#Bookreview by Lou of Thick and Thin by Upasa Borah @CherryPublishi2 #UpasaBorah #YoungAdult #YA

Thick and Thin
By Upasa Borah

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Older young adults/teens and 20 somethings will discover characters in Raumah who have issues to overcome and there is also some lust and a lot of fists flying and other elements of action with family ties, romance and discovery. Find out more in the blurb and review.
Thanks to Cherry Publishing for gifting me the book to review

Thick and Thin

Blurb

In Raumah, a city where wealth and familial ties rule all, the four Kings of Raumah walk a path seemingly paved in gold.
Duante, the protector. Strong, amiable and desperate to keep his loved ones out of harm’s way.
Drayden, the golden boy. Smart and resourceful, heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire.
Shohei, the celebrity. Delicate but determined, this fabulous fashion icon is the darling of Raumah.
Aqil, the prodigy. Truly gifted and academically dominant, but is it earned or is it his family ties that are the key to his successes?

Everything on the surface seems picture perfect, but dark secrets lie hidden behind the
frame. When Duante’s past comes calling, the Kings’ world is thrown into chaos.
Faced with the ghosts of his bloody past, Duante’s hard-earned freedom is put in jeopardy, just as Shohei’s love is put to the test. Drayden’s ruthless determination is usually his strength, but this time, will it blind him to what’s right? Can Aqil, the trailblazing son of the Faiz family, face his fears, before the fire burns him alive?
Facing their fears is no easy task, will they bow under the pressure or come out stronger than ever?

Themes: Family Ties, Friendship, Love, Lust, Identity, Self Discovery, Self Acceptance
Genre: Action – Romance, Queer Young Adult Fiction

 

Review

Thick and ThinThick and Thin gets off to a strong start. There’s Duante, the protector, Drayden, the golden boy and heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire and Shohei, the celebrity who is a fashion icon. It’s identifiable to Young Adults. Loki also pops up.

The chapters present themselves as Acts, which adds some intrigue as does the four kings and the characters surrounding them. That makes it sound almost fantastical, but really there are  just some average lives too, with pop culture and bookish references, such as Justin Timberlake and Harry Potter. It also has powerful messages about bullies and handling them.

The book is about identity and trying to accept who you are and makes me hopeful that people will become happy in their own skin. There’s also friendships embraced and characters like Aquil who just want to be included in plans. This is so relatable for the Young Adult audience with its powerful themes.
It also delves into darker sides of society, such as gun culture. I think there is a lot that young adults will find thought-provoking and some they may debate.
There is also part where Aquil has got powerful family ties who are influential, for readers to see if Aquil is working on own steam or if the family has a hand in things, such as a scholarship reward.

There is the occassional bit of humour of the teenage/young adult life. There is also a lot of that teenage angst, as well as a film of sadness going across it.

There is teenage lust amongst a couple of the characters, who pine after each other at certain points and some elements of self-discovery and mostly it is done well. 

As much as it isn’t quite the page-turner, it is something that young adults can get their teeth into and to see who comes out of it all well. This would be good for older teens and 20 somethings.

About the Author

Upasa Borah (also known by her pen name glassEyed) is a 21 year old dreamer from a land of rivers and hills, called Assam, in India. Aside from writing stories, she dabbles in poetry and performance art. She is a spoken word poet who has been active in the slam poetry circuit in Delhi, as well as in her hometown, as a
featured performer, organiser and judge. A believer of magic and collector of stories, she loves
meeting new people and finding inspiration and muses in the mundane.

 

#BookReview by Lou – The Wild World Handbook – Habitats by Andrea Debbink #AndreaDebbink @quirkbooks #MiddleGrade #ChildrensNonFiction #ChildrensNature

The Wild World Handbook – Habitats
by Andrea Debbink

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great for Middlegrade with facts and STEAM activities. Thanks to Quirk Books for gifting me a copy to give an honest review on.
Follow down to the blurb and my full review of The Wild World Handbook…

The Wildhandbook

Blurb

Packed with real-life tales of adventure, breathtaking illustrations, and practical tips, this handbook is an inspiring guide for the next generation of climate activists, conservationists, and nature lovers.

