Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: five star review

Blogtober Day 15: Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Blogtober Day 15: Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

‘In the end, I guess Mom was right. I have one foot in winter and one in spring. One foot with the living, and one with the dead.’ Cassidy Blake has a pretty interesting life, but it’s not for the reasons you’d expect. Daughter of […]

Blogtober Day 12: Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Blogtober Day 12: Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

‘You can plot a course that will get you to your destination, but you can’t predict what you’ll find along the way.’  Zorie has a plan for the summer, and it involves staying as far away from the Mackenzie family as physically possible. But when […]

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the Jackson Saves an Owl blog tour. I’d like to say a big thank you to Faye Rogers, for allowing me to get involved in the blog tour for this charming picture book. Zophia loves owls, so as soon as I saw the title I knew that this was going to be a book which she would really enjoy, and I had a huge amount of fun reading it.

As always, I’m going to share a bit of information about Jackson Saves an Owl for the folks who haven’t heard of it before, then my thoughts on the book will be found further down the page.

Jackson Save an Owl by Darren Garwood

Jackson Superhero might not be a real name, but it is a story about a real boy, and as the name suggests, Jackson is far from ordinary. By day, a rare disease limits his ability to move freely, but at night he is far from grounded. When the sleeping hours come around, and weightlessness takes over, Jackson takes to the skies. He knows what it means to need the support of others, which is why when he hears a call for help, he is quickly there to lend a hand.

If you want to learn more about Jackson Saves an Owl, click on its cover to check it out on Goodreads. If you’re ready to order your copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll get a few pennies from your purchase that way.

So what did I think?

Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Jackson Saves an Owl is a charming story with quaint illustrations pulled straight from a child’s imagination. The drawings are simplistic yet captivating, with Jackson exploring his local area, flying past parks and fairgrounds (there’s even a cameo from a grizzly bear!).

You can understand the story perfectly by just focusing on the images, as they convey all of the events that are happening in a clear manner, making it a great story to read to young children. They won’t need to understand the words to understand the moral of the story.

That doesn’t mean that the words aren’t just as good, though! The rhymes are well-written, with tight pacing moving the story forward quickly. My only complaint is that it isn’t long enough, but that will be solved by picking up future releases in the Jackson Superhero series.

With the story of the real Jackson told on the final page, readers are aware of just how important this book is. I think it’s highly commendable that Jackson’s father has written this story, as it will help other children in a similar situation to Jackson to feel less alone. As a parent, I found this book very emotional: it’s true that children are able to do more in their dreams than they often can in reality, but it’s important to help them live their lives as fully as possible.

I was torn between 4 and 5 stars for Jackson Saves an Owl, but I really appreciated the importance of the message, which was combined with cute artwork and writing of a very high standard. I’ve read a lot of picture books which have had clunky rhyme schemes, but Jackson Saves an Owl flows smoothly and is extremely enjoyable – both for parents and for children.

 

About the author: 

Darren Garwood is the father of Jackson, a real boy living with a rare and terminal illness called Krabbe disease. Darren came up with the Jackson Superhero series because as Jackson can’t move during the day, Darren wanted to help him dream at night, when he was free to be anything he wanted to be. Jackson Saves an Owl is written in lively, fantastic rhyme, and is the first in the Jackson Superhero series.

If you’d like to learn more about the real Jackson, visit Darren Garwood’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Once again, a huge thanks to Faye Rogers for allowing me to get involved with the promotion of such an important story. Make sure to follow the rest of the blog tour, and send your love and support to Darren and Jackson.

Alyce

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Blogtober Day 7: Review: The Case of the Missing Treasure by Robin Stevens

Blogtober Day 7: Review: The Case of the Missing Treasure by Robin Stevens

Back at the start of summer Robin Stevens released a short story narrated by Daisy Wells, in which the Detective Society and the Junior Pinkertons team up to investigate a string of museum robberies. I bought it the day it was released, but I decided […]

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

I’m ridiculously excited to welcome you to my stop on The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game blog tour. I’ve never been a huge Top Gear fan but the enigma of The Stig has always fascinated me, and this novelisation seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn a […]

Review: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Review: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

“What’s the point of being a billionaire if I can’t have a little fun?”

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Batman. In my opinion he’s not really a superhero, just a rich asshole. I only decided to read this book because I’d heard a lot of good things about Marie Lu’s writing but wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to reading a series (plus this book is super short, so if I didn’t gel with it I knew it wouldn’t take me long to get through it anyway).

