Saturday, 29 April 2017

Waiting for Callback Take Two by Perdita & Honor Cargill (Young Adult, 10/10E)

January 2017, Simon and Schuster Children's, 368 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Simon and Schuster
Elektra has finally landed a part in a film. It’s the dream. Well … until she works out that Straker is a movie so dystopian that within weeks most of the cast and all of the crew wish that the world had actually ended (preferably in scene one). And while it’s obviously great news that she’s moved from the friend-zone with Archie to become his almost-girlfriend, it would be better if he hadn’t immediately relocated to Transylvania to play a vampire hunter surrounded by ‘maidens of peerless beauty’…

Nayu's thoughts 
The book came with a cute cake postcard that simply said Cake? Perdita and Honor said on the back the answer is always yes, as it is for me and Elektra. Once I'd stopped confusing her with another teen actress in another film book who has mischievous twin brothers, I remembered how much I loved her life. I love how her mother is dead set against acting interfering with school work (it does but Elektra does benefit from that in the form of a character who I desperately hope returns in book 3 (there must be one!)). I fully enjoyed seeing behind the scenes on a film through Elektra's now mostly not rose tinted glasses. She may not be the leading lady, but she ends up with a fancy car taking her to the studio with super yummy breakfasts ready  greet her. I laughed at what she does to her dressing room mirror before she leaves the film. 

I enjoyed the pages which consisted of emails about Elektra's paperwork, Elektra's own summary of how much of each activity she does on certain days. Her best friend Moss is always up for a laugh and friendly advice about her boyfriend, who Elektra struggles with his apparent popularity. Her confidence issues reflect on the endless scenarios she perceives to be happening with Archie, as well as the mostly irrational fear ahe will be kicked off the film if she so much as makes 1 mistake. She does more than 1 but remains to watch the ridiculous drama with the script writers (if that's at all realistic it's ridiculous), as well as her fellow actors whose behaviour lacks common sense. All in all a fun read, one which will be on my reread pile! 

Suggested read

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Gecko's Echo by Lucy Rowland and Natasha Rimmington (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

18th April 2017, Bloomsbury Children's, 32 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Bloomsbury
Once there was a gecko
and she lived inside a cave.
She was very, very small
but she was also really brave.

To stop sneaky animals stealing her precious eggs, Mummy Gecko threatens the wrath of ONE HUNDRED ANGRY GECKOS. But ... are there really one hundred geckos? And, if there aren't, how will she protect her family? - See more at:
Once there was a gecko
and she lived inside a cave.
She was very, very small
but she was also really brave.

To stop sneaky animals stealing her precious eggs, Mummy Gecko threatens the wrath of ONE HUNDRED ANGRY GECKOS. But ... are there really one hundred geckos? And, if there aren't, how will she protect her family?

Nayu's thoughts
I love eggs as an object and a shape, as they can be pretty in books & frequently appear in the anime I watch. I love to eat eggs but Gecko's would be safe from me as I'm a chicken or duck egg fan. I love how devoted Gecko is to her gorgeously coloured eggs, how she takes care of her cave while nurturing them. She is quick thinking and extremely intelligent, using confidence and science to keep her unborn babies safe. 

I hate snakes but the one she faces looks fairly cute, unlike its wicked intentions. I thought Gecko and her eggs were doomed when a creature dares to enter her home, but she uses her surroundings in an intelligent defence mechanism. She ia an adorable creature and I'd love her to have another story! Readers will learn about the different types of animals, predators and the other kind who like Gecko have special skills to keep themselves and their families safe. This could lead to discussion on predators, and what type of skills readers would like to have. 

Suggested read
I instantly thought of this book once I'd read Gecko's Echo so go check it out! Something Delicious by Jill Lewis & Ali Pye (Children's, Picture book, 10/10E)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Amelia Moore #6 Mystery on the Bayou by Linda Weaver Clarke (Cozy Mystery, Audiobook, 10E/10E)

Content: mystery, murder, fugitive, mild romance, humour

Book summary
Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. With the help of her partner, Rick Bonito, the business is flourishing. 

While at the beach, Amelia is approached by a woman who is concerned about the son she gave up for adoption 16 years ago. Millie has been having nightmares that make her fear he is in danger. She petitioned the court to view the sealed records but was refused. Will Amelia and Rick be able to convince the courts to help them? If her son is in danger, will they get there in time?
Nayu's thoughts
While I do get every book in the series from Linda for review, my high rating isn't that biased. This is a really good cozy mystery series which improves with each installment. I love how Amelia and Rick get their new case while technically on honeymoon - it's typical of cases just find Amelia regardless of what she's doing!

She and Rick have very different approaches to getting information from people which is examined closely in this book. I love how a not so simple hunting down an adoptive teen turns into a fugitive from a murder - I never expect the large twists that are part of what makes this series brilliant. I love finding out new things about Amelia and Rick, how skills I didn't know they had are uncovered, how they grow as husband and wife with the romance remaining at a sweet level. 

They make the perfect team, treading carefully when up aginst the actual law and a moral/ethical law in how they deal with the adopted son. Their compassion shows in the decisions they make. I love how Amelia slowly improves her weapons training, even if she is reluctant to use a gun she realises she needs one because of the line of work she is in. I don't want this series to end! However I think there's just 1 left for now which I hope to review soon. 

