#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).

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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 Journey To The Moon And Other Stories By Ed Goodwin @whizoap @ConradPress @RandomTTours #JourneyToTheMoon #ChildrensBooks #MiddleGrade #9-12yearolds #Humour #Fantasy #Unicorns #Space #Humour

Journey To The Moon
And Other Stories
 By Ed Goodwin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3 stories in 1 provide adventure, fantasy, humour, realism all for 9-12 year olds. Find out more in the blurb and my review below…
A little later than planned due to unforseeable circumstances.
Thanks to Random Things Tours and Conrad Press for the book and invite to review.

Journey to the Moon Cover

Blurb

Fantasy, reality and humour are blended in three adventures. Nothing is as it seems as two young girls go to the moon, present a unique style of Punch and Judy and try to look after a unicorn.
In ‘Journey to the Moon’, with the help of a possibly over-optimistic dad and practical mum, two young sisters make their dream visit to the moon and back despite numerous setbacks. In ‘Punch and Judy’ the question of what would happen if violence was banned in Punch and Judy shows is explored. In the story ‘Unicorn Tale’, looking after a unicorn presents more challenges than expected, especially when it disappears into a dream world.

Journey to the Moon Cover

Let’s start with the cover. It’s just so eye-catching and fun. This is a book where children can go and have adventure that will send their imaginations soaring. 3 stories in 1 also makes this fun and rather special.

This hits some trends for children, including unicorns. There’s much fun and humour to have in these stories. The puppet shows that the family perform is great and may well spark the imaginations of its readers. That is possibly one of the best bits as it brings puppets back into the modern sphere again.

The family is one that I think children will have fun within this book during quiet times or bedtimes. It’s great for wherever you want to read.

Each story brings something different. From an adventure to the moon, which brings about a touch of reality to the realms of fantasy, such as in working out how to look after a unicorn. Each story provides entertainment in different ways. that are sure to surprise and give children space to have a laugh.

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#BookReview by Lou of Yaks Can Do Yoga @snezanawrites @sandyillustrates @HappyPandaBooks @lovebooksgroup  @lovebookstours #ChidrensBook aged 3 to 8. #Humour #Wellbeing #Yoga

Yaks Can Do Yoga
By Snezana Danilovic
Illustrated By Sandy Thornton

Yaks Can Do Humour can be used in many settings and is a fun way to add to children’s sense of wellbeing as well as tapping into their sense of humour. FInd out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts below.
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to the tour and to Happy Panda Books for gifting me the book.

Yaks Can Do Yoga

Blurb

Yoga makes children happy, healthy and strong!

But if you are a clumsy yak, with wobbly hooves, who has never done yoga before, it can be tricky. Join Yak in her first Happy Panda class and see how she discovers the power and playfulness of yoga.

Eight yoga poses and their benefits are clearly explained and illustrated at the back of the book so young children can easily do them at home or in the classroom.

Yoga is for everyone! Adorable, engaging characters and humorous story draw in young children and get them hooked on yoga, creating healthy mind-body habits to last a lifetime

Mindfulness and meditation are lots and fun! The story’s humorous, creative visualisation exercises tap into young children’s innate imagination, facilitating a deeper understanding of their emotions and developing confidence and resilience.

Author and experienced children’s yoga teacher Snezana Danilovic and illustrator Sandy Thornton team up to create the Happy Panda Children’s Yoga picture book series of heart-warming stories full of gentle humour, aimed at encouraging even very young children to get hooked on yoga. Parents, teachers and educators don’t need to be experienced yogis – they can learn and enjoy yoga alongside young readers, too!

Review

If you’re looking for something different for children to do, this is a fun book to introduce Yoga into their lives. It has humour as well as poses they can safely perform in the comfort of their own home or garden or wherever. The illustrations also make this engaging and add to a child’s sense of humour as well as their imaginations and desire for fun and sense of wellbeing.

The instructions and illustrations are easy to follow, so this could be used in the classroom or home. It could be combined with PSHE at school or a general relax time before bed or a winding down time during the day.

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#BookReview by Lou of Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley @ZaraStoneley @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #Fiction #OfficeReturn #OfficeRomance #Humour #Uplifting

Hot Desk
By Zara Stoneley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot Desk provides great escapism that is packed full of delightful entertainment  with really good humour and romance.

Thank you to One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK) for gifting me a copy of Hot Desk and giving me the opportunity to review.

Follow onto the blurb and my full review below.

