Book Review: The Blitz Bus by Glen Blackwell

About the Book:

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Emmie let out a huge sob – “It’s not a film set”, she cried. She held onto Jack for a moment, then took a step back, closed her eyes and shouted – “WHERE AM I?”

When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different. As they dodge falling bombs and over-zealous policemen, they befriend Jan – a lonely Polish refugee. Together, they must work out if the shadowy figure they keep seeing is a spy and unlock the secret of getting home again…

My Thoughts:

The Blitz Bus is a delightfully quick read targeted at middle graders that takes us into 1940 and gives us a glimpse into England during the Second World War. Even though I am outside the actual target audience, I enjoyed this book and the adventure that Jack and Emmie find themselves on. While learning about the Second World War at school, Jack finds it difficult to picture the events and life of the people in his mind. Through this book, the author brings to us some of the historical facts in a way that would be easy to visualize for children.

Imagine reading about children your age who travel back in time and experience something that they are studying about. The whole idea is unimaginable, but is enough to keep children hooked. I like how the author stuck to a few specific facts and brought to us a view of the world through the eyes of children. Jan and Stan’s stories were well portrayed and it really brings home the hardships of the time. I also enjoyed reading about how the children found a way to stay there and survive until they could find their way back.

Through the book, children can learn about the situation in England, how people lived, the night raids, bunkers and even the food situation. The book is both educational and enjoyable and I think will be a wonderful adventure for all children to go on along with the main characters! I definitely recommend this book for middle graders and for anyone who loves a good historical fiction adventure mixed with time travel!

Book Review: People of the Sun by Ben Gartner

About the Book:

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The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet. In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you?

For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

My Thoughts:

People of the Sun is a wonderful and epic conclusion to the Eye of Ra series. Once again the reader is pulled into an adventure with John and Sarah, this time to the time of the Aztec. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it brings more clarity to the characters and the timeline of events. The author also ensures to bring out the effects of the previous time travel experiences.

This book goes into some technical detail while talking about time travel and the concepts behind it. As readers, we are also in for a wonderful surprise with the turn of events and the decisions to be made. The book is indeed interactive, giving the reader enough information to get them thinking.

In this book, John and Sarah travel to Mexico during the time of the Aztecs. They end up in the middle of a war which shapes the course of history as we know it today. The most important question is then raised that I think is one to really think: If you could change history, should you? This was perhaps the most intriguing concept behind the book and I love how the author tackled the question. The characters find themselves in this dilemma and it was quite a learning experience for me as a reader to watch them on their journey of learning.

This is indeed quite a roller coaster adventure filled with historical facts, people from history, essential lessons, some science and a whole lot of fun! This series is definitely worth the read not just for middle graders but for every age group!

Book Review: Jesper Jinx Gets Famous (Book #8) by Marko Kitti

About the Book:

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Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

Are you ready for the Puffington Hill International Children’s Book Fair? That is where Jesper and the Silly Old Scribbler are heading in this hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of secrets and devious revenge plots.

Can Jesper save the day with another Boredom Breaker or will a vengeful group of peace-loving animals get to him first?

 

My Thoughts:

Jesper Jinx is back and for once he is not the one making devious plans initially! Jesper Jinx Gets Famous is the 8th Book in the series that will leave the reader rolling on the floor with laughter. I loved this new book in the series as it brings a different perspective to the series with the Silly Old Scribbler narrowly escaping being caught for something he should not be doing. Oops, I cannot say more than that since I am sworn to secrecy too! 😉

The story starts off with Jesper realizing that it is once again the holidays and he can spend time working on new pranks with his nest friend Oliver. What follows next are a series of unexpected events that leave Jesper baffled. As desperate as he is to find out why everyone seems to know him, his brush with the media turns his few moments of fame into quite something else! This entire story is more engaging with the author talking to the reader directly and of course sharing secrets with us. We also have a whole lot of animals wreaking havoc or hatching a plan, I cannot say, but it is worth the wait! 😉

The book is inclusive and more evolved showing us how much the series and characters have grown. It has been an interesting journey to get here and I have enjoyed following Jesper’s adventures so far! We can always trust that he has something up his sleeve and even though we have many new heroes in this book, I think the author has brought it all together very well! The overall plot is funny and just what young readers need to have lots and lots of fun!

