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review 2018-04-23 10:49
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Home - Amanda Berriman

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. ]

This started as a bit of an annoying read, due to the ‘child voice’ narrating it—it wasn’t so easy for me to get into it. Jesika is a difficult narrator to contend with, in that, on top of being unreliable because she sees the world through her own filters, those filters are very much naïve and different from an adult’s. The way she perceives and interprets events wasn’t always easy to follow, and the fact that the words she used weren’t necessarily the right ones didn’t help. However, after the first couple of chapters, I got used to her voice, and I didn’t notice its ‘quirks’ anymore, or at least not in a way that disrupted my reading. Which was, of course, a good thing.

The story itself deals with difficult themes, too, that aren’t completely visible at first due to the aforementioned filters. But don’t mistake those for callousness: because Jesika seems ‘remote’, this actually makes events more… raw, in a way, in the absence of adult filtering. The reader soon gets to realise the issues Jesika’s family is facing: poverty… but not enough to really get help; having to contend with shady people; illness, probably due to their dire living conditions; and, of course, what comes later, once Jesika meets Paige and starts to wonder if what’s happening at her home is normal or naughty, and if she should tell her mother Tina, and won’t her mother stop loving her if she does that? (And that’s the biggest fear for her child: being rejected by their parents…)

Although the novel never veers into sordid (I don’t want to say that Jesika’s narration revealed Paige’s secret in a ‘cute’ way, because it’s not cute, it’s never cute, it’s creepy AF and no child, well actually no one, should ever have to go through that—but it did soften the blows in a certain way), it wasn’t exactly an easy read. Jesika and Paige are both so very young and vulnerable, all the more when one remembers that getting through the regular babble of children at such a young age can be exhausting, and doesn’t leave much room for actually listening, really listening to them when they try to convey something serious. I did enjoy the grown-ups’ reactions around Jesika, though, since they did take things seriously. There was a particular moment, for instance, when Tina could’ve done the coward thing, could’ve chosen to ignore the signals, because acknowledging them sort of put her at risk, too. There are so many stories, so many happening in real life, too, when unfortunately people close their eyes on the obvious and choose the easy way out.

At the same time, the circumstances Jesika, her mother and her baby brother have to face aren’t all in shades of black only. There are people around who’re ready to help them, and once Tina manages to get past her pride and accept those outstretched hands, she realises that friendship and trust are things you can find even when everything looks bleak. There could have been darker consequences, and in fact, it’s good there weren’t, considering the story’s themes are already dark enough as it is.

Conclusion: 3.5 / 4 stars.

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review 2018-04-22 21:55
Book Review of Giselda and the Dragon by J S Rumble
Giselda & The Dragon - J.S. Rumble

Giselda feels terribly guilty that she stole from the dragon on the mountain top. It's also worrying her that he might be holding a grudge against the schools because of what happened.

Unable to forget what she did she decides to travel up the mountain and face the dragon once more. It is safe to say the encounter has an unexpected outcome and Giselda is thrown into more exciting and terrifying adventures...but does she find what she is looking for?

 

Review 5*

 

This is the next book in the Giselda series of children's chapter books. I loved it!

 

Giselda is a wonderful character and I really liked her when I was introduced to her in the first book. She's an eight year-old girl who found out that she's a witch. Now a student at Wigmore School for Witches, she has already had one deadly adventure. However, she is beset with guilt for her part in stealing hair off of a dragon. Determined to right a wrong, she must find the courage to face the dragon once more.

 

This book is a sweet children's book with an exciting adventure included. It is ideal for children with short attention spans.

 

The school is not your typical witch/wizard school, nor is it like Hogwarts. Wigmore teaches their students to be bad (not evil) and play tricks on others. The story continues from the end of the first book, Giselda The Witch. I love meeting Tom again. He is a young wizard who befriends Giselda through the fence that separates the two sections (girls and boys are taught separately). This time, the two set off on an adventure that introduces new characters. I was terrified of the dragon when the children faced him in the first book, but in this one we get to know him a little better. His name is Colin and he's not scary at all. We are also introduced to his friend Gerald, another dragon, as well as a mysterious mythological species called Pangles, who look like large black cats with wings.

 

This book takes the reader on a magical adventure that sees the two children and Colin looking for a magical mirror that had been stolen from Colin over fifty years previously. There are several challenges that they face throughout the story, with lots of magic and spells, and the action and adventure kept me sitting on the edge of my seat. I think I've lot my heart to the baby Pangle though. Where can I get one?? The story ends satisfactorily, but eludes to further adventures to come and I can't wait!

