RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This is an entirely magical book, a modern Alice, about the Love of Trees, the importance of Trees, about Music, about the importance of caring for Nature, and totally in "tune" with the ethos of this time in her story and his story. I had so recently purchased a book by Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees, a book that does in very scientific and loving ways, tell us, about the vast underground network that forms the Family of Trees, a far deeper connectivity than many knew, and this communications network is vast and amazing, in so many ways. Of course Trees for us, should echo through history, as we have our Garden Story, yes, that Tree, the Tree of Life, and then, the Tree of Knowledge. Back to this book, a rollicking adventure story that throws Emma, our heroine, into a fantastical adventure that involves saving the Mother Tree, that is very much about the Music, about the value of trees, this the poetree, of Life Herself, speaking. I love the imaginative flow of this Story, how the weave is spell binding in many ways, and the joy of Nature comes ringing through. I also Love how language, how Emma's name is reverberant with the ancient Mother tree, how that song is so important, for Nature and Nurture come so beautifully together, to keep what is needed green. Maybe beyond belief, be leaf, is such a Story that does entrance. The uses of Enchantment to speak volumes about our need to hug, to honor, and realize the importance for us all, of that leafy sheltering canopy, how Earth herself depends on Trees. ~ Ruth Housman, Amazon.com

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This book is more than a fantasy adventure story. It's a paean to the triumphant power of Nature for all ages. It is particularly a celebration of trees of all shapes and sizes and their subtle vibrant relationship to humans. Hale achieves a completely magical scenario through personifying the trees as human characters This carries over into squirrels, mice and rabbits who assist Emma in her quest. The interplay between humans, trees and animals is so homogenous that their distinction disappears. The book is far more than a ripping yarn and a roller coaster ride of thrilling chapters. It is a great parable about humankind's interrelationship with its environment. What is quite unique in the book is the use of vocal sound in the form of incantations and rhyming poems. Hale has managed to stimulate our imagination through superb story-telling and, at the same time, awaken our conscience to the precious, yet threatened world of trees. I thoroughly enjoyed it ~ James D'Angelo, Author of the Healing Power of the Human Voice

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    I just couldn't put this book down. I read it from cover to cover and two days later I re-read it! Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is pure fantasy BUT upon my second reading I realised that it is based upon the factual interaction of trees with one another and their relationship with fungi and animals as described in another good book "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben, Forester and ecologist. Emma makes the whole subject clear not only to children but to adults with a non-scientific base. I feel that this story would make a superb film to reach those who do not wish to read.

    ~ Paul Cooper, Goodreads

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    They say only the dead can cross a Threshold, the dead and those who have faced a Nemesis Charm. When Apprentice Adventurers, Fletcher and Scoop, discover their mother has fallen under the curse of a strange sickness, they prepare to sail for its source, a Threshold, a doorway to the world beyond the Un-Crossable Boundary. But they are not the only ones seeking to cross the Threshold. Their old enemy, Grizelda, has heard that beyond the Boundary lives a woman with the same power as the Storyteller. With the help of a monster made with an undead heart, she plans to cross the Boundary and steal that power for herself. If she succeeds, the Academy, the island and everything in Fletcher and Scoop's world will be hers.
    Absolutely fantastic read with brilliant characters. I love the drawings too. I loved the ending too. Highly recommended. 5*. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book from netgalley. ~ Sue Wallace, Amazon+GoodReads

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I really enjoyed the story, particularly the main part which is set in a world created by the "Storyteller". There are some very dark elements in this, but also themes about friendship, family and the importance of imagination. I look forward to the next in the series. ~ Margaret Pemberton, Librarian/NetGalley

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    A chapter reader fantasy that encourages children to appreciate trees and the biome they represent.Children who enjoy fantasy with animals and an element of mystery should be satisfied. Emma is a strong, caring character.
    ~ Marielle Kaifer, NetGalley

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This magical fantasy finds it's way into your heart so easily. It's one of those books to curl up with that makes you turn the pages to see what happens next, yet you don't want the story to end. Alongside the human characters, some good, others concerned only with themselves, we have trees and animals that speak, each in their own unique voice, to weave a strong message about looking after our planet. There is humour and plenty of dramatic twists and turns. Emma's uncle Alf is a treasure who not only brings wisdom to the immediate dilemmas faced by Emma and her family, but plays an important role in encouraging and preparing his niece to take on the difficult path she is destined for. Through her greatest friend and confidante, who happens to be an oak tree called Annie, Emma learns what she must do and the challenges she will have to confront.