 

The first book in a middle grade series for young environmental activists and nature lovers, The Wild World Handbook offers a roadmap for change and an invitation to explore the outdoors, alongside surprising facts and hands-on STEAM activities. Featuring nine habitats from around the globe, each section includes diverse biographies of outdoor adventurers, scientists, and artists who used their passion and skills to become bold allies for Earth’s natural diversity and resiliency.

Inside you will find:
   • Nine Amazing Habitats • Eighteen Inspiring Biographies • Nine Kid-Friendly DIY Activities
   • Nine Fun Field Trips • And much more!

Review

The Wild World Handbook is great for Middlegrade. It is comprehensive, without being overly complicated, but allows them to have an adventure and “meet” people, different aspects of nature and fits right into encouraging children to care for the environment and to learn about it. Children can explore:-

Mountains, Forests, Deserts, Polar Lands, Oceans, Freshwater. Cities, Rainforests, Grasslands

The WildhandbookThis book whisks children into introductions to each are of earth and takes them to  the past, present and a small bit into the future of planet earth. So, children are introduced to each of the areas mentioned above, via quick, sharp, easy to follow facts, bold and sharp.

There are interactive elements to map out their own expeditions, do some artwork, plant a tree, find the stars, make a desert biome and more…

“Meet” people from a mountaineer to a naturalist to animals to trees and other plants and more…

There are questions about what they have read, so their knowledge and understanding all tally’s up.

It also takes a nod to those (which is refreshing), who played their part in helping to do good, not just in the present, but in the past, something that isn’t talked about much these days. It’s positive as it refrains from making sweeping generalisations and shows the young, that people older than them (including their parents) did do good stuff to help the environment too. It talks about what children can do too. So, it balances understanding what is in each area with what people have done, in both destruction and to save the earth as it balances out the positives and brings pages of fun to it too.

It is better than some books out there as it does balance positivity between the negativity, lots of fun as well as the serious. 

This book could easily be used at home, as part of a school eco-group or a Girlguiding or Scouting group such as Brownies and Cubs. It has scope for a lot of activities and it shows this area of study can be positive and it can be fun.

 

#BookReview by Lou – Zoey The Smart Donkey by Sugandha Arora Illustrated by Soumyajit Dasgupta @sugandhaaiesec #ChildrensBook #PictureBook #Families

Zoey The Smart Donkey
by Sugandha Arora
Illustrated by Soumyajit Dasgupta

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cute, short and rhyming for your little ones, Zoey The Donkey is available now. Thanks to Sughanda Arora for inviting me to review and gifting me a copy of the book. Discover more in the blurb and review below.

Zoey The Donkey

Blurb

This story is an inspirational journey of Zoey and how she smartly defies the norms to be whom she wants to be. Find out what Zoey chooses to be, if not a donkey…

Review

 It tells a rhyming story about a baby donkey called Zoey, who realises that she just might not be like the other donkeys. She meets a monkey and a magical transformation occurs…

It’s a short book that would be nice for a bedtime story. It is short and quick, with just a few lines per page, with big, bold illustrations, which makes it fun for pre-school children, including babies and toddlers. Before reading it, parents/carers etc could have a guessing game as to what the Donkey could be at the end. Children, more than anything will just have fun with the rhyming and the surprise at the end. It makes for a cute bedtime story, or a quick read in the nursery school library corner.

Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen @KtAllenWriting @OrendaBooks #RandomTTours #JubilantJune #EveryThingHappensForAReason #BlogTour

Everything Happens For A Reason
by Katie Allen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Everything Happens for a Reason cover

 

Firstly I would like to thank Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for the copy of this heart-rendering and moving book. Find out in the blurb and my review about what I actually thought about this pretty unique debut book for this great blog tour.

Blurb

A beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut,
inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong.
Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.
When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now
certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.
Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…
Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.

