Tag Archives: children’s

#WearableBooks: Book-O-Masks by Lemke & Lentz!

Not my usual book review post…

A few weeks ago, I received this book in the post. At first, seeing the edges of a cardboard book, I thought it must be a baby book, sent to me by accident. It wasn’t… but it wasn’t like anything I usually read or review either. As soon as I saw the title I recognised it from Twitter and started laughing. The Book-O-Masks is pure GENIUS.

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This is one of two books in its series being published this month – the other is Book-O-Beards. 

Illustrated by Lentz and with witty captions written by Lemke, this book is weirdly one of the most entertaining books I’ve seen! It’s perfect as a gift or stocking filler especially for kids – even at fifteen I was giggling a lot at it – but from what you can see below, it’s got some appeal for adults!

The ‘wearable books’ idea is brilliant – check below for my mum modelling some of the pages. (She asked to model, btw, very eagerly. She’s excited to make her blogging début.)

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We did take pictures of every page of the short book, but we’ll leave it to you to go find a copy of it and have a go yourself! Curious Fox Books is talking about these books a lot on social media, so check out more funny pictures from readers using the hashtag #WearableBooks on Twitter and Instagram.

I received a copy of Book-O-Masks from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Review-Graphic: Anyone but Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

Published 9th April 2015 by Bloomsbury.

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Hope you enjoyed the infographic! Ivy Pocket was a really fun MG book to read and I really recommend it. 

New Books! #49

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A huge thank you to the publishers who mailed me some of the books in this haul- I’ve been really excited for all of them for literally months, so I really can’t wait to get reading & reviewing them!(: Below I’m talking about a couple of titles that I’m most excited for:

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Trouble by Non Pratt: I finally managed to buy a copy of this at the lovely A Bundle of Books in Herne Bay! (I stumbled across the store when I was visiting the village, and if you’re nearby, it’s definitely worth checking out- it’s a really gorgeous Children’s & YA exclusive bookstore.)  Non Pratt will be at a Young Adult Literature Convention event I’m (hopefully!) going to later this year- So this has gone straight to the top of the TBR so I can read it by then!

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: One of my really awful book habits is that I’m often put off by huuuuge-looking fantasy novels… But this sounded completely amazing, and after reading about it on Ruby’s blog Feed Me Books Now & Ruby recommending it to me, I decided I’d buy it! I’ve wanted to read a book by Sanderson for a while now and so I really can’t wait to get around to this. 

The School For Good and Evil: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani: Eeeeeep! I completely fell in love with this new MG/YA fantasy world when I read Soman’s debut last year, and I’ve been eager to read the sequel ever since I knew there would be a second book set around Agatha! Thank you so much to Harper Collins for this title- I’m really looking forward to starting it… and the cover is so beautiful!

Mila 2.0- RENEGADE by Debra Driza: Basically what I wrote above applies to this book, too! When I finished Mila 2.0 last year I knew I needed to read the sequel, asap. It was such a brilliant action novel. Thanks to Harper Collins again, for sending the sequel- Again, I’m looking forward to reviewing it! (:

 

 

Book Review: The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton

Published by Doubleday (Random House books), 2nd January.

The Queen of DreamsGoodreads Synopsis: Taggie and Jemima are summer holidaying on their dad’s farm, when they see a white squirrel wearing glasses . . . and soon after their father is captured and trapped in a faerie world that’s fallen to Darkness.

But why would anybody want to kidnap boring old Dad, especially the dreaded King of Night? Could it be that their family isn’t quite as ordinary as they believed?

My Review: I received The Queen of Dreams as a surprise in late 2013, and the cover was so gorgeous- I was excited to start it. I think it’s going to be a modern classic for children- ‘The new Alice in Wonderland’ is a fitting way to put it!

The Queen of Dreams follows Taggie and Jemima- two girls about to stay with their dad, currently divorced from their mum, on a holiday. Strange things surround their dad’s cottage… and within hours they’ve seen a squirrel wearing glasses leap down a well, then their dad is kidnapped, by terrifying creatures. I thought the squirrel thing was a bit too Alice in Wonderland at first, and was a little scared this book wouldn’t be very original. But, it really was! I enjoyed it a lot.

The fantastical world Peter Hamilton has created is vivid and beautiful. There are hidden realms, lost heirs to the throne, fairies flying in the sky, and a strangely loveable talking squirrel. It was so fun to get lost in the story, and at the last page I really wanted more! The book has a magical, personal feeling about it, because it was written for Peter’s children and two of the characters take his kids’ names. I found that really sweet!

Peter’s writing is descriptive and rich, and he’s created some really great characters. The king of night and the creepy people who begin to follow Taggie and Jemima are truly terrifying, and the main girls themselves are really fun to read about. There are themes of divorce and family in the book too, that I loved, and there’s a clever twist at the end of the book that left me aching for answers about the parents!

