#BookReview By Lou – Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez #JenniferLynnAlvarez #YA #Mystery @penguinrandom #BookTwitter #BookRecommendations

Lies Like Wildfire
by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A compulsive, intensive read for 12-17 year olds that will have their noses stuck in a book until the end. Thanks to publisher – Penguin Random House Children’s UK for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and scroll on down to the rest of my review.

Lies LIke Wildfire

Blurb

Secrets and lies are everywhere in this compulsive page-turner, perfect for fans of TikTok favourites One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars and This Lie Will Kill You.

An intense high-stakes story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames, perfect for fans of Karen McManus and E. Lockhart.

In Gap Mountain, California, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18-year-old Hannah Warner, the sheriff’s daughter and aspiring FBI agent. That is until this summer. When Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators.

But as the blaze roars through their rural town and towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Because sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate, it’s liars.

Review

The gang, the teenagers make up – 2 boys, 3 girls, are called The Monsters, are also out to protect each other and themselves when a huge, catastrophic, very destructive fire breaks out in a town, with the wild flames heading towards Yosemite National Park. It’s pretty graphic in some places, especially with the fire, which really highlights the seriousness of the situation.

It’s a dark, twisty young adult book which highlights unhealty, toxicity in some relationships between the characters. There’s also the chase of future life dreams, such as teenagers wanting to become a nurse, work in criminology and more… Each is far, far from perfect. They tried to be good, but they are also far from this too as secrets are kept and many lies are told. Older teenagers and early 20 somethings will find this a gripping read as the story builds as the flames and realisation of the fire does too and there’s nothing much that can be done to fan them as the gang begins to crack here and there, but Hannah tries to hold tight and keep the gang close. As the net closes in on them, one of the gang disappears, creating further speculation and intrigue.

Lies Like Wildfire is about teens, who have their whole lives ahead of them, falling apart and readers can find out how far they are willing to go in their lies, even to the most powerful of authorities in law to try and coverup their terrible secret. There’s the intrigue as to whether they will eventually come good or not and what will happen to them.

#BookReview by Lou of Own Your Period @chellaquint@QuartoKnows #PeriodPositive #YA #Teens #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember

Own Your Period
By Chella Quint

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Periods, they are the most natural things in the world in a girl and woman’s cycle, but for some can feel a bit of a taboo subeject and this can be a good resource. To a certain extent Own Your Period is empowering. It most definitely helps to increase knowledge about periods and answers those questions 9 year old plus girls may have. Find out more in the blurb and more informative review below.
Thanks to Quarto Knows publishers for gifting me a copy to review.

Blurb

Own Your Own PeriodHaving a period is an incredible thing – Own Your Period celebrates what the body can do and provides young people (age 9+) with everything they need to be prepared… and empowered.  

This fact-filled guide to periods is bursting with positive, honest advice on managing and understanding menstruation, covering every aspect of periods as well as lots of advice on puberty and growing up in a warm, friendly and reassuring way.

Topics covered include the fascinating science behind why things happen, with all the details of menstruation through to the menopause explained, as well as answers to all essential questions like what’s a vulva and what does it look like, what do periods actually feel like, and what happens if blood stains your clothes?

Menstrual expert and educator Chella Quint’s witty text slays superstitions, busts common myths and fights period shame, while providing practical information about menstrual products, tracking cycles and sharingher own personal stories.

Funny, insightful and warm illustrations with friendly chatty text makes this an everything-you-need-to-know essential handbook, which pre-teens can refer to before their periods start, and will appreciate when their cycle is more established. 

This complete guide will prove an invaluable companion to any young person about to start their first period, and will help them embrace their cycle with positivity and pride, and grow into healthy, happy people!

Review

Own Your Own Period is a valuable book for ages 9+ and aims it just right at this age group. It’s informative and reassuring. It is warm and inviting and full of illustrations that go with the information provided. It will answer all those pressing questions without scaring pre-teens and teens alike. In doing so it will debunk myths, presumptions, misconceptions. It will prepare older children and teenagers for starting their periods and take away some of the awkwardness. The tone of the book also assists in this and makes it readable for this age group and makes it less text book like. The title is also great because it isn’t anyone else’s period but your own, but what the book shows is shared experiences that some may be able to relate to with their own periods.

