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#BookHaul: Austin Macauley May 2017 #MPBooks

It’s the end of May and check out this beautiful book haul I was sent from the lovely people at publisher Austin Macauley.  Three beautiful new books complete with complimentary bookmarks! 🙂 🙂

Details of the books below.  Let me know if any books interest you, or any particular reviews you’re looking forward to?  If you follow me on Instagram I also take some alternate pics of my book hauls (not sure how good the pics are tho :/ )

Two wonderful fiction books with teasers of others on bookmarks and a postcard! 😀

The Rise of Global by Donna L. Jones – ONE Language, ONE Version, ONE Vision; “ONE Global Law – accept it or be labelled!” Global – “super or killer language”? Apollos Popov has no doubt. He fears that Global will spread throughout the planet, like a disease eventually killing all Mother Tongues. He believes the spread of Global will usher in a new age of language superiority; a return to just one spoken tongue as in the days before Babel.  He is convinced that the consequences for all native languages would be catastrophic.  One man is responsible. The Rise of Global tells the story of that one man’s obsession to eradicate his true identity and replace it with a new one; one that will afford him power and status, one that will give him a new name – a name that all citizens will recognise as THE LAW…

The Pirate’s Children by Michael Lloyd – Eleanor Westerley is seventeen and lives with her aunt in seventeenth century England. Upon her aunt’s death she learns some startling information from the will. She decides to embark on a dangerous journey to the pirate-infested Caribbean in the ship which she has discovered belonged to her father, presumed dead. Leaving her estate in the capable hands of her trusted retainers, she takes her younger brothers and sister, who are all that remain of her family. Headstrong and impetuous, Eleanor engages Jack Crawford, the young captain she finds in a debtors’ prison, to command her ship. Together with the children, whose courage is tested to the limit, they face many life-threatening situations at a time when England is at war with Spain and France and on the high seas it is every man for himself.  This is an exciting adventure story written by a master maritime storyteller blending fact and fiction of the age of piracy for children and the young at heart of all ages.

A fun children’s picture book 🙂

Kancil the Mouse Deer by Marie McLisky – In the green Java Jungle, far far away, comes Kancil, the mouse deer, in the dim light of day,to roam through the forest, eating shrubs, shoots and leaves, in addition to fruits, which have fallen from trees.But Harimou the tiger is watching Kancil. Watching and waiting to pounce…


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#BookReview: One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus #MPBooks

One Of Us Is Lying UK book cover
UK book cover

Title: One Of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: YA / Mystery /  Thriller

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Description:  Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.  He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?
What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

My Review:  When I first saw this book advertised for review on NetGalley the advert challenged me to ‘not like this book’. That statement and the description of this book just made me want to read it so much and I’m happy I took up the challenge. But try as I could I just can’t not like this book, instead I love it!

‘One Of Us Is Lying’ is a YA mystery thriller with an American high school setting. The story starts with five teenagers going to detention, all of them seem to have been set up to attend detention and before they know it, one of them dies. With the teacher having left the room right before the victim dies, it seems that one of the four remaining teens is the killer. But which one was it and how did they do it?

I won’t detail the plot but it is set in America with typical stereotypes of the teens. The book is told in the first person and each chapter of the story is headed by the name of the teen who’s point of view we follow. Although the plot isn’t difficult to get into and the death in detention was quite dramatic, already setting up the drama in the rest of the book, I did find it a bit hard to follow the different points of view at first. It took several chapters into the story before I could really tell apart all the teenagers and I think this might be because there’s a lot of point of view switching at the start (chapters are never that long) and this led me to get confused a little at the start and not enjoy the book so much.

A few chapters in though and I really started to enjoy this story. All the characters are different and although the stereotypes are a little too typical, very American and not really like people in the UK so much, I’m used to reading American novels so it didn’t bother me and the characters all had more depth than it first appears.

The story moves quickly and gets very exciting as it becomes evident that there are deep secrets that the teens all hold. Not only the secrets that they initially don’t want revealed, but all the teens have other secrets which I didn’t guess at all except for Cooper’s deep secret which I had suspected for a long time before it was finally revealed.

