#Bookreview by Lou of #YA book- Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney #FlynnMeaney @WriteReadsTours @PenguinUKBooks

Bad Habits
By Flynn Meaney
Rated: 5 stars *****

Bad Habits Updated Banner

Today I am on the blog tour in-conjunction with The Write Reads and Penguin Books and very excitedly too. This has to be one of the best YA books I’ve seen in a while. It’s got wit, friendship, issues and relevancy in abundance. It’s smartly written throughout! Check out my full review below, just after the blurb.
Thanks to The Write Reads for inviting me to review and to Penguin for supplying the book.

Bad Habits cover

Blurb

Hilarious, bold, sparky and surprising, this is the funniest feminist book you’ll read all year.
Alex is a rebel with a purple fauxhawk and biker boots.
St Mary’s Catholic School is a strict boarding school where she’s currently trapped.
Despite trying everything she can to get expelled, she’s still stuck with the nuns, the prudish attitude and the sexism.
Fed up with life inside the hallowed halls of St. Mary’s, Alex decides to take matters into her own hands. She’s going to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which may be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud…

A must-read for fans of Holly Smale, Derry Girls and Sex Education.

Bad Habits cover

Review

This is brilliant for Young Adults. I had high hopes from the way the first page began and also that claim that it would appeal to The Derry Girl’s fan base. This, however is set in the 21st century.
Now, I do happen to be a fan of The Derry Girls and it certainly would appeal to people who are.  Bad Habits has humour and so much relatability. It has punchy writing and says how it is, right to not being able to unhook that bra too easily.
The voices and the tones of a teenager really comes through. This is quite possibly one of the most exciting Young Adult books in awhile. It’s not fantasy, but about the unfolding of life and it gets it very right.

It takes place in St. Mary’s Catholic School and its pupils are spunky. There are certain turns of phrases to describe Father Hughes, that perhaps leave a bit to be desired, but really go with the protagonist – Alex and her violation of So many rules and with that Mento’s and Cola science experiement, we now all know, thanks to another book, is just one of them. It adds to her energy and that teenage attitude. The observations are absolutely perfect as I read this wide-eyed and with much enthusiasm, with excitement for the Young Adults who get their hands on this, to find out if she gets expelled.

This is also a book about friendship and looking out for each other as Mary Kate, who is the more serious teen, realises what’s going on and tries to almost save her from herself and doesn’t want Alex to end up being asked to leave. There’s something heartwarming about it.

There is also the fun of trying to put together a school production of The Vagina Monologues and convincing the school that it will be okay, which includes quips that teens would especially appreciate. It also doesn’t shy away from the naturality of life, such as periods and boyfriends etc. In amongst that, there are friendships to be forged, school dinners, current pop references and sport and a general air of school life mixed with hormones and fire in both in the physical and attitude form. Things are definitely lively at this school.

There is a very feminist vibe about the book, but doesn’t detract from the story itself, nor its characters and the fact it is done within the sphere of teenage attitude and almost flying off the handle teen spirit, fits well with the characters.

Read further than the story and discover an informative interview with the author in the book.

I highly recommend this for any young adult collection, within homes, in libraries and bookshops.

#BookReview by Lou of – In The City of Fortunes and Flames – A Freddie Malone Adventure by Clive Mantle @MantleClive @award_books #ChildrensBooks #YA 8yrs plus

 In the City of Fortunes and Flames
A Freddie Malone Adventure
By Clive Mantle
Rated: 5 stars *****

In The City of Fortunes and Flames is where to find a terrific time-travelling adventure to London, in the times of the plague, slavery and The Great Fire of London. This is book 3 of the Freddie Malone Adventure books and it’s quite the page-turner with lots of adventure and action, which is suitable from ages 8 and into younger YA/Teens.
Be re-acquainted with Freddie, Ruby and Connor and also meet some people from history along the way. There is good news in that there will be a further 2 books coming soon.
Find out more about In The City Of Fortune And Flames in the blurb and review…. I happened to have bought this book. It is available as a physical book and an e-book.