    By Susanna Bearfoot, Composer and Music Educator ~ Susanna Bearfoot

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    Emma and the Song of Creation: A Review


    “Who sings the songs alive in every leaf?”

    Susan Hale, the author of Emma and the Song of Creation clearly does. And in her book, she invites young readers to join her.

    “Who listens to the sonnets of budding blossoms?”

    Emma, the protagonist of Hale's children novel, does. At least, she intuits snatches of their poetry via her lone source of comfort and only friend – a tree in her back yard.

    Through various mysterious and magical experiences, Emma learns that her tree, its kith and kin, the entire natural world, and every marginalized human being are important, connected – and in grave danger. All are losing the struggle to survive the onslaught of modern civilization’s moneyed interests. Emma knows that this is wrong, but she bows to the powerful social pressures that value apathy over action. To confront the social ills head-on, Emma would need a strong heart, to find her voice, and to unleash her song. A tall order for a fearful, lonely, bullied eleven-year old from an unhappy home.

    As the author, a music therapist, leads readers through Emma’s transformation from downtrodden victim to heroic activist in this engaging cautionary tale, youngsters learn how to use their voices in support of beauty, compassion, and truth.

    Will the next generation heed Hale’s call for a more loving world in time to save it? While the central plot of the real-life modern drama has yet to be resolved, by the end of Hale’s masterful composition, youngsters will have the wherewithal to ensure that the human story doesn’t end. Here’s hoping they’ll join Hale’s choir.
    --
    Dr. Linda Sonna is a psychologist and the author of ten parenting books.
    ~ Dr. Linda Sonna

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    Hogwarts meets Earthsea, perhaps? But unique worlds of its own and hugely imaginative writing. I needed to pause every now and then just to enjoy and ponder references and mysteries. A great story, and interesting, sometimes ambiguous characters. Hurry up with part 3, Daniel I-B. ~ Amazon Customer, Amazon

  • May's Moon
    S.Y. Palmer

    May's Moon

    S.Y. Palmer (Our Street Books £6.99)

    Michael May is selected to take part in the Children's Moon Programme in Florida. Ten children from around the world have been chosen, but only three will make the flight to the moon. During the gruelling course and selection procedure several unexplained accidents occur and although this makes Michael frightened, he is determined to find out what is going in.

    May's Moon is an exciting read that will keep boys and girls engrossed. Michael is an admirable character and we wonder if his hard work and honesty will pay off in the end. The detailed account of astronaut training will thrill youngsters who aspire to be the next Tim Peake. Sue Palmer is available for workshops (years 4-7) and can be contacted on her website sypalmer.com. ~ Mary , Chapter One Bookshop, Woodley, Berks.

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I was given a copy of The Nemesis Charm by Net Galley in Exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved this book and not since the Harry Potter series have i enjoyed a series this much. This is the second book in The Firebird Chronicles series and it was just as exciting as the first. There's magic and danger. It features all the same characters from the first book.A wonderful story the reader can get completely lost in. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. ~ Judith Taylor, NetGalley/Amazon

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The synopsis

    Fletcher and Scoop, apprentice adventurers, discover their mother has fallen under a sickness curse. They set sail to find out its source, the Threshold, a doorway to an uncrossable world. They race against time and their enemy Grizelda, who also seeks the power to cross the Threshold so she too can possess the power of the Storyteller. Will our heroes make it? Will they save their mother and their academy? Read the book to find out!

