A World of Words

Reviewing children's books

Changing hands

It has now been almost 6 months since I started up this blog, and I’ve enjoyed it more than I thought I would! Because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, though, I wanted to play around with the design of my blog, which I found was much easier on Blogger. I now have my own domain through them, and am very happy with the design I’ve managed to put onto it.

Thank you to everyone who’s come to visit my blog here, but can I ask a huge favour? Please can you visit me on http://www.a-worldofwords.com now? I’d love to hear any feedback on how I’ve done with the design, and I’ve always loved getting comments on my posts! As I’ve started scheduling my posts a bit more, it’s harder for me to update both blogs, so here are the posts that are now just on my other site:

The Clock of Lifeby Nancy Klann-Moren (YA)

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld (YA)

ACID, by Emma Pass (YA)

And in the Morningby John Wilson (which also goes into the historical details of WWI) (14+)

Billy and Monster’s New Neighbor has a Secret, by David Chuka (4-8)

Divergent, by Veronica Roth (YA)

Thank you, and I really hope to see you here soon!!

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An app for the boys

Mr Potato Head

Sorry about the slightly late post this week, I’m off to Mauritius in less than two weeks and have been excitedly packing and keeping busy! It’s therefore taking me a little while longer than normal to read my current book, The Clock of Time, by Nancy Klann-Moren, so today’s review is for the above app.

PH1I don’t know about you, but my older niece and nephew have loved the Toy Story franchise since they were in nappies. ‘Aylees’, their baby babble word for Toy Story 3 (short for aliens) was practically their bedtime story (when they weren’t visiting me!).

PH3

If you look at the apps on my phone, a good two-thirds could be said to appeal more to girls rather than boys. When I saw this, I knew I had to get it for Lewis.

I can’t actually remember how much I paid for this – once bought, I can never seem to get Apple to show me how much it was! It must have been free or cheap though, as the app does have adverts. It took a while to train the children not to touch anything before the play button popped up! You can also buy bundles as in-app purchases, but I’ve found there are enough costumes without needing to buy more.

PH4

You basically get several choices of costumes to put onto Mr Potato Head, and these can be mixed and matched. It’s a great idea – there are male and female versions of several costumes, including cowboy, pirate, circus performer, alien, etc. In the pictures I mixed him up so he’s a pirate with sparkly eyes and a father christmas nose and moustache. You also get a choice of where to put each accessory, so if you want, you can put the eyes where the ears are supposed to go, or the ears where the legs are supposed to go. One big drawback about this, though, is that sometimes it can be a little tricky to get things in the right place, as well as mistakenly turning the wheel Mr Potato Head is on – while Caitlin can manage to get around these things, Lewis isn’t quite there yet, so it does mean an adult (or older child) does need to be keeping an eye. By the way, Lewis is 4 in July, and Caitlin is 5, just to give you an idea of age.

Once the dressing up is done, you can choose one of several scenarios – including pirates, cowboys, aliens, candyland and a ballroom. There, you get a choice of 5 things you could make Mr Potato Head do, although I think these amuse me more than Caitlin and Lewis, who just love to dress him up! You can also press the camera to take pictures of Mr Potato Head’s antics, which is how I got most of the screen grabs.

PH5

Generally, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s the first one both Caitlin and Lewis go for, and particularly Lewis. While he can get a little frustrated at getting stuck every now and again, they both love being able to dress up Mr Potato Head, and it’s fairly easy to make them take turns.

Oooh, and a quick side note – I should be seeing my website artwork soon so I hope to be revamping the design ASAP!

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Post Mortem, by Kira Snyder

Post Mortem (Parish Mail #2), by Kira Snyder
Published by Coliloquy

Post Mortem

 

Celia Macarty is back in Post Mortem, the second instalment in the Parish Mail saga.

Autum in New Orleans means Homecoming, romance – and murder. When a friend vanishes, Celia believes a desperate letter about an unsolved Civil War-era murder holds the key to unravelling the mystery.

As she searches for answers, Celia enlists the help of quirky witch Tilly, and either all-American boy Donovan or enigmatic Luc – you get to choose.

As the gang follows the missing girl’s trail, danger turns up on all fronts. A vicious stranger threatens Celia’s family. Celia’s nightmares – about a shadowy, ominous villain – get worse. And a new ghost has appeared: beautiful Angelica, who shares a past with Luc.

