A Lighthouse in Time (The Adamson Adventures #2) by Sandra Bennett

A Lighthouse in timeTitle: A Lighthouse in Time (The Adamson Adventures #2)

Author: Sandra Bennett

Genre: Adventure

Publisher: Elephant Tree Publishing

Published: August 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages: 160

Price: $16.00

Synopsis: Zac doesn’t believe in ghosts; he’s never seen any scientific proof of their existence. Clare is skeptical but open-minded to the possibility. She likes the idea of ghosts and fairies, even angels. Luke is convinced they have encountered a ghost at Caves Beach. He is the one who is determined to lead them on a ghost hunt to the old ruined lighthouse on the point at Cape st George.

Join the Adamson siblings on their second adventure as they discover a ghost desperate to save her father and another just as determined not to see her succeed.

Follow the clues along with Zac, Clare and Luke, as you learn about the shipwrecks that crashed off the NSW South Coast and find a long-lost ship’s manifest, a lighthouse keeper’s journal and all the secrets within a lighthouse lost in time.

~*~

The Adamson Adventures is one of the series I started reading and reviewing for Elephant Tree Publishing, and this time around, I am not only the reviewer, but also the editor – more about that later.

Whilst camping, Clare, Luke and Zac stumble upon a ghost in the caves by the beach they are staying at whilst lost. She leads them to safety, but soon disappears – starting a mystery that takes the siblings to an old, crumbling lighthouse, and exploring the local history of the area where they are staying.

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As the mystery unfolds when they find the manifest and talk to a local historian, the siblings start to put the pieces of the puzzle together and find a way to solve the mystery. But will they get there before it’s too late?

What I really loved about this book is that it is a really good continuation from the first book, and mentions what happened, but doesn’t dwell on it and gets on with the story. It is fast-paced and keeps the reader’s attention beautifully. I loved seeing how Clare and her brothers have been evolving since the first book and learning new things about them with each story.

As the editor of this book, it was lovely and amazing to see how my suggestions worked for the book. It is a wonderful thing to see the results and how they helped – and I am very lucky to get to read the books I edit, as Elephant Tree Publishing sends me a copy. I have a few to read still, but am getting there and look forward to seeing where the Adamson siblings go next.

Book bingo Sixteen – A Book by An Author Under 35

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Welcome to August, and the latest book bingo posts from Theresa, Amanda and me. Well, only about eight more posts left until we wrap up this bingo card, and again, I have a row filled in, resulting in a bingo. The post for that will come later, but I am adding in my bingo graphic where squares are filled in even though the book is not yet published and have gone back to adjust this in older posts.

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I’m getting down to the squares where I’m grappling with what to use to fill in. This category was going to be one of those I either struggled with or had to guess at, as not all author biographies let the reader know the age, or even age group, of an author. But after some research, I found out that Skye Davidson fitted into this category with her new book, Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny.

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The third in a picture book series for all ages, Archibald can’t help but be naughty. He means well, but things just seem to end up being a naughty experience for him. But this time, he is using his naughtiness to help save Easter – and maybe even create a new Easter tradition in Bland Land where he lives. I have been following this series since it was first published last year after the publisher contacted me to review for them – I now review and edit for them, with a few books they’ve sent to read, but I am getting there!

Another row has  been completed, scoring me a bingo in the text row, and the other post to come soon.

BINGO!

Row Five: Bingo

Written by an Australian Man: The Honeyman and the Hunter by Neil Grant

Written by an Australian Woman:Zelda Stitch Term Two: Too Much Witch by Nicki Greenberg – AWW2019

Written by an author under the age of 35: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson – #AWW2019

Written by an author over the age of 65: Miss Franklin: How Miles Franklin’s Brilliant Career began by Libby Hathorn – #AWW2019*

Written by an author you’ve never read: The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble – #AWW2019

Row three:

Novel that has 500 pages or more:

Fictional biography about a woman from history:

Themes of justice: What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson – AWW2019

Book set on the Australian coast: The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion – AWW2019

Written by an author under the age of 35: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson – #AWW2019

Historical: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

That wraps up this week of book bingo!