What I wasn’t expecting was for Marie Lu to convert me into a Batman fan. Her Bruce Wayne has some of the stereotypical traits of the Batman we all know (and most people love); he’s a cocky billionaire with a taste for fast cars and justice. But Lu’s Bruce Wayne doesn’t stop there. He also has a softer side, vulnerable from losing his parents and reliant on Alfred, his guardian and the only parental figure he has left. He cares for his friends, Harvey and Dianne, and they even make him crack a few smiles – this Bruce Wayne isn’t moody and bleak, he actually has some hope and happiness in his life. And when he starts falling for Madeleine, an apprehended Nightwalker who’s more than just a cold-blooded killer, it even looks like he might have love…

Lu takes the source material and twists it, bending Bruce into her own character which still closely resembles the original. This is a book for those who love Batman, and those who have always thought that he could be a better character. I’ve always been disdainful towards him, but now I can’t help but think that there is more to him than meets the eye, which makes him a far more interesting character.

Not only that, but the plot and the storytelling are cinematic, and I found the scenes coming to life behind my eyes. I’m not a very visual reader, so when this does happen it takes me by surprise, but this book wouldn’t have been the same if Lu hadn’t described everything in such great detail. The fight scenes are well choreographed, and even though they’re playing out on the page the movements still sound realistic: there’s nothing that made me raise an eyebrow or seemed physically impossible. The plot does have a few overdone tropes, but what superhero movies don’t? It made the book seem even more ingrained in the DC universe.

I loved seeing familiar names pop up in the background, because it made me wonder what would happen in those character’s futures to take them to where we know they end up. We all know Harvey Dent as the villain Two-Face, so how does he get from being Bruce’s best friend to being a bad guy? It’s very fun to speculate. I did wonder whether Dianne was supposed to be Wonder Woman – it’s a similar name to Diana – but that didn’t get confirmed, so I’m left to ponder upon it.

If you like origin stories which add something, I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re not a Batfan, give this a go and I’m sure you’ll end up feeling more affectionate towards him by the end.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Batman: Nightwalker, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

Have you read any of the DC Icons books? If so, which has been your favourite so far?

Alyce

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Review: You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

Review: You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

‘”I never hear these things.” Strange. How many girls did she knows who had gone through the exact same thing as her – how many times had she sat next to someone in the library, thinking they were doing homework when really they were working […]

Review: A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

Review: A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

‘This time I am stuck in the very middle of the case. I am not just a detective, I’m a witness. And I think that I might even be a suspect.’  After the death of Hazel’s Ah Yeh, she and Daisy travel to Hong Kong […]

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

‘You see, you can be in love with a thing the way you can be in love with a person. A thing can trigger the same chemical responses as another human can: oxytocin and vasopressin. Fatima taught me this. Her book proved it.’

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on the All of This is True blog tour! If you haven’t heard about Lygia Day Penaflor’s debut – and if you haven’t, where have you been hiding? – I’m going to share a little more about the book before I tell you what I thought of it (spoiler alert: very, very good things!).

 

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well – Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with their favourite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck – especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined…

 

Intrigued? So was I. But did the story live up to expectations?

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor book review header

The answer to that is a big fat ‘yes’.

When I picked up All of This is True, I was intending to read the first few chapters. I wasn’t expecting to fly through the book in one sitting, looking up a couple of hours later with my heart racing and my mouth dry. This story is utterly addictive – as addictive as Mimi, Soleil and Penny find Fatima Ro’s own story to be.

Yes, the big twist is a tad predictable. However, Lygia Day Penaflor embraces this predictability, meaning that the most interesting part of the plot isn’t what is going to be revealed but how it’s going to happen. At multiple points throughout it feels as though the reveal must be on its way, just for the story to get twisted once again. When the shit finally hits the fan, it’s both relieving and tension-inducing: the secret is out, but it’s not plain sailing.

The most interesting thing about All of This is True has to be the way that it’s told. Miri tells her side of the story via transcripts of an unedited video, while Soleil rewrites her diary entries into magazine articles to let the public hear her side of things. Interspersed throughout are excerpts from Fatima Ro’s second novel, the hotly anticipated follow-up to Undertow, which the girls inspired. I haven’t read a book with a faster pace in a long time. If you think you’ll be able to dip in and out of All of This is True, you’re mistaken.

I’m not going to say anything else because I don’t want to give too much away, but I highly recommend that you read this book. Everyone is going to be talking about it. This is not a book that you want to miss.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about All of This is True, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

I hope you enjoyed my stop on the All of This is True blog tour. Remember to check out the rest of the posts, because there are some really fab bloggers involved!

Alyce

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Review: Clean by Juno Dawson

Review: Clean by Juno Dawson

‘I sigh. it’s all so improbable. How can I be ‘an addict’? I’m seventeen years old. I always sort of aspired to a coke problem as I turned thirty, but never this.’ Lexi Volkov is in rehab, and she’s not fucking happy about it. Just […]