It will take all of Celia’s will and wit, and the faith of her friends, to solve an unspeakable crime. And no matter which path Celia takes, she will discover that sometimes the past can come back to haunt you.

 

Having reviewed Dead Letter Officethe first of the Parish Mail series, I was contacted by Coliloquy to review Kira Snyder’s second book, Post Mortem. I am so glad – I loved the last book, and if anything, this one was even better.

At the end of Dead Letter Office, the reader is told about a pile of letters that Celia has, in which she is being asked for help. This book is based a couple of weeks after the first, and follows the events of a letter from Celia’s pile. Again, she has the help of best friend Tilly as well as Luc and/or Donovan.

The reason I said this book may have been a little better than the first is that it gets stuck straight into the adventure, without needing an introduction to the characters. The characters are established, and there’s no pussy-footing around, wondering if someone will get weird with the level of magic involved. That was still great in book 1, don’t get me wrong, but there was an instant hook in this story that I loved.

Talking about magic I think the way that magic is so effortlessly intertwined with normal life is really cool. Within a paragraph, Tilly can be whipping up some magical concoction and at the same time dig at Celia for gossip about Luc/Donovan/insert teen issue here. <b>[Mild spoiler in next sentence]</b> I have a thing for realism, so while in a different book I might have an issue with the protagonist leaving a big dance to go adventuring, in this book it seemed perfectly normal.

Snyder has created characters that will develop upon every sequel, and I think the series would actually make a brilliant TV show – I’d definitely watch it! As with last time, I enjoyed the choices I could make, although they seemed to have a further reach in this book, which meant I had to think more about what I chose. There’s one towards the end that took me longer than it should have to decide, as it dramatically affects the climax of the book. There’s only one thing slightly negative I’d say about the whole book, and that is that sometimes things were mentioned that only happened in one of the choices in the last book. For readers that, unlike me, didn’t read all scenarios, that could have been an issue.

In brief (after a long review – oops!), a highly recommended book, and I can’t wait for #3!

Finally, I’m still posting on this blog, but I’ve actually just bought my own domain through Blogger and will be cancelling this account soon. I’d love it if everyone could check out www.a-wordofwords.com, which has all my posts on it. I’ve done this as it’s a lot easier to play around with the design, and I’m waiting for some cool artwork to make my blog look unique to me. Thank you!

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Perverse, by Larry Rodness

Perverse, by Larry Rodness
Published by Itoh Press

Perverse

19 year old Emylene Stipe is a second-generation Goth who, like every teenage girl, is trying to find her place in the world. One night she comes across an old painting in an antique store and is compelled to purchase it. When she brings it home , an image of a young woman appears in the sketch and then magically materialises in her apartment. Emylene nicknames her ‘Poinsettia’ and they soon become fast friends. But Poinsettia has an ulterior motive for her sudden and strange intrusion into her host’s life, which causes Emylene to question her whole belief system.

First off, I’m still posting on this blog, but I’ve actually just bought my own domain through Blogger – I’d love it if everyone could check out www.a-wordofwords.com, which has all my posts on it. I’ve done this as it’s a lot easier to play around with the design, and I’m waiting for some cool artwork to make my blog look unique to me.

Having been approached by Larry Rodness to review Perverse, I was intrigued by the blurb. It’s not often I read about Goths, let alone second-generation Goths!

Being honest though, I wasn’t overly impressed with the beginning of the book. While it wasn’t bad, I was a little disconcerted by the disconnected narrative of Emylene’s life that led up to the start of the plot. There’s setting the scene, and then there’s over-egging it a bit. I didn’t understand why such a big deal was made about Emylene being a ‘princess’ (except maybe to explain why she acted so spoilt), and certain characters (such as Nostra-Dame) have no bearing on the ultimate plot, so I’m sorry to say that if I hadn’t agreed to review it, I probably would have put it down.

However, upon hitting the middle of the book, the plot got decidedly better and I found it really enjoyable. It was fairly different to anything I’d read before, and I loved the idea of there being a certain part of town that offers your wildest dreams at night in exchange for a piece of your soul and a slightly hungover feeling. Then, there were different aspects of Goth lifestyle I found interesting and were explained well by Rodness. Once it got going, it was fast-paced, and Emylene became less annoying as she had more of a purpose. There’s also a sense of dystopia the further in I got (revenants taking over parts of town and slowly expanding), and you should know how much I love those by now!

