Archive for June, 2014

Buddy Review: Breakable by Tammara Webber

Tammara Webber
breakableHe was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.
As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.
All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…
As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: May 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline & Faye
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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Looking At The Stars

Jo Cotterill

looking at the starsAmina’s homeland has been ravaged by war for many months, but so far they are safe, together. When a so-called liberating force arrives in the country, the family think their prayers for peace will soon be answered, but they are horribly wrong. The country is thrown into yet further turmoil and Amina’s family is devastated. Her elder brother is accused of being a ringleader in a rebel group and goes into hiding. Her father is then killed for apparently protecting him. The women of the family—Amina, her two sisters, and their mother—have no choice but to leave their home town, along with thousands of others, and head for a refugee camp. But there are even more challenges ahead

I loved this book, it is so honest and innocent but at the same time it is powerful and heart-breaking.

Amina Ambrose lives in Talas, an unsteady Dictatorship country on an unknown continent. The army who run it are called the Kwana and it is starting to exploit its power over the people in Amina’s country. They have made rules in the country that are unjust, such as making females wearing headscarves and men having the power over the women and boys having power over the girls. A revolution is needed to save the country. Amina is about 14; she has an amazing imagination-brilliant for making up stories and telling them to her family. She lives with her Mother-Mamie, her Father-Potta, her older brother-Ruman, her sister, who is a year older-Jenna and her little sister-Vivie.

Kwana have bought in a new rule: ‘Depending on your status or your family’s status you will be given a letter of heritage which you will have to wear at all times’. The letters of heritage determine your rank in life so if a family member was part of the Kwana you would be a letter A. The highest rank is a letter A. Amina’s family is an H. These letters were turning friends against friends and brother against brother. A family friend mysteriously disappeared and on their door was painted the letter Q.

Things started to look very bad. People were being shot, many were punished for saying anything bad against the Kwana and after school one day Ruman decided that he wasn’t going to have it anymore and left to join an underground Rebel movement. Even at night Amina could hear her parents whispering things like: “we’ve got to tell them, sooner or later they’re going to find out”…

War had broken out between the Kwana and an invading country to help save the people of Amina’s country. In the dead of night the Kwana broke into Amina’s house demanding to know where Ruman was. The family didn’t know so in the end the Kwana dragged them out of the house and tried to get answers. Amina tried to lie to save her family but still there was a devastating outcome.

There was no way that Amina’s family could remain in Talas so they left-and got stuck at a checkpoint. The Kwana were examining identification papers to see if they could leave. Sadly Amina’s family had trouble at the checkpoint (by the way, I’m not saying what happened because I don’t want to give it away!) and now Jenna and Amina had lost Vivie and Mamie! Can you guess what happens to the Ambrose family? Read the book to find out!

Verdict: I think this book was a real eye-opener to the wars ravaging other countries in the world. It shows peoples genuine struggle to stay alive and I thought it was a very good book and it was very interesting.

Reviewed by Daisy (13)

Click HERE to read author Jo Cotterill’s fabulous guest post about why boys should read books about girls.

Publisher: Random House Children’s
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 288
Genre: War
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Daisy (13)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Some Bookish Brits In New York

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Butterfly and the Birthday Surprise

birthdsy surpriseOver the hills in a land of sweetness, little fairies bake and play. Would you like to peep at their secret, scrumptious world? Make a wish, then step into the magic of Fairycake Kingdom.
Butterfly has everything organized for her party and she doesn’t want any surprises. But when the big day arrives, things start to go wrong. Will her friends be able to save the day with a wonderful birthday surprise?

My four year old daughter was delighted with this cute story. From opening the first page she was entranced by the map of the fairies kingdom, wanting to know the names of all the places and who lives where, and which way they would go to visit each other. She also loved the page that introduces the fairies who will be in the story. It was nice to know the names and recognise them before we started the story, especially as we haven’t read any Fairies of Blossom Bakery books before.

The story is a sweet tale about fairy Butterfly who is organising her birthday party, and she is very organised! Butterfly plans everything to the last detail and her friends help her to get everything ready, they put up with Butterfly’s bossiness very well! It doesn’t occur to Butterfly that her friends may want to do something for her, or even surprise her and she steams ahead with her plans. But on the day things don’t go smoothly as her dress goes missing and eventually the weather doesn’t co-operate with her plans. However Butterfly’s fairy friends save the day and Butterfly realises how lucky she is to have them and that things can turn out really well even without a big plan.

At the end of the book there is a recipe to make one of the cakes in the story, which I thought was a nice touch.

The pictures are pretty and colourful. There is plenty to keep the attention of a little girl.

Verdict: This is a sugary story with a gentle moral and a little bit of fairy sparkle.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Picture Corgi
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Picture book
Pages: 32
Genre: Fairy, baking
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:
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The Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

secret sevenIt’s their very first adventure, and the Secret Seven super-sleuths are already on the trail of some really weird clues. It’s snowing and the Seven are dressed in disguise, following a lead to a spooky old house – and a mystery.

This is the start of the Secret Seven’s adventures. In this story we meet the children for the first time (in this setting) and they solve their first mystery. I loved these books as a child and have been looking for chapter books to engage my 6 1/2 year old daughter, as soon as we started on these she was hooked. In fact not only do we get the usual “can’t I have one more chapter, pleeeeeease” requests she has actually been so excited by them that she has picked them up to read for herself, and has persisted despite the fact that some of it is quite difficult for her to read. It has been such a pleasure to see her start to engage in books for herself in this way.

These books have short chapters (good for us) and even though my daughter finds them very thrilling they do not have the same kind of excitement as the Famous Five, the villains are less rough and there isn’t as much danger to the children. The slightly tamer content suits us well and she is really enjoying all the talk about meetings, passwords, disguises, drinking home made lemonade and keeping everything a secret, especially from Jack’s annoying sister Susie. They are a great introduction to mystery books as the children look for clues and work out how to overcome the various problems they encounter.

As you would expect reading Enid Blyton today there are some things that grate a little (at least as an adult)! The boys get to do things that the girls do not and some attitudes that have changed somewhat, but for me there is nothing too bad in this book, there is far more that is fun and enjoyable. If you read a book written in in the 1940’s it is going to be different – and it certainly isn’t stopping my daughter’s enjoyment of it.

Verdict: So as the Secret Seven go on the trail of thieves and eventually come up trumps this is an adventure book with plenty of action and excitement for a younger reader to listen to or to read themselves.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 144
Genre: Mystery
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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