Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Prime Minister’s Brain (The Demon Headmaster #2)

The Prime Minister's Brain (Demon Headmaster, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Demon Headmaster

Synopsis:

Everyone at school is playing the new computer game, Octopus Dare – but only Dinah is good enough to beat it. As it begins to take hold, Dinah realizes that the game is trying to control her. But why is it happening, and how is the Demon Headmaster involved?

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved The Demon Headmaster when I was younger and reread it many times. I enjoyed re-reading it last year. I remember not being as fond of The Prime Minister’s Brain, but couldn’t quite remember why. Having read it this week, I totally remember why I wasn’t as keen on it.

The story centres around Dinah, her brothers and some school friends. Everyone at school is obsessed with playing the new game Octopus Dare at school. Only Dinah is good enough to beat the game. The game seems to be pulling Dinah in and attempting to control her. Before long, Dinah finds out that the Demon Headmaster is involved in the game. They need to find out why, what his motive is and how on Earth they’ll stop him again…

I do find Gillian Cross easy to read, but the story didn’t excite me as much as its predecessor did. It may be because I’m not that interested by computers. I just wasn’t as gripped by it as I wanted to be. I remember that I never read the following books in the series and I think that’s down to my impressions of this book. I didn’t feel compelled to read on. Being controlled by computers would seem incredibly modern when this book was first released (1987). However, reading it currently makes it not seem as fresh as it was back then. I do think this means this book can date really easily and not seem as relevant.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge (July):
The Reptile Room (A Series Of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit-The Sea Of Monsters (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #2)

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Lightning Thief

Synopsis:

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

Thoughts:

Starting a sequel to a series is always a risk. I’m always worried that the book isn’t going to work for me. However, Sea Of Monsters did work for me. It was a decent follow up to The Lightning Thief. It has left me very intrigued for the next book in the series. It was so easy to read. I’m sure if I had more time when reading it, I could have finished it in one sitting.

I felt like Sea Of Monsters seemed more focused than its predecessor. I felt like the story had been established and it was really starting to develop. It’s certainly a quick read, full of action. I didn’t feel bored at any point, or felt like there were any ‘filler’ chapters. It all seemed incredibly relevant to the story. I loved revisiting old characters, like Percy and Annabeth. I love it when new characters are introduced though. With this book, I really enjoyed Tyson! I’m certainly intrigued by the new character that was sprung on the reader at the end of this book.

I find it incredibly easy to read Rick Riordan’s writing. It flows beautifully and it’s wonderfully funny in parts. I immediately connected to the story and couldn’t help but turn the pages.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid Lit Challenge (June):
The Prime Minister’s Brain- Gillian Cross

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- A Snicker Of Magic

A Snicker of Magic

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

Thoughts:

I saw this book around everywhere a few years back, but for some reason never got around to reading it. I’m pleased that we picked it for our kid-lit challenge. It’s a really cute, magical realism, middle grade read. I don’t think it will be for everyone, but I do believe so many readers will enjoy it!

A Snicker of Magic is about a girl named Felicity who sees words everywhere. She sees them above people, in the air, around the house etc. Felicity lives with her family, but they travel around a lot as her mum can’t settle down for some unknown reason. Felicity and her sister just want to call somewhere home. When they arrive in their mum’s hometown, they wonder if it’ll be the place they finally settle down in. The town has history. It used to contain magic, and some residents believe it still contains ‘a snicker of magic’. As Felicity gets to know the residents, she finds out there’s more to the town and her family than first meets the eye.

This story is incredibly cute. I thought it was so easy to read and the magical realism was fun. It doesn’t have major amounts of plot development, it’s more about the characters. This didn’t bother me though as I liked to read about the characters and their back story.

Natalie Lloyd’s writing is descriptive and whimsical. I think you’ll either really enjoy it or it’ll frustrate you. It really depends on your taste. I think it’s so worth checking out though!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Reading next in Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (May):
The Sea of Monsters- Rick Riordan

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Awful Auntie

Awful Auntie

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Gangsta Granny
The Boy In The Dress

Synopsis:

From larger than life, tiddlywinks obsessed Awful Aunt Alberta to her pet owl, Wagner – this is an adventure with a difference. Aunt Alberta is on a mission to cheat the young Lady Stella Saxby out of her inheritance – Saxby Hall. But with mischievous and irrepressible Soot, the cockney ghost of a chimney sweep, alongside her Stella is determined to fight back… And sometimes a special friend, however different, is all you need to win through.

Thoughts:

As many regular readers of my blog know, I’m a primary school teacher, so I really enjoy this kid-lit challenge, because it helps me find new material for my class. With my class (which reminds me, I must sort some reviews!) we’ve read The World’s Worst Children and Billionaire Boy, we’re currently reading Gangsta Granny, so you might say in one way or another I’m making my way through David’s books.

David Walliams does come into some criticism in the teaching world, because his books aren’t technically brilliant and can be a little samey. However, those complaints don’t come from me. I absolutely adore his books. They make my class smile, laugh out loud and read more of his books. If any author can encourage children to read (no matter who they are) I’m a very happy teacher.

