Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: three star review

Blog tour: Before I Find You by Ali Knight

Blog tour: Before I Find You by Ali Knight

Hello there, and welcome to my stop on the Before I Find You blog tour. Sorry for the radio silence over the past couple of weeks: we’ve moved home and trying to get WiFi installed has been a nightmare, so it’s been a blogless fortnight for me. […]

Blogtober Day 13: Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

Blogtober Day 13: Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

“Why would they be afraid of us? We have no powers.” “Of course we don’t,” she says, looking away from me. “But the humans do not understand that. They fear that their men will be overcome with madness and dive into the depths of the […]

Blogtober Day 4: Blog tour: Beardies’ World by Joyce Ives

Blogtober Day 4: Blog tour: Beardies’ World by Joyce Ives

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Beardies’ World blog tour. First off I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faye, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and to Joyce Ives, author of Beardies’ World, who has written a lovely guest post for me to share with you all today.

In case you haven’t heard of Beardies’ World before, I’m going to start by giving you some more information about the book, before I share some briefs thoughts about it in a spoiler-free review.

Beardies' World by Joyce Ives

If you already have a dog/dogs or are even thinking of buying one, read this book, which shows what fun and laughter we had with ours over twenty-six years, making a lot of friends along the way.

This book is Joyce Ives’ narrative to the twenty-six years she and husband John owned, cared for and loved their four Bearded Collies. The memories shared by Joyce in this book are likely to touch the heart of anyone who has had any experience of growing up and growing old with dogs. In her narrative Joyce has been able to capture beautifully how our special bond with our canine friends often becomes so significant in our life’s journey; our experiences of joy and laughter and at times our sadness and loss.

If you’re interested in learning more about Beardies’ World, click on the cover to check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

So, what did I think of Beardies’ World?

Beardies' World by Joyce Ives review header

When I first started reading Beardies’ World I found it a little disorienting, as it’s told from the perspective of the dogs rather than from Joyce herself. As I got used to the writing style I found it charming and quirky, but it did take a little while to adjust as it’s very different to any non-fiction I’ve read before.

A combination of memoir and travel guide, Beardies’ World is informative, sharing tips about the best places to visit with dogs in the UK, as well as the best walking holidays you can take with or without four-legged friends. Joyce’s descriptions bring the various British locations to life in your mind. I particularly enjoyed their trip to the Isle of Wight, somewhere I visited when I was a child – it made me remember a lot about my week away that I’d forgotten, and now I’m desperate to return.

But Joyce doesn’t only use this book to educate; it’s also highly entertaining. Stuffed full of humorous – yet often disastrous – tales, Joyce welcomes you into her family and into her home, delivering anecdotes that will remind you of the best and worst times you’ve had with your own dogs. Joyce’s Beardies seem to particularly enjoy water and mud, and I laughed out loud at multiple points (helped along by adorable illustrations and photographs, showing the dogs in their moments of mayhem). Be warned: you will shed tears at multiple points, but Joyce begins the book by describing the Rainbow Bridge with optimism and positivity, so try not to get too upset!

Reading Beardies’ World is like eating stew: it warms you from the inside out, it’s inoffensive and it’s easily digestible. I didn’t feel as though I could rate it higher than three stars because it did take me quite a while to feel comfortable with the writing style, but this is bound to appeal to other readers and I’m sure it’s going to become a fast favourite among dog lovers.

 

Now it’s time for me to pass you over to Joyce, who has some advice for those who are considering getting a four-legged friend of their own…

