#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.

A Jewel In The Sands of Time – A Freddie Malone Adventure by Clive Mantle – A fast-paced Egyptian Adventure @MantleClive #review #childrensbooks #kidslit #YA #Adventure

A Jewel in the Sands of Time
A Freddie Malone Adventure
By Clive Mantle
Rated: 5 stars *****

After being highly impressed by The Treasure At the Top of The World – the debut novel of the Freddie Malone Adventure series, I thought I would review the second – A Jewel in the Sands of Time. I will say that they are stand-alone books, although feature the same character throughout them and there are mentions of the previous adventure in Nepal. A third will also be published, not sure when. This is a series that is really worth following, with interesting facts after the story that consolodates what is read in the story really well. There are likable characters and enough fictional adventure that weaves through facts and all is at a great pace.
Clive Mantle is a People’s Book Prize winner.
The book is great for upper primary school and lower high school age groups.
Take a look at who Clive Mantle is, the blurb and full review below. 

About the Author

About the Author

Clive Mantle photoClive Mantle, Born in Barnet, is a well-loved British Actor and has been for nearly 40 years. As a boy in the 1960s, he sang with St. John’s College Choir, Cambridge, went to the National Youth Theatre and trained at RADA in the 1970’s and has been a fixture on stage and screen ever since.
Clive Mantle is best known for playing Little John in Robin of Sherwood, Greatjon Umber in Game of Thrones, Mike Barratt in Casualty and on stage as Tommy Cooper, and Lennie in Of Mice and Men. His voice is also well known from his work on over 180 audio books, and voicing animated characters, including Gator in Thomas the Tank Engine.
He is an avid reader and has been ever since his parents handed him Stig of the Dump. His favourite children’s book are the Noggin the Nog sagas by Oliver Postgate and he has a passion for walking in the Wiltshire Countryside. Clive Mantle’s inspiration to write what is the first in the series of Freddie Malone adventures came during a trek to the Everest Base Camp for the charity Hope and Homes for Children. He has since returned to the Himalayas and completed the Annapurna circuit. Everest has been his passion since childhood, when his Father enthused him with its many tales. Years later, he realised a lifetime’s ambition and set foot on the mountain himself, and the magnificence of the experience is with him everyday. 

A Jewel in the Sands of Time cover.jpg

Blurb

When the mysterious map given to him by his eccentric Uncle Patrick sweeps Freddie into another astonishing ��me-travelling adventure, he finds himself in ancient Egypt – and discovers a terrible plot against the boy king, Tutankhamun.
Join Freddie, his best friend Connor, and their feisty new neighbour, Ruby, as a dangerous figure threatens to foil their
efforts to save the young king. — A compelling tale of time travel, epic adventure and unsolved mysteries in ancient Egypt.

Review

Travel to Egypt and meet a Collector, studying a mysterious gemstone. The Collector wants to turn back time to steal a priceless artifact and a precious, legendary elixir to prolong his life.

The book reunites Freddie and Connor after their Nelpalese adventure, as they decide on Egypt as their next destination from the magical map Freddie got for his birthday in book 1. Suddenly, after a bit of research and looking at the map, it starts to split and sounds and scenes of Egypt start to emerge. Near the beginning of the book, there’s a lovely map and the poem IF by Rudyard Kipling. These also fit very well as an essential piece in the actual story in a very meaningful way, which I like, so worth remembering.

Time travel is involved as Freddie travels back in time to 1328 BC. Clive Mantle has done it again and managed to create absorbing and captivating settings and atmospheres. Freddie ends up watching charioteers and learns what about what they used to do. It’s written well in a way that isn’t too graphic, but just enough to give older children and younger teens a flavour of what happened. It’s good because it’s a bit about Egypt that isn’t always talked about when kids learn about the country.

Freddie re-counts to Conner about meeting Tutankhamun and how he was a King from the age of 9. This is the great thing about this book, children, as well as having fun with the adventure are going to be inadvertently picking up useful bits of history from it as they go along, in the most relaxed way as Clive tells of kings and lords and The Valley of the Kings, tombs and some plunderings, all in this action-packed adventure.

Freddie and Connor have another issue to deal with in their new found friend Ruby as in excitement Freddie blurted all about his secret map to her.

Back in Egypt there’s treachery afoot as a feast is coming to end and the fact Freddie went home with a Scarab and needs to return to Kha’s dynasty. There are portals and further adventure. Freddy also finds things that he doesn’t find palatable (and nor would anyone) like servants and slaves.

At home, there are bullies to contend with and standing up to them. The solidifying of new friendships is a heartwarming part in the book. Like in the first, bullying and tackling it is written sensitively, realistically and well. There’s enough to show kids that things will be alright and you won’t be left alone and friends back you. The aftermath is also realistic with all manner of thoughts spinning round Connor’s head. Clive Mantle has a talent for exploring issues like bullying when his characters are in Britain and the adventure and what occurs in another country very well in a way that children will understand and can also get excited by.

Like in The Treasure at the Top of the World, there is, after the story, a part called “Authors Notes: The Facts Behind the Story”, where readers can find out more info about, in this case, Egypt and Tutankhamun and Ay and other people mentioned within the book as well as the tombs, the temple complex and workers, bartering, language etc. It’s fascinating stuff and a great way of showing the facts that back up the story and introducing children and young adults to this period in Egyptian history.

