#BookReview THE SONG OF THE TREE by CORALIE BICKFORD-SMITH #TheSongOfTheTree

ABOUT THE BOOK

A lyrical, heart-warming new tale from the award-winning designer and creator of The Fox and the Star

Bird loves to sing in the towering tree at the heart of the jungle. It feels like home.
When the season changes she must say goodbye, but she isn’t ready to let go.
As she listens to the other animals, Bird learns to sing a new song.

PUBLISHED BY PARTICULAR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

HIVE.CO.UK

GOLDSBORO BOOKS  – signed, first edition

🌲🌲🌲

Author Website

MY REVIEW

Simply stunning!!

From the cover, to the artwork on each page and to the words, this is a special book that does wonders to calm the mind, soothe the soul and speak to your heart! The story is very simple but it’s the spectacular artwork that accompanies the words that make this a special visual treat. The colours are bright, bold and just so striking that I could happily frame each page and have them on my walls!

I’m a huge fan of Coralie’s and this is another beautiful book from her that should be on every bookshelf!!

★★★★★

#BookReview The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale #20booksofsummer

About the book

Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! 

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

Published by Del Ray

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

A very original, magical and dark story!! And a gorgeous cover!! I started off reading this completely lost in a magical world in Papa Jacks’ Emporium full of the most wonderful toys – toy soldiers that fight their own battles, instant trees and animals who appear that they are alive – but behind the toys is a family fighting their own battles, and a girl who is running away.

Cathy is a young girl who is pregnant and has brought shame on her family so they are ready to send her away, but she takes matters into her own hands and boards the train from Leigh On Sea to London where she goes for a job interview at the Emporium – it has a way of taking in waifs and strays so she is the perfect employee for them. You just have to not stop remembering what it is like to be a child and see the magic in everything. She loves her new life there and is taken to the heart of the family very quickly.

Brothers Emil and Kaspar both work for their father at the Emporium and are always trying to outdo one another with creating the most wonderful new toy. But Kaspar soon has to go off to War while Emil stays behind to help run the business and life soon takes a darker twist for them all.

I loved the magical elements to this story and wasn’t really prepared for the darker sides to the story which did feel a little out of place at times as they were quite serious issues. Seeing someone dealing with PTSD – as we now know it – was a little heartbreaking to read and the effect it had on those around him.  Because of this I’m finding this book difficult to sum up adequately as it often felt like 2 separate stories that shouldn’t really have worked together – but for the  most part it does work and adds a different element to the reading experience you have with this book.  And maybe that was the point! On one hand you have a true fantastical element in the Emporium and all it stands for and how it wants to see the use of toys as a wondrous thing, and that is up against the harshness and brutality of the real world – somewhere we all like to escape from every now and then.

The characters were all well put together in their development and it was interesting to see they dynamic between them all, especially towards the end.

I did enjoy reading this overall but would have loved more of the magical elements for more of an escapist read!

 

                                         💂💂💂💂💂

Would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book!

Beautiful Books Bonanza!!

😍

I haven’t been able to help myself recently!! *feeble excuses alert!!* 

 Hopefully you’ll all understand how easy it is to be innocently (!) browsing various pages online, watching BookTube videos, or be sent emails with pictures of the latest book releases… and then you find yourself searching, clicking, ordering…. and then the parcels arrive!!  So I thought I’d share the latest little haul of book post that I’ve received with some of the most beautiful covers!  One book is for a Blog Tour coming up, the others are just ones that seduced me into buying them with their prettiness!! 

I think the time has come for all book covers to be brown and plain!!!  Might make it safer for me!!

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Alma Books

A feisty heroine’s quest to reclaim her past through the power of literature—even as she navigates the murkier mysteries of love.

Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn’t fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago.

Books are Zebra’s only companions—until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. Zebra overwhelms him with her complex literary theories, her concern with death, and her obsession with history. He thinks she’s unhinged; she thinks he’s pedantic. Neither are wrong; neither can let the other go. They push and pull their way across the Mediterranean, wondering with each turn if their love, or lust, can free Zebra from her past.

Song by Michelle Jana Chan

Unbound – for a blog tour

Opening in the mid-nineteenth-century, this dazzling debut novel traces the voyage of Song, a boy who leaves his impoverished family in rural China to seek his fortune. Song may have survived the perilous journey to the colony of British Guiana in the Caribbean, but once there he discovers riches are hard to come by, as he finds himself working as an indentured plantation worker.

Between places, between peoples, and increasingly aware that circumstances of birth carry more weight than accomplishments or good deeds, Song fears he may live as an outsider forever. This is a far-reaching and atmospheric story spanning nearly half a century and half the globe, and though it is set in the past, Song’s story of emigration and the quest for opportunity is, in many ways, a very contemporary tale

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Bloomsbury

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

Michael Joseph

A person who keeps dogs will lose many in their lifetime. I was a dog who lost people. 

A winter’s night, Venice, 1815.

A 217-year-old-dog is searching for his lost master.

So begins the journey of Tomorrow, a dog who must travel through the gilded courts of kings and the brutal battlefields of Europe in search of the man who granted him immortality.

But Tomorrow’s journey is also a race against time. Danger stalks his path, and in the shadows lurks an old enemy. Before his pursuer can reach him, he must find his master – or lose him forever.

Tomorrow is a spellbinding story of courage and devotion, of humanity across the ages, and the unbreakable bond between two souls.

 

The Insomnia Museum by Laurie Canciani

Apollo

Anna lives in a flat with dad. He is a hoarder, and together they have spent the last 12 years constructing the Insomnia Museum, a labyrinth built from dead TVs, old cuckoo clocks, stacks of newspapers and other junk Dad has found.

Anna is 17. She can’t remember ever having seen outside the flat, but noises penetrate her isolated world: dogs bark in the walls; music plays in the floor, and a ship sails through the canyons between the tower blocks. Then one day dad falls asleep and won’t wake up, and Anna must leave the museum and try to survive in a place that turns out to be stranger and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

It this dazzlingly original debut novel, Laurie Canciani has created a world that is terrible, magical, and richly imagined.

Mrs Whistler by Matthew Plampin

The Borough Press

A stunning novel of artist and muse, of love and ambition from the critically acclaimed novelist Matthew Plampin. `Maud could tell the whole story, but she will not.’ 1876 On the wet cobbled streets of Chelsea, London harassed artist Jimmy Whistler argues with his client. The argument: that Mr Whistler’s two peacocks that now adorn Mr Leyland’s dining room, are to one man a disgrace and to the other, a masterpiece. Stuck in the middle is the one person who knows the artist, his creative vision and his soul more than any other, his model, his lover, Miss Maud Franklin. We follow Maud, a young artist herself who must play the part of wife in the life of a painter crippled by rumours and debts. But it’s only a part, no muse ever had the rights of a wife… A beautiful and compelling blend of naivety and strength, Maud is an irresistible character spinning through a world of beauty and sacrifice, art and ambition.

😍😍😍

I was justified in buying them, wasn’t I?!! Please say yes LOL!!  Would love to hear your thoughts on them, especially if you’ve read any of these! Which one should I start with?! 

I think I just need to face up to the fact that I have become a shallow soul when it comes to book buying! Stick gold on a cover, I’ll want it! Stick animals on a cover, it needs to be on my shelves!  I am a lost cause and I need to embrace my book buying weaknesses!!!  Who’s with me??!! 

                                                                        😉