There are sections about what you may feel when you get your period as well as the biology so you can understand your body more. The environmental part isn’t quite so well done and could have been done a bit better so it doesn’t feel so pressurised as people try to find what works best and feels comfortable for them.
The explanation of how to use some sanitary products is good enough.

There is some wit in some of the anecdotes provided and this lightens the mood and will make it feel more comfortable for readers experiencing or going to experience their periods for the first time. The fun-facts also make this easy for information to digest, as does the structure of the book that also goes some way into encouraging the end of period shame. The cover is also great at showing girls, that whatever your skin colour, you’re likely to have a period and hopefully it can go someway to help break down barriers in all cultures and backgrounds. The chatty layout normalises it to a certain extent and brings some positivity in the fact that this can be used to enhance, gain knowledge in a real way.

The book can also be used as a tool for 9 plus year olds to start a conversation with their parents because when with something like a book, it can make this easier as it arms you with info that you may want to talk about, and the same goes with parents/carers too with their children or young people in their charge.

#Review By Lou – Femlandia By Christina Dalcher #Femlandia @CV_Dalcher #Fiction #GeneralFiction #Fantasy #SciFi #JoinTheSisterhood

Femlandia
By Christina Dalcher

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Femlandia is interesting in presenting a dystopian world and throwing up huge questions within its scenario. This book is from the author of VOX. Thanks to Christina Dalcher for gifting me a review copy. Take a look at the blurb and my review below.

Femlandia Cover

Blurb

Miranda Reynolds has lost her home, her job and her husband – all thanks to an economic collapse that has brought America to its knees.

The shops are empty; the streets no longer safe. Miranda and her daughter Emma have nowhere left to turn.

There is one final hope, a self-sufficient haven for women who want to live a life free from men. Femlandia.

For Miranda, the secluded Femlandia is a last resort. Life outside the gates is fraught with danger, but there’s something just as sinister going on within.

Welcome to Femlandia… It’s no place like home.

Review

Like most dystopian novels, Femlandia has grounding, even though it takes readers practically off the edge and into the extremes of what they know or how they live in present times. It is quite common these days for women to wonder what a land without men in it would be like. This book hows that it may not all be the utopia, some women may imagine it to be. From each dystopian book, the realities are still there and show how the world is sometimes just a few steps away from those dystopian earthly worlds they create. This book has that and becomes thought-provoking as it has realities, such as financial crashes and what an alternative may look like.

There is the breaking down of relationships and the sort of reunions that are very rocky, including between Emma and her mother, Miranda. There is also a rape scene and before that, a suicide scene that is written well as well as economic hardships. Throughout are the differences between Mianda and her daughter, Emma, and it is soon seen as to why she distanced herself away from her mother to make her estranged.
Miranda is the founder of Femalandia, an international living community. Through Emma, we get to know more about this commune which is feminism at its extremes of having an uneasiness about it due to its air of almost cultish ways. Set in the US, this book is more international than one country. It could be set anywhere in the world as the themes and the dystopia within them could happen anywhere.

The book, especially in entering the so-called sanctum of Femlandia itself, is intense. It poses the question as to how safe such places can really be and how shows how heading into the extremes of life is not always necessarily the answer, nor healthy nor the outcomes being what is expected, even when intentions are seemingly there to entice them to look good and shows what Miranda wants from the community.

As you read on the real darkness of the ideology of how Femlandia is run is revealed, including its colonies. It’s not far off Gilead in the Handmaid’s Tale in its treatment of its population. Femlandia shows that things from an initial ideaology can grow and get carried away and how even women can take unsavoury choices, violence, which in-turn balances the book out and demonstrates that it isn’t just men who are capable of that.

The epilogue certainly concludes things, perhaps not quite as expected, in the life thoughts of a younger relative of Emma’s. The book may make people think of extremeties and how this book is set in the not too distant future and parts of it could, rather worryingly, exist. It’s a well plotted book that is far, far from a cosy read.