The Cauldron of Life by Caroline Logan @bearpuffbooks @cranachanbooks #Lovebookstours @lovebooksgroup #CoverReveal #BlogTour

The Cauldron of Life
by Caroline Logan

Today is an exciting Cover Reveal Day for Scottish author Caroline Logan’s young adult book – The Cauldron of Life, published by Cranachan Books.
In my opinion it looks magical and full of mystique, from the font to the wolf. It’s certanly eye-catching. Take a further look to see the cover for this new book in full and also for further details about the blurb, the publishing date and about Caroline Logan.
Thank you for the invite to be part of the blog tour.

The Cauldron of Life Ebook Cover (1)

Blurb

Join the journey; discover your destiny.

Harris has been captured by the Faerie Queen and Ailsa must journey once again into the heart of Eilanmòr to rescue him.

But Ailsa is struggling with her newfound magic and the revelations about her real identity. Is the Faerie Queen Ailsa’s mother? Is everything she believed about her past a lie?

Meanwhile, a war is brewing between Heaven and Hell, with the world as the battleground. The lines between good and evil are blurring, and Ailsa must decide where she stands.

Publication date: 1st October 2020

978-1-911279-52-5 The Cauldron of Life Paperback
978-1-911279-53-2 The Cauldron of Life ebook

About the Author

The Cauldron of Life author picCaroline is a high school biology teacher who lives in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland, with her fiancé. Before moving there, she lived and worked in Spain, Tenerife, Sri Lanka and other places in Scotland. She graduated from The University of Glasgow with a bachelor’s degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology. In her spare time, she tries to ski and paddleboard, though she is happiest with a good book and a cup of tea.

Caroline Logan is a writer of Young Adult Fantasy. Her debut novel, The Stone of Destiny, is the first in The Four Treasures series, and the much-anticipated, The Cauldron of Life, will be the second.

Instagram: @bearpuffbooks

Twitter:     @bearpuffbooks

 

Love books Logo Blog Tours

 

Review of The Nexus Mirror @nemichaelbooks #NexusMirror #Fantasy #Sci-Fi #Review #YA #NewBook

The Nexus Mirror
By N.E. Michael
Rated: 3.5 stars

It is with thanks to the author – Noah Michael for getting in touch with me via my blog asking if I could review his fantasy/sci-fi book. So today, I am pleased to be now publishing my review of this book that will take you through a world and time of many creatures and also one that highlights some contemporary issues too, even though this is set far in the distant future.

About the Author

Noah Michael, is the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. He has two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and is currently a student in medical school. He is all about following dreams, and so despite his busy schedule, he never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from his current series, he has two other worlds in his head just waiting to be built, and can’t wait to share them with you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!

Social media links:

Twitter handle: @nemichaelbooks

Nexus Mirror cover

Blurb


Thirteen tribes. Two hundred years of war. One girl, with the key to ending it all.

Ever since his father’s mysterious murder, Raiden has been having visions of beings with extraordinary powers which he sketched into comics. The man responsible for the murder, billionaire Jimmy Roko, controls the world from his lofty, impenetrable Silver Tower. Compared to Roko’s vast army of robotic creatures and soldiers, Raiden is helpless. At least he was, until the magical heroes from his comics came knocking at his doorstep…

Forced away from everything he’d ever known, Raiden is thrown into a war filled with mystical beasts and terrible demons, super-powered heroes and futuristic battle-drones, ancient portals and daring new worlds. The fate of the universe rests in Raiden’s hands as he fights against Jimmy Roko and the Chief of Shadows to protect a young girl named Sarah, the last surviving Surger, who possesses the key to the ultimate weapon.

Review

There are topical subjects, fights, a student to protect and war wounds amongst this book of humans and other creatures, some whom are almost human.

Enter a world some time in the future. Not everyone is human!
There are a whole array of other creatures. Raidens, being one type. Raiden Williams, who is a teacher and one with a bit of an attitude at times, one that some guys have with their smirking. It’s a pity as can’t immediately decide whether I like him or not.
Sarah is one of his brightest pupils. Alia and Bella are orphans trying to get by, which makes for an interesting story with some of the social aspects surrounding that.

The book covers bullying, the devastating consequences and the impact. The tone of Alia and those who are the bullies is just right as is the raw emotion. This is a book that would perhaps inspire young adult readers to think about actions having consequences. It’s good and thoughtful.

Alia is a detective, seeking answers as to what happened to Hunter, whether it was murder or suicide.

Hospitals is also a theme within this book as Bella suffers a stroke. The hospital is well described as being very futuristic.

Meet the Enlai. A tribe of people who are almost human and who learn to try to master their emotions and are Readers. There are topical elements to them too as they are asked about changing their DNA to extend their lives and the consequences to this.

What is real and what is in Alia’s subconscious is something that readers have to work out, as does this brave character.

Marcus is the most powerful Reader, which makes for interesting characterisation.

There is enough in the book to know just where you are in the time frames and as different magical and fantastical characters are met, such as shifters, zombies and super-powered pirates. There is a war to be fought and what was great was that the effects of war is also written about. Even so far into the future, war is not straight forward and there are still consequences that are felt.

There is an unexpected ending, which is touching and also in a sentence, the story is left open for the next book – The Legend of Solis.

There is certainly enough going on in this fantasy world that the N.E. Michael has created for the YA fantasy/sci-fi readers to be engaged in. The book does get off to an interesting start and good pace, then seems to slow down somewhat, before really getting into it and seems to jump a bit and could be a bit tighter in places. It is however worth sticking with because when you do that, you really get stuck into this futuristic world and all that lives there and the pace does pick up, so do give it a really good chance. You may find yourself enjoying it, like I did and wanting to find out how it ends. After all, the premise is good and for a new writer, fans of fantasy will do well in trying Noah’s books out.

I thank the author N.E. Michael for contacting me on my blog and for sending me his book. It’s always such a pleasure and honour to be asked to review.