Friday 20 November 2020

Egmont Heritage Classics for Children - A List of Published Titles

Amanda Kennedy
Egmont Heritage Classics Banner

A few years ago, I searched for a nice edition of The Box of Delights to read in the run up to Christmas. I was thrilled to discover this beautiful hardcover edition from Egmont Heritage Classics: a beautifully bound hardcover with quality pages and binding. As is wont to happen during the Christmas festivities, I forgot to search for other editions in this collection until now. A little research suggested that Egmont books had ceased to publish titles in this collection; some titles are still available to purchase new, while others are available through second-hand booksellers. 

In total, I've discovered 27 gorgeous titles in this collection, many of which feature delightful original illustrations and any one of which would be a great addition to a child's library or collection of classic literature. These titles are listed below, in order of publication date. 

Alternatively, you may like to download the free printable list to check off books as you add them to your collection.

The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The sun-kissed prairie stretches out around the Ingalls family, smiling its welcome after their long, hard journey across America. But looks can be deceiving and they soon find that they must share the land with wild bears and Indians. Will there be enough land for all of them?

Publication date: 01/10/2012
ISBN: 9781405264143

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wild Wood seems a terrifying place to Mole, until he finds it’s full of friends - Kind, sleepy Badger; brave and lively Ratty; and the irresponsible Mr Toad, famous for his wealth and his car smashes. But there are also the sinister weasels and stoats, and they capture Toad Hall when Mr Toad is in jail. How will he escape? And can the friends fight together to save Toad Hall?

Publication date: 01/10/2012
ISBN: 9781405264150

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

A magical old man has asked Kay to protect the Box of Delights, a Box with which he can travel through time. But Kay is in danger: Abner Brown will stop at nothing to get his hands on it. The police don't believe Kay, so when his family and the Bishop are scrobbled up just before Christmas, he knows he must act alone . . .

Publication date: 01/10/2012
ISBN: 9781405264167

101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Cruella de Vil is enough to frighten the spots off a Dalmatian pup. But when she steals a whole family of them, the puppies' parents, Pongo and Missus, lose no time in mounting a daring rescue mission. Will they be in time to thwart Cruella's evil scheme, or have they bitten off more than they can chew?

Publication date: 01/10/2012
ISBN: 9781405264174

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

Velvet Brown is a 14 year old girl living in small coastal village in the 1920s. She dreams of owning and training horses one day. When she and her friend Mi see a piebald horse jump a five foot fence, they decide to follow Velvet's dream to ride in the Grand National. But will Velvet be allowed to ride in the race? And can The Pie really win the most prestigious prize in all of steeplechasing? A horse-racing classic, National Velvet has entertained generations of horse lovers with dreams of riding in races themselves.

Publication date: 01/10/2012
ISBN: 9781405264181

Classic Tales of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff

This is the story of Babar the Elephant and his travels. When his mother dies, Babar decides to seek his fortune in the big city. Becoming king of his people isn’t always easy for Babar the elephant, but his patience and determination always help him to win the day.

Publication date: 05/11/2012
ISBN: 9781405264204

Classic Tales of Rupert by Alfred Bestall

This beautiful edition contains two classic Alfred Bestall stories: Rupert & The Mare’s Nest and Rupert & The Lost Cuckoo.

Publication date: 05/11/2012
ISBN: 9781405264228

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being real means. Real isn't how you're made, says the Skin Horse. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real. It doesn't happen all at once. You become... . And so begins the Velveteen Rabbit's journey towards becoming real - through the love of a child...

Publication date: 05/11/2012
ISBN: 9781405264211

Classic Tales of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

The five stories in his collection for children show Wilde at his best; moving, witty and wise. In The Happy Prince , a grand but lonely statue recruits a swallow to help him give to people in need; In The Nightingale and the Rose , a small bird makes a great sacrifice for love; The Selfish Giant is a beautiful story of the triumph of kindness; The Devoted Friend is a morality tale told to a pompous water rat; and The Remarkable Rocket charts the rise and fall of a particularly arrogant firework at a royal wedding.