    The review

    This unique young adult fantasy book is packed full of adventure. The book is ya but can definitely read as middle grade. There are a lot of cool parallels with the use of grammar. (i.e blotting academy, and hosting the grammar games) There is a very unique map at the beginning of the book as well. Although while being book two in the series it can be read as a stand alone but it does have some references to book one. Thrown in some adventure, a dash of suspense and a sprinkle of humor and you have The Nemesis Charm. The plot sets up nicely and unfolds to a good set up for book 3. The characters are well developed and you have a fun time reading this book and immersing yourself in the adventures. 4 out of 5 stars from me! I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

    You can buy this book from: ~ Laura Wolf, https://thereadingwolf.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/the-nemesis-charm-by-daniel-ingram-brown-book-review/

  • May's Moon
    S.Y. Palmer

    Dreaming of the Moon - #Reading Magazine

    May's Moon is the first published book by author, mother and Woodcote resident Sue Palmer. It tells the story of Michael May, a slight 12-year old British boy who has been shortlisted for the Children's Moon Programme.
    We first meet Michael just after he's landed in Florida and has donned his moon boots for the first time. He's primed for the space-based examinations NASA have prepared for him. All that stands in between Michael and his lifelong dream of being the first child in space are nine competitive and space mad children, one potential saboteur and his fear of water.
    Although it is early days in Palmer's career and May's Moon, at 150 pages, is too short, she can do for children astronauts what Anthony Horowitz did for teenage spies.
    Like Horowitz's Alex Rider, May's Moon understands its reader, using Michael's quick wit and clumsy dad to boil cosmos-sized concepts into manageable chunks.
    Similarly, Palmer engages with her book's topic in the same way Horowitz, like all good children's authors, engages wholeheartedly with his. Michael's fascination with space is matched by Palmer's, who repeatedly does the unforgivable, slipping facts, figures and details into her narrative and leaving you feeling that you've learned something.
    Perhaps its strongest quality is that May's moon is not about action and adventure. In the way least likely to disengage either the twelve year old space nut or bedtime reader, it is about growing up, self-doubt and family. ~ Milo Boyd, # Reading Magazine

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    Title - A fascinating and magical fairy tale.

    Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is a fascinating, magical fantasy aimed at the younger audience, but a story that can be enjoyed by a much wider age group, even adults like me. This modern day fairy tale is set in Peachtree city, Georgia in the USA, where the eleven-year-old heroine, Emma Oliver lives with her mother, Molly and grandmother, Maize and Emma's rather special uncle Alf from England. That is about as far as reality goes as the list of characters quickly expands into the realms of fantasy. There is an Alice in Wonderland feel to the story when Emma meets up with a diverse cast of wonderful creatures. Talking rabbits, devas or tree spirits resembling weird old ladies in strange hats riding golf carts, animated trees, saber-bearing squirrels, sinister brambles and a pretty unpleasant ivy character all come together, either to help or hinder Emma in her quest to save the Mother Tree hidden deep in a timeless underground world. Although the story is a glorious fantasy, threaded throughout the story is a strong message about climate change and the damage humans are doing to the planet.
    Fantasy is not a genre I would normally gravitate to, but having received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review I set about reading it and was quickly drawn into the world inhabited by the extraordinary and highly original characters created by the talented author, Susan Hale. Highly recommended. ~ Veryan Williams Wynn, Author of the Spirit Trap

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    Fun and Entertaining with a Powerful Message
    What eleven-year old girl knows they’re destined to save the world’s trees? Certainly not Emma Oliver, who comes from a long line of tree singers. The only thing she does know is that her best friend is a tree she calls Annie Oakley.

    That is just the beginning of the fantastic voyage, author Susan Hale is taking us on. As Emma, albeit reluctantly, sets out to save the world, readers will enjoy the twists and turns of the story. What I loved was that it made me think of our trees and their importance for sustaining life on earth. How we often take them for granted and chop them down without a thought. Hale’s story reminds us of the fragility of our natural environment in a fun and adventurous way.

    A great tale for young readers and adults alike who want to feel close to nature. Colorful characters, good and bad, will keep you entertained and on your toes to the last page. It certainly makes me wish there were an Emma Oliver out there to keep our trees safe.
    ~ Annette Oppenlander, Author of Escape From the Past series

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I have actually not read the first book however the 2nd book does well as a stand alone novel in the sense that I could figure out what was going on without being too lost from not having read the first. I am a big fan of fantasy novels and since this is geared at a younger generation than me I would not have probably read it, but I am glad I had the opportunity to read it because I really enjoyed reading it. I can definitely see how it will appeal to the younger generation and be a fun read for those that are older.