#BookReview of The Younglings By Helena M. Craggs @h_craggs @LoveBooksGroup #YoungAdult #Halloween #Fantasy #Paranormal #Vampires #Ghosts #Witches #Debut

The Younglings
By Helena M. Craggs

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today it is my turn to share my review on the blog tour of The Younglings. A spookily good book for Young Adults/Teens in time for Halloween. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the full review…
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me onto the blog tour to review. Thanks to Helena M. Cragg for gifting me the book, the Cadbury’s Dark Milk Chocolate (long since eaten) and the pen (now well used).

The Younglings 3

Blurb

The Younglings 1Humans have no idea what lurks in the shadows.

Mortals don’t expect to see supernaturals. Their minds rarely consider the possibility, even when it’s staring them right in the face. I was one such person … until I met my estranged father.

Let me introduce myself. The name is Carter. Quinn Carter. A witty, laid-back, regular guy, who just happens to be half-demon.

Finding out Dad is a demon king was like a sucker punch to the gut. Seriously, I’m a total biological freak. Meeting him was the catalyst for my life tail-spinning into a new world—a world where things of legend are real.  

The one positive about this whole situation is the friends I have made. Good friends. But they too have secrets … big secrets. They’re not exactly your average individuals. Turns out demons aren’t the only paranormal creatures out there.

I also need to mention a Vampire Ministry, evil stab-worthy demons, and troubled spirits stranded on the spectral plane. As a consequence, life for my friends and me became a tad problematic.

Being heroes in the mortal realm hadn’t been on anybody’s to-do list, but we had no choice in the matter, and things were about to get very interesting.

Review

The Younglings 2Once you’ve opened the spookily brooding cover, it is found that the book is cleverly written as from the beginning, readers are practically being directly spoken to and then the story unfolds in third-person from there. This technique is captivating.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to Quinn Carter that he isn’t quite the regular teen he thought he was as he discovers he is half-demon and further still, discovers his friends aren’t as average as he first thought either as some of them have magical powers. Even his best friend Eve isn’t exactly who he thought she was as he discovers she is half-angel. There are also witches and a vampire and ghosts, some even with jobs like Lilth who is a nanny, just not your normal sort…
There’s a story there about good versus evil. There’s even a Vampire Ministry and rules to get to know. This book has everything you’d want in a supernatural book, plus there is a mention of historical times and witch trials in the North of England.

This is a great read for teens in the run up to Halloween, or indeed any other time of the year. There is humour within the spooks that would most certainly appeal to teens. It is entertaining and fast-paced so grabs attention quick.  It has great, realistic characterisation that teens will be able to identify with. Each character has their own trials and tribulations to overcome, sometimes from within. There are also certain relationships brewing that readers can really get behind. There’s romantic chemistry and fight scenes readers can really get into.
Most of the time, characters are easy to root for, sometimes they can be frustrating, but it all goes in with teen behaviours and actions, which gives this book a certain grounding.

It’s a strong debut novel that is very much worth getting your vampire teeth stuck into!

The Younglings tour poster

#BookReview By Lou of Stranger Back Home By E.L. Haines #ELHaines #Fantasy #YoungAdult #YA

Stranger Back Home
By E.L. Haines
Rated 5 stars *****

Stranger Back Home by E.L. Haines is a well-crafted fantasy book for Young Adults and Adults alike who enjoy this genre. Thanks to E.L. Haines for contacting me via my Contact Me page on my blog to request I review this book and for gifting me a copy to review from. Find out a little about the author, the blurb and the rest of my review below…

Stranger Back Home

About The Author

Ethan reads all the time, and writes so that you can read. He travels the world, ignoring the usual boundaries of space and time, collecting stories, which he loves to tell almost as much as Sparrow himself does.
He has visited more than 25 countries in person, and perhaps more than a hundred in books. He has also time-traveled to more than 40 different years in history. We won’t tell you exactly which ones.

Blurb

Stranger Back HomeOne day, your father is a renowned diplomat. The next day, he’s an infamous terrorist.

When Sparrow is summoned to the reading of his father’s last will and testament, the most he hoped for was a minor bequest. Instead, he inherited suspicion and accusations from the Empire that his father helped unite.

Locked away in a vault are the secrets that will reveal Xavier DuMont’s mysterious past and shine a light on Sparrow’s future. Perhaps even the future of the entire realm.