I loved the characters Taggie and Jemima, but at some points, I couldn’t really connect with them. That was one of a few parts of the book that I didn’t like! Also, events moved very quickly, and at a few points I struggled to keep up a little. I hope the pace slows down a bit in book two, so I can appreciate the writing better. Okay, The Queen of Dreams is a fantasy novel, but some parts I did find a little out of place, like a certain trip back in time to a well known place I can’t say anymore about… (:

Overall, The Queen of Dreams is a rich, imaginative and engrossing story. This is Peter’s first book for children, and I definitely enjoyed it. ‘m looking forward to hunting down Hamilton’s adult Sci-Fi novels, now, and the sequel to this! The Queen of Dreams is a mesmerizing story- a bit random in places, and sometimes very fast-moving, to me. However, I think a lot of children and adults alike are going to love it. I’m glad I got the chance to read it, as it’s definitely going to become a modern classic.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Queen of Dreams from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Spotlight on Steampunk: Larklight

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First review of the fortnight! I devoured this book in a couple of sittings over the weekend, and it was brilliant. There can’t be a steampunk event without a Philip Reeve book, right? Here’s the first in his MG/Teen series- Larklight! (:

By Philip Reeve, published by Bloomsbury.

Larklight (Larklight, #1)

Goodreads Synopsis: Arthur (Art) Mumby and his irritating sister Myrtle live with their father in a huge and rambling house called Larklight…that just happens to be traveling through outer space. When a visitor called Mr. Webster arrives for a visit, it is far from an innocent social call. Before long Art and Myrtle are off on an adventure to the furthest reaches of space, where they will do battle with evil forces in order to save each other–and the universe.  A fantastically original Victorian tale set in an outer space world that might have come from the imaginations of Jules Verne or L Frank Baum, but has a unique gravitational pull all its own…

My Review: This was the best book to start the fortnight on, as it was so rich with imagination and craziness. I loved it! The story begins with a brother and a sister, who are living in a crazy, huge house-mansion-ship in space called Larklight, which was their mother’s home before she died. Already, I was sucked into the story, because the premise was so awesome. The time of the events in the book is the early 1800’s- but the Victorian era I’ve learned about here has a massive twist. Victoria’s empire has expanded not only over the globe, but over space and surrounding planets. I couldn’t help but squeal here. It was so original and a really fun setting!

This book doesn’t hang around, world-building before the action. The details all fall into place perfectly over the course of the book, and you’re thrown into the action almost immediately. Larklight gets a visitor ,which Art and Myrtle are immediately already suspicious of. Then, when this visitor turns out to be a giant spider with a giant army, things happen. Creepy things, and adventurous things, all of which I don’t want to detail on in fear I’ll drop spoilers- but I’ll just say that it was so fun following everything! This book would suit anybody- whether they love sci-fi, fast-paced adventures, or pirates, or space. Or pirates in space (This happens! How brilliant! It had a very Treasure Planet feel.)

The story moved quite fast for me. With a lot packed into the plot, I was expecting the pace to be a little bit slower. However, the book moved really, really quickly. I did have to read over a few paragraphs at multiple points, because there was a lot to take in. Larklight really is a wild adventure, and moved a bit too fast in places, but that was made up for with the writing style- a twelve year old’s perspective!

Art is such a great character. Philip Reeve has captured a twelve year old’s personality so well. Art is a really easy character to like, and the story is written by “him,” so in places he complains a lot about his older sister, and skips to the battle scenes. His actions, and perspective on everything, made me giggle a bit. I couldn’t stand his sister Myrtle- though. She just seemed the opposite of Art; stuck up and unfriendly. I think it was intended for a reader to dislike her at first- because later in the novel, we get her diary entries, and whilst she’s still a bit annoying in them, I did grow to like her a little more through those.

Overall, Larklight is an imaginative,  roller-coaster of a book! The world was simply amazing- I loved the historical aspects that Philip Reeve has used, and put his own twists on. All so original! I planned on not reading the sequel (Starcross) this month yet, but I might end up reading it, actually- I want more of the setting! More of the adventure! The plot in Larklight has a very strange mixture of everything, but it all works, thanks to Philip Reeve, and his brilliant writing and world-building skills. The two siblings whom the story is centered around are both very three-dimensional characters, though I still really couldn’t like Myrtle much. Hopefully she’ll become more likeable in the rest of the series. I can’t wait to read on!

My Rating:

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I purchased a copy of Larklight from a local bookstore!

