#MondayMotivation #Poetry: Remember Yourself #MPBooks

An important message to help motivate you this Monday, and every day of the year.

A love myself note
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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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What Makes A Book Young Adult / YA Versus Just Adult?

What’s the difference between YA and adult books? Find out what makes a book YA and why it’s important.

Books in bed
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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

A funny picture book for those who love their pets!

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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#Colouring: A Walk In Nature Peacock #MPBooks

A new peacock from A Walk in Nature. Do you like this picture?

Colouring is a great form of fun as well as be a way for people to cope with some mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.  Mindfulness is the new ‘in-thing’ and what better way to be in the moment and concentrate on the ‘now’ rather than worry about the future than to colour!

Today I bring you a piece of colouring!  This comes from the colouring book ‘Chroma-Therapy: A Walk in Nature’ which I have recently reviewed here.  As this is My Peacock Books it’s only fitting I give you a nice image of a peacock.  It’s done in WHSmith Colouring Pencils (still the best pencils I’ve tried to far!).  Tell me what you think 😀 ! I’d love to know if you like my colouring skills!! 🙂

A coloured in peacock
A mix of colours, some realistic, some not 🙂

What do you think of my colouring?  Do you like the colours?  Does it spark any emotions in you?

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

A fun picture book with the surprise that there are virtually no words!

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.


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#BookReview: William Wenton and the Luridium Thief by Bobbie Peers #MPBooks

An excellent adventure thriller for kids with real and very unpredictable twists!

 

William Wenton and the Luridium Thief book cover
UK translation cover by Walker Books

Title: William Wenton and the Luridium Thief

Author: Bobbie Peers

Translator: Tara Chace

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s

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Description: William is in hiding with his family after the mysterious disappearance of his grandfather. But when his extraordinary talent for cracking codes is discovered, William is kidnapped and taken to the secretive Institute for Post-Human Research.

Because someone is after him. Someone who needs William’s special skills to find the last remaining traces of a strange and powerful substance called Luridium.

William will have to use all of his ingenuity and code-cracking skills to find out the secrets the Institute is hiding. Impossible puzzles, cybernetic creatures and bloodthirsty robots stand in his way.

Check out those blue sprayed pages!

My Review: Wow!  This is a surprisingly fun read despite the initial hesitation I had when I began to read this book.  William is a boy who loves to crack codes and is very smart but his parents are worried about him.  When an exhibition at a local museum shows off The Impossible Puzzle, a puzzle that no-one in the world has yet solved, William is desperate to get a peek at it.  But things soon go wrong and William find himself running for his life.

The book begins with a scene at Victoria Station in London.  The scene is brief but sets up the mystery of this story right away.  I initially had doubts on whether I would get into this book.  Although I was curious to find out what was happening, the writing in the book didn’t really feel all that great and it didn’t feel as urgent as the story probably should have been.  I’m used to a slightly different style of writing in kids books these days and this felt a little less punchy and the first few scenes which were supposed to be exciting just felt oddly predictable.  However I kept on reading and found myself progressively sucked more and more into the tale.

It wasn’t until the pages about the Institute that I really got hooked.  The story is described as a fantasy but given the fact that it focuses a lot on technology I’d say it could be classed as children’s science fiction too.  Although the book is listed as a thriller there is some humour thrown in as well.  There are robots, a lot of robots, at the institute and it’s here that I really started to enjoy the story.  It becomes an exciting adventure and a really unpredictable one.  I’m surprised at just how imaginative some of the story is and something that happens in the Archives really surprised me.

The whole story has a really good conclusion and I enjoyed the fact I still didn’t know what was going to happen even right to the end.  The book is definitely a fun filled adventure thriller with fantasy/science fiction throughout.  While the writing could have been a bit better and faster, perhaps a problem of the translation rather than the original story, it was still a good read and I think the target audience of kids won’t be bothered at all by this.  Some adults might enjoy reading this too, it really picks up the pace after the first few chapters and is really surprising with lots of twists.  This book has a great ending as a stand alone but is apparently only the first of a series and it’ll be interesting to see how popular this series will be in the UK, the original story was written in Norwegian.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: The Cherry Pie Princess by Vivian French & Marta Kissi #MPBooks

A very fun fairy tale children’s book

The Cherry Pie Princess book cover
UK book cover

Title: The Cherry Pie Princess

Author: Vivian French

Illustrator: Marta Kassi

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: MG/children’s Fiction

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Description: Princess Peony has a bad feeling that her father might be a tyrant.  She doesn’t want to believe it, but he has a nasty having of throwing people in dungeons…

There’s a royal party coming up, and the king’s in an even worse mood than usual.  He flat out refuses to invite the wicked hag, which can mean only one thing: TROUBLE!

My Review: This is a very fun story for kids and one which I would have adored reading myself when I was younger.  Princess Peony is different to her family, the King, Queen and her six sisters.  During a Royal visit to the library Princess Peony, the only one of her sisters to show any interest in the books there, borrows a recipe book.  But Princesses aren’t supposed to bake and when her father King Thoroughgood finds out, it is only the start of Princess Peony’s troubles.

‘The Cherry Pie Princess’ is well written and really fun.  It’s like a new fairy tale story with a bit of humour thrown in.  It’s easy to get into this children’s book right away and although it is not a specifically funny book, the names of some characters and the illustrations inside will make you smile and laugh.  The story is quite simple but surprised me as I didn’t know what was going to happen.  Although the story follows Princess Peony at the beginning it also briefly follows some seemingly random characters like the Fairy Godmothers and a Hag.  All these characters stories later entwine to make a really good ending.

Cute illustrations at the start of the book

The illustrations are funny and have enough detail for me to really like them.  There are illustrations throughout the book, in black and white and there’s are illustrations on every other double page.  The pictures really lend to the story and are really well drawn, I especially like the image later of the cat sitting in the tree.  The ending of the story is a really good one and even though it’s predictably happy, I still didn’t know how everything would get resolved or what would happen to Princess Peony after a spell was cast!  (can’t say more or I’d spoil it!).

Some of the funny images that can be found throughout this book

I think kids will love this story, particularly if they are into fairy tales and although girls might be more inclined to enjoy this book, given the title and the cover, I’m sure some boys would too as Peony herself isn’t overly girly in her personality.  Adults might also enjoy it as I did.  I’d definitely recommend this book to others, given the fact it’s like a fairy tale it also has a little lesson that some characters have to learn but it’s all told in a really fun way and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more Vivian French books after I’ve read this one!
-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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