Links to books in order :-    
                                     Amazon – Treasure At The Top of The Mountain
                                     Amazon – A Jewel In The Sands Of Time
                                    Amazon – In the City of Fortune and Flames

Blurb

Freddie Malone adventure 3

The mysterious world map on Freddie Malone’s bedroom wall ripples into life and the swirling vortex begins to form, but is Freddie prepared for where – and when – it will take him? Join Freddie, Connor and Ruby as they travel to the plague-stricken and fire-ravaged London of the seventeenth century, where the streets are ruled by a merciless gang of criminals and kidnappers. Stalked through time by the menacing, shrouded figure of the Collector, can the friends outwit their enemies and save history? It’s all just a question of time…

 

Freddie Malone adventure 3

Review

Having read and reviewed and was very impressed by the calibre of the story-telling and the themes of the first two Freddie Malone books, I figured I would review the 3rd. Clive Mantle, quite rightly so, is The People’s Book Prize Winner Author. The books are suitable for confident readers ages 8 years plus. Very nicely this one starts off with what happened previously…

With the magical map Freddie got for his birthday in the first book, the map has more ideas…
The book starts with the brilliant and never-ageing poem – IF by Rudyard Kipling, it’s as pertinent now as it was in 1895, when it was written. IF is also pertinent to portals in this series.

The setting is London and the time is both the present and 1665/1666. There’s a map with a key chart, which illustrates the events at that time and then readers are reunited with Freddie and his friend Connor on a school production of The Pied Piper of Hamlin before a compelling adventure begins.

There are little references here and there of the Nepal (book 1) and  Egyptian adventures (book 2), but it is okay if you’ve not read that one yet as it does also move onwards to this current adventure. This time the portal takes Freddie to London, 1665, where he meets a slave. Samuel Pepys is in need of a servant who can write, so Freddie is tested. There is, like the other books, a lot that children can gain within these books and that can feed their minds and get them curious about history. There’s also the mystery as to why the map took Freddie to 1665 and readers, apart from getting to know Pepys, also get to know something of King Charles II and the plague on Drury Lane. During the segments of Freddie being back in the present with Connor and Ruby, more is told of his journey. As time flips from the past to the present and back again, it is done in such a succinct way, that is easy to follow and understand. It’s a book that children and young teens can really get into as it is an engrossing page-turner. The facts mixed with the fiction is written in an expressive and exciting way with likeable fictional characters meeting those who really lived. This combination works really well.
As time moves on, Freddie (and readers), then experience the atmosphere of The Great Fire of London and the impact it had. There’s also intrigue within this, as indeed within the whole book.

The Treasure at the Top of the World cover          A Jewel In the Sands of Time              Freddie Malone adventure 3

#BookReview by Lou of #YA book – The Witches of Vegas by Michael Rosendorf @MarRosendorf

The Witches of Vegas
By Mark Rosendorf
Rated: 4 stars ****

This is a Young Adult (YA) book that combines glitz, theatrics and magic and young adults in a rather unique and splendiferous way that will lead young adults into a spell-binding story like no other in what is the first of a new series. Book Two is called “Journey to New Salem” and will be coming soon. A third is also being written. So, Isis, Zack and The Witches of Vegas will be back for further adventures.

Thank you to Mark Rosendorf for getting in contact with me to review The Witches of Vegas.
Discover more below…

About the Author

MarkMark Rosendorf is a High School Guidance Counselor for students in the New York City Department of Education’s special education district. He is also a former professional magician. Mark shares his knowledge of magic with his students as part of the school’s Performing Arts program.

Mark is also credited with published novels in various genres including The Rasner Effect series. He eventually decided on an early retirement from writing. When asked why, Mark’s usual answer was because he lost his favorite pen.

Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into his brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it.  Suddenly, despite the decision to never write again, Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas, Mark’s first young adult story, was born.

The Witches of Vegas 3D cover

Blurb

Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?

By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.

Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.

But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?

The Witches of Vegas

Review

There’s glitz and glam and magic with the theatre act – The Witches of Vegas at the Sapphire Resort and Casino’s main theatre, where Isis, Sebastian and Luther also are. There’s defying acts of magic, which is surprisingly described well, with the thrills conveyed within the writing.

Zack takes readers away from his Uncle Herb who taught him a lot of what he knows, to the Witches show as he becomes hungry for more ambition in the magc world and to see bigger tricks and defying feats of gravity. He then also stumbles across Victoria Hunter who is a debunker who exposes magic tricks.

Selena is one of The Witches of Vegas who almost hides behind doing magic shows and doesn’t want to tell the world that she a bonafide witch in-case there is a backlash of consequences because they are so different. In someways, in a subtle way this is about identity and being different and the fear of people being scared of something that they do not know, even when shown through more of a supernatural way. It also shows a bit of, perhaps, a second chance at life through Isis, who was It’s also about witches and vampires doing what they do best and putting on a show. There are however some twists and turns when Valerie, a rather more wicked character, comes into it and Isis is in a bit of trouble and elements of action and trepidation that become quite page-turning, come into play.

 

 

#BookReview of The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes @jenlynnBarnes @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks @WriteReadsTours #UltimateBlogTour

The Inheritance Games
By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rated: 4 stars ****

 Let the Inheritance Games Commence in this enthralling enigma of a story!

