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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Algy's Amazing Adventures in Space by Kaye Umansky & Richard Watson (Children's, 5 years +, 9/10E)

June 2014, Orion Children's, 80 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: imagination, living in space, aliens, robot, space travel
Summary from Orion
Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. A red Early Reader is the next step on your reading journey.

What's waiting for Algy at the bottom of his garden this time? With his best friend Cherry and her little brother Brad, Algy opens the loose board at the back of his garden shed - to find himself in space! Cherry and Brad are really excited, but Algy's not so sure. Space seems very dangerous. Will he enjoy his latest adventure or not?

Nayuleska's thoughts 
The only reason this didn’t get top marks was because the pictures for the robot’s masters was a bit on the scary side for me – like Algy I didn’t want to stick around to meet them! I’m not sure why but in some ways this is my favourite Algy adventure, just because space is such an incredible place and Algy has so much fun despite his uncertainty. Cherry & Brad's enthusiasm was rather catching. They explore how they move differently in space thanks to the lack of gravity, and what kind of life forms may be out there (not all would be scary). 

Suggested read
Check out more of Algy's adventures like Algy's Amazing Adventures In The Jungle (4th book down, Children's, 5 years +, 10E/10E) 

Saved by Eleanor Updale (Interest Age Teen/Young Adult, Reading Age 7 years +, Dyslexic Friendly, 10E/10E)

May 2014, Barrington Stoke, 72 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: car accident, cult life, forbidden things, strict parents, cult fanatics, deception, protests, so-called prayer healing, money,

Content: Lots of tension, Tissue might be needed

Summary from Barrington Stoke
Luke and Anna belong to a very strict religious group that believes that medicine is evil. But when Anna is injured, Luke must work out what he really believes - and who he can trust.

Nayuleska's thoughts
There is something about people in a cult which makes a compelling read. It was clear from the start the cult was wrong - why else would his parents paint windows shut and lock Luke in? If there had been a fire Luke could have died. Thankfully he had the sense to break a window to get out to his sister when the accident happened. 

It was heartbreaking watching him try and figure out the best thing to do according to his parents' delusional ideals. I kept wanting the hospital or the police to take Luke into protective custody and then save his sister. However, Luke uses the few tools and opportunities available to him to try and get the help his entire family needs. This made it a tense read, and I only relaxed once I read the last word. The unlabelled epilogue is a realistic one and made me not worry for either Luke or Anna.

Find out more on Eleanor's website.

Suggested read
For another thrilling read check out Snapshot by Robert Swindells (Young Adult, Dyslexia Friendly, Reading Age 8, Intended Age Teen, 10E/10E)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Eliza Boom's Diary: My Explosive Adventure & My Fizz-Tastic Investigation by Emily Gale (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

February 2014, Buster Books, 128 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: life for a spy, inventing things, persistence, noticing everything, lots of thinking, a lovable sidekick, new friends, extra mean mean girl, revenge,

Content: Lots of humour, many plot twists,
Summary from Buster Books
My Explosive Adventure: Eliza Boom is having a blast. With her best friend (well, dog) Einstein, she's on a mission to catch a spy - and banish the class bully while she's at it. All in a day's work for Eliza Boom, assistant inventor ... and wanna-be junior spy. With silliness and mayhem, doodles and disasters - this book is perfect for engaging younger readers.

My Fizz-Tastic Investigation: Junior spy/inventor extraordinaire, Eliza Boom, is back with a BLAST (well, more of a FIZZ actually), as she finds herself on a fizz-tastic adventure to reveal the truth about her suspicious next-door neighbour, Mrs McNice and her mysterious, humming, 'fizz-buzzing' house. Will Eliza's inventing super-skills have enough fizz to save the day? Stuffed with silliness and mayhem, doodles and disasters - this book is perfect for engaging young readers.

Nayuleska's thoughts
Eliza is quite a girl. She never gives up, she has almost endless optimism, she is determined to keep those she loves and cares for safe. Once she find the truth about her family she uses their expertise to further her own interests. These include making thing go boom, something which several of my friends would heartily enjoy since life with Eliza is often unexpectedly crazy. I fully enjoyed the diary style with Eliza's entertaining view on life.
Some disasters were obvious, others I wasn't sure about the outcome, and although it usually wasn't what Eliza expected it managed to be what she needed to help tackle the main issue of the criminals, who were extremely sneaky (but closed investigation from Eliza soon sets the reader straight). I fond of her dear furry friend and their special position for thinking which she does even when it's not that practical r and when she's alone. I definitely don't like the bullying mean girl who is accurately described by Eliza, and who ends up being central to the adventure, I'm eager for more fun and explosions from Eliza! 

Find out more on Emily's website.

Suggested read
Another hilarious diary series without real spies but with a mean girl is Dork Diaries which includes Dork Diaries: Party Time! by Rachel Renee Russell (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

Pooch Parlour #3 Passion For Fashion by Katy Cannon (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E, semi short 'n' sweet review)

June 2014, Stripes Publishing, 112 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Content: Lots of humour,
Summary from Little Tiger Press
Pooch Parlour is more than just a grooming salon – it’s doggy heaven! It’s the perfect place for pet pampering and the dedicated team of groomers give each dog the star treatment they deserve.

Abi can't wait to join the Pooch Parlour team backstage at a glittering fashion show for dogs and their owners. But when one of the young models falls ill, Abi is catapulted into the world of catwalks and quick costume changes. Can she handle Boomer, the highly strung pup who will be her modelling partner?

