Month

July 2017

White Hot – Ilona Andrews

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) – Ilona Andrews

White Hot

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Déjà vu… The cover.

So I did a random one person experiment and asked my husband what he thought this book would be about by looking at the cover. Keeping in mind he doesn’t read much at all, and when he does read, Ilona Andrews books are not exactly in a genre he enjoys. Anyway I quote, “Some cheesy romance book with lots of sex”. Now I know this isn’t exactly a decent sample size, but he echoed my thoughts about the darn covers in this series. If I didn’t know and love Ilona Andrews, I would probably have skipped past both of them.

Sure, there is a little bit of sex in the book (ok probably a moderate amount by Ilona Andrews usual standards which generally isn’t much at all) and a little bit of romance, but there was also much more action, violence, twists and turns.. It was a really good book! I think the authors are going to lose some of the random “Looks good by the cover, I’ll buy it” audience. Thankfully for me I listened to both as audio books so didn’t have to stare at the cover picture much unless I was looking at my screen.

Anyway enough of my little rant.. Hubby and wife authors otherwise known as Ilona Andrews have produced yet another solid story. It has been two months since Rogan left Nevada standing in the warehouse. And he is nowhere to be seen. Now another case throws them together again when Cornelius’ wife is murdered and they enlist Rogan’s help to find the killer. Sparks fly, bullets fly, cars fly and Nevada has to start to come to terms with the reality of her powers.

As always, Renee Raudman is FANTASTIC as the narrator. I am so used to her voice now I just think she is absolutely fabulous. She is my favourite female narrator.

You may have noticed that I rated this one 4 stars and not the 5 that is generally reserved for Ilona Andrews books. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it. I just didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first one in the series. I’m not particularly invested in the main characters like I am with her other series. I think Rogan is a bit of a douche, and Nevada annoys me at times.

However, I am still in awe how the authors come up with the story lines. It is truly a very special gift. I a still very much looking forward to the next one due out at the end of the month on audio.

Would I recommend White Hot?

Of course! I recommend ANY Ilona Andrews series! This is the second book though, if you don’t read Burn for Me first, you will be completely confused as to what is going on.

I purchased White hot on audio at audible.com at my own expense.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Ilona Andrews

 

 

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge (GoodReads).

 

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

 

 

Renée Raudman is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator. She has earned a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris and Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien, as well as a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for Joe Schreiber’s Chasing the Dead. She has also performed on film, TV, radio, and stage, including the recurring roles of Jordon on ABC’s One Life To Live, Phyllis on NBC’s Passions, and guest-starring roles on prime-time TV. She has been heard in cartoons (The Simpsons, Billy & Mandy), videogames, and on the E! channel. Her narration of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper was selected by Library Journal as one of the best audiobooks of 2009, and her reading of Marthe Jocelyn’s Would You was selected by the ALA as one of the best young adult audiobooks of 2009 (GoodReads).

 

 


If you enjoy White Hot, you may enjoy:

Burn for me   Clean Sweep   Magic Bites

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Diamond Sky – Annie Seaton

Diamond Sky (The Porter Sisters #3)

Diamond Sky

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this whole series. Kakadu Sunset and Daintree are among some of my favourite Australian suspense/romance books and Diamond Sky was like the icing on a really yummy cake!

Dru escaped a difficult situation in Dubai and came back home to Australia to work in a Diamond mine in the Kimberley. She feels safe now and enjoys her job, however is a bit rattled when newcomer Connor starts working at the mine. Connor is a private investigator, hired to find out who is stealing some of the mines diamonds. He is working undercover as a safety officer, and Dru is his number one suspect…

Firstly, I think the covers of this series are probably my favourite covers of any books EVER. They are all so beautiful and I think Diamond Sky is my favourite cover! Just beautiful! They really capture the landscape perfectly and just look so gorgeous!

Loved the premise of this one. I knew nothing about diamond mining before, so I feel like I have had a bit of education along with a great read! Really interesting stuff surprisingly! Really enjoyed the description of the mine and the workers, the different personalities and rules and regulations of the mine and living quarters.

It was such an original setting and, like all the other books in this series, I adored the descriptions of the landscapes and her research really shines through.

The romance was cute and the situation made it all the more intense. As always, I enjoyed the satisfying romantic tension.

It had a fair bit of action and suspense, but I would have liked more. It felt slightly lacking by the end, but I still can’t get past Kakadu Sunset and the CROCODILES!!! What can beat that??!

Would I recommend Diamond Sky?