Publication date: 05/11/2012
ISBN: 9781405264235

Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Michael and his dog Stella Artois are swept overboard from their parents’ ship and swept up onto the shore of a nearby island. Michael puts all his survival skills to good effect but how will he manage on his own as there seems to be no water or food to be found? Luckily, there is life on the island and when Michael wakes up he finds food and drink have been put out for him. Who is the mysterious man who brings it and can Michael trust him?

Publication date: 26/09/2013
ISBN: 9781405267373

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively

James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage – with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing – and stuff is happening. Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap. It's a ghost – honestly. Thomas Kempe the 17th century apothecary has returned and he wants James to be his apprentice. No one else believes in ghosts. It's up to James to get rid of him. Or he'll have no pocket money or pudding ever again.

Publication date: 26/09/2013
ISBN: 9781405267366

The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann

When bulldozers enter Farthing Wood, the animals must escape before their homes are destroyed. They promise to stick together and protect each other, but their journey is laced with danger. They are caught in a fire, they nearly drown in a river and their loyalty is put to the test.

Will their pact hold?

Publication date: 26/09/2013
ISBN: 9781405267335

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to a new home, an Enchanted Wood is on their doorstep. And when they discover the Faraway Tree, that is the beginning of many magical adventures! You can join them and their friends Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy as they discover which new land is at the top of the Faraway Tree. Will it be the Land of Spells, the Land of Treats, or the Land of Do-As-You-Please?

Publication date: 26/09/2013
ISBN: 9781405267342

My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara

Dreamy unsuccessful Ken longs for a colt of his own - but his father, a Wyoming rancher, is adamant. So Ken befriends a mare. Flicka. links his life to hers and when he believes she has been shot, his interest in living ebbs.

Publication date: 26/09/2013
ISBN: 9781405267359

Fairy Tales from Many Lands, Illustrated by Arthur Rackham

This enchanting collection of fairy tales from around the world includes some well-known – and some lesser known – magical tales.  From England comes the tale of Jack the Giant-Killer, from France Sleeping Beauty. From Italy we have Cesarino and the Dragon , The Adventures of Little Peachling from Japan and
The Golden Apple-Tree and the Nine Peahens from Serbia.

Accompanied by the unmistakable illustrations of Arthur Rackham, this collection will delight a whole new generation of readers.

Publication date: 07/11/2013
ISBN: 9781405267410

Grimm's Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

This captivating collection of magical tales collected by the Brothers Grimm features twenty enchanting fairy tales, including the tale of a snow-white princess, an evil trickster called Rumplestiltskin and a beautiful golden goose, complemented by the extraordinary, beautiful illustrations of Arthur Rackham,

Publication date: 07/11/2013
ISBN: 9781405267380

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Have you ever wondered how the Leopard got his spots? How the Rhinosaurus got his skin? Or how the Alphabet was made? This witty and wonderful collection of Just So Stories embarks upon a fanciful voyage to unearth the answers to these very questions, and more.

Publication date: 07/11/2013
ISBN: 9781405267397

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A pilot stranded in the desert awakes one morning to see, standing before him, the most extraordinary little fellow. "Please," asks the stranger, "draw me a sheep." And the pilot realizes that when life's events are too difficult to understand, there is no choice but to succumb to their mysteries. He pulls out pencil and paper…

Thus begins this wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed the world forever for its readers.

Publication date: 07/11/2013
ISBN: 9781405264198

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

When spoiled, rude Mary Lennox is sent to live in her uncle's lonely house on the moors, she is miserable and alone. Then one day she discovers the key to a locked garden, and she discovers the beauty that life can offer.

Publication date: 07/11/2013
ISBN: 9781405267403

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

Katy Carr is mischievous, untidy and unruly.  Free to run wild around the countryside in which she has grown up, life for Katy is good – much to the continual dismay of her Aunt Izzie who is endlessly mending Katy’s broken clothes and tidying up her mess. But Katy has grand plans for her future, and can’t wait to grow up and fulfill her dreams.