This book is actually quite dark! It involves an awful auntie determined to get the deeds to Saxby Hall. To get this, she has carried out something terrible and she’s determined to get her niece Lady Stella Saxby to sign over the deeds. Alongside a cockney ghost named Soot, Stella refuses to back down and fights back against her auntie.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Stella was a great heroine! She was clever, brave and determined to keep what was hers. Aunt Alberta was Trunchbull-esque in her manner. She really was an awful auntie. She was pure evil and I love characters like that. I also enjoyed the characters of Gibbon and Soot.

I don’t know whether this would be too dark for some younger children. There’s death, car crashes, murder, poison, torture… I know we can’t protect children from everything but I don’t know if some of it was too much. I feel some of David’s other books were more heart-warming than this one. However, I don’t think that should put you off. Awful Auntie’s themes might go over the heads of many young children. I’d just approach it with caution if you have sensitive children.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next in the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge (April):
A Snicker of Magic- Natalie Lloyd

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Cuckoo Sister

The Cuckoo Sister

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

“Since the day I found out about Emma, I seemed to have gone to the bad. I was rude. I told lies. I listened at doors and read other people’s letters if they left them about. I was always losing things . . . watches, cameras, and silver bracelets. And whenever my mother reproached me, I screamed at her, ‘Look who’s talking? Who lost her own baby? Who lost my sister? Just because you wanted a new dress?'”

Convinced that her family’s problems will end if only Emma is returned by the person who snatched her from her baby carriage, Kate longs for the older sister she never knew. But when a thin, spiky-haired stranger with hard eyes shows up with a letter claiming she’s the long-lost sister, there’s more trouble than ever. This “Emma” is certainly not the sister Kate imagined.

Thoughts:

This book is a real blast from my past. I remember thinking about books I read as a child/young teen last year and for some reason this book came to mind. I immediately text Beth (my sister) and she recalled it too! We then decided it had to go on our kid-lit challenge. We had to rediscover it. The feelings of nostalgia were strong as I read this book. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, but it was still a lovely blast from the past. Books are certainly different now for teens!

The Cuckoo Sister centres around Kate who finds out that she had a sister named Emma who was taken. Emma was never found, until one day a girl lands on their doorstep with a letter explaining that she’s Emma. This ‘Emma’ knew nothing about her family and it’s a shock to everyone. Kate soon finds out that Emma isn’t the sister that she imagined.

I enjoyed reading this book because it felt quite innocent in its nature. Sure, the characters aren’t the nicest and I don’t think they’re amazingly well developed, but they’re interesting to read about. Both characters frustrated me at points but I loved reading about their interactions with one another. I feel like this book is definitely an old-school coming of age story. It’s about finding out who you really are and learning to accept it.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars.

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (March):
Awful Auntie- David Walliams

Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

The Pevensie siblings are back to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.

Thoughts:

I don’t recall reading past The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when I was younger. I don’t think I did, so reading Prince Caspian for the kid-lit challenge was intriguing. I don’t think it quite has the magic of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe but it’s still a decent read. It introduces us to some new people, the Telmarines, as well as going back to the Pevensies who we know well!

The story flips between the Telmarines and the Pevensies. When we are introduced to the new characters we also get to know Caspian and some of the politics surrounding his life and time. Everything changes when the Pevensies are summoned back to Narnia. They have spent around a year in the real world although 1,000 years has passed in Narnian time. The world is very different- Narnia has a changed landscape, politics has changed and the Pevensies have to get used to Narnia not being what they remember.

I never really got the religious messages when I was younger, but I can definitely identify them more reading this series as an adult. I feel like Prince Caspian does still have a subtle religious message. It’s about faith and believing there is something that makes life worth living. At the start, the family have no allies and it is not until Lucy starts to see the wonderful Aslan when others can’t that the message appears to be help comes to those that believe.

Prince Caspian did keep me turning the pages with its fast paced story-line. I love reading about the Pevensies once more. It felt incredibly familiar.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (February):
The Cuckoo Sister- Vivian Alcock

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The 2017 books are revealed!

2017 brings yet another year of Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit, which has been a fun feature on our blog! As usual, Beth and I have picked 6 books each.

Here are the choices…my choices are in purple, Beth’s in red!

JANUARY- Prince Caspian- C.S. Lewis

FEBRUARY- The Cuckoo Sister- Vivian Alcock

MARCH- Awful Auntie- David Walliams

APRIL- A Snicker of Magic- Natalie Lloyd

MAY- The Sea Of Monsters (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #2)- Rick Riordan

JUNE- The Prime Minister’s Brain- Gillian Cross

JULY- The Reptile Room (A Series Of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket

AUGUST- Fortunately, the Milk- Neil Gaiman

SEPTEMBER- Saffy’s Angel – Hilary McKay

OCTOBER- Black Hearts in Battersea- Joan Aiken

NOVEMBER- Witch Child – Celia Rees

DECEMBER- Finding Jennifer Jones- Anne Cassidy

Have you read any of this books? Can you spot a favourite in there? Let us know!