Review

Everything Happens for a Reason coverFairly uniquely, Everything Happens For A Reason, has no chapters as such and is instead, punctuated with emails from character to character. As much as it felt different to other books that do have chapters, the flow and movement through the book worked well, perhaps because of the timeline within the emails and instead of jarring, like it might do with chapters, in this rare instance, it gives it a stronger sense of a certain amount of reality. The book is a work of fiction but it is inspired by Katie Allen’s own experiences.

There is a  strong belief of “Everything Happens For A Reason” is an interesting concept, that is used in a way to justify and perhaps come to terms with everything, is a theme that is carried throughout the book. Rachel even believes that meeting Lola was for a reason and both are interesting characters and there is the gradual uncovering of Ben Palmer, a guy she saved at Oval, when she was pregnant, months before her baby was stillborn. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, there’s no two ways about it. The grief and the trying to live life feels authentic and pierces through to your heart. On the other-hand it also talks truthfully about how there isn’t always the time to grieve. Most of the characters have their issues they are living with.

There are also moments to smile about. It’s is full of bittersweet moments, such as some thought given to baby groups, such as baby and rhyme (if you’re in Scotland its a little bit like Bookbug), and baby yoga etc. 

I am glad that there are some funny moments. In some ways it lightens the book in a good way and in other ways, it is a brave decision to include it as some people don’t think you should find something funny, when grieving etc, but this shows life in every aspects from friendships to the politics of the day. There’s a particularly humorous analogy about a spider, for example. It shows life and grieving is not a straight line and life presents itself with unexpected moments and a web of people and situations. There’s some moments of pragmatism and others that has a bit of humour, but most of all it is emotional and an aura of it lingers round you after you’ve read it.

This is not a light read by any means, but it is some original storytelling, with a subject matter that is still almost taboo and uncomfortable for some people to talk about. It is a subject matter that is rare in books, if there at all. If you’re wanting something different and meaningful, this is your book.

 

ABOUT KATIE ALLEN

Katie AllenA beautiful, poignant and enchantingly funny debut, inspired by journalist Katie Allen’s own experience of stillbirth and grief.
Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character ’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her
‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband,
children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.

Everything Happens BT Poster

#BookReview by Lou – Remnants of Magic By Alicia R. Chapin @ChapinAlicia @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Fantasy #Ad #Gifted

Remnants of Magic
By Alicia R. Chapin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Time to enter Etharum and meet all sorts of characters and explore this new and exciting, richly imagined, fantasy land. Thanks to Love Books Tours for gifting me the book. Discover more about this fantastical adventure that is Book 1 in the blurb and what I thought about it in the review.

RoM-V1-EBOOK (1)

Blurb

The Master Sword Bryan is an elite warrior on the Prince of Shelkite’s council. When Shelkite is threatened by Ret, a wizard-king, the Master Sword is ready to fight. However, his plans are spoiled when he discovers his assignment is as the personal guard to the young half-blood witch sent to their aid—Alexandra.

Alexandra is determined to prove herself to the skeptical Master Sword. Though her powers haven’t fully manifested, she’s ready for anything, as long as she has her faithful mount, Zhan, and her trusty bow. As the quest deepens, she knows she must press on. For whether she does or not, she’s the key—for either good or evil.

Review

RoM-V1-EBOOK (1)Remnants of Magic welcomes readers into Etharum, a place where the Haiprian Mountains rise majestically up and holds an ice palace, and Charad Forest grows below. There are many places inbetween, with Kaltraz split between east and west by a stream and its tributories borne out of the mountains and finishes in the Faded Sea in the east side of the forest. 

Bryan is the first character to stumble upon and is Prince Alkin’s personal guard, who meets Lady Evelyn – ‘The Goddess of Chaos’ each week. Bryan also hangs out with the friendly folk of Fordorn. Pretty pictures of happy folk and a unicorn is painted well in writing. He can’t stay long though as debate of adventure with Keavin Sword ensues and whether a nymph in the Faded Sea of Carthorn can be trusted or not. The pace mounts up and readers learn of other people in this kingdom, including a wizard masquerading as an innkeeper and many more. 