Once again, I highly recommend this book and of course the entire series! The books can be read by readers of all ages and serve to provide a good break from normal routines! Do give Jesper and his friends a chance. Be sure to talk to the Silly Old Scribbler if you happen to meet him! I’m sure he has something up his sleeve just like Jesper! 😉

Book Review: Guilt by Michelle Kidd

Book Blurb:

Guilt Book Cover
Guilt
Is a killer born…. or created?

A missing child.
A killer on the loose.
A past that refuses to die.

When a six-year-old boy disappears from a local fair, every parent’s worst nightmare is about to come true.
And for Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle, twenty-two years after her own nightmare began, the past she thought was buried starts catching up with her – and fast.
Leading the hunt for the missing child, Nicki soon finds the chase takes on a personal twist, with her own memories haunting her every move.
With time set against them, and a killer following his own chilling agenda, can Nicki and her team stop history from repeating itself?
Only time will tell.
But it’s time they don’t have.

About the Author:

Michelle Kidd Author Photo

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author best known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels set in London. She has also recently begun a new series which is set in her home town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk – starring Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle.
Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.
But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.
In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and has not looked back since. There are currently four DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fifth in progress, and the first DI Nicki Hardcastle novel is due for release in August 2021.
Michelle now works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order 

Follow her at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michellekiddauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellekiddauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKidd
Website : http://www.michellekiddauthor.com

Pre Order Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B099FMGZ16
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099FMGZ16

My Thoughts:

It’s my stop on the Book Tour for Guilt by Michelle Kidd today! I was interested in the book when I read the blurb, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it after reading it.

The book follows DI Nicki Hardcastle as she focuses on finding a six year old boy who disappears from the local fair. This comes right after the bodies of two other children are discovered. As Nicki and her team work to uncover the truth and find the boy, she is forced to confront her own past and deal with a nightmare from more than twenty years ago.

The book is well-written, gripping and fast-paced. Racing against the clock, the readers are plunged head first into a novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. What will happen to the boy? Can they find him in time? Who would do such a thing? These are all the questions that arise as the plot progresses.

Author Michelle Kidd has done a brilliant job in writing this story, making it easy for the reader to follow and imagine every sequence of events. The book reads more like a movie or an episode in a TV series, but gives us allowances to visualize it as we please. The reality of the situation is not lost on us and in truth, this can happen to anyone. The author brings out the psyche or state of mind of each character thus giving us some insight into who they are and what shaped them. These are complex characters with traumatic pasts leading to some walking the path of good and some bad. However, there is no right or wrong, it comes down to what a person knows, perhaps they do not know better.

The reader comes away with the satisfaction of a brilliant ending and a justification of the title of the book. We also come away with questions in the mind that make a person pause to think about people around us. I am now a huge fan of the author’s writing and am looking forward to reading more of her books!

Guilt Book Tour Poster

Zooloos Book Tours

Book Review: Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

A blast from the past, nostalgia hit me as I picked up this book once again to re-visit the sights and smells (trust me some are rather nasty, especially in Goblintown) of Muddle Earth.

About the Book:

Muddle Earth (Muddle Earth, #1-#3)

Joe Jefferson is an ordinary schoolboy from ordinary Earth. At least, he was. But something strange happened when he was walking his dog, and now he’s Joe the Barbarian—fearless warrior-hero, summoned by Muddle Earth’s leading wizard* to slay ogres, wrestle dragons, and bravely confront villains.

Joe doesn’t feel much like a warrior-hero.** But evil is stirring in the heart of Elfwood, and the people of Muddle Earth need help (although most of them don’t know it yet). Perhaps Joe Jefferson really is a hero after all. . . .

* Actually, Muddle Earth’s only wizard. And he’s not very good.
** He doesn’t really look much like one either.

My Thoughts:

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a very long time, but even more so, this book has remained close to my heart for much longer! This is a book that was a part of my childhood and honestly is one of the few books that made me laugh as much as I did.

This is a story of a young boy Joe who ends up in a situation he never expected to be in. All of a sudden, he is in Muddle Earth, portrayed as the fearless warrior-hero who has come to save them from evil. This is a hilarious adventurous story that follows Joe as he figures out how to survive and finds that everything he does is somehow accepted by the people of Muddle Earth.

Readers are in for a treat as we encounter ogres, dragons, a wizard (who is not very good), and a kid who is quite smart and also rather lost. The story is hilarious and will have the readers in splits. There are pictures to accompany the text which are brilliant and add an even more eccentric spin! I love how the characters are portrayed through the pictures.

