Friday, 9 October 2020

The Smile Shop by Satoshi Kitamura (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)


 

 August 2020, Scallywag Press, 32 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Book summary from Scallywag Press

A small boy has saved all his pocket money and visits the market with high expectations. When disaster strikes and he loses his money, he feels devastated – all is lost! But wait, what's that? A Smile Shop? He could really do with a smile. What will happen if he goes in?

Nayu's thoughts

I've had the pleasant surprise of realising that I've already reviewed one of Satoshi's books, Hat Tricks, on this blog! You can see it in the suggested read at the end of this review. I was intrigued by what a smile shop was, and so too is the young boy. It is a little sad how he ended up at the shop, he was so enthralled by all the glorious items on sale in the market that he couldn't make up his mind what to buy. He then lost most of his money which made me feel sad for him. The smile shop is actually a photo shop, but the boy found out smiles are extremely precious and can have a huge influence on all who see a smile. He manages to change the mood of all the shoppers - many who do look a bit miserable on the pages. 

The positive message from the tale pairs up with highly detailed illustrations in subtle colours, apart from the boy who is brightly coloured. I loved these kind of books as a child, I'd make up stories about what all the characters were doing from the market stall sales people, the men and women buying items, those who seem focused on something, people who could be thieves but probably aren't as suspicious as they look. Much time can be spent imagining stories on each page outside of the main the story. That adds a lot of value to a book, and I hope readers get as lost in the pictures as I do. 


Suggested read

Check out Satoshi's other work including Hattie's Magic Show: Hat Tricks by Satoshi Kitamura (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)


 

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

We Planted A Pumpkin by Rob Ramsden (Children's, Picture book, 9/10E)

 

This cover is more muted than this image suggests.

September 2020, Scallywag Press, 32 pages, Hardback, Review copy


Book summary

Follow the journey of a tiny seed to a big, fat, orange pumpkin! Will the pumpkin be ready in time for Halloween?As the children are seen tending to their plant, we explore their emotions: enthusiasm, anxiety, joy and a finally a sense of achievement.

This book shares with young readers the delight of working with nature, and shows the need to be patient; it delights in the anticipation every child feels while preparing for Halloween.

 

Nayu's thoughts

I do not like Halloween at all. Scary things are not appealing to me, but that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying this book. I happen to love the colour and shape of pumpkins, as well as the cheerful colour scheme used in this book. I am happy being able to plant them in farming games, seeing their bright green and orange roundish bodies poking up from the earth as they grow both virtually and in real life are a pleasure to see. That frustration at how long nature can take to grow anything gives way with the pure joy of watching pumpkins grow. 

 

It was easy to imagine the characters eagerly rushing outside as soon as they wake up in their pyjamas to check on the growth status, perhaps wanting to protect them from the rain with an umbrella even though they know rain is needed for growth.  The hardback cover feels a bit like fabric which is nice to the touch, with the title slightly raised off the page. Everything about this tale screams autumn, although there may be the odd scream on seeing the faces carved in the pumpkins by the end.

Find out more on Rob's website.


Suggested read 

Other gardening themed reads include Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots by Claire Burgess and Marijke van Veldhoden (Children's, 5 years +, 10E/10E)

 


Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Nayu's Gaming Time #27 Lots of Game review links!

I've been very busy gaming lately, a lot I can't often discuss on Twitter straight away because they are review games which have embargos. Once the embargo has passed my reviews make their way on to Cubed3.com's website and the reviews go live! Here is a list of the game's that have been posted to Cubed3 that are reviewed by me! I select games that look interesting to me, and most do turn out fun. One or two really fail to meet expectation so I review them as best I can. 


Waku Waku Sweets: Nintendo Switch, baking 

 

Plantera Deluxe Nintendo Switch, life simulation



One Way Ticket Nintendo Switch, visual novel 



Nurse Love Syndrome Nintendo Switch, visual novel

 

 

Foxyland Nintendo Switch, platformer 



Foxyland 2 Nintendo Switch, platformer

 

 


Evan's Remains Nintendo Switch, puzzle 

 

 


A Short Hike Nintendo Switch, simulation platformer 

 

 

Evergate Nintendo Switch, platformer, puzzle which also includes an interview with Evergate's developers!