1 school girl, 1 philanthropist, 1 Will, 1 mysterious mansion and a family who are out for what they think should be their inheritance in the games you need to read but don’t want to take part in. There could be consequences!

I thank The Write Reads for inviting me on their Ultimate Blog Tour and for the team at Penguin for sending both an E-book and a physical copy.

Please do read on to find out more about this enthralling book.

Blurb

9780241476178_TheInheritanceGames_COV.inddLet the games begin: an utterly addictive and twisty thriller, full of dark family secrets and deadly stakes. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, Riverdale and Knives Out.

She came from nothing.
Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future. Then an eccentric billionaire dies, and leaves her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything.
Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited: Hawthorne House. It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives – a family hellbent on discovering how Avery got ‘their’ money.

Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all.
Soon Avery is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing. But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

9780241476178_TheInheritanceGames_COV.indd

Review

A teenage school girl, a whole lot of money, a mysterious mansion bequeathed to her in a Will. This is not ordinary young adult story. This is one that leads you into places of enigma. What’s the truth, what’s the lies? Secrets and games are afoot that make for a great YA book indeed. One that will get teens wanting to read. It’s good to see one that isn’t pure fantasy and isn’t pure romance; it has elements of a few genres within it.

Avery Grambs, the smart kid at school also likes games. Fun, innocent made-up ones, is how she found out she liked games. She’s just a normal teenager, well, almost, in these short-sharp chapters that entice you to read on as the story moves quickly into its first part of the mystery.
Tobias Hawthorn has sent a note to Avery, a person to her knowledge, she has never met. Instant worries of scams flee around the conversation.

Imagine being at school thinking of science and statistical information and studying Romeo and Juliet when a mysterious billionaire philanthropist leaves you a mansion in his Will?  That’s what began a whole different type of journey for Avery. She meets the family and the Will is read out, enough to make any reader sit-up and take notice. It is staggeringly jaw-dropping!

James Hawthorn, who prefers to call Avery – Mystery Girl, pops up here and there and seems a bit of an enigma himself, almost as much as why would someone, a stranger to him and his family, inherit what should have been there property from Tobias. There is also Grayson who is convinced that Avery used manipulation to get it…
He is also quite a deep character in his thoughts about money, the world and responsibility.

No one is going to make things easy for Avery. Let the games commence! Riddles, puzzles and secret passageways abound, which is a rather thrilling aspect to the story.

Emily brings a certain thought-provoking aspect to this family’s story in her bravery and also some empathy with her parent’s reactions to her.

Going back to the mansion, the big question that makes turns this book into something of a sinister mystery, is the big question – will everyone survive?
The way the book takes some twists, just at the right moments is great! Just when you think it might all be lost, up comes something else and reels you further into the mansion, that anyone staying there would have to be very brave indeed!
The twists ramp up in scale right to an ultimate page-turning crescendo!

Go travelling with The Ship of Shadows Maria Kuzniar by @thecosyreader @PuffinBooks #childrensbook #kidslit #edutwitter #parents #families #SummerReading

The Ship of Shadows
By Maria Kuzniar
Rated: 4 stars ****

The Ship of Shadows is a mysterious vessel. Travel with Aleja from her imagination to the library to actually being on a ship, just like she always wanted. This is a great book, especially for tweens to go on an exhibition of the high seas, where not all is always as it seems. There’s a Kraken and some pirate magic about.
Thanks to The Write Reads group for inviting me to review and to Puffin Books and Maria Kuzniar for supplying a print copy of what really is a beautiful book. The cover is incredibly eye-catching.
Discover the blurb and review below.

The SHIP of SHADOWS_final (1)

About the Author

The Ship of Shadows Maria Kuzniar jpg

Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.

 

Blurb

Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.

But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called The Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.

Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.

The Ship of Shadows cover.JPEG

Review

The stunning cover is enough to feed anyone’s curiosity into picking it up. The content is enough to want anyone to want to sail away with it on a voyage. Where to? You can see on the map provided within it.

Aleja has an insatiable appetite for adventure, with an admiration for explorer – Thomas James. She has siblings – Miguel and Pablo. Where they liked doing the average things such as baking; Aleja dreamed of ships and pirates. It sounds exciting from the start.
She wishes to follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers and sets off to investigate many books and comes to the absurd belief that girls can’t be explorers or pirates. I’m glad she ignores this momentary belief and starts to think of cozy libraries and ships; where she studies more about Thomas James and ‘The Most Dangerous Pirates Who Sailed the Seven Seas’. The ship, belonging to Thomas James is The Ship of Shadows. Cleverly, the author has written some passages of what Aleja is reading. It adds to the intrigue of it all. In someways its also championing reading books, as well as giving an insight into what is inspiring Aleja. The book also joins the raft of books over the years that gives their characters courage and independent minds.