Ten tips to give new dog owners

  1. Breeders do not usually sell you a puppy if you work full time as it cannot be trained if left all day and he/she would be lonely. You cannot train a puppy to become clean if you are not there.
  2. A crate is good to have, large enough for a growing puppy, with washable bedding at the back (not bean bag, puppies are inclined to rip these open and all the balls fall out) and several sheets of paper at the front. A crate is ideal at night time until he/she is clean and not for keeping the puppy in all day, but helpful if you want to pop out to get some shopping and stops it getting into mischief. During the day you need to constantly take your dog out, praising it every time it functions. i.e. “Name – go and do a wee wee, Name – go and do a poo”, or whatever word you want to use. This helps if you are visiting friends and you ask your dog to function before you leave, although on a long journey it is best to make them comfortable before entering a friend’s house
  3. Find a good training school, this is usually once a week in the evening and you are expected to practice every day. Do not spend more than half an hour at a time training as the puppy will tire easily and then they will not give you their full attention. I always use titbits when they do something right, using from the amount of food when you feed them, don’t overfeed.
  4. Socialise your dog before their vaccinations. If they are not a large puppy I always took them out in a holdall zipped up with just their head out so they can see and get used to all the traffic noise. You are right up close to them to assure them. Hang the bag around your neck at your front. Once allowed down on the ground, I took my puppies to my local town on market day, making sure they got used to the air brakes on buses.
  5. Bonfire night. It seems fireworks/bangers are being set off before the 5th November. Rather than going to the vet and asking for calming pills, there is a C.D. you can buy especially for dogs. You play it at home in the evenings prior to the 5th starting the sounds low, then gradually increase the noise over a period of a few weeks so they get used to the noise.
  6. Allowing the dogs on furniture and on or in your bed is up to you, if you have guests they are not really happy sitting on dog hairs. As for the bed, if the dog picks up mites running through long grass in the summer, then you will get badly bitten and itchy and the sheets will need changing.
  7. Always remember if you allow a dog to do something just once, their mindset is they are allowed to do it all the time. It is always bad manners to feed your dog from the table, there is nothing worse than a begging drooling and dribbling dog.
  8. If you take your dog out regularly, at least three times a day, they probably will not use the garden when is an asset if you have young children there is nothing worse than poo covered shoes.
  9. Brush and clean your dog regularly checking their paws for cuts and ears especially if they flap down as they are more prone to get infection not being open to the air. If you buy a Beardie a Mason Pearson brush is best. It is expensive but should last the whole of your dog’s life. It is also good to practice opening your dog’s mouth, so when the vet needs to do it, there shouldn’t be a problem. Cleaning their teeth regularly, you will avoid the expense of your dog having an anaesthetic to have them cleaned to stop decay and bad breath.
  10. Whether you buy a pedigree dog or a mixed breed, you should consider insuring with a good pet insurance company and remember once they reach ten years old the premium greatly increases.

 

About the author:Joyce Ives

 

Ever since she was a young girl, Joyce Ives has had a soft spot in her heart for dogs. So when the time came, she decided to leave her full time job to become an owner to her very first Bearded Collie – Kizzy. After this initial decision, they soon became owners to three other beautiful Beardies – Emma, Muffin and Solei. Unfortunately, due to ill health, both Joyce and John no longer look after any dogs but Joyce will always dream of owning more. Joyce now resides in Seaford, East Sussex, and is glad to finally have had time to write her first book.

 

 

I’d like to say another huge thank you to Joyce, for writing such a heartwarming book (and a highly informative blog post for my readers!).

Have you ever owned any Beardies, or do you favour a different breed?

Alyce

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Blog tour: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Blog tour: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon. A debut novel widely agreed to be one of the most anticipated novels of 2018, it’s an honour to have been invited to participate – a huge thank you to Grace […]

Review: SLAY by Kim Curran

Review: SLAY by Kim Curran

‘Slay did two things, and they did them well. Play killer music and kick demon butt. Music done. It was butt-kicking time.’  If you love One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer and McFly, you’ll love Slay. JD, Tom, Connor, Niv and Zek are the next […]

Blog tour: Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

Blog tour: Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

Welcome to the first of two blog tours which I’m taking part in today.

The two titles couldn’t be much further apart – this is a book aimed at young school children, while I’m also on the blog tour for C.J. Skuse’s second adult crime novel, In Bloom. Check back in an hour or so to see that post!

But first up is Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser, an adorable rhyme-filled picture book which teaches little ones how to respect the shared stationery at school so that everyone can have fun playing with it (and the stationery can feel happier, too!).

About the book:

Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

This delightful little book encourages children to learn about – and have fun with – the stationery they encounter in the classroom. Author Rebecca Palliser wants to help all children to find their feet in the primary school classroom.

After reading Love the Stationery in Your Classroom, I decided to give it 3 stars.

I wasn’t expecting it to be a rhyming story, so when I started reading it out to my daughter I was delighted. The story is simple but effective: the stationery in the classroom are fed up with being treated terribly by the children they’re there to help, so they write them a letter asking them to consider being more respectful.

All the best picture books have a moral and although teaching children to act responsibly isn’t a unique lesson, it’s delivered in a light-hearted and fun way that doesn’t make it sound like a boring lesson to learn.

My only complaint about Love the Stationery in Your Classroom is that I wish there had been more images. The pictures of the stationery are very whimsical, their happy faces at odds with the sadness that they’re feeling, and they’re very visually pleasing.

However, there are two rhymes on each page! If it had been separated so that each rhyme had its own separate page, it would have showcased the different types of stationery better. It also would make the book less daunting for a young child to read on their own, because the language isn’t very complex but having a lot of text on one page could be off-putting.

I’m definitely going to be keeping hold of this picture book to show to my daughter when she’s a little older and getting ready to go to school. She’s only a few months old and she loved the voices which I gave to all of the different characters – I’m sure she’ll enjoy it even more when she can appreciate the adorable artwork.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Love the Stationery in Your Classroom, click on the cover to check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

About the author: Rebecca Palliser

Rebecca Palliser is a young primary school teacher whose experiences in the classroom inspired her to write to have an influence on her pupils.