    Right off the bat I found the map that is in the front fun to look at all the fun different places that Daniel came up with. Some of them even reminded me of childhood places I had read about and saw in movies. Like the Cliffs of Uncertainty reminded me of Princess Bride’s Cliffs of Insanity, The Skull Island that appeared remind me of Skull Rock in Peter Pan and some were new and fun to hear like Dead Man’s Fingers. It was just fun picturing these places in my head and being brought back memories of others.

    I thought the story was a good one. I liked the play on the grammar and words in general in his titles of certain things. Like they are at Blotting Academy and they kids are playing Grammar Games on Fullstop Island. It was just fun to see that in a way it is almost like when kids are reading this they can also maybe think about grammar and learn at the same time. I enjoyed the twists that came with the story like how Libby is writing the story so you are like am I reading a story that is within a story and how is she in a different world but connected. Or the fact that her username is F1R3B1RD and for Fletcher and Scoop a firebird talks to them and tells them it will be okay. Just the fun guessing of what is going to turn out kept it interesting.

    This book had humor, adventure, and suspense all rolled into one. I think that it is set up nicely to continue on in the 3rd book and will be curious to see how things play out in the end. Especially with the foreshadowing of what crossing the Threshold will entail for Fletcher and Scoop. Again thank you to Daniel Ingram-Brown to letting me read the ARC and get to enjoy this story.

    My Rating: 4 out of 5
    - See more at: http://frominktopaper.com/index.php/2016/05/26/the-nemesis-charm-the-firebird-chronicles-2/#sthash.Av2AUNVJ.dpuf ~ Rachel, From Ink To Paper

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    This book is almost inception like in style. There is a book, within a book with multiple apparent writers. The story is well structured and engaging with an interesting plot that keeps you reading and hoping for the best for the characters - and always - feels like it ended far too soon for the reader. I really enjoyed learning about Fullstop Island and what it means to be someone who lives there. Sometimes the punctuation related names would jar me momentarily but once you get into the story you understand more and more why it is like this.

    The dark and tense themes present throughout add an element of danger that feels real, you are worried for the characters and want to somehow help them. This adds to the reading experience making the pages turn and turn until the book is finished as you are desperate to find out what happens to these characters you are emotionally interested in.

    Scoop and Fletcher are the main characters and are usually seen as a pair but both have different personalities and fears that will affect the decisions that will be made throughout the book. This makes them diverse and stand out on their own, it is not necessary for them to always be together which is important when you have a pair of characters. They love having a family and a purpose in the world and would do anything to keep is together.

    There are many side characters that add a depth and have a reason in the plot, they aren't just in the book to look pretty. Sparks and Alpha may be small but they aren't to be underestimated and their purpose becomes clear and it can be seen that little girls are not to be over looked! The pirate adds the anti- stereotype that not all pirates are bad and in fact, some have the tools and are willing to help save the world.

    Grizelda is your wicked witch in the world. She isn't dumb however she has an agenda and knows exactly how she wants to go about it. Having taken out those who are strong enough to get in her way through the Storyteller she is on a one woman power trip into taking over the island. Her schemes are smart. She is scary and makes a formidable and scary antagonist.

    Overall this book is really well written and the world building was excellent with a depth and reality evident throughout. As a reader you could feel the waves and the wind with the characters, with Scoop and Fletcher relate-able and admirable for the reader to associate themselves with. A great and easy read suitable for almost all ages. ~ Talia, Read Between The Scenes

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    This fantasy adventure is aimed at middle grade readers to young teens, but I would say that adults would get as much enjoyment from the story too. The writing is rich with atmosphere and the quirky characters come alive with the wealth of descriptions and unusual names given to the inhabitants of the World of Mortales.

    It might not be obvious to younger readers but some of the character names and places derive from the world of writing such as Nib and the Quill sisters, and there’s Blotting’s Academy, Fullspot Island, and Bookend Isles to name but a few.

    I found The Nemesis Charm had a darker feel compared with the first book, The Rise of the Shadow Stealers, where the two apprentices are finding their feet in their new world at school. The second book finds the stacks raised with physical dangers close at hand as well as psychological and spiritual mind games. Dramatic elements are balanced with humour by way of Grizelda – I love an old hag – one of my favourite characters. She brought both light and shade to the story.