Archibald the Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with The Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson, Illustrated by Ágnes Rokiczky

NJ1886-ETP-Archibald-Easter-cover-300x240.jpgTitle: Archibald the Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with The Easter Bunny

Author: Skye Davidson, Illustrated by Ágnes Rokiczky

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Elephant Tree Publishing

Published: 8th April 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages:32

Price: $20

Synopsis: Archibald is the naughtiest elf in the whole wide world, who loves nothing more than doing extremely mischievous things, all with very good intentions. Let him help you discover new worlds and ideas, as you follow him on one of his many exciting adventures.

This time, Archibald is called to help the Easter Bunny prepare for Easter in Bland Land. The poor Easter Bunny is running behind schedule, and hasn’t finished making the eggs. So Archibald helps creating havoc at first. But will the havoc Archibald causes result in something good?

~*~

It is always a delightful day when an Elephant Tree Publishing parcel arrives with a copy of a book I have published, and also, every now and then, a new Archibald story. This time, Archibald is taking on Easter with his good friend the Easter Bunny, to bring chocolate and fun to Bland Land where they all live.

Archibald is naughty – but it is always with good intentions, and sometimes this gets him in trouble, but there are times when his naughtiness isn’t as bad as it might seem, like when he helps the Easter Bunny save Easter. For Archibald, working out when to be naughty isn’t as easy as it may seem, though he always knows when it needs to be done.

One thing I love about this series is that each story builds on the others, and each time, something new is revealed about Archibald, and the characters he knows, and how he does what he does. Like any good series, these facts are revealed slowly and at the right time in the right story and fit in perfectly together.

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In this story, the Easter Bunny is not quite the perfect bunny we think he is, but flawed and anxious – and real. These stories are fun, and I like that their length is such that an early reader can read them alone, with someone or have it read to them, making it an experience that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their age.

When Basil, the Easter Bunny. says he is behind schedule, it is Archibald who steps up to help him save Easter, using all his cheeky skills to enlist help from friends – a flying pig and Charlie the pixie, who will help Basil make this the best Easter ever.

Before I give too much more away, I’ll start to wrap up and say this is a wonderful gift to get kids for Easter, and will be a story that will be loved for years and hopefully, read every Easter from now on in many households. I look forward to future adventures from Archibald and his friends.

Booktopia

Pre-release review: What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson

What-Lies-Beneath-Us-Cover-sample-copy-197x300.jpgTitle: What Lies Beneath Us

Author: Kirsty Ferguson

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Publisher: Elephant Tree Publishing

Published: 22nd February 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages: 286

Price: $20.00

Synopsis: Jessica James had the perfect life. She had a good job, supportive friends, and her husband Geoff and her son Jack both adored her. Everything changed the moment she found out she was having another child.

Now she’s a stay-at-home mum, they have barely enough money coming in, Jack is a troubled ten-year-old and she feels there’s an insurmountable divide between her and her husband. Worse still, her feelings towards her youngest son are just wrong. Does her recent diagnosis of post-partum depression explain those feelings or is something more sinister going on?

The unthinkable occurs when baby Jason is found dead in his cot. At the time of his death, Geoff is away on a camping trip. Now Jessica finds herself accused of murder and is vilified by all those who once claimed to love her. As the evidence mounts against her, Jessica must come to terms with the fact that she may well have had something to do with her baby’s death.

When a second tragedy rocks the James family, Jessica’s world quickly unravels, and she spirals into darkness. Meanwhile, Victorian Detectives Hunter and Cooper investigate the infant’s homicide, but are quickly left with more questions than answers.

By the time they get to the bottom of this mystery, will there be anyone left of the James family to save?

~*~

This is one of the books I copy-edited for Elephant Tree Publishing, and it was a real pleasure to see how my editing has helped the story and been considered. When I started reading this, I had to switch off my editor’s brain, and switch on my reading and reviewing brain, and focus on the story itself rather than the technicalities that mould it into what is a thrilling and compelling mystery.

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The author contacted me after I edited it, to ask me to review it as well, and the publisher sent me an ARC copy – the copies that are the final stage prior to publishing, where final touches are put on it, and gave me permission to post this review prior to review date for the paperback to generate a buzz for it.

What Lies Beneath Us is a tightly plotted mystery, revolving around a family touched by tragedy in a most unspeakable way. First, her youngest son, Jason is found dead in his cot. This incident begins a mystery that feels like it won’t ever be solved, and the hints dropped in the chapters that lead up to the crucial events and climax of the novel are subversive and cleverly written to make the reader think twice about what has really happened, and question what they know about Jessica and her family.

