Strong But Believable Heroines

Posted on 6 July, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Strong but Believable Heroines

Hello All!
Today is the release day of the fantastic second book in the Robyn Silver series by Paula Harrison and to celebrate I have a wonderful guest post from Paula about Strong but believable heroines!


About the Book

The boldest, brightest new heroine is back: and Robyn Silver’s life hasn’t got any quieter since defeating the evil vampire Pearl in The Midnight Chimes. She’s now a fully fledged Chime Child and monster-hunter-in-training alongside best friends Aiden and Nora. The three suddenly start seeing nightmares – in the form of black beetles – appear around town. Who wants the people of Grimdean to be losing sleep – and why?

Goodreads. Amazon. Waterstones.


Strong but believable heroines

by Paula Harrison

The strong heroine can be a bit of a trope and when a heroine is nothing but strong that doesn’t make for a well-rounded or believable character. In Robyn Silver, I wanted to create a girl who is often strong but has weaknesses too. She doubts herself, especially when challenged by her older siblings. Her efforts to be strong sometimes mask an impetuous side which lands her in hot water! Many stories and characters helped to inspire Robyn Silver but I have to mention:


Jo March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
If ever there was a strong-minded and impetuous character it’s Jo March. She frequently rushes in and regrets what she’s done afterwards. Jo also has a lot of friction with her siblings and Robyn experiences this too as she has four brothers and sisters.


Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Sophie doesn’t realise the full extent of her own abilities. She accepts difficult situations and just gets on with things – even when a spell turns her from a girl into an old woman. It’s her stamina and her unwillingness to give up that really see her through.


Lyra in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
As soon as we meet Lyra in Northern Lights we realise that this is a girl with boundless curiosity and nerve. Lyra is also good at forging alliances with others from witches to Texan aeronauts to armoured bears and this gives her a great advantage.


About the Author

Paula Harrison is a best-selling children’s author who has sold more than a million books worldwide. Her books include the Robyn Silver series, the Red Moon Rising trilogy, The Secret Rescuers series, Tiara Friends mysteries and The Rescue Princesses. She wanted to be a writer from a young age but spent many happy years being a primary school teacher first.

Website. Twitter.


Who are your favourite strong believable heroines?

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Posted on 6 July, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


The Adventures of Juicebox and Shame by Liv Hadden

Posted on 3 July, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

The Adventures of Juicebox and Shame by Liv Hadden

Hi All!
Today I am here to tell you all about an exciting sounding book called The Adventures of Juicebox and Shame!


About the Book

Juicebox Cover Final Li Nguyen, aka Juice Box, has never really had a friend. That is, until he meets the ultra cool, super mysterious Shame. Though Juice Box feels certain this is his new BFF, Shame’s dark past and nefarious entanglements get them both into serious, life-threatening trouble. It doesn’t help that Shame inadvertently pissed off one of the baddest crime bosses in Baltimore, Anna Nguyen (aka Laoban), who also happens to be Juice Box’s cousin. Shame stirred up trouble with a rival gang, putting Anna and her crew in a precarious situation. Torn between his love for Anna and his new, exciting friendship with Shame, Juice Box must choose where his loyalties lie.

Will he choose family and leave Shame out to dry, or will he choose the only friend he’s ever had, despite the danger?

Amazon.


About the Author

Liv Headshot - 2017 Liv Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont and currently resides in Georgetown, TX with her partner and two dogs, Madison and Samuel, where she is an active member of Writer’s League of Texas. Her 2016 release In the Mind of Revenge received high praise from Blue Ink Reviews, Writer’s Digest, Kirkus Reviews, indieBRAG and five stars from Foreword Clarion Review.

Incredibly inspired by artistic expression, Hadden immerses herself in creative endeavors on a daily basis. She finds great joy in getting lost in writing and seeing others fully express themselves through their greatest artistic passions. It’s no wonder she teamed up talented tattoo artist Mo Malone (who scribed a majority of Hadden’s body work) to create her latest release The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame.

Website. Twitter. Instagram.


