Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles #2)

Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Synopsis:

‘Wait, wait! Save us! What’ll we do?’

Simon is determined to become a painter when he grows up so he sets off to London to make his fortune. But the city is plagued by wolves and mysterious disappearances. The Twite household, where Simon is lodging, seems particularly shifty. Before he even gets a chance to open his glistening new paints Simon stumbles right into the centre of a plot to kill the King. And worse than that Simon is kidnapped and sent to sea! Luckily there are two friendly stowaways aboard – the feisty Dido Twite and the spoiled young Justin. But when the ship catches fire things look pretty dire. Can they escape? Will they save the king in time?

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the first instalment in this series intended for children but totally readable for adults. It has an old-fashioned feel to it which I absolutely love. We learn about a minor character (Simon) from the first book. We are also introduced to new characters such as Dido Twite. I love that this book can be read as a standalone book. You don’t need to read the first one to enjoy this one!

In this story, Simon goes to London to learn how to paint. He’s in search of Dr Field, but no one seems to know where he is or much about him at all. There’s some conspiracy against the King and the Duke and Simon combines studying and working to try and figure everything out.

It’s a book where you have to go with the plot. It’s crazy and silly, but that, in my opinion, is totally its charm. Some things are very unbelievable, but it’s worth going with it for the sheer fun that is this series. I have really enjoyed Joan Aiken’s writing style in the two books I’ve read so far. It’s easy to read and has humour within the story, something I think is very important in keeping young readers engaged.

I have to admit to being a little frustrated with the slang in the book. I know it fit with the character, but I felt it made my reading experience a little stilted which is what affected my enjoyment of the story as a whole. That said, it’s so worth reading, especially if you’ve read the first book in the series.

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

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge (November):
Witch Child – Celia Rees

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Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Saffy’s Angel

Saffy's Angel (Casson Family, #1)

How did I get it?
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The four Casson children, whose mother, Eve, is a fine-arts painter, have all been given the names of paint colors. Cadmium (Caddy), is the eldest; then Saffron (Saffy); Indigo, the only boy; and Rose, the youngest. When Saffy discovers quite by accident that she has been adopted, she is deeply upset, though the others assure her that it makes no difference at all. Saffy is the daughter of Eve’s twin sister, who lived in Siena, Italy, and died in a car crash. Grandad brought Saffy, as a very small child, back from Siena. 

At Grandad’s death he leaves something to each of the children. To Saffy, it is “her angel,” although no one knows its identity. How Saffy discovers what her angel is, with the help of an energetic new friend, lies at the heart of this enchanting story. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured for a long, long time.

Thoughts:

I hadn’t heard of Saffy’s Angel before it was picked for our kid-lit challenge. I don’t know what I was expecting really, as I didn’t read anything about the book prior to reading it. I just jumped into it. I found a quintessentially British children’s book.

Saffy’s Angel is about an eccentric family. It’s about a family of four children whose mother named her children after paint colours. The mother in the story is a painter. The father is absent for most of the story! The four children are close to one another and get up to much mischief! Saffron finds out about her younger years which leads to her stowing away to Italy in search for Saffron’s inheritance, a missing stone angel.

I thought this was such a charming little story. I found it incredibly easy to read. It felt like a very British book! It really warmed my heart. I could imagine myself loving this book if I had read it when I was younger. My favourite part of the book was the adorable sibling relationships. Even when Saffy found out about her past, the family still stuck together. I felt sorry for the mother, who had the difficult task of looking after four children practically on her own. The father frustrated me a little bit. I found him to be quite selfish!

The only reason why I haven’t rated this book any higher is because I don’t feel compelled to read the next one. I mean, I would read it… but I’m not running to get a copy.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check her blog here!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit challenge (October):
Black Hearts in Battersea- Joan Aiken

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Fortunately, The Milk

Fortunately, the Milk...

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.

Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

Thoughts:

I have read some Neil Gaiman before, so I was expecting something a little unique. I certainly got that with Fortunately, The Milk. First off… what an amazing title, hey? I love the title. So odd. It totally sets the tone for the rest of the story. Fortunately, The Milk is a quirky little story, perfect for a pick me up for an adult or a crazy read for a child!

The story centres around a dad who goes to get milk for his kids to put on their cereal. Whilst out for the milk, he ends up on an adventure. The children are wondering where on Earth their father has gone. In fact…their dad was not on Earth at all. He was kidnapped by aliens, encountered a time-travelling dinosaur and experienced so much more that I don’t want to spoil. It was an incredibly unbelievable reading experience but so bloomin’ wonderful at the same time.

I love the illustrations from Chris Riddell. They perfectly complemented the story. They fit well with Neil Gaiman’s wonderfully quirky writing style. I loved the characters and enjoyed following their journey. Neil Gaiman really is a terrific writer and I’m looking forward to reading more from him.

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 (September):
Saffy’s Angel – Hilary McKay

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2)

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Bad Beginning

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.

In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the appearance of a person they’d hoped never to see again.

I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Thoughts:

I enjoyed the first book in the series, which was much darker than I had anticipated. I was looking forward to reading the next book. So many people rave about this series! I can see why. It’s a short read and it’s engaging at the same time. Reading it as an adult, some things about it frustrate me, however, I know I’d have loved it when I was younger.

In The Reptile Room we catch up with the Baudelaire children. They have been moved away from Count Olaf who we know is completely crazy. They’re now staying with a very distant relative who is obsessed with reptiles. He even has a reptile room. Just as the narrator reminds you, something awful will happen to the children… and it does!

I’m really enjoying this series. I’m hooked by the story and want to know what’s going to happen to the children. I’ve certainly been trapped by the story even if a lot of it frustrates me.

As an adult, I get frustrated with the lack of communication and support the children are receiving. I realise that’s me thinking from an adult perspective, but I can’t help being annoyed by it! As with the first book, I’m not completely sold on the constant defining of words. I understand why the narration is like this, but it still grates on me.

Despite my reservations, I’d still highly recommend this series as there’s so much to enjoy! It’s engaging, fast-paced and so easy to read.

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 (August):
Fortunately, The Milk- Neil Gaiman

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