 

J.S. Rumble has written an entertaining chapter book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love her writing style, which is not particularly fast paced though easy enough for children to follow whether reading on their own, or being read to by their parents. The flow is wonderful too. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this chapter book to young children aged 4-10, and to adults looking for a chapter book to keep their little ones entertained. - Lynn Worton

 
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review 2018-04-19 22:22
Review: The Misadventures of Michael McMichaels Vol. 1: The Angry Alligator
The Misadventures of Michael McMichaels Vol. 1: The Angry Alligator - Tony Penn,Brian Martin

Are you a kid that thinks everything can go wrong does. The Misadventures of Michael McMichaels maybe a good book for you. It a story with morals and life lessons. The first book is about The Angry Alligator. Ever hear the saying The Gator gonna get you or eat you. 

The child in the book say say this to Michael and it gives him the idea of it really happening. The lessons in the book is about not lying about something you did. You know once you tell one lie it get harder to tell the truth as you go to cover up one lie after another.

Well Michael lies and lies and it get all tangled up. You are in a big mess when you should have just told the truth in the first place and you would not be needing to cover up more lies. I also like the saying The truth will set you free.

Source: nrcbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/review-misadventures-of-michael.html
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review 2018-04-18 20:49
Book Review of Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen & Illustrated by Alena Paklina

 

Book Review of Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen & Illustrated by Alena Paklina

 

Review 5*

 

This is a wonderfully illustrated story for children aged between 3 and 8. I loved it!

 

I love the colourful illustrations done by Alena Paklina. They bring this short story to life and will engage a child who hasn’t fully grasped how to read yet, but who can follow the story with ease as it's been read to them by their parent. It compliments the short story written by the author so one is transported directly into the tale. Depending on the child’s age and reading ability, the author has written a charming story that is easy enough for a young reader to follow, as she uses simple words that will not confuse a child.

 

The story is a simple but important one about learning to share. Little Bear has a lovely chair but refuses to share it. Because of his selfish behaviour, he has been left out of the fun and become lonely, which is no fun at all. He learns that by sharing, he is included in all the fun and games with his friends. This then translates into teaching the young reader how it is better to share when playing with their friends or siblings. Some adults reading this book may decide that this book is also about bullying as Little Bear is not exactly nice to his friends. However, this is not the impression I found when reading it. I suppose it depends on your upbringing and what your life experiences have made to you as a reader, and how you interpret a book in a certain way. I can only go on my impression of this book and I think it’s a lovely book that can entertain as well as educate. Everyone’s opinion is different, so I will leave you to decide if, after reading the sample, whether you would want your child to either listen to you read it, or they read this book on their own.

 

This book is suitable to read as a bedtime story, or anytime at all, especially if a child has a short attention span. It is a quick read, so even if they haven’t settled down, the lovely pictures will entertain the children.

 

Claressa Swensen is a new author to me, as I have not read her other children’s books. However, I would definitely read more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 upwards and to adults looking for a fun but educational read for their children. – Lynn Worton (Book Reviews by Lynn)

 

P.S. This book has not yet been published and will be on Kickstarter for a crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of May. Please consider donating to it. The link to the campaign will follow once it goes live on 1st May 2018.

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review 2018-04-18 06:04
Review: The Duke Who Ravished Me (Rebellious Brides #4) by Diana Quincy
The Duke Who Ravished Me - Diana Quincy

This was an wonderful, well-written, heart-melting story from start to finish. With one of the best introductory scenes I might have ever read, this is one book I definitely recommend to anyone that loves fresh stories, unique twists, the right amount of drama, and characters full of emotions and wit. 

So, that scene; we are introduced to the Duke of Sunderford, or Sinful Sunny, in the most decadent and naughty way, giving us glimpse of what was yet to come * yum *
I love dukes. I don’t care how many fictitious dukes there are, I’ve read lots of them and I’ll probably continue reading them for the rest of my life. However, Sunny is by far the most deliciously wicked, cynical, charming duke I have ever read. He was the epitome of the perfect all-rounded scoundrel there could possibly exist, and yet in spite of all the flaws the haughty man might have had, he never lied! 

The plot itself was so much fun to read. One of the reasons my favorite trope is enemies to lovers is because of the verbal sparring, and this story satisfied my needs for it Every.Single.Time. The chemistry between Sunny and Isabel, the governess, simmered slowly until it burned a raging blaze at a perfect pace. Their love was believable and honest, just as the emotional attachment Sunny developed for his wards. Throughout the book we learn of Sunny and Isabel’s painful past, yet the story doesn’t dwell on it and instead it moves forward because of it. In truth, I think my only cavil is that as we neared the end I felt the scenes were being rushed. I’m not talking about the ending itself but the scenes that preluded the climax. Even so, the story delivered in every other way so I'm willing to overlook whatever faults I thought there were. 

** I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**

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