Thursday, 18 October 2018

You've Got A Friend by Judi Curtin (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

As always this series has a fun cover!
 September 2018, O'Brien Press, 256 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from O'Brien Press
Families are so complicated! Molly’s dad seems so lonely. He lives on his own, he won’t get a pet, he doesn’t get on with his brother … Best friends Molly and Beth suspect his problems lie in his past, but what can two thirteen-year-olds do about that?

Nayu's thoughts 
This is the third story (I think) in Molly and Beth's time travelling adventure, which seems them visit their family's past to help them solve problems in the present, and it's absolutely brilliant. I felt at home because I know Molly and Beth well, but even if this is your first book about their adventures Judi summarises previous books well early on without it seeming boring. Their lives are extremely exciting! 

Obviously it sucks that they experience any problems at all, but life isn't perfect and the best friends are blessed with the gift to go back in time and relive their parents' past. This one in particular caught my interest because it all boils down to a very special cat. I'm a huge cat lover, and needed a tissue a few times in the tale because the heartache is palpable, and sad to read about. Admittedly I wanted to tell the main person involved to get a life and give the other person a break as there's always a reason why things end up the way they do, but Molly and Beth manage to work a miracle and make Molly's dad's life a lot brighter. I honestly didn't expect the ending that happened, it was obviously the best outcome despite it seeming impossible. I hope there aren't any repercussions in their next adventure for what they did. 

I love when the girls go back in time because it's interesting learning about decades that aren't that long ago: everything from the hairstyles, clothes, fashion sense and food are explored through Molly and Beth's adventure. I've no personal experience of the 70s, being an 80s baby, so I soaked up the info while cheering the girls on to find a way out of their present day dilemma in the past, which had it's own issues since they had to live a little in the past. It's not as easy as it sounds! Not when they need somewhere to sleep and to avoid getting into trouble with the authorities. 

Find out more on Judi's website

Suggested read

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Curious Science Quest: Cave Discovery and Greek Adventure by Julia Golding, Andrew Briggs and Roger Wagner (Children's, Non-fiction, 9/10E)

 June 2018 and May 2018, Lion Hudson Ltd, 128 pages, Paperback, Review copies

Summary from Lion Hudson
Join Harriet, Darwin's pet tortoise, and Milton, Schrodinger's indecisive cat on a time-travelling quest of discovery, unravelling scientific exploration and religious beliefs and how they fit together. Throughout the centuries humans have been looking for answers to BIG questions - how did the universe start? Is there a God behind it? Has science explained away the need for a God, or can faith enhance scientific discovery? Harriet and Milton start their investigation with trying to discover when humans started asking these questions. First stop on the quest is cave paintings - who did them? What did they mean, and what can they show us about our ancestors? Step into Harriet and Milton's time machine, bring some snacks, and enjoy this curious quest of discovery.
Join Harriet, Darwin's pet tortoise, and Milton, Schrodinger's indecisive cat on a time-travelling quest of discovery, unravelling scientific exploration and religious beliefs and how they fit together. Throughout the centuries humans have been looking for answers to BIG questions - how did the universe start? Is there a God behind it? Has science explained away the need for a God, or can faith enhance scientific discovery? On this adventure Harriet and Milton are investigating who the first scientists were. Step into Harriet and Milton's time machine, bring some snacks, and enjoy this curious quest of discovery - become a Mesopotamian stargazer, cast your vote in 'Greece has Scientific Talent', and meet Pythagoras! 

Nayu's thoughts
I've had a love of Greek history ever since I was little, which I finally took further when I did my degree in Ancient History. My interested was sparked when I read books with fun illustrations, something which these two books have in common. I remember when I first looked into cavemen because I had to research the woolly mammoth in school, something which is depicted in cave paintings along with many other things. I know there is more to cave paintings than just the animals, something which is examined within the first book of this series. I confess the lower grade is because I wasn't as interested in caves as I was in all the Greek info, but that is a personal preference. 

What is unique about these books is that they are the usual type of non-fiction work. They have adorable characters in the form of Darwin's tortoise Harriet and Milton, Schrodinger's cat. These are famous people in history for specific reasons which get touched upon in the books. Their distinctive nature provides a lot of humour and even gets them into trouble on their time travel adventures. This pair most definitely make history learning fun, and I'm eager to see where their next adventures take them. 

This is the type of history everyone should experience, facts can be recalled simply by remembering the antics of the cat and the tortoise who make the best pairing, especially when they annoy each other (which they do some of the time). So many questions are asked which give the reader a starting point for learning about our past, although not every question has a definitive answer because it can be hard to figure out what the 'correct' answer is, especially is historians disagree on things. They are a must read for anyone investigating the ancient world! 

Find out more on Julia's website.