However, disaster strikes when Katy has a terrible accident which changes everything. Will Katy learn to control her temper and be as good and kind as she had always dreamed of being?

Publication date: 09/10/2014
ISBN: 9781405271806

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Orphaned Anne has always dreamed of having a real home and family. When she is accidentally sent to Green Gables Farm to live with Mr and Mrs Cuthbert, she immediately knows that this will be home.  But will the Cuthberts feel the same?

Publication date: 09/10/2014
ISBN: 9781405271813

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum 

When a devastating tornado lifts up her house, Dorothy and her faithful dog Toto find themselves transported to a strange and beautiful land. Fearing they may never see home again, they set off on a magical journey to meet the Wizard of Oz, probably the only person who can help Dorothy find her way back to Kansas.

Publication date: 09/10/2014
ISBN: 9781405271783

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

It’s Christmas Eve in the March household, but this will be a Christmas like no other: their father is away fighting in the American Civil War and the March sisters and their mother must try to make ends meet until their father returns.

Publication date: 09/10/2014

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

Winnie-the-Pooh may be a bear of very little brain, but thanks to his friends Piglet, Eeyore and, of course, Christopher Robin, he’s never far from an adventure. In this story Pooh gets into a tight place, nearly catches a Woozle and heads off on an ‘expotition’ to the North Pole with the other animals.

Publication date: 06/11/2014
ISBN: 9781405271844

I am David by Anne Holm

David escapes from the concentration camp where he has spent his entire life and flees across Europe. He is utterly alone – who can he trust? What will await him? And all the while, how can he be sure that they won’t catch up with him . . .
Publication date: 06/11/2014
ISBN: 9781405271776

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Ebeneezer Scrooge is a cruel, mean, miserable old man. Safely tucked up on his bed one cold Christmas Eve, he has no care in the world for his poor employee Bob Cratchit  and his dying son Tiny Tim.

But Scrooge’s fortunes are set to change. He will soon receive a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. This will be a Christmas that he will never forget …

Publication date: 06/11/2014
ISBN: 9781405271868

A Selection of Nonsense Verse by Edward Lear

Known as the father of the nonsense poem, Edward Lear paved the way for the likes of Lewis Carol’s Alice and Wonderland, Dr Zeus and Roger McGough and is much to thank for the form’s popularity.  Gently mocking the ridiculousness of human behaviour and Victorian convention, Lear’s deliciously silly verse has delighted children and adults for generations.

Publication date: 06/11/2014
ISBN: 9781405271820

Free Printable List of Egmont Heritage Classics for Children

Monday 2 November 2020

5 Free Offbeat Apps for Book Lovers

Amanda Kennedy


If you Google "Apps for Book Lovers" or read through the many list articles on the subject, you'll quickly notice the same apps mentioned again and again. 

While Goodreads, Libby, Amazon Kindle, Blinkist, Serial Reader et al. are all incredibly useful, much used and highly rated, most book lovers already have these apps installed. With this in mind, I wanted to create a list of the more unusual apps which might appeal to lovers of literature: some of which I use myself on a regular basis, and a couple which I've discovered while researching for this article.

These apps may not directly apply to books in the strictest sense: rather, I feel they will appeal to book lovers, or include interesting features you may not have previously considered. Best of all, all of these apps are completely free! I hope you will enjoy using some of the apps mentioned in this article, and would be very grateful if you could recommend any other apps that book lovers may also enjoy.

Sealed Book Project: Praeldeum and Codex

The best way to describe the Sealed Book Project apps is that they are (digital) book-based mystery games. To progress through the story, you will need to solve in-app riddles using clues from the text (and a little real-world sleuthing). 

Here's the publisher's description:

If you enjoy thrilling stories filled with riddles, codes, unknown symbols, ancient languages, conspiracy theories, and many other exotic secrets and mysteries, SEALED BOOK PROJECT is created just for you.