Yes it was a great romantic suspense by talented Australian author Annie Seaton. I won’t hesitate to read anything she has written! Check out an interview I did with her last year HERE!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of Diamond Sky in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annie Seaton

Annie Seaton lives near the beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing and has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them. Her career and studies have spanned the education sector for most of her working life, with the completion of a Masters Degree in Education, and working as an academic research librarian, a high school principal and a university tutor until she took up a full-time writing career. She is now published internationally in e-books across the romance genre, in 2014 Annie was voted Author of the Year and in 2015 was voted Best Established Author in the AusRomToday.com Readers’ Choice Awards. Each winter, Annie and her husband leave the beach to roam the remote areas of Australia for story ideas and research. (via Pan Macmillan)


If you enjoy Diamond Sky, you may enjoy:

   Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton    Daintree    Black Hills

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Burn For Me – Ilona Andrews

Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy #1) – Ilona Andrews

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I had seen this book many times around and on goodreads, but there was one main reason I never read it. THE COVER! Oh my gosh how awful is it!!? It looks like some terrible corny romance book that my grandmother used to read. But it is also not a secret that I have become a BIG Ilona Andrews fan, and all of the fans of this husband and wife author duo were rating this book well, so I decided to listen to the audiobook. And HOLY SMOKES! Another HIT!

In an alternate world where some humans have developed magical powers and the strongest ones are known as “primes”, Nevada is a private investigator. She is forced by her boss to take on a case to find Adam, a fugitive prime who can control and manipulate fire. He is suspected of setting a bank on fire and killing a security guard. He is dangerous, and if she doesn’t find him, she will lose her business and her home that she shares with her family. But she is not the only one looking for Adam. “Mad” Rogan is one of the most powerful primes on earth, and he is also determined to find him. They will have to work together to save no only Nevada’s job, but the whole city.

I just feel like I am repeating myself over and over when I talk about these authors! This husband and wife team make magic I tell you!!! MAGIC!!!!! I LOVE the Kate Daniels series, and the Innkeeper Chronicles. I was thinking there would be NO WAY that they could come up with so many different story lines and so many different worlds, and consistently have AMAZING writing in each one! Well I was VERY VERY wrong…

In their other series, the subsequent books just kept getting better and better, and I am hoping that this one will be the same!

I LOVE how they do romance in their series. This one had a bit more heat in the first book than the first books in their other series, but it was still frustratingly spectacular. I still really appreciate how the relationships are built on much more than just lust, and they really go to town on the character development. It’s so refreshing!

Just when you thought they couldn’t come up with anything more exciting, there was action and violence, drama and humour. I was in bed listening to it and almost woke my husband up when I burst out laughing at a particular scene about a dream…

I think that they chose a horrible cover, but an AMAZING narrator. All Ilona Andrews books that I have listened to on audio book have been Renee Raudman and she is just the perfect narrator for all series.

Would I recommend Burn For Me?

YES!!!! It is a wonderful introduction to what I hope will be a stellar series. The third book is being released later this month and I have already pre ordered the audio version! Now, to book number 2 White Hot.

I purchased Burn for Me on audible at my own expense.


If you enjoy Burn for Me, you may enjoy:

Magic Bites   Clean Sweep

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A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals – Lucy Ruth Cummins

A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals – Lucy Ruth Cummins

A Hungry Lion

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I have had this book for a while now and It has taught me a very valuable lesson: **ALWAYS READ A BOOK YOURSELF BEFORE READING IT TO YOUR SMALL CHILD!!** I was shopping one day and found this book in dymocks. I don’t know if I was in a hurry or just not paying attention, but I should have thought (FROM THE DARN TITLE MEL!!!) that perhaps this is slightly inappropriate for the little ones. A DWINDLING Assortment of Animals. Sigh.

So as any other somewhat slightly intelligent person can figure out from the cover, there is a lion in this book, and there is a dwindling assortment of animals. As in, there are a lot of animals, and then there are not so many animals. One guess as to where they go…. But there are a few twists and turns to this book, don’t start complaining I’m giving away the story for you… The lion’s dietary preferences do not spoil the story here.

Anyway, there I was sitting with my (then 2 year old) son on the couch reading this book, he was extremely excited about the fact that there was a lion. I on the other hand, was silently regretting my choice of children’s book purchase, and wondering if I could suddenly take it away without a tantrum. HOWEVER, he BLOODY LOVED IT!!!