Mo Malone Malone has been making art since she was a kid. Offered a tattoo apprenticeship while obtaining a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Malone briefly diverted from tattooing to be an elementary and middle school teacher, an experience she greatly enjoyed, but ultimately came back to her artistic roots. She has tattooed at Rick’s Tattoo in Arlington, Virginia (where she got her start), Iron Age Studio in St. Louis, Missouri and Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin, Texas where she met Hadden.

A lover of travel, her craft has taken her all over the world, to include a dozens of tattoo conferences spanning from New York to Moscow. You can now find Malone back in St. Louis at Ragtime Tattoo. She has recently joined Evil Prints to expand into screen-printing, and when she’s not working her magic in the art world, you can find her feeding her adventurous spirit BMXing at her local skate park or wandering the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Instagram.


Do you think you’ll give this book a read?

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Posted on 3 July, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


#ReadWithPride; George by Alex Gino (+ Giveaway!)

Posted on 1 July, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

#ReadWithPride; George by Alex Gino

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Hello All!
Today I am here with a mini-review of the fantastic George by Alex Gino and a chance to win one of three copies too!


About the Book

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her (4th grade) teacher announces their class play is going to be “Charlotte’s Web.” George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part …because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Goodreads.


Mini Review

After reading it in 2015, George stayed in my mind for a long time as it was a truly incredible and entertaining read that made me feel very emotional. In 2016 in a round up on Big Book Little Book I said, “I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. A true coming of age story about a boy who wants to dress like a girl. It is a lovely cute story that everyone should read.” And to this day, this book is still one of my utmost favourite LGBT books. George is an adorable but powerful and intensely moving read that looks on a very serious issue in a way that allows you to truly empathize with the main character. For a MG that is very good at being a YA Crossover, this book is just such an important novel that I honestly want every child and teenager to read. It’s one of those books that is easy to read, easy to fall in love but incredibly difficult to forget.

So if you haven’t read this book yet, why not enter the giveaway to make sure you don’t miss out on this absolute gem of a read!


Giveaway

To win one of three copies of George by Alex Gino, all you need to do is head on over to Twitter and RT the following tweet:

Screenshot_20170701-074043

(Click the image to go to the tweet in twitter)

The giveaway ends on 8th July and winners will be notified on twitter.
Winners will have 72 hours to confirm acceptance of their prize.
Winners MUST live in the UK or IRL.

Good luck!


What books will you #ReadWithPride?

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Posted on 1 July, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


Star Friends: Mirror Magic by Linda Chapman

Posted on 18 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Star Friends: Mirror Magic by Linda Chapman

Hello All!

Today I am here with a review of the very cute book that is Star Friends: Mirror Magic!


Star FriendsTitle: Mirror Magic
Author: Linda Chapman
Illustrator: Lucy Flemming
Publisher: Stripes
Published: 6th April 2017
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
Source:: Review Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Waterstones

Summary:
Do you believe in magic?

Maia and her friends do! And when they meet the Star Animals, a whole world of magical adventure unfolds.

When Maia meets Bracken, a fox with indigo eyes, she is amazed at how beautiful and unusual it is. Then she realizes that she can hear the fox speaking to her! Maia and her friends are Star Friends – girls who can use magic to keep the world in harmony.

Maia’s older sister has started acting strangely and the Star Animals sense dark magic at work. Can the girls use their newfound Star Magic to help them put a stop to it?


Sometimes You

I am about to put my hands up here and admit that I have never before read a Linda Chapman book. This is quite startling, I’m sure but I’ve just never gotten around to it, unfortunately. Of course, this all changed when Star Friends: Mirror Magic arrived on my doorstep. I had never heard of this series before but as soon as I saw the cover and read the blurb, I knew that I simply had to read the book and see what it was all about. It is the kind of the book that I would have absolutely loved when I was younger as I loved both animals and magic – hell, I still do! I’m so glad I took the leap with this book as I very much enjoyed it. It only took me a short while to read but in that time I was fully transported into the new world.

Just Need

One of the things that I really admired about this book was the way that the children were given animal guides. It reminded me a lot of Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy, which, when I read them as a child made me wish I had an animal companion so that I was never truly alone. I felt exactly the same about the animals in this book. They’re all so wonderful and lovely and will always be with their star friends when they’re needed. What more could anyone really want? On top of that, I loved the way that the friends all grew as the book progressed and I am ultimately very interested to read the next book to see what happens next!