Vol. 1 PRAELUDIUM is the first multilingual adventure puzzle book-game of the series of interactive CHALLENGE BOOKS suitable for people of all ages who love the excitement of reading Mystery / Thriller / Suspense / Adventure novels.

The BOOK for readers, who love CHALLENGES!

I've played both Praeldeum and Codex (Volume 2) of this series and thoroughly enjoyed both! The team are now developing Exitus: the third and final in the series, for which they hope to create more real-world interactive elements. Take a look at their Kickstarter for details and to support this worthy project.

The Sealed Book Project Apps are available on both Google Play and iTunes. Take a look at the official website for further information.

The Walk

Created with the NHS and the UK's Department of Health, The Walk is promoted as a fitness tracking game, but also includes a thrilling story which is "unlocked" as your walking distance increases. 

As we face a second lockdown here in the UK, this might just be the prompt you need to get outdoors in the cooler weather!

Here's a description of The Walk from the developers:

With 65 episodes containing intricate, fully-illustrated maps, 800 minutes of audio story and hundreds of collectible items to explore the world of the story, The Walk is more than just a pedometer — it's a way to turn walking into a journey, a challenge, and a rip-roaring adventure. And you can use The Walk whatever your level of fitness or mobility, thanks to the game's 'adaptive fitness' system which adjusts to your own fitness levels and gives rewards for gradually increasing how much you move every day.

Learn more about The Walk on the official website. The app is available to download from Google Play and the App Store.

Bookshop Search (UK Based)

This smart app by The Booksellers Association will help you find local bookshops for all your literary needs. During these trying times, it is well worth supporting your local bookstore as opposed to merely ordering everything from Amazon. Even during lockdown, most indie booksellers can arrange to have your next read delivered to your door, and this app will help you find their contact details with ease!

Download Bookshop Search from Google Play or the App Store.

The Waterstones App (UK Only)

I'm sure by now that most Waterstones patrons have already installed this app since it replaces the Plus loyalty cards. However, I recommend this app for all book lovers due to the many other features which make this app great. 

Using the Waterstones app you can:

  • Browse the latest releases and curated book lists
  • Create wishlists of the books you want to buy (for yourself, for family members, for your Christmas shopping...)
  • Find, reserve and order books
  • Read reviews to decide whether books are right for you

BBC Sounds App

A lesser-known feature of the BBC Sounds app is the ability to listen to audio books, drama and radio adaptations of favourite reads. In fact, I don't remember ever using this app to listen to live radio; I most frequently use this as an alternative to Audible for listening to audio books in the car...

To find your next (free) audio book or drama, open the BBC sounds app and scroll down to the "categories" section. Choose "drama" then scroll through the categories to find the podcasts which most appeal to you.

I particularly enjoy the selection of "Classic and Period" podcasts, which include several unabridged audio books such as Alice in Wonderland, Cranford, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Radio 4's "Books at Bedtime" series is always well worth a look: these abridged productions frequently serialise popular new book releases in 10 minute chapters over the course of two to three weeks.

Learn more about the BBC Sounds app and download from Google Play or the App Store.

What are your favourite bookish apps?

Do you have a favourite bookish app? Please share your own recommendations by leaving a comment below.

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Blog Tour: Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

Amanda Kennedy


I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton, especially after reading the buzz from other readers who had been entranced on it's initial release.

As suggested by the novel's title, the story progresses over three hours of real time, from the moment the first gunshot rings through the halls of an innovative school set in woodland surroundings close to the Somerset coast. Cliff Heights is a co-ed, progressive school for students from infants through to senior school ages. and through the reflections of the characters it's clear that staff and students alike genuinely experience the school's ethos to care

Snapshots of plot development come from the various areas of the school under lockdown: New School, Old School, Junior School and the isolated Pottery room in which a sole teacher and some of the youngest students are trapped with no means of communication. Gradually, the circumstances which have led up to this point in time are revealed through flashbacks: we learn early on that at least one gunman are holding siege on the school; the headteacher has been shot and is being cared for by students who have barricaded themselves in a classroom; a lone policeman has also been attacked and has taken refuge in the school's gatehouse; a homemade bomb has been set off in the woods... 