Mini Reviews: Coraline and The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

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Two mini reviews for Halloween Reads today- of Modern Classics that should be read by every kid! (Though I’d say Oyster Boy is for more of eleven plus. It’s a bit grim). I’ve loved both of these for years, and re-read them for this October…

CoralineCoraline is one of those beautiful children’s books that you’ll want to curl up with at any age. It’s engaging, funny, and imaginative- perfect for anyone! Coraline is a really relatable character, as a young teenage girl who’s a bit too lonely and often ignored or misheard. I loved reading (and re-reading) her rather scary story! It was, strangely, even eerier reading this as a thirteen-and-a-half year old, as opposed to a nine-year-old.The plot was dramatic and tense, full of scary thoughts on a parallel universe. It’s a quick read, Coraline- I think I would have loved it even more than I already do if it had been longer, more detailed, more explained.

Parts skipped ahead very, very quickly, and also, unless you’ve watched the movie, parts aren’t explained as well. OH, and I didn’t realise how different the book was to the story! Wybie, the male character in the movie, isn’t in the book, though I thought I remembered him being there. I loved Wybie! Apart from that, a great spooky story to curl up with! Plus, it’s full of Dave McKean’s awesome illustrations, so that is a bonus.

 

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other StoriesThe Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy And Other Stories is a ridiculously long title. Here on it’s referred to as Oyster Boy.

Anyway! Oyster Boy is a poetic oddity, by Tim Burton. Until Dad bought me this a few years ago, I had no idea my favourite director wrote poetry! All of these poems in this slim little book follow a theme, though it’s not so visible in some: all of the pieces follow children, or people, who are different from everyone else and so things mostly end badly. By different… I mean a boy who’s half microwave, a penguin boy, a matchstick boy, a girl with ten eyes, and an oyster boy, to name a few. Burton has created loveable yet freaky characters, who you can sympathize with despite their general freakiness. The poems are all brilliant, but very simple four-line stanzas. As a poetry fan, or a horror fan, you’ll love these! They’re great to curl up with on Halloween, as they’re eerie but also uplifting, sometimes.

 

My Ratings:

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to Coraline

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to Oyster Boy

both books were bought for me as Halloween presents, years ago, and were picked up for re-reads!

Lockwood & Co.

By Jonathan Stroud, published by Random House.

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Another five star review for my Halloween Reads! Yay! This one’s nothing like ZOM-B, which I reviewed earlier… it’s more for the fans of the paranormal who want a terrifying read to curl up with.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)Goodreads Synopsis: When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Review: Thanks very much, Stroud. You had me tossing and turning all night thinking about ghosts, rushing up stairs in case there were ghosts that might haunt them (no really.), and made me a MASSIVE fangirl. I’ve given it a while to write this review, so I can let it sink in a bit. No review I could write could do this enough justice… it was just simply amazing. Stroud has created a unique, imaginative world in which ghosts roam freely. They haunt so many houses- they’ve turned into some kind of infection spreading throughout England. So, agencies have sprouted up around the country, too, and Lockwood & Co. is that one with the bad reputation and the low-ish income. Luckily, with the arrival of Lucy, things begin to get a lot more exciting for them, because they’ve discovered their biggest case yet.

Despite this book being set in the modern world, for some reason I imagined it all Victorian, and I have no idea why. Maybe it was because there weren’t that many technology references? Maybe it was because Mr Lockwood reminded me a bit of Will from the Infernal Devices- cocky, arrogant, mysterious, and just loveable. Either way, I loved the future that Jonathan Stroud has crafted! It’s eerie, and quite terrifying for a Children’s book. It’s just brilliant- a rich dose of paranormal horror that will send shivers up your spine and grip you like a vice.

Lucy was a fabulous main character. The story was structured in a unique way- starting with an event that sparked their biggest mystery- then zooming back in time to build up Lucy’s back-story, then zooming ahead of time again to carry on with the book. Maybe I didn’t make that sound great… but it’s genius. I got to know Lucy so well! He accomplices, Mr Lockwood and George were also both loveable and brilliant leading characters, that I really want to read more about.

Lockwood & Co. is so gripping, also because of the writing. Jonathan Stroud’s writing is just immaculate, to say the least! His descriptions were beautiful, and the dialogue witty, mostly, to give the rather grim book an upbeat, feel-good essence. The writing drew me into Stroud’s novel so effectively that I found the book hard to put down- devouring the book in about three sittings!

Overall, Lockwood & Co. was an amazing novel. I haven’t read any ghost story as brilliant for a while! The plot was gripping, and full of ghosts and spectres that’ll keep you awake at night. One word to describe the story? Addictive. That’s what this story was! It held onto me from the first page and didn’t let me go until I had read (and re-read) the last chapter. I can’t recommend this enough to fans of the ghoulish and ghost stories. I think I’ve now got to go and hunt down Stroud’s other series, and then impatiently wait for the next book. Bring on the sequel!

My Rating:

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I purchased a copy of Lockwood & Co. from a local bookstore, but also received it on Netgalley- In no way at all did that affect my thoughts.