Find out more on Linda's website

Suggested read
You must read the others in the series (I've reviewed them all...) including #5 Amelia Moore Detective #5 Her Lost Love by Linda Weaver Clarke (Cozy Mystery, 10/10E, audiobook, short 'n' sweet review)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Bird Girl by Maudie Smith (Children's, 9 years +, 9/10E)

March 2017, Orion Children's Books, 208 Pages, Paperback, Personal copy, 

Book summary
Pink-haired Finch Field has always felt different. She dreams of flying - not in a plane, but swimming through the sky like a bird. Her classmates laugh, and call her Dream Bird. But when Finch goes to stay with her beloved Granny Field for the summer, she finds herself face-to-face with a monster intent on stealing people's dreams. Finch must find a way to believe her own dreams can come true if she is to save the dreams of everyone in Sunview on Sea.

Nayu's thoughts
I won this on a Twitter competition Maudie held. I was not thinking straight because somehow I thought it was a picture book and was super excited to see more pictures of Finch with pink hair. When I got it I smiled at my mistake - I love middle grade books so didn't mind it was for an older audience. 

I loved how idyllic Finch's grandmother's town is, how happy everyone is until the mysterious cloud appears. I liked that Finch's parents were archaeologists, and they named her after a bird. Through her at times perilous adventure Finch identifies what she wants to change about herself, which is important as we all have something to work on. She is a sweet, generous child, understandably wary of the strange boy who possibly mocks her like her classmates do. She likes hearing people's dreams, which is why it’s sad when they are dream-napped. I feel that how the people react to that depicts both depression and dementia, whether or not this was consciously intended to be interpreted that way. 

The only reason I can't give this full marks is a personal one: I'm scared of both the cloud monster and another character. I get freaked out easy by weird and wonderful things, and the latter had me skipping paragraphs to avoid then. The problem with having a highly active imagination is that once imagined I can't unsee weird & wonderful characters. Although just realised saying wonderful doesn't make sense, since they aren't wonderful to me, but it's simply the phrase that entered my head. 

I will always remember Finch's story, but because I dislike some characters I won't be rereading it, despite loving Finch and her granny to bits. It will find a home in a local primary school instead! 

Find out more on Maudie's website.

Suggested read 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Don't Think About Purple Elephants by Susan Whelan and Gwenneth Jones (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

6th April 2017, EK Books, 32 pages, Paperback, Review copy, 

Summary from EK Books 
Sometimes Sophie worries — not during the day when she is busy with family and friends, but at night when everything is calm and quiet. Her family all try to help, but somehow they just make her worries worse. Until her mother thinks of a new approach … that might just involve an elephant or two!

Nayu's thoughts
While this book is aimed at children it's a brilliant read for adults with worries too. Everyone needs coping methods for worries. Sophie is fine when she is busy and distracted, but trying to sleep means no distractions so the thoughts whirl in her head. 

Whenever someone says don't do something, most people then want to do it. It’s impossible not to think of purple elephants when seeing the title (not only because there are some on the cover), so Sophie gets purple elephants doing fun things with personalities. I loved the bright illustrations which depict Sophie's unease and amusement well. Those purple elephants made me smile, as did the plot twist on the last page which reveals how wonderful imagination is. A must read for everyone! 

Suggested read

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere (Cozy Mystery, 10E/10E)

18th April 2017, Henery Press, 264 pages, Ebook, Review copy 

Content: murder, mystery, some romance, humour, 

Summary from Henery Press
When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help. She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends and smack talk with the local bad boys. After the victim is identified as the doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. But this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.

Nayu's thoughts 
I can't put my finger on it but this is an incredible read. Considering I haven't read any of the other books in the series I didn't feel like I was in the dark about background stories, in fact the opposite is true. I felt like I already knew Madison, and was returning to be with old friends. Unlike Madison whose friends turn a bit less friendly with what looks like a mistake on her part but ends up being something sinister. I love how she doesn't give up her investigations especially when people are mad at her and danger seems to be coming from all angles. I liked the creativity of her decorating job, how it helped her spot clues others wouldn't notice. I liked how she struggles with both her past and medicine addiction which I know is a reality for many - it's refreshing to have a heroine with obvious flaws (that aren't personality driven).

There are several big plot mysteries that unravel and lead to a surprising end. Related to the end is the fact I was sad to see the story finish. Madison's voice is appealing and I'm glad I had a few hours in a row to read this, so I could read it uninterrupted. There's a good mix of humour and drama that makes it not too scary a read, unless you are on your own. Madison had help some of the time, but her independent streak nearly costs her her life on more than one occasion if I remember correctly. 

This would make an amazing audiobook if it isn't one already! Edited to add it is!!! Not knowing what was going on, the family drama and interfering police provided Madison with a lot of hurdles to get over. I'm looking forward to reading more of her adventures! 

Find out more on Diane's website.  

Suggested read


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Over On Nayu's Crochet Dreams #23...

She's so cute! One of many random pictures I find online. Love her odd socks which match what I wear ^o^
... check out what unusual gift I'm taking to my friend in Norfolk! I'm fairly sure she doesn't read my blog regularly - sorry if you've seen this though!