Layer upon layer of story build up the tension to boiling point. Whilst reading Three Hours I found it impossible to put down: the need to know what happened next was overwhelming, though my compulsion was not simply the based on the thrilling elements. Lupton weaves humanity throughout her masterful novel: her characters become larger than life, feeling as though they are actual people with all of their emotion, flaws and empathy laid bare on the page. There are so many themes flowing through like threads that slowly wrap around to reveal in the final pages the most beautiful tapestry of a novel which I'm sure will stay with me for a long long time (and which will demand periodic re-reads). 

Despite the difficult themes of terrorism, racism and mental health, I found the prose beautiful and soothing. It takes a master storyteller to portray such horrific and terrifying scenes such as are portrayed in Three Hours as a work of art, but that is indeed what Rosamund Lupton has achieved. I will treasure this book, and have already pressed copies into the hands of friends with the words "trust me, just read it". No explanation of why is needed beyond reading that initial page. 

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton will be released in paperback on 29th October 2020 and can be purchased from Waterstones, Amazon and all good booksellers.

Reviewed by Amanda Kennedy on 27th October, 2020. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday 23 October 2020

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy

Reading Call Me Mummy was like looking at the aftermath of a car crash: a visceral, intrusive glimpse into the motherhood experiences of two very different women through which I felt I should turn away but was compelled to continue.

The plot shifts between the point of view of "Mummy": an unnamed woman who steals a little girl named Tonya away from her "undeserving" mother at a shopping precinct, and Kim: Tonya's pregnant mother. Several interludes present Tonya's internal monologue and social media updates from the public watching the case unfold over the course of several months.

From the outset the tension is palpable. We are introduced to the discomforting contrast of polarised women, the first, a mother whom we may easily judge on first impression. Kim is working class, harried, pregnant, with a toddler in a stroller, paying more attention to her mobile phone than her daughter who is left to wander the shop unattended. "Mummy" is wealthy but childless: a woman who would feed a child of her own nutritious meals, deliver a rounded education and make all of the provisions needed for the development of a healthy, happy child. Which indeed she tries to do, once Tonya is safely contained in her perfect, sanitary home. It is at this point we begin to learn that appearances are so rarely indicative of a person's lived reality.

Both Kim and Mummy's background and secrets are slowly revealed through the course of this haunting (and at times, horrific) novel. Perhaps certain scenes and revelations affected me most because I am a mother myself. The ending could have been difficult to pull off, but proved very satisfying, particularly as this was Baker's debut as an author. I look forward very much to reading what she may write next!

Thank you Netgalley and Viper Books for the digital ARC!

Call Me Mummy by will be released on .

Reviewed by on . Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday 19 October 2020

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy

Having read all of Purcell's previous Gothic novels, I was very excited for the opportunity to read a digital ARC of her latest offering via NetGalley.

The Shape of Darkness is Purcell's fourth novel, and I will state from the outset that it's the scariest yet! The plot revolves mostly around Agnes Darken: an older spinster, who crafts by hand the art of silhouettes, an art on the cusp of extinction as the more popular daguerreotypes are increasingly preferred. Agnes begins to realise that her patrons (sadly few and far between) are seemingly murdered after sitting for her portraiture. In parallel is Pearl Meers, "The White Sylph": a young albino girl working for her sister as a spirit guide. Pearl's gift is suddenly increasing in its intensity, causing her to experience the same symptoms of the victims of Bath's supposed serial killer.

As their paths cross, the danger intensifies building up the tension and horror to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion which I did not see coming. What an exhilarating read this turned out to be!

With The Shape of Darkness, Laura Purcell has cemented her status as the queen of modern Gothic novels, and I for one, am very much looking forward to reading anything she may choose to publish next!

The Shape of Darkness by will be released in the UK on the . You can pre-order a copy of this gorgeous hardback from Waterstones or Amazon.