A Little Magic

I’m going to have to go all controversial for a moment and let you know that my favourite character was in fact the fox animal guide. While I loved all of the guides and all of the three main characters, it was Bracken. I have to admit I am probably a little more drawn to foxes due to the Foxcraft series by Inbali Iserles, but I’m sure that’s not the only reason Bracken was my favourite. He was also the cutest animal, the one who seemed the keenest and just seemed to shine that little bit more. I did also really like Maia and her friends and have to admit that Linda Chapman has done a brilliant job of creating vibrant and loveable characters in this book.

To Survive

This was a short read – mostly as it was aimed at young children but despite that it was a book full of emotions, adventure and a book that really packed a punch too. I was instantly transported into the world of star friends and was very sad when I returned to the real world and remembered I do not have a star friend. It is a lovely and magical book that I think a lot of children will absolutely devour. It is a book about friendship, love and is also full of adventure too – what more could you possibly want? So, if you’re looking for a heart-warming and touching story, you should pick up this book. Last, but certainly not least, the thing that really helps to make this book even more special are the beautiful and vibrant illustrations.

Four Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 18 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop

Posted on 16 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop

Hello All!
Today I am here with a review of a book that I absolutely loved and highly recommend; The Bookshop Girl!

The Bookshop GirlTitle: The Bookshop Girl
Author: Sylvia Bishop
Illustrator: Ashley King
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Published: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback
Source:: Review Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Waterstones

Summary:
This story is about a little girl named Property Jones, so-called because she was left in the lost property cupboard of a bookshop when she was five years old. Property loves living in the bookshop, but she has a whopper of a secret… she can’t actually read! So Property doesn’t see the newspaper article announcing the chance to win the Montgomery Book Emporium, the biggest and most magnificent bookshop in the world! When her family win the competition, Property finds herself moving to the Emporium, a magical place filled with floor upon floor of books and a very bad-tempered cat. But all is not at it seems at the Emporium and soon Property Jones finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.


Sometimes You

After reading Erica’s Elephant I was primed and ready to read her next book, certain that it would be another magical and lovely book. Fortunately, I was not wrong. The Bookshop Girl is a magnificently beautiful and adventurous book that really shows how talented Sylvia Bishop actually is. In a world where being different can be difficult to deal with, Sylvia Bishop has created a story that truly celebrates being different. She has written a story that is magical, unique and full of a wonderful story of acceptance and love. It is a book that you do not want to miss.

Just Have To

I do not want to go into too much detail about this book as I do not want to spoil it’s mysteriousness but what I will say is that Sylvia Bishop really knows how to pull the reader in with a wonderful and creative imagination. I absolutely loved everything about the world that The Bookshop Girl is set in. It was vivid and vibrant, easy to imagine, and included a bookshop that I would definitely want to visit if it existed in real life! Sylvia Bishop has created a book that is very likely to capture the hearts of children and adults alike with a fast-paced and action-packed plot surrounding a wonderful backdrop of books and bookshops.

Lose Yourself

There is absolutely no way to not fall in love with Property Jones. She is a very lovable, very adorable, very interesting character who naturally finds a way to charm herself into your life. I very much enjoyed reading about her and getting to know her a little better as I did so too. I loved following her journey and cheering her on as well. It made the book that much more entertaining and exciting. I also really liked Gunther the cat too. And the rest of the Property’s family were all so lovely and interesting to read about as well. Sylvia Bishop has created a wonderful cast of characters for this book.

In a Bookshop

This book is just as magical and lovely as Erica’s Elephant – if not more so! It is full of adventure, mystery and love. The perfect book for children who are looking for books that are just a little bit different. It is a book that will lift your spirit instantly and one that will leave just a little bit of hope in your heart too. Accompanied by some absolutely fantastic illustrations, this is a book that I am certain children and adults are all going to love. So if you love cute, charming and beautiful books, you should definitely make sure you read this book!

Four Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 16 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Dream Magic by Joshua Khan

Posted on 11 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Dream Magic by Joshua Khan

Hello All!