Suggested read

70 Ways to Bully-Proof Yourself & 70 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem by Jenny Alexander (Non-fiction, 10E/10E)

July 2018 + September 2017, Five Lanes Press, 108 pages, Paperback, Review copies

Book summaries for 70 Ways to
Bully-Proof Yourself 
This practical guide on how to handle bullying, by the author of Bullies, Bigmouths and So-Called Friends, shows children how to protect themselves emotionally and psychologically in bullying situations. As well as quizzes, real life stories and cartoons, there are 70 short practical tasks designed to help readers build up their self-confidence and resilience. The tasks, being varied and achievable for a wide ability range, are also suitable for teachers to use in the classroom, therapists working with young clients or parents looking for fresh ideas about how to support their child. This book is a revised and updated version of The Seven-Day Bully-Buster.

Boost Your Self-Esteem
 This self-esteem guide for children, by the author of Bullies, Bigmouths and So-Called Friends, is funny, practical and easy to understand for readers age 8+ It’s about making choices, recognising boundaries, setting achievable goals, feeling in control and engaging with other people in positive ways. The ideas are illustrated by quizzes, case studies and cartoons, and there are 70 practical tasks designed to help children experience build their up confidence and self-acceptance. The tasks, which are varied and achievable for a wide ability range, could be used by teachers in the classroom, by therapists working with young clients or by parents looking for fresh ideas about how to help an anxious or unhappy child. This book is a revised and updated version of The Seven-Day Self-Esteem Super-Booster.

Nayu's thoughts
Jenny approached me by email about these two books for review and since both are important subjects to children (anyone really) so of course I said yes. There really are 70 tips in each book, some you may have heard before and many which I hadn't but they make sense and really help address the issues covered in each book. The books are fairly short, but that makes it easier to read: no one wants to read a huge book about tough to deal with subjects: every tip is bite sized and can be read one at a time or several in a row. The books are designed to be dipped in and out of, to be pondered over, and they most definitely have useful advice for both bullying and improving self-esteem. 

I liked that there were lots of exercise for the reader to do which like the tips themselves won't take long to do but can make a big difference in someone's life if they are repeated and taken seriously. There are short quizzes in the books, questioning what the reader knows about each topic which were interesting to do. The book does emphasise doing the right thing of telling someone you trust about the issue: dealing with such complex emotions on your own is most often not the best way of dealing with the problem. The illustrations made me smile and fit in well with the tone of the book. Lots of examples of the best course of action reinforce the advice given, and help make it crystal clear what bullying is and what self-esteem is. 

They are definitely books that are meant to be read more than once, put on a shelf for reference as and when they are needed. I'd like to say that if you are bullied/have low self-esteem it will only happen once in your life, but that's not always the case. You aren't a failure in any way if that does happen to you - simply seek help, re-read the books and hopefully life will improve for you soon. They aren't just for children either who are the intended readership.
Find out more on Jenny's website

Suggested read
Similarly informative short reads (less tips but very funny) are Be A Mermaid and Be A Llama by Sarah Ford and Anita Mangan (Non-Fiction, Inspirational, 10E/10E)

Monday, 15 October 2018

True Sisters by Keren David (Young Adult, Reading Age 8, Dyslexia Friendly, 10E/10E)

August 2018, Barrington Stoke, 104 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Barrington Stoke 
Ruby has had a lot of foster siblings over the years, but none of them have been anything like Clara. After growing up in almost complete isolation, Clara is distraught at being separated from her mother and overwhelmed by life in a world she doesn’t understand. But the more Ruby tries to help Clara fit in, the more she realises she has to face up to some struggles of her own.

Nayu's thoughts
Please be aware I'm heavily biased because I've enjoyed Keren's books in the past, and as expected this one is no different! I love Barrington Stoke reads because they are jam packed fairly short stories, proving that short is sweet when it comes to books. I enjoy watching the BBC series The Dumping Ground based on the books by Jacqueline Wilson, which is about a children's care home. This has me interested in stories about fostering, which is why I was intrigued by Keren's latest book. It was fascinating finding out what life was like on both sides of the fostering system. Ruby may be used to having strange children in her house because her mum is a foster carer, but Clara enters her heart in a way unlike anyone else. 

There was certainly a lot of mystery about Clara's circumstances which had me gripped, I loved seeing her slowly enjoy life learning about the vast world around us. I like finding out what schemes are in place at schools for children like Clara, and just how valuable the foster system is. Fostering isn't for everyone, and a foster family isn't problem free, especially if they already have children living there. 

Ruby's personal trials were hard to read about. In one dilemma she wanted to keep Clara's confidence about a certain someone, yet she wrestled with whether to tell her mum because she wanted to keep Clara safe. I promise it ends happily, and that Clara's new beginning at the end of the book is less harrowing than the beginning. Ruby's biggest secret surprised me, I hadn't seen it coming at all, not that it mattered, and I cheered when she had to face up to the issues surrounding it. Clara helped Ruby gain courage to do that (even if some of it was out of her hands). 