Reviewed by on . Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday 18 October 2020

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy

I was really excited to be given the opportunity to read a digital ARC of The Lamplighters via Netgalley. This book has generated a lot of excitement, and while I hadn't previously learned much about the story behind this novel, I was intrigued by the blurb and cover to learn more.

First I should admit that I'd expected The Lamplighters to have a supernatural element to the story. In fact, there is something supernatural about this novel, a light element if you will (which I won't give away in this review) though it is not what you'd expect. Instead, this novel is more closely focused on the lives and relationships of the characters; on stories, rumour and speculation. In fact, I found these aspects far more interesting than the theme I had initially expected.

The narration of The Lamplighters has - at least for me - a strange rhythmic cadence. Chapters swing from events of the past to the present day; from the events leading up to the disappearance of the three lamplighters, to the impact on those left behind. Yet this does not feel disjointed: instead it flows smoothly, and made me think of stories told by firelight over the course of several winter nights.

Only after finishing The Lamplighters did I set out to explore the true-life story on which it was based. Then I realised how cleverly Emma Stonex had crafted this remarkable retelling, which lingered in my thoughts long after I'd turned the final page. The temporal setting was transported form the turn of the 20th century to a more contemporary decade, at the point which manned lighthouses were on the cusp of being replaced with automation. I found this added a great richness to the story, and more potential for each of the lamplighter's backstory, in addition to the clever twists and turns of the mystery which kept me guessing until the very end.

Do search this book out at your favourite bookstore when it is released next year! I'm sure this novel will be enjoyed by readers who crave well-crafted stories with realistic characters and an element of mystery.

The Lamplighters by will be released in the UK on .

Reviewed by on . Rating: 4 out of 4 stars.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Free Bookish Planner Printables

Amanda Kennedy


Back when I first began book blogging, I designed this set of planner printables to sell in my Etsy shop. Since 2020 has been a tough year for us all, I've decided to release these for free for anyone who would like to use them.

The Book Lover's Compendium is a complete set of printable inserts for those who love literature, or simply want to keep track of their reading habits. These planner printables were designed for the Personal Size Filofax, though may be suitable for other brands of a similar size. 

I designed this set with the theme of antiquarian bookstores in mind, using fonts and decorative elements you might find in a beautiful old book. 

This set includes everything you might want or need to take notes of your reading habits, including:

  • Four personalisable dividers, with the appearance of decorative antique book covers
  • Two-sided Book Review sheets, including space for your notes, star ratings and dates.
  • Book store sheets, for contact, location, website addresses and notes
  • E-books, to detail your downloads
  • Library logs, to keep track of what you borrow
  • Blank notepaper, for your thoughts and scribbles, designed to accompany the design theme of other inserts
  • Quotes, for jotting down those all-important details you want to remember later
  • Reading logs
  • Recommended reads, for those books you might want to read later

Once downloaded, you can print as many of the pages you need, as many times as you like!

I've also included a bonus set of book lists you might want to keep to hand, for suggested reading or to complete a favoured book collection:

  • - Amazon's "100 Books to Read in a Lifetime"
  • - Amazon's "100 Books for Children"
  • - A complete list of Penguin's Clothbound Classics series
  • - A list of all Barnes and Noble leather bound "Collectible Editions"

I designed this set in answer to my endless searching for suitable inserts for my own Filofax. Being a book lover, I do prefer to keep all my literary notes all in one place. As a planner addict, I also wanted them to be beautiful. I hope you will find them as useful in your forays into the world of literature as I do!

These inserts are designed to be printed on A4 sized paper/card (210 x 297mm / 8.27 x 11.69 inches). You will need Adobe Reader (or other PDF reader) to open the files. Additionally, to customise the text on the personalisable dividers, you will need to download and install the FREE font, Linux Libertine. Full details and instructions are included in the documentation for this set. 

The PDF files are contained two Zip folders which you can "unzip" to your computer. Complete instructions for printing these inserts are included in the download.

Download these bookish planner printables:

Please note that these files have not been updated in some time. I've checked to make sure everything is included and works as it should, however the links in the instruction file refer to my old Tumblr blog and not to this updated site. Should you encounter any issues, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below.