 


Nurse Love Addiction Nintendo Switch, visual novel 

 


Super Box Land Demake Nintendo Switch, puzzle 

 

 

Milo's Quest Nintendo Switch, puzzle 

 

 

Super Phantom Cat: Remake Nintendo Switch, platformer

 


 Antiquia Lost Nintendo Switch, jrpg 

 

 

Ultra Off-Road Simulator 2019 Alaska Nintendo Switch, driving

 


 

AER: Memories of Old Nintendo Switch, puzzle, adventure,

 

 


 Good Job Nintendo Switch, puzzle


That's it for now! There are many more on their way, hope you check out them!





 

 


 




Monday, 5 October 2020

Winter 2020 Review Policy Activation

 

Please note this is virtually exactly the same as my 2018 & 2029 Winter Review Policy post - it is saving me time! 

September is here which means Autumn and cold weather are on the way. While it provides more reasons to have hot chocolate, unfortunately it means the amount of books I review has to change.

For those of you who like me forget things and/or are new readers, my winter review policy means that I don't accept books for review from the date of this post until 1st March 2020. There are exceptions which I will explain later on.

I have permanent health issues including fatigue and chronic pain. Unfortunately my body adversely reacts to colder weather (anything below 10C), rain, snow, ice and hail. Oh and thunderstorms. I wish I was joking, but I like to hibernate as much as I can in winter to let my body be relaxed as it battles against the elements. Reviewing is fun but it does use energy, so I'm simply conserving what I have.

Wish I was impervious to temperature like Miku is (this is her 2019 winter outfit - possibly the best yet!)
There will be posts throughout the next few months, they will just be more gaming reviews and reviews of my own books rather than ones I get sent for review. It's easier to do a near-blanket ban on book reviews for a few months than having to apologise for being ill, which has happened over the last few weeks with unexpected illness over the summer

I can be found on Twitter most days, usually tweeting game related info on whatever I'm playing with at the time. Come find me @Nayuleska !
I use this fanart of Miku as my main profile header!

This doesn't affect reviews I've already 
committed myself to between October 2020 and March 2021
 I am upholding those, this is more for anyone requesting a review from today will probably get a negative response from me. I will answer emails explaining that as I know not everyone checks back on my review policy (or on the type of genres I do review...). I will try and repost a reminder of this post once a month in the absence of being unable to sticky a post here.
No idea who this cutie is, but she looks like I feel in winter.
I hope I can start accepting books for review sooner than March, but it does depend entirely on the weather. If we have a good winter, I'll accept books sooner. However, if we have a bad winter that I may have to extend the Winter Policy into April which I did earlier this year. I simply won't know until I get to February, which isn't for a few months yet! I appreciate your understanding in this policy change.
The exceptions are if you are one of my favourite authors! 
 I will always accept your books, they may still get a delay in review.

Once again thank you for your understanding, I hope you stay well this winter and enjoy the posts I do get up!  I hope this is all clear - please let me know if you have any questions. I promise this blog isn't going dark until March 2019! If you are able to wait until March for a review then please do still ask me to do them. I really appreciate your continued support and understanding for changes related to my blogging schedule. 
Sadly not drawn by me

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes by Scott Furlong and Emma Cahill (Children's, 5 years +, 8/10E)

 


15th September 2020, Clink Street Publishing, 54 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Book Summary

Emily is five-years-old. She wears pink ballerina shoes and wants to be a ballerina when she grows up.

Emily’s mummy and daddy are both special police officers called detectives. Lately, Emily has noticed that her mummy hasn’t been spending time with her. She has stopped taking her to dancing lessons and her older brother, Jackson, to his rugby lessons. One night, Emily sees her mummy crying on the sofa being comforted by her daddy. At a family meeting Emily learns that her mummy is poorly with something that the doctor calls Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a heart-warming story about a family who are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a story written about a family, for families by a family, by author Scott Furlong with illustrated by his cousin Emma Cahill. 
 
Nayu's thoughts
Emily is such a sweet little girl. She adores her special sparkly pink shoes, looks ridiculously adorable in the cute illustrations, and wears them as much as possible because they make her feel happy. Her happiness leaps off the page, her shoes always sparkle, her brother's shoes always have stink waves coming off them, and unfortunately Emily's mother is not always smiling. Despite her young age Emily knows something isn't right. The way her mother is depicted in the pictures and prose portrays what can happen with PTSD and also depression really well.
 
