Friday 11 December 2020

Blog Tour- Brand New Boy


Daniel is an ordinary boy who goes to an ordinary school with ordinary friends. That is until George shows up. George is a new boy who gets put in Daniel’s class, and although he seems friendly enough something about him is a little… odd. At first, Daniel doesn’t think much of it. I mean everyone is a little odd in their own ways right? However Daniel soon discovers the shocking truth about George which changes the lives of him and his friends forever!

So today is my stop on the Brand New Boy blog tour! I thought I’d share my thoughts on this interesting and thought-provoking middle-grade book. Honestly, I have no idea how I’m going to write this review without giving away the big reveal that happens in the middle of the book as I just want to rant about all the things but I’ll do my best to keep it spoiler-free! 

 The book follows Daniel, a young boy who goes to an average primary school in Newcastle. However, things change for Daniel when a strange boy shows up accompanied by an equally strange lady. I loved the introduction of George, as it wasn’t immediately clear that something was weird with him. Being put in the spotlight in front of the whole school when you’re the new kid would make anyone feel awkward, and people have different responses to being put in an uncomfortable situation. To me, George just seemed to be a little overwhelmed and I wasn’t particularly suspicious about him until we got to know him a little better. It started to become obvious that George wasn’t “normal” as time went on, but Daniel and his friends start to question what normal even is. I loved how the kids tried to befriend George even though he seemed strange to them. Kids who don’t immediately fit in tend to get bullied, so I loved that everyone was interested in George and wanted to befriend him rather than deciding to be mean to him. 

 This book was honestly a big existential crisis. Daniel questions things such as why they follow orders from teachers, and why they do the exact same thing every day and sit in tiny square classrooms sitting at tiny square desks. It really made me start to think about these kinds of things myself. Who makes us do these things and why do we do them? It’s too easy to get into a spiral of questions on our existence when we think about it too deeply, but I think we all have these thoughts from time to time. I loved how it delved into the question of what makes us human really. Is it our emotions? Our ability to think for ourselves and learn new experiences? What makes us different from say a cat or a computer or a robot? I loved the discussions about artificial intelligence, as this is something that we are seeing more and more of in the modern world. Although we are not quite at the point where we see robots walking around in our day to day lives, technology is certainly heading that way, and if on day robots can feel emotions, would that make them human? This book honestly made me think about so many things that I really wasn’t expecting from a Middle-Grade book! 

 I adored the friendships in this book, and how easily the kids invited George into their friend circle. Even after learning how George was different from them, they treated him like everyone else and tried to help him as best as they could. They were put into a situation they had never even thought about before and handled it brilliantly. It was heartwarming to see them be so kind and thoughtful towards George when some of the adults saw him as nothing more than an experiment. Even though George was with them for such a short time, they made sure he had positive experiences and that he knew they were his friends. Kids are often more open minded than adults, so it was nice to see how they treated him despite knowing so little about him.

 So what is George exactly? Is he a robot? An alien? A shapeshifter?A hologram? A glitch in the matrix? Well you’re just going to have to read the book to find out! However, I do promise it’s nothing too sinister and it may just include some Sci-Fi themes! There are a few hints in the book towards what George is, and I did manage to figure out what it was before it was properly revealed by the way he acted, so even though I’m not giving anything away I didn’t really find it too shocking. It wasn’t really something I was expecting going into the book though so I was still somewhat surprised.

 I overall loved this book and loved the themes of love and acceptance, and the thought-provoking themes of humanity and our existence. I also adored the illustrations and I felt like they really helped to tell the story.  Although David is obviously a very popular author I’ve never actually read any of his books before, so this one has definitely made me want to read more! I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book so I definitely recommend it!

Brand New Boy is now available to purchase!

Monday 30 November 2020

Review on Beyond the Odyssey


With two Chaos Stones in his possession, Elliot is halfway to recovering them all. However, Elliot’s home life is becoming more complicated. His father has returned, and even with the extra help, Elliot’s mother's condition seems to be worsening. However, there may be something that can save her, a potion that is said to cure any illness. If Elliot wants to find it, he must go further than he has ever been before. Elliot must not only find the third Chaos Stone, but find the potion that will save his mum and Hermes. 