I really like the fast pacing of this story, there was never any rest. I wasn’t really reading this book and trying to figure out who the killer was which was nice as the revelation was surprising though I might have guessed it if I had thought more in a detective way. However as with most books this was far deeper than just the death and all the characters go on such a journey that it was the whole story that kept me really entertained and thrilled.

The ending is very satisfying especially with the epilogue which I felt was necessary to finish of one character’s story. Most loose ends are tied up in this story and it is a bit of a typical teen book with an overall happy ending to the dark things that happened before. I did enjoy the book, it has occasional use of the f and s swear words but nothing else too offensive (a bit of violence but nothing graphic). I realise the book is a little unbelievable for some people in the sense that lots of teen books and films sometimes feel, the stereotypes perhaps a little too overdone, but I can’t lie, I did really enjoy reading this and feel like I came down from a bit of a high after finishing the last page. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone wanting a YA mystery thriller. It’s a deeper story than you think and a really gripping read…I guess I also failed on NetGalley’s challenge to ‘not like this book’ 😉 !
-Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy.


This book is released in the UK: 1st June 2017

What do you think?  Would you take up the challenge to ‘not like this book’?

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#MondayMotivation #Poetry: Remember Yourself #MPBooks

A love myself note
Image from Pexels.com

Loving yourself is very important.  While those with depression and self esteem problems may find this difficult – believe me I’ve been there and understand that dark place only too well! – it is important to remember that we have to learn to love ourselves.  If you can’t love, then begin to like yourself first.  It’s a long process but with time and maybe help and support we can all get there.  Hope you enjoy the poem ❤ ❤

Remember Yourself

Remember kindness, remember joy,
Remember to love yourself,
For when you feel true care inside,
There is no better wealth.

Remember happiness, remember glee,
Remember to always leave,
Love inside your heart for you,
A love no-one can theive.

Remember the feeling, remember the day,
Remind yourself when you feel,
Only when you care for you,
Will you be able to heal.

Remember when you follow the truth,
To love others and love you,
You radiate peace.  Radiate life.
Future no longer blue.


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Books in bed

What Makes A Book Young Adult / YA Versus Just Adult?

Books in bed
Image from Pexels.com

Today I want to talk about YA or Young Adult books and more importantly the differences between Young Adult and just plain Adult. In the last few weeks I’ve been a little more involved with twitter and the whole book blogger community than I’ve ever been before and seen lots of great reviews for books I’ve both read and some I haven’t but I just can’t help it, it’s really starting to irk me the way so many people call an adult book YA just because it has teenage characters in it.

While it’s obvious that teenagers feature heavily in YA books and are usually the main protagonists (rare if they’re not) it doesn’t mean that every novel with a teen-aged main character is a YA novel. It’s like saying every novel with kids as our main characters is a children’s novel or perhaps Animal Farm featuring just the animals should be read by animals or kids because animals are usually in kids picture books right?!

I know plenty of you might be saying, is it really that big a deal? Well to me it is. It’s not just that I have my own opinion on what makes a YA novel YA but I know of plenty of bloggers who stick more rigidly to certain genres and some might not want to read YA books at all, so calling an adult book YA is making those readers miss out on a great book. The reverse is also true with some YA readers wanting to read only YA books and being disappointed when the adult book they’re reading doesn’t turn out to be the YA they expected.

So today I’m sharing my take on what makes a book YA and how they’re different from adult books. I may be wrong…I may be right…Stick around and tell me what you think. If you’re a reader, blogger or even a writer/author…this is what (I think) makes a Young Adult book…

The target age of YA or teen books is about 13-18 (though some darker books are suggested for 15/16+), although in reality there’s always a little give on both edges of the age group. Knowing books are marketed to this age group means that books have to appeal to teenagers. Of course plenty of adult books appeal to teens too but the reason YA books are so called is that they speak to teens. YA books published today by traditional publishers (no offense meant but many indie books are mis-marketed as YA) don’t only feature teens but they have to be written for teenagers. It’s not enough to stick teenagers into the book and say it’s YA, the book has to be something that teens relate to whether they’re the issues or the feelings in the story (I’ll get to that in a minute).  

