Tuesday, 12 March 2013

March Review Mix (Childrens, 9 years + & 11 years +)

Hi everyone! I'm all better (yay!) although I'm a bit tired from the ketamine treatment at the weekend so I'm putting reviews in the same post together. This weekend everything should revert to 'normal', as it were, with one review per blog post. So, let's see what I'm reviewing today! 

Children’s, 9 years +

Second Term At Trebizon by Anne Digby
 May 2011, Straw Hat, 128 pages, Ebook, Review copy, 10/10 

Summary from Amazon UK (I don't get anything for mentioning them. 
It's Rebecca's second term at the famous boarding school by the sea and she's starting to blossom. She's made two really close friends in Tish Anderson and Sue Murdoch and the three of them are becoming inseparable. But everything changes when the other two fall out in the most unexpected way.
Rebecca, caught in the middle, can't understand why Tish has been behaving oddly all term and is now being so cruel to Sue. She wants to trust her but as the plot thickens it becomes almost too much to ask....

Nayuleska's thoughts
I can't get enough of boarding school stories - they always sound much more exciting than day schools. I took a step back in my past as I read this over 10 years ago. I remembered the main gist of the story, but the plot twists still had a shocking effect on me - it was near enough the same as reading it for the first time. I'm always sad at how mean girls can be to each other.

Dance Dreams by Malaika Rose Stanley
 February 2013, Tamarind, Paperback, 144 pages, Review copy, 10/10 

When she receives a call-back from the amazing Birchwood School for Dance, thirteen-year-old Keisha is over the moon. She’s one pirouette closer to becoming a superstar ballerina!

But getting a place at Birchwood would mean moving schools and leaving behind her BFFs – and the swoon-worthy Joel Daley-Clarke. Until she knows the outcome, Keisha must keep the biggest news of her life a secret from her best friends.

Can she hold it together, or will her dance dreams turn into a nightmare?

Nayuleska's thoughts
Just like boarding schools, ballet is another favourite genre of me.  Keeping secrets from your friends is hard, especially when there's a good reason for it. It's not just keeping the secret a secret that is hard, but it's the aftermath of how the friends react too. Keisha wants both ballet and her friends to be in her life, and she undergoes a fair amount of turmoil because she reaches a conclusion. 

Dream Seekers #2 Dream Team by Lisa Ard
 August 2012, Createaspace, 82 pages, Ebook, Review copy, 10/10 

Summary from Amazon (I don't benefit by mentioning them)
For Patrick, being twelve years old can be challenging. Add to that the unusual ability to experience dreams as reality and you begin to understand, why Patrick never knows what will happen when he falls asleep. When Patrick's voice begins to change, he declares disaster! But one magnificent dream will introduce Patrick to some real-life heroes, who faced far greater adversity. Patrick discovers that his troubles are minor league in comparison. Will Patrick find the courage to face his fears?

Nayuleska's thoughts 
This is the second book in the intriguing series. I was surprised at how
engrossed I became, especially as the protagonist is male. I was sad when Patrick's adventure ended, I wanted it to keep going!

North Of Nowhere by Liz Kessler

 January 2013, Orion, 240 pages, Hardback, Review copy,  9/10

Summary from Orion
The sleepy seaside village of Porthaven hides a mystery . . .

Mia's grandad has vanished and nobody knows why. When Mia and her mum go to support her grandma, Mia makes friends with local girl, Dee. But why does Dee seem so out of reach? Why does she claim to be facing violent storms when Mia sees only sunny skies?

And can Mia solve the mystery and find her grandad before time and tide forever wash away his future?

A night of storms. A lifetime of secrets. A week to find the truth.

Nayuleska's thoughts
After loving Liz's mermaid series, I was extremely interested in what this book would be like. Sadly there was no mermaid in sight! Okay, so I shouldn't have been so surprised. It was astonishing all the twists and turns this mind boggling and compelling adventure took. 