I can’t believe I’m already on book three! I’ve loved this series and this book was no exception. The stakes are higher than ever before, and on top of finding the third Chaos Stone, Elliot must also find Panacea’s Potion. Something I immediately loved was that we got to see more mythological places in this book. For the most part, Elliot has remained in the mortal world, and although he has had to retrieve chaos stones from highly protected places such as The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and The Natural History Museum, they have all been close to where he lives and he was able to go back home at the end of the day. However, Elliot’s search takes him to far more distant places this time, including an island inhabited by the Cyclops, deep under the sea and on a perilous journey across the ocean. I found this book more exciting than the previous two, and I loved that we were being taken away from reality a little more.

 Despite the book heading deeper into mythology, Elliot still faces the very real problem of his mothers declining health. This book seemed to face it more head on, and confirms our suspicions that Josie is suffering from early onset dementia. It was heartbreaking to see things from Josie’s point of view, and how frustrating and confusing everything was for her. People suffering from dementia often retain their long term memory longer than their short term memory, so it was particularly heartbreaking when she was moved to the hospital where nothing was familiar to her and she started to lose herself even more. It was horrible to see Elliot go through this at such a young age, especially when his grief took over to the point he started lashing out at his friends who were just trying to help. I loved how understanding the God’s were, and how they didn’t take his outbursts personally and continued to try to help him.

 The one thing I was disappointed in was the lack of my favourite character, Hermes. Even though him being in a coma was one of the main things that drove the plot, I missed him being around, and I especially missed the brotherly bond between him and Elliot. Hermes seems like the closest thing to a sibling that Elliot has, and I missed their antics and Hermes’ fun personality. I’m hoping the last book has lots of Hermes content to make up for it! 

 There were some interesting new characters in this book, but my favourite has to be Gorgy, Virgo’s pet baby gorgon. Gorgy was constantly getting into mischief, and although he’s tiny and adorable, he actually had some pretty impressive powers of his own that saved Virgo on more than one occasions! I loved that although everyone initially disliked Gorgy, they came to accept him as part of their gang. Really he made me want a pet gorgon of my own!

 I have to talk a little about Virgo, who has to make some pretty tough decisions in this book. Virgo wants nothing more than to be accepted back onto the Zodiac Council and get her kardia back, and will do anything to get what she wants, leading her to make some bad choices, including voting to lock away all the elementals. Virgo eventually realises what she did was wrong, and does her best to fix things. I loved that although Virgo was initially selfish, she came to realise that the freedom of the elementals was more important than her own wants.

 I’m usually good at guessing plot twists, but there was one that came towards the end of the book that I just wasn’t expecting at all! I’m not going to give it away, but it completely surprised me, but at the same time seemed so obvious when it was revealed. There was obviously something strange going on, but I just didn’t pick up on it until the end where it made perfect sense. I love it when a book is able to take me by surprise like that as it rarely happens.

 I didn’t enjoy the book quite as much as the first two just because of Hermes’ not being around, but I did enjoy meeting so many new characters and seeing all the new places. As Hermes is finally back in action, I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the series and seeing how everything ends for Elliot and his friends.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Review on Witch


When Evey’s mother is murdered by witch hunters, she is determined to get her revenge. Unlike her mother and younger sister Dill, Evey doesn’t see herself as a true witch, and believes she is powerless. However after meeting Anne, a girl she had met in her childhood, Evey discovers she may have some abilities of her own after all. With the help of Anne and her mother's scrying stone, Evey discovers the truth about her family and her powers, and what she must do to set things right.

This book was such a perfect Halloween read! It follows Evey, a young witch who sees her mother murdered by witch hunters. After barely escaping with her own life, Evey decides she is going to get revenge on everyone involved. I initially disliked Evey, especially with the way she treated her younger sister Dill. She was too harsh on her at the start of the book and left her alone with a group of witches they barely knew, along with stealing the scrying stone from Dill that her mother had given to her before her death. Evey was selfish and cruel, which started off a chain of terrible events for her.