I’m not sure if he was just at the age where he didn’t really understand that a lion EATS other animals, or if he just didn’t care. He thought it was the funniest book he had ever seen, and proceeded to make me read it to him 5 more times in the next hour.

So a year on, he certainly does understand that lions eat other animals now, but he still loves this book. He enjoys finding and pointing out the animals as I read them out, he loves the twists the book takes, and he LOVES the ending!

The only thing I don’t like about this book is after we read it my son goes around the house yelling “HEY! WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS?!!”.

Would we recommend A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals?

Yes, but only to children who are not sensitive to the food chain and the “cycle of life”!


If you enjoy A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals, you may enjoy:

Dinosaur Roar   The Everywhere Bear

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One Fell Sweep – Ilona Andrews

One Fell Sweep (Inkeeper Chronicles Book #3)

One Fell Sweep

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I’m going to take a minute to appreciate just how FREAKING good this husband and wife author duo are. Seriously, when these two sit in front of their computer or however they get the words down, MAGIC happens. One Fell Sweep is the third instalment of the Innkeeper Chronicles, and in my opinion, the best of the lot. I’m not sure how they manage to keep getting better and better, book after book… But somehow it just happens. After this series and the Kate Daniels series, which I recently re-read because I love it so darn much, I am going to make it a mission to read every word they have ever written.

Dina is the inn keeper in Gertrude Hunt, the magical inn in Texas that is a pit stop for some very interesting creatures from all sorts of planets. Dina’s job is to keep the guests of the inn safe at all costs, and her job is near impossible with the arrival of a malodorous guest who has an unusual bounty on his head. Many of our favourite characters are back from the first two books, including one frustrating but seriously hot werewolf. Will Dina be able to keep everyone safe?

OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS AUDIOBOOK! I loved everything about it. The writing, the story, and the narration! Renee Rauldman and her Southern accent is SO EASY to listen to! The audio version was magical. I’m sure I would have still adored the paper version, but I just loved this audiobook!

I have no idea where they come up with the ideas in their stories. World killers?? Nano ants?? Seriously!! Obviously in this case two writers are better than one. Its just one awesome idea after the other which leaves you thinking, “HOW THE HELL DO THEY COME UP WITH THIS!!??”

Like the Kate Daniels series, the romance is like lighting a big fireplace in a living room. You start out shivering a bit, warm up quite comfortably, and then suddenly get so hot you start sweating! I love the way that they build the romance up over numerous books. It may start off as attraction between two people, but then it grows into something much deeper, with an actual RELATIONSHIP where people DO THINGS other than swoon over each other. In this case they kill things together and talk together. They don’t just make it a quick attraction with a happy ending, and although the wait for the pinnacle of the romance is frustrating, its SOOOOOOO much better for it!

Would I recommend One Fell Swept??

YES YES YES!! Read the above! ALL THE ABOVE!! You will start with Clean Sweep and Sweep in Peace first, or some things might get a touch confusing.

I purchased the audio version of One Fell Sweep on audible, at my own expense.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Ilona Andrews

 

 

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge (GoodReads).

 

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

 

 

Renée Raudman is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator. She has earned a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris and Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien, as well as a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for Joe Schreiber’s Chasing the Dead. She has also performed on film, TV, radio, and stage, including the recurring roles of Jordon on ABC’s One Life To Live, Phyllis on NBC’s Passions, and guest-starring roles on prime-time TV. She has been heard in cartoons (The Simpsons, Billy & Mandy), videogames, and on the E! channel. Her narration of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper was selected by Library Journal as one of the best audiobooks of 2009, and her reading of Marthe Jocelyn’s Would You was selected by the ALA as one of the best young adult audiobooks of 2009 (GoodReads).

 

 


If you enjoy One Fell Sweep, you may enjoy:

Clean Sweep   Sweep in Peace   Magic Bites

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Charlie Chick Wants to Play – Ant Parker and Nick Denchfield

Charlie Chick Wants to Play (Charlie Chick Series) – Ant Parker and Nick Denchfield

 

Charlie Chick Wants to Play

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Oh that Charlie Chick! How cute he is! What is it about pull the flap books that toddlers and young children love? I remember back to my childhood, I loved all the Spot and other pull the flap books. Even though I knew what was behind those pieces of cardboard, it still made me so excited to look underneath them. Oh to be young again! I’m afraid I don’t quite get that excitement anymore. Thankfully my son does!

Charlie Chick Wants to Play in this instalment of the Charlie Chick series. However, his ball is missing! “OH NO” my son exclaims! He has to go and find it, and meets some friends along the way.