So, while I admit it was a weak start, the book gets a healthy 3 stars from me for pulling it back and creating an unusual and interesting plot.

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Mudlark, by John Sedden

First off, I’m still posting on this blog, but I’ve actually just bought my own domain through Blogger – I’d love it if everyone could check out www.a-wordofwords.com, which has all my posts on it. I’ve done this as it’s a lot easier to play around with the design, and I’m waiting for some cool artwork to make my blog look unique to me.

A little while ago, my interest was piqued while visiting my grandparents in Portsmouth. I was experiencing Sunday train delays at their finest, so they took me for a walk to see the newish statue commemorating the mudlarks on The Hard. My grandpa, the most avid history-lover I’ve ever met, started going into the backstory of the mudlarks from when he was a policeman in the 1950s/60s.

I’ll go into more detail after my review. My interest in mudlarks having been caught, I stumbled upon the following book on Amazon:

Mudlark, by John Sedden
Published by Puffin

Mudlark

Portsmouth 1914. Reg and Jimmy are mudlarks. They dive for coins in the thick mud of the harbour. But one day Reg finds a skull – and it changes everything. It starts a murder hunt that lands them both in serious trouble with the police. They’ve always done everything together – and now they’re facing death.

Although mudlarks were also found in London, diving for pennies in the Thames mudbanks, this book is set in Portsmouth, so I was really enthusiastic to read this, hoping I’d know where the characters were larking about. Going to stay with my grandparents every half term means I know the area fairly well. Sure enough, most of the time I knew where the characters were, which added to my enjoyment of the book. In general, though, Sedden describes the scenes well enough that anyone could pick the book up and become immersed in the landscape of the book.

Jimmy and Reg, the first-person protagonist and his best friend, were really realistic too – there were things like Reg having a stutter, the number of dead-arms the boys give each other (!) and the sense of guilt Jimmy feels when he realises he’s in the wrong, which made the boys really 3D, relatable characters.

I loved that the book brought to life a picture of not only mudlarking, but the start of the First World War and everyday people’s reactions to it. The twists that take place in the book can’t be guessed from the blurb, and I found myself surprised a lot of the time. The solution to the mystery had to be explained to me just as much as it did to Jimmy and Reg, which is rare, as I can usually guess what’s coming from at least a couple of pages before. PLUS, the solution was historically accurate. Double tick!

I’ve since lent this book to a workmate’s 11-year-old son, so I’ll update if I hear an opinion from him. I reckon this book will appeal to boys (and probably girls too!) around 11-14, especially those with a love of history. Mind you, once I get the book back I’ll be sending it to my grandpa, who I’m sure will love it. It’s his old stomping ground, after all, although he’s never been as nasty as the policemen in the book!

* * * * * * * * * *

This book has given me a new idea. I’m a complete history geek, so I was thinking maybe once a month I’d do what I’ve done today – review a historical fiction (or possibly nonfiction – such as The Diary of Anne Frank) book, and then go a little deeper into the history behind it. I love researching these things, and if it’s something others would want to read, that’d be great!

Feedback would be greatly appreciated – please let me know what you think, and whether you’d read something like this! I was thinking the first weekend of every month, and calling it Weekend Walkthrough :-).

* * * * * * * * * *

Inscription reads:

mudlark statue

The nearby statue commemorates the generations of Portsea children who enjoyed mudlarking here – entertaining travellers by retrieving coins they threw into the mud below the bridge to the harbour station and Gosport Ferry. Boys and girls would scramble to find the money tossed down, sometimes diving into the mud, performing handstands or dipping their heads in it. Many Portsea families lived in poverty, so the small change was welcomed. Usually, what the children did not spend on sweets or pie and chips was given to mum to help out the family finances.

Most parents disapproved of their children’s activities, while the police regarded mudlarking as begging and tried to stop it. Mudlarking supplemented other ways of earning a few shillings, such as carrying passengers’ bags or finding drivers parking spaces. The building of the new bus terminus in 1976-7 put an end to mudlarking.

Also inscribed is a list of names of previous mudlarks. This statue reminded me a little of Archie and Lillie, two mudlark characters in the book.

