#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.

#Review of Princess Poppy – Fantastic No Plastic @janeyjones23 @JenniePoh @Zoologist_Jess #EdenCooper #Cbeebies #PrincessPoppy #FantasticNoPlastic #Kidslit #ChildrensBooks #Environment #SchoolReadingList #Libraries #Bookshops #Newbook

  Princess Poppy – Fantastic No Plastic
By Janey Louise Jones
Illustrated by Jennie Poh
Rated: 5 stars *****

I return to reviewing for very successful children’s author – Janey Louise Jones. She is doing a great job in bringing the environment to the forefront in her popular Princess Poppy series of books. I previously reviewed Princess Poppy – Please, Please Save the Bees and this time I am pleased to present my review of Princess Poppy – Fantastic, No Plastic. These books are perfect for the times when people of all ages want to know how to look after the earth and what they can do in a practical way. Princess Poppy is also a strong young girl who girls and boys enjoy. The books are endorsed by Environmental Education Consultant – Paul Lawston and by Head of Nature and Biodiversity for Scottish Government – Hugh Dignon. This book also has a quote given by Dr. Jess French – as seen on Cbeebies channel.

janey louise jones author

Janey Louise Jones has been writing the Princess Poppy series for fifteen years. She lives in Edinburgh. She has three sons.

Click for links:
Twitter – Janey Louise Jones
Twitter Link for Princess Poppy

Princess Poppy Fantastic No Plastic

Blurb

When Poppy is invited to a beach party by cousin Daisy in Camomile Cove, she has to help clean up the beach first. There is so much plastic refuse. Meanwhile, her puppy Sidney chokes on a discarded bag. Poppy joins the campaign to rid the planet of one use plastic waste and comes up with an enterprising idea. Poppy is her usual energetic and passionate self as she realises everyone can do a little bit to make a big difference.

Review

Princess Poppy is a great story with a really good mix of positive environmental messages and general fun in the characters setting.

Fantasic No Plastic is the latest in this revamped Princess Poppy series of books. Poppy has been turned into an eco-warrior princess who has a wonderful caring and determined attitude. First came the brilliant Please, Please, Save the Bees – now available in paperback and now there is the new addition – Fantastic, No Plastic. These books are absolutely great for boys and girls alike as their main focus is on the environment and conservation. I can confidently, having read it to both boys and girls, both do really get into these stories about Princess Poppy and gain knowledge and have fun with the story. They are great for the home, libraries, bookshops and the classroom.

With both of these books, the stories have been well-researched to create a great story with a great environmental message, all there for both pre-school and school aged children to enjoy, as they are all on their level of understanding and enjoyment.

The illustrations are as fabulous as ever by Jennie Poh. They are big and assist really well in communicating the story to children.

The story begins with Poppy and her grandpa looking over a poster that’s for a competition to create an object to replace a plastic one. This gets me thinking that this could be an awesome and fun school project. There’s a list of some things that are made of plastic. The story then moves onto the beach with Poppy hanging out with friends, where there is lots of plastic. The book also shows the consequences of there being litter left on the beach. This again could open up brilliant discussions during storytimes in libraries or in classrooms or at home. There is certainly plenty of scope and things to ponder over. The story does also return to the competition and gives examples of plastic replacements for some items.

This is a really positive story about how action can be taken by everyone in a
non-complicated way and has a fantastic end.

There is humour to be found within the book. The balance between getting the environmental message across and some fun is right and works really well together. The humour and fun comes in, primarily in the form of Sidney – an energetic dog; and Princess Poppy and her friends playing on the beach.

I highly recommend that people do get these books in classrooms, school libraries, public libraries, community libraries and in homes. Climate is an important topic. It has been for many years and still is. There are lots for children to both enjoy and learn from in these books in a non-intimidating way. It has become obvious that the way the environmental issue is presented is completely on a child’s level and is so well-thought out. All of the content is relatable and can all be used for Reading for Pleasure and
in-conjuntion with environmental/climate activities.

I thank Janey Louise Jones for giving me the opportunity to review for her again and for sending me her paperback book of Princess Poppy, Please, Please Save the Bees (and again for last year’s hardback copy of this) and for a paperback copy of Fantastic, No Plastic.

        Paperback Princess Poppy please Save the Bees            Princess Poppy Fantastic No Plastic