    Daniel Ingram-Brown has a way of setting the scene so that the reader becomes immersed in the world of the characters, and if you get a little lost there’s a map in the front of the book. I was gripped by the writing and the quest of Fletcher and Scoop. Would they make it to the Un-crossable Boundary? Would they cross the Threshold? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Needless to say, when I got to the last page I was left bereft as I wanted to read on, but I guess I’ll have to wait for the next book.

    Fans of the Narnia books or Inkheart will love this read. I would rate this book 9/10. ~ The State of the Arts, www.thestateofthearts.co.uk

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The Nemesis Charm, The second book in Daniel Ingram-Brown’s Firebird Chronicles, jumps straight into the action a little while after the first book ended. We see our apprentice adventurers and brother-and-sister duo Fletcher and Scoop battle pirates and their old enemy Grizelda. Their ultimate task, given to them by their mentor: to cross the Un-Crossable Boundary and save the lives of many of their friends, who have fallen into a deep sleep from which they cannot be awoken.

    The first thing I noticed about this book was that it is considerably darker than the first book in the series. The story launches straight into the action, with knife fights and horrible punishments from Grizelda, the series’ main villain: “With lightning speed she pulled a knife from the folds of her cloak and lunged forward … The old woman had stabbed him through the hand, the blade slicing clean through his flesh, embedding itself into the mast. She twisted it.” It’s descriptions like these that make me imagine the scene much more vividly than if it were written without them.

    One thing that I liked a lot was the quick switches between perspective throughout the whole story, showing the reader what each character was doing in the same scene at the same time. It created a sense of urgency, especially when they were carrying out secret missions to save people. This is especially useful when the characters actions are important to the story but they are miles away from each other; for example, Fletcher and Scoop are lost in a story, an odd vision that allows them to see and feel that they are in a different place; the scene cuts to the Storyteller, miles away in the Kingdom of Alethea, watching the Apprentices through his pool of silver threads (a bit like the crystal ball in The Wizard of Oz, where the witch can watch over Dorothy); and then the scene cuts back to Fletcher and Scoop again. It’s almost like a cutaway in a film, but that small segment adds so much to the story.

    Similar to this, the story sometimes cuts away to the ‘real world’, our world, which becomes a huge twist in the story. I won’t reveal the twist (no spoilers!), but linking the fantasy world to our real world was something that I thought was a genius idea. You’ll just have to read it to find out how it works.

    Finally, the story ends on a massive cliffhanger! As I read the final couple of chapters I began to wonder how the story can be wrapped up in only a few pages, but lo and behold, the cliffhanger ending left me wanting the next piece of the story right now.

    Overall, The Nemesis Charm definitely didn’t disappoint. It had the fast-paced energy and action of the previous book, great character developments (if you know me you’ll know I love a good bit of character development) and an ending that leaves you pining for more.

    The Verdict: 4 and a half stars ~ Charlotte, Wonderfully Bookish

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    This is a very unique and entertaining young adult fantasy novel. The premise of the brother and sister team of apprentice adventurers is unlike any other fantasy novel I have read, which is saying a lot. I find these days that most fantasy novels are similar and follow a standard structure, but this was so different than anything I have ever read and I loved it.


    Dan’s writing style is so easy to follow and he has a way of really bringing the reader onto Fullstop Island and really immersing the reader in the action taking place. The Nemesis Charm is actually the second book Dan has written about Fletcher and Scoop. I have not read the first but found for the most part I didn’t need to read the first to understand what was happening in this novel. I found the characters to be very likable, especially Scoop. I think I can see some of myself in her and I enjoyed her character development throughout the story. Fletcher made me so mad at some points. I still like his character, though, and I think he is a nice complement to Scoop.


    The world Dan has created is also amazing. I enjoyed reading about Fullstop Island, the Academy, voyages across the sea, and small villages. He really creates almost a fairy tale world, complete with an evil witch and a damsel in distress (their mother). I really enjoyed the idea that Fletcher and Scoop learned more outside of the classroom than in the classroom which was prevalent throughout the novel. I think this is so true in real life. You can learn a lot in the classroom, but the biggest lessons can’t be taught by a teacher, you have to learn them on your own. This book really captured that idea.


    Teenagers, children, and adults will find this book entertaining and will be glad they picked it up. I would recommend this book for ages 10 and up. It would be a great book for parents to read with their children. ~ Kristin, Kristin Reads

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