Sunday, 19 January 2020

Happy 2020!

Apologies for the extreme lack of posting for well over a month. Winter has been rough as usual and I haven't had enough brain power to blog. I have been sharing my gaming choices and my craft progress on Twitter, which until the weather improves is like a super mini version of blogging. 

I hope you are all staying away from germs and have had a good start to 2020! My plants are already flowering! The image used is from previous year so not exactly what I am looking at but very similar. It is amazing it is alive with my very random waterings, but it has survived for 4 years now! 

I have already started 1 new type of craft this year! Not a project, a type of project. I will blog more once I have had more practice/made more progress. You can see my crochet projects on Twitter though. 

Anyway, sorry to be short but the weather is so cold my body feels like it has flu (it doesn't). Hope to be back as soon as the weather improves! Will be reading more then too. Gaming is a bigger distraction with pretty images.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Still hibernating

Wish I knew who the artist was for this image.
Hi guys! Apologies for almost a month of silence, I am sorry but winter is never kind to me. I am still hibernating, resting up as much as possible. I have read a few children's books, but mostly gaming. I am to write a few posts next week if my body permits me. I wanted to touch base and reassure you all is as well as it can be for winter. Just had a lot of low temp days which my body doesn't like at all. Please bear with me!  

Friday, 8 November 2019

Nose Knows by Emmanuelle Figueras & Claire De Gastold (Non-fiction, Children's, 9/10E)

 October 2019, What On Earth Books, 38 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Summary from press release
 In this fun flap-filled book, you'll learn how smell plays a key role in the lives of animals and how it shapes their behaviour and relationships. Each flap reveals the hidden side to each environment only perceptible through smell, providing a clear layering of information and contributing to the element of surprise throughout the book.

Nayu's thoughts
I am so happy - somehow there are no snakes in this book, which is brilliant! I had to cautiously open each page in case there was a giant sn*ke staring back at me. Yay! Although this probably marketed at children, in all honesty when it comes to non-fiction I prefer so-called children's books because they explain the facts in a fun way. There are ever so many facts crammed in this very big book! Many I didn't know, as well as some I had forgotten from my science lessons many moons ago. 

I like how every aspect you could possibly think of about noses eg size and shape as well as ones you wouldn't automatically think of eg communication are explored in this book. Each page explores a main fact about noses, with extra facts sometimes along the bottom of the page which I liked the format of. The illustration style is of a similar colour to actual animals so looks realistic. As expected us humans are not very incredible with our noses. Not every animal has a nose as a nose: by that I mean there is one that has a nose in it's beak! 

I liked how dotted throughout the book were flaps to lift that showed a different aspect of the animal in question and how they used their nose. This is why the book didn't get full marks as one or two were a bit scary for me which I hadn't been expecting the first time of seeing one, and it wasn't always easy figuring out how to lift up the flaps: I am the first person using this book so nearly all were wedged into the page: there isn't like a small indent that provides a means to lift the flap up. This book would get full marks for the amount and quality factual info about animals. I learn an awful lot, and I know children whose school I am donating this to will probably like their science lessons a bit more because of how fun a read it is. My favourite animals with interesting noses are bees and sharks! 

See more gorgeous artwork on Claire's website which is in French. 

Suggested read

Thursday, 7 November 2019

It's A No-Money Day by Kate Milner (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

 October 2019, Barrington Stoke, 32 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Barrington Stoke
Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.

Nayu's thoughts 
I think it is highly important that every situation which can affect a person makes it into picture books, so children learn up knowing it is okay to not have much money. It isn't easy, and it sure isn't fair to be unable to have favourite food when using a food bank, but despite the difficulty the girl's mother gives her so much love and makes life as fun as possible. 

These days it is heartbreaking that so many people have to use foodbanks. I hear a lot are ashamed to use them, as it can feel like they have failed to provide for themselves and/or their family. But food banks are there to give food when people fall on hard times. Children have to endure food poverty, and I really hope this book which shows the girl is no different in any other way to her classmates, will show readers that it is okay to use a food bank when you need to. The food can be rather varied, and you can't expect to have the same food because the items are entirely relient on what people donate. 

I have seen a few programs on how food banks work and despite the circumstances that they are needed for, they are run really well. It is easy to donate, some supermarkets have drop off boxes where you can put items in. It isn't just for humans, pet food goes in too! The muted style of illustration does have splashes of colour which I think signifies the fun that the girl's mum finds, as well as the kindness of all those at the food bank. I think a brighter colour palette wouldn't have hit home as much as the greyer one does, as it somehow conveys how hard life is for the girl's mum, who does her best to shield her daughter from their poverty. I pray one day food banks will be a thing of the past. No idea how to make that happen when it feels like idiots are in charge of the country. 

Find out more on Kate's website.

Suggested read
Other emotive books where colour is significant includes Bob's Blue Period by Marion Deuchars (Children's, Picture book, 9/10E)

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Ant Clancy Games Detective by Ruth Morgan (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

 July 2019, Firefly Press, 202 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Firefly  Press
Ray-Chay is the new virtual reality game that everyone’s playing and the world loves its eccentric billionaire creator, Kody Crunch.

