Book Review: The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket

The Lump of Coal

by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

This is a story about a lump of coal who can think, talk, and move itself around.

Is there a more charming holiday tale to behold? Probably, but Lemony Snicket has not written one.



I absolutely loved this book. In true Lemony Snicket fashion, the book talks to the reader, engaging them, and is full of dry wit. The illustrations, also, are wonderful and amusing, full of great detail.

This is a funny little story about the adventures of a lump of coal looking for a Christmas miracle. He just wants to be creative and draw charcoal lines and maybe barbecue some meat — he is a lump of coal, after all.

I think kids, especially young school aged kids, and adults alike will enjoy this quirky, off beat story that embraces the importance of miracles and creativity.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

(Harry Potter #1)

by J.K. Rowling

This isn’t exactly a book review — it is so hard to review such an iconic book. This is more about the experience of re-reading Harry Potter after so many years.
Our local library is an amazing place, and this year, they have started a Book Geeks reading club aimed at adults, where our goal is to read and talk about one of the Harry Potter books each month. We had our first meeting earlier this month and it was so much fun. There was a group of us, all who were excited to geek out about Harry Potter.
I was an adult when Harry Potter first came out and I decided to pick it up because I knew I’d never be able to talk to my niece and nephew again if I didn’t because all of their conversation revolved around it. Instantly, I was hooked and raced through the books as they came out.
Re-reading The Philosopher’s Stone now was so much fun. I could look at what Rowling wrote in the context of the whole series and see the brilliance of it. Not only is it an entertaining and exciting book in it’s own right, full of interesting characters and battles between good and evil, but it set up the whole series. I was so impressed by things I would never have noticed all of those years ago, like mentions of characters important in the next books, and themes and story arcs that are integral to the whole series. Rowling’s vision for her series is masterful. I’ve recently heard that Rowling wrote the end of the last book before she ever wrote the first word of the first book — an impressive feat, but this certainly is what unifies the series so beautifully.
What is there to say, really? The Philosopher’s Stone, even 20 years after it was published, is still one of the best middle grade books out there. It is timeless. My daughter recently started reading this series herself and she is as excited about it now as my niece and nephew were all of those years ago.




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Author Interview: Segilola Salami

Welcome Segilola Salami to my blog.

book cover_color_2820x4500pxWhat book are you promoting right now? What is it about?
Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother is my latest book. You can call it book 1.5 after Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London 1. Baby Yetunde is slightly older in this book. She narrates the Ode her mother told her in honour of her grandmother.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Mother’s day was approaching and I thought why not?

Tell us about your writing process. How do you fuel your writing?
Ahahahaha, the voices in my head tell me the story. I just put it down on ‘paper’.

What inspires you to write?
Writing is self perpetuating. Once you start, you just can’t stop.

What’s the best part of being a writer?
Seeing my imagination come to life.

What is your favourite scene in your book?
In my latest book, it definitely is the battle scene between the mom and the warrior chief. Read more

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Author Interview: Elspeth Hall

Today I am happy to introduce children’s book author, Elspeth Hall.

author 003What book are you promoting right now? What is it about?

“The Adventures of Puss-Puss: Puss-Puss, the Curly Tailed Gnomes, the Echo, the Snow Bunnies and the Quarry Ball.” It is part two of my “Adventures of Puss-Puss” trilogy. Building upon the friendships forged in the first book this collection of tales follows the canal-side animals through the seasons. It also teaches children subtly about the environment and our impact on it.

Tell us about your writing process. How do you fuel your writing?
It starts as all good books do as a story. My daughter is 4 and cant sleep without bedtime stories, sometimes I just can’t face the 36th rereading of Thomas the Tank Engine so I make things up. Sometime she supplies the main character. Most of them aren’t worth putting to paper but every now and then I think actually this could go somewhere. And so I go back over the plot rewrite it for an older child. Read more

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