Wings and Co #2 Three Pickled Herrings by Sally Gardner
 February 2013, Orion, 192 pages, Paperback, Review copy, 8/10 

Summary from Orion
At the Wings & Co. Fairy Detective Agency, Emily Vole and her friends are beginning to worry. It's five months since their official opening and they still haven't had one case. Then local landowner Sir Walter Cross dies suddenly and mysteriously. The detectives suspect fairy meddling. And when Mr Rollo the tailor mysteriously loses everything and Pan Smith's wedding plans are ruined the night before her big day, they're convinced there must be magic at play. Now they have not one, but three pickled herrings to deal with! Can they solve the mystery of who is stealing people's luck before the meddling fairy goes too far?

Nayuleska's thoughts
I'd read the first book in this series, so I had to read the second. In a couple of places the plot was a bit rough, but I did read this while I was ill so my reading self interprets things differently to how they usually are. I'd forgotten about the keys with feet, which are important in this clever detective story where there are some fairies missing their wings, fairies whose identities are surprising. 
Queenie by Jacqueline Wilson
 January 2013, Doubleday Children's, 416 pages, Hardback, Review copy, 9/10 

 It’s 1953, the year Elizabeth is to be crowned Queen of England. Elsie Kettle can't wait to go to London to see the celebrations on Coronation Day. Elsie lives with her Nan – her mum works as a showgirl, so she's not around very often. Spirited and imaginative, but often lonely, Elsie longs for a best friend. Luckily, she and Nan are very close; Elsie just wishes she was allowed a cat to keep her company sometimes.

Then tragedy strikes. Nan and Elsie both fall ill with tuberculosis, and Elsie finds herself whisked away to the children's ward of the hospital. Confined to bed for months on end, Elsie finds it very hard to adapt to the hospital's strict regime. But she invents astonishing ways of entertaining the other children on the ward, and for the first time finds herself surrounded by true friends – including Queenie, the hospital's majestic white cat.

Finally, Elsie is well enough to leave hospital. But before she does, she has one very special, very unexpected visitor...

Nayuleska's thoughts
I'd heard about TB, but I didn't know what treatment entailed until I read Elsie's story. My heart was breaking for her at how indifferent her mother was to her compared with the other children's parents. The treatment itself isn't pleasant, and at the moment I don't know how it gets treated nowadays. Telling stories helps keep Elsie sane - it does get her into trouble sometimes, as does her curiosity. It's a cat who comforts her when her mother isn't about (and after the times her mother does visit). 

Children's, 11 years + 

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

 January 2013, Egmont, 240 pages, Hardback Review copy, 10/10 

Summary from Egmont 
This is the story of two girls lost in the Tasmanian bush, saved and raised by two Tasmanian tigers.

We were lost, and the only thing that could help us were the tiger. The more I looked at its black eyes, the more I seen kindness, and I knew it were saying to us, Come, I’ll take you home.

Nayuleska's thoughts 
I asked to read this because I was intrigued about the concept of girls living with wolves. I confess that this compelling read drew me in way more than I expected. It's astonishing how much harder it is to become human, than it is to become like an animal. Motivation, and trust in the reason for the change is necessary in easing during the transition from girl to animal-girl, or animal-girl to human. 

East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Jackie Morris
 February 2012, Frances Lincoln, 176 pages, Hardback, Review copy, 10/10 

Summary from Frances Lincoln
From the moment she saw him, she knew the bear had come for her. How many times had she dreamt of the bear…. Now, here he was, as if spelled from her dreams.
“I will come with you, Bear,” she said.
It is the beginning of an extraordinary journey for the girl. First to the bear’s secret palace in faraway mountains, where she is treated so courteously, but where she experiences the bear’s unfathomable sadness, and a deep mystery…
As the bear’s secret unravels, another journey unfolds…  a long and desperate journey, that takes the girl to the homes of the four Winds and beyond, to the castle east of the sun, west of the moon.

Nayuleska's thoughts  
This is a gripping read which took me away to a whole new world. I loved the story up until the very end - I would have preferred it to end different, as I don't completely understand why it ended that way, but I think that is the point of the fairy tale it is based on. Plus I probably missed some subtle plot hints in the story while I was reading it - unless things are obvious, these days they go over my head. 

I hope you'll check out some of the books reviewed here - they are all quite something and will definitely keep you occupied for an hour or two. More will be here tomorrow! (Unless life gets other plans for me...)

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