Feel free to share these bookish planner printables with anyone who may enjoy them!

I'd appreciate a link back to All My Pretty Books if you share on your own website, and ask that you do not sell these printables as that would not be in the spirit of sharing!

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Spooky Stories from BBC Sounds

Amanda Kennedy


October is the best month for spooky stories and ghostly goings-on! As BBC Sounds has a great selection of seasonal audio-drama for Halloween, I thought it would be timely to showcase my favourites for your aural pleasure.

All of these audio dramas are available to listen online from the BBC Sounds website (I've linked the titles to their appropriate page), or you can listen/download to your digital device using the BBC Sounds App.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

I'm currently listening to this serialised drama of James' gothic classic in preparation for the release of The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix!

This spine-tingling novella about a governess and two children on a haunted estate is read by Sam Dale and Clare Corbett.

Weird Tales

Weird Tales is an ongoing series of intimate and chilling plays. Currently there are three seasons, with a handful of serialised plays in each. The most recent is Night Terrors by Lizzie Nunnery:

The pressure's getting too much for clever clogs Victoria. She can't sleep at night. She has nightmares. But it's okay because they're just bad dreams.

Until one day the dreams become terrifyingly real...

The Whisperer in Darkness

Inspired by Lovecraft's novella of the same name, this audio drama blends horror and sci-fi in a modern re-telling:

Henry Akeley, an ex-student from Dr Eleanor Peck’s folklore and witchcraft course, has gone missing, and Heawood and Kennedy decide whether or not to investigate. But first, there are threads to tie up from their last mystery podcast 'The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward.'

All ten episodes are currently available, plus additional content including the duo's previous adventure: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The classic Gothic masterpiece, based on the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson,  in which a doctor experiments with the duality of human nature, and in doing so creates a monster.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The original Gothic monster story, which I'm sure needs no introduction! 

This complete audiobook contains 24 chapters and is narrated by Shaun Mason.

The Hotel

The Hotel is a series of interlinked short stories by Daisy Johnson (author of Sisters and Everything Under). At the time of writing, only the first three (of fifteen) short episodes have been released, with a new episode available each Monday.

By far, this series is my favourite! The Hotel is creepy, unsettling, and deeply delicious!

What are your favourite spooky audio stories?

Do you have a favourite spooky story on BBC Sounds or elsewhere? Be sure to let us know in the comments section or tag me on Twitter to share your choices with further readers!

Friday 2 October 2020

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy


Magic Lessons is a prequel to her other books chronicling the Owen's witches in the vein of an origin story. 

Having previously read and loved Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic, I was keen to learn more and was not disappointed. 

Hoffman's style of writing reads to me like a warm hug. That's not to say there is no peril in these novels, there certainly is, but these stories make me feel as though they are being read to me by someone friendly and familiar, in front of a warm fire on an autumn evening. 

Familiarity with the history of witchcraft in both Europe and America is certainly present in Magic Lessons, as we follow Maria Owens, adopted by Hannah to the family name, seek out her fate across two Essex counties separated by oceans. Maria is a bloodline witch, therefore her powers are innate and strong. We learn of her familiar, a beautiful black crow; the heartbreak which sets her on her path of tragedy and destruction towards that fateful curse which prevents her descendants from ever experiencing true love.

Interspersed with the story are the titular "magic lessons": recipes and instructions for spells, relevant to the passage of text they proceed. I rather liked these sections, which remind us that in times past women were tried as witches simply for using herbs and simple tinctures to cure ailments (whereas men were praised as doctors and healers for doing exactly the same). Feminism is also a theme through this story, warning us that women were not always equal to men. 

Although readers may already be familiar with the women of Owens lineage, I don't wish to spoil the story by saying too much in this review. It is a calm and tender read, full of love, heartbreak, revenge and loss, but whose final lines provide us with a mantra to help us live life well. 

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman will be published on October 6th, 2020.

Reviewed by Amanda Kennedy on October 1st, 2020. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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