 I loved how Evey became more likable as the book went on, and how she came to regret leaving Dill behind and stealing the stone. Dill rightfully doesn’t forgive Evey right away once they meet back up, causing even more problems for Evey. I loved that Evey had to work to regain Dill’s trust and show she had changed, as it felt more realistic for Dill to hold a grudge against Evey after everything that had happened to her because of Evey’s selfish ways. Evey’s character development felt realistic and didn’t feel rushed, and I loved how I started to like her more as the book progressed. 

 I have to talk about Anne, who was probably my favourite character! Evey first meets Anne when she rescues her from one of Evey’s mother’s killers when he tries to finish off the job and kill her too. We’re so used to seeing a handsome man on horseback saving the damsel in distress that it was pretty refreshing to see the protagonist having a woman as a savior! After talking a little with Anne, Evey soon realises that this isn’t the first time they have met, as years ago Evey’s mother had tried to save Anne’s mother's life with witchcraft when she was sick. I loved how despite her father's hatred for witches, Anne did not feel the same way and helped Evey on her quest along with saving villagers and other witches. I loved how the friendship between Evey and Anne grew throughout the book, but I did feel a little baited as I assumed a romance would form between them. Honestly I don’t think I’ve seen a platonic friendship where one wouldn’t stop talking about the other's eyes before. As the book is about empowering women I would have loved for it to be sapphic too. Evey and Anne had great chemistry so I was a little disappointed their relationship didn’t go into that territory.

 I found the book difficult to get into at first because of the writing style. The book is set in the 1600’s and is told in first person from Evey’s point of view, so it was written in a very old fashioned way that I wasn’t used to. I read the first 50 pages pretty slowly as I was struggling with the style to the point I almost DNF’d, but once I actually got used to it I started to enjoy the style and felt that it made it seem more realistic and helped me to get into the story more. I tend to stick to books with more modern ways of writing, so after the initial struggle I found the writing style refreshing, and as the book picked up the pace, I was glad that I stuck with it! 

 I think I would have preferred the book to be a little longer. Nothing felt rushed but I did feel like we didn’t see enough of Evey’s powers, as she only fully realizes she has them towards the end of the book. I loved her special bond with birds and how she could get them to help her, but I did wonder what else she could get them to do and if her powers went beyond birds. I don’t think the witches' abilities were explained well enough, as I wasn’t sure if they all had special gifts, and if they did what were they? I always love books with backstory and lore, and for a book about witches there just wasn’t enough of that.

 This was an interesting read and definitely brought me out of my comfort zone! Once I got used to the writing style I was able to enjoy this book. Even though I had a couple of issues with it, I loved the themes of forgiveness and empowering women. All the girls in this book kicked the witch hunters' asses and I was living for it! This was the perfect read for Halloween, and even though the spooky season is over it’s still the perfect read for those dark afternoons!

Witch is now available to purchase!

Saturday 31 October 2020

Blog Tour- The Forest of Ghosts and Bones

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! I hope you're all having a spooktacular day full of pumpkin carving and costumes. Today I'm taking part in a very spooky blog tour for The Forest of Ghosts and Bones, the brand new fantasy novel by Lisa Lueddecke. I adored A Shiver of Snow and Sky (you can read all about my thoughts on that book HERE) so I'm super excited to read this brand new story from Lisa and share my thoughts on it! For now, I have a very spooky Q&A with Lisa herself! 

Hi Lisa! As it's coming up to Halloween, what type of books get you into the Halloween spirit?

I have a bit of a soft spot for thrillers and mysteries, so when it starts getting towards Halloween, those are what tend to draw me in. Books that add to the feeling of unease.

The Forest of Ghosts and Bones is inspired by the myths you knew growing up. Are there any around this time that are your favourite or remind you of Halloween?

I’m honestly just so inspired by anything that has to do with souls or ghosts. I always get this delightfully eerie feeling as Halloween gets closer like I might see something haunting a window, or hear footsteps on the stairs. Since the book was inspired by a comment my grandmother made about souls lingering in the world, I think that fascinates me the most.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

 Liljana, for sure. She had a lot of history, and she made questionable choices, which made her an interesting person to write. Other than her, though, I really liked writing Benedek. He was a lot of fun to hang out with, in my mind.