This is a book that is rich and has a good drive in plot to keep readers invested and a whole fantastical world is soon built up, with the assistance of a map at the very beginning and a world full of characters ranging from a wizard, a stallion called Dragon, a unicorn, a prince, half-bloods, a witch, a warrior and more…
There is high adventure and missions and a slow-burn romance in this mystical land that uses its powers to suck you into its mysterious depths, of which there is much to travel through and tread carefully into parts of trepidation and danger.

Readers who enjoy Lord of The Rings and fantastical creatures and grownups are now searching for whole new land to explore, will enjoy this.

About the Author

RoM author pic
I enjoy the outdoors, reading, spending time with my family (that includes pets!), hanging out with horses, and archery. I graduated from Michigan State University in Equine Management and love to incorporate my love of horses into my stories. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (original trilogy), Lord of the Rings fan, Harry Potter fan….and Jane Austen fan. A couple of nerdy facts, I love John Wayne movies and collect the vintage My Little Ponies from the 80s. 

 

 

#Review by Lou – Tapestries of Life – Nature is all we have by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson @annesver @HarperNonFic @RandomTTours #TapestriesofLife #NonFiction #Nature

Tapestries of Life – Nature is all we have
by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Vibrant and interesting as the threads of life are all seemlessly stitched together to create a wider picture in the vast spectrum of nature we live in and the impact on our lives in an accessible fashion, by this expert in her field. Thanks to Harper Collins for gifting me the book and for Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour to review. Discover the beautiful cover that would brighten up anyone’s bookcase and the blurb and my review.

 

Blurb

The second book by the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects.

Trees clean air and water; hoverflies and bees pollinate our crops; the kingfisher inspired the
construction of high-speed trains. In Tapestries of Life, bestselling author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
explains how closely we are all connected with the natural world, highlighting our indelible link with
nature’s finely knit system and our everyday lives.
In the heart of natural world is a life-support system like no other, a collective term that describes all
the goods and services we receive – food, fresh water, medicine, pollination, pollution control, carbon
sequestration, erosion prevention, recreation, spiritual health and so much more. In this utterly
captivating book, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson sets out to explore these wonderful, supportive elements
– taking the reader on a journey through the surprising characteristics of the natural world.

 

Review

Tapestries GraphicThis isn’t as heavy as it sounds. It’s very good for the inquisitive and those who have a care for the natural world. It reads quite biographical in tone, with a mix of accessible science, and at the heart of Anne’s adventure is an abundance of the surface and what’s underneath nature and its purposes. The book will increase understanding of planet earth and all that it has to offer. It isn’t written in a way that forces people to believe in this or that, but rather in a way that may well enhance the appreciation of the natural world and all that it has to offer, from the animals right down to the water it holds.

As well as animals and plants, it goes into studying DNA, organisms and bacteria ie all the parts that can’t always be seen to the naked eye and yet are just as important to the surface of nature that we can see. It goes onto why nature is essential to earth and humans and talks about how it is used for the prescription medicines/prescription drugs that people consume. There are also great analogies to help with the understanding.

Planted like seeds, throughout the book are some poems and diagrams that makes the book brighter and easily digestible and relatable and alive, for this is a livelier and interesting book than what you may first presume. The poems also seem to serve as a reminder as to how the great outdoors, influences and inspires creatives and has done throughout the centuries.

There’s a lot to learn, in particular in the USA, about what is there and certain astonishing legislation was passed, not the what, but the when; but it all reads easy as each bit of earth is stitched together and her travels weave in and around green spaces and more…
The book also delves into what earth still has and extinction and conflicting ideas that people have about earth and 

The book is beautfully crafted as it weaves threads of a tapestry of life that only survives with nature at its heart.

About the Author

Anne Sverdrup Author Pic (1)Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson  is the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects. A professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, she is also a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest
biodiversity.

Anne is an absolute expert in the subject. She has done and is still doing countless events for all the editions of her books all over the world, and festivals love her.

Tapestries of Life BT Poster