 

She is about to embark on a Masters programme where she hopes to continue to write alongside her studies.

 

She takes inspiration for her stories from her travels exploring different cultures and cities, spending time with her little dog Darcy and of course her biggest muse, the delightful pupils she is fortunate to teach.

 

 

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faye Rogers, for organising the blog tour for Love the Stationery in Your Classroom, and to Rebecca Palliser for writing such a cute story.

Alyce

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Review: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Review: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Flawed, the first novel in Cecelia Ahern’s young adult duology. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t exactly planned to carry on with the series, but I love closure so I couldn’t resist borrowing it when I spotted it on the library […]

Review: Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

Review: Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

If you were asked to describe a serial killer, you probably wouldn’t describe Rhiannon. That’s how she keeps managing to get away with murder. We meet Rhiannon on New Year’s Eve, mere hours before she chops a guy’s penis off for sexually propositioning her. That’s […]

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me anthology

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me anthology

‘Villains. Stories are nothing without them.’ 

It’s been difficult to approach writing this review, because I’m conflicted about Because You Love To Hate Me. On the one hand, I think it’s a brilliant idea – making the villains into characters which it’s hard to resist sympathising with – but on the other hand I just don’t really understand why it needed to be a collaboration with Booktubers.

Yes, it added a unique twist to the anthology, but with only a couple of the Booktubers contributions being worth the time it took to read them, I found myself puzzling over why they really had to be involved. The collection would have been stronger without their additions (with the exception of Jesse’s letter to Death, which was a beautifully written piece of prose which made me excited to read more of his writing in the future) so I ended up subtracting a star before I even started working out the ratings for the other short stories.

Here are some brief thoughts on each of the short stories, along with the individual ratings I gave them:

  • The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh: a twist on the stereotypical family dynamic results in a boy killing his sister to gain the power which she would have inherited through the matriarchal nature of their monarchy. 5/5
  • Jack by Ameriie: a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk (mixed with the story of Phalaris of Agrigento, which I’d personally never heard of), in which Jack becomes close friends with the giant’s daughter… For a while. 4/5
  • Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani: the story of King Arthur, retold through increasingly cringey text conversations. 1/5
  • Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard: a gender-swapped Sherlock, in which Holmes falls in love with Moriarty. I wanted to read so much more of this! 5/5
  • The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni: in a world where magic is rationed between a finite amount of witches and wizards, a girl decides she wants more for herself. Feels more like the prologue to a much larger piece, so wasn’t satisfying as a standalone story. 3/5
  • The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer: a very nice, twisted version of The Little Mermaid which is far more compelling than the Disney story. 5/5
  • Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon: an #ownvoices retelling of Medusa, which tackles victim blaming culture. 4/5
  • Death Knell by Victoria Schwab: a girl ‘escapes’ Death after bargaining for one more day of life. Schwab’s story is followed by Jesse’s letter to Death, which as I’ve already said is the only worthwhile Booktuber contribution. 5/5
  • Marigold by Samantha Shannon: when Marigold is taken by the Erl-queen, her lover and brother attempt to ‘save’ her. I’d never heard of the Erl-queen, but this definitely made me interested in learning more about her. 4/5
  • You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera: my first experience of Adam Silvera’s writing was a little underwhelming. This short story also feels like the prologue to a much greater piece, and by the time I’d wrapped my head around the different drugs that Slate was dealing the story was already drawing to a close. Confusing and jarring. 3/5
  • Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith: in the same vein as the Adam Silvera story, by the time I’d gotten my head around the concept of Julian – who only has to wish someone dead for it to come true – the story was over, ending on a highly unsatisfying cliffhanger. 3/5
  • Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke: a play on Beauty and the Beast, when the Beast is a girl and Beauty is the male hunter attempting to track her down. My second favourite story in the collection. 5/5
  • Sera by Nicola Yoon: the second most disappointing contribution to the collection. Sera is told in three parts, the majority of which are brief descriptions from throughout Sera’s life. The scale of the story being squeezed in is far too large, and needed many more pages to do it justice. 1/5 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Because You Love To Hate Me, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

My actual rating for this collection ended up being 2.7 stars, but I rounded that up to 3 stars (which would have been four, without the Booktube essays). If you’ve already read Because You Love To Hate Me, did you love the Booktuber’s essays or are you on the same page as me?

Alyce

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Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Prom is rapidly approaching and everybody at Carceras High is going crazy for it – everybody, that is, except Ashley. But when their maths teacher steals the money meant for the prom, Ashley steps in to help her best friend Natalia save the special day for […]