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Blurb

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
 
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
 
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review

Hot DeskHot Desk is set post Covid-19 and people are adjusting to being back in the office with new working practices. Something so many office workers would now be able to relate to. This reality is there, but it’s not all about Covid-19. This is about Alice and how she handles going back to the office of ‘We Got Designs’. It presents itself, even from the first page, to be a very funny book indeed. The comic-timing in the writing is divine. A little bit further in and there is the clear signs of romantic frission between her and fellow colleague – Jamie and it is so well written. It’s great that this is set out near the beginning and then to see how this progresses. It’s a bit like listening into office gossip when reading Hot Desk. It’s all rather a deliciously enticing book that is so entertaining that it compels you to read to see how it all plays out.

There are serious notes to the story too, one being the real fear of the office’s future. There is also the whole fear of hot desking looming and then becoming a reality, with all the terms and conditions attached and the emotion that goes with it. Readers will be able to relate to how things can be when a desk is no longer your own. Alice finds out she has to hot desk with Jamie, so confides in her friend Lou quite a bit.

There is a sweet growing romance that sprouts in the office and yet in a light way, also brings endangered animals and conservation into the conversation. It’s lovely to organically watch Alice and Jamie getting to know each other.

Ultimately this is a rom-com that is properly funny and properly romantic. The mix of these ingredients with the premise of returning to the office and having to share a desk works wonderfully well and makes me smile. Readers can watch this office to see if the spark of their romance grows further into a sizzle or not, even with all the new things to get to grip with, this element still lives on.
After a hard day’s work, whether you’re in an office or not, Hot Desk provides entertaining, sweet and touching escapism that hits the spot very well indeed.

#BookReview by Lou by Billy Plonka and The Grot Laboratory by Ian Billings @mrianbillings @VentorrosP @LoveBooksGroupTours #ChildrensBook #MiddleGrade #PrimaryReads #Humour

Billy Plonka and The Grot Laboratory
By Ian Billing

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Billy Plonka and the Grot Laboratory is fun for children familiar with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the deliciously dark sense of humour of Roald Dahl.

Find out more below ikn the blurb and rest of my review. Then find out about the author – Ian Billings and the comedy he has produced in prestigious places famed for such entertainment and the famously entertaining children’s tv programme he wrote for.

Billy PlonkaBlurb 

Billy Plonka – the Prince of Stink, the Monarch of Muck, the Sultan of Slime, the Duke of Dregs and the King of Kak. He’s the most extraordinary maker of GROT in the entire world, and he’s invited 5 individuals (Orson Ploop – An overweight kazoo playing protégé; Victoria Scabb – 259th in line to the English throne; Viola Mudguard – 11-year-old, ex-Wollywood star; Spike Peecee – A self-obsessed dweeb who can never disconnect from the Internet; and Marley Suckett – An anti-hero), to visit his world-famous Grot Laboratory, and step into an adventure they will never forget!

Your tour is about to start. Don’t wander off . YOU! Yes, YOU! I’m talking to YOU! Mr. Plonka would hate to lose you along the way… READ IT!!! 
BILLY PLONKA AND THE GROT LABORATORY- the 100% unofficial official parody of one of the greatest children’s stories of all time.

This modern re-telling of the Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ stays true to the wonderful wit of Dahl, but brings the tale into the modern age with a lovely twist at the end. Each character meets their grotty fate as they go on their tour of The Grot Laboratory – as the name suggests, a disgusting place full of scumpiddlinoxious fumes and materials. Words reminiscent of Dahl fill the pages – Whi-ffi (it’s like wifi only smellier), whazzplop and picklescooper to name but a few.

Review

Billy PlonkaFans of Roald Dahl will understand perfectly well, the parody of his works in here, especially of course, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There’s a family, not the Bucket family, but the Suckett family, which this tale is all about. Marley Suckett is the worst school pupil ever!

The characters of the children readers meet are:
Spike Peecee, Victoria Scab, Orson Ploop,Viola Mudguard and Marley Suckett.
Scratch Cards have replaced Golden Tickets and these main characters all love Plonka and his inventions, including the Queen.

The author clearly had fun writing it. After a first page that made me almost wonder about its age group, it improves and really settles well into Middlegrade genre. Readers would do well to know the story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory pretty well to get all the references. If you do pick this up first, then it is best to read Willy Wonka instantly after. It is full of Roald Dahl(esque), dark humour for children and nonsense words that he made up. Middlegrade readers from Primary 6 and 7 or, if in rest of the UK – Year 5 and 6 would find this book humorous and understand the parody well.

Each chapter early on, introduces a character, so children get a feel for their personalities and what they like, and look like in the pictures. They are recognisable to those in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but brought into the 21st century, but still precocious and so much more along that ilk…
The Oompa-Loompas have turned to being The Grumpy Trumpers who had a Grumpy Trumper Island, which Plonka recalls, he had found himself on.

