Saturday, 23 March 2019

Competition extended until 30th March 2019

Win a copy of this ebook!

And this ebook too!

Due to an error on my part, somehow the link I was using on Twitter took you to an error page on my blog. Epic fail on my end, sorry.  The competition is now extended until midnight 30th March, so please enter and spread the word!  You can find the updated competition details here

I am in the middle of a busy few days with family visiting from Australia, so will blog later in the week. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Nayu's Gaming Time #23 My Time At Portia Release date is announced!

This is an image I had on my laptop, it may be out of date

It's coming in 27 days!!!!! 

My Time At Portia is a simulation game with lots of crafting quests, I think some fighting, along the lines of Dragon Quest Builders 1 & 2 which are my favourite games of the genre, Animal Crossing which is coming for Switch this year, Harvest Moon: a series I'm only just getting into, and other games. I've known about since last summer all thanks to the Youtuber Miss Multi-Console, who did a let's play series based on the PC Steam alpha version of the game. I possibly had heard of it earlier, but it wasn't until seeing it after getting into the genre thanks to the Switch that I absolutely needed it in my life. 

It was due to be released last winter (2018), but they had to push it back, which while annoying I did understand because the publisher wanted it to be the best it could be. Then this year or maybe the end of last year they announced it was due in Spring. No date given, which was rather frustrating. I confess to checking the My Time At Portia Twitter account on a regular basis, sometimes daily - that's how much I want this game. It's one of the few games I'm buying this year, and I am blocking out time so I can spend all day playing it upon release. It is ready to preorder, which I did yesterday after frightening my family by cheering upon seeing the news on Nintendo Life, and it's downloaded onto my Switch, ready to be played on April 16th.

I did get an inexpensive copy of the alpha version for my laptop, unfortunately my laptop isn't in the mood for gaming, so it was too slow for me, but I did get to create a character with pink hair: I'm hoping to replicate her when I get it. I am not going back through my hundreds of photos on Twitter to find what I'm talking about - above is a picture of what a male and female character can look like. The range of customisation is so huge that I'm sure most people won't have a lookalike if they spend just a little time in that section at the start of the game.

You can expect a lot of  Tweets about the game when I get my hands on it, as well as a special count down on Twitter that I'll be adding to every single day - don't worry, I'll try to update you guys once a week or so here. I'm that excited guys! Having a release date means the world to me, and I want to share my joy of it with you! 

See more on the Pathea Games website.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Great Big Book of Irish Wildlife by Juanita Browne and Barry Reynolds (Children's, Non-fiction, 10E/10E)

October 2018, The O'Brien Press, 80 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Book summary from The O'Brien Press
 A beautiful picture book tracking nature through the seasons in Ireland. It explores nature in your back garden as well as weird and wonderful natural phenomena, such as the metamorphosis from Tadpole to Frog; the Red Deer rut in autumn; or a starling flock in winter.

Nayu's thoughts
I love anything bright and colourful which is what attracted me to this book (there is the possibility I just got sent it rather than it being a request). I absolutely adore children's non-fiction because the books are crammed with facts, there are usually cute illustrations (brilliant ones by Barry in this book) loads of photos, and are less dry than 'adult' non-fiction books. (Academic non-fiction books). 

This book looks at all aspects of wildlife in Ireland throughout the different seasons. There are photos galore, each page bringing the facts to life in a way that is memorable and made me want to find out more about the animals in question. There are both general views on nature, as well as ones that are creature specific. My favourite section was on page 68 which discusses hibernation: there are cute photos of bats and hedgehogs both of which I love!

Admittedly I am an O'Brien fangirl, so this review is probably biased, but it is genuinely a fun read which I know all readers, regardless of age, will enjoy. I really hope O'Brien publishes more like this! I was surprised to learn about dolphins around Ireland (although it probably should have been obvious), seeing puffins made me smile, and I hastily turned the pages when insects came up. I can't remember if this fact is in the book, but the best thing about Ireland is that there are no snakes! The reason is given in folklore which I also have a memory blank over, but with a snake phobia Ireland is very safe for me to visit. 

See more of Barry's work on his website.

Suggested read 
For books that focus on a specific area check out the A (Place name) Year In series including A New York Year and A Texas Year by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review) 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Mysterious Moorings With Mouse by Kitty Irvine (Children's, 7 years +, 9/10E)

 February 2018, Independently published, 180 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Note: this was updated 20th March 2019 due to me accidentally putting the wrong cover and synopsis. 

Book summary
As usual, Peter & Emma are sent to their Grandfather's for the school summer holidays and as always it will be the same old things to do and the same old places to go!
 But this year is different, they discover a small canal boat called 'Mouse’  This leads them to magical journey on the canal where they meet amazing mystical characters including Tippy and Tilly from Willowwood Snug, the King & Queen of the Frogs and they have the most extraordinary adventures. When they finally find their treasure it is better than they could have wished for!

Nayu's thoughts 
Once I'd reviewed (and loved) another book by Kitty (see suggested read), she asked if I'd like to read about Mouse. Before you get confused Mouse isn't a mouse, but a boat! Mouse is a magical boat, belonging to a very special couple, who were strangers to Peter and Emma but who are kind and mean them no harm. Although as ever, fiction is fiction, so please never go on anyone's boat that you don't know. They may be bad people. 

While I don't like being near or on the water in real life, I'm absolutely fascinated by tales set on the water. I love how Peter and Emma discovered how being on a barge works, how there is a huge community between those on a barge and those who help them at locks (think of them as water gateways, they aren't the type of lock that requires a key). This book reminded me a lot of the Enid Blyton books I read when I was younger, because through their adventures Peter and Emma get closer to each other, appreciate the other sibling's strengths and learn from their own mistakes which honestly were crystal clear to me, but then that's the joy of being a reader, having the ability to watch  characters grow., sometimes going through mistakes that I had made.