The detectives – Hunter and Cooper – fulfil the investigative roles wonderfully, and I liked the divide between the two of them in terms of Jessica’s guilt. Hunter is convinced there is more to the situation than what they, Jessica’s family and friends, and everyone else who knows about the case can see. He’s the character convinced these cases aren’t always straightforward and that there are shades of grey in some areas. In comparison, his partner, Cooper, is very black and white, and convinced that nobody else could be involved – until some of the things Jessica says, and some things he hears don’t quite fit with his preconceptions. It is these aspects that make the novel engrossing and intriguing, and lead to events and a conclusion that I never saw coming.

What Lies Beneath Us is the kind of novel that makes us question what we know and who we know, and what people are capable of. It shows that we are all human and infallible. It shows that what we see on the surface isn’t necessarily what is happening underneath – that assumptions will be made on the visible, and the invisible will be ignored. It is the unseen that Hunter makes more of an effort to understand, and this is what makes him a really good character. It is also what makes the novel powerful – recognising that the visible isn’t a person’s entire character – that it is what lies beneath us that contributes to who we are in many different ways.

I hope to read more from Kirsty soon, and hopefully there will be more to this story as well.

Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Visits Santa by Skye Davidson, illustrated by Ágnes Rokiczky

NJ1828-ETP-Archibald-Santa-book-cover-300x240.jpgTitle: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Visits Santa

Author: Skye Davidson, illustrated by Ágnes Rokiczky

Genre: Picture books, children’s books, Christmas stories

Publisher: Elephant Tree Publishing

Published: December 2018

Format: Paperback

Pages: 30

Price: $20.00

Synopsis: Archibald is the naughtiest elf in the whole wide world, who loves nothing more than doing extremely mischievous things, all with very good intentions. Let him help you discover new worlds and ideas, as you follow him on one of his many exciting adventures.

~*~

Living in Bland Land is very boring for Archibald, a young elf who always seems to be getting into trouble. even though his cheeky deeds are always done with the best intentions. One day he discovers that a new shop will be opening in town – a very exciting shop for Bland Land – a toy shop, and it’s opening on Christmas Eve. When the zookeeper from the previous book spies Archibald peeking in the windows, he warns him against naughty deeds. But poor Archibald can’t help it – his heart is in the right place, but his execution always lands him in trouble.

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After meeting two homeless girls, Archibald hatches a plan to help them with Santa – a very good deed where he is not as naughty as everyone thinks. But will Archibald’s plan work?

The second in the series, kindly sent to me by Elephant Tree Publishing, is just as charming as the first, and it is quite a timely arrival as I am trying to do some Christmas reading and viewing in the lead up to the big day. Adding this to the series is absolutely lovely and makes for excellent Christmas Eve reading alongside classics such as The Night Before Christmas.

In this story, Archibald isn’t as naughty as he is in the first, though this is referred to, tying the series together neatly and tidily for children, and any readers who have read the first book but who also might be picking up the series for the first time with this book – one image from the previous book appears in this one, which makes those bonds and ties stronger and keeps them relevant for readers.

I am in love with Archibald and his adventures, and his Christmas one is full of heart, and is very touching – he uses his cheekiness for good this time – something very good and through these stories, shows children how they can take care of each other and the world around them in a fun, educational way – with a touch of magic from an elf!

Booktopia

Secrets Hidden Below (The Adamson Adventures #1) by Sandra Bennett

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Title: Secrets Hidden Below (The Adamson Adventures #1)

Author: Sandra Bennett

Genre: Adventure

Publisher: Elephant Tree Publishing

Published: August 2018

Format: Paperback

Pages: 140

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: The Adamson family are set for a surfing holiday in Bali they’ll never forget. Dad wants to surf all day and Mum wants to shop. Zac is eager to explore a sunken WWII shipwreck. Luke is keen to cause mischief wherever he goes. Clare on the other hand, just wants to stay out of trouble.

But while building sandcastles on Kuta Beach, the kids unearth a surprising find that dramatically changes their holiday. Curiosity leads them on a dangerous path to an adventure where difficulties lurk around every corner.

Secrets Hidden Below takes the reader on an intriguing treasure hunt around an exotic tropical island that includes plenty of rotten-egg gas, a guardian snake and a volcano spirit you definitely don’t want to anger.