I missed my stop on the Dream Magic blog tour but today I am here to tell you my five favourite things about the book! You can also see my review of the first book by clicking here.

And here is some information on the book!


About the Book

Dream Magic In a world ruled by six ancient Houses of Magic, a girl and a boy begin an epic and dangerous journey of discovery . . . Lileth Shadow, princess of darkness, is struggling with her growing powers. Castle Gloom is filling with ghosts, zombies roam the country and people throughout Gehenna are disappearing. Then Lily is attacked in her own castle by a mysterious sorcerer known as Dreamweaver and his army of jewel-spiders whose bites send victims to sleep. Thorn, and his giant bat Hades, must save Lily from the realm of sleep and help her overcome the evil Dreamweaver in order for her to reclaim her kingdom.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Five Favourite Things about Dream Magic

Fantasy World

I have to admit that I am more than a little in love with the Fantasy world that Joshua Khan has created in these series. It’s interesting and unique. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something else happens and it’s absolutely brilliant. Joshua has created a vibrant and flowing world that fits well together. Not only that, it’s also written about in such a fantastic way that I could imagine everything so vividly too.

Kick-ass Heroine

What really makes this book better is that at its center is a truly kick-ass heroine. Lily is stubborn, powerful and clever. She is fearless too. She’s also scared, emotional and loyal. I thought she made such a wonderful character to read about and I loved how well she gets on with Thorn. Everything that is thrown her way is dealt with interestingly and with creativity – which I love!

Adventurous and Mysterious Plot

The one thing that in my review of the first book in this series that I mentioned loving was that the book had a little sprinkle of everything and the same goes for this second book. Joshua Khan has done a brilliant job of mixing genres together with my two favourites being the adventure and mystery. Something is going on that is dangerous but no one knows for sure what is happening. It is up to Lily and Thorn to save the day.

Packed Full of Emotion

If there is one thing that I love about reading, it is when books bring out emotions in me. I love reading books that make me cry and laugh and smile. Books that make me feel hopeful and fearful. If it ignites emotion, then it means I am connecting with the book perfectly. Joshua Khan is not afraid to cause emotions in the reader so, naturally, I absolutely love this aspect of the book. I went through so many emotions while reading this book – including big fat ugly tears!

Narrative

Lastly, but certainly not least, I really enjoyed the narrative style of these books. I’m not sure how Joshua Khan did it but the books flow easily and quickly absorb you into this wonderful fantasy world. The characters fly off the page and all of the dialogue works really well too. I just love how easily it was to find myself lost in the words and how quickly I was able to escape the real world. I would highly recommend this book for that reason alone!


About the Author

JOSHUA KHAN Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.
*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.

Website. Twitter.


Follow the Tour

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Posted on 11 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Posted on 3 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 6th October 2016
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source:: Review Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Waterstones

Summary:
In a world ruled by six ancient Houses of Magic, a girl and a boy begin an epic and dangerous journey of discovery… After her parents’ murder, 13-year-old Lilith “Lily” Shadow rules Gehenna from Castle Gloom, an immense and windowless citadel. Once Lily’s ancestors commanded spirits, communed with the dead, and raised armies from out of the grave. But now her country is about to be conquered by the Shadows’ ancient enemies – the Solars, the lords of light. Thorn is a peasant boy, wily and smart, sold into slavery and desperate to escape. So when he’s bought by Tyburn, executioner to House Shadow, he’ll agree to just about anything – even to serving Castle Gloom for a year and day in order to earn his freedom. When Lily is nearly poisoned by a ruthless and unknown assassin, she and Thorn embark on a dangerous quest to save Gehenna, a weird and wonderful land of haunted castles, mysterious forests and an unforgettable giant bat. Together they must unravel a twisted plot of betrayals, pride and deadly ambition.


Sometimes You

I’ve mentioned this plenty of times before but one of the things I love about books is being able to fully absorb myself in them and this is exactly what happened with Shadow Magic. There was something magical (*cough*badpun*cough*) about the way the narrative of this story pulled me in. Within only a few chapters I was truly immersed in the story and was thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it. Thus I managed to read it quickly as I kept itching to return to it so that I could read more and dive back into this fascinating novel.