Aleja gets her adventure as she joins the mysterious ship, full of women and meets Captain Quint on-board as they head out to sea and discovers an encrypted book, which she begins to work out what it could be from another book she has read. The Ship of Shadows seems to be, to show that girls too can be explorers, which can be encouraging to those who don’t think they can be, as it seeks to dispel that. It is also quite a swashbuckling adventure that would certainly feed into many imaginations. I think however, the book is suited for both boys and girls as boys too can enjoy the exploration of different places and creatures on the high seas.
It also shows that reading is key to knowledge that you never know can come useful.

The Ship of Shadows also holds secrets and perhaps even a curse!

The scenes with the Kraken add excitement and are superbly written, as trepidation is upped as it stretches out its tentacles and a posed threat from Francois Levasseur who wants to find the elusive Ship of Shadows

Overall it’s a very good adventure that will feed curious minds and it’s nice to see books of such adventure around. It certainly brings another element back to reading genres, which I view as being welcome in expanding choice.

A Better Place by Alyson Marsh – A Comforting and Positive Book For Young People Dealing With Grief #ChildrensBooks #YA #parents #edutwitter #HandlingGrief #ABetterPlace

A Better Place
By Alyson Marsh
Rated: 4 ****

I first of all I would like to say thank you to Alyson Marsh who gifted me a copy for review of this book that, for young people (and perhaps even some adults may find it useful, even though the layout, the language and activities is very much geared for young people) provides comfort during times of grief and could help people to talk about their feelings and their memories. It is true to say that death is inevitable, sometimes it is natural causes and sometimes it is not, but it is a universal truth that we all live and we all die and yet death, grief, how to deal with it, is, unusually, for something that isn’t uncommon and yet is rarely talked about. This book brings hope, comfort and can really aid young people in a positive, healthy manner in coping with their personal grief.

I have my review and then at the bottom a little blurb and bit about the author.

A BetterPlace

Review

I came across the children’s book – A Better Place by Alyson Marsh on Twitter and immediately wanted to review it because at all times, especially now, children and teenagers may need comforting and may need something extra to help them through grief. This book does that. It is a book with spaces to write and draw on and you can express yourself, or of course if you find it in a library, or want to be able to use those pages over and over again, they are easy to replicate on some blank paper. It comes with a meaningful story that I think children and teenagers will find useful as well, whether they are looking at this book themselves or with an adult. This isn’t a heavy book at all, it oozes with comfort and brings with it a positivity and a sense that things will be okay again. It’s a beautiful book full of colour and hope and that can truly help young people through grief. Each page has only a few sentences on it. It’s one that provokes discussion and thoughts that can help.

Meet Thora, she lost her daddy at sea. From the first page, realistic emotions she felt are written about, such as lost, confusion, helplessness and wondering what she can do. Then there’s some positivity in the “Better Place”. There’s pages of memories of the things that her daddy used to love to do, where he used to love to be. It’s joyfulness through the pain and sadness of grief. It shows children and teens of all ages that even though times can be tough, it’s okay to feel sad and it’s okay to smile as you remember happier times.

There are a few pages that encourage you to draw your loved one who you have lost and your memories of them.  There is also a lined page where children can write about the good times with your loved one.  You are also encouraged by the end of the book to stick a photo of your lost loved one. Readers will also notice a robin on each page. It is used effectively as a symbol of comfort.

I like that there are big, bright, bold pictures and few words on each page as well as small activities young people can do, either by themselves or with someone.
My only quibble is the text font that is chosen, of all the writing is joined up, that I find a bit baffling as it makes, what is otherwise such an accessible book, perhaps a little more challenging to read yourself if you aren’t a confident reader or have just learnt how to read. So, confident readers could read it, for younger readers, they will need assistance. It is however healthy to read a book together, especially this book. Otherwise, this is a book that I do recommend because I’ve been through a lot of grief in my time (and I’m still relatively young), and from personal experience, I can say that remembering good memories and doing something positive in memory of them definitely help with the moving on process and is healthy and I believe that this book can help as part of this process and allows young people to see this and shows them what they can do.

The Blurb  and About The Author

A Better Place is dedicated to Michael Wild Snr.
13 years ago Alyson Marsh lost her dear father and began to imagine where he could be and what the place that he had passed on to could be like. After over 20 years of teaching Art in secondary school and two daughters later, she decided to put her thoughts down on paper as she wanted the book to have a very personal feel to it. A Better Place was created to support anyone who has lost someone special in their lives.
Readers can discover more about the author inside the book.