 To get into the Halloween spirit, what would Béata, Liljana, and Benedek go as for Halloween?

Béata would probably go as a dead person from history, like an old royal, or someone from a story. Something like that. Benedek would probably not dress up at all, but he would spend some time with family and friends just the same. Liljana would either go as herself, because she quite likes herself. Or she would go as her take on a queen, with a magical, possibly deadly twist. 

I'd like to say a big thank you to Scholastic for letting me take part in the tour and providing me with a copy of the book! I had such a fun time going out to take spooky pictures with it and I'm looking forward to reading it. The Forest of Ghosts and Bones is available to purchase now!

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Review on Grave Matter

Samuel’s world is turned upside down when his girlfriend Eliza dies in a car crash. Unable to move on, Samuel seeks the help of his estranged Aunt, who he remembers healed an injured bird with Hoodoo. However bringing someone back from the dead is a lot more complicated than healing, and Samuel must tread a darker path if he is to be reunited with Eliza

I picked this book up on a whim just because Juno is one of my favourite authors, and I thought a short book could help me out of my reading slump. This book is short and is printed on good quality paper with double spaced text, making it super easy to read! It specifically caters towards people who don’t normally enjoy reading, and those with dyslexia, and even though neither of those apply to me I did still find the book easier to read than most books. Usually, I can’t read for long periods of time due to eyestrain and headaches, so I was surprised that I was able to read the whole book in one sitting without the usual problems I have when reading for longer periods. I was also grateful for the larger font, as my eyesight is pretty terrible and I can sometimes struggle with reading tiny fonts. 

 So onto the actual plot! Bringing a loved one back from the dead only to have everything go terribly wrong seems like an overused idea, so I was surprised that despite this being the main plot, the story still managed to be interesting and unique. The way Samuel brought Eliza back was pretty terrifying, and I loved how making him do awful things like sacrificing a goat showed us just how desperate he was to get Eliza back. As Samuel was the one to crash the car that had killed her, Samuel feels guilty about Eliza’s death, and feels like he has to put things right by bringing her back to life. What I loved about Eliza’s resurrection was that it didn’t just bring her back, it rewrote the whole timeline so that Eliza had never died and it was Samuel who had got hurt in the crash. To everyone but Samuel, Eliza had never died, and Samuel even wonders if everything had been a weirdly vivid dream he had while he was in a coma. However, Samuel starts discovering things to prove that it had all been real, such as his bank account being empty from paying for the recipe to bring Eliza back, along with seeing a terrifying shadow monster that seems to be the cause for his mum’s mysterious illness. I loved how even though everything seemed to be fine at first, Samuel starts to see the severe consequences bringing Eliza back had.

The characters were pretty thought out for such a short book, especially Samuel. I’m not sure if he was intended to be such an unlikable character, but he came across as a spoilt rich boy who was used to getting his own way. Even though he felt guilty, he also seemed to have selfish means for wanting Eliza back, and did some pretty awful things that no normal person would ever dream of doing… Also he called his parents mother and father and really who doesn’t want to secretly slap a character who does that? I also want to mention The Milk Man, who is much scarier than he sounds I promise! The Milk Man was a mysterious albino man who gave Samuel the recipe to bring Eliza back, and he didn’t seem entirely… human. Basically, he was a really creepy bloke who’s motives remained a mystery. Apart from stealing every penny in Samuel’s bank account, we don’t really get a proper reason as to why The Milk Man helped Samuel. Maybe he just wanted to rob a rich snobby kid who knows. Whatever his motives he was a pretty creepy guy!

I loved this book and even though it’s short, there is a lot packed into it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a creepy and interesting read, and I would even go as far as to say it’s a good book to give to anyone who dislikes reading! Reading big books can be a daunting task for anyone who isn’t used to reading for pleasure, so this could be the perfect book to start off a lifelong love of books!

Monday 19 October 2020

Spooky Reads!

As there’s less than two weeks until Halloween I thought I would pick out some spooky reads! Honestly I’m probably not going to get through all of these but I thought I would be a little ambitious as I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I’ve decided on four books I want to try to read so here they are!