Mudlarks

mudlarksThe definition of a mudlark is given by the Oxford dictionary as “a person who scavenges in river mud for objects of value. Historical: a scruffy or dirty child who spent most of the time on the street.” As the book is set in Portsmouth, I’ll keep to the Portsmouth mudlarks, although it appears that the term was widely used in London too, for those getting what they could from the Thames. Those living in London can still go mudlarking if they want to – it’s now for historical artefacts rather than spare change, but the link here gives details of dates that groups will meet up to go together.

Margaret Foster is a Portsmouth councillor who campaigned for the erection of the statue in Portsmouth. She wrote a book, called The Mudlarkers, and for it, interviewed several former mudlarks. According to them, soldiers would empty their pockets to throw to them. “At the time they just thought their luck was in but now appreciate the significance of men giving away the last of their money before going off to war.”

mudlarks (1)

While some have said that mudlarks could come from wealthier backgrounds, the general consensus is that mudlarks didn’t have much money. Reading Mudlark, it became obvious to me just how poor Jimmy and his mother were when I read that her ambition was to save enough money to buy Jimmy a pair of boots.
Plus, did you know that the Pompey accent isn’t far off from Cockney? People’s stories from online have people remembering mudlarks saying things like: “Bung us a bob matlow [Give me a shilling, sailor]”, and “Dip me ‘ead for a sparsy [possibly a sixpence]”.lark, it became obvious to me just how poor Jimmy and his mother were when I read that her ambition was to save enough money to buy Jimmy a pair of boots.

Lastly, it seems fitting to mention a mudlark quote in Margaret Foster’s book again: “It wasn’t just the mudlarking. We’d chop up firewood and sell bundles of that, and jump on the side of people’s cars and take them to a parking space. We’d get a shilling for that.

“From the age of about five, we knew how to put a loaf of bread on the table. But we were quite happy to work. They were hard times but not one of the people I spoke to said they didn’t enjoy themselves.

“It couldn’t happen again. Not with health and safety and there isn’t that same kind of poverty. But we were safe children and happy children.”

Old money
Mudlark money

Helpfully, Sedden includes a brief explanation of old money so the readers know what the mudlarks are referring to – see the picture. I was going to try and put old money in context but it appears to be impossible, so if you’re interested, this page gives a brilliant explanation of everything.

Copper Poppa

To conclude my little mudlarking history lesson (tee hee!), I thought I’d mention my grandpa again. I’ve already mentioned that he was a policeman in the 1950s and 60s, and that he and my grandma brought my attention to the mudlarks. Poppa told me that he was always reluctant to head over to The Hard whenever he was told to move the mudlarks along (as they were considered beggars) – they were only trying to make a living, after all. This picture here is him in his police uniform – I love it!

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Interview with Ruth Silver

I’ve just posted a review for Aberrant, which you can read here. Below is an interview, spotlight and giveaway with Ruth Silver, the author. Thanks for your time, Ruth!

Having read the story, Aberrant seemed to me to have hints of The Hunger Games and Brave New World. Did these books influence you at all? If not, did any other book inspire you?

I can’t say Brave New World had any influence because I haven’t read that book yet! The Hunger Games did have some inspiration in getting me to read a lot of YA dystopian fiction. Another book that influenced me (not so recently but in general) with world building and infertility was A Handmaid’s Tale. I read that novel in college and I absolutely loved it. At the time I had no idea a dystopian genre even existed.

I love dystopias, and thought the worldwide infertility, as well as the government choosing a partner for everyone, were both brilliant. Where did you get those ideas from?

The idea is a columniation from around the world, personal experience, as well as creatively. For example, most people by now realize China has the one child rule. How far away is our world from saying “you have one child, that’s great, but if you have any more, we’ll take them away”?

There are people that already suffer infertility, for a variety of reasons. Often, we as a society implement the use of vaccines, especially in preventing disease and now even cervical cancer. Of course the vaccines are all safe and approved by the relevant authorities for the country you live in. I decided to think a little further ahead, and a little darker. What if it was an epidemic where everyone was required to get vaccinated and testing had been shortened or barely done at all? It might take years to see the full outcome of infertility and at that point, the government might be forced to step in, to prevent our entire species from becoming extinct.

As for the government choosing a partner for everyone, book two will delve into that a little more deeply on the reason for it. Spoilers for book two: I will say it has to do with genetics. If the government was forced to help people conceive children and do so in a lab, why not insist on putting people together that would further benefit society? A sort survival of the fittest, chosen by the government.