Even though my son is 3 and a half. He still loves this book. Full of animals, colours, and a fun adventure for little Charlie Chick, he loves reading it. I have found him numerous times reading it to himself (he has memorised most of the words, it’s very cute!), and he always has a lot of fun pulling the flaOliver Charlie Chickps. I am surprised that it has not been destroyed yet.

Would We Recommend “Charlie Chick Wants to Play”?

Yes, its an extremely cute, short and fun read, especially for the very little ones!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Aus for sending us Charlie Chick Wants to Play. As you can see, it is much loved! Although now has drool stains!

It is available for purchase at Pan Macmillan HERE or check your local bookstore.

About the Authors:

Nick Denchfield is a talented paper engineer who creates fabulously intricate pop-up books. His work is admired for its wit, invention and ingenuity. Nick is the creator of the staggeringly successful series, illustrated by Anne Sharp, which includes DINOSAUR PARK and MAGICAL BEASTS. He lives near Reading with his family.

 

Ant Parker studied Visual Communications at Bath Academy of Art where he learnt about etching, drawing, bookbinding and animation. He then spent ten years doing editorial illustrations as well as making fish in boxes, teaching bookbinding, and gardening before beginning to illustrate children’s books. Ant lives in South London during the week and in Sussex at the weekend.


If you enjoy Charlie Chick Wants to Play, you may enjoy:

It's a Little Baby   The Everywhere Bear   What the ladybird heard on holiday   Dinosaur Roar

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The Everywhere Bear – Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Hobb

The Everywhere Bear – Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

The Everywhere Bear

5 Stars (5 / 5)

My son and I first enjoyed a book by this pair last year, when my son was obsessed with It’s a Little Baby. So after reading that at least a thousand times, I was delighted when I was sent The Everywhere Bear, even though I knew I would probably know all the words off by heart by the end of the week!

The classroom bear gets to go home with each child and has many exciting adventures. But when one of the children loses him in a puddle, how does The Everywhere Bear find its way back home?

My son is really beginning to appreciate longer, more complex books. His attention span is finally lasting more than 2 minutes, and he really enjoyed this story! Especially since there was an “Ollie” in it! This story is adorable, and the illustrations are beautiful. Oliver loves the colourful characters, and how colourful the bear gets by the end of the story. He loves looking for things in books so was excited to point out where the Everywhere Bear is on every page. I could tell that he found the story quite exciting, exclaiming “OH NO MUMMY!!!” when the bear fell into the ocean. I really love seeing his emotions and reasoning start to shine through when we read together and  “The Everywhere Bear” is one of those books that as we read, shows me that he is really beginning to understand the world around him.

Would we recommend The Everywhere Bear?

Absolutely! It’s a beautiful children’s book with gorgeous illustrations and I’m sure all children will enjoy it!

Big thanks to Pan Macmillan and the authors for sending me a copy of The Everywhere Bear for my son and I to enjoy together.

The Everywhere Bear is available for purchase HERE, or check your local bookstore.

Julia Donaldson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julia Donaldson is the outrageously talented, prize-winning author of the world’s best-loved picture books, and was the 2011-2013 UK Children’s Laureate. Her books include What the Ladybird Heard and What the Ladybird Heard Next, Tyrannosaurus Drip and the modern classic The Gruffalo, which has sold over 13.5 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over sixty languages. Julia also writes fiction as well as poems, plays and songs and her brilliant live children’s shows are always in demand.

iconwebsite   icongoodreads

 

 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Rebecca Cobb is rapidly establishing herself as one of the most talented names in picture books. Since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2004 she has published a number of well-received books with Macmillan, including the heart-breakingly beautiful Missing Mummy and the critically acclaimed Aunt Amelia.

iconwebsite     icontwitter

 


If you enjoy The Everywhere Bear, you may enjoy:

   It's a Little BabyWhat the ladybird heard on holiday   Dinosaur Roar   Dinosaur Boo

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What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday – Julia Donaldson

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday – Julia Donaldson and Illustrated by Lydia Monks

What the ladybird heard on holiday

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Oh wow! What a fantastic book! This is a wonderful bedtime (or daytime) story that my son and I really enjoy!

While on holidays, the ladybird heard that two crooks want to take a monkey from the zoo, and use him to sneak into the palace to steal the crown jewels… How will she stop them?