1# Howl’s Moving Castle: I have a confession. I’m not really a huge fan of horror books. I’m not sure why exactly but I just tend to not enjoy them that much, which is why one of my choices is Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m a huge fan of the Studio Ghibli adaptation of this book, and I meant to read it last year but I just didn’t have the time. Something that I found out was that this book actually has Welsh themes, which as a Welsh person myself I’m excited for! I’m looking forward to seeing how the book differs from the Japanese themes in the Ghibli movie. As poor Howl has been living on my shelf for so long I’m going to make sure to finally meet him this year! 

#2 Witch: Okay yes this is a proof and I’m a terrible book blogger for not reviewing it on release day, but I think it’s still valid if I read it for Halloween (please don’t hate me Zephyr!). As the title suggests, this is a very appropriate book for the time of year, as it is all about witches and magic! I actually started reading this book last night and it seems really interesting. The writing style is making it a little tricky for me to get into it as it’s written in a very old fashioned way due to the book being set in the 17th century, but I think that as                                                               soon as I get used to it I’ll end  up enjoying this book. 

#3 Carrie: I’ve never read a Stephen King book, so I thought I’d start with his first one, Carrie. Everyone has heard of this book and seen the movies so I won’t explain what it's about. I've always loved the movie adaptations and loved the idea of a girl with psychic powers getting revenge on her bullies! I think the length of Stephen King books is what puts me off reading them ,so I think Carrie being a fairly short read will help me get into his books. As my copy of Carrie is part of an omnibus I might read the other two if I have the time. 

#4 Frozen Charlotte: This book sounds super creepy! I’ve had it on my shelf for a while so figured this was the perfect time to read it. I’ve always found dolls to be creepy, and I used to have a talking doll that would go off in the middle of the night! Maybe that’s why I’ve always preferred plushies. This book is giving me very Annabelle-like vibes so I’m ready to hide under my duvet while reading this one! 

As my country has been put  a two week lockdown I hope these spooky books will help me get into the Halloween spirit. Hopefully I will enjoy them enough to pull me out of my reading slump. If you have any favourite spooky books then please let me know as I’d love to check them out! 

Thursday 3 September 2020

Review on Life of Riley: Beginner's Luck

Ten year old Riley is most definitely CURSED! He knows this because a fortune teller named Madam Olga said “Curse you chiiiiiiild” after he accidentally smashed her crystal ball, and since then terrible things have been happening. Riley manages to lose the schools pet rabbit, lose his swimming trunks and lose his dignity in the space of a week, and the bad luck doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. However new kid Brad might just be the good luck charm he needs. Whenever Riley hangs out with Brad, the bad luck seems to be kept at bay. But how do you get a popular cool kid like Brad to want to hang out with you when the whole school knows you're cursed?

I’M SO HAPPY I GOT TO REVIEW THIS BOOK!! Simon James Green Is one of my all time favourite authors, and I’m practically always gushing over how much I love his Noah books, so of course I was over the moon when I was given the opportunity to review his first middle grade book. I knew this book was going to be hilarious before I even picked it up and I wasn’t wrong!

 The book follows Riley, a ten year old boy who is cursed, or so he thinks. After visiting a pretty dodgy fortune teller who curses him, Riley starts to have extremely bad luck with hilarious consequences, which cause him to start looking for ways to either lift the curse, or find a good luck charm that will help to neutralise the bad luck. Riley was an extremely funny and dramatic character, and reminded me a little of Noah. It was hilarious how he made a big deal out of absolutely everything, and how he got himself into every problem imaginable. I loved how Riley was a little different to most of the kids his age, and was a bit of a loner who preferred musical theatre over playing football. I always adore the characters Simon creates and Riley was no different!

 After going through some extremely unfortunate but extremely funny calamities, Riley meets new kid Brad, who seems like everything Riley isn’t. Brad is immediately popular, loves playing football and seems to be able to solve any problem he runs into. Even though Brad and Riley’s personalities were pretty different from each other, they immediately became friends and found out they had all sorts of things in common including a love for musical theatre. Their friendship was honestly adorable and it kind of made me miss being their age when kids were less judgemental and you didn’t have to have absolutely everything in common to be friends with someone. As Riley’s old best friend moved away, it was heart warming to see him finally have someone to hang out with again. 