Nayuleska's thoughts
Giggles and mischief are guaranteed in abundance in this latest installment. Yes, I am still against animals being put in clothes in practice, but on paper it's ok! Abi has a blast when her friend Emily comes over to visit her aunt’s dog grooming parlour. Abi may have felt more confident than Emily because she’d been around the clients for a while, but having to help get the pets ready for a fashion show pushes them both out of their comfort zone. I love how Abi doesn’t get too starstruck – she is more focused on getting her job done well, which ends up being off and on the catwalk thanks to a fun plot twist. I wonder what will happen in book 4....

Find out more on Katy's website!

Suggested read
Be sure to check out the other books in the series which include Pooch Parlour #2 Dog Star (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Brave Kitten by Holly Webb (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

June 2014, Little Tiger Press, 128 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: volunteering at a vets, close friendship with family, accidents, fear, loss, injured animal, z

Content: humour, cuteness, tissues needed

Summary from Little Tiger Press
A brand new tale in the Animal Stories series from best-selling author Holly Webb, about a girl and her brave pet cat.

Helena loves to help out at the vet’s surgery where her older cousin Lucy works as a nurse. Then one day, a young  cat is rushed in, having been injured by a car. Helena helps to care for the cat she calls Caramel, but where will he go if his owner can’t be found?
The Brave Kitten is the 28th book in Holly Webb’s Animal Stories series, a must for animal loving girls and boys aged six to eight years.

Nayuleska's thoughts
Holly's books are always adorable and nail-biting reads. Caramel's story had more of an impact on me because my current cat went through a similar ordeal, except she had broken her pelvis and was emaciated along with the broken leg. I cried a lot watching Caramel unable to understand why his leg was different. 

The way he grew to love being stroked in certain places while he was sick is exactly the same for Belle, as is the fear and desperation Helen had when Caramel went missing-I've stayed up a few times when Belle, normally a home cat, was absent.  I enjoyed the friendship between Helen and her older cousin, it was like they were sisters, and it was fun seeing Helen's grandmother help with caring for Caramel. Another fantastic read by Holly!

Find out more on Holly's website.

Suggested read
Another of Holly's cute books which has a Question & Answer session with Holly(! I'm quite the fangirl for anything by Holly) is The Scruffy Puppy (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

My First Sticker Activity Book: Farm Sticker Activity book & Baby Animals Sticker Activity Book, (Children’s, 3 years +, 5 years +, Activity book, 10E/10E, semi short 'n' sweet review)

 April 2014, Little Tiger Press, 80 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Little Tiger Press
Farm Sticker Activities: Toddlers will learn all about the farm in this exciting sticker activity book. With 80 pages of activities and over 200 photographic stickers, this bumper farm activity book will keep toddlers occupied for hours – it’s full of learning fun! 

Baby Animal Sticker ActivitiesToddlers will learn all about baby animals in this adorable sticker activity book. With 80 pages of activities and over 200 photographic stickers, this bumper baby animals activity book will keep toddlers occupied for hours – it’s full of learning fun!

Nayuleska's thoughts   
I’d have loved to have these books when I was younger. I possibly had similar ones, I can’t remember. I love the different types of activities – mazes to get around, dot-to-dot to draw around, puzzles to solve, pictures to draw and/or colour in, there’s a nice variety for the reader to learn different skills. I remember when I was little I’d always prefer one activity over another, and be disappointed to find there weren’t more of my favourite one in the book.

I like the realistic photo like stickers of all the animals, which adds an extra dimension to the book. Readers will be able to relate what they see in the book to what they see in real life. Yes, I did take out the sn*ke pictures – I’d have freaked out if I hadn’t. I liked how all aspects of a farm including where certain foods come from are taught in a clear, fun way. Learning will happen without the reader realising it! The facts about what type of places baby animals like to be in, as well as who their parents are and what activities they like doing also further the reader’s knowledge of the world.

Suggested read
For more sticker fun check out 1 2 3 Sticker & Colouring Book (Children's, Picture book, Sticker book, Activity book, 10E/10E) 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Me, Jill Robinson! A Seaside Mystery by Anne Digby (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

April 2013, Straw Hat, 74 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Themes: family holiday, sibling relationships, breaking the law, camping, odd goings on,
Content: some mild peril, occasional major peril, lots of humour,

Summary from Amazon  (I don't receive anything by using them) 
A seaside holiday - and a thrilling mystery for Jill. What on earth is her brother Tony up to? Why is he being so secretive about his new friend Sam [getting on the wrong side of Dad in the process] - and why are they looking for the boy with a fringe? When Jill takes up the trail with best friend Lindy, it leads the girls straight into danger...
Nayuleska's thoughts
This is actually the 2nd in the series, but the first book I’ve read as it was free when I got it (not quite a review copy, it was an ebook deal). I haven’t read any of Jill’s adventures, and oh boy I’m so going to collect the series now I have read them! Jill’s adventure is the kind of read I adore (probably no surprise that a lot of books like this were first published when I was little)

Jill is a typical sister, trying to keep an eye on her wayward brother, but being very human and forgetting to do that from time to time. She is mature enough to think ahead of the consequences of certain actions from her brother, and young enough to hope for the best when she has to take risks.

There was one part in the book where despite in the back of my mind knowing the end would be a happy one, I was so caught up in Jill’s dilemma that I kept holding my breath and got butterflies in my tummy.  It was scary, just like how the Nancy Drew series is. Thinking about Jill’s eventful holiday involving a hasty smoked salmon run, bike theft and family arguments makes me whoop in my head! Such a feel good tale to be read again & again! 

Suggested read
For more mystery (although no siblings) check out the first Nancy Drew adventure: Nancy Drew Mysteries: The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (Young Adult (it's young adult if you go by nancy's age, if not then it could easily be 9 years +), Audio book, 10E/10E)