Have To

Joshua Khan has created a strong and well-balanced plot that keeps you guessing and flicking the pages too. This book is a fantasy novel wrapped in an adventure wrapped around crime and mystery. It’s perfect. It has comedy, heart-warming emotions, friendship, family, and love. It has ghosts and ghouls, darkness, magic and light. It literally has a little bit of everything and it all works together brilliantly. I was truly enraptured with the plot and absolutely loved how it all came together in the end. Utterly marvelous.

Go Where

As with most fantasy novels, this book held a vast array of characters. Some villains, some noble royals, some feisty squires and one kick-ass princess too. I feel that Khan has done a good job of creating a realistic and vibrant set of characters that you can’t help but feel emotional for. My favourite character was Lily and I am really looking forward to reading more about her in the next series. I also liked Thorn as well, a very interesting character to say the least! But really, the best character in this book is Hades. And that is all I am going to say about that – you will have to read the book to find out why!

You’re Needed

It has been a long time since I have read a fantasy novel that has been absorbed quickly by me. I was thrown into this story and fell instantaneously for the world and the characters that inhabit it too. This is a book that has a little bit of everything, which in turn is what makes it that much more entertaining to read about. It is a book that will take you on an adventure, make you feel tense and alert, will cause tears to leak from your eyes and also make you literally laugh out loud. What more could you possibly want?

Four Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 3 April, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Attack of the Alien Dung (Pet Defenders) by Gareth P. Jones [Giveaway!]

Posted on 9 February, 2017 by Faye - 4 Comments

Attack of the Alien Dung (Pet Defenders) by Gareth P. Jones

Hi All!
Today is my spot on the Attack of the Alien Dung blog tour and I am here today to give you a chance to win the book! For how to enter the giveaway, keep reading to the end of the post!


About the Book

Attack of the Alien Dung The Pet Defenders Code:
1. The safety of Planet Earth depends on you.
2. Humans MUST NOT know the truth. GOOD LUCK – you’ll need it…

It’s up to Mitzy and Biskit to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it!

Secret agent Biskit is not happy when he discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat – everyone knows that cats and dogs don’t mix. But saving the earth from alien invasions must come first and the planet is under attack! A cluster of cow pats has flown into town and they’re whipping up a stink… It’s time for Biskit and Mitzy to put aside their differences and kick some alien butt!

Goodreads. Amazon UK. Waterstones.


About the Authors

Gareth P. Jones is the best-selling author of many books for children, including the NINJA MEERKATS series, and THE CONSIDINE CURSE, for which he won the Blue Peter Book of the Year 2012 award. Gareth also works as a producer of TV documentaries and lives in Forest Hill, south east London, with his wife and children.

Twitter. Website.

Steve May is an illustrator and animator based in north London. He was born in sunny Hastings and has an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art. As an illustrator he has produced work for a variety of clients including Puffin and Faber.

Twitter. Website.


Giveaway

I have one copy of Attack of the Alien Dung to giveaway to one lucky person! All you have to do to enter is comment below with the animal you would love to have as your pet! (Even if they’re not normally kept as a pet!)

Entrants must be 13 years or older or have parental permission to enter.

Winners will be notified by e-mail (so make sure you provide yours!) and will have 28 days to respond before a new winner is chosen.

Entries will close at 6pm on Thursday 16th February

Good luck!

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Posted on 9 February, 2017 by Faye - 4 Comments


School Wars Blog Tour!

Posted on 13 January, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

School Wars Blog Tour!

Hi There!

Today is my stop on the School Wars Blog Tour and I am here to support St Grizzle’s! I love Karen McCombie’s books and this one is brilliant!

Without further ado, here’s some more info about the book and then I have a stunning guest post from Karen herself!


About the Book

Hi I’m Dani and my mum loves penguins’ bums more than me. Otherwise she’d never dump me in some stuffy old school while she heads off to the Antarctic.

And it gets worse. When we arrive at St Grizelda’s School for Girls, the school’s had a drastic makeover. Gone are the uniforms, the rules and … er, most of the pupils and staff.

In their place is TOTAL CHAOS.

