Saturday, 1 June 2013

June Review Mix #1 Children's, 10 years +, 11 years +, Young Adult (8/10, 9/10, 10/10, 10/10E)

Welcome to June! I truly hope this is an awesome month for everyone. I'm kicking it off with the final (for now) review catch up post! Yup, I'm pretty much all caught up now, so can go for 1 review at a time as of tomorrow. Yay! That'll be until I'm ill again, but for now it's something to celebrate (not that I really need an excuse to do that!) 

*A-hem* On with the reviews! 

Children's, 10 years + 

Rainbow Beauty: Peppermint Kiss by Kelly McKain, 10/10 E 
This capture mirrors the feel of the story
 February 2013, Usbourne, 272 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Usborne 
Abbie's life feels like one big rain cloud since her parents split up. Now she lives with her mum and sisters in a grotty flat. Only new friends, Ben, Summer and gorgeous, guitar-playing Marco, offer Abbie a silver lining.

But then Abbie has a bright idea to turn her family's fortunes around. She's always loved making her own luscious beauty products. Could opening a new business – the Rainbow Beauty parlour – bring her family a pot of gold and heal their hearts too?

Nayuleska's thoughts
This belongs firmly in the must read pile - it's amazing! Abbie's life is ever so bittersweet - it made me laugh and cry a lot. When times get tough she is scared, but she isn't frozen - she harnesses her natural talents and helps her family make the best of a bad situation. Her enthusiasm is catching!

11 years +

Red River Stallion by Troon Harrison, 9/10 
You don't miss with a girl and her horse!
February 2013, Bloomsbury Children's, 352 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Bloomsbury
Amelia Otterchild Mackenzie has never seen a horse until the great red stallion Firefox rescues her from drowning. Soon her natural skill with horses becomes clear. Could this be the key that will lead motherless Amelia to her missing father, a legendary horseman?

Amelia and her beloved sister set off for the rough far west of Canada to find their father, with the few treasures. But with white-water rapids and wild animals to deal with, their river journey is a dangerous one . . .

Nayuleska's thoughts 
Having read and enjoyed the previous standalone book The Horse Road I full expected to enjoy this horse adventure - and I did! Troon creates spell-binding stories about a girl's bond with 'her' horse. Circumstances manage to keep Amelia and her precious new friend together, but it takes her determination and ingenuity  - and unexpected friendships - to remain with her four legged companion. 

Million Dollar Mates Superstar by Cathy Hopkins, 8/10
Jess learns money doesn't buy happiness - neither does a boyfriend.
 April 2013, Simon and Schuster, 240 pages, Paperback, Review copy  

Summary from Simon and Schuster

It's finally the summer holidays, and Jess can't wait to spend time with all her friends, especially JJ now that they're officially dating. But then JJ has to return to the states, the other boys head-off on holiday together and her dad decides that she should get a job over the break, and suddenly a fun summer seems like a distant dream. So when Stephanie Harper, a famous astrologer, asks Jess to go on tour with her, she jumps at the chance. And with JJ away and a new boy on the scene, Jess wonders if this summer could be full of excitement after all…

Nayuleska's thoughts 
Jess thinks she is coping with life, but in actual fact she isn't being made happy by what she thinks should make her happy. It takes a bitter lesson for her to find true happiness and who she really is. I was cheering for her by the end, despite some of her thoughts being annoying as well her views on boys.

Non fiction

Usborne Very First Words At Home, 10/10
April 2013, Usbourne, 12 pages, Hardback, Review copy 

Summary from Usbourne 
There’s lots to spot and talk about in this colourful board book filled with friendly illustrations.

Little children will love poring over the pictures as they recognise familiar objects from the different rooms around the house, including the kitchen, living room and bathroom.

A fun book to share together.

Nayuleska's thoughts 
I love these types of books as I automatically think primarily of readers who are learning English as a second language than native speakers (it comes from knowing international friends). This adorable guide provides a rich and clear way of introducing basic words to the reader - it's fun looking at the picture, which are easy to cover up for self-testing. 

The Monster Sale by Brian Moses, 8/10 
May 2013, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 96 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Frances Lincoln  
Monsters that moan and groan and wail,
Buy your monsters at the Monster Sale.
Chickens who wear jumpers, all kinds of monsters, a puppy’s favourite chews (a lucky dip of forgotten socks), staying awake waiting for your birthday, a bear in his underwear… . In his first collection for younger children, well-known poet Brian Moses has provided a funny and witty snapshot of family life, with a bit of fantasy added in. Perfect for sharing at home or at school.

Nayuleska's thoughts 
Before you dismiss the entire collection of poems being about monsters - they aren't! Yes, there are some monster poems, but there are also some about shapes and dumping gunge on a teacher. I'm not a massive poet fan - a couple of them weren't for me at all in terms of imagery- but most brought at least a smile to my face, sometimes accompanied with laughter. There's something for everyone in this compact book - my favourite was the accurate poem about dunking biscuits.
Young Adult
Everything Is Fine by Cathy Brett 10/10
Esthar's life is far from fine.

 May 2013, Headline, 272 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Headline 
Things haven't been going so well for fifteen-year-old Esther Armstrong. With her brother Max - her closest ally - absent, she's forced to face everything alone, not least her parents' heated arguments. As the summer holidays stretch endlessly ahead, she's desperate for something, anything, to divert her attention.

Then she finds some letters hidden in the walls of her family home, sent by a soldier to his sweetheart from the trenches of WWI. Esther is consumed by the mystery of these lovers - not very much older than herself - and what became of them. Perhaps in piecing together the jigsaw of someone else's life, Esther can work out how to reassemble her own, and how to make everything fine again...
Nayuleska's thoughts 

All I wanted to do was hug away Esther's grief. Cathy's latest book feels different to her other books, in a good way. Her trademark illustrations add emotional depth to the tale filled with loss, confusion, and above all love.

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, 9/10 
 April 2013, Scholastic, 320 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Scholastic 
Technology, tweets and cheats – was life always this complicated? Mallory’s boyfriend is cheating on her and her online friends have stabbed her in the back. Just as life is imploding, she finds a list written by her grandma when she was Mallory’s age. All she had to worry about was sewing dresses and planning dinner parties. Things were so much simpler in the 1960s! And there’s nothing on the list that Mallory couldn’t do herself. Maybe it’s time for Mallory to go back to an age of tea cosies and sewing patterns, to see if the answers to her modern-day problems could lie in the past! The modern world collides with a teenager’s life fifty years ago in this tale of vintage dress prints, media madness and 21st century pressures – a sweet story with a serious side.

Nayuleska's thoughts  
I admire Mallory for her intentions - as someone who isn't on several social networking websites I appreciate both the peace and isolation she endures. However, my favourite character is her sister Ginnie - she has flare, enthusiasm, is funny, and really loves her sister. 

Suggested read
Although I don't usually do book suggestions for Review Mix posts, I have to in this case because the sisters in Young Adult  Sugar Rush by Kimber An are super tight & super funny. 

As I said at the start of the post, this is hopefully my last review mix for a little while. I hope you've been enjoying the variety of books that I've been reading lately - they are all awesome! Go read! You know you want to. 
"This is my book - where's yours?"

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