Oh, but just to confuse some of you, some YA books don’t even have teen protagonists! ‘Max’ is an excellent novel written by Sarah Cohen-Scali it’s about Max a child who’s been born as part of the Nazi Eugenics Program. He’s the narrator of his story and the book is very dark with Max spouting out some nasty Nazi beliefs and ideals.  Although Max is just a kid, the whole book is marketed as YA.  Why? Because Max’s mind is that of a teenager.  He’s learning the world from a teenagers point of view and the whole book has a teen voice.

Max is an excellent book by the way and I’d recommend it to older teens and adults.  Very dark but they should read it in schools it’s that good!  I don’t have a review on this blog for you but have reviewed it in the past on my old blog (if you ever find it 😉 )

YA novels have to have a ‘teen voice’.  A teen voice is basically how the book reads. YA novels are often written in the first person narrative because it gives you that teen perspective right away. Teenagers are new to the adult world. When adult books are written with teens as the characters they usually talk about teens and, even if the characters in the stories are new to events and stuff that happens in the book, it’s all described from an adult perspective, the perspective of someone who’s been through it before. Take Caraval for instance. Plenty of people mark this as a YA novel just because Scarlett and Tella are in their late teens. Even though Scarlett has very little experience in relationships and is new to many of the experiences in the wonderful world of Caraval, the whole book isn’t written from a teen mind. If Caraval was a YA novel then Scarlett would be more concerned with social interactions, potential embarrassment and there’d be more focus on certain moments such as her interactions with a certain male character. She’d act more awkward with these new experiences thinking about them from a teenage perspective.

Caraval is a really good novel by the way (you can read my review here ), a great fantasy that many teenagers will enjoy reading but what makes it adult is the fact it doesn’t speak with a teenage voice. And that’s okay. It’s still a stunning book and more than appealing to teens, but YA books have to have that teen voice, that teen perspective or else it doesn’t fall into the category of YA.

A lot of YA books focus on teen issues and in fact many adult issues too such as, growing up, body changes, sexuality, sex, drinking, racism and even drugs. Not all novels have to focus on these subjects but YA novels are far grittier than kids or middle grade books and even many adult stories. Teenagers are new to all these experiences so YA books often deal with a lot of these gritty topics because teens want to read about them and because it’s all new and different to them. It doesn’t mean all YA books are filled with sex, drugs and alcohol. Plenty are in fact pretty mild and deal with simpler issues such as ‘fitting in’ and some even have a more ‘fluffy’ feel with happy endings and funny stories but YA novels WILL focus on teen issues of some kinds, the issues that affect teenagers every day, and they have to be told with that ‘teen voice’.

The pacing of YA books tends to be fast. Although all books are different YA books tend not to slow down too much with deep long and flowery descriptions. Most YA novels, even long ones, will have fast moving action and most of the text with focus on the action rather than long descriptions of the setting.  Teenagers are, by default, living crazy busy and fast lives, so it fits that books written for them and about them should keep up this fast paced feel.

YA novels are evolving all the time. Even the YA books I used to read when I was a teenager (hello those massive piles of ‘Point’ books on the shelves! 😮 Anyone remember those? ) have a different feel to today’s more grittier and faster paced stories. However YA books have always remained books about teen issues written for teens.

Many people wrongfully attach the YA marker to books that should be called adult. In fact many books on amazon today are categorised as YA by their authors (sorry I’m thinking of indie authors here. Nothing against some of you or your books but some books really shouldn’t be called YA). Once you start to read a lot of genuine YA books you’ll start to pick up on what makes it YA versus not. There are vast differences in the way these books feel and read. It doesn’t mean that adults can’t enjoy YA or that teens can’t enjoy adult books. But let’s start labelling them the right way.

If you want to read a typical YA novel just check out some of the big name publisher’s websites for YA books.  A lot of publishers print for the YA market these days and yeah I’m biased because they send me books but I’ll say Walker Books is a big YA publisher!

This is my idea of what makes a book YA and it’s the same view as many I’ve read online on this subject. You might disagree and I’m happy to hear what you think makes a novel YA. Do you read YA books?  Does having teen protagonists make the book YA for you? Is it the pacing or the subject matter? Let’s have a discussion and learn something new! Tell me what you think, I’m excited to know if you agree with anything I’ve said?