This is very much a treat and should be read by all children. Even adults are in for a hilarious adventure!

Book Review: Twinfluence by Grace Costello

About the Book:

Twinfluence

One last twin swap. What could go wrong?

Twenty-six-year-old Dani’s identical twin sister calls her out of the blue with a colossal problem. Sophie needs to jet off to Mexico to save her friend from a botched tummy tuck but her boss won’t let her take any PTO. Dani, eager to repair their strained relationship, leaves her glamorous LA life behind as a top social media influencer to save the day. Dani’s dang good at pretending to be her sister, but good enough to teach high school kids in rural Oklahoma?

When Sophie gets stuck in Mexico for an entire month, Dani not only has to teach Economics and Life Skills, but she has to direct the school musical. And that boss Sophie hates so much? Yeah, it turns out Principal Beck is entirely too good-looking and single for Dani to ignore.

Rushed high school musicals, fiery school board politics, and cozying up to Sophie’s boss, definitely weren’t on her sister’s pre-approved syllabus, but Dani never was one for sticking to the plan.

From USA Today Bestseller of YA Fantasy Nina Walker and YA Contemporary Romance Bestseller M.F. Lorson, comes a brand new Romantic Comedy pen name––Grace Costello. This dynamic duo combines laugh-out-loud comedy with emotional feel-good romance that will keep you flying through the pages.

My Thoughts:

This book is written together by Nina Walker and M.F. Lorson. This is a feel good romance that can be read in one sitting and enjoyed thoroughly.

Think of the movie The Parent Trap, and then dive into this story. What sets this story apart are it’s twists. Twins Dani and Sophie have drifted apart but when Sophie asks for one last twin swap, Dani thinks of this as a way to mend bridges. Sophie is a teacher in a high school while Dani is a social media influencer. As Dani steps into her sister’s shoes, she finds herself out of depth and taking decisions that might cause problems for Sophie later on. Honestly, what can go wrong when you suddenly take over another person’s life (without knowing the current situation) and start to work on it. This is a recipe for disaster that may be good or bad in the end (I hope! I cannot reveal this)

As the story develops, there is a budding romance, sibling rivalry and bonds to be mended, and finally, kids to be taught. There are misunderstandings, a musical, teenagers and finally sisters who really need to talk to one another. This last part is the most important and acts as the guiding force in changing Dani’s direction in life. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and even found some parts of it to be quite funny. This is a light and pleasant read that will ensure that the readers have a great time connecting with these delightful characters and learning a lesson or two along the way! This is indeed a must read!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in February 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my wrap-up post for the Month of February!

I managed to read 5 books in the month which is quite quite slow compared to the first month.

But I am quite happy to have kept the reading streak going.

I thoroughly enjoyed the below books and as you can see, they span a whole lot of genres which kept me entertained.

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The Henna Artist by Alka JoshiCurse Breaker by Audrey Grey Oath Taker by Audrey GreyWe're Moving Where?! by Glen BlackwellThe Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

 

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Once again, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or book recommendations! You can also just stop by to chat, I’m almost always around! 🙂

Book Review: Shelly’s Stocking Goes Missing by Anitha Rathod

About the Book:

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Publication date: Dec 4, 2018

Word count: 545

Age Group: 2-5

Shelly painstakingly makes a stocking from an old bag. The stocking then flies to the town and cannot find its way back. Read the book to know if Shelly’s Stocking returns and if Shelly gets her presents this Christmas.

 

 

Connect with the Author:

My Thoughts:
Shelly’s Stocking Goes Missing is a very simple and pleasant story of how Shelly makes a stocking for Christmas hoping to receive her present in it. The story is very simple and narrated in poetry form. The author show the reader that Shelly is resourceful and creative as she figures out how to convert a shopping bag into a stocking and decorate it. The pictures are well done and will ensure that children are drawn in to the story. It is quite an enjoyable read for little kids!

Round-up of the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020!

At the beginning of the year I had planned to read around 50 books (keeping in mind my work schedules and timelines). However, as a result of the pandemic and work from home situation, I was able to increase this number up to 74!

As per the Goodreads stats, the longest book I read was Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (671 pages), Edwards take on the events that occur in Twilight.