The factory doesn’t have chocolate in it, but junk and all forms of rubbish and flavoured cat litter. Instead of a Great Glass Elevator, it has the “Great See Through Loo”. Toilet humour abound. Replacing the tv room is Plonker’s Internet Cafe and an enormous printer and there’s so much more…. There’s also an ending to surprise and yet quite perfect.

About the Author

Ian Billings was born at a very young age. He has done many things in his time and some of them he’d like to tell you about. He is an ex-juggler, a pantomime writer (fifty productions!), an actor, TV extra, a theatre technician, a university lecturer, a model and a general dabbler in many areas.

He has written episodes of BBC TV’s Chuckle-Vision and his stage plays and pantomimes have been performed in Wolverhampton, Northampton, Hastings, Nottingham, Weston-Super-Mare and on a ferry to Spain. He has a Masters Degree from Birmingham University and two goldfish from Petworld. He is five feet and seven inches in length and avoids cheese.

Ian began performing stand-up comedy for kids at Edinburgh Festival Fringe (whilst also presenting his own radio show for Festival FM!) and now he tours theatres and schools throughout the UK, Cyprus, Germany, Australia, Uganda, Kenya, Russia, Switzerland, UAE, Oman, Vietnam and Thailand. He was described by one young audience member as “the most imaginative adult I’ve ever met!”

Caboodle Books reprinted SAM HAWKINS AND THE POINTY HEAD LIGHT HOUSE followed by sci-fi poetry collection, SPACE ROCKS!

Ian has edited an anthology of children’s poems for Save the Children called “Born to Giggle!” and his latest book is “BILLY PLONKA AND THE GROT LABORATORY.”

2020 saw re-issues of his classic children’s comedies “Sam Hawkins and the Cutglass Cutlass” and “Chocolate Meltdown” from Tiddley Pom Books together with new versions of “The King’s New Space Suit”, “I’ve Got Your Nose” and two brand new books, “There’s a Vampire in My Bedroom” and “Boooo!!!”

Find him at www.ianbillings.com

Follow him at @mrianbillings

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#BookReview by Lou – Peacocks in Paradise by Anna Nicholas @ANicholasAuthor @burrobooks #PeacocksInParadise #BlogTour #TravelBook #Travelogue #NonFiction

Peacocks in Paradise
By Anna Nicholas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am honoured to be closing the blog tour for Peacocks In Paradise. This is an entertaining travelogue that’s come at the right time, just as people are thinking of exploring, but also at a time when travel is still limited.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and for Burro Books for gifting me the book.
Go on a journey through the blog post to find out more abou the author and her interesting life, the blurb and my review of her entertaining book.

About the Author

Peacocks in Paradise Anna Nicholas Author PicANNA NICHOLAS is of Celtic origin & has lived for 18 years in rural Mallorca. An inveterate traveller & experienced freelance journalist, she regularly participates in humanitarian aid expeditions overseas with British explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, CBE and is a Fellow of the RGS. She ran her own PR
company in Mayfair, London, for 20 years, was a Guinness Book of Records adjudicator alongside the book’s founder, Norris McWhirter, CBE, and as a rookie press officer at charity Help the Aged, handled events for Princess Diana. She runs an international marathon annually for her favourite causes.

Blurb

Peacocks in Paradise CoverThe long-awaited seventh title in Anna Nicholas’s humorous travel series about how to live the dream in a Mediterranean country. The author explores different local cultural themes in each title.

Anna delves into the island’s authentic heartland, exploring nature reserves, bird sanctuaries and paprika, fruit and almond farms. On her travels, she meets the makers of siurell whistles, palm leaf baskets, hot sauces and ensaïmada pastries, and revels in visiting local producers of wine, craft beer, gin and brandy – and Mallorca’s famed herbes liqueur.

Meanwhile, she and chum, Alison, are tackling all 54 Tramuntana peaks over 1,000m, enduring the arduous overnight Guell hike to Lluc Monastery along the way.

Back home in Soller, new kittens and abandoned ducks abound and just as peacock, Jeronimo, swoops in, Anna hears of Josephine, a lonely peahen. Could love be in the air?

Review

Peacocks in Paradise has Mallorca all wrapped up from the food to the people and animals she meets on her journey around the island. With humour and enthusism for the island she has explored, this is an interesting and entertaining travelogue. The observations come with wit and sometimes poignancy and will easily provide escapism for its readers. As well as taking readers on a journey, giving future travellers ideas of what to do when in Mallorca, it also provides an insight into her homelife and the animals she enjoys most and their own antics. Anna Nicholas had a dream of where she wanted to live and is one of those people who have been able to do it, which makes this a fascinating read as it gives both sides – living there and enough for the humble tourist to gain more insight than what they may ordinarily get.
Her passion and zest for life and interest about what is produced on the island comes through the book well.

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