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#BookReview: Poor Louie by Tony Fucile #MPBooks

Poor Louie book coverTitle: Poor Louie

Author/Illustrator: Tony Fucile

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description:  Louie has the life every Chihuahua dreams of.  Walks with Mum and Dad, ice cream on Sundays and snuggles every night.

But when Mum’s belly grows bigger, things begin to change…

My Review:  This is such a fun story!  It starts with Louie, a Chihuahua, sitting in a dark room telling us about how he tried to run away from home.  We’re invited to hear his story which goes on to explain how wonderful his life was, how pampered (and babied) he was, until Mum’s tummy grew bigger.  The story is a pretty simple from then on and it’s obvious what is happening with his Mum and Louie, having met some babies before, fears a potential baby in the house.

I won’t go into any more detail about the story, but I will say that there is an obviously happy ending but also a surprising twist on the last page which just make me laugh.  The whole book is short but funny throughout.  I really warmed to Louie, the first pages just made me feel for the poor dog, although this might be because I’m a deep animal lover and have a tendency to ‘baby’ them myself!  I think this really appeals more to people who have pets and pamper and treat them a little like babies.  A lot of reviewers have said that this story would appeal more to adults than kids given the funny way that the Mum and Dad ‘baby’ their little Louie.  But as someone who grew up with a cat I called my sister (you may laugh but it’s true!) I think plenty of kids would understand and enjoy this book too.  I certainly would have when I was young!

Cute simple pictures

I like the illustrations in this book.  There’s something cartoonish about them but in an old fashioned way, like the cartoons of old.  I also like the way that the whole book doesn’t use a variety of colours and sticks more to a set of colours with yellow, blue and brown being the main palette.  The images don’t have a lot of detail and with the restrictions on colours it makes you focus on the important parts of the picture which just adds to the story.  Louie’s expressions are so fun and the whole book just takes on a fun feel.

Louie being pampered – recognise anyone who does this? 🙂

I’d recommend this book, it can be enjoyed by any age, though of course targeted at kids but I think only those who understand the whole loving/babying your pets might really enjoy this. I also should point out that the book is a hardback, about A4 in height but a little wider with thick papery rather than glossy pages.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Are you someone who papers your pets?  Do you know someone who does?  Like the look of this book?

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#BookReview: Things To Do With Dad by Sam Zuppardi #MPBooks

Things to do with Dad book coverTitle: Things To Do With Dad

Author/Illustrator: Sam Zuppardi

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description: To Do: Wake Up, Make Breakfast, Do The Chores, Have Fun!

My Review: This is a very fun and rather simple picture book. This picture book is surprising as there are hardly any words at all and yet the story is told so well. The book starts with a boy and his father having fun making pancakes for breakfast. But then Dad looks over at the list of things to do, such as wash the dishes , hoover the carpets, etc. The dad sets off on completing his to-do list and with every double page you see him washing the dishes, for example, while his son plays separately from him, but in the same room. The boy tries desperately to get his dad’s attention but his dad, even though smiling at his son, keeps on doing his chores.

Some lovely and fun illustrations.

 

It’s hard not to give away the rest of the book but it is such a simple idea it’s impossible not to. The boy decides to resolve the problem by re-writing his dads chore list and calling it ‘Things to do with Dad’. After that the chores are still done but at the same time the dad and son can play and have fun such as exploring the jungle, instead of watering the plants.

So easy to understand without words 🙂

 

This book is very fun and a perfect gift to give for Father’s Day. The book has thick and glossy pages with some great illustrations that are very simple, looking like kids drawings, and yet hold some fun details too. I really like this book, it’s really a feel good story, so simple and yet the dad and son having fun while still doing the chores can remind both kids and their parents how much fun it can be to do the small things if you make them into an adventure. The fact this book has no words other than the chores listed makes this extra special too as it shows just how powerful some simple images can be. I’d definitely recommend this book whether for Father’s Day or just any day of the year. It doesn’t have to be exclusively for kids with dads either!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think?  Is this a book you’d be interested in?   Please do comment 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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