We’re greeted by a bunch of stampeding eight-year-olds, a head-butting goat and a crazy head teacher wearing a plastic-spoon crown…

Somebody get me OUT of here!

Goodreads. Amazon.


Top 10 School Stories by Karen McCombie

*Swoooop…!* That was the sound of me carefully side-stepping the obvious school story of them all (soz, JK). Instead, I have a smattering of new and old, serious and seriously funny school stories for your reading pleasure.
You’re welcome.

1 ‘Wigglesbottom Primary – The Toilet Ghost’ by Pamela Butchart
Pamela is the number one choice for this list, since she’s a) a very funny writer and b) sets most of her stories in school. I found it hard to choose between the excellently named ‘Baby Aliens Got My Teacher’, ‘My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat’ and ‘The Spy Who Loved School Dinners’, but in the end I opted for one of the ‘Wigglebottom Primary’ series. This is because Becka Moor did the illustrations for ‘Wigglesbottom’ as well as my newbie book ‘St Grizzle’s School For Girl’s, Goats and Random Boys’. (Yay!)

2 ‘A Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Let’s go old skool with this riches-to-rags-to-riches tale of Sara Crewe, who finds herself deposited at Miss Minchin’s Seminary for Girls in London, while her dad is off fighting in the war. When he’s presumed dead, Sara goes from indulged, number one student to browbeaten maid in no time at all. Anyone who doesn’t gasp and “ooh” at the attic transformation scene is no friend of mine.

3 ‘Takeshita Demons’ by Cristy Burne
Miku has moved from Japan to London, and is rather taken aback when the supply teacher at her new school turns out to be a Nukekubi – a bloodthirsty demon whose favourite snack is children… *erk* Can she and her best friend Cait save her little brother from this flying-headed, otherworldly freak? They’d better!

4 ‘Drama’ by Raina Tegelmeier
‘Smile’ is a big favourite in our house, especially for a certain teen with braces. ‘Drama’ stars Callie, who joins the – no spoilers here – drama society at school. Another easy-read graphic novel choice that hits the spot in terms of friendships, crushes and school angst.

5 ‘Down’ With Skool’ by Geoffrey Williams and Ronald Searle
I think I discovered my battered copy of ‘Down With Skool’ during a teenage trawl of charity shops (my favourite Saturday afternoon occupation). It was Ronald Searle’s spidery, searingly sharp illustrations that caught my eye, but Geoffrey Williams’ irreverent take on life in posho boarding schools of the 1950s made me snigger madly. St Custards and Nigel Molesworth – what a wizard wheeze, chiz chiz.

6 ‘How To Write Really Badly’ by Anne Fine
American schoolboy Chester moves to Britian, and finds himself stuck in a boring classroom next to Joe, who struggles to write well. This very funny story trips along speedily, and is deceptively simple… the underlying message of appreciating each other’s different talents is told with a lightness of touch, as you’d expect from former Children’s Laureate Anne Fine. [Karen does a little curtsey.]

7 ‘Withering Tights’ by Louise Rennison
‘The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey’ is the mighty and much missed Louise Rennison’s follow-up to the ‘Georgia Nicholson’ series of books, and this is the first in the series. Tallulah has got herself a place at a performing arts school in the unlikely setting of the Yorkshire Dales. Expect a pacy read packed full of Louise’s trademark zingy and brilliant buffoonery.

8 ‘Maggot Moon’ by Sally Gardner
If it’s still sometimes an uphill struggle to be dyslexic in the school environment in these enlightened times, try being Standish, the central character in Sally Gardener’s stark and strange dystopian novel. Written off by teachers, bullied by fellow pupils, it’s only when new boy Hector starts at school that a little trickle of brightness enters Standish’s brutal world. Epic, but you might need a lie-down and a sugary tea after reading this.

9 ‘I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You’ by Ally Carter
Cammie Morgan is a spy-in-training at the elite Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Still, it’s all well-and-good to know fourteen languages and how to kill a man in seven different ways, but how does a not-so-average girl cope when she starts to fall in love with an ordinary boy? A fast and fun read in the ‘Gallagher Girls’ series, and scores highly in the Awesome Title Awards (which I’ve just invented).