The shortest book read, with just 24 pages was a delightful children’s book titled Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember (Let’s Learn While Playing #2) by Kelly Santana-Banks

It also turns out that my average rating is 3.5 stars!

I love how Goodreads has summarized the books and my year. Check out my list here.

MY 2020 BOOKS
The Tower Lord by Anthony RyanA Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid KemmererShadow Trials by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla Frost
The Selection by Kiera CassThe One by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera CassHouse of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Inebriated by Katey TaylorLegendary by Stephanie GarberDragon Connection by Ava RichardsonFinale by Stephanie GarberSunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten WhiteQueen of Corvids by J.C. McKenzieRescuing Lord Inglewood by Sally BrittonPrejudice Meets Pride by Rachael AndersonA History of Hexing by Evie Wilde
Keep Forever by Alexa KingaardThe School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Girl in the Corner by Amanda ProwseA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa TahirAsh Princess by Laura SebastianLady Smoke by Laura SebastianEmber Queen by Laura SebastianWrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan
Summer at Hope Haven by Kristin HarperLucy's Last Chance by Elle SweetMidnight Sun by Stephenie MeyerWho Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita BhattacharyaThe Damned by Renée Ahdieh
The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehThe Guilty Die Twice by Don HartshornThorne Bay by Jeanine CroftProject Hackathon by Arushi AggarwalTwo Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey
Return to Virgin River by Robyn CarrThe Pigeon Whisperer by Motaz H MatarHinterland by L.M. BrownThe Tech by Mark RavineDinosaur Adventure by Kelly Santana-Banks
Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin HarperPrism by Nina WalkerThe Pageant by Leigh WalkerThe Gala by Leigh WalkerFracture by Nina Walker
The Finale by Leigh Walker337 by M. Jonathan LeeTen Days with a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet NathRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt HandlerBeyond Belief by Ronald CrouchThe Eye of Ra by Ben GartnerSol Invictus by Ben GartnerThe Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by F.S. Dawson
Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly DanversThe Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie MidwoodNever Say No by Elizabeth NeepA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir58 Farm End by Natasha Murray
Across the Lake by Nancy LiPetriWedding Bells on Victory Street by Pam HowesForever Your Duke by Erica RidleyChronicles of a Spell Caster by J.J. SingletonSummer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol WindleyThe Lost Village by Daniela SacerdotiAlessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden VialMurder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

Do share your thoughts on the books I’ve read and don’t hesitate to leave recommendations for books to read in 2021!

Book Review: Summer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman

I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know more about the books and my thoughts.

Summer of L.U.C.K.

 

Summer of L.U.C.K., a magical middle grade fantasy novel for ages 8 to 12 by Laura Segal Stegman, was released by INtense Publications on September 15, 2020, and will be followed by a sequel in 2021. Stegman is a Los Angeles-based arts publicist and author. Summer of L.U.C.K. is her debut, and it is available wherever books are sold.

THE STORY

Summer of L.U.C.K. is about three kids finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival.

View Book Trailer on YouTube HERE

Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices.

As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher’s carnival rides, they discover they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher’s resistant son? If not, she’ll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.

CONTACT:

INtense Publications
Laura Segal Stegman
Twitter: @LauraStegman
Instagram: @laura_stegman
Facebook: LauraSegalStegmanAuthor

My Thoughts:

Summer of L.U.C.K. is a wonderful story that focuses on three children and their problems. Darby speaks with a stutter and has a low self-esteem. Naz moves to America from Morocco and is trying to learn to speak English and mingle with children his age while dealing with missing his father. Justin is dealing with the loss of his father and his inability to voice his feelings or talk about his situation.

The three of them meet at summer camp, brought together by mysterious music that only the three of them seem to hear. On investigating, they end up at the adjoining property which used to be a carnival. The author brings to us a mix of magic and delight in this book as the children meet with the ghost of Mr. Leroy Usher, the owner of the carnival. Spurred into trying to save him and reunite him with his wife, the children are forced to confront their problems and try to come out of them, try to move forward and grow.

This is a story with a strong message which is woven very well into the story. The focus is on self-discovery and healing as well as forging friendships and creating bonds. A story of learning, the author brings to us a delightful set of characters who overcome their fears and inhibitions to help a whole lot of people including themselves! The story also pushes the reader to imagine a world of magic and all possibilities as anything can happen if you just believe.

This book is a great read not just for children, but for adults too! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I hope everyone else does too!