Of course, these secrets won’t be obtained easily. Especially when everyone in this magical world seems so casually racist.

Social dynamics in this world were already pretty strange. Somehow, Sparrow makes everything stranger.

Review

Told in the first person, the character of Sparrow really takes you with him into the fantastical dystopian world he and others find themselves in. It gives Sparrow a really compelling voice, as though the storyteller is with you.
There is a map of Middle Telleron, which is great for illustrating the size of the area and the places around it, and in detail, a map of City of Dragon’s Mouth where the more official government buildings are and where the upper and middle classes reside.

Apart from Sparrow, there are also orcs and an old wizard, gobins, dwarfs as well as humans and halflings. It’s a bit The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings like in this respect and readers who are fans of those books will enjoy this. The world building is is done well and the writing is beautifully descriptive of the places and of Lazaretto Manor, where you can be met by a butler who is a ghost and there is talk of vampires who are pretty fiesty.

As much as it feels like every fantastical creature and being is thrown into the world, it is done so in a way that still flows and it feels like different communities of people or creatures, just like you get different communities of people in the real world.

The book has a grounding in the real world too and almost straddles between the fantasy and world we know as it highlights issues, such as a grim robbery happening and other social and class issues. There are also jobs, such as tax collectors, barbers, actors and there are even laws. There are also family fueds about life choices, conflicts and tensions amongst characters as tensions rise due to suspicions being created due to certain events surrounding Sparrow’s father.
This all adds something more identifiable, in this otherwise, strange, yet intriguing world that sees peace and unrest within it as well as mystery, the prospect of kidnapping or death looming, secrets and a touch of humour. There is also the existence of retirement, but not as we know it…

The book sweeps you along into its world as there are so many hooks within it and it is pretty entertaining to read.

Dragons Walk Among Us by Dan Rice @TheWildRosePress #Fantasy #Dragons #YA

Dragons Walk Among Us
By Dan Rice

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A mysterious procedure, dragons that may or may not be there amongst themes of climate change, health and friendship make this a twisty fantasy for Young Adults. Dragons Walk Among Us is Dan Rice’s debut.
Thanks to Dan Rice for contacting me via Contact Me on my blog and gifting me his book.
Fly down below to discover a bit about the author, the blurb and the rest of my review.

About the Author

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views. 

Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years. You can explore his blog at https://www.danscifi.com

Dragons Walk Amongst Us Cover

Blurb

Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl’s abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.

While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison’s life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she’ll never see again. Despair sets in until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?

Dragons Walk Amongst Us Cover

Review

Cascadia Prep High School is where the book begins, with some powerfully described photographs. There’s quite a competition on, especially where pupil, Leslie and Allison Lee are concerned.

The book is bang on topic when it comes to climate change and public transport versus cars, it also includes figures. This may make some people really think about how they travel. I like that a lot. Climate change, homlessness and race relations are hot topics and they are both combined in this book. The book also turns into a detective story, which is interesting as it will appeal to young readers who enjoy a bit of a mystery as Allison suffers from an attack, rendering her blind, until an experiment is performed on her. Haji, who is very significant in her life and Dalia kindly visit her as she begins her journey in her different sort of life from what she knew before, which readers are taken on.
Readers are basically asked to be patient before anything fantastical occurs, but the background is pertinent and then comes the intriguing part when it comes to the treatment. Then Allison’s world becomes fascinating as glimmers of a dragon merges with the real world and there’s a sinister doctor and strange magician.

There are interesting concepts with the sort of experimental treatment conducted on her and the side,-effects experienced. It then gets more intense as further twists involving everyone’s lives occur, which then makes this quite the unexpected page-turner, that lures you further and further into this fantastical world that is created that blends together with the real world, until it keeps you guessing what has truly happened to Allison’s vision, as events get turn darker, lives are in danger as the interesting concept of shape-shifters emerges and soon it’s a race to save all of humanity.

The layers of story builds, although at certain points there’s quite a bit about will anyone kill anyone or not, and takes a little while to get anywhere near to seeing the dragon, but once you do, then this is a book worth sticking with as it really gets into its stride and pulls you in, until you need to know what happens next.