10 ‘Beswitched’ by Kate Saunders
Modern-day schoolgirl Flora Fox suddenly finds herself zapped back in time to the tight-laced 1930s St Winifrid’s. Lots of gorgeous period detail envelope the reader as Flora struggles without her 21st century accoutrements, but with her new retro girl crew of Dulcie, Pogo and Pete. A totally enjoyable time-travelling romp.


About the Author

Karen McCombie2Karen McCombie has written over 80 books full of endearing characters and quirky humour; her series Ally’s World has sold over 200,000 copies. Born in Scotland, Karen now lives in north London. Karen loves her job, but is a complete fidget. She regularly packs up her laptop and leaves Office Number 1 (her weeny back bedroom) and has a brisk walk to Office Number 2 (the local garden centre café).

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.


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What’s your favourite fictional school?

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Posted on 13 January, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Blog Tour: The Elders by Inbali Iserles

Posted on 4 October, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

The Elders by Inbali Iserles

Hi All!
Today is my stop on The Elders blog tour and I am here today to tell you some reasons why I think you should be picking this series up – and you really, really should be! But first, here’s some more information on the second book!


About the Book

Isla’s search for her missing brother, Pirie, has brought her to the vast Wildlands. The forest is a treacherous place for a fox cub, but Isla is talented in foxcraft — ancient arts of cunning known only to her kind.

Skilled though she is, Isla’s grasp of foxcraft is still new. And she’s not alone… A cruel and mysterious fox stalks the forest, with the power to enslave others to his will. In order to survive, Isla must learn to trust in the rustic Wildlands foxes.

But there are tales of others — a council of Elders who are masters of foxcraft, and who warily guard its most potent secrets. If Isla wishes to master her gifts and find her brother, then the Elders may be her only hope.

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Reasons To Read Foxcraft Series

Foxes

I am nothing if not an animal lover. I love how cute they can be, how smart, brave and just purely fascinating they are. So, naturally, I was drawn to this book the minute that I realised it was narrated by a fox. And I am so glad that I read this book because it is a wonderful read. It was fascinating reading from the perspective of a fox, of living in the world through their eyes. I loved every little detail about this book and I would definitely recommend you read it if you’re an animal lover, or even if you’re just curious. It’s definitely worth the read.

Illustrations and Descriptions

10 5
Throughout the book each chapter heading has a little illustration like above and they’re so beautifully drawn. They really show and reveal the essence of the books too. I loved how well Inbali has described the world as the Fox sees it. How wonderfully descriptive even the most mundane detail is. I was truly pulled into this story and able to fully imagine the world as Isla sees it. It was incredibly well done and I love when that happens in a book.

Isla

Something I absolutely love in books are characters that are strong and powerful as well as weak and small and Isla is all of this. She is fierce and stubborn, powerful and impatient. She is a character with both good and bad qualities and I absolutely loved that but I also just loved her so much. I loved how much she cared for her family, especially her brother, Pirie. I loved that she was feisty and not willing to back down when the going got tough. She’s crafty and sneaky and one in a million. She definitely makes this series a brilliant read.

Adventure

Alongside a vibrant protagonist and beautiful scenery, these books also have adventure at their core and I really love that about them. You’re witnessing Isla on her journey as she comes across enemies and traitors and potential friends. You witness as she gets out of scrapes and continues moving forward. How she never gives up because she is determined to find her family. I was fully enthralled with the story and the journey she took. It is one of the main reasons that I love adventure books so much. This series should definitely not be dismissed as a simple fox series.

Emotions

Last, but certainly not least, I cannot tell you how emotional these books have made me. From the very beginning of the book, I was almost in tears. Then I felt Isla’s strength and couldn’t help but urge her onwards, praying for her that things go well. I got completely immersed in the book and let my emotions wrap around me as I drowned in the words. I laughed when she laughed, cried when she wailed and felt afraid when she did too. It was incredible and one of the very best things about reading any book.


About the Author

Inbali Iserles is the award-winning author of The Tygrine Cat novels and one of the authors behind the bestselling Survivors series under the pseudonym Erin Hunter. She lives outside Oxford.

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Will you be reading this series?

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Posted on 4 October, 2016 by Faye - No Comments