~*~

Zac, Luke and Clare are on a family holiday to Indonesia – where they are looking forward to swimming, snorkelling and diving with Dad on a World War Two wreck – but the kids are left very much to their own devices as Dad spends his days surfing and Mum spends her day shopping at the markets. So, the kids are left to play on the sand – that is, until they discover a map that leads to a secret treasure near a volcano, and a mystery that has been buried for hundreds of years, ever since Indonesia had been a Dutch colony.

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Following the map and the clues, Zac, Luke and Clare head off on an adventure – Mum and Dad are there, but are clueless as to what the children are really up  to – and begin to seek out the legend, and treasure and the volcano spirit they must appease before they can find what they seek, and also contend with someone else who wants to the treasure as well – but for what purpose? And what will the children find? It is this mysterious treasure hunt, filled with colourful characters, who also want the treasure, that make this book the exciting story it is, and that will engage younger readers as they read. The fast pace of the book ensures there is always something happening, and that things are not going to slow down any time soon, which made the story go faster, and allows the reader to be swept up into the action.

The first in a new series to be published by Elephant Tree Publishing in Canberra, Secrets Hidden Below is aimed at children aged eight and over, and as it uses Indonesian phrases, is a great way for beginner students to see the language they are learning being used in a practical setting.

The adventure that Zac and his siblings, Luke and Clare go on is fun, and engaging, with a decent pace for all readers of the story, to keep them intrigued, and interested in what is happening, whilst at the same time, exposing them to a new language, country and culture. It is a quick, light read, yet at the same time, filled with excitement, a bit of danger, and a treasure hunt that any kid would enjoy as they explore an island filled with culture and history, and sandy beaches.

With Zac in charge, Clare and Luke follow him on his quest to find the treasure, and with varying degrees of enthusiasm. It is Zac’s ability to translate and speak Indonesian that helps them, and brings an element of excitement and interest

to the novel. Having learnt Indonesian in high school, most of it came back as I read, and I was able to understand it – the glossary of every day terms in the back was useful to refresh my mind, and is also useful for those just starting out, and needing to check a word or two.

This book is the first in a series, it will be interesting to see what other books in the series have to offer, and what other adventures the Adamson family go on. It introduces children to adventure, a new language and culture, and with its spattering of Indonesian, is ideal for students learning the language at any level, to reinforce usage and how the language works – in a fun and inviting way.

Booktopia

Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Goes to the Zoo by Skye Davidson, illustrated by Ágnes Rokiczky

NJ1802-ETP-Archibald-book-1-pdf-1030x824.jpgTitle: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Goes to the Zoo

Author: Skye Davidson, illustrated by Ágnes Rokiczky

Genre: Fantasy, Picture Book

Publisher: Elephant Tree Publishing

Published: August 2018

Format: Paperback

Pages: 32

Price: $19.95

Synopsis: Archibald is the naughtiest elf in the whole wide world, who loves nothing more than doing extremely mischievous things, all with very good intentions.

Archibald has decided to visit the Zoo and chat to all the animals. But the Zookeeper is a bit worried – what possible mischief could Archibald get up to?

Come discover new worlds and ideas as you follow Archibald on one of his many exciting adventures.

~*~

Archibald, a very naughty elf (he wants to be good, but he can’t quite help being naughty), is off to the zoo. He wants to visit the animals there, and he promises the zoo keeper who lets him in that he will be very good and not let the animals out of their cages. But Archibald doesn’t like that the animals can’t play together like they did in Africa, and he knows that he has to be good – but he can’t, and when he releases the animals from their cages, chaos reigns and the zoo will never be the same again.

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I was approached via my blog to review this and two other books by Elephant Tree Publishing, and was drawn to them because of their plots, and will be reviewing the other two soon.

Archibald was the first one I read off the stack – it being the shortest, and cutest, I couldn’t resist those naughty eyes and freckles. His cheeky look is inviting and fun, and he gets up to mischief and takes adventures that are magical and fun – where he takes children and adult readers alike to all new places, using magic and his naughty and cheeky self.

In this adventure, he heads to the zoo and meets talking animals, who delightfully, are all the best of friends and want to spend their days together. This is the first book in a new picture book series, and it will be exciting to see where Archibald takes us in his next adventures and with his exquisite charm and brand of magic that creates turmoil and laughter wherever he goes.

I hope readers of this book enjoy it and have a lot of fun with Archibald on his wonderful adventures.