Switching the point of view between the two girls helped increase the tension in the book, with the true story being teased out every few pages. It's horrifying to know that Clara's tale sadly does happen in real life, I only hope that every Clara has a Ruby to look out for them. 

Find out more on Keren's website

Suggested read
Be sure to check out Karen's other books like her first series including When I Was Joe by Keren David (Young Adult, 10E/10E) 

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Nayu's Gaming Time #15 My first video game review is coming!!!

I'm excited for Pokemon Let's Go Eevee out next month, and also for what's in this post! (pic found online)
If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I've been a bit happy this week as I'm shortly going to be reviewing my first video game here! It's not my first ever review, but it's the first time I've received an advance copy of a game to review. It's not a JRPG either! It is...
It's out on multiple platforms
...Warriors Orochi 4! I have Warriors All Stars, which I haven't played much of, so I'm virtually a newbie when it comes to Warriors Orochi 4 (Just to confuse you in Japan it's called Warriors Orochi 3) plus hack and slash games in general. I can't say much until after 2pm on 16th October because that's when the embargo lifts, but I can say I'm enjoying it, and it's certainly an entertaining experience me getting to grips with the game play. There's a story behind me getting a review which I'll talk about in the review itself.
Koei Techmo created the Atelier series too!

I'm playing as much of the story mode as I can: I hope to get into chapter 3, but I don't know yet (There are 5 or 6 chapters to the story). I will do an initial review of my impressions, what I think etc, then much later once I complete it I'll give another review of the story as a whole. Suspect that could take a while since after the first review is out I won't have to stick to the game as my only game to play with. 

I'm super excited and extremely thankful to Koei Techmo for giving me a Switch copy of the game for review, and I'm hoping this will lead to more reviews in the future. I'd already planned to review more games (my own ones), so you've a lot to look forward to here. Game reviews take longer than book reviews because while I can finish a book in a few hours (usually 100 pages an hour, depending how tired I am and the style of language in the text) games take significantly longer for obvious reasons). I'd love to hear if you're a fan of the Warriors/Dynasty series, and if you're looking forward to the game which comes out on 16th October in North America and 19th October here in Europe. 
My kind of heaven! (pic found online)

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Over on Nayu's Crochet Dreams #51 Review of Abel and Cole's Soup Box

Find out my thoughts on 1 of 2 soups that was in Abel and Cole's soup box last week: beetroot and apple with horseradish yogurt sauce over on Nayu's Crochet Dreams. It's not a sponsored post, but I am a fangirl of their organic food. 

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Winter Review Policy Activation

Time for a news bulletin!

For those of you who didn't see last year's post about my Winter Review Policy because you were busy and/or are new readers, my winter review policy means that I don't accept books for review from the date of this post until 1st March 2019. There are exceptions which I will explain later on.

I have permanent health issues including fatigue and chronic pain. Unfortunately my body adversely reacts to colder weather (anything below 10C), rain, snow, ice and hail. Oh and thunderstorms. I wish I was joking, but I like to hibernate as much as I can in winter to let my body be relaxed as it battles against the elements. Review is fun but it does use energy, so I'm simply conserving what I have. 
Even if I'm super cozy inside my body still knows the temperature outside.
There will be posts throughout the next few months, they will just be more gaming reviews and reviews of my own books rather than ones I get sent for review. It's easier to do a near-blanket ban on book reviews for a few months than having to apologise for being ill, which has happened over the last few weeks with unexpected illness. 

I can be found on Twitter most days, usually tweeting game related info on whatever I'm playing with at the time. Come find me @Nayuleska
Fanart (not by me) of favourite vocaloid Mikku in a winter outfit (let's not get into how she isn't wearing tights)

This doesn't affect reviews I've already committed myself to between October and March 2019
 I am upholding those, this is more for anyone requesting a review from today will probably get a negative response from me. I will answer emails explaining that as I know not everyone checks back on my review policy (or on the type of genres I do review...). I will try and repost this post once a month in the absence of being unable to sticky a post here. 
An accurate depiction from an unknown artist of how I feel in winter
I hope I can start accepting books for review sooner than March, but it does depend entirely on the weather. If we have a good winter, I'll accept books sooner. However, if we have a bad winter that I may have to extend the Winter Policy into April which I did earlier this year. I simply won't know until I get to February, which isn't for a few months yet! I appreciate your understanding in this policy change. 
The exceptions are if you are one of my favourite authors! 
 I will always accept your books, they may still get a delay in review.
Me reading in winter when my body wants to be like a bear and sleep all the time (I don't).
Due to the last few weeks being full of pheasants (see linked post for details) I've already got a bit of a backlog of reviews, making this policy activation vital. 
Once again thank you for your understanding, I hope you stay well this winter and enjoy the posts I do get up!  I hope this is all clear - please let me know if you have any questions. I promise this blog isn't going dark until March 2019! If you are able to wait until March for a review then please do still ask me to do them. I really appreciate your continued support and understanding for changes related to my blogging schedule. 
Sadly not drawn by me