 Something that I loved about Brad and Riley’s friendship was they always had each other’s backs, and if something horrible or embarrassing was happening to one of them, the other would get involved too. It’s easy to just step back when someone is having a hard time, but it takes bravery to step in and support them. I loved how Brad did dumb things to help Riley out, and how Riley unknowingly helped Brad by thinking his overprotective parents were cool and their safety precautions were a good idea. I loved how Brad went from thinking his parents were an embarrassment to thinking they weren’t so bad once Riley reacted positively. Brad was such a sweet character who was always there for Riley when something bad was happening to him. I did feel a little sorry for Brad, as he trusted Riley 100% even when the evidence was stacking up against him, and was pretty heartbroken when he found out the truth. However I did love how they were able to fix things by talking to each other and explaining their side of the story.

 I adored Riley’s grandma’s idea of creating our own luck, and how this was visualised by her sticking two three leaf clovers together to create a four leaf clover, which I think really helped to explain what she meant. Riley believes that he’s unlucky and Brad is lucky, but we get a glimpse that Brad’s seemingly perfect life isn’t all it seems, and he’s had his fair share of ups and downs too. I loved how Riley realised he was actually pretty lucky to have Brad as his best friend, and how even though bad things had happened, there were a lot of positive things that had come from the experiences too. It’s so easy for us to always see the bad things that happen in our lives and ignore the good, so I loved how even though Riley had gone through some terrible ordeals, he was able to see all the good things that had happened too.

 This book was both hilarious and heart warming and pretty much just what I needed right now! Despite it being a fun silly book, it also gave some important messages about the importance of friendship and how even though we might be having a terrible day, there will always be better days ahead of us. I would love to see more of Brad and Riley’s adventures in the future and I would recommend this book to kids and adults alike who are looking for a good laugh! 

Life of Riley: Beginner's Luck is now available to purchase!

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Review on The War of The Snakes

So as I took part in the blog tour for this book I’m just going to dive right into the review. If you haven’t read my blog tour post then I suggest reading that first! Following on from the first book, Sam returns to Magua- Atuai, except this time his stay is a little more permanent. This book all but removed the real-life aspects from the first book and became a full-on high fantasy novel! I think I did prefer how Sam kept world switching in the first book, but doing it this way definitely helped to keep us in the action. I loved how vast this world was, and it was explored far more in this book than in the first one. As the first book was half the size of this one, I felt like the world wasn’t set up fully, but we really see it’s full potential in the sequel.

This book introduces us to a wide range of new characters, which was interesting, but it pushed most of the characters we were introduced to in the first book to the sidelines. As Sam only briefly returns to his world, we barely see Alice, which was disappointing as she was the character who I was most interested in learning more about. As Pania was kidnapped at the end of book one she is absent for the majority of this one, Ma-aka doesn’t return until about halfway through, and even then he doesn’t come up much, and Ngaire is only briefly reunited with Sam before being left behind. The only constant character from the first book was Babu, and although I loved Babu, I missed the other characters. The majority of the characters remained pretty one dimensional. Although fantasy novels often have multiple characters, they usually focus on the protagonist and around five other characters. I think what just didn’t work was all the characters apart from Sam and Babu were focused on equally, so we never got to a point where we knew them well and cared about them. Something else I noticed was how the spelling of certain character’s names kept changing. Honestly it made it seem like the author just threw them in and forgot their names!

There is a severe lack of women in this series which I was disappointed about. I think only four women in the whole book actually had names, and although women fought alongside the men, the book focused on the men. The book was never openly diverse, and although I pictured Ma-aka in my head as being black, the book never actually describes anyone's race. Even though this lets us picture the characters however we want, it also means I can’t openly praise it for including diverse characters. The sad truth is that people often see white as the default when race isn’t mentioned, so even if the author had intended certain characters to be POC, it didn’t come across directly.

