to a lot of other picture books that we have read, Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon, has become a bit of a favourite in our house.

The Diggers
The Diggers
by Margaret Wise Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.52

3.0 out of 5 stars Not keen but the kids like it., 16 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Diggers (Hardcover)
Sadly, the more of Margaret Wise Brown’s work I discover, the less I seem to enjoy it.

This book felt distinctly like a book of two halves. The first half was a nice jaunt around the world looking at things that dig – from moles to pirates looking for treasure – and then suddenly it was all about a digger making a tunnel for a train for the rest of the book. It seemed disjointed to me and I just didn’t like it.

The illustrations were bright and chunky and had plenty to look at. There was just enough detail to keep it interesting without being too busy and the way that the text wound down the tunnels that were being dug was very clever and looked pretty on the page.

Luckily, the kids (and my other half!) all disagreed with me and seemed to enjoy the book, which I suppose is the important thing. It won’t be one that I choose to pick up and read with them again, though.

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