I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts that I think there are two types of dystopia: the far-removed kind (we hope!), like Aberrant, and the kind that could happen in 50 years or so if things went badly wrong. If any dystopian issues were to affect us in the not-too-distant future, what do you think these are most likely to be?

Disease could definitely be one of them. You hear in the news about SARS and H1N1, these epidemics that exist and you see how easy it is to transmit the disease with airplanes commuting between different countries and continents. A Biologist I was friends with right after college, she used to say it was only a matter of time until a disease wiped out a huge percentage of the population. I never wanted to consider it, no one does, but it’s a possibility and probably the most likely as a dystopian issue.

I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. Can you give away any teasers of what to expect for Olivia and Joshua?

They are definitely going to have their ups and downs, as a couple but don’t give up hope because I always love happy endings!

 Speaking of the rest of the trilogy, when will the next two books be released?

I wish I had an exact answer for that question. Right now book two and book three are rough drafts. Book two needs a lot of work, since I changed some plot points in Aberrant, now I need to fix those changes in the second book, Moirai. I do think Moirai (Aberrant #2) will be released in 2014 and am estimating book three will be released in 2015.

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About Ruth
Ruth SilverRuth Silver is the best-selling author of the YA dystopian novel, Aberrant, which is the first in a trilogy, released on 27th April 2013.  Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time.  She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication.  While in university she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004.  Her favourite class was Creative Writing senior year, where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.  Her love of writing led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia.  Silver enjoys reading YA novels and sharing her favourite books with other readers.  She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all, writing.
 Check out Ruth’s FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and website, if you want!
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Aberrant, by Ruth Silver

Aberrant, by Ruth Silver

Published by LazyDay Publishing

Aberrant

In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government’s match in marriage and “The Day of the Chosen”, a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn’t existed in generations. 

Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed: her existence.

Olivia is unlike the rest of the world, born not from The Day of the Chosen. The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua’s help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

I was contacted by Ruth Silver, the author of this book, to promote Aberrant. In the next post will be an interview, spotlight and giveaway. She gave me a copy of the book to read, but it goes without saying that this review is honest.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was thrown headfirst into the action, first meeting Olivia when she is preparing for her wedding day. This piqued my interest, which was held right the way to the end. It was a brilliant dystopian plot, full of turns that I wasn’t expecting. It reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games and Brave New World, in that the government was very much in control – so much so that it could control the most intimate of features in its inhabitants’ lives. There’s a lot of uncertainty throughout the book as to what will happen to Olivia. She’s often not as safe as she would like to be, and feels the weight of expectation, the latter of which is something I think a lot of young adults can relate to.

I think what enhanced the book for me was Olivia and Joshua. Their relationship is written really well; as best friends with a complicated aspect thrown in, there’s the right touch of familiarity versus the unknown. Throughout, they work as a team, the realism of which I liked – it makes a change to the power games that appear in other YA books where sexual tension is at the forefront. Josh and Olivia have been raised in an environment where conception – and therefore sex – doesn’t happen, which made a really refreshing change. Even though they’re 18, the reader is able to see certain realisations bloom in their minds, and that was great to read!

When I interviewed her, Ruth Silver said about what inspired her to write the book:

Often, we as a society implement the use of vaccines, especially in preventing disease and now even cervical cancer. Of course the vaccines are all safe and approved by the relevant authorities for the country you live in. I decided to think a little further ahead, and a little darker. What if it was an epidemic where everyone was required to get vaccinated and testing had been shortened or barely done at all?

Hearing it put like that made me uneasy, because it brings home how potentially easy it could be for something to strike the world, and for us to find ourselves in a dystopia. I think stories such as this one, where it stems from a simple idea, are the most effective. Mix that in with great characterisation, a little bit of the supernatural, and a plot that twists and turns, and you’re sorted. A great read, thoroughly recommended.

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City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

Published by Walker Books

City of Bones

 When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . .

I’ve seen several blog posts recommending this book – it seemed to me to be one of the ‘staples’ of YA fiction. Enough so that it has been made into a film, which will be released on 23rd August.

