Amari and The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston @bb_alston @egmontbooksuk #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour #AmariPeters #NominationDetected

Amari and the Night Brothers
By B.B. Alston
Illustrated by Brittany Jackson
Rated: 5 stars *****

It is my pleasure to be closing the Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour for Amari and the Night Brothers, which is such a magical book for older middle-grade and young YA (teens) readers. It is great for aged 8 plus. If you like Percy Jackson, youll like this.  I thank Egmont for providing me with a physical proof copy of this outstandingly irresistable page-turner of a book. Read on to discover more in the blurb and my review.

Amari cover

Blurb

Amari Peters knows three things.

Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.

No one will talk about it.

His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when  Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s  certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get  her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and  magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.

Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world  their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special  supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the  Bureau views as dangerous.

With an evil magician threatening the  whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the  enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the  three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

An epic middle grade supernatural adventure series, soon to be a major movie starring Marsai Martin. Perfect for readers aged 8+ and fans of  Percy Jackson, Nevermoor and Men in Black!

B. Alston lives in Lexington, SC. Amari and the Night Brothers  is his debut middle grade novel. When not writing, he can be found  eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they  lead.

Amari Cover 1

Amari Cover 2

Review

The blurb is incredibly eye-catching as it asks readers if you can handle it? It’s a fantastically ingenious way of using wit and reverse psychology. It works a treat and of course you can handle it and will want to pick the book up and read it. It has an explosive beginning, more in terms of Amari Peters being in trouble at the principle’s office at school, than anything else.
This book has so much going for it and is fun and so relevant to children and young teens in the plot right to what children see on collectable cards to technology.

Then comes an odd email with a message about it going to self-destruct and a mysterious package suddenly turns up for Amari on the doorstep.

Quinton is a bit older than Amari and likes Stephen Hawking and Martin Luther King. He isn’t any normal kid though. He has some sort of mysterious powers and suddenly the two brothers end up on a huge ship and off on an adventure. The book is at a pace that induces excitement and is enthralling. Quinton works for the Bureau. He is on a list of noteworthy agents for the Department of Supernatural Agents. There is an intriguing nomination form too and a “Wakeful Dream”. All of which readers can be captured within and explore in what is an excellently written book. All genders can find enjoyment out of this book.

Elsie is also an interesting character and readers find out how magicians are different in the supernatural world to those on-stage in the world readers live in. There are creatures, objects like a crystal ball and other characters to meet and, this I think is cleverly thought out and makes me think of collectable cards: there are Talent Enhanced to Supernatural Ability and underneath what that talent is. It creates for some fun. So, I recommend you read this book (unless you really do find it too hot to handle), and discover all of these enhanced abilities. Discover what the plan of action is and how to become a Junior Agent Trainee at Summercamp. The layout of the book and of the world keeps interest going and will take any reader in further as it feels involving. It also is modern and not always other-worldy in its referencing to apps, friend requests, messaging and this works well and keeps it all grounded.

Find out who passes, who fails and what happens in what is an irresistable page-turner of a book.

AMARI_Tour_Banner

#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!

#Review of School Can Be Cool by Maleka Mamuji @schoolcanbecool #schoolstories #childrensbook #kidslit #shortstories #families #parents #school #edutwitter

School Can Be Cool
By Maleka Mamuji
Rated: ***

I noticed the book circulating around on Twitter and had enquired about reviewing it, of which I am delighted that they agreed I could. School is Cool, rather than a full story book as such, is one with a few short scenarios of school days. It’s one that depicts children from all different backgrounds.

About the Author

Maleka Mamuji is originally from Kenya and moved to England (UK) when she was six years old. She grew up and studied in England where she qualified as a lawyer. The author states that, “school for me was a very memorable experience, fun but tough at times”. Her book aims at providing short but inspirational stories to help children enjoy their school experience.

School can be cool

Blurb

School can be Cool provides five short but inspirational stories from different students’ experiences. It shows the various challenges they face at school and how they overcome them. The main characters in the book are as follows:
•Rashida who has moved from Kenya to Manchester (UK) and is nervous of starting a new school in a different country;
•Jodie who wishes she could be like her best friend Gretchen as Gretchen is popular in school;
•Tom who always comes last in sports and wishes he could miss school on Tuesdays and Thursdays just so he can avoid doing sports;
•Milly, Peter and Leah are all very different from each other. They never talk to each other and do not even want to. They are teamed up by their Drama teacher Mrs. Clark to produce a play. How will they get along?; and
•Gemma who was led to believe that Friday the 13th is the day of bad luck; but Gemma’s luck proves different.

Review

School initially in each of the scenarios is definitely not cool in the beginning. From Rashida to having a bad dream about being the new girl in class to Gemma who thinks will go wrong on Friday the 13th and to make matters worse, has lost something. The stories themselves set up almost matter of fact scenarios about how children may perceive things as going to go in their school day and each one is shown a more positive slant to show that the day may not necessarily play out the way they first thought. Each scenario ends with showing how school days can be cool in the end.

It is a book that has potential to be a useful tool amongst bigger resources to some parents who are perhaps having some issues on certain days in persuading their child to go to school. The scenarios are fairly simple and quick, it’s more about how the child thinks a day might go and the reality proving them wrong than anything else, to present a more positive, inspirational outlook, which can feed into their own day and thoughts. Each, relatable primary school scenario is backed up with a lovely illustration.

The book is free on Kindle Unlimited at the moment.

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.

Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution by Jordan Bell #ChildrensBook #Kidslit #NonFiction #parents #school

Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution
By Jordan Bell
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sent to me all the way from Australia, by the author Jordan Bell, I present this lovely and well-written and illustrated book about basic evolution for children. Thanks to Jordan Bell for getting in touch on my contact page, asking me to review it for her.

Aunt Jodie cover

Blurb

Are you ready for an amazing science adventure? Join Sophie and Matt as Aunt Jodie takes you on an imagination expanding journey back in time. Learn about evolution in two different species, millions of years apart: the Plesiads, ancient lemur-like creatures from 55 million years ago, and colour changing Peppered Moths from the 1800s. What happens to the Plesiads when a volcano erupts? How do moths survive when their camoflage stops working? Discover the secrets that help all creatures transform and develop when big changees happen in the world around them.

Review

Meet Sophie and Matt and their Aunt Jodie in this beautifully produced chapter book. It’s an easy guide into Darwin for children, in story format, with great illustrations. The book is all about Darwins theories and science. It fits well into STEM.

In basic terms it walks children through Darwin’s theories of selection processes, giving, in story form, examples, through adventure with the plesaids (ancient lemurs). It also takes a journey to a volcano, where children are almost prompted to think about climate and about groups of animals as well as cause and effect. The book does it in such an easy, natural way and in a way that children will be able to understand.

The adventure with the intrepid explorers then jumps forward in time to the Industrial Revolution and how changes like that correlate with changes within evolution. Now the plesaids have been left behind, further into the past, a peppered moth emerges and its natural biology and science.

The tone of the book is just right for upper primary school/middle grade children. It’s pitched perfectly well, with the characters and the facts interacting and intertwining with each other. There’s an intense curiosity from the children within the book, that may spark curiosity within the children reading it. There is a great glossary at the back of the book that explains the words, some children may not be familiar with yet. The glossary is well produced and in such a way that I feel will aid children well enough.

The book would sit well in schools, school libraries, public/community libraries and bookshops.

#Review of Red Snow by Larraine S Harrison – A story of life, courage and strength of a young girl. @larraineharri3 @matador #kidslit #SchoolLibraries #Bookshops #Libraries #ChildrensBooks #ReadingRocks #ReadingForPleasure

Red Snow
By Larraine S. Harrison
Rated: 5 stars *****

I came across Larraine S Harrison on social media and got interested in her book – Red Snow. The title and the cover grabbed me, so I looked further into it and the blurb interested me even more, so I figured I would chance my luck and ask her if I could review her book. Thankfully, Larraine agreed, so today, I present my review of Red Snow, which tells the story of Megan – a strong, independent girl who wants to resolve the mystery of what really happened to her mother once and for all, so that she may know the complete truth.

I thank Larrine S. Harrison for sending me a copy of her book.

About the Author

Larraine S Harrison is a retired teacher and school inspector who has written several books for teachers on using drama for learning.
Since retiring she has written two children’s novels: Red Snow and Angel’s Child.
She likes to involve children in the writing of her books as much as possible.
When she is not writing, she volunteers as a school governor and also enjoys playing tenor saxophone.
She now lives in Yorkshire.

Twitter link:

Larraine Harrison

Red Snow Cover

Blurb

Twelve-year-old Megan though she knew everything there was to know about her mother’s death, but she was wrong.

Why will no one tell her what really happened and why has she become her father’s carer?

The boy next door has a dangerous secret that could help Megan, but will she be strong enough to pursue it to the end?

A story of danger, hope and perseverance.

Review

Red Snow is atmospheric and leaps into action from the start as Megan Townsend tries to follow Ryan from next door into the woods as it would appear he has developed an interesting routine of being out each night. The curiosity of a twelve-year-old girl comes across well, because who isn’t a bit curious when someone has perceived peculiar habits when you’re a child. The story then turns more mysterious and sinister as there’s a trail of blood and possibly a big cat in the woods. It certainly would grab any child’s attention, especially those who are 8 or 9 years old plus.

The contrast between leisurely pursuits such as swimming, the sinister woods and Megan’s desire to find out about her mother works really well. Irene is an interesting character with her closely held secrets. The book becomes even more intriguing and really holds its own when Megan becomes more inquisitive about the death of her mother.

The emotions displayed by Paul – Megan’s dad and Megan herself are exquisitely portrayed. This entire book seems so natural about how each character’s personality and emotions are portrayed. It adds to this book being a really good read for children. The context, the language used and the pace makes it a book that children will be able to get into.

There are big, important themes like life and death, loneliness and being a carer, being strong, but all sensitively written and all at a child’s level of understanding and all wrapped in a fantastic story that will capture children, because, who doesn’t want to know what happened to Megan’s mum. Megan, especially is also a very likeable character. She is certainly a strong, determined girl, but also has a niceness about her. Children will be able to relate easily to this story, whether it is something they themselves have experienced in full or in-part or not as there is plenty to empathise with.

The changes in pace works well and the length means children can have a good chance of getting into it, without it being overwhelming in size (153 pages). The cover is curious. It makes you wonder what Megan is looking out of the window at and also draws you closer to her somehow. This is very much a children’s book in the way it is written and would sit very well in the children’s sections of libraries and bookshops.

The end will leave readers feeling very satisfied as the answers to the questions become apparent and there is hope.

I just had an instinctive feeling that it was going to be a good one and I was not disappointed and I am sure many readers will enjoy this book too.

*Please note that views are my own and are also unbiased.