 It didn't happen all at once, there are clear signs that something is amiss, and it felt that the situation was explained clearly in an age appropriate way to Emily. She takes what she hears on board, tries to be extra nice to her mother, and then does something quite remarkable. Just what she does I won't say anything, but I was a little frustrated not to see her mother's reaction after Emily presents her gift to help her mum be happier. The end felt too abrupt for the story, and while I can imagine various scenarios, I'd really wanted to see what would happen and how the family would support Emily's mother.

Reviewed for the recent blog tour.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Wulfie Stage Fright by Lindsay J Sedgwick and Josephine Wolff (Children's, 9 years +, 9/10E)


3rd September 2020, Little Island, 128 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Little Island

Wulfie is just like a puppy – fluffy and adorable. But unlike a puppy, he talks. And he’s purple. His favourite food is smelly socks. He can be small as a snail or big as a bear. He’s sweet and loyal and he’s Libby’s new best friend.

Libby longs to star in the school play, and with Wulfie’s help she just might get a chance to outshine her big bad brother, Rex.

Nayu's thoughts

I want a Wulfie! I know that Libby needs him, she has a cinderella style life with little love from her father - he doesn't seem to know or care that all she may eat in a day is an apple because her evil stepmother decides she doesn't deserved a sandwich because Libby made her precious, obnoxious, bully of a son's sandwich 'too small'. What kind of parenting is that?? I'm amazed she survives on so little food. Just as the bullying gets too much with scary tales from Rex, Wulfie appears!  

I'd love a purple, size-changing wolf like creature with me. Libby has a lot of fun with him, although he causes chaos including getting her into the play despite her being at home during auditions, thanks to yet another of her stepmother's punishments. He has a unique way of eat things, and then smelling like the opposite of what he ate which causes trouble. No matter what size he is Wulfie has a big heart which does, eventually, help make Libby's life a lot easier. 

This tale is full of laughs, and a bit of child neglect. There was part of the story that I'd wanted and expected plot development on, but nothing really came of it. It looked like an adult knew about Wulfie, an adult who would understand him.  I hope that any future books in the series address that it does develop more, as I honestly thought it might help save Libby from her awful family situation. At least she finally got to have an ice cream sundae! The illustration style is sweet and while the scary parts are scary, at least Wulfie is seen being mischievous and does what I'd wanted him to do when he is at school with Rex!

Find out more on Lindsay's website. 

Suggested read 

If you love magic and animals try Grace-Ella: Witch Camp by Sharon Marie Jones and Adriana J Puglisi (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)


 

 

 

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Blog Tour: Mummy Wears Blue Shoes by Scott Furlong and Emma Cahill (Children's, 5 years +)


15th September 2020, Clink Street Publishing, 54 pages, Ebook,

Book Summary

Emily is five-years-old. She wears pink ballerina shoes and wants to be a ballerina when she grows up.

Emily’s mummy and daddy are both special police officers called detectives. Lately, Emily has noticed that her mummy hasn’t been spending time with her. She has stopped taking her to dancing lessons and her older brother, Jackson, to his rugby lessons. One night, Emily sees her mummy crying on the sofa being comforted by her daddy. At a family meeting Emily learns that her mummy is poorly with something that the doctor calls Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Mummy Wears Blue Shoes is a heart-warming story about a family who are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a story written about a family, for families by a family, by author Scott Furlong with illustrated by his cousin Emma Cahill.

Nayu's thoughts

This looks an incredible read and will be reviewed by me very soon! Thought you would all love the info as it's sadly a more relevant book these days for many people. 

Author info 

Scott Furlong resides in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on a 10-acre equine property. He medically retired from the Queensland Police Service after 20 years’ service with PTSD and Depression in
December 2019. He was a detective for 18 years and worked in Homicide, Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Task Force, Organised Crime and Officer in Charge of a Criminal Investigation Branch. He is currently
studying a Bachelor of Law and a Masters of Professional Studies (Research). His love of learning didn’t develop until he was in his early 40s. Scott’s wife was also a detective and worked in child
protection. In 2011, she also medically retired from QPS with PTSD. They have one son who is 14 years old. Scott has a great love for reading and writing. He also loves cooking and sports.