I’d say this book was a bit of a slow-burner. I was enjoying it, but I wasn’t whipping through the pages as much as I would usually – until the end, anyway. At the moment, I’m hating how much YA stuff depends on a romance, and I think I was a little wary that this is what City of Bones would be all about. Clary (short for Clarissa – knowing that helped me pronounce her name) has two love interests – her best friend, Simon, who is in love with her; and Jace, the new boy she meets. As this blogger here writes (which I agree with), the love interests are fairly stereotypical and underdeveloped. With this much ‘choice’, I thought it was fairly inevitable that the book would sink into romantic fantasy, which would not have impressed me. It was about two-thirds in, then, when the ‘twist’ starts to unfold (no spoilers!), that I was able to start properly enjoying it and let myself be taken along for the ride.

Not all the characters were developed fully (as I mentioned before), so I did find myself not caring when certain people were hurt (namely, Alec). Then there were some elements that weren’t fully explained. A good example is when Jace mysteriously knows it’s Clary’s birthday, although I’m pretty sure she never told him and nobody else, even Simon, refers to it.

However, the plot moved at a good pace and I was blown away by the numerous twists at the end, only one or two of which I was expecting. I was fully immersed into the world the characters moved in, and had great fun reading about their adventures along the way. I’ll definitely be reading the next books in the series, and may even treat myself to see the film, considering it’s out a few days before my birthday!

Speaking of the film, I’ve just watched the trailer for the first time, and I’m not sure. While I can see that she’s supposed to be seeing unusual things, Clary’s mouth seems to be wide open for the whole time! It does look action-packed though – what do you think?

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Something a little different

Just a short post today! Since moving house, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down with the kids to read anything, and therefore, I don’t really have any new book reviews for their age group.

 

Kate and Harry

 
However, there are loads of children’s apps out there, and I thought I’d write about Kate and Harry build a ship today. Basically, there are five steps, each with 5 options of a different ship component. It means that you can make a submarine with fairy lights and a cannon, or a pear ship with a mermaid fin instead of propellers. Once you’ve made your ship, there’s a short sail, where you can tap Kate or Harry (whoever you’ve chosen) to get them to say hello, as well as various other things to keep engagement up.

I’d thoroughly recommend this one! If I remember rightly, it’s 69p from the Apple store, and it’s the one app I have on my phone that keeps both Caitlin and Lewis happy. It’s saved the day (and my sanity) on a fair few occasions when they were bored and bickering. One ‘go’ lasts for about a minute, so it’s perfect for making them take turns. They always end up with something different since there’s so much choice, and it can also be a way of focusing them. You can get them to make the perfect pirate ship, for example. Actually, I’ve also played this with N, my best friend’s nephew. The complete opposite from Caitlin and Lewis, N had to be encouraged to make random choices, and spent all his time making submarines!

I have a few reading apps I’ve been trying out with the kids too, but I’ll talk about these another time. Does anyone have a good app they find is fail safe with their children?

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Age is just a page number

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The Barefoot Gigi

Barefoot Books and Gifts for Children

Red Ted Art's Blog

Bringing Colour & Art to Children's Hearts

Becky's Book Reviews

Reviewing children's books

journalistworks.wordpress.com/

The training centre for tomorrow’s talent

www.thechildrensbookcase.com

Reviewing children's books

Children's Literature Book Club

Reviewing children's books

Armadillo Blog

Reviewing children's books

tall tales & short stories

Reviewing children's books

Blog Book Tours

Reviewing children's books

Reviewing children's books

Chicken Spaghetti

Reviewing children's books

The Horn Book

Reviewing children's books

bookengine

Reviewing children's books

Bookreporter.com Reviews

Reviewing children's books

Teen Librarian

libraries, teens, books, reviews news...

Book Reviews – BookBabblers

Reviewing children's books

Reviewing children's books

Scribble City Central

Reviewing children's books

Wondrous Reads

Reviewing children's books

Books 4 Teens

YA reviews, news & interviews for the young & the young at heart

The Acorn and Thimble

Reviewing children's books

The Mountains of Instead

Reviewing children's books

The Bookette

Reviewing children's books

Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

Reviewing children's books

The History Girls

Reviewing children's books

Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again?

Reviewing and talking about children's literature, graphic novels & bookish things. Shiny.

Writing from the Tub

Reviewing children's books

TreasuryIslands

A critical-whimsical romp through children's literature

Nayu's Reading Corner

Reviewing children's books

the book corner

Reviewing children's books

'The Little Wooden Horse'

Reviewing children's books

Picture Book Shelf

Reviewing children's books

5minutespeace's Blog

A comprehensive blog reviewing children's books with an emphasis on fun and nostalgia.