Title: The Enchanted Hour – The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction

Author: Meghan Cox Gurdon

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Piatkus

The Blurb

A Wall Street Journal writer’s conversation-changing look at how reading aloud makes adults and children smarter, happier, healthier, more successful and more closely attached, even as technology pulls in the other direction.

A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice, and a bit of time into complex and powerful feel for the heart, brain, and imagination. Grounded in the latest neuroscience and behavioural research, and drawing widely from literature, The Enchanted Hour explains the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await  children, whatever their class, nationality or family background. But it’s not just about bedtime stories for little kids: Reading aloud consoles, uplifts and invigorates at every age, deepening the intellectual lives and emotional well-being of teenagers and adults, too.

Meghan Cox Gurdon argues that this ancient practice is a fast-working antidote to the fractured attention spans, atomised families and unfulfilling ephemera of the tech era, helping to replenish what our devices are leaching away. For everyone, reading aloud engages the mind in complex narratives; for children, it’s an irreplaceable gift that builds vocabulary, fosters imagination, and kindles a lifelong appreciation of language, stories and pictures.

Bringing together the latest scientific research, practical tips, and reading recommendations, The Enchanted Hour will both charm and galvanise, inspiring readers to share this invaluable, life-altering tradition with the people hey love most.

(Goodreads Blurb)


The Review

As a person who writes book reviews it seems a bit redundant for me to read a book extolling the pleasures of reading. It seems to be pretty much a given. At times, I could be accused of pushing my book agenda on everyone else. Read because it is boss. It is almost like my life motto – my own version of Hakuna Matata…or something like that.

However, one of my favourite types of book is a book about books and reading. Is that a little warped? I don’t know why but I absolutely love them ad find them fascinating. They are almost memoirs told through h books. This was one of the reasons that I wanted to read The Enchanted Hour. Unlike other books I have read about this topic, The Enchanted Reader by Meghan Cox Gurdon the therapeutic qualities of reading – although this is discussed, it also loves and the neurological development that reading produces. It is the scene behind it that is truly fascinating. The blend of these two features really make The Enchanted Hour a fascinating read. It is enlightening and one that all educators should read. 

The Enchanted Hour is fascinating look at the importance of reading and creating an atmosphere of stories that is enjoyable – the impact of which will be felt far into adulthood.

The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon is available now.

For more information regarding Meghan Cox Gurdon (@MeghanGurdon) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Piatkus (@PiatkusBooks) please visit www.piatkusbooks.net.

Title: The Test

Author: Mark Haysom

Pages: 42 Pages

Publisher: Piatkus Books

The Blurb

For the ‘back to school’ crowd, this is a touching and poignant short story about triumph over adversity in regards to the ‘system’, and a celebration of first love.

The Test is perfect tie-in to some of the themes explored in Mark Haysom’s new novel Imagine.

The Review

Well, The Test is just an adorable story.

The Test by Mark Haysom is the love story that never was. It is a charming tale of two people who keep missing the chance to be together but can’t seem to get out of each other’s lives.

It is also a story of circumstance and how people of working class status were screwed over by the system.

For a short story, Mark Haysom really did put a lot into the story of Charlotte and Tom. It makes me excited to read Imagine which is on my TBR pile.

The Test by Mark Haysom is available now.

For more information regarding Mark Haysom (@markhaysomuk) please visit www.mark-haysom.co.uk.

For more information regarding Piatkus Books (@PiatkusBooks) please visit www.piatkusbooks.net.

35 Stars

Seven Days of UsTitle: Seven Days of Us

Author: Francesca Hornak

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK/Piatkus Books

The Blurb

Seven Days of Us is the only family drama you need to read this Christmas. It will warm you up, make you cry, but ultimately leave you feeling fabulous. For fans of One DayLove Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

A week is a long time to spend with your family…

It’s Christmas, and the Birch family are coming together at their second home in Norfolk. Emma and Andrew’s daughter, Olivia, is back for the first time in years, and while Emma is elated, her younger, more frivolous daughter Phoebe is braced for inevitable clashes.

But aid worker Olivia is only home because she has nowhere else to go. Having recently returned from Africa, where she’s been treating a life-threatening virus, she has been instructed to stay in quarantine for a week, and so, too should her family.

For the next seven days, no one can leave the house, and no one can enter.

It doesn’t sound too hard. But a week with your nearest and dearest can feel like an eternity, especially when they’re all harbouring secrets.

One of whom is about to come knocking on their door..

The Review

In a classic Lisa move, I chose to read Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak because I liked the pretty cover. If you look at the cover and think that it may be the best thing about the book then you will be wrong. Very wrong.

Seven Days of Us is a story that focuses on the family dynamic. In particular, the dynamic when put in a compromising situation. In this case, a seven day quarantine over Christmas. Told from multiple perspectives we see just how difficult familial relationships are.

Olivia is struggling with normal life after working as an aid worker in Africa. She can’t adjust to regular life and how her family are just not affected by world issues like she is. Her sister Phoebe whose life centres around the nicer things in life who thinks that Olivia needs to accept that not everyone is as socially conscious as she wants them to be. Andrew, the father, who doesn’t have the best relationship with Olivia or his wife Emma; he is struggling with a 30 year old secret that is about to be revealed to his family and shake its very foundations. And Emma who is just trying to hold her family together and who is harbouring a life changing secret herself.

Seven Days of Us is so much more than your average novel set at Christmas. It is heartbreaking, all consuming and all too easy to relate to. Families are difficult to manoeuvre and Francesca Hornak has displayed this so well. You feel like you are a secret extra member of the family who is privy to all the pitfalls of family life and the confident to all the characters.

It was a wonderful read and has personally made me excited for future books from Francesca Hornak.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak is available now.

For more information regarding Francesca Hornak (@FrancescaHornak) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group UK (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

For more information regarding Piatkus (@PiatkusBooks) please visit www.piatkusbooks.net.

4 Stars