Ant loves gaming and feels like the only person who can't get into Ray-Chay. But when something goes very wrong with the game, Ant is determined to help.

Can Ant and his friends work out the real deadly game behind the game?

Nayu's thoughts
If you follow me on Twitter you know how much I love gaming, which made this an automatic must-read despite a boy being the protagonist. (I prefer girls as protagonists). I have never played a virtual reality game - I don't want to, because I think it would make my motion sickness kick into action, and would probably be too heavy for my head (I have sensitive skin and any weight feels ten times heavier than it actually is). However reading is not VR playing, and I was really intrigued by the synopsis. 
It sounded a little like the premise to the anime/game/maybe light novel of Sword Art Online series, where players are stuck in a VR world. The game in this novel, Ray-Chay which doesn't appeal to me as a title, sounds quite an intimidating game, and I wouldn't want to play it. I loved how Ant preferred the original game which came before Ray-Chay. It is a positive point to make that just because a game isn't super flashy and is older in terms of when it gets released doesn't mean it is rubbish. Almost all games are great to someone! 

Plus Ant gets a dragon, not just any dragon, but one who has been with him on all his adventures, and through events I am not divulging Prahdal the dragon becomes a key part of the Ray-Chay adventure. She is strong, she knows Ant's character, Tarn, so well that she doesn't need much instruction on what to do. There is a horrific moment in the story that had me in tears but I promise there is eventualy a happy ending, so please don't get too upset over that part. 

The idea of someone malicious using a game to try and control people makes for an extremely good story. It was a bit scary just how many people - both Ant's classmates and school friends and adults got into Ray-Chay. I liked seeing how a negative player like Griff had a big role to play in the story. His greed to be the best and have the rarest monsters led to him causing chaos when he accesses his mother's game play. 

It really hurt him that his mother (who is female) was better than him. How dare she! I loved that his mum loved gaming so much, and worked hard to get where she was. It showed Griff that girls and adults can be great gamers! And have cute outfits in games. Which Ant discovers in a slightly different way too. Although of the two I think Ant would know girls can be great gamers, a view that has been problematic in gaming history. 

I was genuinely scared when stuff began happening in the story, because the monsters seem scary and I had no clue how Ant and his unlikely group of friends would save the day. They both did and didn't, which is why I am waiting patiently for book 2 which is heavily hinted at by the ending. The gaming fun has just begun! (Sorry, couldn't resist the lousy pun). Definitely one for my reread shelf.

Suggested read
A great adventure read, this time with a female protagonist is Flick Henderson and the Deadly Game by Amanda Wills (Young Adult, 10E/10E)

Monday, 4 November 2019

Be A Narwhal by Sarah Ford and Anita Mangan (Non-fiction, Inspirational, 9/10E)

Cute cover!
 October 2019, Spruce Press, 96 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Octopus books
Let Narwhal show you the true meaning of a successful life. He is always prepared to put in the hours, whether he’s nurturing his sea anemones or doing a big presentation to the reef. Feisty and passionate, Narwhal is no back-seat driver - he’s always bursting with ideas, from how to break the ice at parties to how to tickle a fish. And when all around is in meltdown, he’ll stay in control and bounce back with a cool head and  a calm heart.
Nayu's thoughts
This is at least the 3rd book in the series that I have read, and it is as entertaining as the rest. I love narwhals because they look like unicorn dolphins/whales, a highly cool combo! I love the rainbow coloured horn on this narwhal. 

The advice is given 98% brilliant. I like the extra info at the front filled with positivity and making sure that you are you, and you don't copy people. Being yourself is the best you that you can be! Every page has an illustration with an important quote, some are funny, all are true and great when you need a pick me up. 

The reason this didn't get full marks is because I disagreed with one point Narhwal makes, this one. 
Comforting things are comforting for a reason, and I see no point whatsover in giving up what makes you happy - especially plushies! And on a later page Narwahl has a different plushy, so clearly it didn't get rid of everything comfy.  So this is the 2% that wasn't so brilliant for me. I did approve of a cat making an appearance, I marvelled the magic of books that let it breathe underwater., less so much the slight mutilation of said book. The little narwhal plushie was super cute! I want one. Narwhal has a positive attitude to live in general, even the parts that are less than rosey. 

Sarah and Anita have once again created a fun little read that I will reread many times over for life tips! 

Find out more cute illustrations on Anita's website.

Suggested read
Check out the other books in the series by Sarah and Anita including Be A Mermaid and Be A Llama by Sarah Ford and Anita Mangan (Non-Fiction, Inspirational, 10E/10E)

This book swam (flew) all the way to Australia for my cousin who loves mermaids! He loved it ^u^

This is one proud Llama!

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Competition Winner for Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind by Eduard Shyfrin and Tomislav Tomic

Apologies for the delay in announcing the winner for Travels With Sushi: there weren't enough entries so only 1 winner was chosen - the other book will go to a reader who I know will hopefully enjoy it. The winner is...

Jade H! 

Many congratulations Jade! I've emailed you this morning to confirm the win and I am posting it to you later this morning. I hope you like it! 

I am not yet sure when the next competition will be, but I hope there is one before the end of the year. Thank you for supporting my blog and have a great weekend!