This book was undeniably delightful! Beautifully illustrated with brilliant colours and fun glittered textures on the page, this hardcover book is too good to get my sons grubby hands all over! It is a very sweet story, and is full of rhymes that my son just loves! He enjoys counting all the animals on the pages, especially the dogs. He also loves searching for the ladybird on each page, even though he remembers where they all are after reading it so many times.

From an adult perspective, it is extremely cute and I don’t have to fake my enjoyment of it! My son is only 3 years old and his attention span is quite limited, but this book manages to keep his attention with its witty rhyming prose and beautiful illustrations. The pages are really thick so not easily able to tear which is really important for kids books, as kids tend to pull on the pages a bit too hard at times.

Would we recommend What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday?

Absolutely! A beautiful book that my 3 year old enjoys, and my newborn loves to look at.

Massive thanks to Pan Macmillan and the author, for sending What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday for my son and I to review.

You can purchase What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday HERE or check out your local bookstore.


If you enjoy What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday, you may enjoy:

It's a Little Baby   Dinosaur Roar   Dinosaur Boo

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Ashes to Ashes – Tami Hoag

Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska Book #1)

Ashes to Ashes

4 Stars (4 / 5)

FINALLY!! Back to reviewing following a long absence due to a difficult pregnancy and a huge bout of newborn sleep deprivation. I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything except rock a screaming baby lately, so its so nice to be able to read a book. Or I should say, listen to an audiobook. Finding time to sit and read is still a little bit beyond me at the moment. But hopefully soon!

I had listened to another book by Tami Hoag last year, and I always wanted to read another. So when I wanted something that would hold my interest in the endless hours of feeding my baby, I immediately thought of her and randomly picked and downloaded Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes to Ashes is the story of a serial killer, and the joint effort to find him. “The Cremator” is what the media have dubbed this killer, because of the people that he is setting alight. But he gets sloppy, and there is a witness to one of his crimes. Kate, the crime victim advocate, attempts to look after the witness, Angie. Kate’s past comes back to haunt her when an FBI agent Quinn is called in to investigate the case. In the meantime, more of Kate’s clients begin to disappear, she thinks that the killer may have a vendetta against her.

This was a great audiobook. I really enjoyed the narrator and the exciting story. One thing I really enjoy about Hoag’s books (so far) is that she introduces different complex characters, and any of them could be the killer. It isn’t blatantly obvious like so many other books, and that is really important to me. I love the surprise aspect, and because I read so many thrillers, I’m getting really good at figuring who the killer is!

Enjoyed the cute love lost, love found again romance aspect of this book. And I enjoyed how it was set amongst the murder mystery, but didn’t take anything away from it.

Would I recommend Ashes to Ashes?

Absolutely! To any thriller fan! Really liked the audio version, and I am looking forward to reading more by Tami Hoag!

I listened to this audiobook through Audible, at my own expense.

Dinosaur Boo The Deinonychus – Jeanne Willis

Dinosaur Boo The Deinonychus (The World of Dinosaur Roar Book #2) – Jeanne Willis

Dinosaur Boo

5 Stars (5 / 5)

As I have mentioned before, my son is a dinosaur freak! He is also crazy about books, so no surprises that this one is extremely popular and well read!

Dinosaur Boo is a mischievous little rascal, scaring the other dinosaurs in the land of Dinosaur Roar! He goes around yelling “Boo!!!” at everyone, until he finally meets his match.

Do we recommend Dinosaur Boo?

Oh yes indeed we do! This is my 3 year old son’s absolute favourite book in the World of Dinosaur Roar series so far. And depending on the day, is his FAVOURITE book! He LOVES to (loudly) yell out “BOO!!” whenever Dinosaur Boo does, and gets extremely upset if I don’t read it to him again, and again and again. I have hidden it from him a few times when we have read it 50 times that day!

I think its absolutely fantastic. The story is really cute and I love the rhyming, and the illustrations are vibrant and colourful. Like the others, it contains a page at the end full of dinosaur facts, this one is on the deinonychus. This series is a great way to introduce dinosaurs to kids, or in our case to learn specific facts about dinosaurs that my son already knows about. Or to dinosaur novice parents, introduce the dinosaur, and it thankfully includes a handy section on how to pronounce it to your child 🙂

Many thanks to the author via Pan Macmillan for a copy of Dinosaur Boo for us to enjoy together, which has already been read at least 100 times! At least!

You can order your copy HERE  at the Pan Macmillan Australia site, or check out your local bookstore.

 


If you enjoy Dinosaur Boo The Deinonychus, you may also enjoy:

Dinosaur Roar   It's a Little Baby

 

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