Despite the characters lacking detail, I do have to talk about how much I loved Howahkan, a Bjarke who had changed sides to help the Turangai. The Bjarke are a bit like the Slytherins or the Wen Clan (points if you get that reference!) in that everyone thinks they are all inherently evil. However Howahkan was tortured by the Bjarke after he refused to murder a mother and child and was saved by the Turangai. I loved that he went against what was expected of him and realised what the Bjarke were doing was wrong. There were a few hints that he was still secretly working for the Nephillim, but as this was never really confirmed I still want to believe he’s good. Really I’ll be disappointed if he turns out to be evil in the next book!

Although I enjoyed the book it felt like it just wasn’t quite ready to be published. There were some inconsistences such as the first book explaining that the gender of the padme were the same as the person they were assigned to, but in this book some of the Padme had different gender to their charge, and as I mentioned earlier, the spellings of side characters names changed. It made it even more impossible to remember who was who! I am interested in this story enough to want to finish the series, but I do hope more attention is paid to it and that characters other than Sam and Babu have their chance to shine.

The War of The Snakes is now available to purchase!

Tuesday 30 June 2020

Review on Date Me, Bryson Keller

Bryson Keller thinks that dating in high school is pointless, so when he is dared to date anyone who asks him he accepts. The rules are simple, he must date the first person who asks him out on Monday morning and date them until Friday afternoon, then it all starts again the next week. What Bryson isn’t expecting is for Kai Sheridan to ask him out. Kai is still in the closet and has his heart set on another boy in his class, but when Bryson’s antics cause him to be late for class, he decides to get his revenge by making Bryson date him for a week. However, as the week progresses, Kai soon learns there’s more to Bryson than being the popular jock. Kai’s feelings for Bryson soon change, but falling for the captain of the soccer team will only end in disaster right?

I was pre-approved for this book on Netgalley, and as it sounded super adorable I just had to read it! I was a little skeptical when I found out it was based on a yaoi manga, as yaoi is written for teen girls who fetishize gay men and is usually super problematic. I read some yaoi and watched the anime adaptations when I was around 14, and looking back on it now it was pretty problematic, and I pretty much avoid yaoi like the plague now (if you want manga or anime with good gay rep I recommend Given and Yuri on Ice). However, as the book is own voices I thought I’d try to put my thoughts on the book's roots aside and give it a chance!

The book follows Kai, a boy in his senior year of high school who is still in the closet. Kai is witness to a dare given to his classmate Bryson, who has agreed to date someone new for a week for the rest of his senior year. If at any point he breaks up with someone early or no one asks him out, the dare is over and he must ride the school bus for the rest of the year instead of driving his snazzy white jeep. The plot is somewhat silly but I found it completely adorable. A lot of this book is just straight up fluff and I loved it!

The relationship between Kai and Bryson developed naturally, and although the whole book happens over the course of two weeks, nothing felt rushed. The boys feelings for each other grow over the course of the book, but there are no proclamations of love, which I adored as I hate instalove. I feel like you need to get to know a person for an extended period of time before you can truly be in love with them, so I loved that there were no ‘I love yous’ and both boys wanted to take the relationship slowly.

Something I loved was that Bryson never labeled himself. He has feelings for Kai, but he is still figuring things out and isn’t sure which label fits him. I feel like we put too much pressure on young people to label themselves when they’re still figuring everything out. I actually went through a few labels before finding one that felt right, and honestly, I wish I hadn’t felt so pressured to choose one as a teen. I feel like we need more characters like Bryson so teens know it’s ok to not have everything figured out yet. Teens should be free to come to terms with their sexuality on their own rather than feeling pressured to accept a label that doesn’t feel right.

Even though I knew it was a coming out story, I was disappointed with how it was executed. As the romance was adorable fluff I was hoping the rest of the book would go the same way, and Kai would have a positive coming out experience. I was disappointed when Kai’s religious mum reacted negatively and made Kai feel horrible. So many YA coming out stories have the characters go through a bad experience, and I feel like this could put LGBT+ teens in a negative mindset. Having to read about a character who is like you have a bad coming out experience over and over again can easily make you believe the same thing will happen to you. The sad thing is that these negative experiences happen, but if that’s all they ever see in books and the media, they will assume the same thing will happen to them and be reluctant to come out.

