Saturday, 27 April 2019

Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 202
Publisher: Zephyr
Released: 4th of April 2019 

A leopard dances under the moon. 
A wolf prowls. 
A red-beaked bird flies free.

Three girls born on the same day in wolf light are bound together to protect the world. They can dazzle or destroy. They have wind-song and fire-fury at their fingertips, but their enemies are everywhere.

From the bleak steppes to the tropical forests of Ghana and the stormy moors of Cornwall, the lands they love are plundered and poisoned. The girls must rally to perfect their skills and prove the strength of sister-magic.

Steeped in elemental myth, Wolf Light is a call to us all to hear the ancient power within us and conserve our heritage.

What I Have to Say 

This is a beautiful coming of age story about three girls, magic and sacred roles of protection. Though it was little too character based for me, being more about the girls developing and growing into their roles and powers, I really enjoyed the premise of the book. I loved the fact that these were three different girls, from three very different cultures and places, with three different forms of power. 

I really liked how much power was connected to nature. How the girls were protecting their particular environment from the people who don't respect it and want to use it for their own gain. I liked the way that each girl's personal bond with the land they were tasked to protect was so seeped in their culture and traditions. 

The other thing that I found really good about this book was how distinct each girl's perspective was. How you could tell which girl was which before they were identified. 

If you like very character driven coming of age stories full of magic, culture and respect for the environment. 

My thanks go to Zephyr and Netgalley for providing me with this free copy for review. 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Pog by Pádraig Kenny

Synopsis (from Goodreads and Chicken House

Pages: 288
Publisher: Chicken House Books 
Released: 4th of April 2019 

David and Penny arrive in a strange new home in a forest. Other creatures live here – magical creatures – like Pog. He’s one of the First Folk, tasked with protecting the boundary between the worlds. But David is drawn into the forest, lured by a darker entity, who tells him there’s a way he can bring his dead mother back …

What I Have to Say 

Pog was a really well written tale, full of deep themes of grief and loss. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as Tin, though I felt this a really fun story. I think Pog is a great character who will appeal a lot to the kids reading this book. He's very quite with an interesting way of talking, but he's also got so many other attributes. He's a fierce protector who quickly grows to care for the family living in the house. He also has his own emotions and history which complement the grief felt by the family a lot. 

David and Penny were also great characters. You could really feel love between the family and between the kids and Pog by the end. You could feel the loss of their mother and how much it was driving them into their own forms of grief. 

I really love Kenny's way of bringing such deep personal issues into a magical adventure story and how he brings everything back to the theme without it seeming like he's pushing the issue. 

It's a very authentic story filled with adventure and emotion. 

My thanks go to Chicken House for providing me with this free copy for review. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Year After You by Nina de Pass

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Ink Road 
Released: 14th of February 2019 

New Years’ Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in a tragic accident. Cara survives. Her best friend Georgina doesn’t.

Nine months later, Cara is struggling, consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back.

Up in the Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows about her past. And she intends to keep it that way. But classmates Ren and Hector have other ideas. Cara tries to keep her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight-talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are determined to break down the walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to. 

The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara is quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance. 

What I Have to Say 

Exploring the themes of grief, loss and survivors guilt, this touching novel explores how deep the damage of losing someone in an accident can be. It deals heavily with the responsibility that someone can attribute to themselves when something like this happens and how moving on can feel like betraying the person you lost. 

The best thing about this book for me was how it showed that fears can sometimes not seem logical to an outside viewpoint. Cara is terrified of going in lifts and cars, because her mind tells her that if it crashes then it's her responsibility because she got in the car. This is the way that the mind can twist things based on past experiences, but de Pass when deeper, exploring the fact Cara is completely fine with planes. I've experienced this kind of logic in my own condition with my OCD a lot. People don't understand why this is fine but /this/ isn't. It's something that's hard to understand. So it made me feel really understood to see a similar twisting of logic and fear shown in The Year After You. 

I loved Cara so much as a character. I loved her interactions with Hector and with Ren. It was heartbreaking to see her story and the way that her fears and grief from the past controlled her. It all felt very real and well thought out. 

There's so much more I haven't said in this review, but these are the parts that really touched me.  I really, really recommend getting a copy and seeing Cara's story for yourself. 

My thanks go to Ink Road and Netgalley for providing me with this free copy for review. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352 
Publisher: Knights Of Media 
Released: 4th of April 2019 

The detective duo everyone is dying to meet! 

Summer in London is hot, the hottest on record, and there's been a murder in THE TRI: the high-rise home to resident know-it-alls, Nik and Norva. Who better to solve the case? Armed with curiosity, home-turf knowledge and unlimited time - until the end of the summer holidays anyway. 

What I Have to Say 

While bringing a beautifully teenage feel to the genre, Jackson created two great characters and a fantastic community that I can tell will create great mysteries to future books. I loved how real the Nik and Norva felt, utilising smart phones for everything. Because why would a modern day teenager have a case book and write everything down when they can just reach for their smart phone and have a document they can edit and update whenever they need? The way that current teen culture was used in this way (and others!) just made it feel really authentic. 

I loved the relationship between Nik and Norva as well. Jackson did well to show how sisters really are, a complex relationship where they love and hate each in equal measures. I really liked the way they bickered and fell out, teased and needled one another but at the end they were there for each other all the time. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing more from the Tri and it's inhabitants in the rest of the series. It's looking like a really great addition to the middle-grade crime genre. 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Fire Maker by Guy Jones

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 256
Publisher: Chicken House Books 
Released: 4th of April 2019 

Alex loves magic – its glamour, tricks and illusions.

He’s good at it, too: he’s reached the semi-finals of a prestigious competition for young magicians. But when he stumbles into eccentric Mr Olmos’s back garden while running from his former best friend, Alex sees something he can’t explain: three tiny flames floating in the air. Fire magic. Real magic. Soon, Alex and Mr Olmos are swept up in a great adventure of secrets, genies and an ancient, bitter rivalry ...

What I Have to Say 

Magic, adventure and adorable little baby jin, what's not to love! The story was maybe a little predictable concerning who was going to come after the Ifrits, but there were things that I really didn't see coming. 

Alex was a really good character and I loved his former friend turned bully and their story-line. I felt it was just a really good story-line between them both with all stuff that had happened between them and the way their story develops. 

Mostly though I have to admit, I loved the Ifrits. I loved the way that these little baby Jin were described and the way that their connection with Alex worked. I loved Sally and the way she became a particular friend to Alex through a bond that works without any language. It's so interesting to see a communication that exists without language and it was really well written. 

This was just a really good adventure story with great characters, a good plot and a few surprises. 

My thanks go to Chicken House and Laura Smythe  for providing me with this copy for review and for giving me the opportunity to be part of this blog tour.