Find out more on Kitty's website.
Suggested read 

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Ellie and the Cat by Malorie Blackman and Matt Robertson (Children's, 7 years +, Dyslexia friendly, 10E/10E)

 February 2019, Barrington Stoke, 80 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Barrington Stoke
 Ellie’s bad behaviour is driving Grandma mad! It’s time to teach her a lesson she’ll never forget … by swapping Ellie’s body with Jolly the cat. There’s only one way for Ellie to break Grandma’s curse, and time is running out. Can she change her ways and find some friends to lend a hand before it’s too late?

Nayu's thoughts
Despite knowing how famous an author Malorie is I've actually read very few of her books. These days I want more fun less edgy reads which rules out her Young Adult selections. However, this one caught my eye - who wouldn't want to turn into a magic cat? Apparently that's Ellie. Both why and how she turned into one is fascinating: as a cat lover I liked her having to get to grips with a cat body which is rather different to a human's: think of the fur, the tale, the whole walking on four paws deal, hunting instinct, etc. Ellie isn't the nicest of protagonists. She isn't a sweet little girl who gets cursed, or who accidentally falls down a rabbit hole. She is dislikable at the start, but by the end I did like how she changed herself because of her circumstances. 

I absolutely loved her grandmother! If only she could handle all mischievous children in that way, the world would be a) over run with cats (not a problem, I love kitties!) b) people would soon learn manners with her punishments. I liked that there was a deadline to Ellie being able to transform back into a human, it added a sense of dread every time something went wrong for Ellie: she is a wicked child but did she really deserve to be stuck as a cat forever? It's a question I had mixed feelings on, which probably makes it a good thing magic mostly exists in fiction. 

This is a Barrington Stoke novel, which besides always being brilliant (they truly are, although I am quite the fangirl of their books), they are easy to read using off-white pages, special dyslexia friendly font and margins, plus have a cool cover that I'm proud to display on my bookshelf. There are plenty of illustrations which provide support for all of Ellie's emotions, I hope you go read about Ellie's tale (or should it be tail?) for yourself!

 Find out more on Malorie's website and Matt's website.

Suggested read 
 Be sure to check out Malorie's other books including one I reviewed a few years ago: Fangs by Malorie Blackman and Jamie Smith (Children's, 7 years +, 9/10E)

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding (Thriller, 10E/10E)

 February 2019, Zaffre Publishing, 432 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Content: murder, twisted minds, 

Summary from Bonnier

Robin Davis hasn't spoken to her family in six years.

Not since it happened.

Then they're attacked; left fighting for their lives.

And Robin is back.

All families have their secrets.

And one of theirs may have put them all in terrible danger . . .


Nayu's thoughts
Talk about family secrets! This book had me guessing so much, not just who the killer was (who I only guessed right before the big reveal), but exactly what went on in her family's lives. She wasn't without secrets, but her revelations felt less convoluted than her brother Alec's, her father's, and the only remaining talking survivor of the attack. I was flummoxed by who the killer turned out to be, probably because there are a fair few red herrings and people acting suspiciously for what turn out as non-murderous reasons. 

I loved being with Robin as she slowly tried to piece the clues together alongside what felt like an idiot, highly incapable of doing his job law enforcement officer (I'm 99% certain I haven't got him muddled with another police man in a different tale, I finished the book a few weeks before writing this) who I didn't like much. He gave me little sense of security and he was insensitive at times. 

The whole attack slash murder was horrific, I felt desperately sorry for Cassidy, no teen should experience what she did, and the story inevitably focused on her survival. I promise she does get the help she needs. Robin became one of her primary guardians, because Robin's sister Melanie had her own son who had health issues of his own which were a struggle to deal with, adding a sense of realism to the tale along with Robin's panic attacks. I've never had a panic attack, so it was interested to hear what they are like and how Robin tried to cope with them. 

Although I know who did it, this is going straight to my reread pile because I want to try and see the hints that were dropped throughout the novel about the murderer. I highly recommend this as a first class thriller, and I look forward to reading more of Joy's books in the future. 

Find out more on Joy's website.

Suggested read 
Do check out this next read which I chose because the title is a lot like Joy's book: The Good Mother by Karen Osman (Crime, Thriller, 10E/10E)

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Oh!-So-Secret Princess by Anne Digby (Children's, 7 years +, 10/10E)

January 2019, Straw Hat Publishing, 29 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Book summary
Princess Bee longs to be let out of the palace on her own, just for a day. Dressed up as an ordinary person! But the king and queen would NEVER allow such a thing. Her dream seems impossible until, one magical Monday, she gets the chance to escape at last. It's her very first day off from being a princess and what a surprising day it turns out to be......

Nayu's thoughts
Any book with a princes in that crosses my path is almost always one I'll read for review: princesses are just plain fun! I had to smile at how much Princess Bee wanted to be a rebel - even princesses need to feel normal. I wondered how she would get her dream come true, and every aspect was a fun surprise: you'll never guess how she gets out and in the palace, not when it seems that the universe is conspiring against her. 

What I can say is that it is through the friendships that Bee makes, plus  lot of luck that make  her out of the palace tour a fun one. She is able to right some wrongs, and understands more about her kingdom which without doubt will make her a great queen one day. There are both laughs and thrills to be found in her tale, which is the first in this age category for Anne, and I hope she writes many more because I loved it!

Suggested read
 Check out Anne's other books which I've enjoyed since I was little, including Jug Valley Adventures #1 Boys V. Girls by Anne Digby (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

For more princess mayhem try  series which I've read a few audiobooks of but not read them, The Pony Mad Princess by Diana Kimpton and Lizzie Finlay (Children's, 5 years +, 9/10E)