Another thing I didn’t like was that Kai was outed against his will, and was forced to come out first to his family and then to his whole school. It felt like this was added just to create some drama, and I honestly hated it. Kai was bullied both verbally and physically, and I felt like it just wasn’t needed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing a cute fluff romance just because, and sometimes that’s exactly what LGBT+ teens need rather than the constant reminder that some people hate them for something they can’t control. The outing and bullying is the one thing that stopped me giving the book a 5 star review as I was hoping to get away from this negativity for a while!

Even though I had issues with the book and it didn’t turn out to be the escapism I was looking for, it did give an overall good message about the importance of accepting those who are different from you, and I loved the first 75% of the book. It was just a shame that the adorable romance I thought I was reading had to take a dark turn. I would definitely recommend this book, but it’s probably best to avoid it if you’re not in the right headspace for darker subjects like homophobia and bullying.

Date Me, Bryson Keller is now available to purchase!

Thursday 25 June 2020

Review on Lumberjanes #2 The Moon Is Up

After discovering some very smelly unicorns and people who live in the clouds, the Lumberjanes are ready for their next adventure! The scouts of Roanoke cabin are ready to compete in Galaxy Wars, a space-themed competition where they will be competing against the other cabins. However, Jo has even bigger things on her mind than space. When a letter arrives inviting her to a summer camp for aspiring scientists, she is torn. Jo must decide if she is going to accept the invitation or spend the rest of her summer with her fellow Lumberjanes. However she must decide quickly, and with mysteriously disappearing cheese and moon moles to contend with, time is running out.

I adored the first Lumberjanes book so I was looking forward to reading this one! The book starts a few days after the first one left off, with Jo debating if she really had seen a moon like spaceship. I loved how the book got right back into the action, with the girls planning for Galaxy Wars, a space-theme  competition filled with arts, crafts, planets, and giant hamster balls. The Lumberjanes always make me wish I had gone to a summer camp when I was younger!

Along with the same fun silliness of the first book, this one also had a more serious subplot, which was Jo trying to decide what to do about her future. From a young age, children are told that they must decide on a career, and are often put under pressure. This was evident with Jo, who felt as if she had to accept the place onto the summer science program even though she really wanted to spend the summer at camp with her friends. I loved how Jo was free to make this decision for herself, as parents can often be pushy and try to influence their children. It's important to let children be children, as all too soon they will be burdened with adult responsibilities and miss out on having a childhood. I was glad that Jo ended up deciding to stay at the camp, and realized there would still be career opportunities for her in the future.

I loved that the book started to give us hints that some of the girls were LGBT, which is something that seems to be plainly stated in the comics, but not in the books. I loved how it was made clearer that Mal and Molly were in a romantic relationship, and there were some sweet moments between them. I loved how healthy their relationship was, and how they were constantly supporting each other. Although it was hinted that Jo is transgender, I was disappointed that it was never said outright. As these books are aimed at preteens, I felt as if this wouldn't have been picked up on by most children, and although it was a good thing that Jo's story didn't revolve around her being trans, it is important for that representation to be visible and not just hinted at.

This book didn't seem as magical as the first one, but I still loved the storyline with Castor, a mouse from the moon. Although Jo's parents allowed her to make her own decisions, Castor wasn't so lucky, and was made to follow her mothers orders. I loved how although a moon mouse was a silly and fun addition, there was also an important message that sometimes parents should just allow their children to play and have fun rather than being constantly strict. It is important for children to play with others in order to develop their social skills, and it's equally important to let them have fun. I loved how the girls taught Castor what fun meant, and that sometimes it is okay to do something just because it is fun.

Although I enjoyed the first book more, this one was still a fun read that brought up some important messages. Something that I love about these books is how they show that girls can do anything that they put their mind to and that there is nothing that a boy can do that a girl can't. The end of the book hinted that the next one would be about dinosaurs, and as a huge lover of all things dinosaur, I am looking forward to reading about the Lumberjanes next adventure! 


Lumberjanes: The Moon is Up is now available to purchase!

Amazon Book Depository